How to recover from moral damage

Image for article titled How to recover from moral damage

Photo: fizkes (Shutterstock)

Most of us are familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, which is triggered by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event. A person suffering from PTSD will often experience a constellation of mental health symptoms, such as nightmares, flashbacks, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable memories of the incident. However, as psychologists are beginning to discover, in addition to PTSD (related to feelings of physical safety)people can also develop what is known as “moral damage”—when a person witnesses or commits actions that go against their personal values ​​and beliefs.

Soul Console: Healing Moral Damage.

What is “moral damage”?

The idea of ​​moral injury was first developed while treating Vietnam War, many of whom were dealing with mental anguish from actions they committed themselves or witnessed others do, whether they were unable to save someone else’s life, participate in or witness acts of violence, freeze during a particularly dangerous time, or failing to report ethical violations.

Although moral damage was developing in the context of the treatment of war veterans, there are other circumstances in which a person might go through a similar experience. if they personally committing an action that goes against your own beliefs; experience a sense of betrayal due to the actions of a loved one, such as a parent or partner; or discover the unethical actions of a previously trusted institution, such as your church or school.

Non-pecuniary damage is inherently related to a loss of trust, whether it is a loss of trust in oneself, in another person or in an institution. “Betrayal is a large part of moral damage”, therapist michele demarco said. “At the core of moral damage, it’s very relational.”

How can one heal from a moral wound?

There there is still no consensus on what are the best treatment methods for moral damage and whether the strategies used to treat PTSD are also applicable. healing is it is further complicated by the fact that people who suffer moral damage tend to withdraw and isolate themselves. “They feel like they’re contaminated, or the world is contaminated, and they need to protect themselves,” DeMarco said.

As DeMarco points out, moral damage has a way of completely overcomingend a person’s understanding of who they are and the world they live in. “His whole existential position is completely distorted,” DeMarco said. “Ultimately, it’s a loss of innocence.”

While we still have a lot to learn about the best ways to heal from moral injury, DeMarco points out that part of the process inevitably has to include coming to terms with the world as you now experience it, which includes the loss of innocence.

“Sometimes it’s learning, in benevolent honesty, that sometimes things in life are just sad and finding a way to live with that,” DeMarco said.

Another essential aspect of healing is finding ways to connect with others. “Healing requires a lot of reconnection and bonding,DeMarco said. Sometimes this will also include assessing which relationships are essential and which can be let go..

In his own work, DeMarco has also found that writing can offer relief to people who suffer moral harm, as it can be a way of getting people to open up, if only to themselves, about what happened and what the outcome was. effect.

Doing this can help people access “little grains of truth.”,” which can then be used to make sense of what happened. As DeMarco says, the big question is: “How do I plant these [kernels of truth] in a way that doesn’t keep me in the fetal position and allows me to grow in a new light?

Leave a Comment