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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Surrounded by Guardian Fairies

October
10/13 Backwards Halloween

10/13 Friday the Thirteenth

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

 

Surrounded by Guardian Fairies

Years ago, a colleague of mine was moving to the country from the city. She said, “Jean, I have a Parking Fairy. Would you like him?” I jumped at the chance and gladly accepted her offer.

The Parking Fairy has been very good to me all these years. Occasionally he will deny me a space when he disapproves of my plans. This happens, for example, when I am circling a pizza place.

One day, after trying to back carefully out of the garage and just accumulating more paint on my car doors, I sighed and said, “Parking Fairy, I sure wish there was a Driving Fairy.” Then it occurred to me there probably was, and all I had to do was ask the Parking Fairy to introduce me to him. So I did, and he did, and I am very grateful. I think they are relatives, probably brothers, or at the very least, cousins.

I’ve found that fairies can’t read my mind, so I have to talk out loud to them. And of course I or we get to hear what I say, too. I ask him to help me/us drive carefully, alertly, and safely. Also to stay aware of where my car is on the road, where all the other cars are, and that I make sure I know if there are motorcycles or bicycles or pedestrians around. And it is very good to be aware of traffic lights and stop signs and construction and those sorts of things.

I also tell him where I want to go and name all the stop signs, bicycles etc that I see on the way. That way he can tell if my attention is on my driving or if I have drifted off somewhere else. I also ask him every time if it is okay to turn the radio on. Sometimes it is. sometimes it isn’t.

My driving has improved vastly and my anxiety has gone way down now that I know I have a fairy riding shotgun!

I’m quite sure I could use a Walking Fairy. Last year I didn’t fall once, and this year I’ve fallen too many times to count. All the circumstances seem different, so it is hard for me to anticipate when I might fall. I’m not yet sure I have a Walking Fairy, but I can’t see a good reason why the Parking and Driving Fairies would deny me one. So I am starting to timidly talk to him, asking him to help me notice where my feet are and to scan the path I am following so I have some idea of what is coming up. Sorta like driving, come to think of it.

I know this sounds a little weird. Talking to cats or dogs seems normal. Talking out loud to yourself every now and then sounds normal. But talking out loud to fairies? All the time when I am in the car, and all the time when I am standing up or walking? I’ve never met anybody who did that, and I have never read about it, either.

But you know what? I don’t care. I live alone so nobody knows most of the time. When I visit somebody, or somebody visits me, I either talk to them in my mind (which isn’t nearly as effective), or whisper discretely. If I think the person wouldn’t freak out, I talk out loud as usual. I get some weird looks, but so far nobody has wanted to take me to the ER for a psych workup.

It may be unusual, but then I am unusual in a lot of other ways, too. All I can say is that it works for me.

Finding Happiness Among the Horrors of Ritual Abuse

Upcoming Holidays
October
10/5 Full Moon

10/13 Backwards Halloween

10/13 Friday the Thirteenth

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
.

Finding Happiness Among the Horrors of Ritual Abuse

This picture was taken only a year or so after the memories flooded me. Looking at the photo, it’s hard to believe that I had been recently curled up in a ball in bed afraid that the force of the memories would kill me. I feared that my body could not take the stress of learning what had been done to me and that my heart would simply stop. Hour after hour of horror, the full strength of the emotions I had felt as a little child and had buried away for the sake of survival. I do not know how I pulled myself together to do what I needed to do – eat, sleep, shower, drive, work, pay bills – all the mechanics of daily life. But I did, somehow.

It isn’t just fear, anger, and sadness that are buried. All emotions are. After ritual abuse, who would dare show joy? The adults would disapprove and you would feel guilty to the core.

With some people, emotions burst through the amnesic barriers at times and show themselves with great force. With me, the world was dull and flat. I did have a full range of emotions, but they were faint, like ghosts of the buried ones. I had no idea what a “real” emotion felt like while I was amnesic for the ritual abuse. I was very timid, afraid of meeting new people. afraid of new places, afraid of getting lost. And once I had children, I was really afraid I would not understand what they were saying and not be able to protect them. I had no way of explaining to myself why I seemed so much more timid than others.

Just as the whole range of emotions had been buried, the whole range reappeared once the damn that held the memories at bay had broken. Enthusiasm, enjoyment, and even joy came back. Not at first: the reaction to the memories was too strong to let anything surface that was not related to the horrors I had seen and been a part of. But they did reappear.

So here I am, on a beach, with beautiful waves breaking and sand dunes and sea gulls. Hungry sea gulls. Brave sea gulls when they spotted food.

I had brought what? Bread? Cold cuts? I don’t remember. I do remember the gulls circled and one would get up the courage to take the food from my hand. I remember that their bills dripped, like a junky spotting cocaine. And I remember that if the piece of food was too big to swallow in one gulp they would fly away as fast as they could to escape their thieving pals.

I was ecstatic. When the food was all gone and the gulls had left, I felt satisfied and pleased that they had trusted me enough to eat from my hand. It had been perfect. I felt happy, I think it is called. And they didn’t even bite me!