PTSD, triggers, and deflection

An interesting thing happened on the way to the reply button on Facebook. It was synchronicity at its finest. An article popped up from Patheos about a noted Pagan who had been arrested on child pornography charges. He had moved away (physically and spiritually) from his earlier Pagan tradition, but the headline included “Pagan”.

Now, anyone who has followed me for any length of time knows I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Anyone who has read the details knows how areas intersected with clergy, neighbours, family and the societal structures inherent in the complicity of silence that wrapped itself around those years.

One would think I would be full on bluster championing the cause of shining the light on the pervasive child abuse, holding the perpetrators accountable, and getting the word out. Because that is what I do.

That however is not what I did. Nope, I said “yeah, yeah, bad perp, but what about the privilege in the headline naming him as Pagan!!” *indignant*

Um, what? Yes, I post frequently about privilege. Yes, I have posted at length about post-traumatic effects that linger into adulthood from abuse. Let’s put those on a scale of Justice and see which one carries more weighty baggage in this particular moment. Uh-huh. Yet I went for the privilege slant and rant. The easy out, so to speak.

Here is where that comes up wrong. I posted without research. I responded without noting my triggers. I did it on somebody else’s FB wall. Research would have shown me that the article was from a site that writes about religion and the news sites didn’t mention the religion of the perp at all. Noting my triggers would have stilled my fingers and I would have merely read and posted on my own wall as I usually do. Likely, between the refraining from posting and updating my wall I would have become aware of my deflection and written not about privilege, but why strong spiritual counselors are needed in the Pagan community because 1) people like the man arrested exist in every religious community and 2) the lingering effects of PTSD need to be addressed in an ongoing manner.

Just yesterday I was engaged in an online discussion about the public’s lack of knowledge about the long term consequences of PTSD and why people don’t “just get over it, it happened so long ago.”

And here I was all confident in my ability to manage effects, note triggers as they happen, and go on my merry way. I do indeed manage well and note triggers and hold my reactions until I’m certain they are speaking my present immediate (not past memory) truth. Most of the time. And there’s the rub. Most of the time.

Most of the time is not all of time. It never completely goes away.

The work is ongoing. I will confront and honour the work by continuing it.

This post originally appeared at Lean in to Joy.

11 comments on “PTSD, triggers, and deflection

  1. You are an incredibly strong and generous woman to share your experiences. We definitely do need spiritual and mental health counselors in our community. Perhaps with people like you coming forward to share your story, more people will be inspired to step up and take on those roles.

  2. :::enters snarling at WP::: What gives, I routinely lose posters from my “read” list WITHOUT doing anything to make it happen? I’d not seen a post in weeks….because WP apparently drops half my ‘follows’. Glad you linked to me so I could find out.

    And yes, deflecting into the rage range of comfort — ah, what a relief it is! Except, not really.

    • I cannot explain WP. *lol*

      But yes, deflecting was so interesting to me today as it occurred right on top the conversation yesterday. I guess when I said I had to come back to read that post of yours that was my warning signal to tread carefully for a few days. After the weekend spiritual intensive I co-facilitated it only makes sense. Sometimes “sense” is the last thing on my mind.

      • :::sigh::: Sense? Ah, one of the rare elements? But yes, sometimes the mental tumblers just won’t align. And sleep deprivation doesn’t help.

      • Usually I feel a trigger somewhere in body almost immediately. I am so far up in my head that deflection happened with no preceding body ping. Time to drop back into center and be embodied. I adore my intellect, but it behaves best when knit closely with my body and spirit. Three soul alignment and all that neglected stuff this week. 😉

      • Long ago, I decided to live in my head — it is only in the last 20 years I noticed my body kicking me, lol. Sometimes I get the body ping, sometimes I can’t pick it out of the ‘surround’ — the most common one is a chill; but since my allergies can cause that, AND a psychic ‘ping’ from the Walk can cause that — damned if I can always tell which one is hitting me.

      • Yes, I can see how that would be harder for you. I did my alignment in the shower (why yes I did get in after noon) and feel a bit more settled. *hurrah*

      • Once the very physical dust settles this year (kitchen work, and then the :::drum roll::::: early move back from Haven to House is done in THIS late summer, and the garage is cleared in the only third yard sale in my life — I will be VERY ready to settle into fall. And my goal for this winter is trying to tease out those “pings” and re-wire them for difference.

        Because, yeah, the “Hel’s Bells, flip a coin” method is not so workable.

      • Oh, that feels like excellent timing for this work! Blessings to it!

      • Thanks. I hope it will be “the” time. I will have fall to tend to what is almost sure to be a semi-neglected mess of gardens and the Walk. And then some fall-down-weary time right around Samhain. And then, the Fallows back in my marital home — to rest and then to delve within.

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