Bullying and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Part 4)

I found a new article on bullying and PTSD written by Jaime Castillo, a counselor from New York. Mr. Castillo had just read the book 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult and the book also looks at the concept of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a long-term effect of bullying and abuse.

Mr. Castillo gives an overview of how battered person syndrome leads to PTSD, which has a lot of parallels to how bullying can lead to PTSD as well.  He says that when battered person syndrome leads to PTSD, it consists of the following symptoms:

  1. A Re-experiencing the battering as if it were recurring even when it is not
  2. Attempts to avoid the psychological impact of battering by avoiding activities, people, and emotions
  3. Hyperarousal or hypervigilance
  4. Disrupted interpersonal relationships
  5. Body image distortion or other somatic concerns
  6. Sexuality and intimacy issues

Because of this, the victim may develop an irrational belief system to justify their situation. They may adopt feelings that the violence is their fault, always fear for their life, and that the abuser is omnipresent, aka…everywhere always.

I think that you can easily substitute the work bullying for battering above. Mr. Castillo then asks if, like in the book, a bullying victim could then be acquitted of charges pressed against them if they retaliate/beat up/hurt their bully/aggressor on the grounds of PTSD or battered person syndrome. I’m not sure if the case has happened yet, but I have discussed this several times on this website. I think a person can have a mental break due to the effects of bullying abuse. I do believe that the PTSD can cause these people to react to their bully aggressively. What do you think?

Click here to read past articles on bullying and PTSD

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About Alan Eisenberg

Alan Eisenberg is a Certified Life Coach, Bullying Recovery activist and author of "A Ladder In The Dark: My journey from bullying to self-acceptance" and "Crossing the Line". He has been writing and speaking to various audiences about the issue of C-PTSD and Bullying Recovery. Mr. Eisenberg has been featured on several print, radio shows and podcasts on this issue, including NPR and in the Boston Globe. He is currently working toward his Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
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0 Comments

  1. It wasn’t until 35 years after enduring 5 years of bullying that I realized I had suffered from PTSD and recovered from it.

    Being bullied by social exclusion from grades 7 to 11 impacted my psyche and social skills for several decades after I left school. It took years of therapy and workshops to become aware of it and to heal.

    When a therapist/friend mentioned clients who were bullied that show symptoms of PTSD, a light went off in my mind, and it all made sense.

    I recommend EMDR as one route to letting go of the pain, hurt and anger.

  2. It wasn’t until 35 years after enduring 5 years of bullying that I realized I had suffered from PTSD and recovered from it.

    Being bullied by social exclusion from grades 7 to 11 impacted my psyche and social skills for several decades after I left school. It took years of therapy and workshops to become aware of it and to heal.

    When a therapist/friend mentioned clients who were bullied that show symptoms of PTSD, a light went off in my mind, and it all made sense.

    I recommend EMDR as one route to letting go of the pain, hurt and anger.

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