Psychology of a Gamer: “Triggered”

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Disclaimer: Brief mentions of self-harm, suicide and sexual abuse.

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been offended or upset by the actions or behavior of others.

chywvgtwkaatf5rHell, it can sometimes feel like a minefield when it comes to whether you can say something without offending someone. Everyone has got so much going on and has had happen to them in their past, that there experiences and personal beliefs, obviously, dictate what their immediate reactions are to certain things. Furthermore, with the ease as to which people can share themselves online (via social media or otherwise), it has become even more like you might be walking on egg shells. Even a close to the bone comment might end up on Facebook as someone’s status, so are you even safe to talk in a room with your friends without offending someone?

xbox-live-abuseAnyone who plays online, especially on consoles, will know all too well that just your sheer presence might upset of offend someone, provoking wholly inappropriate reactions. How much dread, or joy, do you get when you receive a message from someone who is not on your friends list after a game of Call of Duty, Battlefield or Overwatch? You’ve probably received one without much reason, having just played the game, or badly (it might be your first time on the game).

Where does this anger come from? Well there’s a number of things that could cause someone to explode in online forums. They might have had a bad team, maybe their dog ran away or perhaps they didn’t play particularly well. So how do they cope? By taking it out on you and your teammates for having the sheer gall to be better at a game than them (usually). I imagine such reactions could only come from people who would happily vote Donald Trump to be President or who voted to leave the EU because they wanted to stop “all dem immigants”. This level of anger is not appropriate!

offendedNow I am not saying it’s not okay to be offended by something, far from it, if you find something abhorrent or it doesn’t sit right on your moral compass then you as person are perfectly allowed to be offended and be indignant about the source of said offence. However, as with anything, as humans: big, small, wide, thin, black, white, we are all INCREDIBLY different people with an amazing range of experiences and lives. Stories that we may not even be able to conceive let alone be able to believe! So it is not out of the realm of possibility to say that, what one person may find offensive, another may find humorous.

I really enjoy rock and metal music; Muse, Volbeat, Disco Ensemble, Metallica, for example, I find them really interesting and fun. Would a person I met coming out of a Kanye West show enjoy said music? Probably not. Am I offended by Kanye West? You bet your ass I am, he is an affront to music, in my opinion. Would I demand that Kanye West stop making music and claim he is warping the minds of my children? No, don’t be ridiculous.

Some of this may ring true when related to gaming. How many times have you read a story about a child playing an “18/R” rated title and then being violent or “disturbed”? Probably more than you should have (On this point, I will say that a youngster should NOT be playing age inappropriate games). When these stories occur, how do you react? Some people may well just grin and bear it and get on with their lives. Others may express their disagreement with the point of view and present evidence contrary to what is being suggested.


Of course, there are people who maybe have heard enough, have had things said to them time and time again about this particular issue, have ignored it in the past and tried to get on, but, more often that not, have had it brought up again and again until the point where that’s it…”I. HAVE. HAD. ENOUGH!”

picture3Have you heard the word “triggered” lately? Perhaps in Overwatch when someone gets caught in Junkrat’s trap? Or has someone activated an event, sequence or the next segment of a level? Perfectly reasonable and acceptable uses of the word correct?

Did you know that it is also used amongst mental health circles? It is an important word that carries a lot of importance and weight. People who are recovering from a mental health problem often are more sensitive about what they are happy to talk about, or want to hear. This isn’t a preferable choice, as a standard, given some of the events that can happen to people that can cause a mental health problem, leaves that person unable to deal with certain situations or discussions without potentially affecting their well-being.

In an attempt to tackle this, in an almost unwritten code in the online community, posts that may tackle tough issues such as suicide, self-harm or forms of abuse, for example, are preceded by a “trigger warning.” These often appear at the tops of blogs posts or websites to indicate that the discussions that lie further on may not be easy reading.  In hospitals, when people are sectioned under the Mental Health Act, those who may be struggling with a situation may explain to staff that they have been “triggered” or have found something “triggering.” This is a way to explain that whatever it was has caused that person’s mental health to be unsettled which could lead to self-harm or suicidal ideation. Like at the top of this post


As you can see, very important!

If you’ve seen the word “triggered” used in the context of the image at the top of this page, or use it in casual conversation, i.e. “It’s ok bruv, don’t get triggered“, then I would advise you reconsider your use of language. How we use language can be incredibly damaging to so many groups of people whether it’s racist, sexist or abilist. Yep, abilist, that’s a thing, discriminating against someone because they have a disability.

I believe the origin of the “triggered” meme has come from a mocking slant, jibing women who get upset or take offense “because that’s what women do”. Many of the memes show the same woman being offended by male related words, such as the “son” in “Sony”. I appreciate its meant to for a joke but there’s a larger, more damaging thing going on here. This is key…

It diminishes the meaning and importance of the word.


Crazy”               “Mental”                 “Depressed”            “That’s mad”          “Messing with my OCD”                  “You’re so schizo”                        “Nutter”                                          “Out on day release”                   “Triggered”

People misuse language all the time and more recently I have noticed “triggered” to be one of them. The only reason I bring this up is because if you continue to misuse it, it takes away the meaning and importance of what that word means to someone who genuinely needs it to describe how they’re feeling to get the help they need. Constantly saying you are “depressed” when you’re a little bit sad (not completely wiped out in bed for three weeks) makes that person struggling with depression belittled because they feel people don’t actually understand what they are going through. Talking about our mental health is incredibly difficult so we don’t need to be made to feel like it’s not important – it bloody well is!

19724b_4772964Those little online plebs that threaten to “rape your mom” because you had a better K/D spread than them need permanently banning from the gaming community. Why should anyone who is trying to find some enjoyment in something they like potentially have that ruined because little 14-year-old Timmy decides he’s a big man? What if that person you messaged had been raped? What if that game of Call of Duty was enough to distract them from the pain and hurt they had experienced and the repercussions that might have developed because of that.

Is your online protest necessary? Do you need to respond to every little thing we aren’t happy with? There’s so much anger online that occasionally I feel that we’d be better with an internet blackout, just to give us some time to appreciate what we do have. Not be consumed by “1080p/60FPS”, “Day One DLC” and all the other bullshit that the self-entitled masses seem to moan about.

There are people out there going through unimaginable hurt and grief and your undermining them with “triggered” comments, online moaning and online abuse helps no one..except make you look like a heartless fool. Do you have to verbalise your anger to everyone?

And for the love of all that is good and holy, if someone now puts “triggered” in the comments or on the RGM Forums I will lose all faith in humanity. Unless for irony, but now that I have said it, it can only be taken that way. So morally I win.

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