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Teen Stirs Drama By Refusing To Stop Eating A Classmate’s ‘Trigger Food’ In Front Of Her

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/ Getty Images

The lack of awareness that revolves around eating disorders can lead to a lack of empathy and understanding from people around us.

It is hard to be on a path towards recovery since triggers exist all over. But, that doesn’t mean we should attack others.

Redditor aitatriggerfood encountered this very issue with her classmate. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.

She asked:

“AITA for eating a girls trigger food in class?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained.

“This just happened and I’m getting shit from some people in my class.”

“I’m (f 16) in concert choir at my school. I love the teacher but this class is a joke.”

“We’ve been working on the same song since January 5th and are still not done with the chorus. We only did the chorus.”

“Our teacher lets us eat in class and I eat a mix of healthy food and absolute sh*t in class.”

The issue was with some of OP’s snacks.

“Today, I was eating a bag of Doritos and a girl private messaged me and said I need to put my Doritos away because she has an ED and they trigger her.”

“I said no, because I was hungry so she turned on her mic and said ‘hey OP’s Doritos are one of my trigger foods can you put your food away.'”

OP’s classmates were not happy. 

“My teacher said I’m fine but like half the girls in the class agreed with her that I need to put them away.”

“My teacher gave me permission to turn my camera off (district policy is to keep cameras on unless you have a teachers permission to turn it off) and I thought it was problem solved but I started getting texts and messages in the chat that I’m being a bitch.”

“I told them ‘I’m allergic to seafood so if you’re eating sushi does it mean I get to tell you to stop because it makes me upset that I can’t have it’ and they said it’s different.

“So, I wanted to know if I’m the a**hole.”

“Edit: ED is eating disorder”

Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Most Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.

“NTA. It’s unfair of her to impose her own restrictions on you. No therapist would recommend that. She has to learn to cope with triggers, not avoid them.” ~ kitp88

“This ^”

“Coming from dealing with ED myself, it’s surprising to me she’d announce that to the class to begin with? How were you to know previously ? NTA.”

“Adjusting to this idea of virtual classes is so odd for me- why was she looking at you? Do you all have to stare at each other in class or…”

“Anyway, I don’t normally comment but I did want to jump in and mention to be mindful of your analogies when defending yourself. Although they’re being rude by continuing to badger you, being allergic is NOT the same.”

“Just trying to respect the depth of emotional/psychological issues involved. People that aren’t her continuing to come after you ATA’s and you should try to ignore them :)” ~ LNGeez

“I want to know why the girl didn’t just switch to speaker view. Problem solved.”

“NTA, OP. Sorry the ugliness of h.s. girl groups have turned your way. I mean Doritos were everywhere at school.”

“What will she do when classes are in person – demand to check everyone’s lunch and toss the things she deems ‘triggers?’ That she brought it up at all is so weird to me.” ~ JustNeedAName154

Redditors pointed out that it was a Zoom class.

“What’s more, this sounds like virtual classroom. If so, OP is in their own home or space.”

“If a classmate has a problem with another students video feed, hide that feed, even if it means just cutting up a sticky note to fit the screen.” ~ AndrewWaldron

“Absolutely, plus Doritos are literally everywhere so telling people to stop will be nearly impossible. She’d never walk into a gas station again.” ~ agressivesnapping

“NTA, she doesn’t have to look at you if she’s uncomfortable. If you’re hungry you can’t have someone tell you you’re not allowed to eat.”

“For her to truly heal from her ED she’s going to have to figure out safe coping mechanisms and improve her relationship with food anyway.”

“Could you imagine requesting to cancel a commercial or take down a billboard ad for Doritos because it makes her uncomfortable? That’s an issue with her, not you.” ~ WithinN0rmalLimits

One Redditor offered a more concrete explanation.

“Just to be clear, NTA for eating them and all. But OP the lack of knowledge may be why you are getting such negative backlash from others on the situation.”

“A ‘trigger food’ is just like other psychological triggers – when you see/hear/smell it, it causes a significantly outsized reaction in your brain which is related to the mental illness in question.”

“In the specific case of the Doritos, seeing them being eaten likely means she’s engaging in severely distressing negative thoughts about her body, feeling a need to purge, or mentally counting up the calories and spiraling about how little she would have to eat later to compensate.”

“It’s much more common for this to be tired into the person actually eating the food rather than just seeing it, but it wouldn’t need to be.”

“This is unlike a hypothetical sushi allergy, because there’s no known mechanism for viewing an allergen remotely to trigger anaphylaxis.”

“Does any of this mean it was your responsibility to manage your classmates mental illness for her? No – there were plenty of ways in which she could have managed that were less intrusive.”

“Does it mean that your actions may have come off as very dismissive to the idea that she was in genuine distress? Possibly.”

“Again, this doesn’t mean you owed her, that people aren’t being assholes to you now, or that your reaction somehow justifies their behavior. This is just to attempt to explain how something you may not have been aware of led to others seeing something you may not have intended.”

“Edit – apologies if this doesn’t end up being relevant or useful to you. I am on the autistic spectrum and often find myself in situations where what I want people to see and what they do see don’t match, so analyzing things afterwards to figure out where the disconnect happened is something I find useful.” ~ agreywood

This should be a longer conversation about empathy and eating disorders.