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Conditioning to work with or around triggers

#1 User is offline   Michael's jewel Icon

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 11:07 AM

Hello, everybodies!

This past week's Monday night discussion was centered around "triggers". One thing that was mentioned several times, was how to deal with the effects that personal triggers can and do bring to the surface with a bottom/submissive partner. But as often happens, we never got to that part. i would love to hear from tops/dominants as to how you work through or around these.

i know that with some triggers, some, not all, esp within a relationship with a good, solid foundation of communication and trust, that some of these old issues from our past can be taken on as something to over come through conditioning. And just as often, toying with these triggers can have some nasty side effects.

A while ago, on a rope enthusiasts' elist, there was a thread started by a top who had just had a very negative experience with a bound rope bottom having what he referred to as a "fit." Having been there, done that, i realised that he was possibly describing a panic or anxiety attack. His solution was to leave the room until she "came to her senses". :noway: Needless to say, *g* i had much to add to that particular thread. But my point in this story is that we seem to have tons of info and shared experiences as to how to handle the physical aspects of what can possibly go wrong ......but seldom are we taught how to deal with the emotional or mental, psychological booboos that can and do pop out, often with little to no warning....esp when a top/dominant has never had this kind of experiences in the past.


So, experienced ones among us.....thoughts" How-to's?
"For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.
It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul."

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#2 User is offline   ONEEOD Icon

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 07:01 PM

I am sure folks are going to mention specifics and I will leave that alone till we hear from some others, but a few very general (preventive) DO's that are physical ways to allow you to deal with emotional issues would be:

1. If you tied it be prepared to untie it, QUICK! (Could be anything from a sharp knife or scissors to "quick-release" points built into the masterpiece).

2. If you hung her/him up there have a plan to have to get them down by yourself with "them" being dead weight.

3. Keep a spray bottle with some cool water in it nearby, you would be very surprised what an unsuspecting dash of cool water will do to defuse a situation.

4. Know what meds and what doses the bottom would need in an emergency and know where they are.

5. Discuss some ways to calm the bottom down in case of unforseen circumstances. No point in them being pissed off DURING an anxiety attack.

These are a few, I am positive with enough help and some time we could come up with a "Top 100" (pun intended) list.
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#3 User is offline   Ginger Icon

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 08:24 PM

View PostONEEOD, on Sep 15 2006, 08:01 PM, said:

3. Keep a spray bottle with some cool water in it nearby, you would be very surprised what an unsuspecting dash of cool water will do...


No, I wouldn't. LOL :bootyshake:

Seriously though, "triggers" aren't all bad, and not all triggers need a solution, sometimes they are fun to work with. However since you are talking about the type of "trigger" that bring up "bad" emotions, the comment I'd like to make deals with that ever famous work === communication.

Communication is not only necessary before a scene, it needs to continue well afterwards. Discussing the trigger itself, and the reaction. Sometimes it's something the person involved wasn't even aware of and can't explain -- for that reason discussion becomes even more important.

Sometimes I think it may not be a single trigger but more than one thing happening at the same time. Either one of them may not have caused a reaction, but put the two or three together and you could have a combustion.

Ginger


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#4 User is offline   Michael's jewel Icon

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 10:43 AM

Goodness...Top 100....erm. and would that be the Top 100, um...Hit list?

6. Dont allow yourself to drive so hard that you lose track of just where the bottom is at any given moment. This one, i feel comes with experience and tons of self checking on the part of the top.

7. When you meet for a scene, take a few minutes to have some small talk, "How was your day" etc...often, this one alone gives a top tons of insight on where the bottom's mind is. Knowing the bottom is key but comes with taking the time to get to know that bottom and where he/she is at that particular point in their life.

8. Knowing what has caused triggers to get out of hand, and/or sneak up seemingly out of no where can help the top know where there is possibly a land mine, and from there, make good choices on whether or not to step on them.

9. Speak with them to find out if they have used a red word in the past. Try a number of simple, open ended questions to allow them to open to you. If you ask yes or no questions, you will get yes or no replies.

10. This holds true for phobias too. Many who do have phobias speak openly about them and will offer up the information. However, this does not always hold true, esp if there is any shame attached to the phobia or the root cause of it.

11. Learn to read the body language of your bottoms, particulary outside of scening and other than times when their inner protocol is keyed up. This, you can do from across the room.

12. Ask them what they want to gain from the scene. This does not always mean that they will get what they want...and there is always, "careful what you wish for"!

13. Post scene, as Ginger stated, keep the lines of communication opened. Ask them to write a scene report. With time, it is entirely possible that they will open up more with the written word than speaking face to face.

14. Now and then, allow for a time out. Allow your bottoms to have periods of time when you are speaking friend to friend and not always just top to bottom.

15. IF things start going sour mid-scene, DO NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE! Know that often, a fight or flight response plays into things. They may try to hit you....or leave the room and leave NOW! Just knowing this possibility will keep the top calm as things blow up and often, far out of proportion. Anger or frustration on the part of the top is often tossing fuel onto a raging fire. Just the sheer shock and/or surprise of their reactions can be translated that you are not pleased.....in a fucked up mind set of a freaking out bottom, a calm word or two goes far..Keep calm, keep talking with them. Keep a firm touch on them if they allow that.
"For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart.
It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul."

-Judy Garland

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#5 User is offline   theseventhveil Icon

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 01:42 AM

I’m new, just jumping in with both feet and responding to one of the ideas set forth in this thread: The Spray Bottle (or a substitute that immediately provokes the senses in a certain manner).

I think, both as a sexual submissive (maybe more, maybe not) and as a person with experience in applied behavior analysis/modification, that the spray, under the right conditions and parameters, could actually prove both effective and comforting to the “triggered” individual – and might assist in long-term gains in trigger management.

I believe that these guidelines, at minimum, MUST be met in order for the method to yield positive results:

1. Both parties should agree that the sole purpose of the spray is limited to cueing the triggered party back to immediate reality in the event of a crisis.


2. Since the spray is only a cue, the triggered party’s (TP) foreseeable needs as may arise during a triggered episode should be discussed in advance, with some ideas for what may be the dominant partner’s most appropriate response choices outlined (a simple pause, a release from the activity of the moment, a drink of water, a hug, hair stroking, a verbal soother, a song – whatever it is that will help TP re-center, cope and move toward internal resolution).

3. Some formal, agreed-upon, real-time “practice” and desensitization efforts should be made on a consistent, proactive basis so that the spray sensation becomes associated with forthcoming feelings of safety and comfort.

4. Water should always be at room temperature or, perhaps even better, slightly warm - and the spray should be set at as fine a mist as proves both comfortable and effective in practice scenarios

A practice scenario might, for example, consist of (pre-discussed) instruction to the TP to first simply be still and tolerate the Spray/substitute in conjunction with comfort interventions, then increasingly asked to vocalize and move in imitation of actual triggered behavior for, say, 10, 20, 30 seconds (timed), after which the spray and comfort intervention are applied.

The duration and intensity of acting out the triggered situation can be incrementally increased over time, if needed, or set to higher or lower initial duration/intensity according to the need of the individual.

A possible substitute for use with individuals who cannot tolerate skin sense or positively respond to tepid/warm mist could be a particularly comforting recording, to be steadily/quickly, but not abruptly, adjusted from speech level volume to a volume that is higher than any vocalizations that may be made by TP during and actual episode. This would have to be cued and ready, set at proper starting volume, at all times, for all "real" and practice sessions, as would a fresh bottle of warm water.

You may have more ideas of your own, but these leapt to my own mind immediately.

Dealing with the effects of a real and potent psychological trigger, which is, in simple terms, the manifestation of either a phobia or trauma response, calls for true patience, care, diligence and understanding on the part of both parties.

No one who is suffering these effects should be considered to be “having a fit”; not that there aren’t drama kings/queens who will milk small discomfort for all its potential hyperbole and attention-getting potential – but it should never be assumed at first glance to be anything less than a very real and important psychological threshold issue, not without a consistent prior history of melodramatic acting-out on the part of TP (in which case why are you there?).

To assume a “fit” is to risk perpetrating further psychological harm; see others' posts regards standard intervention practices.

Additionally, in any situation in which one party has been given absolute physical domain over another, it should be automatically considered that they are consciously and voluntarily taking a great deal of responsibility for the psychic well-being of their charge.

I believe that there can be, for some people, valuable opportunities for resolving past issues within the practice of BDSM (or so my limited experience tells me for my own part, though “triggered” I have not been – exorcised, more like, much to my benefit at the time), including deliberate impositions of incrementally escalating triggering events with planned interventions in place.

However, such intentional resolution efforts should not take place under anything less than focused, formalized and highly intimate circumstances: No “extra” players, no new activities, settings, etc until progress dictates readiness and a likelihood of some measurable, if small, success at expanding the trigger threshold.

It is not an undertaking that can be rushed; your mileage may vary.

All that said (I know, I know – a LOT said), any TP who does not show true willingness to actively participate in such strategies, fails to make some amount of noticeable progress after numerous and cinsistent repetitions – or shows even the slightest hint of regression/worsening during real trigger episode- should be referred for professional psychological help and counseling...

….and no dominant partner should even consider beginning the process without being certain of their own dedication to being completely consistent in h/er efforts, working to see it through – and having a clear ability to recognize when/if the situation is beyond h/er scope and has a plan for getting TP any additional help they may need.

Unfortunately, there are people, both dominant and submissive, who employ the practice of BDSM from a pathologically destructive point of view…but I still believe that for the right combination of individuals, it can yield real inner progress and strengthening.

I like to think I am not one of the former, though I am diligent about asking questions of myself as I make my own discoveries about how I fit into BDSM - and how it fits into me. I like to think I'm "into" this because I like it, ergo:

Don't spank me bacause I'm bad, spank me because you want to - and because you know I want you to, too.

Then again, I could just be talkin’ out of my ass. It happens – and I guess that's what gags are made for.

Just sayin’.
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#6 User is offline   MasterDale Icon

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 05:42 AM

Thanks for a well informed and well written post, theseventhveil.

M. Dale
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#7 User is offline   ONEEOD Icon

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 05:45 AM

See, now I had to go back and read the entire thread and attempt to figure out where my mind was when I mentioned the spray bottle.

OK, I think I remember now.

Understanding that I have no "brick and mortar school of higher learning" certificate or degree in any of the "people" sciences, I DO have years and years of "school of hard knocks" training and experience. First and foremost as a parent, an Army platoon sergeant in a basic training company, a practicing sensation junkie, sadist, Top who plays with many others, etc. My experience with all that you have discussed is: NO.

No discussion beforehand, no warm or body temperature water, no desensitizing, no warning, no consent, no.

Having said that, there ARE a couple of "KNOWS" before you use this method.

Know your bottom/sub/person-tied-up, know your surroundings, know yourself and your capabilities, know your friends and helpers, know your equipment and tools/toys.

The reason for the spray bottle (used in this context) is for shock and surprise.

Just my opinion and experience.

Bob
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#8 User is offline   theseventhveil Icon

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 01:56 PM

Thank you, M Dale, for the props...and Bob for your polite dispute (and of course there are many possible applications for water sparays, et al - just don't think they should be mixed-use if there is a specific psychological and behavioral goal in mind, not until specific goal is firmly met):

A couple of quick points re: the true geometry "twixt my lips and my ass:

No official academic pedigree for me, either; just many years of working para-profressionally with the severely behavior disordered - and personally cursed with an intensely curious, learning-hungy mind (AH-HA! I am an APPLIED INFORMATION SLUT! Dang...what one learns in a day).

Additionally, I intended to address specifically real episodes of trauma/phobia revisitation, especially those that appear to be intractable or fail to respond to the partners' best efforts using the relationship qualities and observations you described.

Many such trigger episodes are perfectly manageable in the manner you describe, especially if TP feels very secure and safe with DP (dominant partner). However, it is possible for the best mix of personalities and methods to encounter trigger events (TE) that do not ameliorate within usual and ordinary protocols, no matter how sound the relationship.

If you are involved with some one who is trigger-prone and/or demonstrates more severe TEs (and you are certain it is for real and not a function of role-play or soap-opera re-enactment), it might be helpful to have a back-up plan.

Might suck - mightily - to drive your hysterical TP to the ER for help and find yourself explaining flogging marks to hospital personnel - or worse, law enforcement.

Makes a mutually workable behavioral intervention strategy seem prudent, if unexciting, no?

As we all know, not so many vanilla-types understand the potentially positive applications of BDSM - and I doubt you'd be able to request a BDSM-oriented physician as easily as checking a box on the intake form.

Makes me wonder, though (Master Dale, if you like to compile info for your community?): How would one find a BDSM-oriented physician?

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I really needed to see a doc but had lingering and obvious marks? How do I explain this in a way that makes Doc feel comfortable, or at least preserves my own reputation as rational, sane and non-impaired?

Just a thought - probably deserves its own thread but I'm a bit pressed for time (so ignore typos and let them fall where they may, please).

In any case: Nice to meet you both.

tsv
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#9 User is offline   theseventhveil Icon

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 01:58 PM

Thank you, M Dale, for the props...and Bob for your polite dispute (and of course there are many possible applications for water sparays, et al - just don't think they should be mixed-use if there is a specific psychological and behavioral goal in mind, not until specific goal is firmly met):

A couple of quick points re: the true geometry "twixt my lips and my ass:

No official academic pedigree for me, either; just many years of working para-profressionally with the severely behavior disordered - and personally cursed with an intensely curious, learning-hungy mind (AH-HA! I am an APPLIED INFORMATION SLUT! Dang...what one learns in a day).

Additionally, I intended to address specifically real episodes of trauma/phobia revisitation, especially those that appear to be intractable or fail to respond to the partners' best efforts using the relationship qualities and observations you described.

Many such trigger episodes are perfectly manageable in the manner you describe, especially if TP feels very secure and safe with DP (dominant partner). However, it is possible for the best mix of personalities and methods to encounter trigger events (TE) that do not ameliorate within usual and ordinary protocols, no matter how sound the relationship.

If you are involved with some one who is trigger-prone and/or demonstrates more severe TEs (and you are certain it is for real and not a function of role-play or soap-opera re-enactment), it might be helpful to have a back-up plan.

Might suck - mightily - to drive your hysterical TP to the ER for help and find yourself explaining flogging marks to hospital personnel - or worse, law enforcement.

Makes a mutually workable behavioral intervention strategy seem prudent, if unexciting, no?

As we all know, not so many vanilla-types understand the potentially positive applications of BDSM - and I doubt you'd be able to request a BDSM-oriented physician as easily as checking a box on the intake form.

Makes me wonder, though (Master Dale, if you like to compile info for your community?): How would one find a BDSM-oriented physician?

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I really needed to see a doc but had lingering and obvious marks? How do I explain this in a way that makes Doc feel comfortable, or at least preserves my own reputation as rational, sane and non-impaired?

Just a thought - probably deserves its own thread but I'm a bit pressed for time (so ignore typos and let them fall where they may, please).

In any case: Nice to meet you both.

tsv
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#10 User is offline   ONEEOD Icon

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Posted 06 June 2009 - 05:02 PM

"Makes me wonder, though (Master Dale, if you like to compile info for your community?): How would one find a BDSM-oriented physician?

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I really needed to see a doc but had lingering and obvious marks? How do I explain this in a way that makes Doc feel comfortable, or at least preserves my own reputation as rational, sane and non-impaired?

Just a thought - probably deserves its own thread but I'm a bit pressed for time (so ignore typos and let them fall where they may, please).

In any case: Nice to meet you both.

tsv"


Also nice to meet you. Just a quick answer to your comments about needing a healthcare professional that was sympathetic to "our" cause. There has been posted on the web, though maybe not updated or expanded as often as needed, a list by the name of KAP (Kink Aware Professionals).
I haven't looked into it for quite a while so not even sure it is still available, but was a big thing back in the 80's and 90's. Wow, just thinking of what I considered "yesterday" as a bygone era is so strange. Anyway, might be something to resurrect.

Bob
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