Flashbacks. I know, I know. *sigh*
Question: My main character has PTSD and experiences four separate flashbacks throughout the course of the manuscript I'm working on at the moment. I'm just wondering if this is abuse and if it is, how else can I show the trauma she struggles with every day of her life? Struggling with PTSD as a part of her daily life is something that my main character overcomes at the end of the story, and is a major problem for her on the internal level, where she buries guilt. I can't compromise the PTSD because of my plot, but I don't want these flashbacks to disturb my reader.
Well, "abuse" is a bit strong. Lots of successful books have multiple flashbacks. (Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway
is a classic that comes to mind.)
However, if you want an alternative way to let your the reader in on the character's inner struggle, you might consider giving your main character a confidant with whom she could discuss her past (for instance, a friend, doctor, therapist, or clergyman).
Another option is to tell the story in first person, so that the reader becomes the main character's confidant.
For that matter, the entire novel could be a journal or a report written by the main character with the intent to later give it to her therapist or other confidant. Even an imaginary confidant could work.