PTSD & the Blindness of the Just Man

blog image Yoda

We are rescued by those whom we have rescued.  The saved become the saviors of their saviors.

– Dean Koontz, The Darkest Evening of the Year

Melissa Flemings, who has worked with refugees, claims in a TED Radio Hour segment that the victims of war can hold the key to lasting peace.  She believes for this to happen the stories of survivors must be heard.

Recently I took part in a research study with regard to OIF and OEF veterans that was designed to examine how a vet’s post traumatic stress syndrome affects present and past relationship partners.  Psychiatrists are now discovering that the failure of military systems to provide effective deprogramming to help veterans resolve war trauma is resulting in widespread PTSD in their “dependents” as well, as if wives, husbands, children, and even romantic partners are also traumatized war survivors.

Seems incorrectly treated or untreated PTSD in combat vets is contagious, and secondary victims now have their own war stories to tell.

Though stress disorders may be somewhat “contagious” in general, combat vets and those that love them are uniquely susceptible to this emerging PTSD epidemic.

I think it’s a big mistake to assume that this is ocurring because combat-related PTSD (what used to be called battle fatigue) is somehow by nature far worse than any other form of PTSD. Stress disorders are worse and going viral among the military population because this country keeps its soldiers ready for deployment by medical suppression of symptoms and emotions, utilizing anti-depressants, anti-anxieties and stigma propaganda.

Stress disorders are worse and going viral among the military population because military entities largely do not make use of cognitive therapies known world-wide to help heal PTSD.

Let me reiterate:

Our veteran services largely do not promote cognitive therapies known world-wide to help heal PTSD.  

Trigger normalization in particular, not avoidance of benign triggers, and detachment from all abusive authority figures, whether it be from disordered parents (preventing infantile regression) or from those very broken systems (military or governmental) who by nature continue to place in harm’s way but won’t set free, is necessary for a vet, like all trauma survivors, to adjust to normal life. As well, one traumatized must relearn the trauma to which one has been exposed and how the conscious and unconscious mind relates to it.  One must unlearn what one has learned wrongly.

Why would psychology be anything different for a soldier?  Are we not all human beings with the same basic, human  needs?

If vets want effective help they have to realize they need it, it’s out there, and obtain it on their own (like the rest of us) but typically will not do so because they place unconditional trust in systems for which they were, for lack of a better word, brainwashed to be expendible.

And what disturbs me the most is that military authorities and strategists are aware of this.  They know the law of war is the exact opposite of the laws of love and life, and that our government’s lack of psychological accountability is killing vets, their loved ones and families, but are doing nothing about it. Encouraging the use of maintanance strategies such as yoga or dissociative meditation is not the answer.  Relaxation therapies are not the same thing as providing combat vets with grounding strategies and effective, corrective, cognitive, mental exercise tools that they really need.  Couching the argument in terms of dollars spent on ill-designed military or veteran medical programs urgently in need of reform, not more dollars, is a glaringly obvious, intentional diversion to anyone familiar with the means to overcome PTSD, who will notice effective therapies and instruction noteably lacking, and in reality, not even being promoted within the veteran medical community.

To make matters even worse, war is different now.

The enemy is different now.

We are different now.

Because today’s war is terrorism.

I believe terrorists’ placing of their own innocent women and children in harm’s way and using them as human explosives has contributed to returning vets misidentifying their own loved ones as emotional liabilities, being triggered by them, and mistaking them for the enemy. Having to watch one’s friends being sent directly into harm’s way without being allowed to do anything to help save them just reinforces this. Who will turn on who, and who will abandon who first for this “greater”, terrifying cause?

In America, trauma related disorders are epidemic, while those who have the power to shape public opinion impose volatile mental manipulations on those unitiated in the self-serving brokeness of our political, military and medical systems. In our country we now have powerful leaders who actually suggest disproportionate untrustworthiness and potential for invasion, criminality and violence in all persons of certain nationalities. These politicians promote enmity towards those that speak out and warn against the dangers of their own fear mongering and racism.

Those who warn against the dangers of enabling PTSD in combat vets are likewise blamed for our veteran’s inability to recover from PTSD.

Americans are pressured by veteran “activists” to stop setting off celebratory fireworks on the fourth of July, and are wrongly taught to walk on eggshells around anyone traumatized from active duty.  These kinds of behaviors would not only normalize a disorder, PTSD, they do nothing to help non-deployed veterans express their emotions and normalize life – while actually encouraging an uneducated public to view the combat vet as helpless and inherently more dangerous to himself or others.

None the less, some veteran groups continue to encourage vets to blame those who are simply out enjoying life, and healthily living it.  Now it’s those who live life who are untrustworthy, and the pathology that must not be denied accomodation.

And while flashbacks and panic attacks are a normal response to unresolved trauma, normalizing refusal to resolve trauma, and normalizing refusal to separate from by-nature abusive authority figures that cause PTSD in the first place, while wrongly blaming other innocents for what vets are going through, is not.

What could be a more irresponsible thing to do to our vets and the families vets will, if no one gives them the information and tools they really need to heal, ultimately abandon?

People don’t get trauma disorders simply because they have been exposed to trauma.

They get PTSD because they have been lied to, indoctrinated or brainwashed in some manner by an authority figure about trauma.  They have been incorrectly taught (in some manner, through some kind of system, familial or otherwise) that trauma or abuse equals love, duty or obligation.  The victim knows deep down inside what they’ve subconsciously learned is not true, and this makes them feel out of control. The symptoms of PTSD are just the body’s way of letting the conscious state know there is something that must be revisited and relearned correctly, so that they can heal and enjoy life again.

As Yoda said, you must unlearn what you have learned.

But what that is that must be relearned correctly is usually the last thing that will occur to a victim of PTSD, especially if he or she tries to dissociate, meditate, medicate or suppress symptoms away.  And although the last thing that occurs to the PTSD victim is that in some manner they have been scammed, it is always true that in some manner they have been scammed, and typically, once the person figures out how and why,  they are well on the road to recovery.  Quite honestly, they are usually blaming themselves for something they need to correctly blame on someone or something else.

Examples of healable PTSD and the authority figures that unjustly impose it include the following:

A father beats or molests his son, teaching the innocent child he deserves and needs to dispense physical abuse to become a man, and if the child objects or tells on the father, the father will beat the boy’s mother and siblings as well, placing the child in a double bind.

An emotionally suppressed Cluster A single mother teaches that manipulation and emotional absence is maternal or feminine love, and that it is her son’s job, even when grown,  to protect or save such a mother from exposure. If the adult offspring manages to separate from the false mother, or finds an adult woman who loves them in a healthy manner, such a mother will verbally or emotionally punish the adult son, and scapegoat the healthy relationship partner.

A drill sergeant teaches (commonly male)  soldiers it is their job to “save” those in a dependent position (commonly women and children), but showing emotion for the victims it is their job to save is discouraged, because emotions make a soldier vulnerable.  And if the victim is the enemy’s race, the authoritative sergeant teaches that those victims are expendible. This is because secondary victims could be being used as human weapons.  Therefore a US soldier must be on guard against any innocent or ill-used it is their job to save.  Soldiers have been taught to be willing to kill or abandon those whom they would in other circumstances protect or love.

Yet military authorities will never teach vets it’s time to drop their guard against innocent victims so that the soldier can get on with love and life. They are much like Manchurian candidates brainwashed with a mental disorder that only works in a war zone.

And these same military “authorities”, that with “good” intentions inevitably “lie” on the battle field about the expendibility of innocent human life, will send vets to continue to stand guard at the funeral of a soldier who has died in the line of duty.

This may be a beautiful, even admirable and touching token of gratitude towards the deceased soldier and their grieving family, but it wrongly implies that loyalty to a by-nature abusive system (even after death) is the law of love.  And considering the suicide rates of soldiers with PTSD and the increasing rates of suicide among military family members including children, it smacks of way too little too late. It will continue to appear this way to self aware individuals until military authorities provide a surviving soldier and their families the correct cognitive therapy and effective deprogramming tools necessary to have a normal life, which would involve learning how to drop one’s guard, and perhaps leaving the war lifestyle behind them entirely.

The situations I have described are classic psychological double binds that destroy unaware victims from within if they are not revisited, and the laws of love and life are not relearned correctly and properly restored.

PTSD victims typically will keep choosing new abusive pattern types (an abusive job, an abusive spouse, etcetera) in a desperate effort to finally “win” love and security where love and security can never be found, because it is not in the nature of that entity to provide it.

People with PTSD will continue to do this until they realize separation, ideally a “no contact” policy (not loyalty to by-nature abusive entities) and rethinking personal trauma is what really sets people free and allows one to bond with other free innocents, which is necessary for life.

Moreover, since all human beings are equals and the words we use determine how we think, the military should reconsider referring to spouses and their children as dependents.  For the indoctrinated soldier, his or her recovery often depends upon accepting effective treatment through the love, insistence and zero tolerance policies of  loved ones, for this sort of thing is not going to come from Veterans Affairs.

War is complex, but life is simple. To live life healthily one must be willing to love and be loved.

It follows we must use proportionate force to help one another, by providing truth, physical defense when able, and caring for and being present for all human beings, when the other, be they a man or a woman,  is suffering or has had an injustice imposed upon them.

But no one human disproportionately one gender, should be taught it is his or her job and responsibility to “save” all other human beings, as if man is God. And though human empathy and gender equality may be a liability on the battlefield,  it is necessary for love and life.

This timeless lesson is taught by biology, but it has also been emphasized in the language and reflections of various religions throughout the centuries. I would think Christians (who still consititute a large proportion of our Armed Forces) would take both heed and comfort that a savior already died and rose again so that humans would choose love and life.  One would think that all thinking people could agree that one can believe in a strong military defense, but no one should really be “pro war”.

G. K. Chesterton was emphasizing this when he spoke of “the true soldier (who) fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

Yet I have seen American civilians who have survived horrific traumas of their own, such as domestic violence and rape, or who suffered severe child abuse at the hands of their own parents  or a clergy member (also abandoned or retraumatized by our own systems) get ridiculed and demoralized by combat vets for correctly comparing their resultant stress disorders, when they tried to reach out and share with these vets the information they need to recover, as I am attempting to do today.  Fearmongers and stigma propagandists are very good at dividing good people, genders, families, and misdirecting attention away from the military and government entities abandoning our vets that society should be holding accountable.

I say it’s about time someone let the cat out of the bag, if not for our soldiers’ sake, for the sake of the country, those they went to war to defend, not harm, and for the sake of those they will inevitably, pre-emptively abandon, who are mostly innocent women and children, if everyone continues to keep looking the other way.

For how is military training just if we permanently brainwash all human vulnerability out of the man, and destroy his capacity for love, trust, human empathy and bonding?

How is military training just if it does not allow those who have tried to save and defend us – to be saved and defended by us – when they return home?

Wouldn’t that mean then, that terrorism has won?

I have written this piece for all combat vets but especially with men in mind because men have been lied to, and wrongly taught, not just by the military, that vulnerability and healthy expression of emotions (necessary for healing from PTSD) including the processing of just anger and grief, is weak, unmanly, socially unacceptable, unhealthy, or a sign that one lacks “decorum”.

The just military man still tends to say things like “How can I help others, if I don’t calmly put my own oxygen mask on first?” as if he is the savior of the world.

Then he swallows his pain and the lies that are slowly eroding his stomach, like magical bullets that will somehow suppress the truth from popping back up, or from being visibly written across his forehead.

Women tend to act instantaneously and with passion, but this doesn’t mean women don’t think and consider facts first, like those written on the backs of medicine bottles, noting side effects of which their husbands preferred to remain ignorant.  Women have been pondering uncomfortable facts for thousands of years, knowing action and proportionate expression of emotion is not only allowable in real life, but necessary.

Women know men’s oxygen masks aren’t working right and are instead slowly exuding something more immobilizing and poisonous than mustard gas.  This is because they themselves are commonly the very victims abandoned by men’s ineffective strategizies.  And this is why the just woman, the good mother, will immediately, intuitively and automatically give of her own life force (not a man’s oxygen mask) breathing directly into the mouth of a dying child.

I say if helpless children are dying or their lives are being destroyed, it’s because they didn’t have parents or villagers of both genders willing to do the same.

It is not an inconsequential fact that men, particularly heterosexual alpha males, tend to seek counsel only from other men, regardless of credentials, rather than from intelligent and intuitive women that, because of this empathic nature, can help, as if it’s men’s job to protect women, despite women being their own equals, from hearing or bearing the truth. These men seem to think women, who by nature are life bearers and in that sense paradoxically both stronger, wiser and more vulnerable than men all at the same time, haven’t been noticing the destructive nature of men’s physically domineering (but ironically more impotent) strength all along.

And whether you like his politics or not, whether you liked his opponent or not, most mental health practitioners do not think it benign that the president of this country is a man who actually degraded a women publicly just for menstruating and got away with it.  Our leader and current military commander-in-chief is a man who Harvard psychiatrists even publicly warned as narcissistic and potentially sociopathic,  precisely because he has demonstrable contempt for the vulnerable and those who suffer, as if to feel and express human empathy or endure pain makes you weak, or someone who thinks with your emotions and not your head.  Most significant in my opinion, is that Donald Trump’s election lent a dangerous social acceptance and perceived credibility to having an emotionally void, might makes right, bullying mentality.

He was actually cheered on, even though the war mentality, believing that only winning matters, is the hallmark sign of sociopathy.

Now we have volatile, reactionary, war-like polarization sweeping the nation.  Nowhere is this reflected more clearly than in the fragmentation and division we see by way of social media. Brute expression and behavior is lauded rather than reasoned arguments based in critical thinking ability. The mental health of the nation and families are at risk moreso than ever recently before, and gender relations have been dangerously compromised.

But let me make this clear.

This piece is not written to blame everything on or scapegoat the president.  Neither is it written to condemn our military leaders personally. This piece is not written to knock the brotherhood and bond often felt by those who fought side by side in battle.

Our military, whose interests and directives, although not always 100% humanitarian, has defended our nation and freed many foreign citizens from abusive, terrorist regimes.

Many of our young people join the military in fact, to find order and meaning in life, after suffering emotionally void or abusive childhoods. Internationally leading cognitive therapists and neuro-linguistic programming experts believe the most severe cases of combat-related PTSD are really CPTSD, with war being the secondary trauma to childhood neglect.

I write this piece only to remind vets that man’s systems including the military, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and all systems within the government, are self-referential. Systems exist so that systems work (read: stay in existence) not so that you and I stay in existence.  Systems are not designed to save you from them.  Therefore systems are the blue falcon or more crudely put,  the buddy or cluster fuck.  Systems see you as the expendable and they do not exist to serve the laws of love. We must hold them accountable if not for ourselves, for the sake of others whom they might harm.

Only humans can do this because only humans have hearts and souls.

And as human individuals, we have choices to make in life. We must take accountability for our actions – yes –  but also our inaction, refusal to communicate with one another, inertia, emotional and voice suppression, the freeze response in PTSD, and self-imposed blindness that is putting a lid on an already boiling pot, causing us to dissociate, become less human, and making us part of the monster.

Are we going to serve love and life by facing, expressing and sharing our grief and pain (not dangerously suppressing it) and being there for our loved ones, ultimately finding joy?

Are we going to hold broken or ill designed systems accountable for what they are incorrectly doing to veterans and their families?

Are we going to serve war and death by trying to make ourselves as “invulnerable” as drones to everything and everyone around us except those disordered systems, while punishing the innocent for being healthily human, those who scream out when they are in pain, or laugh when they are happy?

Or are we going to punish people who have often survived equally traumatic, private wars of their own?

I say no, for the answer is clear, very clear, and should have been perceived and acknowledged the first time an American child commited suicide because Daddy came home from war and couldn’t love him anymore.

Healing, for the returning combat vet  (like all civilians who have gone through a living hell) depends upon a willingness to detach from all abusive authority figures and relations, jobs and systems, and a willingness to let a healthy love, not a war mentality, save them. This holds true for their families as well,  and receiving what is necessary to get on with life (knowledge of and access to correct cognitive tools) is the soldier’s and his or her family’s earned right.

Since systems, which by nature place human beings in double binds are abusive, victims (both military and civilian) must bond with each other, and stop identifying with and relating war systems to Almighty God.

For in war, vulnerability gets people killed.

But in life, only the vulnerable can help save the powerful –  from themselves.


you sat on a fence waiting

watching your options fall,
like a chandelier come crashing down
from great heights

you sat on a fence
thinking you were protecting them
while you served as
a slave to the man

frozen in February,
you sold Sarah to the naysayers,
to the crooks,
and to the liars
for suffering too much

you mistook her for the enemy
because you mistook yourself
for the physician,
the savior
and master

you honor the old woman instead
who shot you in the head
without making a sound,
while cutting your skin for a doll
and calling Sarah jealous

like a spell caster
fashioning admirers
some sell their own gifts
and lie about love

men think it is their job
to save the world
so they say semper fi
to their own image

and to men who don’t love them

women think it is their job
to save their own sons,
so they bury them alive
in basements of funeral homes

clatter, clatter against a fence post
I saw your body wrung,
a broken walking stick
with the body of a crustacean

only when the just man leaps
will he hear Sarah’s screams,

will he find that
it’s his own plane on fire
but she has placed
invisible nets waiting

only when the tide brings in
not dead bodies and debris
but the truth one has hushed
in self-bottled silence
will chains unravel

love float,
and pearls rise on the waves

for only those
who make themselves small
and trust in the power of love
not war
on invisible waters









13 thoughts on “PTSD & the Blindness of the Just Man

  1. This is a very thought-provoking post. I can understand why the military is trained the way it is — because in times of war, having too much empathy for enemy victims can keep a soldier from doing what they need to do. Of course, war is a terrible thing to begin with, and whenever possible, there should be better alternatives. In a perfect world, that would be the case, unfortunately this is far from a perfect world. I wish there was some way of re-training combat soldiers to re-empathize when they return home, but often it seems like serving their country has destroyed their souls. Not all get that way though. I think it depends how bad their PTSD is or whether it coexists with CPTSD from earlier childhood trauma. War and combat can exacerbate a case of CPTSD and even lead to antisocial or narcissistic behavior.

    All that being said, I completely agree with you that empathy and compassion are looked on today as weaknesses, rather than strengths. People are getting meaner and colder, and we are in the midst of a civil war within our own borders. Trump is dividing people and encourages division, also encourages the objectification and dehumanization of whole groups of people he dislikes at his rallies. It’s a terrible, dangerous situation. On the plus side, I do see more awareness than ever before of the problem we are facing. In some ways, Trump is like a giant mirror, reflecting back to us just how monstrous we have become. For some, this serves as encouragement and a green light to act even more that way, but I think for most, we are seeing ourselves for the first time as a nation, and realizing that narcissism and lack of empathy have gone way too far and it’s time to make some serious changes. If there’s one good thing to come out of his presidency, it’s that it’s a wake up call to reclaim civility and compassion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You make a lot of important points – but I would like to unpack this particular one a bit further:

      “I can understand why the military is trained the way it is — because in times of war, having too much empathy for enemy victims can keep a soldier from doing what they need to do. Of course, war is a terrible thing to begin with…”

      First of all, let me reiterate, the laws of war are the exact opposite of the laws of life and love. Expressing vulnerability, asking for help, bonding with victims, and not being constantly on guard can get oneself and others killed in a war. But these things will not get you killed in a normal life; in fact they are necessary to live a normal life and not die alone, depressed and paranoid, most likely with a bleeding ulcer.

      And although war is never a good thing (though sometimes temporarily justified) and although soldiers do need to be brave and confidant during war, I think military training has changed, and the military is not acknowledging this. Neither is it undoing damage done by encouraging trigger normalization.

      I think somewhere along the line military training (although always a form of breaking down then building up, in other words, a form of brainwashing) refocused from teaching troops to stop unjust agression in a powerful way to defend the innocent, and to be aware of that overall mission, to using tactics that dehumanize the enemy and psychological warfare – questionably moral methods that are sometimes as morally injurious to our soldiers using them, than they are to the enemy they target.

      Maybe this is because of terrorism. Or maybe it is because we’ve gone to war over things we should have not gone to war over – like oil, or money or power. I do not know.

      But coming from a military family, I have been privileged to have known and loved several WWII and Vietnam vets over the years, and I can tell you none of them dehumanized enemy victims – in fact – that’s who they, in a very self aware way, fought to defend (even when it didn’t pan out that way) despite being called “baby killers” and what not, when they got back home. I still have pictures and slides my father took, of sweet little Vietnamese children, a group of triplets, singing for him and his fellow buddies in gratitude.

      Yes, innocents will die during war. Soldiers will get killed. That hasn’t changed.

      But we must remain cognizant of what our GOAL is in war – to defend as many innocent victims as possible, whether those innocent be our soldiers, the people back home, or those murdered by ISIS, including their own people. Because any dehumanization of any whole group of human beings as a race (just because some of them are dangerous), is a dangerous step in itself towards becoming a terrorist country ourself – and like you say – creating narcissist, terrorist soldiers.

      C S Lewis wrote about the good soldier not fighting because he hates what’s in front of him, but because he loves what he left behind. I say the best soldiers of the past even recognized, to a certain degree, that the enemy was their “other self”, much as you and I can understand how anyone enduring childhood trauma could become a narcissist. Mental and moral standards teach us get justly angry and to set boundaries against narcissists, but never to hate or dehumanize them.

      Also for Lewis, a key moral issue was not simply how we should act, but also whom we allow to act upon us. It is imperative, in my opinion, that soldiers be encouraged to acknowledge that the traumatic injury that caused them the inability to heal from PTSD when they return home to their families, was actually imposed during bootcamp by a US military authority. This is never even mentioned by those claiming to be receiving therapy from the VA. The brainwashing for war, the injury that prevents them from recovering, was not caused by the “enemy” they went to war to fight against.

      The violence of war is actually a secondary tauma to this initial brainwashing (albeit a more violent one) or in the case of soldiers who have had early childhood trauma, an even “more complex” trauma – but it’s not what caused the initial trauma or inability to heal from combat PTSD. The drill sergeant is much like the narcissistic parent or abusive relationship partner, sending the soldier (or child, or victim) into an impossible double bind, but calling it duty, or love or patriotism.

      One of the crucial differences between vets and civilian trauma victims, is that they are not allowed to separate or break from the entity that took the role of the abuser, or criticize that entity or system in any way, to re-evaluate the past and heal. The whole necessary step of just anger, breaking off contact with, criticizing or even just re-evaluating the person/entity/system that brainwashed you to become an emotionally void soldier – is strictly forbidden – and considered acting without decorum. One would get kicked out of the military for questioning one’s “superior”, and today, the “best” soldiers make the worst family members, and are not going to give up their careers for their families. But we don’t even have mandatory deprogramming for vets leaving the military for good, or retiring – when they don’t need to be an emotional drone anymore.

      Even online discussion groups that openly discuss issues like moral injury, skyrocketing rates of mental disturbance among vets and their families, and resulting suicides (sometimes tragically commited by the young children of soldiers) do not allow comments that dare to suggest the military is not being accountable to vets and their families – by not providing deprogramming, and trigger normalization. Vets will not “let their guard down” (still thinking it is their job to “save” and protect their family from truth rather than time for their spouse or adult partner to save them with truth) and the last thing a vet will do is ask his relationship partner (perhaps the only person in the world who loves him unconditionally) for help, let alone allow the brave, equal, one on one, adult verbal intimacy and communication necessary to recover from such things as the fear of harm syndrome really troubling them. Spouses are considered dependents, not equals, to speak with about such things. The male soldier is typically very misogynistic.

      And to go to the military for deprogramming so one doesn’t have to be a soldier anymore and can live a normal life, is like going to one’s abusive parent and expecting help to unravel from the narcissistic abuse that they imposed in the first place. The military/government/veteran affairs groups are less likely to deprogram vets and help them cut contact with military authority figures – or entities that fit the abuser pattern type – and regain it with real victims, like their own families, than an abusive parent would say something to make him or herself and the abusive family of origin look bad, validate their victim, and hand the victim a copy of Pete Walker’s Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving.

      It’s not going to happen.

      Help has to come from the outside, from someone who really loves you enough to tell you what you don’t want to hear, when one is brainwashed by an authority figure. Combat soldiers have to realize that it is not the authority that placed them in the double bind that will save them from themselves, or stop them from inadvertantly hurting others.

      It is only those they fought in war to save, other innocent victims, that can become the saviors of their savior.

      In life, you bond with others, or you die.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First of all, I suffer from PTSD. From year after year of it. I’ve been told that I have more courage than most combat vets from WWII. Don’t know about that, but the circumstances that cause this disorder, whether warfare or otherwise, are terrible. I know men who have PTSD from abusive childhoods, which in turn caused these fellows to become abusive themselves, & therefore cause their victims, including myself, to have developed PTSD. I have had a different way of dealing with it than abuse. Self destruction was one of my ways of handling it; however that finally changed to self nourishment.
    I do know though what some severely war damaged veterans go through & what can happen to their families because of it. Two kids committed suicide.
    I do not think that the military has,done enough in the past, to help these people & their families. One reason for that is because it separates family issues from those of the military member. Its as if what happens, or has happened, to a soldier is not supposed to affect the family. Its part of the package, has been the attitude.
    Fortunately, things are starting to take on a different perspective. Veterans at least are starting to get more effective treatments, to include things that can be appealing & peaceful to them such as working with animals. Family members are being allowed to voice out their issues instead of supressing them. I know people who work with vets & with family members of vets.
    Unfortunately in many cases in the past, women & children were supposed to shut up, period. Whether they were military family or civilian families, didn’t matter. They were to put up with & tolerate whatever the man of the family had to dish out to them. Even from drunks. Sometimes it could be a mother, sometimes both. In the traditional sense though, it was typically the father who was abusing the kids, & if not abusing, then not being a communicative & loving husband to the wife.
    Excuse: well he works very hard, goes through a lot, & puts a roof over the family & food on the table. Uh huh.
    That’s the excuse I was given. That & others. There were no excuses except stupid ones provided to my supposedly naive, dumb brain, by abusive, narcissistic men I had two previous relationships with.
    I will always feel pain by it. But at least I managed to forgive my dad. He was blind to what he did really. I remember the good times as well as the bad. I know too that he was sorry. Later on in life he apologized. So I have closure in that case. I’m lucky because a lot of people don’t get that. I feel for them.
    I’m working on it, in the case of the negative relationships I had been in. Biggest thing: forgiving myself for it.
    Unfortunately as to the military, there is a lot of work yet to be done. Fortunately family members are being more included in the father’s (or mother’s) treatments. First they need to understand the origins of the PTSD, which is something that many vets (men esp.) like to hide, in avoiding showing “weakness”. They’ve been programmed that way & perhaps not just by the military either. But “weak” individuals get kicked out of the Armed Forces. Understandably you can’t break down & start crying in the middle of a battle. But afterwards there needs to be some release.
    Hopefully now & I believe that at least some of them are, they’ll start getting that release. And the family members need that too. Instead of bring labelled as “sick” or “unstable”.
    And if they are sick or unstable then that’s an even more compelling reason to get them the treatment they need & deserve.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy Mustang, I cannot tell if you are a man or a woman, but I so appreciate your insightful and detailed sharing. It, and Otter’s reblogging, means so much to me, for I have not as of yet even officially promoted my blog.

      Yes, I was like you, and would rather self destruct, than hurt others. The sad part is, even empathetic victims of trauma who don’t become narcissists or abusive, can inadvertantly hurt and pre-emptively abandon themselves and others, unless they unravel their past, and learn to love themselves and heal.

      “I’m working on it, in the case of the negative relationships I had been in. Biggest thing: forgiving myself for it.” I would take this a step further: Identify that your father gave you the compulsion through his neglect to find love from sources intrinsically void. This is not, not loving him, and not, not forgiving him. What you will find is you were innocent, and there is nothing for which to “forgive” yourself.

      Likewise, to heal, soldiers must recognize that it is the military authorities to which they vow unquestioning allegience, that caused their inability to heal from PTSD in the first place. I believe petting animals and being allowed to voice complaints is too little too late coming from something, which is by nature, an abusive entity because it brainwashes soldiers for war, but will not unbrainwash them – so that they can live life to the fullest. What vets need is extensive cognitive therapy to undo basic training, trigger normalization, and to be taught basic grounding techniques. They must learn to reconnect and bond with other civilian victims. These things are not even taught – in fact, they are still discouraged by the military ethic, as you so aptly stated.

      First, do no harm. If a system must “do harm” to prepare men for battle, it must undo harm to prepare them for life. Please help me hold broken systems to account by sharing this post. Thank you so much!


      1. Thats so true. The system that sends Americans to war really does need to reprogram these brave (for the most part) souls for life.
        I know the person who is connected to the VA institution that includes the animal program as part of the work it’s doing to help veterans with PTSD. (that was a mouthful). Anyway I don’t know much about the facility or what its actually doing for the vets (& families as the case may be), except that having the vets work with animals provides a quiet respite for them. It just gives them a place to get away from everything for awhile & feel safe. And they get to do something nice for animals ad well. I’m sure they’re receiving counseling of some kind, I don’t know what kind/s though. I’m sure that it must be a very hard thing to go through. Then when they leave they have to face themselves, other people, their families, problems of life (looking for civilian jobs, housing, etc perhaps); pressures, on top of what they’ve been through already. So I think that the animals give them a break. So I do think that its a wonderful idea. But I agree with you; they need to be reprogrammed from a life of being prepared for war, to being reintroduced into a peaceful, normal life. Plus any issues that each individual veteran may have that’s causing him or her, & perhaps others, problems.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. That was scary for me to post & it took the breath out of me really. But I’m very glad & thankful that I ran across these posts because this is the very thing I need to help me in the healing process. I’ve read things about & have undergone counseling etc. For PTSD, & talked to others that have experienced it. Some of them were military members. I’ve been hearing about the term “narcissism” for quite awhile now too, & had strongly suspected that abusive individuals in my life were (strong) narcissists themselves. (That’s a tough word to spell).
    First person that comes to my mind whenever I see or hear that word, is Napoleon Bonaparte.
    Having read the articles & excerpts about narcissists & the games they play, narcissist continuum, & other things, I can make some sense out if all of it. At least I can get a better understanding of the big Q: WHY? I still don’t quite get why they like it though, except for manipulating for material gain, & power. That’s detestable, but understandable. But why the rest of it?! I couldn’t stand to live life playing those games. Ugh.
    I suppose there’s one thing they don’t get & its tragic, not just for themselves but for everyone around them. That’s peace. If you don’t have that or joy, or any love, how can you be happy at all? I guess if they know they won’t have any of that in their lives, in order to maintain their, er, place up on the totem pole, then they’ll try to make sure their victims don’t have any either. Yep. They’re selfish. But it truly is sad.
    I can honestly thank those whose articles & comments I have read so far, for helping me get my nose up out of the dirt, the rest of the way. I’ll surely keep reading. In appreciate the humor too. It does help to laugh a little bit.
    Thanks & bless you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy Mustang – yes – I am sorry and I agree with you. I did not mean to minimize the beauty of a program that has veterans work with animals. If one can bond with and have empathy for animals it is a step (albeit not the full re-education vets deserve) in the right direction.

      Just as I was reading your latest remarks about this my dogs came near, as if to remind of their life affirming purpose and what a consoling and healing gift they are from God, especially to trauma survivors. I know I can trust my dogs completely, whereas there were times I could not trust my own family members. I also think animals help us learn to put ordinary life challenges in a proper perspective, and add humor to life!


    2. One more reason why I think working with animals helps veterans – it follows the laws of life and love. As I quote at the top of this post “we are rescued by those whom we have rescued”.

      Now if only the military systems would encourage vets not to avoid the innocent human beings that love or are willing to love them in a healthy manner, and perhaps depend upon them (and therefore trigger them.) For it is in those very innocent human beings our soldiers have fought to protect and save, and the love they can to the vet who needs healing, that lies the resolution to their PTSD. Only love will save the world.


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