How To Deal With Emotional Flashbacks

First, let’s know about emotional flashbacks.

What are the emotional flashbacks?

Emotional flashbacks can be known as many names and definitions.

Emotional Triggers

Flashbacks of past traumatic experience

Post-traumatic stress disorder

The visual and auditory aspect of past traumatic experience

So basically these are the events in which a person can feel that some traumatic, emotional event is happening again from the past. It can be because of some visual or some auditory event. They feel like if they’re seeing and hearing the same even again which can cause anxiety for them. It’s not mandatory that a person can only feel the even by seeing or hearing something. It also involves one’s feelings. One can relate the present feeling to the past traumatic experience.

What are the symptoms of emotional flashbacks?

Feeling of Nervousness 

Getting anxious all of sudden

Heartache and Headache

Low self-esteem

Feeling like running away from people and situations.


Cold or warm sweating

Mix feelings like rage, shame, sadness, fear, anger.

Types of emotional flashbacks

  1. Short uncertain flashbacks
  2. Medium emotional flashbacks
  3. Long emotional flashbacks

Short uncertain flashbacks people usually experiences

Short uncertain flashbacks usually happen when you’re going through some short, quick unexpected event. These are short but really intense. For example

When somebody is behind you and you suddenly turn around you get scared.

When you see an insect you fear from childhood

When you do something clumsy, this can be related to some past shameful events.

Something unfair happens with someone which makes you remember things where you’ve been the victim of this unfairness.

When you hear some particular sound like ambulance or fire brigade. Because you’ve seen something disturbing in the past related to them.

Getting emotional flashbacks from some particular phrases. Can be insulting or revengeful.

Medium emotional flashbacks

Kind of flashbacks where you get obsessive over the trigger factors until they’re in front of your eyes or until you can hear them. For example

You’re at a party or get together where there’s loud music. People are speaking louder. Lots of noise. You get trigger by this and you feel uncomfortable in that situation. And that discomfort is constant until you get out of that surrounding.

You are at a place like a hotel or some building and you have a bad memory attached to such a place. You can feel scared, uncomfortable whole the time when you’re in that zone. Your feelings are not short; you’re obsessing over the same memory whenever you’ll be present at such a place.

Long emotional flashbacks

Flashbacks where you feel completely lost by the trigger factor and it can affect you for a longer period of time. For example

When you plan something and the plan is not happening according to you. Then this feeling of failure and uncertainty can trigger many emotions from the past. This can certainly lower your self-esteem. And you’ll get some time to get over that.

Sometimes when you or someone you know gets cheated in a relationship or you’re seeing a toxic relationship. You feel emotional flashbacks of your past relationship, maybe your parent’s relationship and you can get stuck in thoughts of that for a longer duration.

How to manage and deal with emotional flashbacks?

Understand flashbacks

Try to understand the emotional flashbacks. Accept that it’s happening with you. Don’t run away from that. You need to understand the different intensity. Sometimes these are temporary. You are somehow able to maintain a connection with the present moment. These are of less intensity. Sometimes these are more intense you completely get lost in the flashbacks and get disconnected from the present moment. So just try to understand them and prepare your mind to deal with different types of flashbacks.

Know your trigger points

Everyone says prevention is better than cure and I believe it’s absolutely right. You know that when something is going to create a problem for you so better avoid that thing. It can be a place, a situation, or some particular person. When you know that these can trigger your emotions better escape from that. If you can’t escape from that completely better limit your exposure from all that.

Use grounding techniques

Mindfulness and grounding techniques are two important things to deal with emotional flashbacks. It encourages you to be in the present moment. Whenever you feel trapped in emotional flashbacks just connect with the present moment by using some grounding techniques to be in the present moment.

Deep Breathing

If you don’t know much about breathing techniques just inhale and exhale. Deeply inhaling and exhaling for a few minutes can make you feel relaxed eventually.

If you’re going through something like this more often and if you know that it’s your post-traumatic stress, when it’s getting problematic for you, you can also reach out to a therapist for the support.

4 thoughts on “How To Deal With Emotional Flashbacks”

  1. This is all true. But hard to actually work on it. It takes everything to start each day but it just take a thought and you are back again at zero.

    It’s a fight for one self from one self.


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