Using Triggers to Poke at a Character’s Emotional Wound

Kobo Writing Life

By Angela Ackerman

When it comes to acknowledging what hurts us, the old saying, Deny, deny, deny! comes to mind. Why? Because in real life we don’t want to appear weak, so when we suffer emotional pain, we often stuff it down deep and paste on a smile as if nothing is wrong. It’s no different with our characters, and in both cases, refusing to deal with wounding events carries a steep price.

Unresolved psychological pain doesn’t go away and hiding it only leads to dysfunction and unhappiness.

Emotional trauma is, by nature, painful. When it happens, our feelings are laid bare. So it’s no wonder that last thing anyone wants to do is unpack that vulnerability again to work through it. Avoidance seems better, but it leads to dysfunctional coping methods like bad habits, flaws, biases, and emotional reactiveness.

This type of emotional shielding keeps people and further possible…

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