I'm having a lot of problems dealing with triggers in my life. I know you've survived so much, and I am constantly in awe of your ability to handle triggering stimuli, and turn that pain into compassion and love for others. This letter isn't going to be very concise, and will mostly be about me, so if you don't feel like reading it, please don't!
A few years ago I was in an abusive relationship and I didn't realize it until he knocked me unconscious. To this day I still question what actually happened in the relationship. He would constantly bruise me, and in the beginning I thought they were just sex injuries, because I occasionally like rougher sex, but no partner before or since has ever bruised me during sex or at all. It took me months to realize I was getting the bruises and pains on days we didn't sleep together, simply from him picking me up to move me out of the way, or grabbing my arms or my side to move/ direct my body. I still on some level wonder whether it was just accidental coincidences, but it happened daily, like while we were having fun, or cooking, or watching tv. We weren't even fighting, he just repeatedly physically moved me around his home like an object, and I got really physically hurt. I still am confused about it. The emotional component of the relationship was also very confusing as well. The last day we spoke he knocked me unconscious and left me without checking on me.
Around the exact same time that I was trying to deal with this, two abusers were "outed" who had been close friends of mine in the past. I really struggled with knowing how to handle the information, and ended up cutting them both out of my life, but I was still very hurt and triggered and it sucked it was happening around the same time. Years before this I used to say to one of the abusers, "I love hanging out with you because I can pretend that a man as amazingly kind as you could ever love me in real life." Their outing confirmed the suspicion that no one could ever love me.
(I just want to say that I'm currently in a very healthy relationship with an amazing man who is sweet, kind, uses lots of consent language, is self aware, and is very trustworthy and treats me with utmost love.)
Currently I am being triggered/ reminded of this time of my life. I am in my limbic system. My heart is always pounding. My stomach is in knots. I don't really know how to get out of it. I keep having flashes of my abuser's cocky smirk, and feeling his hand on my arm. When I close my eyes I can see his face. When I see men with his body type or similar leather jacket, I feel like my internal organs are shaking. I feel like I'm vibrating like a humming bird. How do you get out of these triggers? Do you try to address and hold the anxiety? Do you try to physically move around and shake off the feelings?
Right now I feel like I can't be strong. I'm so sorry you had to go through this, and so many other heartbreaking traumas. I'm sorry to everyone who's had to go through this.