Stressor vs. Trigger - What Is A Trigger?

Rainman8772

MyPTSD Pro
I know for me the smell of fried chicken puts me in a flashback serving a no knock narcotics warrant that my buddies head got turned into a canoe from a 12 gauge at 4 feet away. They were cooking chicken and were tipped off by a look out so knew we were coming in. Needless to say there is no KFC in my future. ?
 

Jin

Learning
I know for me the smell of fried chicken puts me in a flashback serving a no knock narcotics warrant that my buddies head got turned into a canoe from a 12 gauge at 4 feet away. They were cooking chicken and were tipped off by a look out so knew we were coming in. Needless to say there is no KFC in my future. ?
A trigger can't be helped.. It's symptomatic. A stressor can lead to a trigger ( making them seperate)
Thank you all of your reply!!!
 

oakleaves

Confident
So I have just read through this and I have a post elsewhere where I talk about something that *looked like* something bad from my past experience. Seeing it and having to eat it has triggered flashbacks recently. Now I avoid this thing (a liquid type food) because it seemed to trigger a flashback to abuse. But the thing itself wasn't involved in my abuse, just that the sight of it the texture made me vividly remember something. SO is that a trigger? Or am I making things up? Sorry I am getting really confused.
 
A

Aletal

Sorry for using the term incorrectly.
My therapist uses the term when he sees me get keyed up and we can't figure out the specific reason but we know it's a hot button. FOR instance: I spoke about being referred to as a victim as a "trigger" because it is what my therapist called it. I don't know what specifically in my past makes me have such an extreme reaction. By definition it should probably be called a stressor.
The word "victim" would qualify as a trigger based on what you're written. (In the same way as the OP used "You are so sweet" as a trigger phrase.
 

Charbella

MyPTSD Pro
Trigger = starts from one of your senses and end instantly in a reaction. Not a full memory or re-experiencing event, ending with an instant symptomatic reaction.

Flashback = a memory recall that could be started via a sense, though could just be started by a thought, though is an actual "re-experiencing" event, whether full or partial, but more than just a fleeting thought. Does not end in an instant symptomatic reaction, though could have some or heightened reactions hours or days later.
So is a trigger vs a flashback about time (yes I get that it’s not just time)? I have had both that I know fell in one category or the other, firmly so, but I have others I’m unsure of. If you re-experience something but it’s relatively short is it still a flashback? I know this may just be semantics but I do genuinely want to know.

I experience something I call a flash, it’s short (though it doesn’t seem it at the time) and I’m wondering. If I can feel it, see it and sometimes smell it but it lasts 20-60 seconds is it a flashback? Sometimes I’m unsure if it happened in real life though as emotionally charged as it is I’m guessing it did. Since the abuse started young and there is a lot of it, I can’t possibly remember all of it (thankfully).
 

anthony

Founder
So is a trigger vs a flashback about time (yes I get that it’s not just time)?
No. Duration has nothing to do with anything. Literally forget about duration.
I have had both that I know fell in one category or the other, firmly so, but I have others I’m unsure of. If you re-experience something but it’s relatively short is it still a flashback? I know this may just be semantics but I do genuinely want to know.
Semantics is important. You have actually had both if you had a flashback, because preceding a flashback requires a triggering event (one of the five senses) that sends your brain to a past time experience that you now reexperience in one or many various manners (senses, memory, etc)
If I can feel it, see it and sometimes smell it but it lasts 20-60 seconds is it a flashback? Sometimes I’m unsure if it happened in real life though as emotionally charged as it is I’m guessing it did. Since the abuse started young and there is a lot of it, I can’t possibly remember all of it (thankfully).
You are bringing a focus of flashbacks to this discussion, which the discussion is actually about whether something is a trigger or a stressor.

You are talking about reexperiencing (sight, smell, touch) of an event that most likely happened to you in your childhood. That is a flashback, yes.

Flashbacks is not the topic here though, trigger vs stressor. A flashback requires a trigger, not stressor. Something triggers your brain to reexperience something from an actual event. Focus on the key words there.

A stressors result is a response. You could be super stressed and your cup overflowing, then have a flashback, but to get from stressor to flashback a trigger exists before the flashback. Being uber stressed may make a person susceptible to being triggered into a flashback.

This is talking more about responses though, not really flashbacks. Both triggers and stressors can provide the same outcome - panic, anxiety, anger, etc. Which one got a person to that response is important, because it helps tremendously in the approach taken to try and correct the outcome occurring in the first place.
 

Gare

New Here
Hello.

I’ve been reading the articles about triggers and stressors and it’s becoming s little overwhelming. So I thought I’d just explain one example of what I go through in hopes that I could get some clarity and maybe some recommendations for how to deal with it.

I was bullied for many years of my childhood from the age of 3. Throughout my life I have poorly dealt with stress and the Cup analogy is helping me understand more about that.

One recurring pattern that I have is that when someone tells me something negative about myself (or when I perceive it that way) or sometimes when a bad thing like getting a parking ticket for instance happens, I can get very upset and angry. I can say mean things and then try to escape the situation. It’s an affliction that has tarnished relationships. More often than not the criticism is another person expressing a need, but I just flip out.

So in this instance what is the stressor and what is the trigger directly related to the bullying (fear of being ridiculed, abused, etc.) It’s really made me afraid in life that I’m going to ruin good things if I find myself not able to control my reaction which is commonly yelling and either quitting at task, threatening to end a friendship or relationship.

I usually introduce myself to be people with the warning that they will hate me eventually because while I can go years not reacting suddenly I’ll begin to react badly and then it sort of snow balls and becomes a recurring thing.

Thanks
 

Sideways

Moderator
One recurring pattern that I have is that when someone tells me something negative about myself (or when I perceive it that way) or sometimes when a bad thing like getting a parking ticket for instance happens, I can get very upset and angry
It sounds like criticism and perceived criticism may be a trigger.

Definitely it's something I don't handle very well, and I think that's true for a lot of us folks who have compromised self concepts and difficulty with self esteem and self acceptance.
 
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