I greatly enjoyed your article. I had never thought of the issue of triggers in relation to privilege nor that what is accepted as normal to one segment of society is not to others and can cause psychological trauma. Never thought of it in terms of the marginalized in society. Honestly, probably never thought about triggers much at all until your article and it brought to mind an experience I had.
For years, I lived in a very redneck community. I feel comfortable using that term because everyone in the community proudly called themselves rednecks. My husband was what I called an enlightened redneck; our friends, neighbors, and relatives, not so much. We lived next door to a family that we called relatives although they were really only relatives of relatives and no relation to us at all. Their children grew up calling my husband and myself, Uncle and Aunt. I was closer to them than most of my blood relatives.
I was the outsider — a liberal among Tea Partiers before there was a Tea Party, and worse than that, I was a PETA member and a vegetarian in a community of hunters. Our neighbors, the males and the females, hunted regularly. It was distressing for me to know they killed animals, but I tried to ignore their pastime because they were “family,” and we were very close, or so I thought. Years later, when I left my husband, I found out the closeness did not apply to me, just to him. I, who was a better friend and neighbor to them than my husband, was ostracized and shunned.
My so-called nephew, a sweet, shy boy in his youth, grew into an obnoxious, loud, disgusting teenager, and later adult, with no verbal filter. Although he spent his life around me and knew my beliefs, he often ridiculed and teased me. His favorite “joke” was to horrify me with photos of dead deer, blood dripping from gun wounds, eyes glazed. His mother would have a stack of photos she wanted to share with me — maybe a birthday celebration or Christmas or vacation pictures — and he would slip photos of deer he shot among the celebratory pictures and then roar with delight when I would gasp, scream and sometimes cry when I came across one of his photos. His mother would act annoyed at his prank, but she also laughed heartily. His father would apologize to me and tell his son not to do it again. But, the son would do again, and no one did anything to discipline him or to force him to change his behavior. Soon I just refused to look at any photos presented to me in their home, which led to his mother to be angry at me, not at her son.
Other times in that community but not in that neighboring family, people assured me there was no meat in a particular dish, only to roar with laughter when I was spitting food into my napkin because it did, indeed, contain meat.
As I thought about your article, I realized my experience was an example of what you were explaining. I was traumatized by something and the prevailing society, my neighbors, and the redneck community did not care, thought I was acting infantile, and enjoyed upsetting me. I was the marginalized person in that society and the people of that society used triggers to upset, disgust and embarrass me.
Thank you for your article. I gained insight and understanding from it and found it interesting to apply what I learned from it to my life.