Triggered by triggers

Not since I moved into cohousing and met people from all over the world interested in or living in intentional communities have I heard the word triggered so much.  To be honest, it’s annoying.

First off it is hard to keep track of everyone’s triggers. Not that I would intentionally try to harm someone, but I accidentally triggered a person, not remembering it had happened to them in the past. I was only thinking of what was needed now in the present and it was the only solution I could see possible and I’m not sure there was a way around that fact.

Second, the word triggered seems to be used to gas light.  You are feeling that way because something happened in your past. Okay – maybe yes, maybe no. It is obviously a problem now so how do we deal with it as a community?

In my community, there were cliques. Everyone cared for some and their triggers. Others could be literally thrown away.  That’s why I don’t think the armchair therapists are properly diagnosing people’s pasts.  

I heard a story of one community where one person is anxious about a lot from their past abuses and all. The community is respectful and that’s sweet.  Then one person got to see what it’s like to be in the other’s shoes. Suddenly there was a debate over keeping bees and wondering if it’ll attract bears. They were adamant against the bears. Getting very emotional. Then they realized they were remembering a bear encounter from their childhood.

Again, the point is the discussion on bees or not whether someone already danced with a bear or not doesn’t matter. What is important is listening, caring, and taking everyone’s concerns into consideration.  If a community has empathy and is based on caring for other humans, someone being triggered won’t be used as a weapon.

About CJ

I was a Spanish teacher for 5 years in the Public School system in 3 different states. I homeschooled and taught at a democratic free school. I heard about cohousing in 2010 and wanted to move in right away. I met a group building one in 2018 and got to move in the summer of 2019. It only took a year to want out.
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