Three types of symptoms:
These may be triggered by objects, sensory experiences or words which are reminders of the trauma.
Sufferers like Marta may:
A reliving of the trauma in the present moment.
Marta has lots of these, triggered by lots of different things, including smoking, certain smells, movements, or things Hector says.
‘I notice the red-rimmed edges of my fingernails…I see a hand, reaching out: the fingers spread open to take [the cigarette]. It is small, with bitten down nails, a silver ring gleaming on the index finger.’
Sleep haunted by remembrances of the event.
Marta has a history of these:
Have exaggerated reactions to certain stimuli
In the first chapter of How To Be A Good Wife, Marta startles easily when Hector comes home from work.
Feel tense or on edge
Marta constantly feels like something is not quite right, or that at any moment she could lose her grip on reality.
Experience angry outbursts
During the dinner party scene, Marta is irritable, testing your sympathy for her.
‘I slam the bowl down. Spots of creamy liquid dot the counter. “I get it Hector. You always know what’s good for him, what he wants, and I don’t.”‘
Staying away from places or things which are reminders of the event
Marta avoids the city, partially because Hector has warned her against it, and partly because she knows it causes her to behave oddly.
Feeling emotionally numb
Marta’s careful, controlled movements and domestic actions help her to keep a distance from emotions which may leap to the surface.
Feeling strong guilt, depression or worry
When Marta was off her medication, she remembers feeling depressed and distanced from her life.
Losing interest in things that were enjoyable before the event
Difficulty remembering the event itself
If there was a traumatic event, Marta cannot remember it at all at the beginning of the book. It is only though flashbacks that she begins to piece together what has happened to her, and how it differs from what Hector has told her.