Anybody else have weird triggers?

917 posts in this topic

Anyone coughing or sneezing (I don't know why...)

ALL men

little kids

people talking/joking about sex or r

anyone touching my leg(s)

when anyone does that tickle thing on your back behind you or touches my back behind me and i don't know their there

there are some others, but i don't know what all of them are

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Sitting on the toilet. I'm struggling a lot with this lately.

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Wow. . . so I found this site by looking up sexual assault stuff for my cousin this afternoon who was indeed assaulted and is struggling with shame, self-blame, etc. Then I joined the community because I have my own life-long issues and it seemed like a very good place.

I really like this thread and am amazed by how many triggers are common to so many people. My jaw literally dropped when I read "F-150s" and I wondered, "Did I write this and don't remember?????"

Anyway, here is my very long list -- what I can remember right now.

• Ford F-150s – any year, but especially from the mid 70s

• Split-level houses

• Anybody who looks like him in person or on TV – automatic reaction is immediate avoidance

• A lit cigarette in a dark room

• Smell of coffee breath

• Cigarette breath on men (even though I smoke)

• Tickling me or seeing somebody tickle a child – that always gets my heart racing and I watch carefully for when the child is no longer thoroughly enjoying it. I also watch to make sure the tickler has no visible ill intentions.

• Hunting, talk of hunting, hound dogs, wildlife on walls, rifles, shotgun shells, game meat (which I will NOT eat), etc.

• Lawnmower repair shops

• Being lusted after too much or too often – even by or especially by my partner

• Very skinny dogs – especially Doberman pincers

• When people refer to males as “boy.” As in “Get over here boyah!”

• Men who rest their hands just inside their waistband

• People squeezing the pimples on other people’s bodies

• People who walk with their feet turned out

• Somebody quickly yanking their belt from loops on pants

• Giving oral sex to boyfriend – and don’t EVER push my head, no matter how gently!!!!

• Sometimes oral sex on me

• Young boys dressed as girls for costume

• Bobbing for apples

• Ten-speed bicycles circa 1978ish

• His name – first or last

• The Bee Gees – especially "Too Much Heaven"

• Creaky wood floors

• Children giving adults “kiss goodnight” -- and anybody who insists a child hug or kiss them as a way to show affection, hello or good-bye, etc. ALL children should have the freedom to choose.

• Full sized Chevy vans – especially with those smoky windows in back in shapes (think teardrop)

• Unshaven pubic area – men

• All photographs of me until age 14. I never just see a little girl. Before age 6 I always see the baby, toddler and girl who had innocence and didn’t yet know what would become of her childhood, and any photo after 6, I see the girl who was being sexually abused all the time and I try to see if I can see it in her eyes.

• The phrase “make love” or “making love.” The best I can do is say “have sex”, “had sex”, etc.

• Snowmobiles and heavy snowmobile boots

• Gagging (think brushing teeth)

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God yes, and its so awful sometimes because I'll be around people who don't know me as well (like co-workers) an they just think I'm being picky or nutty...

-Raw onions

-Any music by Metallica

-Baseball games on TV

-Cigarette smoke

-Tom Cruise movies made before 2003

-The smell/sight of vomit

-Pagers beeping

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Certain men make me un easy strangers or not strangers

Anyone touching my head especially in the swimming pool

Thanksgiving holiday (can't figure this one out)

Anyone who I don't know intimately touching our hugging me or even getting in my personal space.

The smell of sweat

The smell of pot (I don't smell it often, but if I'm at a concert where people are smoking it)

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Any time a man whispers to me, any time a man calls me "Good girl", or pets my hair.

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*Bedroom doors opening and closing - I can tell the sound of a bedroom door from any other door, it freaks me out

*Children being physically disciplined - even grabbing an arm makes me freeze


*People flirting with me or hitting on me - I hate this one, I feel like such a freak because I want the attention, but I feel like an ugly little monster when I get it

*Women I perceive as more beautiful than me - I imagine them being mean and derisive to me, telling me I'm ugly and that my boyfriend wants them more than me

*Being referred to as a maternal figure



*The way most heterosexual men talk about women

*Lesbians - there's a lot of bi hate out there, and I have this negative fantasy of being beaten up for having sex with men because I didn't "choose right"

*Going around corners, mostly inside

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Posted (edited)

*small red cars with same make and model as r*psit's car

*certain restaurants

*goldfish crackers- MAJOR trigger

*certain clothing brands- I know it sounds weird, but my r*pist would buy me clothes (and I didn't want them)

*certain TV shows

*people yelling- it doesn't matter who it is or if I know them- it is really triggering

*kids being yelled at or spanked

*my r*pists name- I had a nurse at my doctors office with his name and the nurse was helping me and I was on the verge of tears the whole time

*a lot of trash laying around- I know this probably sounds weird but it really sends me over the edge for different reasons

*chinese food- low mein

*certain professions- not the people- just the profession (I am not sure that makes sense to anyone. There is a strong link to certain things that would happen and my r*pists professions

*people holding or grabbing my hand- I become unglued

*movie theatres

*men with really big hands

*people hugging me without my permission- I hate feeling confined and overwhelmed by someone

*boat neck shirts- you know what I am talking about? Sounds weird but they are a huge trigger

*people touching me period- but you touch my back without me knowing it and I freak

*some bands and two songs that I can't stand to hear

*certain furniture- not that i won't sit on it in other peoples houses or in public, but at my house I have a really hard time.

*some funrniture with certain patterns or colors

*people getting to close to my face- it really freaks me out- I can't stand it.

*a lot of hair on the back of a man's hand. I hope that doesn't sound crazy-

Edited by survivingwithhope

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-Jump ropes...

-Being licked, ever, at all, by any creature...

-The... name of a certain kind of undead that starts with a Z.

-... Sometimes, being touched even in a platonic way by boys. But not always. And I always feel so guilty about having to explain it to them.


-Authority figures who tell me "You're enjoying yourself," even if I AM and it's in a completely nonsexual context.

-People telling me I'm stronger than what was done to me.

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My triggers all happen with whatever man I’m in a relationship with (and so I RAN AWAY from the man I truly loved, the biggest heartbreak of my life, before I understood triggers! I so want survivors to understand triggers and develop a language for talking about it with their partners! So that no one else has to lose the person they love, or suffer alone in silence and confusion.)

If he doesn’t make eye contact when I look at him during sex (if he seems like he had checked out even for a second, then there is a trigger that I don’t exist, like I was that night to the guy who raped me. .. I didn’t exist. It was almost “dead” when the guy raped me, I so didn’t exist. I figured out this trigger, because I would be having sex with the man I loved, and be liking it, and then suddenly have this surge of anger when he had his eyes closed. I would get rough, and my partner thought I was was being aggressive because I was really into it, but I myseslf knew something was wrong, I suddenly hated him though it wasn’t his fault at all - The night I was raped, I wanted to slap/punch the guy who was raping me as he was raping me, and I didn’t… that repressed desire still surges up when I am triggered in that particular way… apparently some trauma specialists say that whatever a person wanted to do, but did not do at the time of the traumatic event, keeps trying to express itself in little (and often unhealthy or seemingly disconnected ways) -- like one woman who wanted to run when a stranger broke into her house and tried to rape her – he ran away instead of her but she had really been compelled in her intense fear, to RUN!- -part of her therapy eventually involved running marathons.) Now, I explain my triggers to boyfriends, who know now that the most helpful thing is to stop for a minute and hold me, and look in my eyes, and tell me that they love me, and that I am HERE, and that he is HERE, and that we are here together, whatever happens, and it’s OK…

If he suggests to me he can’t wait to get home and have sex (the anticipation I what I will “have to” do – fear that I won’t want to, fear he’ll be upset – classic avoidance of triggers!)

If he acts even the slightest bit hurt that I am not interested in sex.

If tries to make me feel guilty or unintentionally makes me feel guilty about sex. (My rapist ‘guilted’ me, criticized me, for not trusting him. So, I felt guilty for thinking I shouldn’t trust him (nice Southern girl that I was) and I let my guard down. Then he raped me.) Sex completely shuts down then. Guilt makes me feel like I can’t say “no”.

Fear that I can’t say no, makes me shut down. Because if I can’t say no for fear of being hurt or fear of hurting the man I love), then on some deep level, it means rape is possible again.

If I get triggered, I have to stop sometimes for days.

If he then seems angry at me for not having sex instead of loving and understanding, it gets worse. If it lasts a long time, PTSD comes back. And it is very dark. I suddenly feel like a different person, and even though I am very even-keeled naturally, during those times, I feel compelled impulsively, to hurt myself. Thankfully I haven’t! It would not be like me at all! Thankfully, it only happened once every 5-6 years. And most of the time, if I can take myself out of the situation I will totally recover. (One reason why I am scared to ever marry!) Once, when I lived in another country with my ex, and I was being triggered regularly, and had no other palce to go, there was no break, and I had PTSD again, for the first time since the rape some 15 yeasr before… I had to get some major help! I got better!!! I’m very careful now about triggers. I take much better care to recognize them early and to talk with partners, and I am prepared to leave any man who doesn’t get it, even if I love him. I left the man I was going to marry, I had to. Very sad. I have recovered from PTSD though!

Sometimes naughty, assertive sexual overtures by my partner triggers me if a different way, I take on a character (even wearing wigs – I’m also an actress, so not completely out of character for me to be dramatic), and I disassociate and become someone else (not like in a disassociative disorder, but temporarily with full awareness that I am “leaving”) I then will have wild sex with him. He thinks I’m way into it, and in a way, I’m relieved, because I was able to make him happy and it helps appease him during the times I am triggered in the ways that shut me down sexually, but I know I’m not that into it. I still feel sick inside. I just someone manage to do it. But I have to be in control. When I’m a character, I feel in control. I don’t feel afraid, and I like the sexual power, but I still don’t like the actual sex.

Before I get start getting triggered by someone, I love sex with my partner. I’m happy, lusty, and in -love But once the triggers start (sometime 2-3 years into a relationship, sometimes 6 months in), I enter into a different and fearful place, and I almost never enjoy it again. I just want to run.

I think these triggers happen because after I was raped at age 18 by a student from a neighboring university,

The Duke Rape trials really triggered me, because many years ago (so cannot be identified) the man who raped me played intramural lacrosse, and had a lacrosse stick with him and also attended Duke. Macho, competitive (in attitude) athletic types trigger me if I am around them. Sometimes people who act privileged trigger me because they guy acted like he was “entitled” to me. He was more wealthy than I was, and had a disregard for the school I attended, and was angry at me for saying no.

When guys make statements disregarding women, and I have recently been triggered, it escalates, because I told the guy who raped me “no”, and even explained why I said “no” at length, and he still raped me. He totally disregarded me. It made me sensitive to any man I sensed disregarded something I said because I’m female (and there ARE those types!) I can’t be around them. I get a sick feeling, and I want to rake them through the coals.

So I choose to be around male friends (and choose partners) who are loving and who wouldn’t say anything bad about women as a group and hold them in equal regard. I had to screen out some people I cared about for other reasons. In the end it was healthier for me.

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I have to sleep with my bedroom doors closed. sometimes locked. sometimes booby-trapped. I have no idea why that is. An open door will wake me up all night, being vigilant. I have to have my phone next my bed. Imeant to add that. I have no idea why it triggers me. it doesn't seem to be connected to the rape. Isn't that the way it is? it makes me wonder and feel sometimes that there's a childhood trauma lurking around, too.

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Here are mine:

-Looking out a window and seeing snow falling (especially at night)

-Being touched while sleeping

-Loud noises (I'm very jumpy and jump and scream at every little thing. It's not so much a trigger as it causes me to shutdown completely. Haven't figured this one out)

-Men who look similar to him

-My period

-Being around people who are drunk

Those are what I can think of right now.

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-white trucks of any make

-serious, angry men

-trance music

-trailer homes

-any mention of Washington state

-integrated pest management

-lunatique beer

-nice grocery stores

-organic cat food

-any mention of abortion, ever

-his name

-that one shirt that used to be my favorite, the one I was attacked in

There are a few more things as well, I suppose. Like today, during English class, my teacher touched me three separate times over the course of the two hour class. I really like and respect her, but for some reason each time she did it I wanted to cry and I had weird flashbacks.

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My wierdest and most inconvient one is

humid rooms

Cant be in them at all without freaking out I actually almost had to change a class once because of it

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news articles,smell of hay,sometimes nothing

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Downy fabric softner

Hot showers

Swing sets and play grounds

Door bells



Slamming doors

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My triggers are:

Men who sickly undress me with their eyes or look over me with a slimmy lust.

Men who stare at me.

The smell of nicotine on hands.

Older guys that just look like pedofiles or I get a gut instinct they are pedofiles, (and I am sorry - but I can just tell, I feel it in my stomach!)

Unwanted advances from my partner when I am not in the mood.

My mother is my worst trigger!

I am modest to a fault.


Males in my personal space.

Walking to my truck at night.

Thanks for letting me share.

1stormygirl aka: Cindy

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Posted (edited)

things that are supposed to make me relaxed, or help



not watching tv before bed

give me the worst flashbacks. I hate when people aggressively advise these things, or blame me because I don't use them.

Edited by loveinflames

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-The smell of axe. If I am around it for too long, I throw up.

-Most colognes.

-Discussions/images of s*x

-sneak hugs from behind (I HATE THESE)

-whip cream

-that game "Never Have I Ever"

-males with blonde hair

-anyone trying to spank me (I freak out, and this has gotten negative reactions quite a few times)

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I cant hold a bottle water or drink from it sometimes. I cant watch any movies with SA, I cant let anyone touch me at all, I cant sit in the middle of a car. I cant cover my entire body with a blanket, I cant hear the word stop and no often, I cant hear someone say the love me. I think that one is the hardest.

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the colour orange

headlights at night

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hilary, I came by and glanced at this thread and read your comments. I literally gasped and got chills, because I too have an extremely hard time with the regular carmex smell!

I have a hard time with bright lights (live in a low-light cave feeling in my apt.)

Horns honked at me

Any sort of meat smell (I'm vegetarian although I don't think that's completely why)

Hearing people fight (in real life)

ANY candy or "fun" things that are out for this season, as well as the name of the holiday (highly triggering)

Little kids wrapping their arms around my leg (as in them giving a hug)

That's all I can think of at the moment.


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Men with long hair....he had long hair. And I remember feeling it all over my face while he was getting what he wanted. It smelled bad, I don't think he washed it as much as he should've, and it was greasy. I hate long hair, especially men of ethnicity (hispanic, american indian, etc) Dark complected men with long hair is a huge trigger.

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Men wearing glasses

Men with dark short hair and glasses

Sometimes the smell of condoms

Awful techno music

Ottawa (where he moved to after he left college)

Touching my neck

Camera flashes

Fairly normal stuff I guess.

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Posted (edited)

Scope mouthwash and vasoline. Oh and being held down or restrained. I cannot take it, even if it is in a playful manor I just cannot deal with it.

Edited by HappinessOnTheInside

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