The PTSD-Identity attempts to destroy love. It tries to bludgeon away those who love you. It tries to damage our capacity to love, to be loved, and it wants to erase and recognition of the greater implications of love.
Our Soul Responds to the Presence or Absence of Love
PTSD is a wound to the soul. There are physical aspects involved in PTSD such as changes in brain chemistry and structures like the amygdala, but PTSD also wounds our souls.
We respond positively to love. We tend to respond negatively to the lack of love. PTSD can heighten its damage if it makes us unlovable. PTSD symptoms can destroy our ability to trust.
Part of surviving and then subsequently healing from PTSD requires we learn and accept that we are lovable. We retain an essential worth and value.
- PTSD’s desire to isolate and then kill me can only be achieved if I abandon hope and love.
- PTSD wants me to give up hope that I can ever be better.
- PTSD wants us to believe that the nightmares, anxieties, fear, and loss of trust are the “new normal” that will never get better, but only worse.
- PTSD wants us to think we cannot be loved because we are not lovable.
When PTSD is fully engaged we end up alienating those who love us. We take on PTSD behaviors we know are wrong. We do them to try and feel as if we are alive, as if we have value, as if we can actually be loved.
PTSD seeks to cheapen and alienate love by abusing sex.
One of the paradoxes here is that often a PTSD afflicted person will commit adultery and sleep around in an attempt to feel they have value. They do this in spite of having people at home who find them desirable and who love them.
It’s as if the PTSD has disqualified us from feeling the love of people who loved us before we were traumatized.
These PTSD behaviors, often expressed in infidelity and porn addiction, are done with the purpose of causing more despair in the person with PTSD and are an attempt to make loved ones give up on him or her.
The person with PTSD needs to relearn their inherent value.
You must take a major risk: Accept you are loveable.
The trauma we experienced gave us PTSD. The PTSD wants us to feel so tainted that we abandon hope that we can love or be loved.
PTSD Healing Lies in the Risk of Love
If you have a PTSD physician, a medical doctor or psychologist, then follow their medical advice. But there is more than pills and chemistry to treating PTSD. Love also helps heal PTSD’s soul wound.
We have mentioned that PTSD seeks to alienate you from your loved ones, usually thought of as your family and friends. But there is more (as if that was not bad enough):
PTSD wants to alienate you from God.
God is Love. If you are alienated from love, then PTSD has alienated you from God. PTSD cannot isolate and kill you if you have a healthy relationship with God. God and love are the same thing.
Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. 1 John 4: 7-8
The PTSD-Identity seeks to drive us away from God. By doing so we are driven away from love. By compelling us to do acts which cheapen love, it attempts to break off our relationship and experience of God. And, of course, our friends and family are cheapened by PTSD at the same time.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. 1 John 4:18
PTSD wants us to always be afraid. If we operate in fear, then we are more likely to harm ourselves and our relationships with others. Yet, love dilutes and then casts out fear. If the fear is decreased and dispensed with then there is room for love, room for God.
Many people with PTSD feel that because of what they have done, or what has been done to them, they are no longer worthy. They fear that they no longer can love or be loved.
And there lies the PTSD trap:
Fear generates more fear and
drives away hope and love.
Fear increases isolation and
Makes us more susceptible to suicide.
In the healing of PTSD we have to risk love. Love restores relationships and self-worth. Sometimes, in the cases where alienation has taken a strong hold, this can only be done at a distance in prayer and writing in a journal. But it can still be done. We don’t have to surrender to the PTSD.
This essay has been rather freeform and stream of consciousness. The point, however, is that if you have PTSD, don’t give into the temptation or fear that you can no longer love or be loved. You are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1): You have value.
Since God is love, and you are made in the image and likeness of God, then you too share in love at its most pure and essential.
Nothing PTSD can do truly removes you from love.
Semper Pax, Dr. Z