Work with women and girls? It’s time to reject psychiatry

Written by Dr Jessica Eaton

14th September 2019

Is it that time again? Time to shake the field up again?

Seems so.

Diagnosing women and girls with personality disorders after they have been abused, traumatised, trafficked, raped, neglected or harmed – is disgraceful practice. It needs to end. We all need to lobby, campaign, influence and convince decision makers and leaders to reject personality disorders as quack science.

Yet, when I say this to social workers, nurses, family support workers, police officers and teachers – they look at me like I’ve grown two heads.

It’s the look of, ‘But, diagnosing them helps them, doesn’t it? We can get them the help they need if we can just get them the diagnosis. Right?’

You see, many professionals I teach or work with, have never even considered the trauma-informed approach to working with women and girls who have been traumatised. They have been taught traditionally, medically and oppressively. They don’t subscribe to the medical model because they have chosen it as their ideological approach – they subscribe to it because they had no idea there was an alternative.

To their credit, many of them listen intently as I explain the origins of psychiatry, the theories and models, the lack of evidence and the abuse of psychiatric diagnoses that has oppressed classes and groups for decades. Similarly, many of them realise that their practice has been misinformed or misled. Some of them have a feeling of confirmation when they attend my training – a feeling that they had never truly subscribed to the medical model of working with women and girls subjected to abuse, but they didn’t know the language, the theories or the evidence to back themselves up. They didn’t know how to fight against it.

As the years have passed, I have incorporated more and more trauma-informed, anti-psychiatry approaches into my work, training, research and speeches. The impact has been incredible. So many professionals are now able to see that diagnosing girls and women with personality disorders and psychosis after they have been abused is not only harmful, but will impact them for the rest of their lives.

And as I have said, this is not completely down to me – because so many frontline practitioners already felt very uncomfortable with our practice, anyway.

However, because so much mental health and abuse training is medical-model-dominant, they have never been taught an alternative explanation.

We need to provide alternative narratives to practitioners and we need to do it now.

My top 4 messages for frontline practitioners working with women and girls

  1. Learn the oppressive history of psychiatry

The medical model of mental health is so dominant that it is communicated as ‘the’ explanation of emotional and mental life. Many of us have been taught that mental health issues are genetic, neuropsychological/physiological, developmental or a combination of all. We are taught that medications can ‘balance people out’ or ‘help them prepare for therapy’. We are taught that some people need to be locked up and sedated for their own safety.

As of September 2019, 7.3 million British adults (1 in 6 adults) are taking antidepressants and a further 3.9 million British adults are taking anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines, Z drugs and gabapentinoids.

But this monopoly on our mental life didn’t happen overnight. Long before we started talking about ‘mental health’, we punished, killed, sacrificed, outcast and abused people who did not conform to our social norms of behaviour or character. Many feminists and historians now suggest that the death of up to 100,000 women who were murdered for being ‘witches’ between 1450 and 1750 were often women who were non-conforming, disabled, ill, intelligent, opinionated or had been abused and traumatised.

In the European Middle Ages, mental health started to become mixed with religion. When someone was not conforming or was traumatised, it was proposed that they were possessed by demons or satan. Most ‘treatments’ for mental health included religious ceremonies, exorcisms, torture or death of the person. In some cases, it was argued that the only way a demon could be stopped, would be to kill the ‘host’ person.

As time passed, mental health was proposed to be caused by imbalances of fluids in the body and brain. Excess bodily fluids such as bile, blood or choler were said to cause ‘hysteria’, ‘melancholia’ or ‘mania’. However, the religious approach to mental health continued for a long time. Quakers set up many asylums and developed religious conversion treatments to ‘cure’ mental health issues.

Lieberman (2015) puts it well, ‘The mentally ill were considered social deviants or moral misfits suffering divine punishment for some inexcusable transgression.’

Asylums multiplied across America and Europe during the 1700s and 1800s, and professionals from all different backgrounds became interested in working with the ‘mentally ill’. Asylums became sites of experimental research, surgery, treatment, torture and death of patients – on which the ‘science’ of psychiatry was built.

Psychiatric experiments, tortures and surgeries included everything from holding patients under freezing cold water until they ‘calmed down’ (read: passed out or drowned) to deliberately ‘releasing humors’ from the patient by bleeding them, blistering them, starving them or purging them. In 1927, Wagner-Jauregg won the Nobel Prize for ‘proving’ you could treat schizophrenia by injecting malaria-infected blood into people with the diagnosis.

By 1941, insulin shock therapy was rife. In this ‘treatment’ for ‘mental illness’, people were injected with extremely high doses of insulin to cause seizures and coma, claiming that when they came around, they would be cured of madness.

By the 1940s, electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT) and frontal lobotomies were common. Whilst frontal lobotomies stopped being used by the 1980s (although this did mean that over 100,000 people were subjected to them), ECT is still used today. In fact, it is making something of a comeback – and now being used to ‘treat’ autism in some clinics in North America.

I have personally worked with children who have been subjected to ECT in the Midlands in the UK, after they were abused and raped. One girl I worked with in 2013 was completely wiped out by ECT sessions on the NHS, so much so that she used to come to my sessions and fall fast asleep on the sofa for hours, and then wake up confused and upset. She was being given ECT sessions for ‘depression’ because she had been sexually abused.

By 1955, psychiatric medications were a fairly common way of ‘treating’ madness. But it wasn’t for many more decades that we stopped using language like ‘hysteria’, ‘madness’, ‘retardation’ and ‘mental illness’. However, despite this seemingly positive shift in language, we are still using some of the same treatments, misconceptions and oppressive practices we have used throughout history. We have moved towards the term ‘mental health’ which we now equate with ‘physical health’ – but we still use oppressive, dangerous and abusive practices to ‘treat’ the natural, normal distress of traumatised people.

The language got nicer but the practice, well, it didn’t really evolve.

Throughout these years, the groups most significantly affected were Black people. Psychiatry is notoriously white, elitist and racist. Always has been. Still is. Racism was embedded into theory, practice and research. Psychiatrists believed that Black people had smaller brains than white people, were ‘naturally’ better at hard labour and slavery, were less psychologically developed and were more aggressive, emotionally unstable and violent. These beliefs still have an enormous impact on mental health practice, in which people still believe that Black people are more likely to have ‘mental health issues’, more likely to have ‘schizophrenia’ and are more likely to be violent or commit crime.

My questions to practitioners are:

Did you know all of this? Did you know that our modern psychiatric system is built on all this suffering, death, murder, oppression, racism, abuse and torture?

Have you really researched the history of the treatments and medications your clients are being prescribed?

Do you really understand and believe the labels your clients are being given?

  1. Borderline personality disorder (or EUPD) is misogynistic twaddle

Along with the racism and classism in the psychiatric systems, there is the harrowing misogyny. In 2019, women and girls are 7 times more likely to be diagnosed with BPD or EUPD than boys and men showing the same symptoms. Again, the origins of this oppression hark back to hundreds of years ago.

From the 18th century, ‘hysteria’ was classed as a women’s disease, linked to femininity and the female form. ‘Hysteria is the woman’s natural state’ (Laycock, 1840) and ‘A hysterical girl is a vampire who sucks the blood of the healthy people around her’ (Mitchell, 1885: 266).

Much of the BPD or EUPD diagnosis is based on gender role stereotypes and sexism. Women and girls are ideally polite, nice, happy, content, quiet, have no opinions or ambitions and live to serve others. ‘Difficult women’ are frequently diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (Ussher, 2013). The typical borderline patient has been described as a ‘demanding, angry, aggressive woman’, who is labelled as ‘mentally disordered’ (Jimenez, 1997: 162, 163) for behaving in a way that is perfectly acceptable in a man. Research found that men’s sadness and anger was considered to be related to situational factors – such as ‘having a bad day’ – whereas sad or angry women were judged as ‘too emotional’ (Barrett and Bliss-Moreau, 2009).

Indeed, I always make the point of telling frontline practitioners that the diagnostic criteria from DSM II for ‘hysteria’ and the diagnostic criteria from DSM V for ‘borderline personality disorder’ are very similar. Hysteria has been described as the ‘wastebasket of mental health’ and BPD has been described as a ‘catch-all diagnosis’.

They are essentially the same diagnosis. They are both targeting women and girls. They are both built around gender role stereotypes. They both oppress traumatised and abused women. Where hysteria (or ‘wandering womb syndrome’) was said to be caused by women’s hormones and biology – BPD is said to be a disordered personality. Both innate, internal causes which need to be medicated, treated and dealt with.

The ‘symptoms’ or ‘diagnostic criteria’ of BPD are:

  • Fear of abandonment
  • Unstable or short relationships
  • Unclear or shifting/changing self-image
  • Impulsive, self-destructive behaviours
  • Self-harm
  • Mood swings lasting minutes or hours
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Intense anger
  • Feeling suspicious, paranoid or disassociating

Most people would agree with me when I say the following three things:

  1. Anyone who is traumatised by abuse or exploitation would hit enough of these criteria to be diagnosed with a personality disorder
  2. Most people at pretty much any point of major stress, would exhibit these behaviours as a normal response to distress and change
  3. These feelings are completely justified in traumatised and abused people – and therefore do not constitute a disorder or abnormality. These responses are normal.

We need to think much more critically about how many of the girls and women on our caseloads are being told that their responses are abnormal and are caused by personality disorders, rather than caused by the people who abused, oppressed, scared and harmed them. Why would we want to collude with the victim blaming and encouragement of self-blame of women and girls like this?

My questions for frontline practitioners working with women and girls are:

Did you know that BPD and EUPD were so closely related to hysteria and women’s ‘madness’?

Have you not ever wondered why so many of the teenage girls and young women you work with are being diagnosed with personality disorders after traumatic life experiences?

Have you ever considered how a woman or girl is ever supposed to move forward if she has been told that her personality is disordered?

  1. Psychiatric diagnosis will stay on her file for a long time

Many of our systems in the UK require a psychiatric diagnosis in order to get a service for the woman or girl we are working with. This means that girls might be diagnosed with a mental health issue before they are allowed access to a mental health service or counselling service. It may mean that a woman has to be diagnosed with a disorder before she is allowed to be referred to a service that can help her.

Psychiatric diagnosis has become the gatekeeper of therapeutic services. So much so, that even counsellors and psychotherapists are colluding with the psychiatric diagnosis of their own clients. Many practitioners are told that the best thing you can do for the girl is to get her the diagnoses she ‘needs’ so they can access funding, support or services.

This is very short-sighted.

One of the things that many practitioners are not warned about, is how long those psychiatric diagnoses will impact the girl (soon to be an adult woman in a completely different set of services). When teenage girls who have been sexually exploited, raped or abused get two or three psychiatric diagnoses, are medicated with antidepressants or mood stabilisers and are then kept on those drugs or treatments for the rest of their childhoods – what do you think is going to happen to them when they reach adulthood?

They will be miraculously cured, have their diagnoses removed and live a healthy, normal life?

For most of those girls, their diagnoses will impact them for a long time. They may be refused access to services, refused access to education, housing, occupations, college courses and volunteering opportunities. They may be told they are ‘too unstable’ to be involved in projects or to start therapies. They may even be flagged as having personality disorders to their local police force, ambulance crews, fire service and GP surgeries.

Many professionals I teach are unaware that the psychiatric diagnosis can be passed to emergency services who then use that information out of context to label the woman or girl as ‘high risk’. This may mean that ambulance crews are told they have mental health issues before they attend an address. It may even mean that they call for the police to support them. Further, it may mean that a GP is less likely to believe their symptoms or illnesses because they have been flagged as having a personality disorder.

These issues are serious and long-term. I have personally worked with and met many women and girls affected by this discrimination.

My questions for frontline practitioners are:

Did you know this happened to women and girls?

Would you still encourage them to get psychiatric diagnoses, if you knew this would define them for the years to come?

Wouldn’t it be better to support the girl/woman with the trauma and to talk to them about what it means rather than encouraging them to get a psychiatric label?

  1. Do everything you can to reject deficit models of working

The final thing I always teach practitioners to do, is to reject the deficit model of working with women and girls – or any humans to be honest. The deficit model, like the psychiatric model, is dominant in all our practice with children and adults. We have been taught that the pasts of girls can predict the futures of women. Professionals are taught to assess the past of the girls to enable them to predict their future – whether they will be abused again, whether they are at risk of CSE, whether they will be criminally exploited, whether they will end up ill, in prison, self-harm or suicidal.

Whilst it might be tempting to have some sort of algorithm that could predict the outcomes of women and girls, I prefer to teach practitioners that women and girls can overcome and work through everything and anything (with the right humanistic support). I prefer to teach them to work from a strengths-based model; to see all women and girls as whole humans with an entire future ahead of them. A future that is not defined by what someone else put them through.

Instead of seeing women and girls as traumatised, doomed or broken – I want practitioners to acknowledge their trauma, work in a trauma-informed way, but to see them as capable, intelligent, powerful humans with potential, skills, coping mechanisms and many values to give to the world.

Moving away from a deficit model means not only rejecting the diagnosis of women and girls as mad, mentally ill or hysterical – but rejecting the way we try to quantify, categorise and predict the future of oppressed and abused women and girls.

My question to practitioners:

Wouldn’t you rather see women and girls as potential lawyers, activists, musicians, scientists, teachers and artists than believing the deficit model that these women and girls will amount to nothing?

Around half of our own workforce were abused in childhood (Eaton and Holmes, 2017). If the deficit model was correct, how did we all get into these jobs? Wouldn’t most of us be completely ineffective?

If we believe the deficit model to be correct, why do any of us bother doing our jobs at all? Aren’t we all in this line of work because we believe that every human has the capacity to process their trauma and go on to live a fulfilling life after abuse?

Reject psychiatry for the good of the women and girls you work with 

For these reasons and so many more that I teach and write about, we must reject the psychiatric diagnosis of women and girls subjected to traumas. In fact, reject all psychiatric diagnosis. The evidence base for psychiatry is shameful, elitist, oppressive and dodgy as fuck. How this profession has continued to tout itself as a real science is beyond me. How millions of people are prescribed more and more drugs for human distress whilst we leave them in abuse, poverty, oppression and trauma disgusts me.

We can change practice and theory. We can refuse to diagnose women and girls with psychiatric conditions. We can challenge the concepts of personality disorders used to oppress and label women and girls who have been abused. We can stop referring people subjected to abuse into medical model services that will tell her she is mad and needs treatment. We can stop supporting deficit models of working in which we use numbers, calculations or assessments to predict the outcomes of women and girls who have been abused.

We can commit to research, read about and learn about the way psychiatry oppresses populations of people. We can learn about new models of trauma and mental health support such as the PTMF (Power, Threat, Meaning Framework).

I will leave you with this thought:

As the outspoken, difficult woman of the 16th century was castigated as a witch, and the same woman in the 19th century a hysteric, in the late 20th and 21st century, she is described as ‘borderline’ or as having premenstrual dysphoria disorder. – Ussher, 2013

In conclusion: Same shit, different era.

Written by Dr Jessica Eaton

Author of ‘The Reflective Journal for Practitioners Working in Trauma and Abuse’ £17.99

Author of ‘Why Women are Blamed for Everything’ Pre-order £17.99

Co-Author of ‘The Little Orange Book: Learning about abuse from the voice of the child’ £14.99


Tweet: @JessicaE13Eaton

37 thoughts on “Work with women and girls? It’s time to reject psychiatry

  1. Tremendously powerful insightful inspirational empowering knowledge.
    I definitely really appreciate Dr J Eaton seeing the person and not labelling. Too much damage is being done with labels. Psychiatrists absolutely get it wrong and first port of call for them is the Prescription. Not person centred trauma informed practice. I had this journey with myself, my sister and mum from the age of 12. Living/survivors of 14 yrs of domestic terrorism, listening to my mum being raped as did my sister we stuck at it togetherness. No specific professional person identified anything anytime. They chose not to listen. 15 then Forced to have an abortion at 23 weeks as the domestic terrorist controlled everything. Put me on a bus from Glasgow to London then changed at Brighton. He would kill my mum and sister if I didn’t return with a flat belly. Still at that point no doctor explored just wrote a script. Self strength and me rewiring my own connections without meds worked. Dr Eaton you are absolutely wonderful and spot on if only other professionals would step out of the normal controls of medicine. They’re getting it all wrong. I’m 46 now, twin boys age 18, one starts Glasgow Uni for Medicine and his brother hoping for a college place. My husband and I been together since high school and me, well hopefully I can finish my degree one day. Currently working with a charity trying to help people find their way x

    Liked by 5 people

  2. YES. thank you. So many women with c-ptsd being diagnosed with BPD or something when what they’ve experienced has been horrendous. And any normal person would react as they have. But they are the ones who suffer twice.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Powerful words. As someone who grew up in an impoverished environment within a generationally-traumatized family, I know firsthand how the psychiatric community ruins the lives of already-traumatized people.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Psychiatry has completely missed and overlooked the importance and cause of the “Identified Patient”, Symptom bearer (Bowen Family Systems theory), or the family scapegoat system or the whipping boy anomaly in a toxic passive aggressive narcissistic family… Privilege isn’t just about the things you were given, It’d about the things you were never subjected to. A family Scapegoat becomes the identified patient in Psychiatry for a Reason… Psychiatry is complicit and further abuses the identified patient or family scapegoat victim over and over again


      1. This article, and comments, is my experience – it’s Hell.
        Thank you for speaking about it. 🙂


  4. One of the most powerful and useful piece of writing I’ve ever seen. So good to have your text Jessica, duly researched and presented with coherent professionalism. With permission to quote and share. And great resources for victims (your e-book for example). THANK YOU.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a stupid and dangerous article. It’s stupid because it dismisses all of medicine and psychiatry out of hand, as it dismisses neuroscience, medication, and everything else except the alternative the author espouses (without ever mentioning exactly what that alternative might be). Trauma and abuse cause epigenetic changes in brain chemistry and structure resulting in changes in behavior and physical health that no amount of therapy or peer support can undo. The “labels” that the author decries are there primarily to satisfy billing requirements between insurers and patients…certain drugs are used for specific diagnoses and whoever does the paperwork has to have a code, both for the pharmaceutical and the diagnosis. It’s not a craven plot against suffering victims. Most mental health professionals are painfully aware that “borderline” is a catch-all. The label stays on your medical history for the same reason your last mammogram or tetanus shot are there. The label becomes stigmatized not because it’s a label, but because people are cruel and ignorant and will project their fears onto whatever phrase is used…think of how many ways there are to say mentally retarded….cretin, imbecile, moron, simple-minded, retarded, developmentally disabled. While all were once meant to be medically neutral terms, all became stigmatized by society at large, because that’s what people do. As for police or emergency personnel having access to someone’s diagnosis, that can be of enormous importance in emergency situations where a cop or fireman or ambulance attendant may need to make physical contact with someone. The author supremely unqualified to judge this issue. But no one has to take my word. I’m just a survivor like everyone else…inform yourselves, but not by reading bad blogs like this one. Shame on the author.


      1. So am I – everything she said happens.
        You have your experience, we have ours.
        You don’t like being discounted? Neither do we.
        If the ‘mental health’ industry was remotely interested in people, they’d be embracing every view and urging people to seek help from whomever or wherever they could; the fact that they don’t is telling.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Dr. Eaton here has presented us with the history of psychiatry in relation to women. Her report is congruous with other author doctors I have read about the history of the treatment of women psychiatric patients. “Shame on the author”, you say. Huh. I just have so much more to say about all this. Right now, I am being targeted and tortured, and gas-lighted to the hilt. Being tested on(?), punished(?), tortured for sure, with new weapons–beam weapons that shoot invisible yet very painful beams of micro or scalar waves. So, you could be shot at and be experiencing severe pain yet not be able to produce proof of it. As some may have heard, Trump is talking about putting “the mentally ill and drug addicts” into government run institutions. These weapons would be the perfect way to cause people to appear “insane”. Just so many dollars–for the contractors building said institutions, for the people would be running such places, for the weapons themselves….perfect for a way to create jobs in a time of difficulty. It also puts a bounty on anyone’s heads who don’t conform with that kind of status quo. (By the by, any therapist I have told this to has completely doubted my sanity. Even though the US made already $8b 2018 on directed energy weapons (DEW), also there is an NYT Sept.1, 2018 article on DEW.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. I agree with the content of this response up to a point, though this is a subject which invites polarity and the impatience of your language is unhelpful in this context. Yes, neuroscience has made great strides, medication can help people but neither holds all the cards. You’re so right about wider prejudice, and there you both have common ground to start productive discussion. By calling another academic’s approach ‘stupid’, though, you could be accused of pulling exactly the stunt she’s criticising – adopting a medic’s (?) superior position to crush your opponent out of hand. You may consider yourself better qualified but iIt’s not a million miles from what you’re accusing her of doing. There are other ways of understanding the world than only through the systems of our own learning and experience, there is room for sensitivity and understanding on both sides – blank dismissal and black and white thinking is the dangerous thing.


  6. This is simplistic. Yes, of course medicine is full of self interest, oppression, racism, sexism, and every kind of ism. Just like any other institution out there, it reflects society’s shadow. Honestly, its just not shocking that this is the case. I did know a lot of this history before I read the article. I walk both sides of this debate- I agree completely that women are experiencing harm in psychiatry and that trauma informed diagnosis and treatment are desperately needed. And, until we get from here to there, we need a way for the people affected to survive their lives. I am an advocate for women and children who have been sexually abused. I myself am one of those women, having experienced incest as a teen. I would have likely taken my life without psych medications, as is the case for many others I know who are survivors of abuse, neglect and trauma. Now I am at the point where I am receiving trauma informed therapy for C-PTSD, and I can begin at rebuild my life based on the stability I have with medication. Hopefully we will as a society get to the point where trauma informed treatment is the gold standard, and if we start early enough there may not be a need for personality disorder diagnosis and medication but what happens to all the people who still have to manage their lives while in the midst of full blown trauma symptoms? How do they earn a living, get housing, etc? So, agree with the underlying argument, but the details and how-to are sorely lacking…


  7. Not that it will change your blog post or or the fact that Julius Wagner-Jauregg was a supporter of the Nazi party, but his Nobel Prize award was for the development of malariotherapy and the treatment of syphilis symptoms not schizophrenia. Albeit unethical nowadays at the time where antibiotics didn’t exist, it was revolutionary in medicine for its time.

    “In the early twentieth century, before antibiotics, patients with tertiary syphilis were intentionally infected with malaria to induce a fever; this was called malariotherapy. In 1917, Julius Wagner-Jauregg, a Viennese psychiatrist, began to treat neurosyphilitics with induced Plasmodium vivax malaria.[97] Three or four bouts of fever were enough to kill the temperature-sensitive syphilis bacteria (Spirochaeta pallida also known as Treponema pallidum). P. vivax infections were then terminated by quinine. By accurately controlling the fever with quinine, the effects of both syphilis and malaria could be minimized. While about 15% of patients died from malaria, this was preferable to the almost-certain death from syphilis. [98]”



  8. *edit

    Not that it will change your blog post or or the fact that Julius Wagner-Jauregg was a supporter of the Nazi party, but his Nobel Prize award was for the development of malariotherapy and the treatment of syphilis symptoms not schizophrenia. Albeit unethical nowadays but at the time where antibiotics didn’t exist, it was revolutionary in medicine.

    “In the early twentieth century, before antibiotics, patients with tertiary syphilis were intentionally infected with malaria to induce a fever; this was called malariotherapy. In 1917, Julius Wagner-Jauregg, a Viennese psychiatrist, began to treat neurosyphilitics with induced Plasmodium vivax malaria.[97] Three or four bouts of fever were enough to kill the temperature-sensitive syphilis bacteria (Spirochaeta pallida also known as Treponema pallidum). P. vivax infections were then terminated by quinine. By accurately controlling the fever with quinine, the effects of both syphilis and malaria could be minimized. While about 15% of patients died from malaria, this was preferable to the almost-certain death from syphilis. [98]”



  9. I am a medical doctor, an abuse survivor and consumer of psychiatric services including ECT.

    I appreciate your indignation and your arguments, but I think you risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Yes, psychiatry has been dominated by white males, much as every profession in the western world has been. And there have been horrific human rights abuses undertaken in the name of psychiatric treatment. But data from current Australian/New Zealand psychiatric trainees shows that 53% are female (RANZCP Training and Assessment Update 2018) and my impression is that these trainees are very multicultural, but I don’t have the numbers.

    My suggestion is that we need to all work together to ensure trauma informed care is the default paradigm, not alienate an entire profession who have the potential and desire to help.

    As an aside, I am happy to report that medical doctors in Australia are avidly debating the nomenclature of BPD, c-PTSD etc and the stigma these labels perpetuate. This is very much on our radar and that heartens me as an abuse survivor.


  10. I am a survivor of childhood trauma. I am well into adulthood and am only just beginning to understand the impact it has had on me. I have massively underachieved in comparison with what I thought my potential was, mostly due to procrastination brought on by paralyzing anxiety. It is affecting my happiness every single day and putting a massive strain on my relationship. I am at my wit’s end. I located a trauma-informed psychologist who offers sessions in English (I am living in EU, so add Brexit stress to my bag), but in addition to my procrastination problems, I have been putting off even seeing about making an appointment for many of the reasons listed here. I love your advice for Psychologists. What is your advise for traumatized women who need to figure out how to stop letting the past mess with the present? Should I make an appointment? I don’t know if it will help or if it will make things worse. I just know I can’t go on like this. I feel the closest to rock-bottom that I have felt since I was actually going through the abuse. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  11. As someone who has BPD this is kind of offensive. I was suicidal, cutting, having extreme emotional outbursts and didn’t have a good sense of self. That is not normal behaviour and once I found out I had BPD it all made sense. to say that personality disorders are just simply applied to women is wrong. Many men suffer from BPD, although it’s sometimes gets misdiagnosed, doesn’t mean they aren’t real. Most people don’t have personality disorders and not everyone who has trauma gets diagnosed with one. I didn’t have trauma I had a good family background but mental illness does run in my family. Honestly the mood stabilizers and therapy saved my life. Yes there was a lot of bad things that happened in early psychology but this down plays all the progress they made. Neuro science has helped many psychologists understand mental illness better and we have come so far. Is it perfect no, but saying that girls getting labeled as having personality disorders, or taking meds doesn’t help and ruins their identity is actually a form for stigma. There is a lot of misinformation about personality disorders and many people misunderstand them.
    Maybe this isn’t the intention of this article but it shows lack of knowledge of what personality disorders are. Knowing you have one helps to heal and better yourself. Honestly knowing what was going on in my chaotic brain was helpful. I don’t know I found very positive results from psychiatry. especially since they worked hard to help me be a better person. It’s important to look at both sides psychiatry actually does have positive theories and results. Not everyone was ruined by psychiatric treatment.


  12. Thank you, is this work perhaps pushing to the surface that the hidden abuse of higher functioning, covertly toxic, passive aggressive, manipulative, intelligent, gas lighting narcissistic parents who scapegoat one child are a hidden form of abusers who operate in plain sight? Being raised by a narcissist is not an easy thing to recover from and is hidden to most Professionals in the Mental health field who have few if any solutions or strategies to help a family scapegoat children… please when will the collective conscious recognise the desperate need of family scapegoat abuse within education and mental health??

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I work for MindFreedom International and we receive a crushing volume of individuals whose rights are being egregiously violated in the mental health system, including women who have been abused and trafficked. There is no legal assistance or recourse for psychiatric survivors, no restitution for harm, no settlements or justice in the mental health system for people who are harmed by drugging, shock, or instiitutionalization. I work with people who have lifelong tardive dyskinisia and a host of other permanent disabilities that are drug induced. I work with people who have chronic memory loss and cognitive impairment from forced shock and decades of drugging. I work with family members whose loved ones committed suicide or committed crimes while intoxicated from or withdrawing from harmful psychiatric drugs. Their voices are silenced. The people who wrote comments above in support of psychiatric interventions can speak to their own experience but the biggest elephant in the room is this: the comments above do not reflect the tens of thousands of psychiatric survivors who are forced/coerced into receiving psychiatric interventions, including shock and involuntary drugging. The trauma survivors who claim to have been helped by psychiatry provides a compelling reason why people should have choices in the mental health system including the choice to be subjected to standard psychiatric treatments, as long as there is informed consent (which I would argue is non existent due to corruption). But corporate mainstream media only covers the stories of survivors who identify with having been helped by psychiatry, not the stories of the millions of psychiatric survivors who identify as having been harmed by psychiatry. Powerful special interests have colluded to silence the voices of psychiatric survivors who only found healing through alternatives to psychiatric interventions, including pathways to help them safely wean off of mind numbing, debilitating drugs. There is a plethora of narratives by psychiatric survivors confirmed by scientific data confirming the harm of psychiatric treatment by force/coercion but this huge body of information is routinely suppressed. Today, I received a plea from help from a person of color, a person who was formerly trafficked who is diagnosed with a bogus mental health label, instiutionalized and coerced into taking drugs that are making her sick. She is afraid to disclose the fact that she witnessed a white male nurse raping a patient on the same ward, in the secure, psychiatric mental institution where she is locked up. She is terrified. This article is a brave attempt to expose the the fact that psychiatry is more likely to collude with sexual perpetrators and abusive family members, as opposed to protecting trauma survivors. Once a person has been labeled and ‘othered’ everything she says is considered crazy or psychotic by family law judges, custody attorneys, psychiatrists, and even counselors who should know better. These individuals live such restricted lives of terror, they do not even have access to articles, computers, email, etc.

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  14. It is so frustrating to me that they are so institutionalized, I presume, that they are only capable of seeing things within their own viewpoint, nothing else exists. It’s like talking to someone with mental blinkers on I see it all the time.


  15. I think it is a shame that men are more often diagnosed with misogyny than with BPD, so I don’t see this as misogynistic, but gendered, and this violent against both sexes (if you are going to follow Foucault’s methodology you should acknowledge that gender coerces both men and women. At least BPD gives practical context for working with emotional issues rather than just being condemned as a monster.


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