Being “triggered” (sometimes referred to as “activated”) is when our defences are engaged disproportionately to the situation we’re facing now, and more appropriate to past traumatic situations (source). The intensity of activation will vary based on many factors. The higher intensities include “retraumatization”, a vivid reliving of a traumatic event.
From our personal experience and learnings, we understand that many, if not most of us are “triggered” or “activated” frequently in our day-to-day lives, at the lower end of the intensity spectrum. As such, we don’t expect this to be any different in our club, especially given that we discuss trauma directly, and sometimes personally.
But we’re here and creating this club because we also see this very reality as a valuable opportunity that we can take advantage of for healing. So, even if it might be uncomfortable when we get triggered, if we can learn together to approach it with curiosity and a good set of tools, we are on our way to less discomfort in the long run, more choice of how to react to those situations, more freedom.
We are guided by Ajahn Chah‘s distinction between “the suffering that leads to less suffering, versus the suffering that leads to more suffering”, and how avoiding the former brings more of the latter (quoted by Rick Hanson in “Being Well Podcast: Choosing Our Best Selves with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman and Dr. Jordyn Feingold” at 9:15). In other of Chah’s words,
“There are two kinds of suffering. There is the suffering you run away from, which follows you everywhere. And there is the suffering you face directly, and so become free.”
We have put together a few questions to help you decide whether activation is more risk than it’s worth for you, or whether it can be a good opportunity for learning to have Tea with our Monsters in the 101s community of growth:
- Would I have read “The Myth of Normal” by myself — or other books on trauma?
- Have I had other conversations, or been to workshops / talks / debates on trauma? How did they go?
- Do I see myself as someone who has grown and wants to continue to grow from adversity?
- Do I have, or can I set up good social support for myself during the duration of the club?
We hope these questions can guide you in your decision of whether to join us.