Thursday, January 5, 2012

Back Away or Barrel Over your TRIGGERS?

A recent chat with readers got me thinking about triggers. As some of you know, some of my books bring people to an uncomfortable place. Those looking for sweetness and fluffiness are probably better off looking elsewhere, but those looking for a story that will drag them in and force them to love and hate and suffer with the characters . . .

But are you willing to suffer with the characters? We all have places in our minds, full of dark memories, things we've buried so we can move on. Some of us avoid anything that will bring these things closer to the surface. Some of us go out looking for ways to make the experience mean less.

Neither way is wrong. Sure, there are probably some shrinks that would tell you to 'face things' or 'get over them'. Others might tell you to find a safe place in your mind to escape from reactions to wounds that will never heal. Whatever way you chose, whatever way gets you through the days, is the right one for you.

That said, how do you handle triggers? Do you have any?

To be fair, I'll answer first. I didn't think I had triggers. I thought I'd numbed myself to all the stuff that might bring up bad memories.  And that's the only way to hit a trigger, right?


Apparently I have a serious problem with trust being given and then exploited. Which seems pretty reasonable--only, I don't put down books. I never walk away from them unless I lose interest (which happens fairly often because my attention span sucks! Oh! Look at the kittie!). But this one book had a bound sub pleading with a man she loved and trusted not to touch her with the knife. He not only ignored her, he CUT her! Every muscle in my body tensed up. I growled--yes, literally growled--at the book and couldn't look at it anymore. HOW DARE HE! Give me a villain any day and he can skin a character without me doing more than wince and read faster to get to the revenge part, but the hero better be heroic.

So there's one big one. I also have an issue with halfway menages, which isn't as serious, but will have a serious impact on my enjoyment of a book.

I'd love to hear about your experiences!


  1. Thanks for the post. made me think.

  2. I can't think of too many triggers, but I know I would totally freak if someone put a bug or web item. I haven't done enough exploration to find other triggers. :-)

  3. I have a trigger that brings back a family death that I am far from over, even though it's been 8.5 years. I CANNOT listen to Amazing Grace. Ever. I can be in the best of moods and the second I hear those first few chords, I lose it... So I avoid, I back away...

  4. Ok. I know I'm going to sound stuffy or strange perhaps, but I have REAL issues with reading anything that has a lot of swearing in. Yes I understand the characters might 'be like that' but, if the language and description is too 'heavy handed' it's an instant 'drop the book' for me.

    What has this to do with BDSM and erotica then? Well, I have read stories where crass language and description is used a lot, moreso it appears, in BDSM and erotica in general. Just because the topic is deemed x-rated, doesn't mean the language has to be.

  5. Okay Bianca, you know you made me cry. Some people think triggers are weaknesses. Maybe one day I can face my trigger issues.

  6. OK, I would have said I have no triggers. I read one book where there was something that really irked me, but I could explain WHY it bothered me and it made sense so not a trigger, right? Then, I found another that had the same type of situation that irked me before...only this one was much more involved, and the submissive in the story was um... we'll go with NOT happy... the scene tended toward the violent side. I about flipped out. Yeah, I figured out it's a trigger for me. Violence, no problem, an action the sub is really and truly fighting against? Yeah, I don't like that either, but I've never reacted to a scene as badly as this one.

    What did I do? Well, I set it down and walked away vowing not to read any further... then walked back, picked it up and read some more... then got too upset and did the whole thing over again and again and again. I think I walked away like 15 times in a scene that lasted a total of maybe 10 pages? Did I finish it? Yes, ONCE. I've tried to go back and see if I could read it without reacting so badly but nope, I start to flip out even getting close to the scene. **sigh** But now, in stories like the first one where it just "irked" me, I'm guessing my reaction was so light because the character in the book wasn't bothered by the situation, I keep in mind that it's a trigger and review it knowing that 99% of the people out there wouldn't have a single issue with the scenes. Yes, I can do that.

    But if I get another one where it not only bothers me but the scene as a whole bothers the submissive?? I think I'm just going to set it down and REALLY walk away. It's just not worth it.

  7. Excellent post Bianca. You have made me think long and hard about trigger points mean to me as reviewer and a human (yep I admit it, I am human...or used to be).
    As a reviewer I would say nothing has come to the point of ewww nope can't read it. Question the wisdom of why the author has done what they have done but yet to find an ewww one.
    No wait I remember I did have an ewww one but had to continue reading it to see if got any worse.
    *bites n kisses*

  8. Great post. Triggers in books is verbal abuse. I suffered with my ex for a number of years and it really gets me. Okay it triggers me in real life too when someone says something that most of the people in the room think is probably a joke but I hear something in the tone and I want to scream no you ass be nice.