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.