Can Spanking Cause PTSD?

by Rick on May 7, 2021

The Body Keeps the Score
               by Bessel van der Kolk M.D.

The Score My Body Keeps
by Rick Ackerly

I had forgotten
Your painful gaze,
Hairbrush in hand,
Over my bare bottom
Poised to remind me
How bad I am
And how it hurts you
More than it hurts me.

I had forgotten.
But, though seventy years have passed,
My body cannot forget that I’m a mess,
And I spend each minute trying to prove
You and Dad wrong.

Who me? That wasn’t me.
Oh, that. That’s not my fault.
The ice cream on the floor
I was gonna clean it up.
The broken plate?
It wasn’t me.
I’m not a crazy, mixed-up kid.

I get things done
I get there first
I make it work
I’m never late
I’ll show you
I’ll show you
I’ll show you.

Pain’s not something I avoid.
I do it to my body all the time.
When someone causes pain to someone else,
I always close my eyes.

Might spanking a two-year-old have similar impacts on the brain as bigger violence to a bigger person?




{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Lesley May 10, 2021 at 7:03 pm

I don’t believe spanking causes ptsd. Sustained episodes of punching, kicking, starving, belittling and with holding love does. I have PTSD which is accompanied by severe periods of depression. I am 72 now and the deep seated feelings of rage, worthlessness, hopelessness and ugliness have accompanied me throughout my life, though I have lived a life of high achievement.

KD May 11, 2021 at 5:20 am

My father whipped me with his belt. The buckle end if I had been especially bad. He’d take me away from the rest of the family, to a different room. When very small, I cried out, begged, pleaded, and screamed. In time, my child’s brain somehow intuited that he enjoyed not only his bullying harm, but also what he heard. And so I learned to be silent. It was my only weapon against him. My muteness frustrated him and infused him with rage. He couldn’t understand. And eventually ending the “spanking” in confusion. As for me, the refusal to verbally acknowledge the physical abuse most likely extended it, but I loved having that power over him.

I am 64 years old, and to this day, I can still hear his angry shouting, threatening, and insulting me. And on occasion, while undressing, if I pull a belt through the through the belt loops too quickly, the sound it makes sends me right back to being a frightened little girl.

Sara May 11, 2021 at 5:58 am

I strongly believe that when an adult smacks a child, that child may learn “respect”, may learn “discipline” may learn “right from wrong” but then he/she may not, but GUARANTEED what the child will learn is that might is right, that violence can be used to resolve conflicts.
And now you know why the world is in such a messed up, violent state.

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