Torture (and the follow up with the Post Torture Syndrome) is a very hard topic to talk about, especially since I am still affected by it. So at the moment this is the barebones of what it is to come. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you want to know more, have question or need help with this topic.
From Episode 76:
This episode was supposed to be the 7th episode of this podcast, which now became the 76th one. There is a good reason why I hadn’t handled this topic earlier. This topic truly is a category of its own. It clearly leaves its mark.
And not only in the torture chambers of unjust regimes. Unlike PTSD which could be described more of a trauma wound from the impact of a beating - PTS is really more like a knife wound. Sure also cure able - but a lot harder.
It is the one I had to chew on the longest - long past when I freely could talk about my other C-PTSD experiences or handled new ones within a few months, but the torture I still feel pretty deeply in my bones.
There are so many myths and taboos surrounding this topic, that I thought the best way is to first to get everyone on the same page and define torture and what all falls under this umbrella. It is a huge topic.
We are first going on what defines torture, then what makes it psychologically so damaging and then the different environments of torture.
What defines torture
So what defines torture? The official description - that doesn’t span a catalog - is “the act of deliberately inflicting severe physical or psychological suffering on someone by another” for specific reasons, which I removed.
I also want to add that I completely removed sex torture and anything in that direction, because that would go beyond this episode and is a topic on and of itself.
There are many organizations and governments who define it as torture if it is carried out by an official or by the order of one. Which is complete nonsense in my eyes - this doesn’t just happens by officials.
I wish it did as it would mean way less of it happening. It doesn’t matter if it’s done by the government or the one you love - if the following criteria are met it is torture. Officially ordered or not.
1. It is intentional. This doesn’t require a lot of explanation. The intention is clear to carry this act out. It is not harm by accident.
2. The point is the (severe) suffering. While getting beaten has the side effect of you suffering - in torture it is the main goal. Be is physical or psychological.
3. You get used to serve THEIR goal. Be that goal be information, set an example, experimenting, entertainment… whatever. You are reduced to a tool to archive those goals.
What makes it psychologically so damaging
And I want to add 4 points that make it psychologically so damaging.
4. You can’t escape. That can be literal because you are locked in a cell or wherever - or because you have been trained to think you can’t - or if you can’t realistically despite the door being unlocked. You can’t escape it.
5. At their mercy. Similar to the point before, but differs that they can do whatever they want with you. There are no limits unless they or their boss want them to.
6. They take away “you”. Most likely you didn’t know before that “you” could be taken away. Torture robs you of the rights you never knew you had until they get taken away from you.
7. That they could do it. Most people struggle the most with the thought that another human being - usually capable of empathy - is capable of doing this to them. It is even worse if it is someone they love.
Different environments of torture
There are 3 main environments of torture for me - family or family circle, relationship and strangers - be it being captured by an enemy, a lone wolf or whoever. At least for now.
As much as the first two are pretty alike - the family one most of the time happens if you are a child or at least a minor. Not that is magically stops afterwards, but before you become an adult it is hard for you to escape.
But for the more skilled abusers - the control over their adult children is still there - sometimes even to a cult like level. For the relationship one it is usually the partner - as the classic abusive relationships.
Often it is done with support of other people - as controlling the partner on their own can be difficult. This control can happen via psychological or physical measures - the size or other factors are pretty irrelevant.
The stranger category is clearly the largest and most well known. The environment varies from a temporary location up to state prison - and its implications. We surely get into this in the future.