How To Handle/Reduce Emotional Flashbacks

October 20, 2017


I want to share with you the more effective ways I have found in dealing with emotional flashbacks. Over time the emotional flashbacks diminish in intensity and duration when you continue the process of facing past shame, grief and fear. This is how one knows they are progressing and that old stuck energy is discharging.


If something triggers you and you start to feel young and helpless, you know something from the past that is unresolved has crept up. The first step is telling yourself that you are experiencing an emotional flashback and it will pass like always... The amount of fear is paralysing but straight away it is best to put your hands on your body and start to tell yourself that it's "safe now" (repeatedly!), nobody is hurting me now, the danger is over now. These flashbacks are not happening anymore and you are no longer a helpless child but an adult that can step up and has sources of help if needed. You need to tell yourself repeatedly that you won't abandon yourself and that you are now safe! The flashback will die out and always has, you are not crazy and there is nothing wrong with you for being triggered and reliving past trauma(s).


When flashbacks are noticeably stronger, I grab a pad and some pens, close my eyes and get it touch with the feelings I'm experiencing. Then you just let your hand do the work, and draw, imagining the frozen emotions/feelings flowing from the place it's stuck, down your arm, into your hand and through the pen out onto the paper. It can be squiggles or messy - there is no perfect way to express - if there is resistance just notice this and maybe staying with it is enough... Finally, when it feels there is no more to express you stop and take some deep breaths. Again, reminding yourself that the past is over, that you are safe now in this moment, and that this flashback will pass like it has always passed before.


Another effective way to deal with flashbacks is to find a quiet area and simply sit with the unbearable (not an easy task especially in the beginning). It sounds like the exact opposite of what one wants to do but rather than move away from it, one can move towards it. The feelings that come up want to be felt and accepted inside of you. Over time, a person can become more tolerant of the intensity and duration that it starts to fade out quicker.

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