PTSD Overview – Awareness Post

June is PTSD Awareness Month
PTSD Signs and Symptoms

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Self-Health Series

“Emotions are very good at activating thoughts,
but thoughts are not very good at controlling emotions.

~  Joseph LeDoux

Responding in the present to threats from the past

Life itself required the development of the ability to detect and respond to danger – so our nervous system evolved to greatly increase the chances that we will remain alive in the presence of threats to safety and security.

When our lives are threatened, a survival response automatically kicks in — before the brain circuits that control our conscious awareness have had time to interpret that physiological response occurring “under the radar.” Initially, there is no emotion attached to our automatic response to threat.  Fear is a cognitive construct.

Our individual perceptions of the extent of the danger we just witnessed or experienced personally is what adds velocity to the development of fearful emotions, even if our feeling response follows only a moment behind.

Some of us are able to process those perfectly appropriate fearful responses and move forward. Others of us, for a great many different reasons, are not.

Many of those who are not able to process and move forward are likely to develop one or more of the anxiety disorders, while others will develop a particular type of anxiety disorder doctors call PTSD — Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Related articles:
When Fear Becomes Entrenched & Chronic
Understanding Fear and Anxiety

An Equal Opportunity Destroyer

While we hear most about the challenges of PTSD in soldiers, it is not limited to those returning from combat.

Individuals have been diagnosed with PTSD as the result of a great many different traumas: accidents, assaults, natural disasters, serious illnesses and more. It can develop in the wake of almost any traumatic event. (Situations in which a person feels intense fear, helplessness, or horror are considered traumatic.)

Trauma is especially common in women; 50% – five out of every ten women – will experience a traumatic event at some point during their lifetime, according to the The National Center for PTSD, a division of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to VA research and experience, approximately eight million Americans will experience PTSD in a given year, including both civilian and military populations.  That number is quite likely to be low, since many people never seek treatment for PTSD, or even admit to themselves that PTSD is what they are experiencing.

Related Post: Interesting PTSD Statistics

According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, individuals likely to develop PTSD include:

  • Victims of violent crime (including victims of physical and sexual assaults, sexual abuse, as well as witnesses of murders, riots, terrorist attacks);
  • Members of professions where violence is likely, experienced, or witnessed often or regularly, especially first-responders (for example, anyone in the armed forces, policemen and women, journalists in certain niches, prison workers, fire, ambulance and emergency personnel), including those who are no longer in service, by the way;
  • Victims of war, torture, state-sanctioned violence or terrorism, and refugees;
  • Survivors of serious accidents and/or natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods, etc.);
  • Women following traumatic childbirth, individuals diagnosed with a life-threatening illnesses;
  • Anything resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), leaving you struggling with the ongoing trauma of trying to live a life without the cognitive or physical capabilities you thought you would always be able to count on.

Sufferers may also develop further, secondary psychological disorders as complications of PTSD.  At its base, however, we are talking about individuals stuck in a particular type of FEAR response.

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More about Risk Factors

According to The World Health Organization, a risk factor is any attribute, characteristic or exposure that increases the likelihood of an individual’s developing a disease or injury.

In this case, a risk factor is anything that increases the chance of developing PTSD.

Increased risk factors have been compiled in an effort to help provide an explanation for why some people who experience a traumatic event will develop PTSD, while others do not.

Symptoms of PTSD are more likely to occur in individuals who have (in no particular order):

  • Previous traumatic experiences
  • A history of being physically or sexually abused
  • Family psychiatric history
  • Alcoholism or alcohol abuse
  • A social environment that fosters stigmatization, guilt, shame,
    and/or self-hatred (including victims of extreme or chronic childhood bullying)
  • Absence of a community of social support
  • Inadequate emotional coping skills overall
  • Chronic exposure to ongoing high-stress environments of any type
  • TBI/ABI traumas

Identifying PTSD

PTSD can present in a variety of ways, with more than a few symptoms in common with depression, in addition to any or all of those characterizing other anxiety disorders.

Unprocessed trauma continues to haunt us, eroding our sense of safety and security. As a result, it can keep us stuck in an amygdala-defensive emotional pattern that may induce a variety of symptoms over which we feel we have no control, like some or all of the symptoms below:

Emotional symptoms

  • Re-living the event, with or without flashbacks – or –
    conversely, loss of memory about the event causing the symptoms
  • Heightened anxiety reactions to reminders of the event
  • Feelings of depression, detachment, numbness – or –
    conversely, hyperarousal
  • Loss of interest in (or energy for) former activities; including loss of ability/willingness to re-engage in work
  • Feelings of shame, despair, or hopelessness
  • Extreme avoidance, avoiding people or places that are reminders of the event, or avoiding close emotional contact with family and friends
  • Anger and irritability; dulled or absent sense of humor
  • Nightmares, and/or difficulty falling or staying asleep – or –
    “waking dreams” i.e., hallucinations

Physical symptoms

  • Stomach and digestive problems;
    irritable bowels
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Somatic complaints
    (bodily symptoms for no apparent reason)
  • Sexual problems or absence of interest
  • An increased possibility of substance abuse
    or susceptibility to addiction

Cognitive symptoms  (many ADD-like)

  • Difficulty concentrating at all
  • Difficulty sustaining attention
  • Highly distractible
  • Unusually high startle response
  • Impulsivity – little space between impulse and action
  • Lack of emotional control leading to lack of physical control
    (especially destructive or self-destructive behaviors)
  • Impaired or absent ability for physical or mental organization and/or task completion
  • Altered personality traits; change in core beliefs
  • Black and white thinking and/or distorted beliefs
  • Dissociation — experiences of depersonalization or derealization

If you’re a citizen of Alphabet City, already dealing with one of the Executive Functioning Disorders, you may find it practically impossible to drive your own brain since the traumatic incident. (With PTSD, that can happen for the first time in your life, too, without the presence of a prior diagnosis)

It can become an additional traumatizing experience to fear that you are rapidly losing the ability to plan, prioritize, stay-tracked to completion, or think clearly.

PTSD Complications

Recent research on PTSD in the military indicates that there is no such thing as “uncomplicated” PTSD. Although explanations point to the classic “chicken and egg” problem, it is clear that each symptom complicates and exacerbates the presentation of the others.

Along with depression, substance abuse and addiction, PTSD can lead to the development of anxiety disorders of other types, which may lead to a-typical restrictions in a sufferer’s life that may approach the severity of classic phobias and panic disorders.

Problems in the family and break-up of significant relationships are not uncommon, leading to social withdrawal and the additional negative effects of loneliness.

Both activity duty personnel and military veterans are at significantly greater risk for sleep disorders than the public at large, which elevates their risk for a number of serious physical and mental health problems, depression as well as PTSD.

PTSD Subtypes

In addition to symptoms and symptom severity, PTSD is diagnosed and categorized according to when symptoms appear and how long they last following the precipitating event, classified in three separate categories:

  • Acute PTSD: symptoms appear immediately following the trauma experience (or shortly thereafter) and last between one to three months after the event
  • Chronic PTSD: symptoms last more than three months after the event – sometimes for many years. Nearly 30% of Vietnam veterans meet lifetime criteria for PTSD, and almost 85% of the Vietnam veterans diagnosed with PTSD still suffer from at least moderate impairment today.
  • Delayed onset PTSD: symptoms don’t appear until at least six months after the event, and can remain the same or worsen over time — sometimes continuing for many years

Complex PTSD: The prior information in this article is descriptive of PTSD regardless of type – primarily PTSD that occurs following exposure to time-delimited traumatic events. The current PTSD diagnosis does not fully capture the more severe psychological harm that occurs with prolonged, repeated trauma. In a future article, I will explore this form of PTSD in more depth. [Now available HERE]

Inadequate treatment for PTSD

Science is still looking for many of the pieces of the PTSD puzzle. Even though a variety of therapies can help relieve PTSD symptoms, at the current time there is really no “cure,” nor is there an explanation of how exposure to the same trauma can affect different individuals with differing degrees of severity. We also do not have definitive treatment protocols appropriate for everyone who experiences PTSD.

Right now it looks like the difference between who recovers from trauma and who is more likely to develop PTSD may turn out to have a genetic component, and may be linked to the size of specific areas of the brain.

  • While controversial, the most recent research ties the development of PTSD to the size of an area of the brain called the hippocampus, which also has implications for memory formation. Greater size indicates a greater ability to recover from trauma, while a smaller hippocampus is postulated to increase the risk of developing PTSD, increasing the severity of symptoms, and lengthening recovery time.

Related posts:
Hippocampal volume and resilience in PTSD
Brain region size associated with response to PTSD treatment

  • The stress-hormone cortisol developed to assist in mobilizing the body for effective response to a stressful event, but our brains and bodies are not designed to live in a state of chronic stress. Some studies suggest that repeated exposure to stress may actually damage the hippocampus, through the repeated release of cortisol.
  • What science does know now is that PTSD is a result of both the event that threatens injury to self or others, and the emotional, hormonal response to those events that involve persistent fear or helplessness.

At this time, the goal of PTSD treatment is to reduce, if not eliminate, chronic fear-based emotional and physical symptoms to improve the quality of daily life. Treatment may include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy or other types of counseling/coaching, and/or medication, along with other, less well-known and less widely accepted attempts at intervention.

But before we explore the variety of treatments currently available (in a future article), let’s take a quick look at some mechanisms that contribute to the development of PTSD in the first place.

What We’ve Learned from LeDoux

Cognitive neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux is an NYU professor and a member of the Center for Neural Science and Department of Psychology at New York University.

In addition to his work focused on the neural mechanisms of emotion and memory, he is also the director of the Center for the Neuroscience of Fear and Anxiety — a multi-university Research Center in Manhattan using research with rats to explore and attempt to understand the mechanisms of pathological fear and anxiety in humans (which LeDoux prefers to call “extreme emotional reactions to the threat response”)

Mechanisms of Fear

At its base, when we are looking at PTSD, we are examining individuals stuck in a particular type of FEAR response.  PTSD sufferers appear to be at the mercy of the reappearance of memories and resulting emotions because they lack immediate conscious control.

For many years, neuroscientists believed that the cortex, the most recently evolved, wrinkly outer covering of the human brain, was required for the processing of any kind of conscious experience, even those triggered by a sensory input resulting in an emotional response.

Thanks to the work of LeDoux and his colleagues at The LeDoux Lab, we now know that that this information can be sent through the brain in an additional manner, via a pathway bypassing the cortex and allowing for emotions to be triggered unconsciously, faster than the speed of thought.

In other words, our brains are designed to respond to threats to safety neuro-chemically, regardless of what we think about it logically or how we feel about it emotionally.

How traumatic events intensify the threat response

The stress hormone cortisol strengthens memories of traumatic experiences, not only while the memory is being formed for the first time, but also when the memory reconsolidates as we look back on an experience.

PTSD develops when we get stuck in the “ready to act” survival mode as the memory cycle repeats and strengthens the emotional responses to the original traumatic event.

It has previously been shown that people with PTSD have altered brain anatomy and function. Research on the connection between PTSD and neurocognitive disorders, including those associated with dementia and TBI [traumatic brain injury], indicate that trauma actually changes structures in the brain. Which indicates, according to recent scientific understanding, experiencing traumatic events can change the way our brains function.

In the face of an overwhelming feeling of fear, our lifesaving-in-the-moment set of adaptive responses can leave behind ongoing, long-term physical residuals that can result in psychological problems, along with attendant physical symptoms.

Synchronization of the activity of different neuronal networks in the brain is a fundamental process that facilitates the transmission of detailed information and the triggering of appropriate behavioral responses.

This synchronization is crucial for sensory, motor and cognitive processes, as well as the appropriate functioning of the circuits involved in controlling emotional behavior.

Synchronization is a balancing act

Researchers from Uppsala University and the medical university Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm have shown that people with PTSD have an imbalance between serotonin and substance P, two of the brain’s neuro-chemical signalling systems. The greater the imbalance, the more serious the symptoms.

Related Post: PTSD reveals imbalance between signalling systems in the brain

Repeated experience of traumatic events, especially when left to fester unprocessed, can prevent rebalancing, which prevents healing (meaning, allowing the past to remain in the past, feeling confident that you have the strength to handle whatever life throws your way in the future).

In PTSD articles to come, in addition to exploring Complex PTSD, we’ll take a closer look at how PTSD is believed to develop, treatment options currently available and treatment options that are being explored for future use — so STAY TUNED.

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If you are (or love) a veteran of combat, make sure you investigate what the Armed Services have put into place to help — and check out the links below, and on the right sidebar (scroll DOWN to the TBI links for the Bob Woodruff Foundation – also check out The Coming Home Project.)

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IN ANY CASE, do stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
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Related Articles ’round the net

A few PTSD Support Sites

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

50 Responses to PTSD Overview – Awareness Post

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  11. swamiyesudas says:

    My Dear Madelyn, another great post from You. As, by God’s Grace I feel (and Am) Ok, my stresses and even Traumas worked off quite some years back, And as I am pressed for time, (have again gone back to dishing You all out more than a post a day, Plus other writings), just ‘Speed read’ this Your post. It is Very Informative, for which I Congratulate You.

    In India, Stress, Trauma, leave alone PTSD, are taken as Greek. Even our physicians do not refer to these. Traumatised People here just Pull along, to the Best of their ability.

    I noticed Your: ‘Remember Our Veterans’ Button in between. Thank You for thinking of them. We, the people, who should be Proud and Grateful to them, are Ignoring them, which is Atrocious.

    Kind Regards, and Heartfelt ‘More Power to You’ on Your Excellent work. With Love, Yesudas.


    • I could never manage to keep up with your impressive level of posting, Yesudas – I struggle to post as often as I do (and speed-read as many other posts as I can, so I do understand).

      I wish I had time to comment and discuss with every single one. Lack of time means I don’t, sadly, so I pick one or two every day as I “make the rounds.” I do my best to respond to comments on my own blog (with more than a perfunctory “appreciate you.”)

      There is little understanding of trauma around the world – much worse than here in America in many cases. While it breaks my heart, I expect MUCH better of my own government.

      If they can find the funds to fund foreign wars, they need to allocate funds to support what comes on return. But then, we probably both feel the same way about war efforts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • swamiyesudas says:

        Thank You, my Dear Madelyn! My output mainly reflects my Years and Years without a ministry!

        I had written a bit, as to how Our Indian soldiers are not so traumatized. But as I have been thinking, I see that Indian soldiers, at the most, are sent for UN peace keeping duties. Whereas US soldiers in particular have given their Lives and limbs to aid and protect Others, which is a fact that cannot be denied. This is something No other Nation is ready to take up. The Poor US soldier always seems to be At War. My Sympathies and Salutations.

        After all, corporates have factories to manufacture weapons, and if they don’t sell, phut goes their yatchs and the Riviera. But they just buy senators, and lo, while X1 is rusting, X2, being manufactured is shelved, and work on X3 begins. Only, We pay for it all literally through Our Nose.

        Definitely, We both feel the same about the so called ‘War efforts.’ One with You in Our Own War!

        Liked by 1 person

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  14. Thank you for giving us depth and breadth of PTSD information. Unfortunately, many people who need to read it won’t, for fear of being triggered. When I recently published An Honest House, it was with this knowledge that the very people who could recognize themselves in my book would not read it. So we can only hope that with articles like your post and my book, the people who love/know them will recognize the symptoms and become more aware. Recognizing the symptoms is a key element.
    Thank you very much, again.

    MGH EDIT: Click HERE for reviews of Cynthia’s books – no trigger warnings necessary.


    • Thank you — and I know what you mean about fear of being triggered. It’s one reason why, except for sharing how bad things had to get for ME, symptom wise [in When Fear Becomes Entrenched & Chronic <==link] before I admitted I needed help, I shy away from ‘stories,’ in favor of ‘info.’

      Understanding potential symptoms, etc. was a huge help to me – and sharing them was healing.

      My hope is that a loved one who does NOT have PTSD will read to understand a loved one who does – and maybe, bit by bit, share a few things that might help.

      After reading the reviews, I look forward to having the time to read your books.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. tmezpoetry says:

    Great article that has more in depth information than your usual ptsd blog post. There is an old movie called The Pawnbroker (1964) that was ahead of its time in presenting ptsd symptoms in film. Anyone can watch it on youtube for free.


    • Thanks Tammy – for stopping by as well as for the suggestion. I saw the Pawnbroker during an extremely fast-paced film seminar when I was an undergrad. Many, MANY years later, the films blend together in my memory. I’ll see if I can find it for a refresher.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tmezpoetry says:

        Cool! Yes it is a classic as far emulating ptsd symptoms even before the term was truly coined in western civilization. Hitchcock also induced characteristics of trauma in some of his works. I guess this is important to me in introspect because many can identify with certain conditions easier through cinema and characterizations over clinical terminology. I wish there was a website exclusively for psychoanalysis of cinema (although there have many articles and books on it). I am fascinated by the collaboration in it. 🙂


        • What a great idea for a website (or a blog) – or at least one of the themes of a site that looks at other factors. I’m surprised that some film professor hasn’t already thought of it.

          I’ve always believed that acting/drama was the best tool for developing empathy. Many people don’t have the type of “visualization” that can extrapolate from descriptions, but watching the same descriptions come to life on a stage or screen usually speaks to everyone. (acting/directing was my first career).

          Liked by 1 person

          • tmezpoetry says:

            I’m sure they have but I haven’t really researched it since the thoughts were sparked by your post 🙂 On a short check when replying, nothing came stumbling through google analytics. I would love to see your perspective on some characters 🙂


            • How much time do you have? 🙂 I could discuss plays and films for HOURS and in great detail.

              I’ve only had one friend with a similar appetite – an ex-NYC roomie (when I was still in “the biz.”) We used to stay up most of the night talking about every nuance of every play or film we saw – together or separately.

              She’s still in NYC and I’m not, unfortunately, and both of our lives have gotten incredibly busy since we lived together; we rarely speak these days. Many of the people I’ve met since leaving New York collapse “criticism” with “critical” – they prefer to leave nuance unexplored, in the main. Sigh.

              Liked by 1 person

            • tmezpoetry says:

              Let’s get the party started 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            • tmezpoetry says:

              lol white wine?


            • I prefer red – but then again, white is nice for summer. Two bottles, perhaps – one of each?

              Liked by 1 person

            • tmezpoetry says:

              Trying to get me drunk? lol I’m a lightweight. Here is a movie for consideration – Mystic River. You know I can interview you for my Danceofsorrows website, that would be fun. Interested?


            • DRUNK? Remember, I said I could talk about this for HOURS. We don’t want to run out of libations, do we?

              I need to figure out how to check out Danceofsorrows to fully understand what I am saying yes to – but, of course – I’d be honored.
              xx, mgh
              I don’t know what happened to my earlier approval & response – WordPress is misbehaving in a number of ways lately (you get what you pay for???) I’m glad I caught it. Sorry for the delay.

              Liked by 1 person

            • tmezpoetry says:

              haha no we don’t 🙂 Danceofsorrows is listed as a quciklink on the left side of my page under – my Sites. I haven’t done interviews on there but I would like to have something about what we discussed about films and characterizations. Oh and I am totally add so yeah, the WordPress is frustrating when t doesn’t show everyone’s latest post in the reader or fails to alert of new responses. So no worries if WordPress misbehaves 🙂


  16. bethbyrnes says:

    This was thorough, which I love: necessary and sufficient, you met those two critical tests.

    I relate to this as I had a very strict father growing up, with lots of unintentional shaming and psychological stress. It occurred to me just last week that I probably had some mild and certainly unrecognized PTSD as a result.

    It has left its mark in that I am high-strung and over-sensitive, and I have a fear of flying, even though I have flown thousands and thousand of miles in my lifetime.

    I think seeing that statistic on women experiencing trauma is very apt. I am going to read this again, Madelyn, as I think you have put a lot of valuable data here to consider.


    • First and foremost, thank you, Beth, for ringing in positively on a long post. Only yesterday a blog author’s reply to a comment left in a discussion thread on a political blog requested me (and only me) to: “Please try to keep your remarks short. Thanks.” Clearly, we don’t agree politically, and it seems that he dislikes well-developed points from “the other side,” but it still smarts to have been singled out – since other long responses were not.

      I thought about responding “I don’t tweet” – but ultimately decided to let it go, ignore him, and stop contributing to the comment stream on his blog or linking to his essays. So your comment could not be more timely – balm for my spirit.

      Secondly – I appreciated your heads up on Hillary’s speech today. For anyone ELSE who missed it, here’s a link to the transcript:

      AND NOW – PTSD

      My guess is that our fathers might have been cut from similar cloth. I never doubted for a moment that Brandy loved me, but he was extremely strict and psychologically shaming nonetheless. He grew up without a mother, and my own mother’s mother was psychologically sadistic, so that explains a lot of it. Still, it resonates decades later – both subtly and not so.

      RE: PTSD in 50% of woman — future articles in draft will disclose that current studies indicate that vets don’t even represent the largest PTSD demographic – although they may well be the one with the most debilitating presentations.

      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.


      • bethbyrnes says:

        What a rude person that blogger was! I always welcome comments on my blog, the longer the better even if they differ with me. Unbelievable!

        Of the many things that people complain are the burden of one or another cohort, racism, LGBT, economic disadvantage, women usually top the list in every category.

        I have always said, worldwide and even in advanced countries, women are the most disadvantaged minority. But, most cultures are so used to the subordination of women that we don’t even consider it an issue.

        It is! Punitive fathers are a particular problem. It is so easy to squelch a child, especially little girls. My father thought I should grow up with the tough “love” he got from two tough parents. Ignorance!! And my mother felt helpless to interfere, although she did her best and is very loving.



        • Thank you, Beth. Although I adore (and appreciate) feedback of any sort, I have always preferred longer comments that encourage a community discussion, pro or con. I would NEVER attempt to shut down dialogue, and most certainly not with a curt comment clearly intended to be derogatory. I mean, it’s not as if comment space is limited, right? In fact, I usually respond encouragingly to “apologies” for long comments – tho’ I do not approve nasty, name-calling responses, especially when aimed at another commenter, regardless of length [public officials are fair game, however 🙂 ]

          Like you, I got a great deal of tough love (the ultimate oxymoron) from my Dad – and my mother’s reaction sounds similar to yours. She was my biggest cheerleader, but she wasn’t raised in a manner that might have encouraged her to stop that nonsense dead in its tracks. That was a different generation raised with different parenting and relationship ideals, which tempers my reaction a bit. HOWEVER, I can be extremely judgmental when I see that crap from young parents today. IMHO, punitive = abusive, and needs to be called out as same! Nothing will EVER change unless and until we do.

          I have noticed that most tough “love” parents don’t single out girls vs. boys – in fact, they may well come down harder on the boys. Still, I totally agree that girls are more readily squelched, especially by their Daddy’s, whom they tend to put on a pedestal in the early years (and perhaps because they do). In my observation, men generally seem less likely to be aware of how they are coming across, and more likely to dig in and defend when they feel bad about an action or comment, so that may contribute to the problem more than we realize. Women seem “genetically programmed” to notice emotional nuance in their offspring, and seem to have an easier time apologizing – tho’ I’d be treading on thin ice in any attempt to support that last observation pairing.

          As in many other arenas, Beth, we are on the same page on the “women are the most disadvantaged minority” point of view. Aristophanes proposed the best solution for the quickest change in Lysistrata, way back in 411 BC – but women today are chastised severely for even thinking of withholding a man’s “god-given right” to sexual access to a woman’s body. A look at the transcript of any rape trial might even support replacing “chastised” with “punished” – but that’s another topic for another day.

          Anyway, thank GOD we both were fortunate enough to be born to loving mothers who tempered the toughness however they were able, huh?


  17. PorterGirl says:

    I do love your posts, so insightful and informative. I have friends who have suffered with this – ex-military and police in my experience – and their diagnosis initially made things worse as they have always had to be presented as ‘strong’ people. PTSD doesn’t make them weak, it makes them human. Thank you once again for a brilliant piece.


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