Today, Ariel Castro, kidnapper and rapist of three women who he held captive for over ten years, has finally been sentenced to life in prison. Good, now those women can now heal from the trauma of the ordeal and he can finally shut up. That narcissistic man was full of excuses, trying to control the sentencing by airing his opinions, interrupting the judge, proclaiming that HE was the victim. Whatever. What an idiot. He's a sexual predator, rapist and murderer. He did unspeakable crimes to those women, who now surely have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and they will have that for the rest of their lives. I also have PTSD and though it doesn't show on the outside as much, it's a state of high anxiety inside that never turns off, making it hard to sleep, concentrate (when overly stressed) and trust. These women are strong survivors who will now get on with their lives and be victors, not victims. It takes time, therapy and patience on a lifetime basis to help heal the emotional damage.
Healing from PTSD is all about learning to get rid of old, destructive thought patterns and replace them with new, healthier ones. Depression, anxiety and fear cause the sufferer to feel negative, unworthy and sad. This is why I have spent my life working on being positive, to not walk around with a storm cloud over my head, and to have my own opinions..undoing the put-downs/depersonalization of victimisation. Feeling unworthy is a knee-jerk reaction left over from abuse. A very strong habit that is hard to break. When someone like Castro inflicts cruel dominance and violence on the women, they had to feel very fearful and afraid to do anything. Anyone who can be held for over ten years like that in captivity had to feel extremely conditioned to fear punishment if they tried to leave. This happens in child abuse, too. Constant fear of being hurt/punished, either mentally or physically. It's a mind screw of the highest order. When your adrenaline never stops pumping, it becomes "normal", and then sleep is impossible, shutting down the brain is hard. I use DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), learned years ago, and it is extremely helpful to me. Anyone with PTSD should try it, take the time to learn the principles and see how it can help control the fearful/stressed mind. It's not a cure-all, but it is good. I use it all the time, it becomes habit after a lot of practise.
Another part of surviving abuse is the hypersensitivity. When your adrenaline never backs down, it's like being "wired" all of the time. I am hyper aware of peoples' facial expressions, attitudes and speech. I had to be when growing up, because it was a survival tool. Now it is not necessary but still there. I appear calm on the outside, but inside, my mind is processing everything anyone says or does around me, wondering if they can be trusted, or should be avoided. Castro's victims will surely do the same, and need kindness, comfort and respect. Feeling sorry for someone with PTSD is the worst thing anyone can do. We are not crazy, PTSD is a wound, not a mental illness. It's a "normal" reaction to abnormal, trauma filled experiences on a longterm basis (in this case and in my own). We are tough survivors, not victims. Speak softly but carry a big stick. I'm a lover, not a fighter but no pushover. They surely aren't, either. That was evident in Michelle Knight's victim statement in court today.
I am sure these young ladies will be able to live better lives in time, now that they have their own families back and loving support. They are free, and can now go about being the individuals that they are. The human spirit is tougher than abusers (who are mentally disordered narcissists and cowards, in my opinion). It's so great to see these women have the last word in court and now the work of healing begins. And it is work, hard work. Life goes on. The best thing to do is to work on it piece by piece, lesson by lesson, to learn to overcome old (fear/anger/stress)habits and replace them with hope, love and happiness. It's a process, two steps forward, one back. They are courageous. As for Castro, he can go away now, forever, to prison. Nothing he says or does can undo the severe damage that was done. Stick a fork in him, he's done. Enjoy prison, dirtbag..lots of men in there are also addicted to sex.
For anyone unfamiliar with the case, here's a link: http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/local_news/cleveland_metro/ariel-castro-sentencing-court-updates-in-case-involving-amanda-berry-gina-dejesus-michelle-knight