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The use/over use of trigger warnings? - November 25th 2017, 02:34 AM

I think, that this might be a highly contentious issue so I ask that anyone who responds tries to be respectful to others.

There has been a lot of talk about the use of trigger warnings and how, essentially, they aren't be used correctly and are, essentially being overused.

There are professionals who agree with that and who actually believe that by overusing them the people they are meant to help are being harmed.

Examples of overuse that I can think of (off-site)

-Someone online mentions that they experienced a death. They don't go into detail about it or anything. They just say they experienced a death and are struggling.

They were asked to label it.

-Someone mentioned that they were struggling with being sexually assaulted and they were struggling. No expansion, no graphic details.

I have always been under the impression that things should be labeled triggering if they are not something someone can expect to hear in everyday life. Details about a sickness, details about an assault, details about self harm etc.

Now, it seems like people are labeling things as triggering even if it's something they can encounter in every day life. People might say something about struggling with the death of someone, in passing etc.

So, I guess my question is, do you think trigger warnings are being over used or do you think the way they are being used is better for everyone?

I do have opinions but I wanted to hear others. I might, later on, come and share some of my thoughts.


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Re: The use/over use of trigger warnings? - November 25th 2017, 01:59 PM

I don't like when people make jokes about being triggered. There have been some people who have taken it too far with picking on the people who find something triggering. It isn't even those people who are the ones who make the rules. It is usually the admin or the facilitator.

I find that, I prefer "content warning" to fit better. I started using that phrase. Because I want to give people a chance to decide for themselves whether they proceed based on the contents, not so much about whether I personally find it triggering.
In some support circles, the admins want you to label everything. So i started getting into that habit.
When I think of kids playing, I have read so many articles, how kids who are sheltered grow up with difficulty adjusting and underdeveloped in skills for their age. I read articles about not telling kids a person who had died "went to heaven" or "is with jesus"
Because those things confuse the child and don't say anything directly. Or even if a parents are expecting a child, not explaining to the kids what's going on in order to 'protect' them. Sometimes kids need to hear the direct, sometimes painful truth but with a sensitivity to their age and the way it is said. And kids need to go out and play in the park, and experience falling down, having a scrape and getting back up. It is almost essential for kids to experience that. It builds them up, of course depending on the other factors. It is important and health for kids to play in the dirt and run around. And I learned that girls usually are dressed up in pretty clothes even to the park and their mother usually would make sure they're not getting it dirty meanwhile boys would be dressed in sneakers and have more ability to move around and jump, skip, etc

With all that in mind, and extrapolating, I would say safe spaces are important but we should define what we mean by safety and comfort and balancing that with experiencing the pain that is necessary, acknowledging it and growing from it. Learning skills to cope with triggers. It is important to not be overprotective for adolescent and adults in support circles where trigger warnings are on everything. It makes it like the warning is "in vain" so to speak. Because if everything is potentially triggering, how do we know what is actually triggering...
At the same time, odd or unusual things can be triggering and that's unexpected. Maybe the way death was mentioned might be triggering. Even so, let's say it was the opposite, instead of too many trigger warnings, people were feeling triggered. Perhaps instead of avoiding triggering at all costs, a blending solution would be label unavoidable triggers like the graphic details, that are bound to get people triggered and then have a support system in place for say if people bring it up that they are feeling triggered, to unpack those feelings? We are so concerned about avoiding, labeling, warning that we dont know what to do when it actually happens and what if it does? It is natural to be triggered I believe and having a good support in place when it does happen is essential. So support circles can have like a moderator or someone who can be available if someone is feeling triggered and want to talk one to one.

My thoughts are not super developed on this so I may change my mind at some point or another.
A few days ago, there was no trigger warning, I was just talking with someone, and I felt really triggered. It was like a flashback. It freaked me out because it wasnt the first, nor second, probably not even third time, I was hearing that story from him but it triggered me rather suddenly and unexpectedly. And it was a few words he said that made me think of when I used those words in a situation in my life. I might've already been vulnerable. That's the thing, I haven't been eating much these days. It was also at 3am and I was anxious already. I dont think a trigger warning would've helped so much though. Maybe it would maybe it wouldn't. Not sure.

I guess I'm kind of torn. Because I see the use and it is better to be sensitive to people's needs but we also have to make sure we are not doing a disservice. That talking about things are ok and healthy. It is probably harder to do all this online, you know? Like if we are in a support group and someone is mentioning something and another person starts crying, there's the facilitator who knows that someone might be triggered and can maybe talk to them after or do something directly as it comes up. It is hard online. And I guess trigger warnings work till we find something better.
   
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Re: The use/over use of trigger warnings? - November 25th 2017, 03:56 PM

The problem is that there is no way to protect everyone. We're either being too sensitive and freaking out about every little thing, or we aren't doing enough. The concept of being triggered has been turned into a joke, adding to stigma and ignorance. I think overly graphic content should have a trigger warning and anything on the edge should have the normal content warning.


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Re: The use/over use of trigger warnings? - November 26th 2017, 12:20 AM

I think there are a couple of instances where trigger warnings make sense- for topics like rape and war, for example, there are so many people with PTSD that it's just a common courtesy to do a trigger warning so they don't have a panic attack. However, there are so many other unnecessary instances where trigger warnings are used that I can't help but roll my eyes when it happens.


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Re: The use/over use of trigger warnings? - November 26th 2017, 01:19 PM

I'd say that moderation is a must everywhere, but here it's not as much moderation as it is more about just common sense.

Then again, so many people are so bloody oversensitive nowadays that you can't even make fun of yourself without gravely offending somebody.

I sometimes put TW's here even on posts that don't really have anything more than a few swear words here and there, purely cause I can't be assed having people complain about them.

And as mentioned, if you're describing graphic and potentially disturbing, it's nice to put a TW either for people who might suffer from PTSD or to warn younger users against something potentially unpleasant.

Just be reasonable about it.


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Re: The use/over use of trigger warnings? - November 26th 2017, 06:06 PM

My thoughts are as follows:

Trigger warnings and content warnings are important for things that aren't expected to come up in every day life.

However, when they are used to the extent that they are being used now ... labeling EVERYTHING that has the potential to trigger someone even if that trigger is something they can expect to come across at work, hanging out with friends, at the store or on facebook...then it can be more harmful than good.

Maybe the reason I feel this way is due to my own personal struggles. I am not someone that gets triggered by graphic depictions of things or anything like that. I get triggered by really common things that come up at least once a week, likely more since I am on social media.

So, for me, avoiding those things (which I did try to do at one point) ended up causing more harm than good and I had to talk to my counselors and psychiatrist about it. And, they essentially explained to me that more often than not, completely avoiding the triggers that come up in every day life, isn't going to help because I am not learning how to cope with those things and then I ended up spiraling out of control when they would come up (Getting angry, getting sad and turning to self harm).

They went on to explain that the less common triggers (not often to come up in every day life) are okay to avoid...at least for a while until the person feels like they can try and work on learning to cope with them which doesn't always happen and is understandable.

So, I think they are necessary but only if used properly and aren't being used in a way that is actually harming the people they are meant to help.


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Re: The use/over use of trigger warnings? - November 27th 2017, 01:20 AM

Now that I think about it, I only ever see trigger warnings used on websites, specifically this one. In my experience, almost every trigger warning I've encountered in my entire life was on this site. I probably wouldn't even know the term if I stayed away from the internet. I go to one of the most liberal colleges in America, where trigger warnings are supposed to be extremely popular, and I can only recall 3 times in 3 years where they were actually used. Two of them were for rape and one of them was used in the wake of a mass shooting. The mass shooting one was unnecessary (we were just talking about gun crime statistics), but the other two fit the definition of common courtesy.
I've been criticized for not prioritizing political correctness as an issue that I care about, especially with regards to politics, but in my life experience, it's largely been a phantom problem. I literally have discussed the usefulness of trigger warnings far more than I've ever actually seen a trigger warning. I was told trigger warnings and safe spaces would be everywhere, and that I would somehow be oppressed (?) or coddled as a result of their use. But I'm on my fourth year as a double social science major and I hardly ever encounter a trigger warning and I've never encountered a safe space, not even once. I feel like the fact that we do discuss these things so much should be discussed.


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Re: The use/over use of trigger warnings? - November 27th 2017, 09:27 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MWF View Post
Now that I think about it, I only ever see trigger warnings used on websites, specifically this one. In my experience, almost every trigger warning I've encountered in my entire life was on this site. I probably wouldn't even know the term if I stayed away from the internet. I go to one of the most liberal colleges in America, where trigger warnings are supposed to be extremely popular, and I can only recall 3 times in 3 years where they were actually used. Two of them were for rape and one of them was used in the wake of a mass shooting. The mass shooting one was unnecessary (we were just talking about gun crime statistics), but the other two fit the definition of common courtesy.
I've been criticized for not prioritizing political correctness as an issue that I care about, especially with regards to politics, but in my life experience, it's largely been a phantom problem. I literally have discussed the usefulness of trigger warnings far more than I've ever actually seen a trigger warning. I was told trigger warnings and safe spaces would be everywhere, and that I would somehow be oppressed (?) or coddled as a result of their use. But I'm on my fourth year as a double social science major and I hardly ever encounter a trigger warning and I've never encountered a safe space, not even once. I feel like the fact that we do discuss these things so much should be discussed.

Trigger warnings are really popular online. However, I can say that within the 'reading community' there is a huge debate about trigger warnings and content warnings. There are even authors who are/have included them. This is actually what sparked this post. Since I got involved in a discussion about it and the things said...showed that some people didn't understand that overusing trigger warnings/content warnings is harmful etc.

Then I got to thinking about if I was over thinking it all.


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Re: The use/over use of trigger warnings? - November 27th 2017, 01:22 PM

I think they’re okay if used when needed but figuring out when they are needed is subjective.

I personally want to learn how to deal with my triggers in everyday life and so I think other people could learn how to cope with their triggers as well because they can’t always be avoided. I have CPTSD and have really weird triggers so they can’t always be avoided anyway. But, the overuse of trigger warnings could prevent people from utilizing coping skills that they will no doubt need at other points in their lives.

Most things do not easily upset me and I mainly label my stuff for other people especially when it comes to abuse or suicide. I tend to be overly cautious I think.


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