Cupcakes are Nice

It's like a lifestyle blog except my lifestyle is anxiety

Tag: bullying

Stop using “TRIGGERED” as an insult

Triggered. That’s the insult of choice on social media these days. You see triggered pop up when someone expresses their displeasure with something political. It comes around when someone points out that another person is being sexist or racist. The “triggered” fingerpointing especially tends to come out any time a woman dare shares her opinion on the internet. In fact, I am 100% positive I will be called triggered either in the comments or on social media for even writing this post.

You think that’s sexist? Oh look at you, you triggered little snowflake. You don’t like what the president had to say? Triggered. Oh, did I hurt your feelings, snowflake? Look how triggered you are, you spoiled brat. You’re just saying people are racist because you’re the racist one and you’re triggered by the truth, you bitch.

Y’all. Stop using “TRIGGERED” as an insult. You are hurting people who have mental health issues. You are making the stigma surrounding mental health issues worse.

So let’s just say someone says something that you think is ridiculous, and you call that person triggered when you know they are not actually triggered. When you do this, you have used “triggered” as a way to insult this person. In using triggered as an insult, you have twisted being triggered into a character failing. When you make being triggered a character failing, you have accused everyone with Anxiety, PTSD, Panic Disorder, and the whole lot of mental health disorders of having a character failing.

You’re really making a stretch here, Cupcakes. I’m not here to hurt people with mental health issues. In fact, one of my best friends has PTSD and he agrees with me.

Look, here’s the thing. Whether or not your statement is harmful has nothing to do with the intent of your statement. You don’t have to realize that your statement is harmful for it to be harmful. It doesn’t have to bother 100% of people affected by it to be harmful. You don’t have to believe me right now, but I hope that you will at least think about what you’re doing and consider what I’m saying.

But Cupcakes!” you say. “When I call someone being whiny ‘triggered,’ I’m actually *helping* people with mental health disorders! I’m calling them out for acting triggered when there are people out there who really have mental health issues and really do have triggers!

No you’re not. Be honest – your intent when you become a keyboard warrior isn’t to share understanding about mental health issues. You’re irritated at someone and want to call them out. You’re using triggered in a negative connotation, and the more people use triggered as a negative word, the more people will accept it as negative.

But let’s switch up the scenario I just gave you. Let’s just say that someone irritates you, you call them triggered, and you think that they might actually be triggered.

If you are calling out a person for being triggered who is actually triggered, you aren’t being clever. You are being cruel. A person who is triggered cannot help what their triggers are. A person who is triggered is already in emotional turmoil, and on top of it, they’re having to deal with you forcing your judgment upon them.

“Well people who get triggered just need to learn how to stop having hurt feelings. And how am I supposed to know what’s going to hurt someone’s feelings? I shouldn’t have to be censored just because someone is being a brat.”

First of all, that’s not how triggers work. I don’t sit around thinking of things to be offended by. There are some words, scenarios, and accusations that just cause my chemistry to go out of whack. Triggers keep me from responding like a “normal” person, and instead, my emotions skyrocket, and it takes me a long time to come down from the emotional high.

Second, it’s true that you are not always going to know what hurts someone’s feelings, but generally, being a jerk to someone isn’t helpful. Also, I can tell the difference between someone being a jerk and someone saying or doing something that is unintentionally triggering. If someone says or does something that is a trigger and I can tell they meant no harm, I’m not going to be angry at them for that. I’ll try to communicate it to them so it won’t happen again.

Third, I’m not saying that you have to censor everything that you say. All I ask is that you be more mindful of how the things you say affect other people – and keep in mind that it might affect more people than the person you’re speaking to.

 

So, y’all. Please stop using triggered as an insult. People who have triggers don’t have character flaws. Their bodies and brains just handle the world in a different way. You can slow down the stigma associated with mental health issues by choosing your words wisely.

The Aftermath

Last year, I became a part of a national story involving an ESPN reporter who had been less than polite to a few people. I won’t describe the incidents here or name the reporter, but this is a link to what happened to start the conversation about this reporter, this was what happened to me, and this was the first report written about what happened to me. My story spread pretty quickly. I was interviewed by Inside Edition. The Daily Mail wrote a story about what happened to me. The local news did a piece on what happened. CNN reached out to me for an interview, but I declined. I declined a lot of interviews.

For the first time in my life, I felt like someone who bullied me was finally being called out. A lot of people backed me up during this time, something I was never afforded during the years of bullying I was subjected to in junior high and high school.

I was overwhelmed with the kindness people showed me. I had people from all over the country sending me messages of support, and I am so grateful and touched that people reached out to me and showed me love when I needed it the most.

I needed the support because unfortunately, this wasn’t all roses for me. As part of the aftermath of my story getting out, I got to see an uglier side of the internet than I had ever experienced before.

1. I got accused of lying.  – I didn’t know how to go out there and defend my truth any more than I already had, so I just sat there and watched as the internet accused me of being a liar. Some of it was passive commenting on stories. Some people reached out to me and called me a liar.

2. I got accused of unfairly bringing this to the attention of her employer. – I never contacted ESPN, for the record. The only time ESPN was contacted about this, to my knowledge, was by the local news station who reached out to ESPN for comment (they did not respond). However, people made the assumption that I was trying to get this person fired, and I was accused of being immoral. I tried to ignore it, but people wouldn’t stop. I started defending my blog post – which really, is just a screencap account of what happened – but that just created even more attacks and took everything down a terrible rabbit hole.

3. People told me I wasn’t actually bullied and that I should calm down. –  Many people thought the awful thing that happened during this incident I got upset that she insulted me. I was told I needed to grow up. I was told I was making a big deal of something minuscule. I was told that I was the one who was in the wrong, and enough people told me that that I began to wonder if that was true (fast forward –  I don’t think that’s true).

4. I was stalked – And it was terrifying. Someone decided to follow me on all my social media accounts and tell me he was “going to make an example” of me. He wrote me very lengthy emails to me at my work email where he made threats to me because I wouldn’t respond to him, and again, he said he was going to “make an example of me.” He wrote a lengthy email to my boss to tell him that I was “immoral,” a “liar,” and “vicious,” among other things. He wrote a piece similar to the email he sent to my boss, but more lengthy, and then emailed it to ALL of my coworkers. I was afraid he was going to kill me.

I chose to write about “The Aftermath” here not because I want to drag out an old story, but because this is my anxiety blog, and this event was important to me in how I handle my anxiety.

I’m still struggling with the stalking. Enough time has passed that I’m not in fear of my safety all the time, but I’m still nervous that this person is plotting to hurt me. Part of this might have to do with the irrational fear I am faced with sometimes as a part of my anxiety. Part of this has to do with my experience of dealing with sociopaths and violent criminals and seeing what they are capable of. I’m working through this through prayer, yoga, and supportive people in my life.

I did learn something good because of The Aftermath: No one gets to tell me how I should or should not feel, and I don’t have to justify how I feel.

Justification is so draining, y’all. What’s the point in expending so much energy in something that will create no change? If someone’s mind is made up, there is no point trying to convince them I’m right. If they do change their mind, there is still no point in trying to convince them I’m right.

And should I change how I feel because someone doesn’t like the way I feel? No! If someone has a problem with the way I feel, then that is for them to deal with, not me. I am free to feel the way I feel. You are free to feel the way you feel!

I’d do this all over again if I had to…. but let’s hope I don’t.

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