Why You should Stop Saying you were “Traumatized” by a TV Show

Why you should Stop Saying you were Traumatised by a TV show...

Anon asked: “You’re the first MBTI expert I’ve come across who’s typed the characters from Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter, and since you’re an INTJ, I must know. Were you emotionally traumatized the first time you watched it?”

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As always, I will take questions like these as an opportunity to enlighten my readers.

First of all, please stop using the word “traumatized” to describe your experience of watching movies and TV shows. For those of us (such as myself) who have PTSD, “traumatized” is a very strong word that bears heavy negative connotations. When used casually in the context of popular media, it can be triggering and hurtful to people who actually deal with the repercussions of trauma on a daily basis.

A TV show may affect your mood very strongly, but it does not “traumatize” you. Now, I’m perfectly fine with people asking me serious questions about trauma and PTSD, but on this site, I’m going to ask my users to try to avoid throwing around triggering terms in casual ways.

Now that I’ve explained that, I can answer your actual question. No, I was not emotionally traumatized by the show. I loved it, particularly for the complex questions that it asks, but also because I relate to Friedhelm Winter an a ridiculously deep level.

6 thoughts on “Why You should Stop Saying you were “Traumatized” by a TV Show

  1. As always a wonderful, measured answer. Sadly, the word “trauma” – probably along with “depression” – is nowadays vastly overused.
    This post reminded me, however, to sincerely thank you for writing about “Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter” characters. Your typings were the only reason I decided to eventually watch the series (avoided it for a long while remembering the havoc concerning it’s Polish premiere – despite full awareness of the specific backgrounds that unleashed it), and found it really great, far better than expected.

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    • I get especially annoyed with the casual use of the word “depression.” I probably even used it that way myself before I became acquainted with the real thing. Now every time I talk about it (which isn’t much, granted) I have to devote time to explaining exactly what I mean when I use the word. People using the word casually doesn’t fully “trigger” my depression, but it does remind me of it, and if I didn’t fight the urge to think about it, it could trigger it.

      To people with PTSD, does the word “trauma” directly trigger PTSD flashbacks and stuff (I don’t really know how it works), or does it just make you think about your PTSD, leading you to think about the reason for it, leading to what I oh-so-eloquently termed “flashbacks and stuff”?

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  2. I think this is silly. I have been traumatized by movies and TV shows, particularly as a child. If I watch something scary, I sometimes experience insomnia, night terrors, paranoia, etc. And I even have flashbacks. You shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss something just because it doesn’t line up with your own personal experience.

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    • So…just to be clear, the point of this post was to educate people who throw the word “traumatise” around casually, and to ask them to stop doing it because it triggers my PTSD.

      Many people have insomnia, nightmares and paranoia that results from things that they watch (and yes, especially as children). However, most of these people do not have posttramatic stress disorder, and like you, will not be triggered into a flashback whenever somebody casually uses the word “traumatise.” I will be polite and not assume that you don’t have PTSD, but from the content of your comment, I would deduce that you probably don’t get triggered by the casual use of the word “trauma.”

      What you have just done in your comment is exactly what you’ve told me not to do. You are saying that it is silly for me to ask my users not to do things that trigger me simply because “it does not line up with your own personal experience.”

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  3. I suppose the term ‘impacted’ might be a better way to describe the way certain shows or films bring out one’s imotions.

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