Have a Question for Dr Matt? 
Just Send Dr Matt an Email

For Those who have Experienced the Extremes of Abuse
by Matt Moody Ph.D.

When we speak of the misery of PTSD . . . a distinction must be made between physical pain that lingers because of a bruised or broken body, . . . versus inner suffering of heart, mind, and soul. This latter type of suffering is an anguish that need not linger like pain that is felt in a broken body.

This conclusion is based upon the direct experience of Viktor Frankl. I summarize Frankl's liberating observations in my book this way:

During World War II, Victor Frankl was a prisoner of a Nazi death camp; there he witnessed extraordinary abuse and horrific human suffering. Of his arduous experience Frankl observed:

"If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life . . . The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity--even under the most difficult circumstances--to add a deeper meaning to his life. . . . Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or forego the opportunities of attaining the values that a difficult situation may afford him."

In every challenging circumstance there is an opportunity to obtain value and deeper meaning in life. Even under appalling abuse, there is liberty within: You are the ultimate author of your inner responses. Of his fellow prisoners, Frankl noted:

" . . . Only a few kept their full inner liberty and obtained those values which their suffering afforded, but even one such example is sufficient proof that man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate. Such men are not only in concentration camps. Everywhere man is confronted with fate, with the chance of achieving something through his own suffering."
(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Ed., page 13)

Frankl maintains that all possess "inner liberty" and further describes this liberty as mankind's "final freedom." The liberty of which he speaks IS a freedom of Heart, Mind, and Soul . . . an inner freedom that all can be embrace even amid the outward abuses and atrocities of a Nazi Concentration Camp . . . (and therefore, can be realized in the midst of any tragic situation).

This is not just Frankl's theory . . . this IS Frankl's direct experience and observation.

In his notion of "inner liberty," it is ironic that Frankl--a psychiatrist--directly refutes assumptions of mainstream psychiatry. Consider this: Viktor Frankl's concentration camp experience fits to a "t" . . . the diagnostic criteria for PTSD . . . as stated in a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as follows:

"The person has experienced an event that is outside the range of usual human experience and that would be markedly distressing to almost anyone, e.g., serious threat to one's life or physical integrity; serious threat or harm to one's children, spouse, or other close relatives and friends; sudden destruction of one's home or community; or seeing another person who has recently been, or is being, seriously injured or killed as the result of an accident or physical violence."

Frankl invoked his final freedom to escape from the misery and hopelessness to which many of his fellow prisoner's succumbed.

The truth is that most of the tragedies that befall human beings will fall short of the horrors and abuses of Frankl's concentration camp incarceration; therefore, Inner Liberty of Heart, Mind, and Soul is well within reach for the rest of us.

Return to A Self-Defeating Trap.

Free Email Advice from Dr Matt

Following Your Heart
by Matt Moody Ph.D.

"Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life"
- Proverbs 4:23

You really can't "think" yourself into being happy.
Neither can you chant enough affirmations to change
yourself into a person of higher character.

Cognitive therapies of "mental programming" may alter outward appearances, but "who you are" from the heart remains unchanged. Like ripples that undulate from a pebble cast in a pond, leaving the pond unaltered at its depths, . . . the superficial effects of mind power eventually dissipate & disappear.

It is true that positive attitude and vivid visualizing can raise your bowling score, improve your golf swing, and make your dancing more dazzling, but the same cognitive conjurings cannot increase your character, or bring peace to a troubled soul. Using "head" remedies only, even the strongest mental determinations to be a better person will not work.

Fundamental change occurs as true principles are embraced! The truth is . . . freedom from self-defeating habits requires living true principles from the "heart," there is no other way.

"The only change that matters is a change of heart,
every other change alters us cosmetically but not fundamentally,
modifies how we appear, what we do or what we say,
but does not change who we are."

- C. Terry Warner 

My new book, "Changing Your Stripes" presents principles for:
Getting out of the ditch in which you've been dumped,
the difficulties of which you are a Victim, &
Getting out of the ditch in which you've jumped,
the difficulties for which you Volunteer.

"Mastering a challenging situation
is ultimately a matter of.
.mastering yourself!"
- Matt Moody.

"The Greatest Prize
for Life's labors isn't
in material possessions
or impressive accomplishments,
but in the progress of personal character.
You labor for your own becoming, this is your richest reward.
Who You Become is your greatest possession,
make it your Masterpiece!"
(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 274)

"Changing Your Stripes," teaches you the principles that lead to lasting change,
making you a new kind of creature capable of responding with calm,
even as storms of adversity swirl.

If these ideas resonate and ring true, then I invite you
to enjoy more of the same in my book!

Sold Exclusively
through this website

Changing Your Stripes is a
unique reference book that will help
you understand, . . .
and solve all of
Life's ever-appearing problems.

Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor

Return to A Self-Defeating Trap.

| Dr Matt Answers | Free Email Advice | Quotable Quotes | Book Excerpts |