Posted by: Judy | April 28, 2016

Banning Triggers

This post “triggered” more anger than I anticipated. I don’t want to tone it down and lose the passion I feel for the subject. The anger isn’t directed at my readers, as I’m sure those who know me already know. This is so anyone who’s reading my blog for the first time also knows it isn’t directed at them.

Ready? Let’s go.

I recently read a post about how banning triggers is counterproductive. I agree. However, by the time I finished reading, I was annoyed and growing angrier by the minute. I agreed with much of the post, so why was I ready to spit nails? I’m still annoyed, days later.

Unfortunately, it focused on the PTSD victims, citing numbers and what the professionals believe should be done to help them. They’d proven, by statistics, that only a small portion of the population suffers from PTSD and that for most of them it doesn’t have to be an ongoing condition. They showed that those who don’t identify themselves with what happened to them are less likely to suffer PSTD. Those that have PTSD need to face their triggers and fears to overcome them.

In their effort to prove that banning triggers is counterproductive they ended up making it about PTSD survivors not about banning triggers. All the statistics gathered as evidence marginalized PTSD survivors.

The supposed “main point” of the article was completely lost in the statistics.

Why didn’t they point out the stupidity required to believe triggers can be banned?

Yes, I called it stupid: Lacking intelligence or common sense; lacking in power to absorb ideas or impressions; lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind.

Speaking as a PTSD survivor, what I see: On one side, the ban triggers crowd clamors for attention on how awful life is with all these “triggers,” and, on the other side, the crowd of experts say it isn’t that bad. The PTSD survivor is stuck in the middle of these two self-important groups who are ignoring the group they are supposedly advocating for. The PTSD survivors are used in a tug-o-war between both sides without any regard to the damage inflicted on the “charity cases” (PTSD survivors) these groups are supposedly intending to help. Have I made it clear there are three groups? Trigger Banners, Experts, PTSD Survivors. There may be some overlapping between the groups, but I don’t believe as much as some think.

The PTSD survivors I know prefer to not have attention drawn to them. They prefer to muddle through without the eyes of the world on them.

Regarding statistics: I’m taking the statistics of who has PTSD and who doesn’t and how severe completely off the table. The numbers are not up for discussion. I don’t care what they are. I don’t care if 100% of the population suffers from PTSD.

PTSD is not the problem with the “Ban Triggers” movement. It isn’t about PTSD; PTSD is the scapegoat. I’m sick of being the scapegoat, for good or ill.

Breathe. Reminder to self: My readers are not the ones with whom I’m angry.

Let’s start with “safe place.” There is no such place. Any PTSD survivor will tell you this. When your own mind betrays you nowhere is safe. Please stop pretending there’s a safe place. There is only the illusion of safety in physical locations. We take “safe” for granted. An abuse survivor knows a safe place is relative, some places are safer than others, but no place is absolutely safe. PTSD survivors work to create safety within their own minds.

Triggers aren’t limited to words. Triggers include sounds, pictures, smells, a certain look, a hand movement, a certain feel, a touch, a memory, a warm breeze, or a cool breeze. Yes, I’ve had a breeze throw me into a flashback. Fortunately, it wasn’t severe. The possibilities are limitless.

The smell of hot oatmeal still makes me violently ill and triggers bad memories, over 45 years later. Does this mean hot oatmeal should be banned? Of course not. Anyone with a brain would say that’s insane.

Why does the ban triggers crowd not demand banning Mother’s Day and Father’s Day for all the survivors who have triggering memories? After all, they’re artificial holidays, created by card companies to sell greeting cards. Nor is anyone calling for the banning of Sister’s Day, Brother’s Day, or Grandparents’ Day. Sibling Day was only a few weeks ago. I didn’t hear a single outcry to ban it, though many sexual abuse survivors were abused by siblings.

“Banning triggers” is absolute, total, and complete nonsense.

Each PTSD survivor is unique. What bothers one doesn’t bother another.

The Ban Trigger zealots aren’t about helping anyone. It’s about control. Predators need to control everything, including what anyone says.

Breathe. I thought a little longer, dug a little deeper.

Ban Trigger zealots remind me of NM. I remember dreading making a mistake. I knew she would ask, “What can we do to make sure you never make that mistake again?” A mistake in her eyes, not in reality. People forget. People make mistakes. I am a person. I forget. I make mistakes.

Trigger Banners are doing the same thing: “What can we ban so that no one is ever triggered again?” The whole premise has absolutely nothing to do with reality. You can’t ban everything that triggers someone. Triggers are as vast and varied as PTSD survivors.

I don’t dive for cover if I hear fireworks, but plenty of PTSD survivors do. I’ve yet to hear of a Trigger Banner demanding the ban of fireworks.

I break out into a cold sweat when I smell certain perfumes. I’m not the only one. Why aren’t the Trigger Banners howling for the banning of perfumes?

Even the thought of “Game of Thrones,” a television show that has simulated several rapes, makes my stomach roll. Are the Trigger Banners going to scream for it to be banned? I won’t hold my breath.

Trigger banners may be victims themselves, but the path they’ve chosen for helping themselves isn’t healthy. Stop it. The insanity is doing more harm than good.

Last time: Banning all triggers is impossible unless the plan is to ban living.

Choose something productive to champion. I recently made my first donation to O.U.R. Operation Underground Railroad. All my royalties (not much so far but I was thrilled it was enough to make it worthwhile) for Saving Lisa go to this organization that rescues sex trafficking victims. They also prosecute predators. Victims aren’t simply rescued; they are helped long term. Sometimes the operations only net a few. I saw one recently that rescued two children and captured one perpetrator. I cheered. I’m so grateful they rescued those two and that one is being prosecuted. If you want to make a difference, make a real difference.




  1. Amen, sister.

    I spent my whole life on high alert, so my fight, flight, freeze instincts are all screwed up. To ban triggers would require me to stay in my house without interactive with another person ever. Healthy! (sarcasm)

    • Exactly, which is why I’m baffled by this insane “movement” to ban “trigger words.” Words are the least of my problems. 🙄

      • Yeah, there are people out there who seem to think the world should exist without anyone ever getting offended or uncomfortable again. We would all have to agree on everything or just never interact for that to work. Which is not to say there aren’t words and actions that people should not do, but these movements are so unrealistic to the point of being debilitating.

        • Without triggers, where would I learn about amazing things like “Hide” on FB? 😀

  2. PS, I’m so glad you donated to such a great cause!

    • It really is an amazing organization.

  3. I appreciate hearing the voice of reason here. I don’t mind you voicing your anger and using strong words when it needs said. Cheering for your success with helping others

    • Thanks. 🙂 So good to see you back online. ❤

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