Excerpt frm book by Bessel van der Kolk on Traumatic Stress

Over the years I have collected a lot of information, particularly when I was studying health and rehabilitation at Massey University a few years ago.

It was there I discovered Bessel van der Kolk – a leading authority on traumatic stress disorders, who described Complex PTSD and everything I had been going through emotionally, behaviourally and physically after being raped and then neglected (what thousands of people go through).

This is an excerpt from the book “Traumatic Stress: The effects of overwhelming experience on mind, body and society” van der Kolk, McFarlane,& Weisaeth, editors.  You will recognise what those revolting ignorant neo-liberal bigots in government, media and society are doing to the weakest and most vulnerable people.  Paula Bennett at the top of the list, bringing in more and more punishments for child abusers while ignoring all the evidence that traumatised abuse victims are suffering and rotting on welfare.  With Sean Plunket on the attack over talkback radio.


Reason and objectivity are not the primary determinants of society’s reactions to traumatized people.  Rather, as noted earlier, society’s reactions seem to be primarily conservative impulses in the service of maintaining the beliefs that the world is fundamentally just, that people can be in charge of their lives, and that bad things only happen to people who deserve them.

Bearers of bad tidings are generally considered dangerous; thus, societies tend to be suspicious that victims will contaminate the social fabric, undermine self-reliance, consume social resources and live off the strong.  The weak are a liability and after an initial period of compassion, are vulnerable to be singled out as parasites and carriers of social malaise.

Society can only make a commitment to victims if it accepts these two ideas: (1) that victims are not responsible for the fact that they were traumatized; and (2) that if victims are not helped to deal with the memories of their trauma, they will become violent and anxious people, unreliable and easily distracted workers, inattentive parents, and/or people who use drugs and alcohol to help them cope with unbearable feelings.


I would also point out that eating disorders, suicide, self-harming, attachment disorders, phobias and compulsions are also dysfunctional coping mechanisms used by traumatised people.










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