Making the switch from combat to civilian life is an odd transition. We, soldiers who saw active duty in a combat zone, and those who didn’t, respond to civilian life and its challenges differently.
Emotionally Shut Down
As combat soldiers, death becomes just another event. Eventually, death has to be viewed dispassionately. This attitude is judged as being callous and uncaring. The truth is the soldiers have no emotional capacity left with which to feel or care. They are in survival mode. Their Problems are tackled head-on, regardless of consequences. Everything must be dealt with as quickly as possible.
Marriages are relationships fraught with fight or flight responses to seemingly normal events. Lacking in the capacity to handle emotional relationships… Our emotions on hold, tightly suppressed in times of violent combat. No time for tears. Mentally and physically it’s impossible to feel anything. Feeling emotions would break your personal body armour, making you a quivering wreck. No value to yourself and to your fellow soldiers.
Whilst our counterparts view death as a stranger, visiting them to do personal harm and injustice…Civilian life creates problems to be negotiated with care and emotions free-flowing. Marriage becomes a verbal and mental contest. Lack of interest means it’s better and easier to agree than fight.
Soldiers think of old age as being only for the very lucky, or very brave. Better to live hard and fast, die young.