In the media, online and gossip around me have some fairly messed up ideas about PTSD. PTSD/CPTSD is not rudeness, cruelty to others, or criminal behavior. Recently, I heard someone say that the reason a person was so rude was because they were mentally ill. WRONG. Missing social skills, yes. Lack of proper upbringing, yes. But not PTSD or mental illness. Rudeness is not a symptom. TV shows depict the “bad” guys as having a rough abusive childhood and that is why they are cruel. WRONG. Cruelty is a choice of behavior; it is not a symptom. Choosing to lash out at others is a choice of behavior not a part of PTSD or CPTSD. Using PTSD and CPTSD as an excuse for criminal behavior is just that an excuse not a symptom. No where on any list will you find rudeness, cruelty and criminal behavior listed as symptoms. Raised in a home without boundaries I was missing social skills. Lots of them. I mean most of them. My neighbor taught me that I don’t go into other people’s houses without knocking. School taught me other citizenship skills, yes, growing up we had citizenship and social skills taught for a grade. I was sorely lacking in so many different ways. Many of my sessions with my counselor were spent learning basic social skills that I did not develop because my focus was survival. I figured out please and thank you but there were many social living behaviors I knew nothing about. I remember one session my counselor explained to me about things people expect. When he finished, I was looking at him very puzzled and queried, “People actually do that?” There was a reason my counselor referred to me as an emotional moron. I first needed to feel my feelings, identify what they were and then learn the skills needed to navigate human emotional land mines. Yes, I came across as rude many times but it was not a symptom of PTSD/CPTSD it was a lack of training from a young age. Without emotions it is difficult if not impossible to empathize, understand someone else, or generally know what other people might expect and why. I still remember one of my jobs asking me to talk with a life coach. She asked if there was anything that might interfere with any training she gave me. I said yes and laid out what I learned in counseling. She then explained how she was going to teach me skills for being a manager. I bluntly replied, “I don’t do people. I manage computers, not people.” The time talking to her was mostly wasted because I literally had no idea what she was talking about most of the time. PTSD/CPTSD is tough no doubt about it but it does not make a person a criminal, cruel, or a jerk. Those are a choice. I work hard every day to choose differently than how I was raised.