Most of you that are consistent readers of my blog know I attempt to provide a positive and empowering approach to healing PTSD. Providing insight “through a warrior’s eyes”, I think, can be beneficial for many of the motivated clients I work with. By focusing on their Objectives, we work together using tools, encouragement, and reinforcement for the positive gains they make. Along with the tools of Subconscious Restructuring®, together, we are achieving outstanding results!
It is important to note, in coaching, ultimately the client finds the answer. This is the way coaching is really supposed to work. Consequently, it is also the client that must be ready to move forward. Many of the warriors I work with have tried lots of different methods for healing themselves prior to working with me. In these cases, it is very easy to move forward, as they are hungry for some real change in their lives.
However, on rare occasion, I engage with a warrior client that has not made the decision to move forward. They come referred to me from a family member or caregiver. Meeting with me was not their idea. Some of these warriors have developed a system of support around them that allows them the luxury of doing very little. Or their emotional states are so intense that those around them seek to “keep the peace” and are over accommodating. This reinforces the warrior’s avoidance tendencies, and allows the demon inside them to live without regulation. For the most part, they are reluctant to deal with their avoidance, hypervigilance, and intrusive thoughts. To them I say:
“I get it.”
“It’s tough and uncomfortable.”
“Sometimes it’s terrifying, but you can defeat it.”
However, when I hear the following, coming from a reluctant combat vet, I have to switch gears and go into a stronger, educational mindset. Let me know if you’ve ever heard this one?
“You don’t know what I am going through!”
I call this The Maginot Line.
If you will allow me a few moments to set the historical stage here, I will bring this analogy back into the context that redefines what is really going on here.
Here is a quick description of The Maginot Line. After the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, the country of France sought to develop a strategy to deter future invasions from Germany. What they decided on was a system of fortifications and fixed defenses that would prove to be impervious to attack of even the strongest enemy. Millions of dollars and manpower hours were dedicated to building this “perfect defense”, so that France could protect itself from any possible attack from Germany. If you are familiar with military history, you know that Germany invaded France by completely bypassing the Maginot Line, and France fell under German control in less than 2 weeks.
So when I hear…”you don’t know what I am going through” coming from a vet, it is usually their “Maginot Line” or their perfect defensive tactic that will allow them to sit and be left alone or avoid engaging in any real and productive healing. Here is a warrior’s perspective on this tactic.
I think it’s important to say this up front to any reluctant warriors that are reading this. To you I say, “You’re Right!” There has never been a more true statement spoken. There is no way for me to feel what you feel and sense what you sense. However, it is also true that the warriors to your left and right during your exposure to combat don’t know what you are feeling either. So much like the Maginot Line, you are using the illusion of this true statement to play “defense” when it comes to dealing with your “adrenaline poisoning.” From a warrior’s perspective, here are 3 reasons that a warrior would not use this approach.
1. A warrior never plays defense indefinitely. If I were to consult doctrinal manuals, I’d find that “Defensive operations are combat operations conducted to defeat an enemy attack, gain time, economize forces, and develop conditions favorable for offensive operations.”
2. As we outlined in our 9-part series using the Principles of War to heal PTSD, you might recall that it was not defensive but Offensive operations that were the preferred means of attaining victory. Without having a plan to actively deal with the challenges of your current emotional state, you will consistently struggle to find peace of mind and resolution of the symptoms that affect you from interacting in a normal life. Think of it this way: defense means to take all the medicine they give you and shut everyone out of your life. Offense means you set goals and objectives to improve upon your involvement in life using every therapeutic method available to you…and you stay on the offensive!
3. You cannot separate Command & Control. There is a reason these two terms are mentioned together when conducting military operations. They provide the means to make necessary changes while accepting responsibility for any orders given. When you use the “The Maginot Line”, in essence you are saying, “I want complete control over this situation, but I am not responsible for my actions.” A warrior does not separate Command & Control and I would submit that this same standard applies in healing strategies.
Sun Tzu told us more than 2500 years ago that “Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the Attack.” Tothose of you that are building your own “The Maginot Line", I would point out that you may find an occasional pause in the intrusive thoughts and hypervigilance you wrestle with. You might even occassionally sleep through the night.
But just like the fixed fortifications built so long ago, those temporary periods of calm will soon be overwhelmed and bypassed by the demons of fear, guilt, and anger. If however, you still have some fight left in you, then let me encourage you to get on the offensive and take the fight to this beast. This is the only way you will find the victory you seek and deserve. Look at the results we've generated with Subconscious Restructuring® in combat vets and see if you think SR® is right for you.