Op-ed (featuring Natalie): If Everything Is ‘Trauma,’ Is Anything?

  1. The word "triggered" has been absolutely ruined, to the point that the word itself has become a joke to mean "upset." It's a shame because the word itself was useful because it was a perfect word to describe having a troubling psychological reaction to something (PTSD flashbacks, urges to SH, subconscious inspiration on how to harm oneself and so on). Heck, even trigger warnings themselves have played a role in equating being "triggered" to upset. It's completely fine to be upset or even cry while hearing about difficult topics. It's a completely different thing to start having flashbacks and panicking.

  2. oh love bombing is absolutely going to be ruined next. i’ve seen multiple people use it to describe their ex just like, being nice to them when they first started dating. but then they weren’t always that nice! love bombing!

  3. Yeah it reminds me of the early 2010s trend of romanticised teenage "depression", to the point where every tumblr kid called their teenage hormone brain "depressed"

  4. Another one I've seen is "weaponized incompetence". Indeed, war metaphors sure are super-healthy ways to talk about normal relationship dynamics.

  5. People have a pertinacity for exaggeration, we see it in all language not just that of trauma. How many times have you been literally in wonder of something you've called wonderful, or been in actual awe of something awesome, or really been rolling on the floor laughing? Sometimes sure, but we also use these words to describe things far more mundane, that are merely echos of their intended emotional evocation. This becomes a problem when we try to actually describe something that merits that response it seems watered down and mundane.

  6. I think some people miss the point here. Not only does it devalue the words, it weaponizes them against people as a way of legitimizing things to others, not personally dealing with them.

  7. This is so true I’m in my sociology class and people keep bringing up every hardship that people go through as PTSD inducing and it’s frustrating as fuck to hear that shit because not everyone who goes through shit is traumatized and not all trauma leads to PTSD.

  8. But there’s also a strange in between space where we are effected by things that happen to us and it shapes how we respond in the future. Recently my bf was dealing with a lot of stress at work so I texted his friend saying “hey wanted to let you know bf is stressed and would appreciate you reaching out”. The friend responded by texting me to “fuck off he has his own shit to dealt with” and then called my bf to tell him it was inappropriate for me to reach out to him. My bf was born and raised male and has miss givings about opening up to people thanks to our cultural expectations of men. Will his friend’s behavior make my bf even more second guess himself in the future before asking for help? I don’t know, i hope it won’t but I see how it’s another nail in the coffin of experiences has had in the past about “men asking for help”.

  9. I think the mass introduction and liberalizing of these psychiatric/ psychological/ therapist terms for bad relationship behavior is a psyop.

  10. The author quotes Natalie as saying, “Like, ‘Caleb hurt my feelings’ — nobody cares. But ‘Caleb is an abuser …’ Now there’s a reason to care.” When did she say that in a video? Or is that from a tweet I haven’t seen or something.

  11. It's similar (but not identical) to the essentializing that she talks about in Canceling. The example she gives there is how in the canceling of James Charles, the specific claim of "James Charles tried to trick straight men into thinking they're gay" became the essentialized claim of "James Charles is toxic and manipulative."

  12. I really wish people who wrote about trauma would seek out sources by licensed mental health workers instead of influencers. As much as I love Contrapoints, she is not qualified to discuss what trauma is and isn't. People who do not work in patient care are not reliable sources of information about trauma. If "everything is trauma" (no one has ever said it is), then yes, trauma still exists. This is like that Vox article the other day loaded with research psychologists who've never done patient care dismissing the idea of collective trauma. It's ridiculous reactionary backlash to people learning new ways to describe their pain. Yes, they will get it wrong, but the collective expansion of knowledge surrounding mental health is overwhelmingly going to be a good thing. This reaction is the same exact vibe as the 2016 right-wing anti-SJW brigade and so many people, even our people, are falling for it.

  13. The issue the article is taking about is people taking something minor, like being ghosted by someone you barely know, as abuse or trauma. Yes, it’s important to recognize when something is abusive, but the overuse of terms for different types of abuse to refer to minor problems is exactly what leaves people unsure of whether something is a serious issue or not. Assigning serious terms to mundane problems leads to people not taking those terms seriously and makes them less useful. I do agree that it would be better to ask mental health professionals about these terms to properly describe them and provide examples of where they do and do not apply.

  14. I don't think Natalie's quote is used because she's an expert in trauma. It's because she's an expert in cultural critique, especially internet culture. She is actually super qualified to speak on social trends imho

  15. As someone who has felt legitimately traumatized over a fuckboy (to the point where my therapist has validated that) but still has so much doubt and worries that I'm just overemotional, this whole situation has been...something else. It definitely has made me feel considerably worse and just even more confused about my own situation.

  16. This article is gross when it starts saying, without any actual source, "we also know that victims of wrongdoing tend to be perceived as more “moral” or “virtuous” than others, and that using medical language tends to give a speaker authority, each of which are likely to result in more positive feedback." I'm gonna say that most people who have gone through some shit and have tried to speak out have not had the experience of mostly positive feedback from other people about it. I'm gonna say, in fact, the entire article acts as if people who disclose things they might describe as trauma or abuse are universally praised and that now everyone is lying for all that positive attention, and that sentiment rings WAY too close to the old line about how people who accuse celebrities of sexual abuse just do it for the money and fame because it's so popular nowadays. Not to mention the sneering tone they take talking about how such a thing as #traumatok could exist. The cringe of it all! I just looked at it, and it just looks like a pretty standard online support group made up of videos sharing stories of childhood or domestic abuse, usually trying to make them in a jokey way to take the edge off, mixed with some seemingly standard tips or explanations related to surviving abuse. I didn't really see anything there that was trying to tell me every single problem in my life is trauma. It's almost like no one is actually saying this, like it's a strawman, maybe?

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