Trauma comes in all shapes and sizes. Everyone, at some point, goes through an experience that shakes them to their core and while certain personalities may deal with it better than others, the fact remains that the effects linger.
These experiences are a large part of shaping and defining a personality. You may develop a phobia or a dark sense of humor. A person might become far more cautious or reckless about certain things after their experience. They may wholly reject an idea or absolutely embrace it. Either way, experiencing it causes you to act a certain way when you think it might happen again.
Normally, the attitude towards the lingering trauma experienced after a traumatic event is to work on healing. You want to normalize your reactions and get to a point where they don’t bother you anymore. For instance, a person bitten by a dog as a child may develop a phobia of dogs, and the work to deconstruct that feeling of abject terror at the site of a very common pet must begin or else that person will suffer unnecessary fear for their entire life.
Sadly, we don’t live in normal times. A new way of dealing with trauma became popular at some point within the last decade within universities.
The new way is to collect traumas like Pokemon and summon them when you need to paint yourself as a victim. If you didn’t really suffer a trauma, then don’t worry. Any inconvenience can be made into one through the magic of social justice. If you actually did suffer a very real trauma, then you’re not encouraged to work your way through it and become a mentally healthier person. Your job is now to keep it hovering over you like a dark cloud so that it can be used as both a sword and a shield to those you deem as bothersome.
It’s that “sword and shield” part that really gets to be bothersome for society. The vast majority of people are driven by their desire to be good people and, as such, they wish to help those in trouble or ease their burden as much as possible. When someone says they’re suddenly re-experiencing something traumatic, the immediate instinct of most is to give them what they want and/or need to help them.
To be sure, the leftist social justice advocates in our society have used this to great effect in both micro and macro capacities. They claim these things are “triggers.” Everything from a woman screaming bloody murder because a man called her out on a bit of wrongdoing all the way up to riots at universities that result in people literally being chased off of campus was all the work of people being “triggered.”
What’s more, they got away with it. In fact, they were applauded for it by the left.
At some point in time, society is going to have to stop caring about these “triggers” and start dismissing them out of hand as legitimate reasons to misbehave. This isn’t saying that someone having a very real panic attack or a legitimate PTSD reaction shouldn’t be helped. They absolutely should.
But I think we can tell when the freakout is politically motivated at this point. We, as a society, have had enough experience with this level of self-victimization.
For instance, the example above with the woman screaming her head off because a man called her out for cutting in line claimed she was being triggered by the man due to having experienced rape. While we can’t say with certainty whether or not her claims are true, we can figure them at least dubious given her behavior of instigating the issue with the man, and, according to the man involved, she reached into his space and began throwing his personal items around.
It ends with her screaming at the top of her lungs like a child and the man being escorted away to an open register, giving the woman what she wants.
This was a perfect opportunity for society to put its foot down. The woman should have been asked to move back into her previous position before she cut in front of the man. When she inevitably began throwing her childish temper tantrum, she should have been warned that the police would be called if she continued making shoppers and the staff uncomfortable. If she failed to stop, then the police should have been called and she would have been escorted out.
Even if she continued screaming and throwing a tantrum, the end result would have been that she didn’t get her way, teaching her that this kind of behavior won’t get you what you want. Sadly, that’s not what happened. She got exactly what she wanted, and like a child, her bad behavior was reinforced.
We do this on a societal level.
People shouldn’t be forced to tiptoe around those who insist on being “triggered.” They should be able to live their lives and adhere to the expectations of polite and fair society. No one should be able to play outside the rules of it, yet these people with social justice on their side do.
And they will continue to do so as long as we keep excusing their behavior and giving them what they want.