Your Inner Monster Doesn't Play Well with PTSD (ever felt like punching someone in the face?)
Updated: Jun 22, 2020
Have you ever had a trigger that made you want to punch someone in the face?
How about feeling like you wanted to drop a nuke on somebody?
If you've ever felt looming dark thoughts on the horizon, you probably feel a monster in you.
You just don't want to admit it. Because that means you'll become it, right?
Often, men who deny this side of themselves become extreme or fanatic about whatever it is that they deny they feel.
Think of some of the zealot type television preachers that preach "no sex, no drugs, no rock n' roll".
Then later on you find out they did everything they hated.
I'm not saying that they have to be OK with sex, drugs, or rock n' roll. (well, sex and rock n' roll they do).
Just that they lost control because they demonized their 'monster' and rejected it instead of accepting that there is no light without a shadow.
Accepting It Will Make You Feel More Human
If you don't embrace what is inside you, you'll always live an unbalanced life.
There is a part of you that's 'dangerous'.
This is a part that few understand, and the overwhelming majority don't want to accept.
You may have asked yourself "what's wrong with me?".
Or had dark thoughts that have kept you up at night.
Some of you may have wondered if you harbor some criminal, murderer, or just a plain old asshole inside of yourself.
The truth is that every single person has a dark side or shadow, not just those of us with PTSD. It's a normal part of being human.
Think of the shadow as your primal, irrational, instinctive, anamalistic, basic urge side.
Eat, sleep, hunt, defend, kill, take, etc...
(But, from here on out let's just refer to it as your monster.)
Your Inner Monster Doesn't Play Well with PTSD
Your monster is the fire inside your primal self. It's a normal part of you. PTSD is like adding TNT on top of it. PTSD can turn your instinctual feelings into actions that you may regret.
Let's say you're standing in line at the grocery store. Someone budges past and cuts in front of you. At this point your monster might want to beat the shit out of the inconsiderate prick.
But your rational side typically steps in.
It understands that you could confront this person and simply find out why they cut. Then you could take verbal action to claim your rightful place in line. Or you might just let them cut and leave it be.
Your rational side doesn't want confrontation. It wants to slink away unharmed and unnoticed.
Now rewind, and realize that this situation isn't going to be rational. You have PTSD (your proverbial TNT).
There are two issues at play here that work together for your benefit or your demise.
Your monster and PTSD.
Your monster can exacerbate PTSD and PTSD can trigger your monster very easily. Calling it up on command with every trigger.
Let's say that your trigger is being physically touched in any way by a male stranger.
So, some guy budges past you in the grocery line, AND bumps you on his way through.
Your monster takes over, blasted into action by your PTSD.
Your rational side is long gone, because whatever being touched like this was linked to in your past trauma, you know shit's about to hit the fan.
You're now in 'trauma relive' mode. Compound that with your inner monster, and it can be one hell of a shit storm.
How can you diffuse this explosive combination?
Divide and Conquer
If you didn't have PTSD, it might take a more intense upset for the monster to make a big enough appearance to be disruptive to your daily life.
Since you DO have PTSD...our next best option is to embrace your monster.
Me: "That's right. Embrace it.".
(Everyone--PTSD or not--benefits from doing this.)
You will be infinitely stronger and dangerous this way.
The most dangerous men are capable men.
You want to be dangerous.
Having the ability to do something and choosing not to do it is what defines your virtue.
Your monster is not something to try and erase, it's something to acknowledge and work with.
Who wants to accept that they have a monster inside of them?
I'll tell you who. Those that want to heal.
Because everything that's left in denial cannot be regulated or controlled.
It can only be observed in horror by your frozen brain.
Moving as an enemy in the backdrop of your mind.
How Do You Start Working with Your Monster?
Acknowledge that it's there.
This is really the first step.
Instead of jumping into action and punching the guy in the grocery line, or confronting him angrily, take a breath. Realize that your monster is being activated by PTSD. You want to punch that guy and teach him a lesson.
Just because you have had monster type thoughts doesn't mean that you're bound to act on them or even that you want them to happen. Some of them may even repulse you.
It means that you're a man. Also known as a complex, multifaceted human being.
Embrace the feeling that you want to lash out at the grocery line 'budger'. Watch the emotion and thoughts pass in front of you and breathe. Don't condemn yourself for them.
Acknowledge your monster inside, and realize that its a normal part of you. It's just not needed in this scenario.
Embracing this side of you can help release guilt and shame for simply having this natural side to who you are. It can help cease parts of the internal battle.
Putting out the sparks of guilt and shame will make it far less likely to run wild. It also enables you to look at your monster side rationally. Observing. Breathing. And letting those reactions pass.
Once you realize that those thoughts and feelings are normal, but exacerbated by PTSD, things start to make more sense.
And you won't actually beat up the grocery line guy.
You won't be a confused dude that's spinning out of control, pulled apart by proper-minded rationale and your monster.
Embrace the monster. Don't let guilt and shame push you into a deeper hole of PTSD triggers.
You'll still have the battle of PTSD, but this will go a long way in healing and making you a compassionate, dangerous, bad ass.