Sometimes people talk about triggers as though as though being triggered means having an extreme reaction to something that it’s perfectly normal for most people to find upsetting.
Some triggers are like that. A lot of them are not.
Triggers can be things that make no apparent sense at all from the outside. They can be anything. For instance, someone might find teddy bears triggering. Or being spoken to in a reassuring tone of voice. Or a certain song. Or wearing a t-shirt.
They are not necessarily about concepts.
Having trauma-related triggers does not necessarily mean that someone will have an unusual amount of difficulty discussing upsetting topics.
Discussing the concept of abuse or the particular kind of trauma they experienced *might* be triggering, but it might not be.
For instance, someone might be triggered by the smell of popcorn, but comfortable discussing abuse and abuse prevention policy. Or any number of other combinations.
Knowing that someone has experienced trauma doesn’t mean that you know anything else about them. Not everyone who has experienced trauma gets triggered. People who do get triggered, get triggered by a range of different things. You generally are not going to be in a position to know this kind of thing about someone else unless they tell you.
Short version: Trauma-related triggers can be just about anything. They’re not necessarily conceptually related to difficult or politically charged topics. Some people who have triggers aren’t triggered by discussing the relevant concepts, but are triggered by otherwise-innocuous things they associate with their experiences. Trauma can be complicated and doesn’t always fit with the prevailing cultural narrative.
If you were hurt and you’re struggling to cope with the aftermath, that matters. It’s ok to be struggling. It’s ok to need support.
You don’t have to earn support with a diagnosis of something trauma related. You don’t even have to fit diagnostic criteria for a mental health condition to be worthy of support.
Getting hurt matters whether or not it results in PTSD or other diagnosable mental health conditions. There are a lot of different ways that people respond to trauma. In particular, not everyone who experiences abuse or other trauma develops PTSD. It’s ok to want support and to talk to other people whose struggles are similar to yours, whether or not your experience involves PTSD.
It’s also ok if the thing that hurt you wasn’t abuse, or if you aren’t sure whether you think it was abuse or not. It’s ok to need help and support even if it *wasn’t* abuse, or even if things are ambiguous, or even if what happened to you wasn’t anyone’s fault. Not all trauma is the result of abuse. Not all trauma is anyone’s fault. You don’t have to earn support by fitting a particular narrative. You don’t have to earn support by being ideologically or politically useful, either. You matter, it matters that you got hurt, and it’s ok to want help sorting things out.
It’s also ok to relate to and benefit from things that match your experiences partly, but not entirely. (Eg: it’s ok if something written about homophobic bullying helps you to deal with the medical care you experienced in the aftermath of a car crash; it’s ok if something written for people with intellectual disabilities helps you to cope with being the target of transphobic bullying. It’s also ok to use a type of therapy that was initially developed or is usually used to address a different problem than the one you have.)
All of this stuff can be hard to sort out. It’s ok to be struggling. It’s ok to seek help and support where you can find it. You matter, and your experiences matter.