October 16, 2008

Soldiers Who Kill Can Become Imprisoned by Their Experiences

A Prisoner of My Beliefs

Soldiers and veterans with full blown PTSD usually have low personal self-esteem, a self-constructed foundation of self-affirmations grounded in positive thought, word and deeds, reinforced through values and principles. Esteem manifests in an outward appearance of honor and moral mastery, integrity and humility as others would know a consistency of character established through words, deed and actions. Where all of these principles were meet and mastered in the field of battle they no longer apply to a civilian life or civil society.

The combat schema, a defined preconditioned set of beliefs and values enabling the warrior to navigate efficiently through the adversity of combat without a detailed consideration of consequences. To engage in a mortal fight with the enemy this schema spells out our actions in a given situation as being preoccupied with survivability of the moment can get you killed. The warrior with PTSD has grown accustomed to the value and belief systems of war and feels threatened when they become faced with having to let go of this security to reintegrate back into society.

Without a proper identification of values and a conceptualization of a solid schema we can become lost to the reality of a situation and possibly lose out on our interactions necessary for relationship building. Combat critically changes our value systems, mostly to the detriment of constructing and maintaining significant relationships with family and friends. A disconnect happens between the soldier or veteran that leaves everyone feeling as though an insurmountable wall has been erected.

By an identification of values, along with acknowledging and deconstructing the combat schema one could find the ability to critically analyze in the moment, the validity of said beliefs as required by situational reflection enabling readjustments and disallowing an inflexibility of position. An underpinning of empowering schema and a reevaluation of ethical morality allows one to find plasticity in the moment producing a positive self-efficacy; a confident and self-assured person.


  1. Would you please elaborate on what you mean by "allows one to find plasticity in the moment" Thank you.

  2. Plasticity - the ability of an organism to change and adapt, especially the ability of the central nervous system to acquire alternative pathways for sensory perception or motor skills.

    By fully integrating our principles, values and morales we can adapt to and properly engage our surrounding environments without the constant barrage of anxiety and stress.

  3. "By fully integrating our principles, values and morales we can adapt to and properly engage our surrounding environments without the constant barrage of anxiety and stress."

    Currently, with my veteran of 28 years, I find that he has changed so completely that the common belief and honor code we shared at the beginning of our marriage is now only mine and his new code based upon self survival is completely at odds with family, friends and polite society. This tends to put my loyalties towards my veteran at odds with my principles, values and morales. Days pass with my attentions flipping from spouse to the others. Most of the time my gut aches because I am acting out betrayals to one or the other everyday. I could leave him and then hate myself ever more, or I can stay and simply banish myself from everyone other than him. Any better suggestions?

  4. I am worried about you Anonymous, find yourself a group of people near you going through the same thing, they are out there. Check out Family of a Vet, they have real people real fast to help.

  5. Please don't be worried. I am an old hand at this. What you have given me through your writings are concrete words to describe my shadow persona and her very private internal life. I am embarking upon self discovery and understanding. This is a very good thing. Unfortunately, I don't live in the USA anymore, my husband engaged in planning and combat for over ten years for our country but technically he has always been a civilian so there isn't any veteran's connections. I will check out Family of a Vet as well as continue reading from your site. You are helping me tremendously and in doing so helping my husband. Hopefully, some day I can show him your site so he can benefit directly. Today, I read through your suggestions and information from your posts later in 2008. They are incredibly helpful and are answering my request for alternative choices. I also came upon a site about narciscism (sp?) during the process and boy did that put everything into perspective. Official or not, I am a veteran's wife, so see the hill, with your help I plan to take the hill of joyful living with my PTSD narcistic husband. Is it acceptable to you, Scott, that I continue to post comments as I work through your posts? With kind regards, Anonymous

  6. Anonymous, I will continue to have this conversation for as long as you need. This is what I do; additionally I am to point out to you that:

    You have been placed where you are because your life experience is valuable and can benefit others; it is your purpose to help those whom you claim as your tribe.

    These are your people whom you have bleed for; use this knowledge for helping others navigate life at home and in our communities. In doing so we gain more than we will ever loose.

    Thank you recording your personal journey here, I honor your mission of healing and wish you Gods blessing. I look forward to our future conversations, I have a feeling that we are of kindred spirits.


Please share your comments, stories and information. Thank you. ~ Scott Lee