Ideas for coping with flashbacks

  1. Tell yourself you are having a flashback and that it is ok and very normal in people who were traumatised as children (or as adults).

  2. Remind yourself that the worst is over – it happened in the past, but it is not happening now. The “child” inside you who was abused is giving you these memories to use in your healing and however terrible you feel, you survived the awfulness then, which means you can survive and get through what you are remembering now.

  3. Call on the “adult” part of yourself to tell your “child” that she/he is not alone, not in any danger now and that you will help her/him to get through this. Let your child self know that it is okay to remember and feel what she/he feels and that this will help her/him in healing from what had happened to her/him. However hard it is for you, she/he is communicating in the only way she/he can.

  4. Try some of these ways of “grounding” yourself and becoming more aware of the present:
    • Stamp your feet, grind them around on the floor to remind yourself where you are now
    • Look around the room, noticing the colours, the people, the shapes of things
    • Listen to the sounds around you: the traffic, voices, the washing machine etc...
    • Feel your body, the boundary of your skin, your clothes, the chair or the floor supporting you
    • Have an elastic band to hand (or on your wrist) – you can ping it against your wrist and feel it on your skin – that feeling is in the now, the things you are re-experiencing were in the past

  5. Take care of your breathing: breathe deeply down your diaphragm; put your hand there (just above your navel) and breathe so that your hand gets pushed up and down. You can also count to 5 as you breathe out and in. When we get scared we breathe too quickly and shallowly and our body begins to panic because we’re not getting enough oxygen. This causes dizziness, shakiness and more panic. Breathing slowly and deeply will stop the panic.

  6. If you have lost sense of where you end and the rest of the world begins, rub your body so you can feel its’ edges, the boundary of you. Wrap yourself in a blanket, feel it around you.

  7. Get support if you would like it. Let people close to you know about flashbacks so they can help you if you want them to. That might mean holding you, talking to you, helping you to reconnect with the present, to remember you are safe and cared for now.

  8. Flashbacks are powerful experiences, which drain your energy. Take time to look after yourself when you have had a flashback. You could have a warm, relaxing bath or a sleep, a warm drink, play some soothing music or just take some quiet time for yourself. Your “child” and you deserve being taken care of, given all you went through in the past.

  9. When you feel ready, write down all you can remember about the flashback and how you got through it. This will help you to remember information for your healing and to remind you that you did get through it (and can again).

  10. Remember you are not crazy – flashbacks are normal and you are healing.


Jan 15, 2013
Thank you for this. I will have to remember this next time.

Very useful :)



New member
Mar 26, 2016
This is a very useful tool...I agree with everything apart from the writing things down bit...not everyone is a writer /wants to /can...but great advice


New member
Jul 20, 2016

I actually find this very useful I'm new to this sight and I have bad PTSD from things when I was very young so thanks this is very helpful.


Jul 7, 2017
oh wow.. im in therapy for cptsd more than 7 years now ( a few diffirent kinds of threatment)
I never heard somuch extensive information about coping with this..

Thank you so much..


Jul 21, 2017
I thank you for posting this! It has wonderful advice on how to manage when this happens to us.

I was abused by my family for the first 21 years of my life, it is deeply rooted into my brain. I have almost constant flashbacks. If I am awake, chances are that I am having flashbacks. Once in a while, I can focus on something I am doing but they always break through. I would give anything to completely get rid of them.

Has anyone managed to do that? I have been told that they can lessen but not completely go away.


Well-known member
Nov 10, 2013
cloud cuckoo land (UK)
thanks to Teddy Bear for responding to this thread. It might be an old one but I hadn’t seen it before and some of the advice is really going to be helpful for me. I sometimes think I spend hours each day handling flashbacks about what are often the stupidest events from the past as well as some bad stuff.
Off to ground myself now.


Well-known member
Jul 23, 2015
England. Derbyshire
As well as daily flashbacks, does anyone else have
dreams about the situations.?

I don’t feel as if I can escape.

Sometimes the dreams are close to the reality,
other times they are about the situations but
mixed up with different things added. X


Well-known member
Sep 17, 2018
London, Westmister
Still trying to get use to these (not those) flashbacks. Triggers in bus/game shop were finnish (the language) and I just diplomaticly got out right away without making a scene. Then are medicational trigger (helluva lot worse) which I had "good one" this morning. GOOD NEWS is than in comparison to the past, I still got my "sanity" sort of, while the reaction is on. It still steals the show 100%ly, undeniably. Wrath is kinda level 3 PTSD, UFC level 2 and this morning predator level 1 of PTSD reaction. Suddenly I take funny steps on the streets and small rapid twitch and I realise that I just fantasied wielding violence (head numb of course), but if people has recognized those oddities how could they see the reason for it in my head?

Is it Part of PSTD crap to "hear voices" like past audio track and presence at once in mind? Sounds stupid and I refuse to believe that everything is out of chart in my life (Freakness).

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