Communicating with a Veteran—boot camp for civilians

Precluding predictable problems

I liked this topic

You may select 1 option

View results
Site Admin
Posts: 385
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2005 11:24 am

Communicating with a Veteran—boot camp for civilians

Postby Gabby » Sun Nov 27, 2011 12:08 pm

Communicating with a Veteran—supporting a veteran in completing his/her military experiences — could also be titled, "Boot Camp for Civilians."

If you are relating or living with a veteran then this tip will be of value (for Gabby's military experiences read About Us*). How you interact with a veteran causes them to successfully integrate back into their family and community or succumb to mediocrity.

Reading this Gabby Tip can be challenging for someone without military experience; it has the potential to be as powerful as a military boot camp because it's about personal transformation—yours—as a positive supporter of a service member or veteran.

If someone you know is about to go through Boot Camp, or perhaps is already on active duty, then I recommend that you, as a friend/loved one, parent/family member, also undergo an educational experience that supports personal transformation, else, your present leadership-support skills will most likely cause undesirable breakdowns in communication;* it's unlikely you will be able to create space for communication to take place when he/she needs it most. This truly is a fork in the road; your choice now, as always, will empower you and yours. It's about intending to be appropriately powerful and clear.

    On any given night, more than 300,000 veterans are living on the streets or in shelters in the U.S." No parent of a homeless vet ever imagined that they (the parent), using his/her leadership-communication skills, would drive their once precious child out onto the streets. Such results are produced when a parent unconsciously lapses into doing his/her imitation of communication.*

    Most homeless vets (when they were young) experienced an incident that was the fork in the road in terms of happiness, confidence, and overall OK-ness with oneself; it was the very first breakdown in communication* with his/her parents. That incident, that communication, was not resolved through to hugging; most likely it started as an upset and ended with anger. There was verbal, non-verbal, psychic, or physical abuse; it has yet to be acknowledged or completed to this very day. It affects (causes) all present-day outcomes. —Kerry
Upon graduating from boot camp a service member returns home for some well deserved leave before reporting to his/her first duty station; he/she still exudes the vibrant energy that comes from the experience of validation, of being on-purpose, of being in-communication, of being gotten, of being in service to a cause greater than oneself. His/her energy is contagious, it generates excitement. Parents and friends immediately notice the maturity, the confidence, the bearing, even the way he/she speaks is somewhat different. The consensus is that boot camp worked.

In comparison, the service member observes that everyone at home has stayed pretty much the same. There appears to be no equivalent signs of personal growth in anyone; the family blamer, the grouch, the one who used to complain and gossip is still complaining ineffectually about most everything. Most civilians, especially family members, complain about the same boring, comparatively insignificant subjects. Perhaps, for the first time ever, the service member realizes that his/her family has become stuck doing an imitation of communication.* For some emotionally bound-up families it only takes a few conversations for the service member's power and energy to fade and blend in with the prevailing commitment to mediocrity.*

In the military one communicates so as to produce a stated intention, a desired result, whereas at home the implied agreement is to talk which causes supposedly unintended problems to persist, therefore, there's no aliveness, no self-generating energy. The difference between talking and communicating is that when communication takes place, problems are resolved.

For example: One relative is stuck on welfare, another has been an argumentative, agreement-breaking, deceptive, problem-creating alcoholic for goodness knows how long; and one, using his/her leadership-support skills supports another family member in being an overweight couch potato. The irony is that the service member can now see these problems but he/she has not yet developed the leadership-communication skills that would effect a transformation within the family. And so, the service member stuffs these observations, these thoughts, thereby causing everyone to unconsciously continue producing more of the same. One thought is, "It's not as bad as some families." But, if truth be told, making non-verbal excuses for the energy-sapping effect exuded by certain family members leaves one even more incomplete; it's disheartening because the service member now knows what's possible. The vet realizes that it's hopeless.

Every member of a family, in which there is no agreement to communicate openly, honestly, and spontaneously, through to mutual satisfaction—no significant withholds, withholds at least one thought from everyone, each for different reasons. This way of communicating, this communication model taught to us by parents, teachers, and clergy, triggers judgmental thoughts that are usually stuffed and communicated ineffectually, non-verbally, often with condescension. More accurately, these stuffed judgments, criticisms, and make-wrongs are communicated, but non-verbally, which causes even more breakdowns in communication. In communication coaching lingo these thoughts are called withholds. Thoughts withheld are one of the foremost causes of breakdowns in communication.*

Thoughts withheld serve as barriers to the experience of communication, especially the kinds of conversations that effect an experience of ever-expanding growth and love, of knowing that life and relationships are working.

Most service members believe they simply can’t tell family and high school friends that they are still unconscious, that conversations with them are, if truth be told, boring and inconsequential. What keeps everyone stuck is that few friends insist that others tell them the nitty-gritty truth (zero significant thoughts withheld) —in an open and honest relationship things work harmoniously or there's a withhold in the space (there are no exceptions to this phenomenon).

Within days, if not hours, of arriving home the service member is silently looking forward to reporting to his/her first duty station where the outcomes of communications can determine life or death.

Fast forward now to the exciting event looked forward to for years, the discharge date, in which he/she is now a veteran returning home. What most don’t realize is that friends and family are usually experienced as (non-verbally judged to be), clueless and relatively shallow. The questions asked are often irritating and do not support the vet in being complete, instead, family members often perpetuate ineffectual talking. Worse, a vet (in desperate need of acknowledgement) through deceptions and withholds, often manipulates others into believing that he/she participated in secret/dangerous missions. "I don't want to talk about it" is a way to control others; it causes confusion and keeps others incomplete and from asking truth-revealing questions. "Talking" about one's military experiences often includes unconscious inaccurate embellishments (lies) which ultimately result in less-than-desirable consequences (karma).

It's both devastating and invalidating for a service member to discover that they are ineffectual and powerless when it comes to supporting family members in making healthy choices. The mind thinks, "If my parents don't respect me enough to opt for healthy choices then no one would." This thought is followed with the realization that the condition is hopeless. For some it's the beginning of dropping out of society—entropy accelerates—many vets resort to alcohol and drugs. It's rare that a family member acknowledges that their leadership-communication skills, their addiction to mediocrity, drove their child to do drugs.*

The difference between being in-communication and talking is that talking causes problems to persist whereas when communication takes place problems are resolved through to mutual satisfaction ("In-communication" meaning, open, honest, and spontaneous communication—zero significant thoughts withheld). Vets who have smoked marijuana with a close friend have a good sense of what it's like to be in-communication with another; the problem is that most vets, when they get high, use the same adversarial communication model as when they are not stoned and so certain truths essential for creating and maintaining the experience of enlightenment don't get communicated. i.e. Brilliant ideas and realizations experienced when high rarely (except for the Beatles) get acted upon the next day.

The experience of communication while serving in the military and then resorting back to talking at home is virtually impossible to describe. Few civilians recognize the problem; most incorrectly assume that the obvious let-down, the vet's mild depression, is the onset of post traumatic stress*. What's so is that the majority of service members have not been completely acknowledged for their service; what they themselves don't realize is that their contributions to the country have been so immense, so truly remarkable, that it's virtually impossible for any one person, or any number of awards or medals, to acknowledge them completely (some vets even pooh-pooh this last sentence). Even a sincere, "Thank you for your service"* from a well-meaning stranger doesn't seem to sink in, it's not fully experienced; in part it's because one can't experience positive acknowledgment if they are hiding dozens of perpetrations for which they have not been acknowledged. The vet responds with, "Thank you" but the well-meant acknowledgment triggers thoughts (incompletes) stored in the back of his/her mind; thoughts such as, "Yah, thanks, but, you don't know how much I screwed off or the "bad" things I've done." At some level a "forgotten" perpetration such as supporting the abusive hazing of a fellow recruit during boot camp still haunts them; their integrity is such that they can't really feel good about that incident and the innumerable other abuses, make-wrongs and deceits they perpetrated during their enlistment. The mind, to be right, categorizes (justifies) most perpetrations as "minor" or, ". . . not as bad as what others have done".

A vet has had thousands of mind and body altering experiences while everybody at home has remained virtually the same (read Parole—the First 24 Hours *it's about what often happens when the family of an inmate doesn't undergo concurrent rehabilitation. Upon release a parolee returns home and discovers that the family is still using the same communication model, relating with each other the same way that didn't inspire integrity throughout childhood).

Whereas before enlisting, the vet, along with most everyone else in the world, had accumulated a typical lifetime of withholds (hundreds of deceits, abuses, blames, and unacknowledged perpetrations); now, as a vet, they have thousands (yes thousands) of other thoughts that have never been communicated/shared with anyone. This is called being bound-up.

    For example: Some perpetrations are as simple as when their leader asked if they had "cleaned" their weapon and they lied, knowing they just gave it a once-over. This lie, along with thousands of others, has never been acknowledged. Such "white lies," though seemingly insignificant, affect all outcomes to this very day. Why? Because the vet is, as is everyone, ethical and honest to the core. We simply won't allow ourselves to win big or to get away with even one unacknowledged lie.
    Another example: Some communications with the Veterans Administration have been distortions, exaggerations, even out-right lies, so as to get as much disability pay as possible. This creates a condition of out-integrity in which the karma is compounded for life, virtually preventing healing. There is also the fact that some service members unconsciously set life up to get wounded so as to later get compensation.
This condition, of having thousands of withholds, causes one to be out-integrity, to be bound-up emotionally. Few civilians are skilled at getting into communication with a vet, especially the VA (their staff just haven’t been taught how to clear a vet—because the staff members themselves have never done a clearing). The vet is doomed to dramatize his/her withholds non-verbally for life. Typically, because they have no one to share their deep dark (even "sick" or "illegal") secrets, and because they feel so powerless and alone with their thoughts about making a difference, they try to feel good by going unconscious, resorting to alcohol/drugs.

All conversations with a veteran are but an imitation of communication*, unless, and here’s the biggie, you have done The Clearing Process* (it's free and cannot not work). Once you are relatively clear and committed to communicating openly, honestly, and spontaneously (no significant thoughts withheld) you may assist a vet in creating/recreating and maintaining an experience of integrity (of being whole and complete). The Clearing Process will be your boot camp, it will empower you getting into communication with a veteran.

There can be no sustained peace until veterans communicate their experiences of war responsibly, from a place of integrity. The difference between communicating and talking is the results; as we've noticed these past generations talking about ones war experiences causes more war-memorials and statues and more of the same results. A vet, for the rest of his/her life, has the responsibility to communicate, else they have wasted their life and the lives of all who died in service to their country. —Kerry

Comments/feedback encouraged.

* About Us, imitation of communication, breakdown in communication, commitment to mediocrity, PTSD, drove their child to do drugs, "Thank you for your service", Parole—the First 24 Hours, The Clearing Process.

Check back occasionally for minor edits (last edited 12/11/17)

Return to “Gabby's Tips”