Avoiding Triggers

I have a problem.

I let what I see on Facebook trigger me. I’ve even directly searched for stuff I know will upset me. I’m not quite sure why. A big reason is because I want to have an example ready when someone says something frustrating, like, “Oh, no one thinks that about such-and-such!” I can whip out my phone, shove it in their faces, and say, “Oh, really? Explain THIS.”

I’ve stopped seeking out stuff like that, but it still pops up automatically sometimes. I have made liberal use of the “Unfollow” button, which I believe is Facebook’s most genius feature.

Avoiding triggers on Facebook has been an important (albeit slow) step in my self-care. At first, I didn’t even realize they were actually triggers. It was just stuff that upset me, and a lot of times, I would directly engage. Many long-winded and angry Facebook “discussions” later, and I gave up. I would be left shaking with anger, sometimes weepy, and feeling sick to my stomach. Sometimes the exchanged words would stick with me for days. I would think back on all the bad experiences I had dealing with the subject matter in question, and the people.

I’m done with it. I’m done expecting people to censor themselves for my benefit. I have to take responsibility for what disrupts my life, and make it a point to avoid it. I’m extremely privileged in that I can do this, and that Facebook is essentially the only forum where I have to tip toe around. If I had to deal with triggers in a more in-person, consistent setting…yeesh. That would require more grace and strength than I have at the moment. For all of you who have to deal with triggering shit day to day, hats off. You are braver, bolder, and more worthy than I.

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3 thoughts on “Avoiding Triggers

  1. I can very much relate to this. I don’t involve myself in debates or anything like that, but I have been guilty of deliberately searching stuff that makes me upset and uncomfortable. I realize I have no one to blame but myself. The internet can be toxic, but is more likely to be when we indulge in fears and negative thoughts. I so often let myself dwell on my insecurities, and it just makes me feel worse. Sometimes I get “triggered” — if I can call it that — by stuff that happens during the day. But after some exposure I realize the pain gets numbed after a while. I feel like I just need to stop letting it bother me so much. Maybe it’s not a quick fix nor for everyone who struggles with this stuff. But I want to be strong about it.

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