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Understanding 'Post-Traumatic Ass Disorder': The Tendency to Turn into Complete Buttheads After Trauma

Why is it that so many people have the tendency to mount their high-horses after or during a trauma and never dismount again?

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Would you trust that your partner really cared about lowering the debt you created together?  When your priority is collaborating to solve a problem you co-created, you don’t undermine collaboration with political sideswipes and potshots.   When our going got tough the Tea Party just got tougher and tougher to talk to, more self-certain on their high horses.

For the past few decades I’ve been trying to figure out the most succinct and simple recipe for countering the tendency in all of us, me included, to turn into complete buttheads post-trauma, unreceptive to evidence, 100% certain we know we’re good and others are evil.  Call the problem Post Traumatic Ass Disorder, the tendency to mount our high-horses after or during a trauma and never dismount again.   In my next article I’ll provide the best treatment I’ve found so far for preventing PTAD, an affliction that can overtake any of us, a potential plague we, as a species can’t survive.

Jeremy E. Sherman, a contributor to Psychology Today, is an evolutionary epistemologist studying the natural history and practical realities of decision-making. 

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