Ok boys and girls… I had a thought go through my mind today. I was in line at a store and two people were telling a story. One stopped her story telling and said to the other, seriously mind you, “trigger warning” and then asked for permission to finish the story.
This made me think. What exactly is a trigger warning? When did this become necessary? What does one do when triggered?
A trigger something that one experiences that causes the person to relive emotions they normally would not want to have. The common example if you look into it is the raped woman who hears a song that was playing during the attack or the soldier who returns from war and hears fireworks that remind him of gunfire.
Ok, every got the rough definition we are working with.
That being said, two things…
- You really need to be 100% certain that the experience you are being triggered back to is on par with these two as a baseline. Otherwise I am going to tell you to fuck right the hell off. Here is a helpful guide to fucking off:
- An event that is not inherently evil. This includes the natural death of a parent or pet. Anything that was not maliciously done to you is just called life and is part of the human condition. Society owes you nothing; you are responsible for your mental health.
- An event that causes no lasting harm. An example of this is being lost in a store when you are a kid or falling when learning how to ride a bike. Suck it up buttercup!
- Something you did to yourself. If you are a recovering junkie or former anorexic the world around you does not need to hide its candy or images of drugs. Part of your recovery is managing yourself in a tempting world. If your recovery is fragile then you cannot go to places that tempt you. These places don’t need to accommodate you.
- You are still 100% responsible for your actions when triggered. The interwebs are rife with video after video of college asshole losing their mind when “triggered” like that is a get out of jail (or at least being called and asshole) free card. If rape victims can resist the urge to start stabbing the nearest thing with a penis when triggered then you can handle a class presenting a different opinion than the one you came in with. You are not excused from:
- Getting violent or destructive
- Yelling or being disrespectful (even if the trigger is yelling or being disrespectful)
- Demanding the world change for you
So, when did this become a thing? Its cliche now but… 100 years ago this was not a thing. Is this part of the progress of the last few decades?
More likely, people are just taking advantage of a weakened system. People are like virus sometimes. The system is weakened, people want and are driven to be seen as more sensitive and understanding. So people with their ridiculous sense of entitlement rush to system to get theirs.
People no longer see value in being able to handle things and develop coping skills or perspective. Why should I have to develop an emotional callus? The world needs to move and change for me.
Let me set this straight.
No. You are not. The world does not need to and most of the time doesn’t want to move for you. We reserve the small shreds of compassion for those truly needing it (see above) not people with hurt feelings.
In high school, I had to watch Schindler’s List. In college I had learn about the stories and art of Elie Wiesel and the holocaust. I saw things that bother me to this day. However, I needed to learn how to see something that bothers me so that I know what that feels like. I needed to know that I was looking at evil and feel it in my gut.
I think a lot of people don’t know how to tell good and evil apart because they don’t see things that “trigger” them and learn how to deal with it. It’s like heavy lifting for your mind and emotions. This is how people can celebrate Che Guevara and Fidel Castro even though these people are mass murders. (Fact, regardless of the reasons these two are murders). You need to face these kind of things and not hide behind society’s willingness to coddle you.
Certain parts of society have a vested interest in keeping you unable to tell good from evil as well.
At this point I am sure that someone of you are asking yourselves, “But what if I want to be a good person and help someone who is (hopefully rightly so) triggered? Good question. I am not a shrink or counselor but I get people so here is my helpful hints.
- Give them space. Physically back off. Unless then want you near them for comfort or security, double arm length is best.
- Let them be in control. Ask them if they want some water. If you are going to sit near them ask them for permission first. Ask them if they want to leave, don’t tell them “hey lets go” let them decide.
- Change the subject. Talking about cooking, tell a joke, be self-deprecating. Involve a puppy if you can.
Hopefully this helps you go and be a better person.