Being triggered isn't political, it's generational, and I'm gonna show my age here with no shame.

I always promised myself that I would never be "that person" who says, "Back in MY day" but I'm gonna do it anyways and I don't feel bad about it.

For those of you who don't know, triggers can be anything that brings your mind back to a traumatic or upsetting event, or something that offends you. Trigger warnings have become a big deal in the last few years - basically, you're supposed to warn people when something you say in person or online could trigger somebody.

I'm in an online support group for people who pull out their hair and/or eyelashes when they're stressed. I've been doing it since I was a little kid, so this group was a breath of fresh air that made me feel "normal."

That was until the "trigger warnings" came into vogue.

I've only posted in the group twice, looking for support. And BOTH TIMES I've posted, people commented that my post should've come with a trigger warning.

A few thoughts on this:

1) You're in an online support group. Wouldn't everything on this page be considered a trigger?

2) How the HELL am I supposed to know what's going to trigger a complete stranger?

3) Why are you making everything about YOU?

Here I was, looking for some positive affirmations and general support for my disorder, and a bunch of people I've never met were making it about THEM and THEIR triggers. The irony of this particular situation was that we all had the SAME triggers in this group.

The internet and the world, in general, are going to be tough places for you if you feel the need to announce when you're triggered and then expect other people to adjust accordingly.

Here's why we sometimes NEED triggers:

1) It's fight or flight. When you're triggered, you have to make the decision to address it or run from it. And the world will NOT cater to your triggers, so you MUST learn how to confront them.

2) They can be a GOOD thing. Something's triggered you? TALK ABOUT IT. You can't walk around with a list of things that triggers you and expect others to have psychic knowledge of it.

Case in point: I made a "your mom" joke about ten years ago to a guy I worked with in Seattle. His response? "My mom's dead." And he wasn't joking. Now, that would've been considered a trigger. But instead of making it awkward he said, "It's okay, my mom made fun of dying of cancer the whole time she was sick."

It helped him to cope with her death instead of avoiding the subject all together.

3) You don't have to TALK about it, but you DO have to DEAL with it. Look, I've got a myriad of issues from an eating disorder to trichitillomania. I don't always want to TALK about those issues, but when I feel triggered, I'm forced to confront those issues head-on.

Of course, if somebody is triggering you on purpose, that's wrong. Pure and simple. I recommend treating these things like you would a shopping trip to Target: do you yell at the clothes you don't like, or do you just walk past? You walk past and look for something that appeals to YOU. Treat the world and the internet the same way.

In short, I'm old and crotchety and I have no time for your trigger warnings. Be mindful of what you say and do but NO, you shouldn't have to walk around in your daily life, wondering what might trigger a complete stranger.


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