I greatly dislike the way these two words—trigger and microaggression—are currently being used.
Trigger implies that something inevitable will follow while microaggression outright claims that the other person is at fault.
I much prefer my own neutral term for those small stimuli that might cause emotional discomfort.
My term is psychological morpheme, which is defined as:
The smallest meaningful unit of a psychological response. It is the smallest unit of communication that can give rise to an emotional, psychological, or cognitive reaction.
I strongly believe psychological morphemes exist and that they arise at distinct moments and that these moments can be perceived by the owner of them and that that owner of these moments can and must learn to control them, analyze them, learn from them.
It is a huge mistake to automatically blame another person for our own psychological morphemes. From a FIML point of view, there is almost nothing worse.
The reason this is a really bad thing to do is you are very likely wrong.
Even if you are wrong only one out of twenty times, the consequences of your mistake can be very large. I guarantee you are wrong much more often than that.
I say this after doing years of FIML practice during which I have discovered in myself and my partner hundreds of wrong psychological morphemes, most of which were connected to subjective networks that had grown large over many years.
Most psychological morphemes arise due to habits of subjective interpretation.
Rather than let these subjective interpretations have their way, a far more profitable and much wiser course of action is to stop that process at the initiating morpheme. Stop it before it gets going and fills your mind.
If you can stop it at the psychological morpheme and analyze it with the help of your FIML partner, those morphemes will not become mindless triggers that you wrongly interpret as microaggression, but rather opportunities to see and understand how your brain is actually functioning in real-time.
Psychological morphemes are also commonly misinterpreted as signs that reside in the other person of boredom, anger, contempt, arrogance, insecurity, optimism, happiness, pleasure, and so on including as many states as you can imagine.