About Trigger Warnings

Upcoming Holidays

October
10/22 – 10/29 Preparation for All Hallows’ Eve
10/31 Halloween/Samhain/All Hallows Eve
There are two previous posts on Halloween:

https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/halloween/

https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/samhainhalloween/

November
11/S Full Moon
11/3 Satanic Revels
11/23 Thanksgiving
December
12/3 Full Moon
12/21 St. Thomas’ Day/Fire Festival
12/21 Yule/Winter Solstice
12/24  Christmas Eve/Satanic and demon revels/Da Meur/Grand High Climax
12/15  Christmas Day
12/31 New Year’s Eve
Important dates in Nazi groups
11/9 Kristallnacht
11/11 Veteran’s Day: Armistice, 1918

 

About Trigger Warnings

I know Halloween is fast approaching; it’s just around the corner. Part of me says that I should be writing about it because there are so many people who are suffering as they remember what happened during this season. The two major Satanic holidays are Beltane and Halloween, and I believe that Betane is organized around sex and Halloween around death. To me, death is far worse than sex . . . as long as sex does not culminate in death. So the memories of Halloween are horrible and the feelings are so intense that they are nearly unbearable.

But I have already written about Halloween.  I don’t think I could write anything as useful as those posts and there is something else on my mind. So I am only going to acknowledge the importance of Halloween and write about the pros and cons of trigger warnings.

First, how “trigger” is defined. It varies from person to person and time to time. I find it helpful to distinguish the ways it is used in everyday speech.

1. “Triggered” means being upset. There are many, many things that upset us, and most have nothing to do with cults. War, famine, storms, fire, dishonesty, abuse of power, and cruelty of all types. All of these things upset me, sometimes to the point of thinking that the world would be a lot better off without any people.

Now it is impossible to write about ritual abuse without upsetting people – at least people who have not dissociated and walled off their feelings. I should then, according to this definition, use a trigger warning  each time I write about, or even mention, ritual abuse.

2. “Triggered” means that something has elicited a memory. The memory may be just a glance at part of a past experience, a slight sound, or a whiff of a smell. Or it may be full-blown, as vivid as it was originally and accompanied by extremely strong emotions. The memory may be accompanied by switching, as one alter cannot bear to experience the whole flashback.

If people think that what they are about to say may bring up memories in others, they are apt to use trigger warnings. They would feel feel guilty if they learned they had triggered somebody, even inadvertently.

3. “Triggered” means acting on a post-hypnotic suggestion. If the relationship between the stimulus and the action is unconscious, one usually automatically does what the cult wants. If one is tempted to act but can resist the temptation, the link is usually conscious. Gestures, combinations of words, a series of numbers, a song, or an object may all be used.. For example, if the cult wants a person to go to a certain place, they may flash a series of hand signals, or may wear a necklace with special significance.

Although situation number three is the most dangerous of the three, it is less apt to be given a trigger warning than the first two. This may be because cues are not given  innocently. Even if they are given unconsciously, one part of the system is cult-loyal and knows what is going on. Using a trigger warning would draw attention to the cues and defeat the whole purpose.

 

I use “upset” for meaning #1, “triggered” for meaning # 2, and “cued” for meaning # 3. It helps me think clearly.

So much for the use of the word “trigger”. Now on to trigger warnings.

At first, the warning was called a spoiler or spoiler warning. This came from giving away the ending of a book or movie. It didn’t seem to be a totally accurate description and “trigger warning” soon came to replace it. Next, a description of what one was going to talk about was added. (“Trigger warning” or “may trigger”. . .. for talk of sex.)  Then a long blank space was utilized in the body pf the post so that people didn’t glance at the text by mistake and get triggered. That’s pretty much the way things are today.

Different survivor groups have different customs. Some are pretty lax about trigger warnings, others will hold a post or letter until the moderator feels that the trigger warning is adequate. Some groups feel that they can identify enough cues so that they can exclude people who are dangerous.

Now I don’t ask people to use any trigger warnings, and haven’t for years. I feel that anything a person can say might trigger a memory in somebody at some time. It’s impossible to protect everybody in a group all the time. Realizing this, many members of the group walk on egg shells every time they write something.

I think that a better system is to ask each person to be responsible for their own actions. I am sure that this is not the first time that the person has had a flashback, and they have experienced what is helpful and what is not.If they are upset or go into flashback, I ask them to seek support from friends, their therapist, or a hot line if needed. Journalling can help, and soothing objects or routines can help keep one foot in the present. Knowing that they are considered to be capable adults give people confidence and strength.

I do not forbid the use of trigger warnings. If a person feels better using them, I would not take away that support. I often suspect that if a group member uses trigger warnings, it is for the benefit of parts of their system, not the other group members. And if somebody slips into guilt if they have triggered another, that is understandable. I’ve done this myself, embarrassing myself immensely.

This approach has worked well in the groups I have moderated. I think it is starting to become the norm in the comments section here. Anybody have feelings about whether we should use trigger warnings, and under what circumstances? I’m open to all points of view.

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Evidence-Based Trigger Reduction

Up-Coming Holidays
September
9/4 S Labor Day
9/6 Full Moon
9/5 – 9/7 Marriage to the Beast (Satan)
9/7 Feast of the Beast
9/20 – 9/21 Midnight Host
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 Michaelmas (?)
October
10/5 Full Moon
10/13 Backwards Halloween
10/13 Friday the Thirteenth
10/22 – 10/29 Preparation for All Hallows’ Eve
1
0/31 Halloween/Samhain/All Hallows Eve
November
11/S Full Moon
11/3 Satanic Revels
11/23 Thanksgiving
Important dates in Nazi groups
9/1 Start of WW2
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday
10/16 Death of Rosenburg
10/19 Death of Goering
10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday
11/9 Kristallnacht
11/11 Veteran’s Day: Armistice, 1918

Evidence-Based Trigger Reduction

My insurance company wanted to enroll me in a preventative cardiac health program. I understand the logic: it costs less to keep me healthy than have me go to the ER and perhaps get hospitalized. And every year I stay healthy they make money on my premiums.

I said sure. The lady who enrolled me had a script to read from and she could not deviate from it to answer my questions or take additional information or laugh at my jokes. But she did tell me I would have access to a triage nurse and to a health coach. I get weekly emails from a lovely, sensible, brassy life coach on the Internet, so a health coach sounded exciting!

The health coach called within a couple of days. The poor thing had a different script to read which consisted of asking me questions that I had to answer on a Likert scale of 1-10. That is impossible for me because I get lost in the numbers and my only honest answer is, “I don’t know.” I faked it as best I could. There were also some easier questions, like, “Have you used any tobacco products in the last month?” and “How many servings of fruit and vegetables a day do you get?” (I didn’t know because I don’t know how big a serving is. I can count the different vegetables, though.),

The only thing the health coach could latch on to was my stress level. Now I know it’s been a lot, lot, lot worse but I don’t think it is low enough to be considered perfect. So I thought about the last ten years or so and guessed it was a four. “What would I like it to be?” “A two,” I said.

Then she listed some ways of reducing stress and asked me what I could commit to. Walking briskly for thirty minutes a day, every day, has been out of the question for well over fifteen years. My present goal is to walk 1800 steps a day spread out over twenty-four hours. The script then made her ask about dancing! Meditating would be wonderful, but I have tried many times and keep forgetting to do it. Frankly, the process of enrolling dissociated old me in an evidence-based program like they offered seemed a little ridiculous.

Finally I agreed I could journal about my stress levels for a month. I chose a bright yellow notebook and put it near the computer where I had to look at it every day.

Day 1 was a snap. I thought I had missed Day 2 but when I looked on Day 3 I saw I had identified a trigger and had written down a plan of dealing with it. Day 4 the morning passed and I still had no idea what my stress level was or what to write. So I wrote, “No triggers that I can see, therefore no plan of action.” This is going to be harder than I thought.

It has occurred to me that I may already be identifying triggers and coming up with doable plans. If I am going to accomplish anything, I have to do something new. It’s like losing weight – you can’t expect to get lighter if you keep on eating the same yummy foods every day. Not that forgetting things and messing stuff up and pushing unpleasant or anxiety-provoking things out of awareness is exactly yummy.

The problem is that I already know how to reduce my weight. (By the way, I just reached my goal after being on a plateau for about a month. Yippee! But then I went right back up again. No yippee. And then back to my goal again!) I think I am doing everything I can to reduce stress, with the emphasis on the “can.” But obviously I am not, or I would be meditating. I know meditating is wonderful for lowering stress, I understand the directions, I have quiet time, but…

I just came up with a plan of action. Break the big goal into little goals. Sit still and breathe consciously for two minutes a day. Then make it three minutes a day. Then make it twice a day. Etcetera.

Get a meditation Fitbit that will effortless track my behavior. HA! I would have to invent it. It’s easier to make my own graph and enter my progress. Or maybe not. Maybe the Internet has one ready-made for me. I spent too much time looking and found that the charts and graphs are mostly for general health or yoga and most cost more than $50.00.

I think I have gotten off-track, which is writing about the journal of triggers and action plans. I just looked at the yellow notebook and found that I hadn’t written anything in fourteen days. Obviously not high priority, right? How am I going to explain this to my health coach?

All I can say to her is that charting things appeals to accountant-type people and I am a poet.

I stopped to wonder why I have lost interest in tracking my stress levels. I don’t think it will teach me anything new because I am already pretty good at identifying triggers and managing them. I feel I have better things to turn my energy to.

I can’t imagine anybody finding something helpful in this rambling post about not doing something I committed myself to. I think I’m writing it simply because I want to complain and it feels good to complain to people who I trust to not sneer as they put me down for failing such an easy task. And for being different from all those people who gave evidence that this system really does work. I feel like the eternal outsider, but I am not when I am in your company.

Thank you, my friends, for being here for me.

Safety Issues: Email

Here is a page with literally hundreds of articles on safety in all sort of places and situations. Well worth reading!  http://www.minneapolismn.gov/police/crimeprevention/

Email dangers fall into two categories: 1. Messages that try to trick you into clicking something, and 2. Messages that contain programming or threats.

There is a lot of information on the Internet on how to deal with spam that may be dangerous. I’ll try and summarize the main points. But I want stress that this kind of email has nothing to do with whether you are a survivor or not – everybody gets it.

Basically, somebody has gotten your address from somewhere and is sending you messages hoping you will think they are illegitimate. They may want you to read ads or they may want to get into your computer and use it for their own purposes. They might want to copy all the addresses in your email address book and send out spam with your name as the return address. Worse yet, they may put a little program on your computer that records every key stroke. That way they can collect passwords for bank accounts, charge card numbers, etc.

Be very careful before opening an attachment in an email or clicking on a url. If you have a feeling that there is something “off” about a particular message, trust your instincts and be cautious. It is far more important to protect yourself than it is to be polite and answer every e-letter.

Here are some examples of things that made me suspicious.
1. Weird senders: potent @comfortlife.eu
cartesian @impiantidepurazioneprefabbricati.eu
streptothricin @investinspain.eu
lovelifeplus @vertiadier.xyz
2. Weird titles: things I have zero interest in. Injured — Find– a– personal    injury-attorney — to–get–what is deserved
++ Check Out A Private Yacht Experience ++
3. Nothing except a url to click in the body of the message. This often comes from a person you know because their address has been stolen.

Moral of the story: Don’t click and you will be safe! (And have good anti-virus software.)

The other category, messages that contain programming or threats, can be harder to deal with because there is no one practical rule (like don’t click) that fits all.

The first step is to learn to recognize this type of email. A red flag is a message from a person you have been out of touch with for a long time, especially if it is a family member or somebody you have always felt uncomfortable around.  Another red flag is if you start to feel trancy, dizzy, nauseated, frightened, or just plain uneasy when you start to read it.

This might indicate that the message, whether by accident or on purpose, has touched an issue of yours or triggered a program. In this case, stop reading and either delete the message or save it to analyze later or to show to your therapist. Do something to get back into the present — move around, wash your face, drink something cold — whatever works for you. Promise yourself you will not finish reading it now and you will not act on any suggestions contained in the message or any sudden urges you may have. Ask inside if that is okay with everybody and ask what else they need to feel protected. Later on, you can try and figure out what got triggered and how.

Other times, you may start to get an uncomfortable feeling about a particular person. As in “real life” relationships, it’s wisest to go slow and not reveal a lot about yourself in the beginning. You can always share more later. It’s perfectly okay to say, “I’m not in a place right now for this kind of correspondence” or simply to let the e-relationship fizzle out. It’s also okay to delete emails before reading them.

If an email contains a threat, there are two additional things you can do. You can report it to the police, which may or may not help, depending on the nature of the threat, the department, and the particular officer you report it to. You can also report it to the ISP (Internet Service Provider,) the company that the writer uses to send email. For details on how to do this, contact the Webmaster or Postmaster at that ISP. ISP’s are not happy about people misusing their services and they may close that person’s account. Since they are concerned with their reputations, they are often more responsive than the police.

You could also answer that person once, saying, “Do not write me any more. If you do, I will report you to the police.” If you are trying to collect evidence, put any other emails received in a folder without reading them. Otherwise, delete messages without reading them or block the address (black listing).

The hardest part of dealing with frightening email is refusing to read it. It’s natural to feel that if you knew what you were being threatened with you could better protect yourself. But the game they are playing with you us called bullying, and you will be playing into their hands if you let them know they have gotten to you or you allow them frighten you. It’s far better and more effective to walk away with your head held high.