Combat vets and trust: why it’s so hard to let others in

Posted: January 14, 2015 in Healing from War

We’re going to talk about the V-word… yeah, I know exactly where your mind just went… you can bring your attention back here, thanks. It’s not THAT word. We’re going to talk about vulnerability with a capital V.

Eew. No one wants to talk about that! Let alone a bunch of badass combat vets. Vulnerability doesn’t apply, right? Damn right.

Well, guys… you have a point. Most of the time it doesn’t. And to be honest, this isn’t even a subject I have much expertise in. In fact, I’m writing this to explore my own heart as much as to suggest you explore yours. Because as much as being tough is right, it can also keep you separate and alone inside. And it can keep you from connecting when you most need connection.

I’ve spent this entire lifetime being the strongest person I know. I know the walls that allow you to reach out, but won’t let anyone reach in. I know what it is to trust yourself the most because at the end of the day, you are the one responsible. I know how terrifying it is to even consider being vulnerable and how that fear can get praised as strength and courage. Or get judged as cold, uncaring and indifferent. It wears many labels and gets interpreted in many ways. It’s Good, when others need you to be stronger than they are; it’s Bad, when others perceive that you don’t give a shit.

Good, bad, right or wrong — I’m not going to label it. It is what it is. These walls are there because at some point they had to be built to keep you safe. They’re effective. They make you effective. As a warfighter, they’re necessary. You don’t make decisions about other’s lives and deaths without them. You don’t carry that responsibility for death in you without learning to create emotional distance and protect your heart.

But at what point do the walls stop keeping you safe?

When do they switch from protecting you to inhibiting you?

When death shows up in my life, I meet it with a strange sense of ease and familiarity. I don’t cry. I don’t break down. I do what has to be done. I am the strong one, and that strength gives others permission to be weak (actual word here should be “human” not “weak”). People around me question the depth of my ability to feel and wonder why I’m not more upset. They don’t know what lies beneath or that my soul has learned over lifetimes to face death this way.

Those of you who know me and interact with me know that not only am I NOT a cold person, I have great depths of feeling, I love and embrace where others have said love is not possible or worthwhile, I have no qualms about diving into the Darkness with you and fighting for your life. And I cry with you. (I cry more than I ever let anyone know.)

If there is anything that coming home to a warfighter community has done for me, it’s allowed me to dwell among people who understand me, who know how to be real with me, people I belong to. For all the walls that PTSD and combat erect and the reputation warfighters have for being disconnected and unemotional and distrusting, my experience with you is just the opposite. I’ve never met men (and women) who connect at a more real level, express their feelings more authentically, and allow themselves to be so utterly vulnerable in trusting me (thank you and thank you for embracing me).

Maybe that’s why my own soul is asking questions. And why I’m writing this.

Those walls keep us safe. Keep us from feeling hurt. They reduce risk. They allow the soul to carry intense, heavy loads without collapsing.

They are not without purpose. We need them.

But if we step back from roles and stand here just as human beings, then what?

The human soul was meant for connection, to be deeply seen and known and accepted and to experience that oneness with other souls.

It was meant to trust.

And that is far easier said than done.

One of the blessings you have is that you know more about real trust than anyone else. Yet, when you pull away from the safety of your brothers, trust is one of the hardest things to feel, isn’t it?

Why is that? Could it be because you come from a community where you are deeply bonded, connected, where trust is implicit (mostly) and you get torn out of that and sent off alone to a civilian world where no one is bonded, no one really trusts anyone or cares to, and no one really has your back?

Suddenly, you are different than everyone around you.

You feel vulnerable and the walls go up and get thicker. You shut out the people who might love you because you don’t trust that they will be able to accept you if they discover who you are now. Your pain makes you different. Your grief and guilt and the little things that trigger memories and sensations and anger make your life so complex to navigate, how the fuck could anyone “get it” let alone love you? So, you withdraw and the fear of being known intensifies.

But what is it about vulnerability that we are really so afraid of?

The quick answer is rejection. But the more I search my own soul, the more I think it’s something else.

I think it comes down to what we believe about our own worth.

I think it’s our own inability to believe that we could be loved and accepted for who we are that scares us the most.

Because if someone really does love us, then what?

We don’t really believe we are worth it. And if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable to find out, and we get rejected, our worst suspicion will be confirmed. And we just can’t take that risk.

What if we’re wrong?

What if Love is greater than that? What if someone manages to see past the wounds and pain and fear-driven behavior and grief-driven anger and sees beauty and joy and the entirety of you?

What if what we need to do is stop believing we’re not worth loving? What if we need to stop letting our own fear own us?

What if we need to move toward Love, instead of away from it to truly be safe?

How might that change our lives?

It’s something to ponder.

Comments
  1. Reader says:

    Those last Qs are good ones. If I’m brave enough, & hv the energy, I hope tht I’ll take/make the time to try answering those closing questions!

    A core problem of mine has been allowing the belief tht I’m not worthy of Love govern and obstruct me from living a satisfying life filled & fueled by the love you seem to suggest+ tht is due all of us; the Love tht was and will always be present for us to receive, if we’ll release our shame, our sense tht we’ve somehow (let ourselves) become sub-human. I’ve felt tht way; believing tht wht I’ve seen, done, been thru, or not done, etc. has made me untouchable, if anyone only knew about ______ , _______ ,
    (fill in the blanks): If you’re a tad like myself there will probably be more than 1 or 2 to fill in… This is presuming tht persons other than the article writer reads ths; perhaps even she from time to time can relate (past &/or present)… If she couldn’t how would she hv bn able to write wht she did, for us, not just to heal her own soul, or for kicks! Come on! This is a fellow human being with a warrior spirit, working to help Us!
    One theme tht keeps coming thru these articles for me, is tht we’re not alone in our pain, Or in our too long hidden reserves of strength, ability, power, to withstand changes of any kind, ever-ready to quickly adapt to changes and challenges surrounding us.
    As for me, I do see my living in safety as a huge challenge. And, thus far, I don’t believe I’ve handled it tht well, though I did try my best with the internal hesitancy I was aware of. Part of my problem has bn adapting to the cultural rules of gen. dominant USA societal codes, believing that reaching out for help, and letting any others see that I have vulnerabilities, fears, rage, sadness, survivor guilt, pain, limitations, needs for help would or will be seen as wrong, weak, bad, unattractive, destined for rejection.
    Limits & needs for help had to be shared in the battlefield for survival of more than ourselves. That seemed to make it ok. But, here, in relative safety, a feeling I grew very deeply accustomed to as an unsafe one to hold in combat, in training, etc. has bn tht it means I’m weak; tht I’ll be stigmatized if I seek help, esp. for my psyche, sense of comfort and reliable sanity. And, relaxing was/is foreign. It was dangerous to let guards down. I have got to look around!
    Here and now, relatively Very safe, I’m still getting the msg tht it’s Not ok to let myself to feel safe, to trust, esp. when I don’t feel I’ll be accepted or understood. The “rules” in safety are very different from those of combat, war, training for war, ever ready for any kind of attack. And, when one experiences attacks regularly, or even for some maybe just one strong jolt, it may suddenly get hardwired as a path of least resistance to be on guard for survival: That’s some important wiring!
    But, not one of us is an expert neuro-electrition, not tht I know of! That means we will all require help to change our inner wiring, our deepest beliefs, to adapt to our surroundings, not unlike the training we Required to get thru combat alive for amazing reasons, many tht we may hv yet to discover. Though, I do see an immediate difference in adapting to safety: The “classes,” & prts of training here aren’t at all structured in the same ways. We don’t hv (m)any others So Apparently undergoing the same trainings, or types of them…
    Suddenly, I’m thinking about how Many people in “normal,” “civilian safety,” are being diagnosed with PTSD. I’m thinking about the high divorce rate. I’m starting to think tht we’re not as alone, even among civilians, as I’ve been presuming myself to be; and I’m a member of a 12 Step Fellowship with its attendant Program of action, “a design for living that really works,” even for many of us who have found life to be a struggle in more ways than probably any of us would care to admit in “normal” circumstances.
    Now, do I buy into these words? Sure, intellectually. However, at this moment, I sense powerfully that my “Answers” to the questions as to how I’m to live a healthy, happy life in general, Must be emotional and from that spirit which allowed us/me to serve as fine warriors accomplishing things that there’s no good earthly reasons we/I could have, not without some Force or Power within and among us bolstering what one of my/our size, weight, age, experience or lack of it “could,” “would,” or “should” be able to by normal standards of human capabilities, yet have done, including surviving!
    Knowing this, that “hardwiring” still seems to override my intellect, even at its finest. So, I’m admitting to you here that I Require Assistance, maybe even air supoort. I don’t know. What I do know is that without the help I do need from my warrior spirit, and at least some of the humans around me, “civilian” or not (recall that the writer of these articles, the one abv and many more which I hope and pray you’ll seek out and read, is tech- nically a civilian!) I stand to live and die feeling lonely, afraid, angry, & likely exhausted and sickend, literally, of and with that kept inside as if That is Top Secret/”Forever to be Classified to the point of denial.” I not only know but I feel it urgently that I do not want to spend the rest of This life That way! What an insult to my slain brothers and sisters. But, do I think about honoring their lives by living the one they helped pay the price for whn I contemplate suicide. Hell, no! —
    Interesting choice of words, as only hell would give me those thoughts: that I’d be better off dead, or tht others wld be better off without me; that I’m somehow evil, undeserving of love or life. And, whn I ask the Q about whether I think of honoring the lives of those given, so you, I, and countless others could live In Safety rather than Terror, whn I think of suicide, my answer, w/o thinking of it initially, was basically an answer as if Hell were posing the Q. Yeah. Apparently, hell’s had tht big of an influence on me. Do I want it to? Heavens, No! — Interesting where the answer went tht time regardless of my religious beliefs or lack of them, my subconscious is making a point!
    The evil is what I wanted to fight in war, the oppression, the massacres, the abuses of human beings and human liberties. Now tht I’m back in relative safety, in a Country with a Constitution which generally supports human rights including the right to fight for them legally, I Can Choose to stop answering to Hell/to evil, and instead Choose to Seek to Answer the questions and callings of Good– Heavens, Yes!–
    As an aside before closing here, I’m reflecting on my life at about age 2: I was looking out into the sky, in which at night I cld see stars & planets, w/what seemed clearly to me to be the infinite spaces between, and beyond as within them. I thought about history, time & space as limiting concepts allowing conscious-ness while calling attn. fr/the infinite spirit within and beyond us And All… At that moment I sensed a Power greater than myself which I then identified with “God” as another word for The Power Of Love.
    It took me decades later to start seeing that Power as more than jst a friend to me, but as an entity Safe enough for me to bow before, whn I’d long since vowed to bow before no one! Well, it’s bn years since then. I’ve gone back to denying tht Power’s rightful/or fully right place as above my newbie self trying to play civilian as if I know the rules, using those which don’t work here, instead of crying out for guidance from the Powers of Good, when I can Choose Love here, now, w/o hvng to know how to follow its ways, trusting tht I can and will get thru this; that help Is on the way. That the Powers of Good will Not Fail me Or you if we wrk as a team, relying on this thing I’m now calling, the Power of Good, & Love Who Wants Us on The Side of Good & Love, knowing tht we are warrior spirits tht fight to win, often putting others first, which helps to get our minds off our selves and the hells we’ve seen/taken prt in & possibly, like myself, begun to respond to as if That is in charge as the one tht guides our/my Qs and gets our/ my answers before we/I even realize who or wht We’re/I’m talking to.
    As human beings we’ve all got Good and Evil tendencies within. Writing ths reply has shown me tht, I Want to be More Conscious of What and Who I’m actually Responding to. And, at this moment, I Want To Choose To Listen, And Respond as I Would To A Leader I Believe(d) to Stand For Good, Kindness, Freedoms, Human and Humane Treatment and Rights. So, rt here, in front of you, I’m Asking THE POWER IF GOOD AND LOVE TO HELP ME THRU THIS TIME OF TRANSITION. I NEED HELP TO BELIEVE THAT I AM WORTHY OF LOVE and A LIFE FULL, GENERALLY JOYOUS, FEELING LOVED, LOVING, And FREE TO EXPRESS THE GOOD I WAS MADE TO UNCOVER AND RELEASE TO SHINE AS A BEACON TO OTHERS, WHO LIKE ME, MAY NOT YET ABLY SEE THE LOVING LIFE POSSIBILITIES FOR THEM, FOR YOU AS WELL AS FOR ME.
    GOODNESS AND LOVE, PLEASE HELP ME. I NEED THE COURAGE, THE FAITH, HONOR AND HONESTY THAT ONLY YOU CAN APPARENTLY BRING. YOU ARE WHO I SIGNED UP TO SERVE. I HAVEN’T CHANGED SIDES. I JUST GOT DISORIENTED. SO I’M ASKING FOR DIRECTIONS TO FIND MY WAY BACK TO THE TEAM YOU CALLED ME TO, AND THE BEST MEMBERS ON IT, EVEN IF IT MEANS A TRAINING PROGRAM THAT I DON’T FEEL THRILLED TO DO. FOR I DO WANT THE END RESULT, WHICH IS TO BE ONE OF OR LIKE YOU. Thanks. R.

  2. Reader G. says:

    Hi.
    I’ve for1 hv bn afraid tht if I’m rejected, my worst suspicions will be realized; and I hv feared to take the risk.
    Then the Q: What if Love is greater than that?
    — What if we’ve been Loved since before we were born, by the force & Source responsible for our being created w/every piece in plc., even if we don’t oft enough recognize that how we were, are, or cn be made was/is/will always be “enough”/&”Good Enough. <-Period"?
    — What if there is really is and was a force, a "Spirit" among and inside of us, tht many of us spoke of and rallied round in combat as with us, on our side, present to protect us and to keep us strong? What if that same Presence is in fact Love?
    Here, I think many of us feel conflicted: How could a Spirit of Love be present in the midst of war?… When "War is hell"? Some of our number hv bn called, "devil dogs" as if from the pit of hell ourselves. I've felt tht way. It is beyond hrd to reconcile the horrors of war with the concept tht The Power of Love was with us thru it All; no matter what we did, said, saw, kept silent about, etc., When we believe that God or Love cld possibly hv wanted or allowed the horrors of war to exist; for ourselves & for others uncountable in number…
    But, what if this Love was with us, And those who died, were mamed, lost loved ones, experience(d) traumas at times literally unbelievable, thru it All? — If not, how was it/is it that Any of us survive(d)?
    — At the moment, I'm hvng trouble finding any other answer.
    We Have Another Chance at Life, Here, Now. Does that scare you, Warrior? Well, it scares the hell out of me. Having said tht, I hope its literally true. For, I don't want hell living in me anymore. And, for myself, a life dominated by fear Is Hell.
    I'm scared. So what?!!! Hell, (said, almost as if im addressing Hell itself, and I may be), it's not like I wasn't ever scared "over there"! And, I'm scared now. Does this mean I'm Not Worthy of the Love that made sure I was born, was the primary "player" in assembling my anatomy, physiology, my ability to LOVE, to survive, capable of Love myself despite all I've bn through. I know this because I feel it around dogs, people, & I think I feel Love when looking at the sky, plants, bodies of water, wildlife… But, the Love I feel hesitant to admit is tht felt around people. For, that is where the fear lives in me, as I yearn for Love from humans yet remain in doubt as to whether I can or shld ever be accepted as one of…
    Nevertheless, ths idea that Love is in, around, with, & for me, to receive and rely on as well as to give…that isn't and can't be definitively ignored, nor ever completely denied as real, as here, to hlp me, to help us, Learn to Receive and more strongly Believe that the Spirit of Love, our Creator, with all of the answers we will not hv in this lifetime (as traditionally defined), actually Cares about you And about me, Whoever we may be.
    That Power of Love got us thru combat, thru war, thru Hell… Who am I to suggest that the same Power of Love cannot do ths for me again, here, in a very different form of battle, externally?
    Why am I still alive? Why did you let me live? — I've asked, pleaded for answers to these Qs. — But, now, I ask myself, How often have I honestly, with time allowed, awaited, listened for, or expected a reply? Usually, so wrapped up in personal bitterness, pain, terror, confusionn, shame, I Felt as if the answer was not to come, not to one as " unworthy as me." Meanwhile, a great deal more poetically I imagine, the Power/the Spirit of Love was responding to myself pity, & self -denied Love, with something semantic-ally similar to, "Who the fuck do you think you are, pleading for answers from Me, while denying My Presence and Willingness To Give To You Answers, Courage To Carry Forward, not backward
    You dare to call, think & feel yourself not worthy of Me, of Love Eternal, Without Condition, Always Here With & Within you, as My creation, My Forever child:
    Do you even hv a clue wht it means to be My Forever child, created by Love on purpose by Myself, LOVE??? Dear God-child(!), Listen up! You being My forever child, means that you will Always be expected to have needs you Cannot meet alone; that you will Always be capable of more learning, healing, growing; that you will feel pain and other unpleasantries, yet with all tht it takes to make it thru alive, and very often Stronger Than Before. It means tht you will Always need help; that Asking for, & seeking out help Is A Sign of Strength, Courage, Leadership Skill, Competence; Intelligence, & (conscious or not) of Belief in Me, The Parent of All via The Spiritual Part of Life, including this world, all in it, no matter who, no matter what, when, where. And, That means tht you Are on par with every other according to the infinite Power and Wisdom of Love, in and Transcendent of All, Ever; that you Are, ever were & will be of equal value to Me as every other, incl., Equally Well Loved!
    You've spent So mch time trying to belittle your Sacred Spirit, The One That Made You, Lives In you, Around, For, With you, Waiting, & Desperately Wanting you to Realize that you Are Worthy of Love: You're Made Of It! You've Been Made With It, For It, Love Being Designed For you and your wellbeing as Air Exists To Sustain Your Body!
    There's More to you than your body, isn't there? Love has never left you, though I know it's felt as if I had. That was not my intent, for you to feel abandoned, unworthy. And, while All Powerful, I respect you enough to await your invitations to reenter your conscious life and plans for living.
    If you're reading this your obviously seeking Me out along w/my HELP. So, News Flash, I'm here, Loving you Already! You're Not unlovable; you are in fact absolutely Worthy of Love, that's 100%.
    Knowing that, I'll tell you rt now. In this case I'd say that the suspense Needs to be broken: You Will Survive if rejected by one or more people, who & whatever else you might feel rejction from. In fact, you Will Remain Lovable And Worthy to Receive as well as to give and share LOVE.
    I Am Your Source of Life, Love, Courage, Strength, Power to re-Dis-cover How To Risk Letting people Love you! At no points will you be alone in this process. I Will Always Be With You, Beside, Behind, Before, Within Who I created You To Be, A Truly, Honorably, Respectfully, Kindly, Sanely, Brilliantly, Honestly, Gently and Firmly, Powerfully Loved Human Being, member of the 1 Human Family and Human "Race," by My Self, your self, And those of other people, parts of nature, circumstance, Life.
    Are you willing to give up on Me and My Love For you, just because you feel fear and don't know from where My Help For you will come, Or when?
    We all know of men & women who hv withstood Hell that might have killed or otherwise destroyed their lives, Believing in their hearts, minds, bodies, souls, Spirit

    • Ro Donovan says:

      Left off an end… Here it is:

      We all know of men and women who have withstood Hell that might have killed or otherwise destroyed their lives, Believing in their hearts, minds, bodies, souls, Spirit, for a time that they could not bear the pain, the terror, rage, anger, fear, shame, etc.
      Yet, Something kept them alive.

      Was it the belief (conscious or not), that THE POWER OF LOVE was/is present for each; t/here to conquer what has seemed So unmanageable in and about their/(y)our lives; t/here to conquer those feelings of emotion, sensation, experience that Seem(ed) to have the Power to make life Un-bearable by providing LOVE for who they were and are; With Courage to carry on, releasing fear and its disguises, of wrath, sadness, activities that lead to the blocking out of the unwanted feelings inside… While carrying Love, Joy, Light, Healing Energy, Hope, Faith, Lessons, Caring about others in ways that show, replacing the self-harmful mindworks and actions more overt with those meant to heal the Soul of each, and so, of all, perhaps even before knowing that’s what we/they/you were doing!?

      Do you believe in Miracles? I do! As the Power of Love, having created you, giving you life each moment as it comes, to have weathered So much that your living is a testimony to the Power of Good living within you. Look in a mirror and realize the Miracles that have been a part of your making it this far! Then, look at that person you are: A Miracle in Proceess, with some choices as to how you will Progress in this Journey; this Mission of learning to live and teach through how you live, in ever new ways, Beyond mere survival with greater depths of healing, growing, making choices, more consciously, to be of help to others And to learn also the Awe striking Ability of Self-Care, gently allowing an increasingly conscious knowing that You Are Worthy of Love, Health, Joy, Grace, Honor, The Ability to Safely and Wisely Trust other people even if that has SEEMED impossible for you!

      It IS POSSIBLE: It’s one of The reasons you were made! To engage in these risks, far more adventurous, and requiring Much More Courage than those risks you may have taken with your lives and possibly with the lives of others!!! Facing emotions, feelings, thoughts, perceptions about people, places, things, etc., from the past &/or the present…identifying, experiencing, and responsibly expressing them, in life-enhancing manners, This Takes Guts!!! And, it requires Love (though not necessarily awareness of it as present FOR you, in order to begin), which Lives within you even Now!

      Trust: it does so often come hard after combat, losing people you knew, whose lives were and will forever be a part of yours; coming back different, a truly changed man or woman. How can you explain? Can you? Should you? Your experiences are sacred. These are valid questions. There are equally valid concerns about how others may or may not (have) respond(ed) to your attempts at sharing. It may be that you aren’t sure what you’re feeling, or why you’re feeling what you do when. Counselors can be of great use, once a good match is found with another person who deserves your trust.

      Other people exist as much for us as we have and do for others. Above, I spoke as the Power of Love myself. Why not? I am, like you, created for and by The Power of Love, the same alive in all of us, including the times when this doesn’t seem clear, correct, or possible.

      I have struggled deeply with Trust! OMGoodness! It’s not that easy for me to admit, but it is So True! I’ve been living my life, even while putting on an oft faux fine front in the process of being present for others, to offer Love, guidance, care, respect, honor, acceptance, and other paths to healing. Unwitting hypocrite, yuck! But, (I ask myself) isn’t that what I’ve been? Answer: Yes.

      So, now I see it. And, I see more, incl. my fears to trust in others to love and or be t/here for me in ways anything like the ways I have tried to be for others, never seeing myself as worthy of that sort of profound Love for my self with every component a part of the “pkg” of my Being. I have feared that what I’ve felt, experienced, lived, known, believed makes me unlovable. I have Felt As If no one could or would ever want to be or stay with me as a life partner, or forever-friend, -family member, if I were to share some of my deepest held stories, experiences, truths that are essential parts of who I am, not all “pretty,” or easy to accept, understand, honor as mine (to keep, to release, to alter in how I view and or use these when aware that I can and start seeing hows to…) For Myself!

      And, if that’s true, my “reasoning” seems to have gone, how ever can I expect Any other to Love and honor all of me, or accept it when any other did???? I didn’t know how. I didn’t even know how to truly Love myself (let Love in from others who offered it unconditionally–such offers of Love have frightened me before–as I was/have been afraid to Love and honor myself).

      Does any of this sound familiar at all? I wonder as I write this out in the wee hours of night. I don’t want to live this way any more. Nor do I wish to die; though, honestly, suicide does come to mind sometimes. In fact I’ve tried it. It’s not something one does when feeling Love as the all encompassing Power it is, enveloping myself in safe caring arms…

      That, I believe, is what I need: Love, acknowledged, experienced, honored, accepted; learning to see and feel Love as Present and Available For Me!
      What a concept, right? It is, my life seems to be revealing, a necessary part of experiencing freedom, and the pursuit of happiness such as we fought for in so very many ways, that others would have and keep the conscious right to experience in the process of allowing themselves to be Loved, from within, from others, from an all inclusive, infinite higher power of Love itself.

      Why is it so hard for you to trust? What might help to make trusting easier? These are questions I need to explore. As I do, mayhap I’ll share some more of this here. Thank you for this outlet, for listening/reading what I have shared from my heart (a sign in itself that I am beginning to practice this thing called, “trust.” It Really Is Possible. And, I want more! – Safe, Healing Avenues to practice Trust. Practicing will be how I learn, with H.O.W. as some healing circles say meaning Honesty, Openmindedness, Willingness. I wish and pray that we will all find and use more times, tools, & people to practice with! Love, Ro

  3. Reader G. says:

    Hi.
    MY RESPONSE TO ONE OF THE 1st CLOSING Qs POSED ABOVE:

    I for1 hv bn afraid tht if I’m rejected, my worst suspicions will be realized; and I hv feared to take the risk. So I’ve bn more isolated than I’d be were I willing to push thru the fear I’ve bn holding onto, despite my physical limitations which do restrict my abilities to do many things I cld if healthier & stronger: Those prts of my life Do affect my sense of identity. And, I’ve added them on as “reasons”/(or) excuses to believe the Fear that’s bn preventing me from Believing/Listening to/Hearing (Obeying), And, or Trusting The Wisdom, The Power of Love that I know to be a Present prt of who I am wh/ aches for me to Listen, to realize, and to believe at gut level that No Matter What, I Am Worthy of Love.
    Wld I blame a child soldier abducted and taught to kill or be killed, looking upon him or her as if unworthy of Love? My gut finds it hrd to believe tht I wld, whether from the Sudan or the USA where we hv gangs and “rings” of people that engage in v. similar things.
    Inclination here, for me is to believe I’d hv sm compassion, beliefs tht such a one cld heal with time, patience, practice and Love, from within, from others, Love, tht by its nature holds no judgement against anyone, but Forgives, helping souls to Receive Forgiveness and Love Enough to Forgive and Love themselves (as spirits, and the body-mind-worlds they’re/we’re connected to):
    What if Love Is Greater than than my Fear, Ready to Command, Parent, Guide me to that side of Life where guards Safely come down, the side n territory I have been more afraid to enter than I ever knew myself to be in combat?
    — What if we’ve been Loved since before we were born, by the force & Source responsible for our being created w/every piece in plc., even whn we don’t recognize that how we were, are, or cn be made was/is/will Always be “enough”/&”Good Enough”. <-Period?
    — What if there is really is and was a force, a "Spirit" among and inside of us, tht many of us spoke of and rallied round in combat as with us, on our side, present to protect us and to keep us strong? What if that same Presence is in fact Love, and Was With Us as a Guiding and Guarding Support? And, What if it's Not that That Spirit, That Power has left or abandoned us, but the reverse, tht we've turned our backs on Love As If we no longer had the same Need for tht same Kind kind of Power here, but cld handle life "on our own."
    Isn't this the way we're Supposed to think, according to gen. U.S. societal codes of thinking, acting (& I do mean Acting, not jst behaving), and believing, whether religion affiliated or not???? 'Seems that way to me. Love, a Power Greater than ourselves, and our fears, Ever-Present?
    Here, I think many of us feel conflicted: How could a Spirit of Love be present in the midst of war?… when "War is hell"? Some of our number hv bn called, "devil dogs" as if from the pit of hell ourselves. I've felt tht way, at times proud to be seen and feared that way. Now, tht fact confuses me.
    It is beyond hrd to reconcile the horrors of war with the concept tht The Power of Love was with us thru it All; no matter what we did, saw, said, kept silent about, etc., When we believe that God or Love cld possibly hv wanted or allowed the horrors of war to exist; for ourselves & for others uncountable in number…
    But, what if this Love was with us, And those who died, those who were mamed, lost loved ones, experience(d) traumas at times literally unbelievable, Thru it All? — If not, how was it/is it that Any of us survive(d)?
    — At the moment, I'm hvng trouble finding any other answer.
    We Have Another Chance at Life, Here, Now. Does that scare you, Warrior? Well, it scares the hell out of me. Having said tht, I hope it's literally true. For, I don't want hell living in me anymore. And, for myself, a life dominated by fear Is Hell.
    I'm scared. So what?!!! Hell, (said, almost as if im addressing Hell itself, and I may be), it's not like I wasn't ever scared "over there"! And, I'm scared now. Does this mean I'm Not Worthy of the Love that made sure I was born; the same Power Who was the Primary One assembling my anatomy, physiology, my ability to LOVE, to survive, capable of Love myself despite all I've bn through. I know this because I feel it, Love, around dogs, people, & I think I feel Love when looking at the sky, plants, bodies of water, wildlife… But, the Love I feel most hesitant to admit is tht felt around people. For, that is where the fear lives in me, even as I yearn for Love from other humans, & while usually far less aware if it, for Love from myself. Yet I've bn remaining in doubt as to whether I can or shld ever be accepted as one of, & among others…
    Nevertheless, ths idea that Love Is in, around, with, & for me, to receive and rely on as well as to give; that This Love isn't and Can't be definitively ignored, Nor Ever completely Denied as Real, as Here, to Hlp me, to Help us, Learn to Receive and more strongly Believe that the Spirit of Love, our Creator, with all of the answers we will not hv in this lifetime (as traditionally defined), actually Cares about you And about me, Whoever we may be… It's an idea I believe I Need.
    That Power of Love got us thru combat, thru war, thru Hell… Who am I to suggest that the same Power of Love cannot do ths for me again, here, in a very different form of battle, externally?
    Why am I still alive? Why did You let me live? — I've asked, pleaded for answers to these Qs. — But, now, I ask myself, How often have I honestly, with time allowed, awaited, listened for, or expected a reply? Usually, so wrapped up in personal bitterness, pain, terror, confusionn, shame, I Felt as if the answer was not to come, not to one as " unworthy as me." Meanwhile, a great deal more poetically I imagine, the Power/the Spirit of Love was responding to myself pity, & self -denied Love, with something semantic-ally similar to, "Who the fuck do you think you are, pleading for answers from Me, while denying My Presence and Willingness To Give To You Answers, Courage To Carry Forward, not backward
    You dare to call, think & feel yourself not worthy of Me, of Love Eternal, Without Condition, Always Here With & Within you, as My creation, My Forever child:
    "Do you even hv a Clue wht it means to be My Forever child, created by Love On Purpose, For Missions That come from The Very Top of Humanity's Chain of Command, myself, LOVE??? Dear God-child(!), Listen Up! You being My Forever child, means that you will Always be expected to have needs you Cannot meet alone; that you will Always be capable of more learning, healing, growing; that you will feel pain and other unpleasantries, yet with all tht it takes to make it thru alive, and very often Stronger Than Before; that you Can nd will Learn and Learn more, very often with outright Glee/Joy/Fun, Laughter! It means tht you will Always need help; that Asking for, & seeking out help Is A Sign of Strength, Courage, Leadership Skill Development, Competence; Intelligence, & (conscious or not) of Belief in Me, The Parent of All via The Spiritual Part of Life, including This World, and All in it, No Matter Who, No Matter What, When, Where. And, it means tht you Are on par with Every other, according to the infinite Power and Wisdom of Love, in and Transcendent of All, Ever; that you Are, ever were & will be of equal value to Me as every other, incl., Equally Well Loved!
    "You've spent So much time trying to belittle your Sacred Spirit, The One That Made You, Lives In you, Around, For, With you, Waiting, & Desperately Wanting you to Realize that you Are Worthy of Love: You're Made Of It! You've Been Made With It, For It, Love Being Designed For you and your wellbeing as Air Exists To Sustain Your Body!
    "There's More to you than your body, isn't there? Love has never left you, though I know it's felt as if I had. That was not my intent, for you to feel abandoned, unworthy. And, while All Powerful, I respect you enough to await your invitations to reenter your conscious life and plans for living.
    "If you're reading this your obviously seeking Me out along w/my HELP. So, News Flash, I'm Here, Loving you Already! You're Not unlovable; you are, in fact, absolutely Worthy of Love, that's 100%. You are not what you've seen, done, been afraid to do…
    "Knowing that, I'll tell you rt now. In this case I'd say that the suspense Needs to be broken: You Will Survive if rejected by one or more people, who- & whatever else you might feel rejction from. In fact, you Will Remain Lovable And Worthy to Receive as well as to give and share LOVE No Matter What. But, to experience it your efforts will certainly help! I Need you to help Me help you!!!
    "I Am Your Source of Life, Love, Courage, Strength, Power to re-Dis-cover How To Risk Letting people Love you! At no points will you be alone in this process. I Will Always Be With You, Beside, Behind, Before, Within Who I created You To Be, A Truly, Honorably, Respectfully, Kindly, Sanely, Brilliantly, Honestly, Gently and Firmly, Powerfully Loved Human Being, member of the 1 Human Family and Human "Race," by My Self, your self, And those of other people, parts of nature, circumstance, Life.
    "Are you willing to give up on Me and My Love For you, just because you feel fear and don't know from where My Help For you will come, Or when?
    "We all know of people who hv withstood Hell that might have killed or otherwise destroyed their lives, Believing in their hearts, minds, bodies, souls, Spirit-selves That Help/That The Power of Love For Who They were/are, Was, Is, Would Be/Will Be ON THE WAY!
    "Like them, maybe you were one of "them," or are, like myself, rt now, having been held captive by fear, shame, rage, & on. Yes, we too hv very Real enemies that Require our Spirit of Life, of Love, Existing For as well as From us to breach their grasp on us. And, you (I'm talking to my self here, too) NEED to Believe That Love Is With, And On The Way For, you, too; so that you Will make it through this terrifying time, able to "click your heals" and see that your home of safety and Love "is where the heart is": The heart/your heart is in thee, wherever you be (physically, psychologically, socially, environmentally…) With Love For Who you are a constant Companion; Ready, Willing, Able, To Teach, Guide, Coach, Train, Doctor, Nurse, Parent, Guardian, Angel; Work Miracles, Serve as your Healing Power, Assistant, Friend, Mutually Supportive Partner FOR LIFE
    Until and After (Forever) you risk Loving others And Risk Letting them Love You just as you are, ________(your name), the no frills version!!!! Believe. Let a New Chapter, or a whole new "Book" of your Life begin, without being dominated and oppressed by Fear. I fact let's take off that big F, for It's not welcome here as a driving force in your life! — With that "big F" gone, looks like we're left w/an "ear" with which to listen for our hopes, our beliefs that we will Not be left behind enemy lines, even when they are right "ear"/here within ourselves.
    "I, The Power& Spirit of Love Am "ear"/ here, And listening to your troubles, feelings, thoughts, needs, real, and temporarily perceived; Never to leave you alone Anytime, Anywhere, for Any reason.
    "What if???? A-tten-tion!!!!! Listen up, with that ear you've bn left with once you got rid of the big F in your life's F ear(s): You Are Already Loved. That's Never Going To Change! So get used to it, and Start Risking your Life for The Equally Important Life And Ideals You've Got Here And Now, as well as Waiting for You to Listen& Look For, Seek And Find, Including the Love that I Myself Made you Worthy Of!!!!"
    WHAT IF I WERE TO TAKE THIS AS SERIOUSLY AS I WOULD IF A FELLOW WARRIOR NEEDED MY HELP TO LIVE AND TO RECOVER A DAY AT A TIME TO ALLOW HIS OR HER SELF TO KNOW, FEEL, SAFELY TRUST AND BELIEVE THAT HE OR SHE TRULY DOES BELONG, IS NEEDED, WANTED, HONORED, ACCEPTED AS IS NO MATTER WHAT; IS AND WILL BE LOVED NO MATTER WHAT; THAT HELP IS HERE AND ON THE WAY; THAT SHE OR HE WILL NOT BE LEFT BEHIND, AND THAT SUPPORT IS AND WILL BE PRESENT NO MATTER WHST ENEMIES NEED TO BE FACED DOWN? I AM THAT ONE BEHIND ENEMY LINES

  4. Reader G. for Jimmy says:

    What if we move toward love rather than away? How might tht change our lives?

    What if the walls start to come down? And you’re/we’re scared/I am scared…to face our/(& or) my deepest insecurities?
    But keeping them in will kill us?

    Sometimes the thought of jst escaping the feelings seems easier. But, I don’t want to leave the msg that suicide is ok, as my legacy.

    I’ve seen a brother in combat stand up with no intent to fire his weapon, despite his phys posture, but to be killed. He is gone in body. His soul remains. I don’t know who else knew what he ws doing… I knew. Someone will always know, consciously or not…

    I’ve read ths before, yet felt today as if I hadn’t. My walls, those tht let me reach out yet kept others fr/reaching in, they are falling. They need to come down.

    How to trust and discern who(m) to trust? At ths moment my thought is tht ths ability has been within each of us from the start. We’ve jst had one(?) Hell of a set of teachings fr/this world, in civilian life, in combat, in civilian…telling us ‘You’re on your own. You take care of it, Yourself, him, her, them, etc. Or it won’t be done rt or at all. AND, if you show or Speak of a need for help You Are Weak. We don’t Tolerate tht here!’ Doesn’t matter how it’s said, it’s said.

    Since whn do we cave to unjust commands? Since childhood? The military yrs? Both? More, other???
    I don’t want to die alone. More importantly, I no longer want to Live alone, even whn surmounted by others.

    Why do I (better said, “Why Have I…” reminding myself tht it’s something I’ve done, not somth I Must or Will nec. contin.) hide/hidden my tears?Fears? Pain?Shame?Feelings?

    Who am I really trying to protect? For yrs it felt like it ws others. Now, I’m seeing tht I’ve done it in trying to protect m’self fr/more pain, too. As Blog writer hs suggested elsewhere, letting others hear our stories will Not be putting thm thru wht we went thru ourselves.

    I am fortunate to be prt of a 12 step healing circle tht’s bn reminding me (now tht I’ve bn more open to being taught n reminded of Soul-Truths) tht by sharing our troubles we are being if service.

    It’s true: By sharing from our hearts n souls More Than from our minds/intellects thru which we cn so mch more easily hide our emotions & otherwise censor wht comes out, we implicitly give others permission to do the same, to do the work of healing by revealing rather than avoiding healing by hiding.

    Being in service for&to others is 1 key to healing. We help ourselves in the process. I believe the reverse is also True

    We will always be in The Service of doing all we cn to hlp protect, honor, serve others, the ideals and facts tht all people are of equal value, deserving of having their n our himan rights respected, upheld… Incl. the Right to pursue happiness, Even(ly) our own.

    My walls hv prevented the truest of intimacies poss only by allowing others to see, maybe enter the realms behind my walls (places I myself hv long bn terrified to face, let alone to enter in and explore).

    Is it possible that we haven’t bn designed– from Soul to the most minute particles comprising the bodies that hold Soul as a channel thru which to express soul, w/Our Souls being more vital and important than any other part of who we are–are not made to make this journey inward alone???

    Moving toward Love Requires Courage greater than any faced in combat. Love itself seems to be that Within Us Now, Always (past, present, ahead) ever ready, to provide all of the Courage WE Will REQUIRE to move toward the Love we Need from others And ourselves as perhaps The Greatest Healing Power in this Universe, Infinite, n Infinitely…

    What if I were to move more courageously toward Love than has seemed possible before??? What if I were to allow myself to experience joy and life the way I cld whn not questioning my rt to?

    I’d feel stronger, safer, saner. Life wouldn’t feel like such a struggle. I’d start to like and Love who I am through and with “it all,” all of the shit/manure that fertilizes whn spread out, shared. The same crap we’ve carried tht festers, rots from within until it begins to literally eat away at & destroy tht n those holding it in.

    It is poison when not respectfully dispersed and allowed to be broken down and digested for the lessons, the compassion, the love all are in need of as daily nourishment; broken down by others in their own time and ways. Tht is just prt of wht we offer others when sharing what is poison while kept as if it be only Our/or My suffering, when in actuality it’s reflective of the pain whch others have bn hiding, having more in common with us n others than not.

    If I am to move toward Love, love will probably move toward me. Ths cn be a scary prospect whn not used to letting others in, or letting myself to receive love simply for what it is even fr/myself or that higher power of Love inside and part of who I am, while infinitely stronger, kinder, saner, able in all respects, incl. as My Leader.

    The Command that was in some ways a comfort, something or someone I trusted implicitly to hv my best interests at heart even whn telling me to risk my life for a greater good has not left my life, but changed form.

  5. ro says:

    I jst read from a bk of daily meditations n woulld like to share 3 paraphrases of what I read, in the hope that one version might touch some more than the others, believing that all apply here:

    ‘Power of Love, help me to believe in your strength, desires and abilities to truly care for who I am and all of my needs. Please help me thru my unbelief.

    ‘I cry out from my human heart and soul, from all of my frailty and strengths wanting and needing progress. As i more consciously seek, see, feel and believe/rely on the existence and Power of Love greater than myself, I will grow in courage and the strengths needed to Receive as well as to give love. Simultaneously, I will see that my trust in Love is not absolute…

    ‘My soul’s progress in healing will come via an increasing belief/reliance on Love. And, with the ongoing needs to call out for a deeper faith, pleaing for whatever it takes to conquer my unbelief, my fear that feeds my unwillingness to take on the risk of trust, of believing in my ability and worth to receive Love honorably, with grace and humility.

    ‘When I believe that Love Eternal, Endlessly Powerful and Mighty, hears me, my prayers or pleas, I will see my yearnful requests are being answered in time.’

    ***’God, Power of Love Eternal and Infinitely Kind, Wise, help me to believe. Help me through my unbelief. This is a cry of my human heart expressing my human frailty. It is a sincere desire expressed for progress.

    ‘As I feel the existence of God, of Love, of Good, and all the Power Therein, I will believe more and more. Simultaneously, I will become more conscious of falling short and trusting you, The Power of Love, absolutely.

    ‘My soul’s progress exists in an increasing belief, and then cries for more faith, pleas to have all of my unbelief conquered by Your Power within me conquering my lack of trust. In so doing, asking and acting on what I wish so truly to be parts of my life (this ceaseless journey), I Can believe that my cry is and will be heard my God/by Love/by Good, and that all of my prayers/my pleas are & will be answered in due time. In this way my faith will grow bit by bit day by day.’

    ***’God, Love, Good, help me to believe. Help me through my unbelief. This is a cry of my human heart. It is an expression of my human frailty through my human strength. It is an expression of my deep desire for progress.

    ‘As I feel your existence, your Love, your Power, I will believe in you more and more. Simultaneously, I will become more conscious of my inability to trust in you absolutely. Yet, my soul’s progress will increase in belief, in believing; and, then, also thru more cries for a deeper faith, the praying to conquer all of my unbelief, my fears which I have let hold myself back from receiving love.

    ‘We can all believe; I can believe, that my cries, my calls are being heard by the power of God/of Love/of Good. I Can believe that prayer my prayer, that my our pleas are and will be answered in time. And so, my faith will grow, bit by bit, day by day.

    ‘God help me to pray that with more power from you in my life, openly and willingly requested and received, will come a greater faith, a greater strength, a greater hope, and a greater ability to live in ways most pleasing to you as well as to myself.

    ‘As I Served and continue to Serve my Country, people here as around the world, including myself, I pray/ I ask you Great Power of Love, that I may come to trust more and more; more deeply, and in more ways, with each new day, one at a time.’

  6. Reader G. for Jimmy says:

    FOR SOME REASON THIS IS STILL HERE. I PRESUMED IT HADN’T POSTED YET, SO ADDED A TAD, MOSTLY IN CAPS AT THE BOTTOM. I’M VERY WEAK RT NOW. SO PLEASE FORGIVE ME FOR NOT ADDING IT ON AS A REPLY TO MY OWN POST FOR JIMMY. MAYBE IT CAN BE STUCK IN AS AN ADDENDUM, or ADDED IN SOME OTHER WAY, IF YOU DEEM IT WORTH THE EFFORT. Thanks! R.

    What if we move toward love rather than away? How might tht change our lives?

    What if the walls start to come down? And you’re/we’re scared/I am scared…to face our/(& or) my deepest insecurities?
    But keeping them in will kill us?

    Sometimes the thought of jst escaping the feelings seems easier. But, I don’t want to leave the msg that suicide is ok, as my legacy.

    I’ve seen a brother in combat stand up with no intent to fire his weapon, despite his phys posture, but to be killed. He is gone in body. His soul remains. I don’t know who else knew what he ws doing… I knew. Someone will always know, consciously or not…

    I’ve read ths before, yet felt today as if I hadn’t. My walls, those tht let me reach out yet kept others fr/reaching in, they are falling. They need to come down.

    How to trust and discern who(m) to trust? At ths moment my thought is tht ths ability has been within each of us from the start. We’ve jst had one(?) Hell of a set of teachings fr/this world, in civilian life, in combat, in civilian…telling us ‘You’re on your own. You take care of it, Yourself, him, her, them, etc. Or it won’t be done rt or at all. AND, if you show or Speak of a need for help You Are Weak. We don’t Tolerate tht here!’ Doesn’t matter how it’s said, it’s said.

    Since whn do we cave to unjust commands? Since childhood? The military yrs? Both? More, other???
    I don’t want to die alone. More importantly, I no longer want to Live alone, even whn surmounted by others.

    Why do I (better said, “Why Have I…” reminding myself tht it’s something I’ve done, not somth I Must or Will nec. contin.) hide/hidden my tears?Fears? Pain?Shame?Feelings?

    Who am I really trying to protect? For yrs it felt like it ws others. Now, I’m seeing tht I’ve done it in trying to protect m’self fr/more pain, too. As Blog writer hs suggested elsewhere, letting others hear our stories will Not be putting thm thru wht we went thru ourselves.

    I am fortunate to be prt of a 12 step healing circle tht’s bn reminding me (now tht I’ve bn more open to being taught n reminded of Soul-Truths) tht by sharing our troubles we are being of service.

    It’s true: By sharing from our hearts n souls More Than from our minds/intellects thru which we cn so mch more easily hide our emotions & otherwise censor wht comes out, we implicitly give others permission to do the same, to do the work of healing by revealing rather than avoiding healing by hiding.

    Being in service for&to others is 1 key to healing. We help ourselves in the process. I believe the reverse is also True

    We will always be in The Service of doing all we cn to hlp protect, honor, serve others, the ideals and facts tht all people are of equal value, deserving of having their n our himan rights respected, upheld… Incl. the Right to pursue happiness, Even(ly) our own.

    My walls hv prevented the truest of intimacies poss only by allowing others to see, maybe enter the realms behind my walls (places I myself hv long bn terrified to face, let alone to enter in and explore).

    Is it possible that we haven’t bn designed– from Soul to the most minute particles comprising the bodies that hold Soul as a channel thru which to express soul, w/Our Souls being more vital and important than any other part of who we are–are not made to make this journey inward alone???

    Moving toward Love Requires Courage greater than any faced in combat. Love itself seems to be that Within Us Now, Always (past, present, ahead) ever ready, to provide all of the Courage WE Will REQUIRE to move toward the Love we Need from others And ourselves as perhaps The Greatest Healing Power in this Universe, Infinite, n Infinitely…

    What if I were to move more courageously toward Love than has seemed possible before??? What if I were to allow myself to experience joy and life the way I cld whn not questioning my rt to?

    I’d feel stronger, safer, saner. Life wouldn’t feel like such a struggle. I’d start to like and Love who I am through and with “it all,” all of the shit/manure that fertilizes whn spread out, shared. The same crap we’ve carried tht festers, rots from within until it begins to literally eat away at & destroy tht n those holding it in.

    It is poison when not respectfully dispersed and allowed to be broken down and digested for the lessons, the compassion, the love all are in need of as daily nourishment; broken down by others in their own time and ways. Tht is just prt of wht we offer others when sharing what is poison while kept as if it be only Our/or My suffering, when in actuality it’s reflective of the pain whch others have bn hiding, having more in common with us and others than not.

    If I am to move toward Love, love will probably move toward me. This cn be a scary prospect when not used to letting others in, or letting myself to receive love simply for what it is even fr/myself or that higher power of Love inside and part of who I am, while infinitely stronger, kinder, saner, more able in all respects, incl. as My Leader.

    The Command that was in some ways a comfort, something or someone I trusted implicitly to have my best interests at heart even when telling me to risk my life for a greater good has not left my life, but changed form.

    Though hesitant to say it, allowing you to hold me accountable for what I say, I am Willing to Try to move toward Love. The Journey seems to have begun already… BREATHE, TRUST, BREATHE, BE. BREATHE, TRUST, BELIEVE, BREATHE, BE. TRUST AND BELIEVE IN WHO OR WHAT? LOVE!!!!!! Not Alone, Alive… I WANT TO CHOOSE LIFE. I WANT TO LIVE AND LIVE WELL. IF ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, and I believe that it Is, THEN MY LIVING A LOVE BASED LIFE IN PLACE OF ONE THAT’S FEAR BASED IS WHAT I WANT. ‘Courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.’ Who more expert at that than we?

  7. IDK says:

    What steps can we take to believe that we Are worthy of love?
    How would you answer these Qs?– Those you posed.–
    I feel too depleted of energy to think and act bravely. I feel my “demons” trying to pull me back. Very tempted to say, “it doesn’t matter.” Hell, I’ve used that for years, and it seemed to work (&/or help allow much Hell to go on, being put up with rather than changed). No more. No, Life is calling, but there’s no mistake that death is calling, too.

    I’ve actually started talking to the Souls that I played part in disembodying. I’ve been asking for their help, energy, guidance, that I might live a life more suitably honorable to them, for and with the best of who they came to be. As there does seem to be more of who I am that wants to live than die… Still death does call to me.

    The more I become able to allow Love to embrace and hold onto myself, while engaging with it more fully, participating in our connection consciously, the greater my chances be at living a Life which feels infinitely more worthy. -God forgive me for not grasping my worth to You/The Power of Love Eternal, the core of every Soul whose bodies I felt so long to have stolen from You/From Life, as to those still embodied in ways that I can “clearly see” who tell me I am far stronger, better, brighter, kinder, and wiser than I have allowed myself to believe for many a year, acting as if disability and death is all I am worth, after tasting a very different part and perspective of, on Life, and the Whys of my existence which for a time seemed to make so much sense. I ask Your help too, in my attempts at self care, valid options for myself whether seen in the present, or “back there.”

    • Alex says:

      To IDK,
      I’m thinking I can feel pain in what you said and how you asked for help at the end.
      I’m hurting too. I am confused. Maybe you are too. Life and love aren’t so easy after war. Maybe they never were. But I think they were at least some. I just want you to know you’re not alone. It’s harder I think than it says or seems like it says. Maybe I’m reading it wrong. But I’m thankful to you for what you wrote. Just wanted you to know you’re not alone in your thoughts and what you said.
      ALW

  8. Maureen Smith says:

    Very good article. Rang very true. Married for 25 years to Vietnam veteran.
    Major Ptsd . All of those feelings surfaced and impacted immensely on our lives. Has had lots of treatment. ..only recently seems to be doing better.

    Thank you for putting those feelings in words.

  9. rz4rogo says:

    A friend began to tell me, “There’s an ancient Native American story about two wolves…” I had just told her about my difficulties in asking for and receiving help, feeling that there were warring parts of my soul; one that believes in the power of love, even for myself, and one that absolutely does Not.

    When she began to speak, I cut in, laughing a bit as I said, “Yes, and the one you feed more gets stronger.” But, we didn’t stop there; for, it became clear to me that I had been “feeding” the evil/viscious/scary “wolf” within much more than the kind one for a very long time.

    As the words came out I heard myself telling her the fact (as I see it) is that my “feeding That wolf” seemed wise as it was the part of myself keeping “bad people” out and away from me, unaware that once scaring off some of “them,” it had turned to attack me, And to keep good, loving people and experiences out of my life along with those intending harm.

    I do not want to continue feeding the Fear in me. I don’t want to push away true kindness, love, mutually expressed/shared, from being parts of my daily life. It may be obvious that the word “evil” is basically the word, “live” spelled backwards, at least in gen. accepted U.S.A. language. Yet, it serves to elucidate how my feeding into the fear/the evil in me (when taken to the extremes) is quite opposite to how I consciously want to live, even while not emotionally sure how to live as I say I wish to yet.

    Moving toward Love has scared me for more of my life than not. That’s not easy to change. What if I begin to? So far, good things and people come my way & enter my life. And, what would you guess one of my 1st resoonses has been? If you guessed, Fear, you’d be right. It’s been my path of least resistance for a very very long time: So What!?

    It has been said of some of the worst addictions a person can have, and I believe fear based living, or surviving to be one such an experience, a ‘vital spiritual experience wherein huge emotional displacements and rearrangements take place; ideas, emotions and attitudes which were once guiding forces are suddenly cast aside, with a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate,’ that the former habitual way of life, no matter how destructive, can be released and replaced with ways of living that support the Love, Lives, and Good, in and for all involved.
    (See p.27 of Alcoholics Anonymous,” esp. the quotes attributed to famed, C.G.Jung)

    These aren’t phenomena we can create in and for each other. Personally, I’m not sure that we can create such changes in ourselves. Yet, I do believe that we can ask the Power of Love within &/or Beyond us to help us to believe that such changes Are possible For us, no matter what the voices of fear have to say; and, that we can invite those powers of Good and Love in, Long, Often &/or Passionately enough that what we ask for will enter into our conscious minds and lives, feeding the Lovey-Wolf as it were, and learning to live, in tnis process together, rather than to merely survive as if alone (“in charge,” “in control,” to “feel and to be most safe” while setting ourselves up to feel and to experience the opposite of what we most deeply and rightly, humanly, divinely, crave and need, Love).

    Simple? Maybe. Easy? Rarely. But, then, we didn’t sign on for easy did we? I know I didn’t! My motto was Long, “The more challenging the better!” Well, that was when my “walls” were so deeply entrenched that I honestly felt them to be immovable. It has seemed that in this life, I’ve had to 1st become more afraid of continuing in my unhealthy/fear based thoughts, words, feelings, behaviors, than I am/have been of seriously trying to change them With Help, that these amazing phenomena of Life Altering acts of Self-Care and Enhanced care for my fellow human beings come to fruition with and

  10. rz4rogo says:

    …The Power of Love.

    • Alex says:

      Dear rz4, and Reader G. , I’ve been reading what you said, and I can relate a lot. I am scared too. I don’t see that Brittareqe wrote to you guys, but he wrote to me. He’s maybe just as scared as us. I’m not saying it’s cool for him, but for us it’s hope in it. Wait. It might be a lady. But you know who I mean. I’m confused. I want to get out from behind my walls, and I like how one of you guys was writing as if you were love. I am afraid to be loved to let people get close. I’m going to write to Brittareque again. Yeah, she’s a she cause she’s a mom. I don’t think she’s a guy mom if you know what I mean. But she’s very cool. What the was trying to say before about it being cool that she’s scared too is what you guys are saying, with IDK and ro I think. A lot of people reply. Maybe she will let you write to her. Look at what she wrote to me. She gets it. I think you guys get it better than me, and I know she does too, but she’s in it with us. She told me down below. I think you can probably see what she wrote to me. It’s really good. So, I’m just saying you guys are right. We are not alone, I’m pretty sure it’s true. Well I just want to say thanks for writing all the stuff you did, and if you can want to read what she wrote to me. She’s cool. I’m telling the truth. Ok. Thank you guys. Al

      • Hi Al, yes, I am a female. Though lots of people have thought otherwise. Thank you for what you said… and just so you know, I have responded to RZ4 and Reader G privately and am in communication with them.

        One of the books I would recommend is Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley. It’s an easy read and it will give you a whole new perspective to consider on Life. (not religious)…. I’ll write to you more, hopefully this weekend. 🙂 I know you said you don’t email, but you are certainly always welcome to. Posting here works, too! 🙂

      • ALEX,
        I know you are in heaven now… I miss having you around. You made a difference in my life. I wish you had stayed in touch… I wish I had known how deeply you were suffering. There are many things I would like to tell you… You will always be in my heart. In your honor and that of Christopher Cooper, and so many others, I will strive to stay alive and then to thrive/ Live exceptionally well, Not giving in to the ptsd, which I cannot get through without help. You tried. I tried doing it alone… Yet, by some twist of fate, I have lived to tell your stories as well as my own. Love you, Alex! Now and Forever!
        Ro

  11. Alex says:

    You think love is so easy to reach for? Or let in? You say you know it’s not. But isn’t that what you’re asking us to do?Or Just ponder? F— ing think about it, like we got some nice lake to look out over and Ponder… Look, bud, I know you don’t need a freakin lake to ponder shit. But, this, it’s way harder than you think. That’s me. That’s all I’m saying. If you live your life with walls up, how the fuck do you let m down? Follow love? What if you don’t even know what love is anymore? What if you’re scared it’s fake, or if it’s real no one is ever going to let you in on it? What if you lost your chances at being loved? What if you blew it? Something to ponder. Can you answer any of that publicly? Or are the questions too stupid? I’m not trying to be a jackass . I’m seriously freakin confused and maybe, just maybe I am not the only one. Don’t do emails. So I’ll see if you post a reply to me even if you don’t put this on your site.

    • Those questions are not stupid. And you are not the only one who has them. Love is NOT easy to reach for. In fact, it may be harder than anything else. Reaching for Love is exactly what you are doing when you read the articles here and express your pain and hurt and ask the big questions that are fucking scary to put out there.

      I don’t have an easy answer and I won’t pretend that I do. I have lived behind walls all of this lifetime, and for the most part, still do. But we have to have a place to start, right? Considering the possibility that Love might still be present, that we are Held by Something Greater Than Us, despite all our failings and fears…. allowing that thought to enter our mind, that is a starting point. It’s not the only one. It’s just one thread to pull that leads toward opening our minds to let the IDEA of love take root.

      I don’t believe walls can be dropped or lowered or even demolished except by our permission to allow the concrete to be chipped away at bit by bit. We have the power to allow it. When we remember that Fear is Not All Powerful and that we are able to make choices.

      We fear being loved because it makes us vulnerable. I will be the first to admit that I rarely let myself be vulnerable, so yes, I do understand that this is not easy and it’s very scary. But I will not say it is impossible.

      I think we truly do have a choice. It doesn’t feel like it, but we do. Love in the Eternal Essence of Us will hold us whether we believe in or feel it or not. There is an element of grace just in you finding this site and me reading and responding to your comments – you were led here by Something. I believe that Something is Love.

      I am in as deep as you are when it comes to taking the risk to trust my Self to Love. It’s fucking hard. I am going to keep trying. Why? Because I’m tired of living behind walls (even though they are comfortable, necessary in many instances and keep me safe) that keep me from really FEELING anything. So, yes, I will keep choosing to open my heart, bit by bit, fight my fears and see what Love will do.

      But I do think it’s important to understand that it takes a warfighter’s heart to understand another warfighter’s heart. I don’t believe that the gap between warfighter and civilian can ever be fully bridged. Being a warfighter is a spiritual calling, and those who are not called do not understand the depths of that call. So, when it comes to expectations with relationships, we need to be sure that we’re not expecting more than what is possible. That’s something to ponder as well.

  12. Alex says:

    Thanks to you and all the long responders. I read your last reply and then got skipped to other responses like Reader G., to , rz4, man, it’s like we’re all going through the same shit. I’m sorry for cussing, but you cussed too. Sometimes it’s hard to find better words. My head is swirling inside with all these thoughts. I feel like I’m seeing I’m not so alone in being scared. I don’t know what to do with that. Yeah, IDK said stuff too. You all say so much that’s so connected. I think it was IDK and you that write about the feeling like death wants you , like this is harder than combat and it is. I do believe you. I really do. I just feel afraid maybe I’m afraid to change. I want to be strong like you. I don’t have kids to love or be loved by. Yeah, our stories aren’t the same but they have a lot in common. Right now I feel a lot of things. I, oh fuck who cares, I’m crying. I don’t know what to make of that. I think I saw you said you cry too, but like me, you’re used to hiding it. At least we are writing about it in a public way.
    I just feel so lost. I guess I got used to feeling alone too. I have been the one others go to for help. Now I can’t deny I need help too. It’s foreign. I feel like a loser. But you said not to put myself down for what I feel. Not used to this. Any of it. I want to believe how you do. And maybe you can suggest some stuff you read about hope and that. I don’t know what the tears are from. Maybe a ton of stuff, a freakin TON,, years of seeing things, not feeling, and now feeling what no way I could before. It’s a lot to take in. I am thankful so much for you writing back to what I’ve been saying. I hope we can write again. You can’t know how much you are helping me by being nice to me, and being real about what you feel. I don’t do this. But here I am doing it because you made this place for us to say things from in some ultra deep places inside who we are. You give me some hope. The repliers do too. I want to keep reading your stuff. I know I’m going on, and I know maybe I’m not saying stuff as good as other people, but what you say to me is really good and can probably help a lot of people, like the ones who already responded. So maybe I did something good by writing to you. I’m very thankful to you in more ways than I know to write out. If I could love you, not in a weird way, just like a good friend, I would do that, because you are helping me like you said I think that you are in this as deep as me. It’s like we’re in the trenches, the sand, the pain and fear together, and if you are right, we are both in the love that is saving you, because you let it . And maybe I can too. I will try. I wish I could shake your hand. You are a good person. Like you and maybe repliers said, we are not in this alone. I’m very thankful that you are on my side. Alex

    • I most certainly will continue to write to you… and I already sense that healing love is starting to move through you, and help soften the dry, hardened places and the places that have not had space to be expressed before.

      You are not alone. And I would be proud to call you friend, or perhaps more appropriately, brother.

      If you are on Facebook and feel comfortable there, you are welcome to connect and chat privately, too. But you are right, when you step up and say something publicly here, you are putting into words what hundreds of other readers want to say but don’t know how. So yes, your showing up here is an act of love and another way that your life is being used now to bless and help others.

      Sending you a big hug and peaceful energy for this night. Britta

    • One more thing… tears are good. Tears are cleansing, they release energy like a pressure valve and they allow stuck energy/emotions to start moving through you.

      We are beings made up of energy, as all things are. And we have energy fields that are constantly receiving and emitting energy. Trauma gets stuck in our energy fields, crying is one form of release that helps move that energy out. As far as I’m concerned, only real men cry. And real women. So just let yourself feel what you feel and let the tears fall. Your body and spirit know what they need to start shifting toward Life and Healing.

      I’m proud of you, Al. And grateful. Very grateful that you are here.

  13. Alex says:

    Thanks for answering me again. I think you are a good person to talk to, and I feel something maybe kind of good about you saying we could be like brothers or you could like me likes brother-friend. I’ve been reading this stuff a lot. It’s still scary like you said. And it’s pretty awesome that you said you would believe for me til I can. I don’t really see how you got to be so brave. And you really know how to say things in good ways. You’ve been very nice to me and I’m thankful that you don’t think I’m too dumb to talk to because I don’t write good. I don’t know why. You seem to get what I’ve been trying to say anyway. So, you said you could maybe understand me feeling lost, like I’ve seen too much to love. Sounds like that happened to you too. One thing you said that I think is good too not that you have to just that you do get through the fog of fear when you wake up. Can you say more on that? It ways heavy on me when I wake up mostly at night. But other times too, like in the normal morning hours.

    I need to say thanks for what you said about crying. It’s still hard even though you know all this stuff isn’t it? You said a lot of nice things to me things I would never have thought. Like you said me writing in here is a act of love. I want that to be true but I’m not sure I get that. I see how what you say back to me could be great for a lot of people. I never thought anything I said might help anybody. You also said you are proud of me. You know how you said something about our beliefs being thoughts and feelings we can change one now at a time, something like that. Oh wait a second. About you being proud of me. Is that because I am still trying? I feel a whole mess of feelings about you saying that. It’s weird because it’s good but it I don’t know I’m feeling like my energy fields need to get unstuck again. Yeah, I’m crying again. I’m sure thankful that nobody knows who I am. I don’t know why I would feel like this over you saying something nice to me. I’ll try to write to you tomorrow. My energy fields must be majorly clogged up tonight. You even sent me a hug. And peace. First few times I read that I didn’t feel anything. Now. Damn. Is it weird to cry about good sh I mean good stuff?Thanks for being so nice to me. Is your name Britta or Brittareque? I hope I’m not wasting your space here. I just feel like maybe you have answers to some questions, I mean other than your name. I’m just maybe scared you’ll think it’s stupid. I just don’t feel like this ever. But now I’m feeling and I don’t know what to do except like you said, let it happen, right? Thanks. Good night. I guess you won’t see this til tomorrow. Still I hope you have a good night and wake up with no freakin fear, just peace and smiles or nice good feelings. Al

    • Hi Alex, you have not pissed me off. I was just gone all day and have not had a chance to write back until now. Yes, my name is Britta and you most certainly can call me that. And no, I am not scared of you. I received your posts, but did not make them public as I felt they were a bit more personal to you and perhaps not something you would want made public. But, I do receive them and I do read everything you say.

      Nothing you say is stupid or weird. And I feel that you express yourself very well and authentically in your writing — so please do not feel that you’re not a good writer. It’s not about being a “good” writer, it’s about sharing what is on your heart/mind and you do that well. So, please don’t let that inhibit you.

      I know this is all intense for you, but I really do sense that reading the articles and receiving my words to you here are helping you feel again. I know it’s scary, I know it’s a wide range of emotions and it makes you feel kind of embarrassed to be feeling so much at once, but it really is OKAY and to your spirit, no doubt, a long-awaited release.

      I am going to go though your comments (the ones I have not made public) and respond more fully to your questions this weekend. Please do not take my silence as anything other than I am simply not able to respond at the moment. 🙂

      You are valuable and I know it’s hard to feel that and having someone (me) say it makes you feel awkward, but think of me as your friend and someone who sees the good in you even when you have lost faith in yourself, okay? And please feel free to continue to post whenever you feel like it, I will read it and decide if I feel it should be made public or kept confidential… and I will respond just as soon as I can.

      I am happy to respond to you here, publicly, but if you feel you need to discuss more confidential matters, email would be better. I will leave that choice up to you. My email is brittareque@gmail.com. Or you can connect via Facebook and message me privately, too. No matter what feels best to you, I will use that route.

      You are not alone. And what you are expressing is what I hear from nearly every combat veteran I talk with. Sadly, most of you think you are the only one who feels the way you do… but it’s so not true. Your brothers (and sisters) are going through the same emotions, the same fears….. I hope that will be of some comfort to you.

      I will write you as soon as I can this weekend, okay?

      Let your heart rest tonight, feel what it feels, hold on to hope.

      • Alex Walker says:

        K. Thanks. I don’t know why I’m freaking out about all this, except I saw stuff disappeared and I thought you a lady I could trust left or just didn’t want to know me anymore. I don’t know how you wrote all that so fast. Sorry to bug you about it. Just a lot is happening inside me and I don’t get it. You’re right. I do still feel alone even though I believe you and the other people that wrote in. I will try to be brave and ask if I can use this email address to email you. Ok.
        I don’t know what to do except what you just said. So I’ll try. Have a good night. I’m sorry if I wrote too much and whatever. Thanks for being so nice to me. Al

      • You are not bugging me and please don’t apologize for anything you write. I think part of what is happening for you right now is that you have found a place/person who understands you… and that relief at finding yourself understood and accepted has brought up all kinds of emotions. Because you have tried so hard to keep it all inside for all these years. So, this is a bit of a shock to your whole system.

        Feeling is a good thing, right? Sure beats being numb, even though the emotions may have you spinning and messing with your head.

        Emotions will change. The storm will pass. Don’t let it throw you off. Think of what you are going through as if a dam has broken and there’s a rush of water gushing out… eventually is settles down to a steady stream, right? The dam has burst for you the last few days and your whole body is experiencing the gush of emotion…let it flow.

        If you are at all feeling suicidal, though, please call 911 or go to the hospital emergency room and let them know you need help.

        As for email, I think you should be able to open a browser and establish your own email account, even if it’s not the one associated with the phone…but I’m not sure on that. You might ask your friend if it is possible to do that.

        I will be sending you calm, soothing energy to help ease the anguish and I will respond to your questions this weekend, hopefully, tomorrow. 🙂

  14. Alex says:

    Are you pissed at me? I keep trying to write something I think will make sense but first my stupid comments disappeared then what I was just writing did. And I was really trying hard for it to make sense. Because you’re like a person who’s real and honest. You are nice, smart and good. I don’t want you to think I’m a total loser just cause I don’t have my own phone or email right now. I’m trying so hard. I can’t have you blow me off. Please don’t. I mean I can handle it if you feel better that way. I just really don’t want to. See I don’t have trust come easily ok? But I been trusting you more than anybody in a long freakin time. Shit. Now I’m maybe I am a freakin loser cryin again. Life just seems so fuckin hard. And I know that you know. But I also know you’re ahead of me on getting out from behind the frickin walks. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I was a strong dude. You probably would have liked me. I don’t want you to be mad. And now I forgot my questions about how long it took you to get to finding beliefs in love and goodness for your life, or how to be part of it. How do I be part of it. Maybe not like the movies, but be able to love and let other people love me. How did you get to trust it? I got more questions. But I don’t know if you still would want me as a friend or even somebody to write back to. It probably does sound stupid but it kinda scares me or something. I’m here crying like a kid. Fuckin A. I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to remember you saying it’s ok or good to let yourself cry. Holy shit I’m writing a gd book about a whole lot of nothin. I’m really sorry if I pissed you off. I never meant to. Seriously. So whatever you think of me now I’m thankful for what you said before.Al

    • I’m not pissed at you at all, Al. And you are NOT a loser….I just wrote back to you about 10 minutes before you posted this…. can you see the response below?? If not, let me know. I also edited your post here to protect your privacy a bit…. let me know if you can’t see my response. I got all of your comments, but did not make them public to protect your privacy a bit (as they seemed more personal to you)….

Reach Out Here or Email Me at brittareque@gmail.com

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