From the day you join the military, you are beingconditioned. You’re being manipulated to fit the mold that the military needs you to fit, which ultimately results in conditioning you to suppress your feelings, to bury your regard for human life, and to focus on nothing but the mission. Does "F*ck your feelings” sound familiar?
We mentioned this at the start ofMental Hell and Wellness, but compartmentalizing and desensitizing is an extremely effective tactic when you are training for warfare. It is imperative when it comes to creating a lethal military force to defend our country. It is not effective for learning to lead a healthy, functioning life once you leave the service.
What Happens After The Military?
After years of being conditioned to suppress your feelings and not allowing yourself to feel pain or trauma, it is no wonder that we experience issues learning how to cope during their transition.
So many veterans self-proclaim themselves as psychopaths, mainly because they truly don’t know how to process or understand the thoughts that are consuming them. When normal individuals think of psychopaths, they think of the Ted Bundy’s and the Charles Manson’s of the world. Veterans think of themselves, and that is both terrifying and self-destructive.
Learning to separate from the mindset of a combat veteran is imperative in the healing process. This mindset should not be a reflection of their mindset at home and after the military.
Taking the First Step as a Veteran
But where does that begin? What’s the first step? How would a veteran re-condition and rewire their brain to think through experiences in order to separate that active duty mindset from the veteran mindset. It’s not an easy road.
The first step is both the simplest and yet the most profound, let yourself feel. Even if it’s terrifying, let yourself feel every emotion that hits you. Lean on your family and your buddies when those feelings are overwhelming and reach out when it feels like it's too much. But you have to allow yourself to feel in order to start discerning who you were told to be from who you really are. It is the only way to pull yourself out of the "brainwashing" that brought you here.