Misokinesia: Misophonia Visual Triggers

I’d like to first start by saying that misokinesia (hatred of movement) is a term that oversimplifies things. Research-wise, there’s not enough to go on to say whether or not visual triggers are different from misophonia. They might both be related, they could be part of SPD, or they could be two interlinked disorders. The research simply isn’t there. We also don’t know whether or not allmost, or some sufferers also have visual triggers. For the purpose of this I am just going to use “visual triggers” or “visual stimuli”. I’m not going to simply attribute it to a name or disorder before there is proper research.

My visual triggers are just as hard to handle as my audial triggers. Sometimes they are worse. I find it nearly impossible to escape a sight in the room. Even when I close my eyes, and even hours or days later, the memory is still there. I want to cry as I think of these triggers. Legs shaking, people swaying, fingers and toes tapping. Even improper grammar have been known to become triggers. Double spacing after periods is so intensely anguished, that I’ve had to block people from communication.

I’ve had people tell me, that have misophonia, “You can’t have visual triggers, or be triggered by grammar”. This has been frustrating. As I fight tooth and nail for advocacy, to be told by my own community that I am “wrong”.

Having severe visual and audial triggers has made life more challenging. The grammar and typing, and light effect triggers are so severe that I find it nearly impossible to surf the web, play video games.

I have the following strange, and life-altering visual triggers:

  • Two spaces instead of one after a period
  • Use of “u” “r” or “ur” instead of full words
  • You’re/your used improperly
  • An overabundance of punctuation, especially “!”
  • Legs and arms in places that are strange to me (one leg up, one down)
  • Arms leaning across car doors
  • Untied shoelaces
  • Effects in video games
  • Bright lights
  • Pinwheels, windmills, and all other “rotating” circles
  • Bags (being swung on an arm)
  • Anything flipping or breezing
  • Words used improperly
  • An improper ellipsis (more than 3 consecutive dots …)
  • An over use of ellipses.
  • Chewing (the visual, no sound necessary; actually I am bothered more by the look than the sound)

Do you struggle from similar? For me, visual triggers have been harder to explain because even our own media doesn’t do enough to explain. Of course, I can’t fault us – there simply isn’t enough data (scientific or otherwise). Sometimes it’s hard to handle visual triggers because I can’t wear earplugs for my eyes. I suppose I could wear a blindfold, but this has impractical applications. I am also more likely to remember visual triggers and never want to go back to the place. If I have been visually triggered somewhere in the past, I will not want to go back.

I have had dreams of these triggers. I have had waking nightmares. These visuals are so deeply intertwined in my brain that they haunt me, like a ghost. Sounds might go away… but the visuals remain.

I have stopped having text conversations with many people because they don’t understand. I get it but it’s hard for me to socialize. It’s become further isolation atop of my isolation. I’m not sure what the answer is, but one thing is for sure, we need more research (and don’t worry, we’ll fight for that!).

[socialpoll id=”2499030″]


Looking for more information on misophonia? Consider attending our workshops at Misophoniaeducation.com

Related posts

Misophonia Etiquette in the Workplace

My Loved One has Misophonia

Confusion Surrounding Misophonia


Jen Sage-Robison April 24, 2018 - 8:57 am

Thank you so much for sharing this, Shaylynn. I’m the mom of a sufferer and I’m trying to better understand. Do you (or sufferers in general) have the same or similar reaction to visual triggers as audio triggers? Meaning the flight, fight or freeze response?

Shaylynn H. April 24, 2018 - 4:59 pm

Yes, there’s a fight/flight/freeze response.

Katherine October 19, 2018 - 6:13 pm

My daughter has similar reactions to both sound and visual. To me, the reaction for both is the same. Her visual triggers include people touching their face, picking fingers nails, leg shaking, certain way I hold the steering wheel while I’m driving, if I touch my hair, move my toes, fidgeting, finger tapping, scratching. These triggers seem heightened with family members although many of the sound triggers are bothersome no matter where they are coming from or who they are coming from. Sound triggers include, bass sounds that are heard in another room or area of a building, snoring, coughing, throat clearing, the time of certain voices, singing, muffled or barely audible sounds, whispering, crickets at night, rain drops on the skylight. This is a lot for a child ( or anyone) to have to cope with especially while trying to do well in school. Most people who do not have this don’t understand. There needs to be some sort of counselling by individuals that truly understand the impact Misophonia has on sufferers and the families. We were fortunate to have diagnosed this early for my daughter at 8 years old. We have been extremely supportive and mindful of her triggers. She is now 16 and works hard to find strategies to cope by planning ahead for things she knows will trigger a reaction I.e headphones and music for a long car ride. Sitting at the front of the class to eliminate visual triggers such as people fidgeting. It is a daily and constant struggle for her and as a parent it is heartbreaking to know this will be a constant issue in her life. My nephew also has Misophonia and his brother and dad would purposely do things to set him off just out of sheer ignorance. I asked them to read online about Mispohonia because purposefully trying to set off triggers is sbusive. I hope this condition is taken seriously by health officials and through research we can come up with some treatment plans.

Anne December 21, 2018 - 7:38 am

Katherine I identify with you completely. I am a mother of a 13 year old girl with Misophonia. In addition to the sound triggers, she cannot cope with me shaking my leg, rubbing my nails, playing with my necklace or earrings, making certain facial expressions, using the “wrong” finger when I am on my phone or tablet….. the list seems to be ever developing and boy is it frustrating for me! I dont mean to sound selfish because obviously it is so difficult for her but it really impinges on me too. I cant do anything! I am doing all I can to get her help, and to talk to her about coping strategies, yet it is me who seems to the one that is causing so many problems for her. It is so hard when this Issue is coming between us and being so destructive to our relationship and her relationship with her sibling.. The visual triggers are now also developing with her younger sister…. Even worse when noone else really understands Misophonia and even those that do dont realise the extent of it . It is heartbreaking for families and Misophonia sufferers. We desperately need more research and good treatment plans.

MinYung March 8, 2019 - 2:48 am

Well.. Im 15 and have the same issues but, i know many people in my school and many irritating me with that and im falling to pieces.

Noemi Kubiak December 29, 2019 - 5:50 am

Thank you for this!

Saskia December 29, 2019 - 5:51 am

Thank you for this!

CR May 1, 2018 - 10:55 am

My triggers are lights that flicker. We have an older house, and the overhead lights all flicker and it makes me crazy. I live life by certain lamps that will not flicker and by not having lights on. I also can’t handle overhead light well. I have a contraption built on my monitor at work to block the overhead light. I am triggered by people who have the tendency to shake their heads when they’re listening to someone talk in a conversation. Like a Parkinson’s action, but not Parkinson’s. The shaking leg and tapping of fingers are also triggers. Strangely, I am a toe tapper/leg shaker and catch myself doing it – and then stop, remembering it could be driving someone else crazy. It’s hard to cope, but I try my best. I often will leave a room if need be.

Barb May 20, 2018 - 10:14 pm

I am so relieved to learn that excessive punctuation is a trigger for someone besides me, as well as “u” and “r” for “you” and “are” and other texting shortcuts. They drive me nuts! I have Misophonia. Crinkly wrappers and my husband’s chronic throat clearing cough are my biggest triggers, but there are many others. I also have other visual triggers including my brother fingering the tip of his nose, and my husband picking at his fingers and toes. I feel like I’m getting worse, and no one understands; they just think I’m exaggerating.

Rogann December 4, 2018 - 4:23 pm

I can relate 110% !!!

Colt December 22, 2018 - 7:37 am

Good lord, I thought I was the only one to suffer from “visual triggers”. So thankful to know I am not the only one who feels this way.

Kristen December 27, 2018 - 3:22 am

Ok, so not only does hearing people chew- and not everyone, but some people who seem to have an abundance of saliva involved- gross me out, but seeing these people in the action is just as bad. The visuals combined with noise, for me, are unbearable. I get so disgusted that I CANT eat while its going on and for some time after. And something about my boyfriend’s tongue coming out of his mouth to grab the food instead of putting the food in his mouth…ugh. I know it sounds so petty but I’m so disgusted and I can’t hide it . I act rude, and I think he feels that when I stop eating, I’m doing it for affect. I’m NOT. I’m disgusted and I can’t eat. This makes me more angry because I’m not a big eater anyway, and I’m underweight, then I see this going on and hear it, and I lose my appetite completely. The visual is disturbing when someone is eating in that way. This has also made me self conscious about the way I eat- do I sound and look like THAT when I eat? Anyway, this has never affected my life as negatively as it is now, because the way my bf eats is by far the grossest event in this genre that I’ve ever esperienced, and I can NOT react. Its affecting my relationship and my weight. In those moments I don’t care about being rude anymore, I don’t care if he breaks up with me. Afterwards, I feel regret for how rude and nasty I was.

Aiden January 6, 2019 - 6:17 pm

I am so happy to see someone with the same problem as me. I’m 12 and I have had this problem for years now. 1 year ago it was really bad. Anybody who moved their feet or legs in a back and forth movement I simply just wanted to murder them. I wanted to throw them out of a 75 floor building, let the fall on the concrete (face first) and scrape the skin of their faces with the concrete beneath them. I would fantasize about this and it would make me happy. When people do this it’s not just a case of looking away because I still see it. The memory is imprinted on my brain. There are so many nights and days when I have a mental breakdown and I just want to die. I don’t know how to handle it and I also can’t Google it because this disorder is so rare. When I ask people to stop moving their feet or legs it is either just stopping and not doing it again, trying to stop but but can’t because it is a habit or they fight with me and ask why, why do they have to stop? Nobody gets it… It is so hard going to school with this. There are so many learners that do it. 95% of a class infact. It distracts me from what the teacher is saying and I end up having to ask a friend what she or he said. It’s hard and I’m lucky to not have as many triggers as you do but it still gets to me because it is such an intense anger. Please give advice if you have any because I’m done. I’m so done with this disorder

Kyle May 23, 2019 - 8:28 pm

I have audible triggers, such as hearing people chew (but not animals), hearing nasally sneezes, and hearing snow crunch or ice scraping in a freezer. And I also have visual triggers mainly about food. I can’t eat all the rice or corn on my plate, the more I eat, the less I want to eat what’s left. And if someone has food on them, especially rice or corn, I get really grossed out. Also, if my kids eat rice and make a mess of it, I flip out and I really can’t stand seeing it. I feel bad because I know I shouldn’t react as strongly as I do, but I really can’t help the reaction.

Sariah November 22, 2019 - 12:20 am

I have audible and visual triggers. For some reason, they always seem to center around the people I know the best. I don’t usually flip out if someone I don’t know chews loudly, but when my Mom or my sister are eating next to me, I start throwing things and yelling. I really hate the sight of my Mom moving her feet and of my sister staring at the television. Is there any research as to why I react more dramatically around family?

Clara December 2, 2019 - 7:35 pm

Omg me too i’m more angry if it’s done by close family memebers. It’s hell on earth but im glad im not the only one.

annoyed December 14, 2019 - 2:50 pm

Many sounds irritate the hell out of me and it was only a couple years ago that I found out it had a name- Misophonia. I also have a few visual triggers and I wondered if there was a name for that and a search led me here. One of my visual triggers are website pop ups and this site has many. Who the f*** designs a website so a lot of shit pops up? need help, subscribe, receive notifications? all that crap can be put statically in a sidebar, header or footer… and the red permabanner selling ebooks half off… the freaking bright redness of it feels like it is attacking my eyes.

Add Comment