travers09

Triggers ~ when should I mark my topics?

23 posts in this topic

Hi, I've noticed that in topics, sometimes people write triggers as a warning. I've done it to, but I don't exactly know why. I know a trigger can trigger someone, and I would hate to do that to someone. But I'm not exactly clear on what qualifies as a trigger in our posts. Is there a list of things I shouldn't talk about? I'm not saying that something in a post wouldn't trigger someone, I would just like to know so I could mark my posts appropriately. :) I'm soo confused :dohdoh: Thanks.

Edited by travers09

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That is an excellent question. I've been wondering the same thing.

Peace, Pinkshell

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i always struggle with this too, even tho i've been here for ages, lol.

if a post contains anything to do with abuse, i put a trigger warning on it just to be safe. if the post contains really descriptive abuse, then i put an extra trigger warning within the actual writing of the post as well.

hope this helps:)

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Hi Travers,

The trigger warning thing is pretty subjective, so we don't have any specific rules. We usually remind members that any post here could be potentially triggering, and advise them to take care of themselves as they read the boards. We usually suggest putting trigger warnings on posts that contain graphic details, swears or other real words and mentions of suicide, religion or self-injury.

If you think something could be triggering, it never hurts to put a note at the top, "T for ______" to let members know what they might expect!

I hope that helps!

Ash

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Oh ok, thanks! Good thing because I didn't suspect religion. :cool:

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Honestly, I find the whole issue of putting trigger warnings on posts a bit frustrating. Usually I save trigger warnings only for graphic posts or posts that deal with very touchy subject matter(religion, sexuality, etc). However, when I am reading other member's topics I often see trigger warnings where they are really not necessary at all. I downright ignore trigger warnings because a lot of the time there's nothing all that triggering in people's posts. Now, in forums like the one where you can share your story, that's different and most of those posts probably need warnings... but at the same time, if I go into that forum I assume that all posts are triggering. For that matter, I assume that any and every post on this site can be triggering just because of the nature of why this board exists.

I guess I don't understand why trigger warnings are necessary at all except for extremely graphic posts about someone's story or something else of that nature. I think it is quite a bad idea to put a trigger warning on posts that are just talking about basic stuff with no details(like I really do not think a warning is necessary just because a member may be using "real" words, for example) because then people who don't ignore trigger warnings like I do may just not read topics with trigger warnings at all... and thus may prevent a lot of members from getting responses to their topics. I'm not trying to start any problems here, but this is an issue I've noticed here for awhile but especially lately.

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Hi STS,

You've made some very valid points. I can understand how it might be frustrating for you and others to see so many trigger warnings. However, this system protects members who may not be as far along in their healing. While it's difficult to prevent someone from being triggered on a site such as this if they are feeling vulnerable, we can attempt to give warnings to soften the impact.

Take care,

Susan

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maybe Im just not grasping the concept. I have heard the word trigger over the years. I dont know a trigger for what? Maybe its because Im always in a state of panic.. just part of the PTST. Im jut not understanding it. I certainly dont want to cause anyone distress or harm, so maybe if you can explain what it means.. Im really not trying to be difficult. At one time I had this same discussion with my counsoler and she never could really explain it to me. Sorry, I really am trying to understand this.

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Hi STS,

You've made some very valid points. I can understand how it might be frustrating for you and others to see so many trigger warnings. However, this system protects members who may not be as far along in their healing. While it's difficult to prevent someone from being triggered on a site such as this if they are feeling vulnerable, we can attempt to give warnings to soften the impact.

Take care,

Susan

Hi Susan,

You've made some valid points as well. However, sometimes the moderators here seem to be contradicting themselves. On the one hand you all say that trigger warnings are for "protecting" members who may not be as far along in their healing... and then on the other end of the spectrum you ladies also *frequently* stress personal responsibility regardless of what stage of healing you are in. I guess what I'm not getting is why I'm hearing two conflicting messages here(I may be wrong, but this is how it looks to me).

While I can certainly understand putting trigger warnings on graphic posts and on posts about very sensitive subjects, I still do not understand why trigger warnings are necessary just because the word rape for example might be in someone's post? If someone is going to really get triggered just by seeing the *word* rape then they probably shouldn't be logging onto this site at all until they've gotten to a point where it doesn't trigger them so badly.

I do not want to cause any trouble, I think I'm just missing something here. If any moderator could clear this up for me I would appreciate it greatly. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my concerns.

-STS

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maybe Im just not grasping the concept. I have heard the word trigger over the years. I dont know a trigger for what? Maybe its because Im always in a state of panic.. just part of the PTST. Im jut not understanding it. I certainly dont want to cause anyone distress or harm, so maybe if you can explain what it means.. Im really not trying to be difficult. At one time I had this same discussion with my counsoler and she never could really explain it to me. Sorry, I really am trying to understand this.

Hey QMCwife,

You're not being difficult at all :)

A trigger can be different for every person, but it's usually something (a word, scent, sound, image) that triggers or brings up a difficult memory. For someone, it might be a song that was playing during an attack, or a word that an abuser used. Someone else might have a better definition! Does that help at all?

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Hi STS,

You've made some very valid points. I can understand how it might be frustrating for you and others to see so many trigger warnings. However, this system protects members who may not be as far along in their healing. While it's difficult to prevent someone from being triggered on a site such as this if they are feeling vulnerable, we can attempt to give warnings to soften the impact.

Take care,

Susan

Hi Susan,

You've made some valid points as well. However, sometimes the moderators here seem to be contradicting themselves. On the one hand you all say that trigger warnings are for "protecting" members who may not be as far along in their healing... and then on the other end of the spectrum you ladies also *frequently* stress personal responsibility regardless of what stage of healing you are in. I guess what I'm not getting is why I'm hearing two conflicting messages here(I may be wrong, but this is how it looks to me).

While I can certainly understand putting trigger warnings on graphic posts and on posts about very sensitive subjects, I still do not understand why trigger warnings are necessary just because the word rape for example might be in someone's post? If someone is going to really get triggered just by seeing the *word* rape then they probably shouldn't be logging onto this site at all until they've gotten to a point where it doesn't trigger them so badly.

I do not want to cause any trouble, I think I'm just missing something here. If any moderator could clear this up for me I would appreciate it greatly. Thank you for taking the time to listen to my concerns.

-STS

Hey STS,

I don't think there's any one answer to your question. Triggers are so subjective, and I know it's a topic that has been discussed at length since Pandy's beginnings. I may be mistaken, but I don't think there's a rule that a trigger warning is necessary if someone is using the word "rape". I think a lot of members do that if they themselves are triggered by the word, or because they're worried about unnecessarily triggering someone. But I agree that members are ultimately responsible for themselves, and have to expect that what they read here will likely be triggering.

There are far too many posts on the board for us to monitor the trigger warnings, which is probably why some unnecessary ones slip through. The mods will add trigger warnings in if something is really graphic or possibly unexpected (for example, a mention of self-injury outside of the self-injury forum). If you do happen to notice a trigger warning on a post that isn't triggering at all, and you think it's preventing the member from getting support, you can always report it to us so we can have a look!

Does that answer your questions at all?

Ash

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Yes sorry, I guess I have been putting trigger warnings on my posts when they don't necessarily need one. But just because I wasn't sure when to use them or what exactly was a trigger. So thanks again all for clearing this up.

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I think what has always frustrated me a bit about trigger warnings is that I never have any idea what to think when I see them on a post. They could mean anything from:

1. A member using words like "rape" instead of "hurt" or "r*pe" (totally valid, I have had times when certain words are too triggering for me to type).

2. A member being a bit blunt while ranting about lack of support in his/her day to day life without saying anything about rape or sexual assault directly.

3. A member mentioning something potentially controversial.

4. An extremely graphic description of trauma.

I find trigger warnings a bit unhelpful right now because I have no idea if they're warning me about the word "rape" (which, at this stage of my healing, I can handle) or if they are warning me about graphic descriptions of trauma. I know sometimes in my posts I do something like:

:trigger: (Self-injury)

or

:trigger: (Details of abuse)

or

:trigger: (heavy ranting and possible swearing)

just so that people can determine for themselves whether my post will trigger (since as you have all mentioned, triggers are so subjective). Just a thought.

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Hey astralvigilante,

That's an excellent way to warn others. I agree that simply seeing a TW can have many meanings.

You could also add it to your title, like: TW for Real Words, TW for graphic details, etc.

Take care,

Susan

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Thank you, I think I understand a bit more. I really appreciate the time you all took to answer.

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I agree astral - if I need to put a warning in something I generally try to add a description of why so other members can decide if they are up to reading it. It is all very subjective of course, what is a trigger and what is not, but it helps to give some kind of heads up if the topic is one that is more obviously likely to be triggering. // time to stop bludging in our hotel room and get back to honeymoon!! :)

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I find this a big confusing thing... If I don't put a warning, then I worry I might upset someone, but if I do put a warning then I worry it's not needed!

I like the idea of being more specific about warnings - I'll try to do that in the future!

I know it's subjective, but some general more official guidelines would probably be great. I don't know if these exist anywhere already, but maybe re-link to them if they do? Sometimes there's those links right at the top of the Forum to important news or new guidelines we should read - maybe a link to some general ideas and guidelines about trigger warnings as one of those links would be good? I'd certainly really like that.

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Hi Rosie,

The way I view it, if I am going to talk about my story in some detail, or if I were to talk about struggling with self-injury or eating disorders or even suicide, I would put in a trigger warning. If I was going to link to a news story or website that had graphic discussions on it, I would add a trigger warning. If I was talking about my personal feelings or healing journey, I wouldn't necessarily add a trigger warning unless it had some of the elements listed in my first few sentences.

Of course though, there is absolutely no way to avoid triggers on the board, and no member should be logging in thinking that is possible! If you were to happen to post something that upset another person, that is really not your fault. I'm sure I've done it too in the past. The most important thing for members here to do is to expect that triggers will arise and to work on ways to handle them when they do come up. Even posting a thread about how to deal with triggers that come up on the board can be helpful and has been done in the past!

The difficulty is that most triggers are so completely subjective - have you ever read through the "anybody else have weird triggers" thread? For example, I am triggered by kindergarten/child-care centres. I would not expect any member to add a trigger warning every time they mentioned one of those, or even to limit talking about those things on the board - that is my trigger and it's my responsibility to find a way to manage those triggers on the board. There is even a member on the board here who has a pet with the same name as one of my rapists, whom she often talks about - I would never dream of saying something to that member because again, it is something personal to me only and I can't expect her to not talk about her beloved pet just because one member finds it triggering. I think a trigger is not something that necessarily needs to be hidden from - great healing can be found in facing that trigger rather than trying to avoid it.

I can relate to feeling confused about what is and is not okay to post without a trigger, but just remember that if you don't happen to put a warning on a post that has triggering elements, it is no problem at all for us to pop one in, and we often do around the board. And there is no harm done in just saying "May be triggering for ...... (talk of rape, depression, anger, etc), I'm not sure!".

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Thank you Kate, that makes me feel a lot better!

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i may be selfish but i feel like if i put TWs i hardly get read.

i know that i would feel bad putting someone's personal safety at risk. but glad this is cleared up....at least a bit.

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Hi Rosie,

We've written up an article about what a trigger is/how to use a trigger warning and popped it into the Board Basics forum, you can find it here. Thanks for the suggestion! :)

Kate

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Great! Thanks for that :)

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