“As with all my pieces, I write from personal experience not make believe fantasy. Please exercise care. No detailed trauma. References to ‘scat play’ and clinical PTSD lists”
The Path To Enlightenment
Triggers can be both positive and negative.
I know this may sound counter-intuitive, but bear with me.
To understand what a TRUE trigger is:
Medical Definition of trigger mechanism:
something (as a specific act or stimulus) that in interaction with the body constitutes a physiological trigger especially : one by which an attack (as of disease or referred pain) is precipitated.
Based on my scrolling observations the word “Trigger” is often used incorrectly.
A trigger is a specific adverse reaction of subject matter by a person with PTSD (and various clinical symptoms/terminology). A non-traumatised person will never understand how debilitating daily life can sometimes be for survivors.
I’m hanging my ‘hypothesis’ upon the following of now occasionally being involved with sex bloggers et al, amongst my peers on ‘kinky Twitter”, my views of social media platforms, TV news / reportage. This is my only frame of reference for this piece. The use of well documented content known to provoke an Adrenalin response.
What we’re really more commonly referencing is TRAUMA MEMORIES. Events that are ‘triggering” are not necessarily a Trigger or C/PTSD. I know it’s not an easy construct to understand. Believe me, those of you that inconsiderately project your innocence of a charmed life is polar opposite to many people’s level of understanding.
Being ‘butt hurt/offended” by an item you read and didn’t agree with, is not a trigger.
It’s not a response to traumatic real life experiences.
A trigger can also be a reminder of a pleasant memory, a smell, a film, a book, a local landmark, a song, a face, a family / local phrase, a moment that transports us back to happier times. A warm feeling with happy tears of fond remembrance. These are good external stimuli for the brain / psyche / limbic system. Would you want to obliterate those pleasing times ? Of course we wouldn’t.
Triggers and traumas are a very complex state. I’ve watched timeline armchair psychologists and therapists fawning and giving false hope. It’s not appropriate behaviour. Supporting another is admirable. Encouraging words are fine in context. A person reliving a flashback or in a clinically depressive state does not need babying. They need to be heard, not analysed by generally well intentioned folk from their lofty charmed life pedestals and ivory towers of knowing bugger all, whilst dumping their patronising and clueless comments upon the wounded souls. I often cringe when I read comments. Lately I’ve become (irrationally ?) angry. I’m learning to now step back and breathe before responding. Testament to my self improvement.
A great resource for those that would like additional information to clinical trauma / trigger terminology and coping strategies for family / friends of survivors:
Triggers when used by one person for the specific detriment to another. This is a genre for another blog, if I were to go into the instances I’ve witnessed between Twitter users. This is an extremely sadistic passive aggressive manoeuvre. Commonly used by Narcissistic abusers. Those of you that do this, or mock others for their emotional state – expect Karma to rebalance the callousness.
As writers / bloggers / word / photo sharers, I think we have a massive responsibility to our readers. We cannot possibly imagine some of the trauma we’ve all experienced. The following is a tiny list of well referenced PTSD topics:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual Assault with weapons
- Bodily injury with knives from physical unprovoked attack
- Emotional abuse and control
- Victim shaming
- Coercive control
- Domestic violence
- Death of a child
- Death of a spouse
- Sudden death of a parent
- Prolonged painful death of a family member or friend
- Cancer patient
- Friends and family of cancer patient
- Depression in all its forms
None of these subjects would be pushed into polite conversation with either friends or strangers. Yet online it’s seen as “acceptable behaviour”
Whilst it is impossible to make decisions for another and I’m in no way advocating we should, I feel in the way some preach about ways to “be kind”, why many refuse to consider the impact of their words in writing. I consider it in these terms, if you wouldn’t discuss trauma directly with your friend in a very public cavalier, lascivious, thoughtless, insensitive and humiliating way to shame them then why on earth is it perfectly fine to post it online to another human being ? That’s neither respectful nor consenting.
I think we’re all more capable of being thoughtlessly cruel than many of us realise. The potential to upset others by not considering our words prior to hitting ‘publish/tweet’?
I use ‘Content Notice’. It allows readers a fair indication of the likelihood of my words and gives people the choice to open or save for another day. If I were to detail my trauma in the same style as a fantasy sex writer ….. You know, even as I’m writing, I simply wouldn’t do it graphically. I had a strong flashback two weeks ago and was writing as it happened.
I don’t understand CNC, I’ve never had rape fantasies, I’ve lived through several – without the safe words. I don’t want to read those blogs which are never covered with a Content Notice. In exactly the same way that Rape survivors try to mend, I’m very mindful of my content.
Would CNC fans enjoy reading one of my real life rape encounters ? The exact opposite way a Rape Survivor would not welcome my recanting a second of it.
Trigger warnings are very necessary.
For those who take pride bragging that they NEVER use CW etc, that is very telling of a characterless, inhumane and unempathetic personality.
Now I’m regularly blogging, I’m well aware the content of my blogs can be distressing for some.
I’m not always aware of what words of mine trigger others. It happened very recently. Only part of my tweet was absorbed, not the full content. Treating each other with kindness and respect, they explained their hostility towards me and we resolved their misunderstanding. I triggered myself whilst writing free-form. It happens. Sometimes it’s unavoidable to not press others sensitivities.
Consent and respect to others for all topics at all times
I’m sure many of us have the attitude ‘my blog, my choice’, or similar thoughts. I think of it in terms of Consent and Respect. We all claim to value that for ourselves, how many of us rarely apply it to our writing styles ?
It’s no different to me discovering your worst nightmare then sending available material to you in DM (this has been done to me without gaining consent).
Running your blog may not be a career path to a writing job or a paid for process, if you’re looking for ‘cups of coffee’ / patreon or advertiser affiliates and freebie sex toys for testing then would you write in a style to gain high traffic or choose to alienate your core readership demographics and lose current and potential future revenue ?
From the professionals viewpoint:
I feel we should totally reconsider “warnings” on everything we post into the public domain. Especially if posting extreme kink / degradation from an unlocked account ?
Used as guidelines …The word “warning’ seems to offend the staunch refuser. Poor things.
Let’s push their buttons with something close to home instead?
Is it the terminology “Trigger Warning” that’s causing refusal to use them ?
Maybe you enjoy scrolling at breakfast with the family to then watch a gif of a couple kissing then one of the partners is shown defecating into their hand and applying to the face and into the mouth of their partner ? Perhaps I’ve found a new niche career adding photo subtitles for viewing impaired tweeters ? ,)
The ‘actors’ consent and respect has (hopefully) been agreed prior to filming. That’s your kink to enjoy in your own space. It’s not for me and I don’t judge others. YKINMK
A time and a place for everything. An unlocked account is not appropriate in my view. I can mute and continue to scroll. No Biggy. (Pun unintentional)
Perhaps changing the whole attitude towards phrasing sensitive/niche content?
What if we renamed them:
“stress management levels” ? Numbered 1 to 5 dependent upon the trauma group?
We could very easily start using hashtag words at the start of a piece of writing ? Use the basics of consent respect kindness in a caring way that many claim to possess and then actually live by them not just empty talk about those qualities ? These hashtag content notices can actually drive traffic TO your blog. It works in the same way as search terms I believe ?
I will continue to pre-state my content as I continue to learn to manage my PTSD as a high functioning young woman. Despite the current climate that belittles and taunts situations and propels unknown people / content into our daily lives / TL.
Those that have yet to be traumatised in life, and it’s a when, not an if, will be directly or indirectly affected. Either you, your child, spouse, your best friend, your colleague will appreciate your healthy community compassion now in no different a way than KS or anti LGBTQ+ negative comments are currently handled.
I see no difference in the consideration of others for situations beyond (un)conscious control.[ETA]
When a trigger does create flashbacks of memory trauma it’s distressing and frightening. People react differently, however, some essential flashback coping strategies are described in this excellent link: Coping With Flashbacks
@SwirlingFire 17 July 2019
Written for the #sb4mh meme of “Triggers”. Why not go check out other posts by clicking on the button.