When Arguments Trigger Trauma Response

Growing up there was a lot of yelling in my house. I’m sure there were more times of not yelling but those aren’t the things that stick with me. When you have complex PTSD, numerous traumas or emotional or physical abuse stick around waiting for the moment to trigger and cause your brain and possibly body to fight or flight.

I remember the summer before freshman year my dad yelled at me a lot. Having my own teenager I’m starting to understand the difficulty. The difference was when my dad yelled you stood straight, without moving, I passed out and had seizures. It happened again, more than once, but always when my dad was yelling at me. At one point he thought I was faking it so he’d stop yelling at me.

After many doctor appointments and testing we found out my body basically responded like a possum and when my adrenaline started pumping, my heart literally stopped causing me to faint and have seizures.

Growing up, I never felt good enough, I hid trauma from my parents so I would not cause them stress or cause fighting. Unfortunately, because of the need to not create chaos I never felt worthy, I had very low self esteem because I was never good enough.

A struggle over 30 years in the making I still don’t feel worthy and my self esteem is shit. The logical part of my brain knows that I’m not worthless, advertising continually makes me feel bad about my physical body. Add MS to that and it complicates it even more

Being a mom and wife with MS complicate my personal view of my worthiness and self esteem. It was never how I imagined being a mom. Play dates, picnics, family outings are all different now, less frequent and at a severe cost to my body.

Here’s what I’ve realized recently, whenever I have an argument with someone that means something to me I immediately go to child retreat mode. “Don’t notice me, I’m sorry I said anything.” This spiral causes the focus to go back to how little worth and value I have. I’m just a female, causing issues and doing something I shouldn’t have. I know this is antiquated, I know it’s not true. This is why it’s a trigger response though. You can’t control how or when your brain will be triggered by something that brings you back to trauma.