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Thread: What would be an appropriate word to use instead of "trigger"?

  1. #1

    Default What would be an appropriate word to use instead of "trigger"?

    Trigger was originally made to refer to those who have PTSD but then it has evolved into saying it when a topic might upset people and bring out really strong feelings and maybe be a very tough topic to deal with due to different political views. But now I am finding out that people with actual triggers get offended how this word is thrown around.

    Now I am wondering okay what word should I use then when I get memories about my ex boyfriend because someone's attitude reminds me of him and my old feelings come back and my anger at my ex or a story someone tells and that person in their story is reminding me about my ex but I am not having panic attacks or getting anxiety about it so what would would they suggest I use instead of trigger for my old feelings returning like they were yesterday's feelings or like my ex is still here in my life so I am angry all over again and feel hatred about him all over again because something reminded me of him since "trigger" is so offensive for me to use for those with PTSD? Is there another word for that is a form of trigger?

    What word should anyone use for a substitute of the word trigger when something is very sensitive for them or when it brings them back very bad memories of something or brings out their old hurt feelings again, or gets them very upset and angry?

  2. #2


    I went to a thesaurus and they suggest elicit. That's a pretty good word to replace trigger.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by dogboy View Post
    I went to a thesaurus and they suggest elicit. That's a pretty good word to replace trigger.
    I rather like that one. My suggestion is to just say scared or upset. Or say that it brings back bad memories and makes you angry and anxious.

  4. #4


    Personally, I wouldn't worry about it. "Trigger" may be a term of art in psychology, but it also has a vernacular meaning that sums up what you're trying to say.

    The word "trigger" itself gives no indication of what it will trigger. You can trigger a chain-reaction by firing up a nuclear power plant. You can trigger someone's hayfever by exposing them to pollen. Or you can trigger PTSD flashbacks by discussing sensitive topics.

    I don't think PTSD sufferers have a monopoly on such a common word.

    Maybe you could put the word in inverted commas to indicate that its meaning shouldn't be taken literally?

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