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Last week we talked about how important it is to recognize when a past trauma has triggered a current emotional response. We must know what triggers us in order for us to gain some type of control over it.

A flight response is characterized by the desire to escape or deny pain, emotional turmoil, and other distress.

Have you ever been in a situation where you just wanted to teleport away to a safe place?

Have you ever been in a situation where you were physically in a room but mentally you were totally checked out?

Do uncomfortable situations make you want to exit stage left instead of dealing with the issue?

These are all examples of the flight trauma response. There are many more identifying factors but if any of these caused you to take a pause, keep reading.

Sometimes flight is necessary. God, in his infinite wisdom, created us with self defense mechanisms that help protect us from situations that will break our psyche. We do eventually have to deal with the trauma to move forward but sometimes it's necessary to escape until we are able to do so safely.

I didn't realize until recently that my trauma response was flight. I have never been a confrontational person. I have always been the person to find reason in the most unreasonable situations. I had never been in a situation that caused me to completely shut down. When this happened I didn't initially realize that a trauma had been triggered. All I knew was that I didn't recognize myself but I also couldn't move. I couldn't make myself do what I had always done, get up and keep it moving. I had been completely and utterly zapped of any ability to do anything other than disappear.

I decided to go to therapy because something was wrong and I needed to figure it out so I could shake this off. I needed to get back to being who I had always been, that reliable/dependable person that was always there for everyone and was always where I needed to be. What therapy revealed was this trauma was much deeper than I realized and a quick fix was not an option.

Because I didn't recognize what was happening, I also didn't realize what my response actually looked like from the outside. I had been abandoned and it resulted in the people I loved also feeling like I abandoned them. I couldn't see it at the time it was happening because I was just trying to figure out how to keep breathing in the midst of me dying.

So maybe you believed you responded accordingly to the situation but now you realize the thing you are hiding is the thing that is actually controlling your life. If we don't recognize what is happening we can get stuck in a 'trauma response.' There are a few things we can do to begin to move forward.

1- Recognize: We must first recognize and admit there is a problem. Even if you feel like you can't tell anyone what you are feeling, you must be honest with yourself.

- Commit: You must be willing to make a commitment to DO THE WORK. Recognition and acknowledgement is one thing but actually doing the work involves being subjective to being very uncomfortable.

- Take Action: We need each other to survive. Someone sitting next to us may have the very thing we need at a specific moment in life but we miss opportunities because of our culture. Because in our culture (African Americans) we were trained early that what happens in the house stays in the house. POINT BLANK. PERIOD. - - END OF STORY.

There was no such thing as having a friend and being able to get things off our chest. There was no such thing as going to a therapist to talk about what might be triggering our actions. It was all about keeping our mouth shut and figuring how to keep living like everything was ok. This caused us to be be crippled emotionally and stunted in our communication. We have to break these cycles. We need professional help and we need to make a decision to go get the help we need.

I encourage you today to break a cycle, get help, get healed and then go help someone else. YOU ARE VALUABLE, YOU ARE NECESSARY, YOU ARE NEEDED.

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Do you know your triggers? Do you know how to control them? Do you recognize when your actions are based on a past trauma?

Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people have difficulty moving on with their lives.

The four trauma responses most commonly recognized are fight, flight, freeze, fawn, sometimes called the 4 Fs of trauma. Today we will talk about fight.

Fight - it's an active self-preservation function where one moves reactively toward conflict with anger and aggression. It's the "I'm going to get you before you get me" attitude.

Take a moment and answer these questions. Put up 5 fingers.

Put a finger down if more often than not you feel like you're about to explode.

Put a finger down if more often than not you feel like you're right and everybody else is wrong.

Put a finger down if you find it hard to control your anger.

Put a finger down if you've ever broken something because you were mad (your stuff or someone else's stuff).

Put a finger down if you use your silence as a punishment?

If you have more than 2 fingers down, you might be experiencing a fight trauma response.

A fight trauma response is when we believe that if we are able to maintain power over a perceived threat, we will gain control. This can look like physical fights, yelling, throwing things, and property destruction.

I say perceived threats because our brain has muscle memory. Our perception is molded by our experiences. We have to recognize, process and retrain our thought patterns to find a better way to respond. A perceived threat can look like someone questioning your opinion or authority. Someone can be giving constructive criticism, but you perceive it as a threat and/or being in a situation where you feel overwhelmed.

Do you know what triggers you? In order to heal you must first recognize your triggers.

One of the most common and harmful coping skills we use is avoiding our feelings and emotions when it comes to being triggered. This may have worked well when in survival mode, but this is not a path we need to take if we want healing. We must learn how to sit in our feelings until we are able to recognize exactly what we are feeling.

In order to sit in your feelings, you may need to exit stage left and find a safe place. Some people may feel safe with their pastor, a friend, with a therapist, or just sitting in the car by yourself. Whatever works best for you just make sure it's in a place where you are forced to face your pain.

It's important to have a support system because we need each other to survive. It's important for us to be able to process and release the hurt without feeling judged or being concerned that our trauma will be preached across the pulpit. It's normal for people who have trauma to have trust issues as well, but we must take a leap of faith, dip our toe in the water and trust God to send us who we need to help us heal.

If you don't have a support system, I encourage you to reach out to me by using the contact form on my website or sending me an email to

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As we continue on this journey of unlearning, I pray that these blog discussions have been a blessing to you. They are meant to make you think about how many things we inherit as solid knowledge without doing our necessary research.

These discussions are just some of the things I've personally learned over the years. If you have lessons that you've learned and want it discussed, fill out a contact form on the site with the details. I will use the information for a future blog post discussion.

Another thing we need to unlearn is that the devil isn't behind everything bad that happens in our lives. As a Christian, one saying that is very common when things are going wrong in our life is "the enemy keeps trying to come against me." Yes the enemies job is to kill, steal & destroy but we give him credit for everything. I hate to tell you this but sometimes those bad things that happen are due to the bad seeds we planted.

The Word reminds us that we shall reap what we sow. The problem is we only want to think about this in the positive frame of mind. We don't want to think about all the negative things we did before we changed our ways. We don't want to think about how we did things intentionally to try to destroy people's lives as a payback. We don't think about the things we did in the moments of jealousy. We don't think about how we passed along information that helped to destroy a person's character.

We try to justify everything we've done. Yes God has forgiven us, if we asked, but it doesn't mean that this law of nature still doesn't apply. The only difference is he gives us the STRENGTH & GRACE to go through the bad storms and come out stronger.

Sometimes what we consider to be bad is actually something God allowed us to experience to strengthen us for the path he has us on. We are then able to use our testimony to strengthen those that God put on our path. No we don't always understand why he chose us to go through certain things but we must trust the process. Sometimes the only thing that gets us through our storm is reminding ourselves of God's promises for our lives. Then one day we look up and realize that the sun is beginning to shine again. That's when we realize we are on the other side of the storm and about to come out.

So I want to encourage you to not give the devil too much credit. Even if it is an attack straight from the enemy, the Word reminds us that our struggles are working for our good. All things work together for the good of them that love the Lord.

What are your thoughts? Let's talk!

FYI - To see the new things happening with HPHP take a look at the new video posted on the home page of my website (not the app home page.)


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