Subject: Harm vs. discomfort
Posted on: 2022-01-10 19:30:59 UTC

I'll be up front that my ability to trust people about their triggers online was broken when someone tried to get first me, then hS kicked out of the community due to things we'd supposedly said to them when neither of us had spoken to them for years. Fortunately, that accusation was easily disproved, but it's too, too easy to say "this thing harms me" and get away with emotionally manipulating people when there's no way to prove or disprove it. Therefore, while I always have and always will follow the blacklist, I remain skeptical.

And, I agree with Nemo on this: most of us have things that make us uncomfortable, but that doesn't automatically mean it should be everyone else's job to spare us from discomfort. I don't love being surprised with pictures of spiders, and I don't love hearing that people are being irresponsible with alcohol, either. There was a time I would have called alcohol/drinking a trigger for me. However, my arachnophobia (which is, by definition, an irrational fear) doesn't trump the right of other people to like spiders and advocate their good qualities (which they do have!), and the fact that my dad was also an alcoholic and messed up my family doesn't mean other people aren't allowed to engage in the ubiquitous worldwide culture of drinking in my presence. I don't believe we have a right to never be uncomfortable, and some issues are so specific to an individual, or so unavoidable in the world, that it's unreasonable to ask the world to change for you. Rather, it is your responsibility to learn the skills you need to cope. For myself, it was empowering to decide to learn more about drinking culture and find that I could trust people close to me (like Phobos) to be responsible drinkers, and I would advocate that anyone take that approach over avoidance if it's safe and possible to do so.

Basically, I would just ask that we all take a good, hard look at ourselves and try to be as objective as possible when determining what is harm vs. what is discomfort, and weigh the efforts you make toward coping for yourself against how much you ask other people to bend for you. We must respect that people have limits on what and how much they can safely engage with at any given time, but we must also respect the limits of a group's capacity of spoons for taking on people's personal issues. All of these things can fluctuate over time, so it's important to practice situational awareness of self and others.


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