Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Triggers

I think one of the reasons why I was so hesitant for so long to publish Sunday’s post was the vexed and debated issue of triggers; the question of whether recognition of triggers panders to an over-sensitive community, or if ignoring triggers is insensitive and a gross display of privilege.

So, here in No Kidding land, it is worth questioning whether the idea of avoiding the things that hurt us (scan photos, baby showers etc) is healthy, and will it, in the end, hurt us further by isolating us from the wider, largely parented, society.

In the beginning, when we first confront the permanency of our No Kidding lives (or begin to confront this whilst still actively trying to become parents), many things will hurt us, whether they are thoughtless comments or pictures on a blog or on Facebook, or more largely, the feeling of isolation from mainstream society. Self-preservation and self-protection is necessary at this stage, and displays of sensitivity from others is much appreciated.

Longer term, we are better able to cope with triggers, to recover from the pain they create, and to let it pass. It is also much easier to avoid taking these personally, to consider the point of view of the person who has raised the trigger, and maybe as a result, to be better equipped to communicate with them about their words or actions. (I think at this stage we are also better equipped to avoid being insensitive to others too; this was my point from yesterday, that when we know better we do better.)

We all know we can’t make the world conform to our desires, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speak up and try to change it for the better.




9 comments:

  1. I loved your post from Sunday, and I love this one too. I love the underlying message of knowing better should mean doing better.

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  2. Yes, I loved both of your posts. And I agree with BnB's comment!

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  3. This is very interesting Mali and I too loved your Sunday post. I've been thinking loads about how all the different groups feel about each other: how the permanently infertile feel about the "pregnant infertile"; how mothers feel about the permanently infertile and vice-versa; how the childfree feel about the grieving childless, etc. I'm a bit fixated on it at the moment, about whether one group will ever NOT be offended by certain things that the other groups do or say. I was talking about this to my friend The Motherhub (a parent-of-two friend who has a feminist parenting blog), about WHY exactly there isn't harmony between these groups. I mean I know why, really, but I just wanted help in articulating it. And she said that it's because the stakes are so high, it's a zero-sum game; one party will never experience what the other party has, and thus can never know what the other party's experience is like. It's seen too much as losses and gains. It's just too volatile to ever be stable, maybe. So back to the point, of whether we just have to live with it and avoid triggers the best we can, and whether that is healthy - I just don't know. Confronting people over perceived slights when I was infertile has caused me so much grief in the past that part of me wishes I had avoided it, but part of me is still furious and unforgiving towards those people. What to make of it???
    I don't think we can ever rely on "knowing better should mean doing better". So many people just don't have sufficient empathy to do this when they finally get what they want. I definitely think that there needs to be a huge cultural shift towards acceptance of not having children, just so that we 'permanently infertile' don't feel AS upset when we experience triggers; hopefully if it were valid and respected culturally triggers would have less impact. I seriously hope that will happen now that the 'childless' and single stats are rising.

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    1. "I definitely think that there needs to be a huge cultural shift towards acceptance of not having children, just so that we 'permanently infertile' don't feel AS upset when we experience triggers; hopefully if it were valid and respected culturally triggers would have less impact."

      I LOVE this!! & I completely agree!! It's hard enough to come to terms with a childless life; it's made harder still when we are viewed/treated by others as perpetual outsiders. :(

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  4. I completely agree with you, Mali!
    What triggered grief for me in the beginning does not necessarily do that anymore now. For example I recently asked my sister for a picture of her kids because I wanted to hang it on my fridge. It is hanging there now. I actually love looking at it! However, I still can't display baby pictures. I hide them in a drawer. So I guess some things need to be avoided in the beginning, but then, as we heal, we are gradually able to handle them better. There is progress, but we also need patience with ourselves.

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  5. I agree. Triggers are inevitable and I think when things are raw avoiding them entirely is perfectly fine, but you're right -- as it goes from oozing wound to scar, you can weather those triggers better. They still sting, but maybe not quite as much. I agree with Elaine that patience with ourselves is important--what bothers you today may not tomorrow, and vice versa. It's fluid, but sensitivity is always, always appreciated. And I loved the ultrasound post, too!

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  6. At this stage of my journey, triggers are further & fewer between. That said, I never know when I'm going to be sucker-punched out of the blue... and it still does happen. The recovery time is a whole lot less these days, though, thankfully!

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  7. Of course, over the past seven years, I have been triggered all over the place. I consider it a consequence of living in the world because I sort of fiercely vowed that I wouldn't let IF build a cage around me. Granted, at times, I have unfollowed blogs or FB friends because I didn't have the constitution at the time to see the images, but I never faulted them for posting them. After all, I am following the blog of someone who is actively trying to become pregnant, so I know there is a chance they will succeed, and I proceed at my own risk. I have separately been angry at people IRL who responded to my bad news with their good news, like the email you mentioned in the other post, mostly because the timing and delivery were insensitive. We are sensitized to this particular issue in a way that heightens our awareness of how often people don't consider the IF/loss possibility when sharing their lives, but I wonder what would happen to communication if we applied this logic to every life crisis and tragedy. I once sat and listened to another No Kidding blogger treat a friend's distress in response to the Victoria Secret catalog that kept arriving at the house unsolicited after she had a mastectomy with a snicker and an eye-roll, so I'm not sure we can stake a claim on awareness and sensitivity unless we are going to consider every kind of trigger when we post about our lives, and then what is there left to say?

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    1. What would happen to communication if we ALL applied this logic to ever life crisis and tragedy? I think the world would be a much nicer place. My infertility has made me even more aware of my privilege in other areas, and I consciously change the way I interact or talk about myself and my activities around others who are less fortunate, knowing that it could hurt them. There's still plenty to say. It's all in the way we say it, I'm sure you will agree. That's my point about "knowing better and doing better."

      Oh, and I'm not staking a claim on awareness and sensitivity. I'm saying that if we have increased awareness, then maybe it helps if we use that and show sensitivity towards others, rather than ignoring their issues simply because they have to "live in the world."

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