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
Recently I took part in a research study regarding OIF and OEF veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, that was designed to examine how a vet’s PTSD affects present and past relationship partners. Psychiatrists are discovering that the failure of military systems to provide effective deprogramming to combat vets and their resulting emotional suppression, disregulation, and often infantile regression, is now resulting in widespread PTSD in veterans’ “dependents” (wives, husbands, and children) and romantic partners as well.
Seems incorrectly treated or untreated PTSD in combat vets is contagious.
Though stress disorders in other individuals may be “contagious” as well, combat vets and those that love them are uniquely susceptible to this viral PTSD phenomena. I believe this is because this country keeps its soldiers ready for deployment by medical suppression of symptoms and emotions, utilizing anti-depressants, anti-anxieties, and stigma propaganda, but largely does not make use of trigger normalization and cognitive therapies known world-wide to help heal PTSD.
Let me reiterate:
Our veteran services largely do not promote trigger normalization and 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 or from those very broken systems (military or governmental), who by nature continue to place in harm’s way but won’t set the sufferer free, is necessary for a vet, like all trauma survivors, to adjust to normal life.
Why would reality be anything different for a soldier? Are we not all human beings with the same basic needs?
If vets want effective help they have to realize they need it, it’s out there, and obtain it all on their own, 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.
However, what disturbs me the most is those military authorities and strategists that 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. 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 cognitive therapy 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 turning them into 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.
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 and political fearmongers who suggest disproportionate potential for invasion, criminality and violence in all persons of certain nationalities. They promote enmity towards those that speak out and warn against the dangers of this fear-induced racism as well. Those who warn against the dangers of enabling PTSD in combat vets are also ironically blamed for our veteran’s inability to recover from PTSD. Americans are pressured by 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 not only normalize a disorder, PTSD, they also do nothing to help non-deployed veterans normalize life.
But veteran groups are actually encouraging vets to blame those who are simply out enjoying life, and healthily living it.
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 know deep down inside this isn’t true, and it 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.
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, medicate or suppress these horrific but instinctive 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.
Examples of PTSD imposing authority figures 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.
A mother teaches that manipulation and emotional absence is maternal or feminine love, and that it is the child’s job, even when grown, to protect or save such a mother from exposure. If the adult offspring separates from the false mother, becomes independent, receives societal acceptance superior to that of the mother, or finds an adult who loves them in a more healthy manner, such a mother will verbally or emotionally punish, blackmail or scapegoat the adult offspring, their reputation or the healthy relationship partner in return.
A drill sergeant teaches (usually male) tells soldiers it is their job to “save” dependents, usually women and children, but they must not show any emotion for the victims it is their job to save, because that is not safe and makes the soldier vulnerable. Also, if victims are the enemy’s race, they are expendible. This is because secondary victims could be carrying bombs, and therefore one must be on guard against victims it is your job to save. You have to be willing to kill them before they kill you, if you want to survive.
But these same military entities will never tell the vet it’s time to drop their guard against the innocent, so that the soldier can get on with love and life.
These same military entities, 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. They will hand the spouse a flag, teaching military families once again most likely with “good” intentions, that loyalty to a by-nature abusive system (even after death) is the law of love. This scene comes to mind because these same military authorities will not provide a living soldier and their families the correct cognitive therapy and effective deprogramming tools necessary to have a normal life, which involves learning how to drop one’s guard.
These 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 will typically keep choosing new abusive pattern types (an abusive job, an abusive spouse, etcetera) in a desperate effort to finally win love and security (complete a loop) where love and security can never be found, because it is not in the nature of that entity to provide it. People will continue to do this until they realize separation, or ideally a “no contact” policy, not loyalty to by-nature abusive entities, is what really sets people free and allows one to bond with other free innocents, which is necessary for healthy living.
Moreover, since all human beings are equals and the words we use determine how we think, perhaps the military should reconsider referring to spouses as dependents. It is egregious that this kind of malignant terminology is still casually tolerated by our supposedly evolved and non-sexist society.
To live life healthily one must love and be loved, and therefore be willing to use proportionate force to help each other, 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 in pain. 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 = 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 was emphasized in Judeo Christian non-romantic terms when a man and a woman stood together beneath a cross, while the only real God-man savior this world ever reportedly been given gave the older woman to advise the man, and the man to protect that woman. I would think Christians (who still consititute a large proportion of our Armed Forces) would take both heed and comfort that the God-man already died so that we mere humans would chose a societal familial love. One would also think that all thinking people would 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 cruelly ridiculed and demoralized on social media just for correctly comparing their resultant stress disorders to that of the combat vet, when they tried to reach out and share with 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.
So I don’t care.
I don’t care if I get verbally crucified as unpatriotic for mentioning painful, but self-evident truths that psychiatrists think can help this nation.
I say it’s about time someone let the cat out of the bag for our combat soldiers, if not for their own sake, for the sake of the country and 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 just keep comfortably 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 (the main thing 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”.
Just men tend to say things like “How can I help others, if I don’t calmly put my own oxygen mask on first?” Then they swallow their pain and the lies that are slowly killing them, like magical bullets that will somehow suppress the truth from popping back up, or from being visibly written across their foreheads.
Women tend to act instantaneously, and men often criticize them for this, but this doesn’t mean women don’t consider facts first, like those written on the backs of medicine bottles, noting side effects of which their husbands preferred to remain comfortably ignorant. Women have been pondering uncomfortable facts for thousands of years.
So women tend to know men’s oxygen masks aren’t working, and are instead slowly exuding something more immobilizing and poisonous than mustard gas on the whole human race. Women and children are usually the very victims of men’s ineffective strategizations. This is why the just woman, the good mother, will immediately, intuitively and automatically give of her own life force (that has supernaturally sustained her and that was not provided to her by any man) breathing directly into the mouth of her child.
As a woman 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.
And it is still not an inconsequential fact that men, particularly alpha males, tend to seek counsel only from other men, regardless of credentials, rather than from intelligent and intuitive women that can help them, often their own wives or girlfriends, as if it’s men’s job to protect women, despite women being their own equals, from hearing or bearing the truth. It’s as if women, by nature life bearers and in that sense paradoxically both stronger, wiser and more vulnerable than men all at the same time, haven’t been noticing and living with the hard truth of men’s physically domineering – but ironically spiritually impotent “strengths” – since the beginning of time.
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, nay, even applauded for it. Our leader and current military commander-in-chief is a man who Harvard psychiatrists privately (and some even publicly) denounce as sociopathic or Cluster B disordered, 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. More important than politics and platforms, Trump’s election lent a dangerous social acceptance and perceived credibility to having an emotionally void, might makes right, bullying mentality.
Believing that only winning matters is the hallmark sign of a sociopath.
So volatile, reactionary, war-like polarization is sweeping the nation, and nowhere is this reflected more clearly than in the fragmentation and division expressed in social media.
The mental health of the nation, families, gender and domestic relations are at risk moreso than ever before in recent history.
But let me make this clear.
This piece is not written to demonize Donald Trump. Neither is it written to condemn all military leaders.
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, such as Neuro-Linguistic Programming expert Richard Grannon, believe the most severe cases of combat-related PTSD are really CPTSD, with war being the secondary trauma to childhood neglect.
This piece is also not written to knock the brotherhood and bond often felt by those who fought side by side in battle.
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.
Only humans can do that because only humans have hearts and souls.
And as human individuals, we have choices to make in life. We must take accountability for actions – yes – but also our inaction, our refusal to communicate with one another, our inertia, 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 this 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? Or 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? 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,
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
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
and pearls rise on the waves
for only those
who make themselves small
and trust in the power of love
on invisible waters