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Rhonda Ragsdale @profragsdale
, 24 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
I've spoken about my PTSD openly here for about a decade. I've talked about it from many angles. I want to talk about how others react and feel about my triggers.
When someone with PTSD says they are being triggered by someone's actions, this is not an accusation that the person is doing it intentionally or is abusive (tho they could be) - it's about trying to help the other person understand how that behavior affects us.
When I say that I have a trigger related to a behavior they are engaging, I am not saying they can't do those things or that they are evil or any of that. I'm saying -- I can't be around it. Asking them to stop or leave because I can't handle it is asking for an accommodation.
When I ask for someone to stop a triggering behavior or when I have to leave a situation because of it, it's made much worse if the person whose behavior is triggering insists on explaining, justifying, arguing, dismissing, minimalizing, etc.
If u want to love someone with PTSD, if u want to spend time w us, to partner w us, to live w us, understanding how triggers affect us and giving us space to handle them is part of the deal. If u can't or won't, it's ok - but don't blame us for the incompatibility.
Don't compare your feelings of anxiety or unhappiness about a situation to being triggered - especially while we are trying to recover from triggering behavior. Your wanting to talk thru an issue or explain why u do it isn't going to help in the moment if we just need it to stop.
When we have PTSD and are triggered, we may appear panicked, angry, suspicious, frightened, or even lash out. We usually have no control over these responses to the trigger - that's why it's called a disorder. We can come down from the trigger and discuss or whatever LATER.
Responding to a triggered person with anger or annoyance or more triggering behavior will certainly make the ordeal worse for us. From our perspective, it often feels like the person does not care about the hell we are in when they explain why it's ok to continue triggering acts.
What's made worse by these scenarios is that the person close enough to keep triggering us in a space like that is often (but not always) a loved one who we are desperately looking for comfort from in the midst of dealing w a trigger. At least we need their support.
When our support doesn't hear our cries for help, which may just be us saying we are triggered, we now have to deal with that sabotage in the middle of being triggered and trying to survive our disability.
I have a lot of good ways to deal with triggers and the aftermath it causes for me emotionally and physically, but I have a lot of difficulty using any of them when triggering is followed up by callous disregard for what is happening to me. It's almost impossible.
When triggering behaviors don't stop, I have little choice to leave the space where it's happening. I run away. That's what is best for me and those triggering me if they won't stop. Then I get shamed for leaving the situation making me sick.
Furthermore I am often shamed for being triggered at all by things the other person has decided I should be able to handle. This is such a horrible way to deal with a person who has a disability like this. It's dismissive, usually involves gaslighting and often victim blaming.
When someone with PTSD says they are being triggered, our minds and bodies are reacting to a situation as tho it is life threatening - and let me tell u this - pls hear me: for me, being repeatedly triggered w no way to escape is life threatening.
Maybe the other person just sees a conversation they want to have, maybe they feel they need to be heard, maybe they just want to defend themselves - but if they continue after I beg them to stop, my mind goes to a place that will escape I matter what.
So the person sees a conversation they insist on continuing, I see a person trying to sabatoge me, my life, my well being, a person who doesn't care that I am now looking for literally any way to make it stop. I feel torture no matter what how the person thinks I should see it.
Where do u think the mind of a person in repeating trigger loops goes when we cannot escape the behavior? When we cannot escape mentally or physically - in those times, suicide can quickly appear to be the only way to make it stop.
The person triggering me isn't responsible for my PTSD. They aren't responsible for how it alters my life and how I have to live. But they can stop what they are doing to make it worse. If u can't stop yourself, let us leave - or u leave. Don't keep making it worse if u love us.
And for the love of all decency, don't shame us for trying to survive these triggers, don't blame us for having the triggers. Don't act like we can control our triggers. If I could -- I would. Please know -- I would.
This doesn't just happen to me. It happens to many people with PTSD, and we share these experiences and thoughts about this. Please - when dealing w a disability like this, step back and have compassion.
Not everyone can handle stepping back and treating a disability like PTSD w compassion. If u can't, u can't. We all have limits. But if u care at all, get away from them and accept it as an incompatibility instead of telling us why we are wrong for feeling/reacting the way we do.
If I couldn't walk and was in a wheelchair instead of my disabilities being related to triggers, would u shame me for not walking? Would u keep expecting me to walk? Would u get angry w me for needing my wheelchair? Maybe u can't see my disabilities - but they are real too.
When I say I can not handle a situation or behavior, it's the same as any other person who tells u the way their 'obvious' or physical disabilities limit or affect them. Stop blaming us for these limits. Have compassion or leave us alone. Please. I am begging you.
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