The Reality Behind Triggers

Feeling triggered has become more or less a joke in society today.  If someone is at all offended, they are often accused of being triggered & mocked for it.  This has diluted the serious nature of valid triggers.

Triggers are common after trauma.  Something happens that reminds a person of past trauma which triggers their anxiety, anger, hurt or whatever emotions they felt during the traumatic event.  These triggers also can prompt flashbacks, emotional flashbacks, intrusive memories or at the very least extreme duress. 

To help prevent being triggered by this event or a similar one again in the future, it is best to recognize what caused the trigger in the first place.  Once you do that, you can heal, which means that trigger either won’t happen again or if it does, it won’t be nearly as debilitating.

While it can be easy to say something like you were triggered because someone said or did something distressing, the fact is there is more to it.  Triggers have their root in how a person’s actions made you feel, & that feeling was put there by the original trauma.

Some common feelings behind triggers are feeling…

  • Judged
  • Unworthy, not good enough or somehow “less than.”
  • Blamed
  • Disrespected
  • Unloved
  • Unimportant
  • Unheard
  • Invisible
  • Not valuable
  • Controlled or manipulated
  • Betrayed

All of these feelings are important & very painful.  It is vital not to trivialize them or brush them off!  They are serious, & should be treated accordingly.  You need to recognize that they are abusive & you feeling these things isn’t fair!  Get angry about what was done to you that made you feel this way.  In fact, hate what was done to you!  I know for many who have been abused, thinking this way seems wrong.  Abusers do their level best to make sure victims tolerate their abuse in silence, & part of their efforts involve making victims feel unreasonable & shamed for being upset in any way about what the abuser does to them, but you know something?  That is wrong!  You have every right to hate their behavior & be angry for what they have done to you!  And, when something they did still causes you pain well after the event happened, it seems to me being angry & hating that is only normal.  So get angry because when you do, it will help you!  Being angry helps it “click” in your mind that you didn’t deserve the abuse & that whatever the abuser told you, you were not to blame for their treatment.  They clearly were the one with the problem because they think it’s ok to treat someone with such malice & cruelty.

If you were told it’s not Christian to behave this way, I want to offer you one thing to consider.  There are several Scriptures in the Bible that say we are to hate evil.  Amos 5:15 starts out by saying “hate evil & love good.”  Romans 12:9 says we are to hate evil & cling to what is good.   These are only 2 examples, but there are many more.  Clearly, this proves that hating such cruel, evil behavior & being angry about it is NOT ungodly behavior! 

5 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

5 responses to “The Reality Behind Triggers

  1. I was triggered in church yesterday, while I was praying with my head bowed and my eyes closed, and someone came up behind me and put their arms around me. I was startled and I jumped. Then I realized that the person who hugged me was a woman and she was praying for me. Which was a nice, caring thing to do — but still — an unexpected hug coming out of nowhere like that, especially when I had my eyes closed, was very triggering for my PTSD.

    Being triggered and jumping like I did, made me feel stupid for a few minutes — until I reminded myself that being triggered, after years of abusive, is normal!

    Liked by 1 person

    • In my last sentence, I meant to say that being triggered, after years of abusive trauma, is normal.

      Liked by 1 person

    • (((hugs))) It’s very normal! Upsetting in the moment but normal. That jumping when someone touches you when you don’t expect it thing.. I wonder if that ever goes away. I about jump through my skin when it happens even now. Frustrating!!

      Years back I was watching a show on TBN. Josh McDowell was being interviewed. Apparently when he was a kid, he grew up on a farm. One of the farm hands sexually abused him. Even as a grown man in his 60s at the time of the interview, he said he still couldn’t handle people touching him a certain way, even when praying for him. That was so helpful for me.. if this very good man of God felt that way, it must be normal under abnormal circumstances, I think.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you for sharing that. It helps to know I am not alone. ((HUGS)) back. I like these non-physical hugs. 🙂

        Now I need to go get ready to have physical therapy on my right shoulder. It involves some touching… I do a lot of silent praying to get through it. After that, I am going to see a new local dentist for the first time. More touching, eek! I will be doing a lot of silent praying today.

        I hope your day is a good one. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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