The influence of Complex PTSD on Mao as China’s Leader: Part 2 of 2

December 4, 2013

Mao (born 1893) grew up during a period of madness in China. To learn more, I suggest reading The Roots of Madness, which shows that world.

Then the Chinese Civil War lasted from 1926 to 1949 with a few years out to fight the horrors of the Japanese invasion of China during World War II.

The Long March experience by itself was enough to cause PTSD in all 6,000 of its survivors from the more than 80,000 troops that started the year-long journey of retreat, battle, and severe suffering that was surrounded by death on a daily basis.

After Mao was China’s leader, there was an assassination attempt by one of his most trusted generals, Lin Biao, a man Mao had named as his successor after he died.  In addition, during China’s Civil WarChiang Kai-shek ordered more than one failed assassination attempt on Mao.

However, the threats and violence that shaped Mao’s life began before The Long March and before he was a leader in the Chinese Communist Party.

As a child, he grew up among farmers and peasants with an average expected life span in China of 35 years. In the 1920s, as an idealist and a sensitive poet, he believed in helping the worker and led several labor movements that were brutally subdued by the Nationalist government led by Chiang Kai-shek.

Once, he barely escaped with his life.

In 1930, Yang Kaihu, his wife at the time—Mao was married four times—was arrested and executed. In addition, Mao had two younger brothers and an adopted sister executed by Chiang Kai-shek’s troops. If you had several close calls with death; lost a wife, two younger brothers and an adopted sister in this way, how would that affect you?

To judge Mao by today’s Politically Correct Western values is wrong, because he grew up in a world ruled by a completely different set of values that shaped him to be tough enough to survive and win.

Anyone that survived and went on to rule China at that time would have been judged as brutal by today’s Politically Correct Western values. In fact, Chiang Kai-shek was a brutal dictator who ruled Taiwan—after he fled mainland China in 1949—under military marshal law until his death in 1976. But Chiang didn’t have as many people to rule over so the death count was smaller but no less significant.

The History of Humanitarianism shows us that this concept was born and nurtured in the West and developed slowly over centuries with the result that the individual was made more important than an entire population.

However, in China, the whole is still more important than one person is as it was during Mao’s time. If you were to click on the link to the History of Humanitarianism and read it, you would discover that China was not part of this movement while Mao lived. (Discover more about China’s Collective Culture)

PTSD as a war wound and a trauma was not recognized or treated until well after America’s Vietnam War.  Prior to its discovery, it was known as shell shock. The diagnosis of PTSD first appeared in the 1980s, and Mao died in 1976.

In fact, if Mao were alive today he would not be alone. In the United States, it is estimated that 7.8% of all Americans suffer from PTSD, and among that segment of the population, more than 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan military veterans have PTSD in addition to 1.7 million Vietnam veterans.

Return to or start with The influence of Complex PTSD on Mao as China’s Leader: Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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The influence of Complex PTSD on Mao as China’s Leader: Part 1 of 2

December 3, 2013

Who was Mao? Was he the demon the Western media often makes him out to be, or was he just a product of his environment?

Mao has been judged by a Western value system that did not exist in China or the United States during his lifetime. In addition, it is now known that who we grow up to become as adults is partially due to genetics but mostly from environmental and lifestyle influences.

Mao grew up in a world nothing like most in the West have ever experienced, but he has been judged by Western humanitarian beliefs—also known today as political correctness—that did not exist when he was born into China’s collective culture where the reverse was true and the individual was not more important than the whole.

There is a strong possibility that Mao also suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and this may have influenced his behavior and decisions during the years he ruled China [1949 – 1976].

Helping Psychology says, “PTSD victims tend to be in a continuous state of heightened alertness. The trauma that precipitates the disorder essentially conditions them to be ever-ready for a life threatening situation to arise at any moment … But the continuous releases of brain chemicals that accompany this reaction time – and their inability to control when this heightened reactivity will occur – take psychological and biological tolls on PTSD victims over time.”

And Medicine Net.com says, “Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) usually results from prolonged exposure to a traumatic event or series thereof and is characterized by long-lasting problems with many aspects of emotional and social functioning.”

American combat veterans are not the only people on this planet to suffer from PTSD. Every person is susceptible to the ravages of a violent trauma and if we examine Mao’s life, it could be argued that PTSD may have played a strong role in the decisions he made as he aged.

We will examine Mao’s long history as a victim of violence in Part 2.

Continued on December 4, 2013 in The influence of Complex PTSD on Mao as China’s Leader: Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

About iLook China

China’s Holistic Historical Timeline


Keeping Mao Alive in the West – Part 2/4

June 30, 2011

Another fact that The Economist left out of Boundlessly loyal to the great monster was that Mao was not in charge of The Cultural Revolution. He started the movement to retain power then put his wife in charge. While she was busy dismantling the nation, Mao was hanging out inside the walls of The Forbidden City.

His wife put students in charge of the schools and made teachers victims.

Before that, Mao turned butchers and peasants into doctors without any medical education to guide them in the healing arts. These untrained doctors were known as bare-foot doctors with little to no training, which I wrote about at China’s Health Care During Mao’s Time.

However, as crazy as it may sound, the bare-foot doctors worked.  Life expectancy was about 35 when Mao launched this program and by the time Mao died, life expectancy had increased by twenty years.

The people that Mao liberated from feudalism know that Mao Zedong was also a poet long before he ruled China. The years of Civil War from the early 1920 to 1949, assassination attempts and broken promises by Chiang Kai-shek , and fighting the brutal Japanese during World War II must have changed Mao. For sure, The Long March was a bloody influence that possibly led to a bad case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which tends to make one paranoid.

After all, fighting a Civil War for almost 25 years and living in caves had to have an impact on Mao.  If US soldiers come home with PTSD after one tour of combat, imagine more than two decades living a life of combat.

The Maoists that The Economist mentions mostly want to have the power back but not necessarily the purges and/or denunciations of The Cultural Revolution.

With nostalgia, this minority of Maoists remembers a different time from a different perspective since they may have been the peasant leaders of the adolescent Red Guard.

Many in the West probably do not know that the Red Guard and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were two different forces and the PLA for the most part was not involved in The Cultural Revolution.  In fact, several times the PLA stopped the rampaging Red Guard from some of its destruction of all things old in China.

Continued on July 1, 2011 in Keeping Mao Alive in the West – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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