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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Complex PTSD

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garlicbutter · 05/03/2011 00:11

This is not an exclusively feminist topic by any means, but it tends to affect women predominantly. Having disclaimed, I must also declare my level of interest & commitment.

CPTSD is not a medically recognised condition in the UK; it is still working its way onto the DSM. I have CFS/ME (chronic fatigue / malaise) following a diagnosis of PTSD in 2001. I've been combatting the physical & psychological effects resulting from my original PTSD since that time. My doctors have explained how extended stress impacts on bodily and psychological functions, and have referred me for appropriate treatment. However, they can't issue a diagnosis or formally confirm what they tell me because the condition is literally psychosomatic: current medical protocols define very few trans-disciplinary conditions; rightly so, but this leaves a great deal of trauma-related issues without name and thus without recognition.

Because I have the condition that I have, I'm unable to dedicate the time & effort that a concerted campaign would require. So I'm throwing this open, in case it resonates enough that someone could form a useful message from it.

How does this relate to feminism? Complex PTSD classically results from extended exposure to physical and/or psychological abuse in a social setting. There are marked similarities to Stockholm Syndrome, in that the abuse target typically internalises the values of her abuser - in effect, colluding in her own torture. Her collusion is not by choice as such; it's an apparent survival strategy when her circumstances suggest that she must comply or die.

Rape targets tend to suffer from this problem when they are disbelieved, as are child abuse targets. In both cases, social and psychological pressures force the victim to 'accept' her abuser's motives as valid - thus constructing a role in her own mind as watchful sufferer. It exacts a fierce toll on the mind and body. The same syndrome also affects targets of domestic abuse and workplace bullying.

It is common to find that people who've suffered sexual exploitation, bullying, rape and domestic abuse were abused as children. That's not to imply such people invite abuse in adulthood or to infer that social lie, a "victim mentality". Perfectly happy, well-adjusted people are thrown into CPTSD by shocking violence. The only difference between them and the less previously-happy is the level of shock: the latter have already been conditioned to abuse so it takes more to shock them.

Both types of victim suffer the same loss of faith in other human beings, the same failure of trust in society & community, and the same feelings of personal worthlessness. Both develop hypervigilant habits, anxiety disorders and concomitant physical ills. Both are unsupported, except by short-term interventions aimed at 'coping'. This means that those whose values have been shaken to the core are considered unworthy of support, as long as they can 'cope'. If you'll excuse the soundbite, we are creating a society of walking wounded.

Once again, I apologise for what I know to be a ramble without focus. I have explained. If anyone chooses to explore the issue further, I'll be grateful - for clarification, if nothing else! I shall do my best to reinforce, support and enact anything that comes from this. If nothing does - so be it. I'm coping :)

OP posts:
Prolesworth · 05/03/2011 01:04

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