A Personal Account
Jordan Peterson was criticised for calling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder a relational illness wherein one is dealing with a existential encounter with evil. But I just think that He is on to something. For even though he is very secular about his approach to psychotherapeutic practice, he is cognizant of the role of spiritual illnesses and the wounds that engender them.
Many years ago, I talked with an Orthodox Priest about how PTSD manifested not only classical ways, but also in ways affecting my ability to function...and surprisingly, he concurred with me. But why? Peterson gives a clue.
According to Peterson, PTSD is essentially about, the Fall of Man occurring in oneself, after having met face to face with someone or something who wants to destroy you and your spirit....and PTSD is figuring out a way to survive the memories of the encounter (the snakes that enter the garden of innocence) skulking in the shadows of the unconscious untils something triggers the reenactment of the experienced fear.
My Own Wound Origin Story
I was gang raped when I was a child. Before and after that, I watched how men would sexually predate on my mother, and treat her so horribly. In my life in foster homes, I have been sexualized, in a society that was sexualizing itself and its children, and now we are in such a state where ownership of children is in question. In my foster home, my foster dad was emotionally and verbally abusive to my foster mother...always comparing her to other women in a degrading way. He also had other affairs. My foster mother would take it out on us children by emotionally and mentally and physically abusing us. She also would project her own sense of unworthiness upon us telling us we would never be able to survive in this world.
I felt so brutalized by my upbringing that I felt more comfortable identifying with the evolution theory that I am a primate rather than a child of God. I trusted no one, not even God, and I'm still working on that. Being able to function socially and to follow through with stuff was difficult for me as work and familial environments for me were combat fields where I was the victim. being preyed upon by the dark wounds of other people's brutalized and spiritually dysfunctional souls. I had and manifested a lot of anger toward myself and others. Certainly, This anger comes out of my profound distrust of anything and anyone around me. And yet I myself am and have been no innocent. Nonetheless, my PTSD/Executive Function Symptoms are more subtle and have always interfered with my ability to function,
The only thing I was good at was academics...since that is a solitary endeavour and lends itself to inner reflection. Inner reflecting is something I was doing a lot of in my search to find my true authentic self and to heal.
Look, the secular academic realm and the secular psychotherapeutic realm base all of their foundational ideas and principles on tenets of evolution theory, and this itself is very flawed.
For the most part, I like Jordan Peterson, because like Joseph Campbell, he understands the souls symbolic manifestations of trauma in art and in culture, but unlike Joseph Campbell, Jordan Peterson is a bit more realistic in terms of addressing the idea that the Spiritual Realm of man, it's brokenness, is a core component of the brokenness that exist within our society and in people. The spiritual realm of mankind is real and Jordan Peterson at least admits to its existence and the importance of "working" with it as necessary, as in, essential, to the formation of a healthy human being.
To me Executive Function Syndrome symptoms are components of PTSD and have a profound spiritual component. Failed relationships for me were primary: My biological mom suffering from Schizophrenia. My foster mother suffered from a dysfunctional marriage. . My foster dad did not know if I was his daughter or a potential mate. I've learned to be very wary around both men and women. I guess I'm a classic motherless and fatherless daughter, with scars so deep that I'm only just now beginning to emerge out of them.
Secular vs Spiritual Healing Modalities, DSVM vs. the Universal Uniqueness
I think since I have been Orthodox Christian for 20 years now, I am beginning to understand that the secular world understands illness as an evolutionary trait that can or cannot be advantageous to existential brute survival, and that the so called spiritual realm, for evolutionists, is the result of physiological processes of the body.
The Orthodox understands illness, mental illness and physical illness as results of the broken spirit of mankind, and a fundamental reconstruction of the spiritual man is the goal of its medicinal doctrine and practice. So an evolutionist model of psychotherapy is going to deny and not acknowledge nor understand the interplay of symptoms which the secular world likes to delineate, or tease out into separate disorders---but then, eventually, they have to make concessions...such as discovering something like Complex Post Tramautic Stress Disorder, which attempts to describe other aspects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that is manifesting clinically.
In the Church, everyone's spiritual disorder is unique and specific to them, even though there are broad expressions of the complex nesting of symptoms, which the Church identifies as Passions. (the word passion itself means suffering).
This is why I think, the Priest who sat with me many years ago and listened patiently as I tried to explain to him my struggles at thriving, was able to understand what I was saying, because being an administering "therapist" of the Church, he was well versed in its theology of illness. He "got" me because the Church had got me, long before I was born.
So my job now is to trust that process, and to align myself with its healing modalites, and thrive, spiritually, no matter the obstacles and missteps of my life.