Conflict vs Trauma

I’m publishing this early to get it out of the way before the holiday weekend. I intend to enjoy my three day weekend and I don’t wish to get entangled in a mess.

August 28th, 2018:

My daughter was struggling during her first year of school. I was working a crazy swing shift overnights and unloading deliveries. I was tired, stressed and had a respiratory infection that would not die. All of my energy emotional or otherwise was stretched to the max dealing with my current circumstances when out of the blue comes Stalker Pants with a message on Facebook.

I’d unblocked everyone from my extensive social media block list as part of my healing process. It was where I was at, and it was fairly pointless to have them blocked anyway when you can just create another account to bypass 99% of security features on social media. I mean, yeah it ads to the case that they won’t leave you alone when you have them blocked, but really there is zero point to it all.

ANYWAY… she was unblocked and had been unblocked for several months without incident until the random ass day of August 28th. I didn’t read her message at all. As soon as I saw it I called the non-emergency dispatch number to the local police and filed a report. The reporting officer was kind enough to call Ms. Pants on my behalf and tell her to leave me alone (like the SIX officers in different jurisdictions before) and that was that.

The next day I went to work and when I left work a few hours later I made my way to the ER in the most excusiating pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. YES. I was in even more pain than LABOR. Legit… most physically painful thing I’ve ever experienced is sepsis. Apparently my respiratory infection was actually pneumonia that untreated had sent me into sepsis for the second time in my life. Being the second event it was much more severe than the first and I was admitted to the hospital after a hellacious few hours with tests galore as my organs were clearly shutting down but they couldn’t figure out exactly why.

Three tests later they discovered double pneumonia hidden in the bottom of my lungs. It didn’t show up on the standard chest xray, but only made itself known on an abdominal CT scan. Once they figured out the problem they were able to quickly administer treatment and I rebounded in about three days. I was hospitalized for two and spent the third resting comfortably at home.

During those three days I had a hell of a lot of time to think about Ms. Pants. Of course the whole near death thing was traumatic in itself which stirred up a lot of my other traumatic memories. It also happened around Labor Day which was a fairly significant trauma anniversary in itself. It was the perfect storm of emotional chaos to create a retraumaizing event. Which is a really long reason to explain why I’m addressing it today.

After I was feeling physically better as the infection and my rogue immune system began to subside I revisited Ms. Pants’ message. Still feeling under the weather and emotionally fragile I opted not to read her public posts about the incident and instead had a trusted friend read them for me and relay the important plot points without any of the bs detail ranting.

I was told that Ms. Pants wanted forgiveness for her behavior and to apologize for invalidating the previous trauma I experienced. She did want to apologize, but she never wanted forgiveness. She just wanted the self gratification of spewing an unecessary apology at me against the advice of every law enforcement officer in South Western Ohio. Which would be noble if it wasn’t for such selfish motives.

Still being emotionally exhausted I responded without ever reading what she said myself, and pulled zero punches about my own feelings about the recent interaction. I was not kind, but really all things considered kindness wasn’t required. Firm, unwavering boundaries needed to be upheld/established and often it’s impossible to do those things while sugar coating your own feelings about the matter.

Pants did not take it well. I just recently went back and read what she had to say surrounding the entire incident and whew did I dodge a bullet with that one! I was called everything from a coward to a hypocrite. Selfish, manipulative, dishonest… lol. If there is a negative adjective to describe an interaction with another human being it was included. Which, okay, fine. Her feelings were hurt, and she was shocked at my blunt response when I’ve been fairly forgiving and understanding in the past.

The thing is, in her very first message she said: “I hope this isn’t triggering” and that’s really what I want to discuss in this post. I am still struggling a little with the emotional after effects of the trauma from my hospital stay. That’s the nature of a PTSD brain. I’m going to be stuck on them for a bit and I’m going to include every aspect of the trauma in my recovery process which includes the brief interaction with Ms. Pants. The fact of the matter is, no matter what her intentions might have been it was fairly triggering to see her name pop up in my notifications attached with several messages. Pile that seemingly innocent event on top of the other already stressful things going on in my life (like LITERALLY dying) and my PTSD kicked in to over drive leaving the emotions lingering far longer than any other minor conflict that might arise in my life.

When someone comes to you and says: “I hope this isn’t triggering” they mean one of two things. A) They genuinely think that it might cause you harm, and want to be cautious or B) they know damn well that what they’re about to say is hurtful or insensitive but don’t really care about YOU they just want to make themselves feel better. It’s exactly like the phrase: “No offense, but…” Whatever you say after “no offense, but…” is going to be offensive. It just is. There’s no way around it. It’s a stupid passive phrase. Just state your opinion and continue the discussion after the fact if someone is offended. Don’t try to skirt your responsibilities by tacking on “no offense”. It’s lazy and dismissive really.

Now, of course there’s really no way to tell what Ms. Pants’ true intentions were outside of my own perspective. She might have genuinely been concerned about triggering me and the negative effects, but based on her subsequent reactions it’s safe to say that was she was really worried about was how she, herself, might suffer as a result of her actions. IE She didn’t want me triggered because it would lead to this down the road. Me blogging about my trauma as a result of her short sided actions. WELL OOPS.

To some, I can see how it would look as though I’m being hypocritical. I mean, by writing this post I understand that there is a risk of Ms. Pants reading it, getting upset and reacting somehow. In essence writing this could be a trigger for her in the same way she triggered me by sending me a message. The DIFFERENCE, (and it’s a very important one) is that I’m not seeking her out. Yes, I am responsible for my choices. I can only control myself. I’m choosing to post this, fully aware of the potential consequences.

However, I’m not FORCING her to participate in my healing, or witness my emotional instability and/or reaction to her. Unless she makes her own conscious choice to click on this post and read these words? She will never know they exist or what I’ve said. While my writing can be a catalyst for her own triggers, I’m not the CAUSE of the trigger itself. That rests squarely on her own shoulders. If not her, whomever is telling her that I’m still writing about her involvement in my past.

And I am. I am still writing about the chaos and conflict surrounding her brief involvement in my past. As I already stated a few paragraphs ago getting stuck emotionally is the defining difference between a normal conflict or inconvenience and a traumatic experience. Trauma is subjective. It’s different for everyone which makes it difficult to navigate in the public at large. What might seem a minor inconvenience to one person can be a devastating life altering event to another. It’s really easy to unintentionally come off dismissive of the depth of another person’s emotions, especially if it’s something that you can’t relate to on a personal level. That’s the outward difference.

The difference when it comes to science and medical researching facts is trauma causes a disconnect between both hemispheres of the brain. Nonessential cognitive function is shut down and all energy is redirected to the things necessary to survive whatever emotionally overwhelming event is happening. In essence the neural pathways are severed which causes short circuits down the road. Almost all symptoms related to PTSD can be traced to these broken neural pathways and the “short circuits” resulting from them. Trauma is a physical injury manifesting in emotional ways.

Run of the mill conflict, on the other hand, doesn’t travel those severed neural pathways. It’s easy to “move on” from conflict by ignoring it, or not giving energy to it. If you stop thinking about it, the emotions/effects will eventually fade and everything will go back to systems as normal. Conflict is not a physical injury. Trauma is.

Conflict doesn’t require investment or years of therapy and discussion to resolve. Trauma, like any other physical injury, does. Writing is the best way for me to process my trauma and repair the broken neural pathways. It’s worked wonders for me over the past six years in addition to my EMDR. Ask any trauma therapist and they will tell you that writing is one of the best ways to capture and reign in those rouge traumatic emotions. Is it the only way? No. Some people process better by physically speaking about their traumatic experiences. Some people process through music or painting or other forms of artistic expression. There are a million different ways to overcome trauma each as unique to the individual as the trauma itself.

I choose to write. I understand that it may be painful for my ex and Ms. Pants to read. That truth is why I kept my own healing on the back burner for so long before coming forward and sharing my story about the rape and abuse I suffered at the hands of my ex. Yes, I completely understand and even sympathize with them both. What I will not do, is tolerate or accept the responsibility for how they choose to react and/or respond to my words. They are making the choice to be here reading this, and if it upsets them stresses them out or even hits their own emotional triggers that responsibility is their own.

Yes, I have reached out to them in the past. I’m guilty of my own surprise inbox message BEFORE I started working with my therapist and realized how inappropriate and inconsiderate an out of the blue message can be. The last direct contact I’ve had with Ms. Pants or my ex THAT I INITIATED was in February and October of 2014 respectively. I’ve sparred with them since then, yes, but I’ve never initiated the conversation by sending a message or making a phone call. I’ve kept to myself here, or my own personal social media. I’m not tagging them, I’m not trying to get their attention, I’m just focusing on my healing the best way that I know how.

A really big part of my grieving process with the entire trainwreck relationship and severing my trauma bonds to my ex has been misplaced guilt for the suffering he’s endured due to my writing. I don’t care that he treated me less than shit while we were dating, or has done some really irrational and stupid impulsive things since we’ve split up. I’ve never wanted to hurt him back aside from a few sarcastic barbs out of pure frustration. I’ve never hated him, and in all likelihood never will.

I understand the difference between what I thought was love and traumatic bonding now so I won’t say I still love him, but he’s still a human being and he still deserves compassion and empathy even if doesn’t appreciate or understand it. I’m as over it as I can be. I’ve dealt with it and will continue to deal with it to the best of my ability. I’ll probably write about it a thousand more times. I’ll probably realize some other stupid mistake I’ve made along the way and address sadness or regret for it. This is how humanity functions. Everyone has moments that they can reflect on. Some of us choose to share them, and others keep to themselves. I’m a sharer. I’m probably an over sharer to be honest lol. What you, Ms. Pants, choose to do about it is entirely your own prerogative. If you want to keep tearing open your own wounds reading this, and stirring up drama hither and yon by all means: continue, just stay away from my family. That’s all I ask.