according to literature, “a triggering is something an individual says or does or an organizational policy or practice that make us, as members of social groups feel diminished, offended, threatened, stereotypes, discounted or attacked.” “triggers cause an emotional response. these emotions include hurt, confusion, anger, fear, surprise, or embarrassment.” adams, bell, griffin (1997) teaching diversity and social justice.
life is triggering…
a venice duck park experience was profoundly triggering. in los angeles, where domestic ducks are prohibited, wild ducks and other migratory birds enjoy the venice canals. duck communities live and breed there year round. a small park is dedicated to them. no humans allowed! the venice duck community even has small cliques. often two to four ducks maintain a tight social group within the greater group. these groupings make it easy to identify individual ducks.
mother ducks use the canals to raise their hatched ducklings. from time to time, a proud mother duck will be seen cruising the canals escorting their young ones. they will also take them over to spend time in the duck park.
on one occasion, a duck i was quite familiar with became a mother. she was present at the park with her ducklings. she was lost. her immaturity impacted her mothering skills. her ducklings were suffering. they lacked engagement. they were not foraging for food. most of them were lethargic. they were not eating.
a few days later. the mother duck was present. this time with less ducklings. only two were remaining. one was doing well. the other was suffering and was not long for the world.
as a living being, the observation of another life form failing to thrive was a triggering event. seeing a life soon to end “diminished” my existence. the event was a reminder of our short time on the planet. a reminder of nature’s cruelty.
thus, was this experience something that individuals should be prevented from seeing and experiencing because it is triggering? or, is this the type of experience that one can use to emotionally grow?
personally, the experience have given me the resolve to intervene in the future. i intend on attempting to remedy the problem in the future. the event’s sadness is now a call to action.
in sum, strong or triggering emotional events are educational. the experience can be a positive. they can inspire and bring on a call to act. these events should not be discarded or prohibited as a negative. arguably, protecting individuals from such experiences may hinder their development. the absence of such experiences may weaken individuals and essentially make them impotent.
if you would like to read more blog posts, click here
if you find this post meaningful, please share