PTSD and Indifference

PTSD awareness and interests seems hinged upon two ends of the teeter totter.  Profound concern or profound indifference. 


I happen to be in the profound concern camp.  Yet, those who are indifferent often write off trauma based soul wounds, PTSD, as somehow deserved and even self-inflicted.  To that end, see Bob Herbert’s “War’s Psychic Toll” at this link


The PTSD Spirituality blog seeks to help us understand no matter how we received our trauma that it continues to wound us and others.  To be dismissive of PTSD pain allows one, whether they are on the political left or political right, to somehow absolve themselves of caring or any obligation to help others. 


What they miss is that we are all in it together and ought to really help the wounded regardless of the source of the wound.  Rape victims are often blamed for being raped, it allows the dismissive person the luxury of not having to care.  Soldiers are told they had volunteered and hence why should we care.  American society devalues our suffering and then dismisses our need for care.  Regardless of how I have acquired my PTSD soul wound, I still have value and should not be denied care or compassion.


Two moments from scripture come to mind here. 

The first is from Paul in his letter to the Galatians (6:2): “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  To state the obvious, PTSD soul wounds are burdens, and we should help.


The second scripture item includes the words of Jesus on the cross in Luke 23:34: “‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do.’  And they cast lots to divide up his garments.”  The very people who are looting his clothing are the ones whom Jesus forgives in their ignorance.


Most of the people who criticize PTSD sufferers are simply ignorant about PTSD, soul damage, and their own responsibility to others.  To suffer from PTSD in the USA often feels like watching your garments being looted. 


At times I find myself indigent and angry at those who dismiss my suffering as inadequate, too far back in the past, or simply my own fault (when I was a teenager, I should have known better than to join the Army; the Vietnam soldiers should have known better than to be drafted, the rape victim should have known better than to walk to school that day, etc.). 


My anger only worsens my PTSD.  One of the areas of PTSD healing comes from forgiveness.  If Jesus could watch his clothes be looted while he was tortured on the cross until he died and still seek forgiveness, then so should I. 


So, I, the weak one, pray to forgive the strong ones their indifference, an indifference which can wound us even more.  May, these strong ones become aware, repent, and seek to help all who have suffered.  And, may I not be bound hostage to PTSD anger. 


Semper Pax, Dr. Z



  1. I guess turning a blind eye to the suffering of others (or worse, blaming the victim) frees one from feeling any obligation to help. “Well, we got ours” is the order of the day. People pay lip service to helping vets, but when the time comes to actually make a sacrifice they are often MIA.

Leave a Reply