How “Trigger Warnings” Silence Dissent And Protect Fragile Egos

If feminists and other enemies of free speech had their way, this article and others like it would have a large bold trigger warning, stating that the content might be offensive some readers. Already, trigger warnings are finding their way into academic classrooms, art exhibitions, and mainstream publications. The true purpose these warnings is not to protect those who suffer from trauma, but to silence dissent and protect the ego.

Although trigger warnings were initially used to warn victims of rape that a post might contain explicit descriptions of violence or sexual abuse, the practice has been extended to include any written word which might be accused of “racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression.” Just as the word troll has come to mean “someone who disagrees with me,” trigger warning has come to apply to any opinion that might offend a protected class.

The demand for trigger warnings has nothing to do with PTSD. Though the word trigger comes from PTSD related symptoms, it’s being applied to any content which may be emotionally strong. Writers are now expected to warn their audience they might feel something. The implication is that simply by stating a controversial viewpoint you are hurting fragile victims.

Trigger Warnings Aren’t About PTSD

Real PTSD triggers often come from unexpected everyday things. A sound, or smell might take someone back to a traumatic experience. I have an older friend who suffers from PTSD due to his service in Vietnam. Loud noises or helicopters overhead make him anxious, and can provoke panic attacks. If we were to apply feminist logic to the world, every chopper would come with “trigger warning” written on the side of it for him and other Vietnam vets. Police and emergency rescues teams would have to avoid certain areas to protect people’s feelings.

Of course, instead of making absurd demands, my friend chooses to spend his time doing what he loves, volunteering at his local church, and finding ways to serve others. He has a strong community he can call upon if something triggers him. Rather than trying to change the world, he changes himself, and focuses on creating the kind of life he wants.


Saying that an article on girls with short hair “triggered” you is an insult to the brave men and women who’ve experienced real PTSD. There’s no image or your friends dying or an older relative violating your body being conjured. What most people mean when they say they were “triggered” is not a PTSD-trigger, but an ego-trigger. They were forced to question their belief system when confronted with an opposing perspective. To which I say – good.

If your belief is so sensitive it cannot stand up to dissent, it deserves to be destroyed. Real victims of PTSD don’t want to silence others, they want to heal. If your opinion is so fragile that it requires curtailing the freedoms of others, then you’re not triggered, you’re tyrannical.

Triggering Is Spiritual

Undoing the ego is the work of a good spiritual teacher. Many spiritual teachers deliberately emotionally trigger their students in order to force them to question their beliefs, and let go of the ego. There is an entire spiritual tradition known as “crazy wisdom” in which the spiritual teacher uses unconventional, outrageous, or what might be called “triggering” behavior to shake up their students conception of spirituality. They troll their followers to liberate them.

In the words of Tibetean Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa, one of the foremost practitioners of crazy wisdom, “compassion is not so much being kind; it is being creative to wake a person up.” Triggering a strong emotional reaction if done with what spiritual teachers call “skillful means” can be an act of compassion because like a zen koan, the shock can suddenly cause someone to drop part of their ego.

If you avoid any article or experience that may provoke an emotional reaction, you’ll miss out on any meaningful experiences, personal growth, or change in your life. You’ll narrow your experience till all the joy and emotion is sucked out of it. Rather than getting reactive when someone triggers you, use it as an opportunity to let go of old patterns, and refocus on what it is you really want.


Trigger Warnings Are About Avoiding Change

Real PTSD survivors avoid triggers, but trigger-junkies seek them out. The friends I have who’ve experienced war don’t walk into an violent films and act shocked at what they see. It’s very easy to tell from a trailer or headline if the content is going to be triggering. Trigger-junkies do the opposite. They’ll blog, retweet, and spread the content they find offensive far and wide.

Getting triggered reinforces the ego’s identity as a victim. By exposing themselves to things they know will offend them, trigger-junkies reinforce their story as victims and avoid change, which is exactly what the ego wants. Many feminists “hate-read” sites like Return Of Kings because they love the feeling of drama their ego gives them.

If you click a headline that reads 5 Reasons To Date A Girl With An Eating Disorder, and you’re triggered by discussion of eating disorders, you’re not a victim, you’re masochist. People who continually read content they know will anger them are trapped in a negative cycle and need help.


This goes both ways. How many men hate-read stories about feminism the same way? Which articles get the most views – the genuinely helpful advice, or articles bashing women’s negative behavior? While acknowledging negativity can be helpful, wallowing in it is not. Once you understand the problem, move on to the solution.

Survivors Deserve Better

Compare this to way the way men and women who’ve experienced actual trauma behave. I met an African woman recently, who told me she’d been sexually mutilated, and forced to marry a Muslim man who beat her regularly, before escaping to the United States. When asked her if she felt like a victim, she said. “No. I never let anyone call me that. I’m not a victim. I’m a survivor.” Even after experiencing the worst forms of sexual abuse, her focus was on becoming a whole, healthy person, rather than on the trauma in her past.

None of these issues diminish the importance of helping and healing real PTSD survivors. I’ve dealt with that trauma myself and worked on projects to help others who’ve experienced PTSD. My heart goes out to them. I pray they get all the healing and love they deserve. It angers me when I see their genuine suffering exploited for weak egos and political control. I hope those asking for trigger-warnings get the healing they need too, even if it comes form of constant triggering till their ego finally lets go.

Read More: How Misconceptions About Trolling Threaten Society

59 thoughts on “How “Trigger Warnings” Silence Dissent And Protect Fragile Egos”

  1. “Getting triggered reinforces the ego’s identity as a victim. By exposing
    themselves to things they know will offend them, trigger-junkies
    reinforce their story as victims and avoid change, which is exactly what
    the ego wants. Many feminists “hate-read” sites like Return Of Kings
    because they love the feeling of drama their ego gives them.”
    “This goes both ways. How many men hate-read stories about feminism the
    same way? While
    acknowledging negativity can be helpful, wallowing in it is not. Once
    you understand the problem, move on to the solution.”
    Nailed it. Excellent article, my friend.

  2. Tumblr social justice warriors are by far the biggest pieces of shit humanity has ever seen.

  3. This raises a very valid point- people who actually HAVE gone through a traumatic event aren’t the ones asking for trigger warnings- I have a minor issue with this to this day after drowning and being resuscitated as a teen- I don’t really like seeing drowning scenes in movies and shit, but I’m not going to pull out my protest sign any time soon.
    People who are agitating for this issue are doing so for political reasons, though it’s narrowly possible that they actually are drinking their own ink and believe in their own altruism. Still doesn’t make it correct.

  4. Do you think the woman with the red hair knows she’s become the go to for an example of an angry ugly feminist?

    1. I think Chanty Binx lacks the required level of self awareness to conceive of that, to be honest.

    2. The top banner or the fat one? Big Red has been the mascot for feminism for a few years now.

    3. I don’t know why ugly enters into it, unless you mean in the personality sense.

  5. I loved this article the moment I saw the title. Once I started reading it, it was all uphill from there.

  6. Excellent article.
    Most “trigger warnings” are just First World White Woman Problems.

  7. ah yes, just another first-world problem. ‘waah waah this article hurt my feewings, take it down mister government!’.
    professional victims are nothing but closeted fascists. by trying to ban the publication of articles, trying to ban words and plain-old being bitchy with anyone with a dissenting opinion, you fucked-up women are bringing a new dark age unto humanity. 1984, anyone?

  8. the tumblr community is the most closed-minded fanatical hypocritical bunch of sorry excuses for human beings since jezebel. just goes to show that when you get a bunch of hens together, NOTHING GOOD CAN COME OUT OF IT

    1. bunch of hens together” And just like chickens in a coop, they’ll eventually be led to the slaughter house.

      1. their downfall will – ironically – be by their own hands. being driven by emotions instead of reason will ensure that the tumblr-feminists will split into factions, fight each other and in the end become just another shitstain on the underwear of history..

  9. So goes the old mantra of “if it offends you then ignore it.” This is essentially and primarily a first-world, entitled, white middle class issue. People who have never been real victims or lived through real adversity. People who have experienced real oppression and suffering know that fucking blogs aren’t going to hurt them. People who have been real victims don’t WANT to be victims. Entitled women love to play the victim game and parade around content and media that goes against their world view to garner attention, self-validation, and peer acceptance. They can’t accept that there are people who think outside of their on precious little bubble of beliefs and opinions.
    Great expose

    1. Ratings on movies keep children from seeing things like brutal murder or torture or death or assault scenes. Those are trigger warnings.
      Flashing light warnings keep people from having seizures.
      Images or descriptions or sounds can send someone into a panic attack (something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy) or a flashback to a traumatic event.
      The same things can make someone feel suicidal.
      These things don’t happen to everyone, but they could. The same way that you should wear your seatbelt even though you might not ever be in a car accident.
      Allergy warnings are stupid, aren’t they? I wouldn’t mind eating something and going into anaphylactic shock ’cause someone thought it would be inconvenient to say that there were peanuts in it. It’s essentially the same principal as your dislike of trigger warnings.

      1. This is such a stupid comment. I don’t even want to bother picking it apart.

  10. I’m hopeful that most self-respecting men don’t waste time on feminist websites.

    1. I’ll admit it can be like looking at a car wreck; hard to look away, just curious about the severe damage that exists.
      However, I can’t stand it in large doses and have to cleanse my mind with pictures of kittens or dancing hamster videos later. I’d like to stay sane, after all!

  11. Haha yes… Sometimes I can’t believe “trigger warning” is actually a thing. People really do this kind of crap?
    I guess I must not be “sensitive” enough… Hahahaha

  12. “Trigger Warning” is a “Trigger Warning” that what you’re about to read was penned by someone who does not matter, who could more than likely be summed up with the word cunt.

  13. “Writers are now expected to warn their audience they might feel something.”
    So that whole “free to express your emotions” thing is just another pile of crap, eh? Go figure.

  14. I have been losing my patience with people who are easily offended. If left to their own devices, they would of silenced the likes of George Carlin, Bill Hicks and many other great truth speaking men.

    1. I no longer care about offending others, with a balance:
      I’ll never purposely cause harm, for example I won’t be cruel or unkind to those who don’t deserve it.
      However, kissing ass and tippy-toeing around “offensive” subjects is the mark of beta/weak behavior, and I don’t care anymore.
      Be a real man always, and harm not others but do not back down when you speak your mind.
      There’s always someone just waiting to berate you and attempt to make you back-pedal; stand your ground.

  15. What a well-written, insightful article.
    The way that feminists are co-opting and perverting language is downright devious. Thanks for shedding some light on the bogusness of it all, spiritual playboy. 😉

  16. This is a good article that applies perfectly to the SJWs of tumblr. If you need and expect the internet to trigger warning a picture of a thin person, then you do not deserve internet access.

  17. I’ve noticed people around me seem to be weak. They can’t handle discussion of death, talking about or looking at something awful that happened to someone or is depressing, such as the Japan Tsunami or Hurricane Katrina etc. Some of them can’t watch some disturbing content on a video or movie because it “upsets’ them apparently.
    I’ve forced myself to watch things on Liveleak that made me feel ill for sometimes 24 hours-not because I enjoy it or get off on that kind of thing. But to come to the deep realization that there is some messed up shit in the world going on all around us on a daily basis. In the end it has hardened me which I think is a good thing. I remember when I was 16 years old working my first job. There was this old stone faced guy who used to hang around that I would talk to. He told me how he worked as a “cleaner” after car accidents, etc. And was used to shoveling up human guts, etc. I remember it being disturbing at the time but I also remember thinking “what a tough son of a bitch”.
    A man should to some extent be able to handle stomach turning horror with a stoneface. It isn’t that he doesn’t care. It is that he is tough and can handle it. It is masuclinity. It is confidence.
    People are weak for the most part. They don’t want to be upset. And as society becomes more and more feminine and weak we will only see more of this.

    1. 1. People can’t be bothered to be empathetic or caring enough to even listen to others at all
      2. If someone does bother to listen, they don’t want to be made uncomfortable
      3. If people hear something that will threaten their line of thinking (their view of their world), or their ego, they’ll become defensive or retaliate

  18. The picture of the Eastern European butter-face woman (I’m assuming Russian or Ukrainian by looks) covering her ears is hilarious, and so is her slight squint ( a trait very common in FSU women).
    Is she worried her fart was too loud?

  19. Some people need to learn that getting offended is something you do to yourself.

    1. I don’t even know what feeling is associated with being offended. Perhaps I’m better off that way.

  20. This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read. Brilliant, balanced, well-thought out, and well spoken. I’m forwarding it to everyone I know.

  21. I was 11bravo in Iraq in 2003. I dont ask for Trigger Warnings. Was this article intended for the “Hate reading” Feminists?

  22. Frankly, I am reasonably certain that I have PTSD from my experiences in the gulf war and desert storm.
    Trigger warning? fuck that shit. I used to experience unfounded violent rage episodes whenever I’d hear arabic spoken, or start looking for a gun if I heard any sort of loud noise, and many times noises in the night would cause me to have horrific nightmares.
    So I started exposing myself, ON PURPOSE, to those kinds of situations. I would listen to youtube videos in arabic, some mullah ranting about the evils of christianity, and turned on fans in my bedroom to cause rythmic noises in the night. and you know what? Eventually I GOT OVER it.
    I still have the occasional episode, but desensitizing is the strongest form of healing.
    Fuck trigger warnings. They keep you oversensitive.

    1. This is how YOU dealt with YOUR trauma. It doesn’t work like that for everyone. Some people simply can’t do that safely.

  23. “Rather than trying to change the world, he changes himself, and focuses on creating the kind of life he wants.”
    A fundamentally masculine way to approach the world. Whereas trigger warnings are a feminine way to approach the world e.g. – “The world must change because I don’t particularly like it! Do as I command!”

    1. I’ve been reading a book about the ancient philosophy of stoicism, and this was one central tenet: change myself, not change my world to fit me.
      A pure truth if there ever was one.

  24. Thank you for this article. It seems this inflationary use of “trigger warnings” deprives the real victims of the respect they deserve and inflates the egos of people who like to see themselves as victims (of whatever). Once again, thank you. I’ll keep an eye out for such “warnings”, if only just to question them.

  25. Another great article. This is so eloquent and airtight that it’ll take months for any illogical naysayer to formulate any argument that appears mildly rational, though it won’t be possible.

  26. “If your belief is so sensitive it cannot stand up to dissent, it deserves to be destroyed.”
    That would be an excellent quote for a billboard campaign. Outstanding article overall, truly outstanding.

  27. Trigger warning is femnazi code for amygdala hijack. We all need to learn this skill – it is the only way to override their programming. Go google amygdala hijack… DO IT!

  28. except triggers arent a ptsd-specific thing, and war vets arent the only people with ptsd.
    triggers are also found as a part of my physical illnesses like epilepsy, asthma, or heart issues
    triggers are part of nuerological issues, such as autism or misophonia
    and most common, triggers are part of mental illnesses – such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, or schizophrenia.
    people need to stop this crusade against tagging triggers. its incredibly dangerous.
    if people dont tag things like horror movie scenes, it causes me to have a seizure. im not exactly sure how im expected to just work through that and get over it, just yell ‘no, bad body, bad’ while staring at horror photos

  29. They invented VCR’s when I was on submarine duty in the 70’s. The sound of servos in a VCR spinning up to record a program sounded EXACTLY like, um … “weapons equipment” on a submarine.
    I only made the mistake of recording a late-night program once.
    “Trigger-Warning” jerked me out of bed from the opposite end of the house in the wee-hours.

  30. Excellent piece. Really nails this issue. I detest these women. They have destroyed the once-great feminist movement and are doing exactly what men said women would do…why women shouldnt be allowed in the workplace, etc…they are bringing their feelings to work. I saw a thing on r/fatlogic recently about a fat woman on her way into her office who was insulted by a deliveryman. Ok, out of line, guy should get about his own job, not professional of him. But she “considered going to the bathroom to cry” (her actual words…this is a woman grown, fully employed), before…wait for this…spending the entire morning tracking down the delivery guy, contacting the company that sent him, and getting him fired.
    I dont like this site, either and really wish the writers would stop acting like they speak for all men. Its always “Men dont like this” and “men only care about looks” and so on…never been my experience for one. But sometimes there’s a piece on here which really is very good. I only wish there was a decent blog that could contain all kinds of stuff like this..yes…and Roosh’s nonsense too…and get some real debates going. Because Men’s Rights, and Fat Activism and Feminism are echo chambers….no comments allowed. Very easy to be blocked from that Voice For Men…some very fragile little fellows there. Anyone who writes a blog and blocks comments aside from illiterate garbage is cowardly.

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