Listening to the book, I am deeply captivated in part because I also recognize all those symptoms. I’ve been angry a lot lately, possibly destroying one friendship with a person who didn’t support me in a way I would have liked to have been supported (I am too close to that situation to be able to fully analyze it). I wonder how much of that is symptom – and how much of that is moral outrage. Instead of normalizing unhealthy relationship dynamics, I would have liked to have seen those dynamics as what they were: The lived experience of patriarchy. Yet, the normalizing is so common in our society.
While Morris purposely chose not to look at PTSD as a reaction to childhood or domestic abuse, his book contains hints on the moral dimension of that posttrauma as well. A society that produces men with entitlement attitudes that lead to abuse needs to be questioned, not the choices individual women make. There is nothing wrong with us. A culture built on the idea that half of its population should serve the other half is. By treating PTSD as an individual, not a social, problem – as most of the evidence-based treatments do – we are denying the moral outrage. Maybe that is in part why my PTSD is back with such force: I have not fully expressed my anger.
It is also interesting that there is far less research on the even more social causes of PTSD than war. Maybe that reflects an unwillingness to even look at the moral implications of child and spousal abuse… It would lead us to question the institution so many see as the center of our society, the family, and its dynamics.