“…. seeing his own split state by a system of compartments.” How well do I know this one. When I was struggling, IN SOBRIETY, to keep my depression covert, I would compartmentalize my behaviors, the ones which were against my own nature. My own actions were against my true self, who I was when I was very young. I would deny the reality I was living. I would live in a lie. Living in “my shadow,” I would do things that I was not proud of. I would behave towards those I loved in ways that were not coming from the self I believed I was. Talking about the details are not important to me in this venue. I talk about the details with those who are close to me and in my support groups.
“Certain areas of outer life and of his own behavior are kept, as it were, in separate drawers and are never confronted with one another.” This is not surprising to me. I had to split off those parts of my life that were unbearable when I was young. I could not deal with many of the traumas that I experienced then.
But the discussion about then is not what we need to have as a culture. My friends, whether they are in 12 step programs or not, are suffering from P.T.S.D. To extrapolate a little, I dont think that it is only people with “addiction,” issues are suffering from it. I also dont believe that the disorder of P.T.S.D. is constrained to those who are in combat or are affected by some natural calamity like a hurricane or earthquake.
A child of 5 watching his brother being beaten by his father is just as traumatized as someone watching someone else be harmed or hurt in any way. To have to witness violence against another human being is the same whether it is by a roadside bomb or a father’s belt. I would argue that it is the five year old boy who suffers worse in that he did not think that the events would be taking place, whereas the man/boy/woman/girl in the military is made aware of the possibility of the event before it takes place.
I just got off the phone with a dear friend who suffers as much from the effects of P.T.S.D. as I do or anyone else. I am watching a man walk outside of the coffee shop I am in right now who looks 60, who walks like an old man and holds his cigarette in his hand like an old man. But I would bet that if I asked him how old he was, he would probably say that he is between 40 and 45. But as he mutters to himself as he walks back and forth down the sidewalk, he is old. Maybe not in physical years but in emotional/psychological years.
Jung talks about in the opening quote that Man has to protect himself by compartmentalizing the events of his life. Hillman talks about it is not about getting healthier any longer as individuals and the collective, but it as about survival in the world today as well as I believe it is survival OF the world.