Some Thoughts on PTSD – Marc MacYoung

Some Thoughts on PTSD

Part I

Here’s a newsflash from inside the psychology world. About 85% of people get over PTSD on their own. Of the remaining 15% percent around 10% recover with help. About 5% will never get over it.

I tell you that because the automatic assumption that a bad experience will cause PTSD and must be ‘helped’ by a mental health profession causes more damage to people and often extends the trauma — up to and including indoctrinating them into being a ‘permanent victim’

The problem is there is big money to be had in treating ‘victims’ so it’s not in the field’s best interest to actually help people get over ‘trauma.’ In fact, telling them they will always be weak and wounded because of an experience just guarantees the income stream of a whole lot of ‘helpers’ and advocates.

Here’s something to seriously consider. Mental instability is more prevalent in cultures that emphasize individuality, independence and self-reliance. Individuals with an emphasis on self-esteem are more easily traumatized than people with emphasis on community and belonging to a group. Oddly enough it appears that as long as the connection to the group isn’t threatened, such people are more resilient about recovering and coping with trauma.

Since we don’t know what a person’s background or social connections are, we have to be careful about making the automatic assumption that she going to be traumatized by using a submission strategy to rape. This especially if she makes the decision not to fight back. Because face it, as distasteful as that decision might be for people who always advocate fighting back, the fact that it is a conscious decision is an exercising of her power and choice.

Is it a decision I personally encourage? Well no. Hell I have a hard enough time getting women to understand that forcible rape is considered grievous bodily injury in most jurisdictions and therefore they’re legally justified in shooting the asshole in the face. But it is a decision that I understand. One that if that’s the person’s choice, then as an instructor, it’s my duty to help them understand what they need to have in order to make that choice work for them. And when it’s not a good choice.

Part II

The numbers about PTSD come from a psychologist I know who is also a professor. I’ve attended his lectures on the subject of changes in PTSD treatments and trends. I’ve also — since he’s a friend of mine — had time with him discussing the subject over both coffee and beers. I get insider publications from him. Not light reading, but very interesting. Add to that we’re working on a joint paper on a different subject. This despite the fact that I am not a mental health professional, nor do I play one on TV. That being said, I deal with a large number of them because of my field — which is preparing people for violence, how it happens and the aftermath.

It’s a subject I have jes’ a lil’ bit of experience with. To the point that my scale of ‘bad’ is a little different than most people. See I scale bad by asking “Did the person live?” If the answer is yes, then my normal response is ‘Good, then we can do something.”

At this time a whole lot of people get their knickers in a knot about trauma and how I’m being dismissive of the horrors said individuals went through. Thing is they’re so busy squeaking they don’t ask what my response is when the answer is ‘no.’ That’s “How many parts was the body found in?” See unlike most folks I know there’s some really bad ways to die. Ways that really do make still being able to have emotional trauma on the lighter side of bad.

Contrary to what a lot of people think, lethal violence is exceptionally rare, especially aimed at women. I took all the numbers of women killed in domestic violence situations in the US and then compared them against the 1,300,000 incidents claimed by an advocacy group and did the math. According to the numbers not even 0.079 percent of domestic violence incidents result in death of a woman. The numbers of women killed by rapists would have more zeros behind the decimal point before you got to another number.

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