To trigger or not to trigger…

** This post discusses difficult subject matter! **


Literary Lovelies,

I’ve been debating whether or not to actually post this. I have gone back and forth between scheduling it and unscheduling it. But I think I am just going to pull the metaphorical trigger. (Trigger pun very much intended.)

So here we go…

Are there any topics in literature which trigger you? And if so, do you avoid them at all costs? Or do you try and see if by some form of exposure therapy you can finally conquer them?

The definition of trigger I am discussing in today’s post is when it is used as a verb – to initiate or precipitate (a chain of events, scientific reaction, psychological process, etc.)¬†

I ask you, dear readers, because I find myself in a bit of a quagmire. I want to push past my anxiety in social situations and I have decided to be more social this year which means when it comes to the few activities I participate in (a bookclub being one of them), I am trying to always say yes.

The tricky part is some (a lot) of the books chosen for my book club most often are ones I do not enjoy. I often stick it out and look forward to the feedback of the other members of the group as I find their differing perspectives very enlightening.


What happens when the subject matter of one of the books they chose is something I know will trigger me? What if the very first page actually has a trigger warning?

I had said yes. I had wanted to try and expose myself to the subject matter and see if I could make it page by page, situation by situation. Maybe this time would be different.

I failed.

I ended up with nightmares and the terrible images in the book still come to me in flashes making situations I have experienced and pushed from my mind tag along.

Part of what I think irritates me about having been triggered is how the situations depicted in the book and my own personal experiences are similar and yet vastly different. The violence in the book was overt and what I experienced never left actual physical bruises or scars. It was easier if I just let it happen.

Obviously, there is anger there, at me mainly, for the situation happening in the first place. But there is also this part of me which doesn’t allow myself to feel like I should be triggered or bothered by it since my experience wasn’t like the girls in the book.

So I am conflicted, by the feelings triggered in me by reading a book I forced myself to after I had promised I would be more social.

I would be interested to know if you find yourself triggered by certain bookish content and if so, what do you do to help bring yourself out of it?


Honestly Austen

Postscript: Hopefully writing this post can help irradicate some of the feelings I have been harbouring.





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