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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

Emotional Desensitization After Trauma

A common characteristic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is emotional desensitization, becoming unable to feel those feelings which make us human such as warmth, closeness, and joy in relationships. What feeling is experienced is rage which may be expressed through unwise, self-defeating, or even violent behavior, the mind having created this blockage as a survival mechanism after the frightening, paralyzing trauma.

The extreme behavior that can follow reflects the anger of frustration and attempt to smash this blockage of feelings, to feel something.
This emotional blockage can derive from combat or civilian experience as an adult or a child, from a terrorist bombing or the continuing child abuse of grossly inadequate parenting. Insight into its nature increases the probability of healing.

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