I don't believe in broken people. Ptsd isn't about needing to fix ourselves it's about growing through the experiences that trigger us to truly feel in a way that can be quite frightening and frustrating and all consuming. Many of the troops I've sat with thought they were broken, unlovable, angry, and beyond repair. I don't see broken people there I see a whole lot of life experience and a whole lot of untapped wisdom to impact change and forward movement. When one of them begins to heal they lead the others towards healing too. It's a series of little epiphanies that are connected by a single strand, not a big moment of arrival that says I've got this; I'm fixed. There's no need to fix what's not broken. Actually, I think it's the normal functioning of our emotions that get in our way! How dare we feel sad when something happens that tugs at our heart? How dare we feel angry that someone betrayed our trust? How dare we feel soft and safe when someone cares for us? Regardlesss, of how you have your ptsd, there is an unworthiness present that somehow makes us seem to think that if we "feel" that is somehow all wrong and should be stopped at all cost. This is a very unfair position to be in as a human being.
There's certainly the less than controlled emotional responses caused by triggers and changes in the brain, but there are also those "human" responses that we are worthy of having when something simply makes us feel a certain way about it because it either bumps a personal boundary, principle, belief, or moral standard. Ptsd doesn't mean we are always overreacting. Sometimes those around us get used to the silence and lack of reaction, that when we do have a response it is perceived in a negative light no matter what you have to say. It changes the dynamics of relationships when you have to discern what is a rational argument based on values, principles, ideas and what is the Ptsd talking out of fear and lack of control for a situation. They are different and I can tell you not only can I feel that difference in someone else who has it but I can discern it in myself. Developing that awareness definitely takes some time and mapping of triggers but it is enlightening when you start to see and feel the difference.
You can begin to tell the difference by paying attention how you respond with different people. If you have the patience and self-control to be caring, compassionate, and friendly with the presence of a child, then you also have the ability to act that way with another adult. It is a choice we make to respond in a particular way. If we are deliberately hurtful and say words that we know in our mind are dangerous and painful to others, then that again is a choice we make.
Angry outbursts, panic attacks, and genuine fear for our safety causes something different than that and there is no premeditated thought that what you are about to say is hurtful. You just simply react. Do you see the difference? It's important to pay attention to because sometimes it can be an all too easy way out to say it's the PTSD, well sometimes it is, but sometimes it's also a choice that is made.
This is a tough one to own up to, but if we truly want to be able to improve our way of life living with PTSD, then it is important to know when we are culpable for our own behavior and the choices we are making to stay in the darkness.
But again, everything that I share is not about judgment of ourselves. Looking at our reactions and discerning our behaviors simply to learn from them is what it is all about. We aren't helpless in this, we just have to realize that we have access to more than we think we do inside of ourselves. Keep track of your patterns, they speak loudly if you're listening.