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Question about triggers 
16th-Jan-2007 01:46 am
lucy misfits shirt
I'm new around here, so I might be re-hashing something that's already been discussed, but I'm a bit confused about triggers/what counts as a trigger.

I know for me, often the things that trigger bad memories and strong emotional reactions are very personal and wouldn't seem to be anything negative to anyone else, or at least anyone who didn't know me very well, like lilacs on Mother's Day, or the song My Immortal. Meanwhile, I can usually handle a factual discussion of topics related to traumatic events and stay perfectly calm.

I had no problems watching the Kill Bills, both very violent movies, except for the one scene where the woman's eyeball got popped out. I can't deal with anything like that and even typing that was difficult.

So often, the things that trigger me are an image, a scent, a song, or some other thing that is only connected with anything negative in my own memories. My mother died on Mother's Day, while lilacs were in bloom. My niece commited suicide on MLK day. So, both of their deaths have double anniversaries- the date and the holiday. I can deal with statistics about teen suicide, and discussions about complications from surgery, but I haven't eaten potato pancakes with sour cream and applesauce since the morning of the day my niece took her life.

I don't expect to go through life avoiding any mention of things that trigger painful memories, I'll just try to block it out or not let myself think about it if I'm in a situation where I need to stay in control. So, how do you figure out what counts as a trigger and what doesn't?
16th-Jan-2007 08:23 am (UTC)
I think a pretty safe definition of a trigger, in the context of posting on LJ anyway, is a description of an abusive situation, especially if it's described in detail. I have certain things that trigger me that aren't necessarily descriptions of abuse, but I don't expect everyone else in the world to not talk about those things because of something inside my head. I think on here people warn others if they are about to describe abuse, so they don't have to see it if they're feeling particularly vulnerable right then.
16th-Jan-2007 03:36 pm (UTC)
Seconded. Those are my definitions, too - things that will, in general, be triggering to read or hear. So descriptions of abuse, death, self harm, etc.

When in doubt, use an LJ cut. But another great thing is that if there is a trigger that I pass over when I read the posts (I am sometimes oblivious), someone will let me or you know if there's a trigger that's been missed.
16th-Jan-2007 08:29 am (UTC)
For me a lot of the triggers are to do with rape and discussions of rape. I will sometimes find myself triggered by rape 'jokes' or casual mentions of it. Particularly in the context of date rape. Sometimes I won't be. Depends on how it's presented and how prepared I am.

There are other things though. Most of them are causal (i.e. hating songs by Creed, not liking being smothered, hating being unable to move) but some aren't. I was once badly triggered by the lyric "wash the streets from your skin when you come home" because I couldn't remember what I did after he went and washed the blood off and drove home. I can see the memory links there, but not why that lyric at that point had such an affect.
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