This is a continuation of the discussion about PTSD from TBI – Exploring some possibilities.
Betrayal is a big one that comes into play in PTSD — it impacts your sense of safety and that compounds your difficulties. When hurt or injury or assault or some other trauma is experienced at the hands of others, it ups the traumatic nature of the experience even more. Children who see their parent killed — often by another family member — have a 100% rate of PTSD.
The place where TBI is a contributing factor, I believe, is the place where the thinking processes of an injured brain become paranoid, suspicious, and turn even the most innocuous statement or action into a personal affront. Life can be challenging enough, as it is, but when you throw in the injured brain’s tendency to misinterpret all sorts of otherwise harmless experiences and actions as BAD, and you throw in some perseveration on top of it — spinning and spinning and turning and churning, whipping you up into a frenzy of outrage and hurt — then things get even more interesting.
The thing about betrayal, is that sometimes it’s not exactly that. Sometimes we think that we’ve been betrayed or wronged or personally attacked, when it’s just shit happening. When I got hurt in 2004, I felt intensely betrayed by a number of different experiences, and it only made things worse. I didn’t feel safe. I didn’t feel like I could trust anyone. I had very little control over my thought processes, and I didn’t realize it well enough to actually do something about it.
So I suffered. How I suffered.
The other factor with TBI and betrayal and PTSD is that (as I alluded above), you can feel everything so intensely, that a minor infraction becomes a source of immense pain and suffering. One little misspoken word can turn into a world-toppling drama, and inside the confines of your head it then amplifies until it’s deafening, and it’s all you can hear. Even the most minor of oversights can rapidly turn into a full-blown “betrayal catastrophe” with your world shifting off its axis over stuff that most people wouldn’t even notice.
But you notice. Oh yes, you notice.