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#468729 - 08/09/14 08:24 PM Any "Brats" here?
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 123
Hi,

I'm curious to know if there are any survivors here who grew up in the military as a dependent child (like I did). I sense the military played a role in my story and would like to know if others have found the same.

Cheers,

"GAATT"
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#468806 - 08/11/14 10:02 PM Re: Any "Brats" here? [Re: gaatt]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 800
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi Gaatt,

I grew up in the military, but we always lived off base except for first grade and tenth grade. But, I can't talk about it now, so I may have a feeling or two. And, dad never got transferred anywhere that the family went. Just Okinawa, Viet Nam, Med Cruises, and Vieques, P.R. As a matter of fact, my anxiety is rising typing this post, so perhaps there is a timely element in this. I'm not going to rush into anything, however. I grew up in the same general area, though I attended 4 different schools. We did live in 9 different locations of the same area, however. Not necessarily a stable situation for me.

Don
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#468826 - 08/12/14 12:55 PM Re: Any "Brats" here? [Re: don64]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 123
Thanks Don,

Sorry to hear that its stressful for you to write about and I appreciate your willingness to support me in finding people with a similar experience to my own. Please don't force yourself to write but if you feel like exploring this aspect of your youth, I'm quite happy to go there with you.

I'm pretty clear that the military played a role in my struggles. It kind of set the context. I moved quite a bit, lived on a couple of bases, and lived overseas (Europe) during my high school years. The most direct effect was the effect on my father, his relationship to my mother and hence our relationship.

I'm not keen on the military approach to peace keeping and yet it was the dominant model for "maleness" in my youth. I found it very confusing yet recently have gained some insight into the problems with the whole paradigm.

Thanks for writing.

Sincerely,

"GAATT"
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#468855 - 08/12/14 11:52 PM Re: Any "Brats" here? [Re: gaatt]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 800
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Triggers**********************************************Triggers

Hi Gaatt,

I'm willing to have the discussion here, and obviously to me, I need to work through issues regarding my relationship with the military I grew up in. I need to set some ground rules for myself. I'm gay, and came out when I was 19. I was called for my draft physical for Viet Nam, and they rejected me because I was gay. I felt abject terror at doing this, but knew I would kill myself if forced into a situation where I was expected to kill anyone. I took an overdose of pills at 19 in response to the fallout from coming out to my family. I was seen by a psychiatrist on base.

I do not intend to offend any military survivor. My experience is my own and is not a judgment of anyone's choice to serve in the military. I do not intend to engage in ANY political discussions about war or indeed any issues related to the need or absence of need for military or military presence. I respect everyone's choices for themselves, as I respect my own. It is important to me that survivors of sexual abuse who have served in the military have a safe place to congregate. I am engaging in this discussion because after carefully reading the instructions for this forum, it does include children of military. I am terrified of military, because my father is one of my abusers, my mother is the other, and because of conditions present in the rural south near a military base when I was growing up. The military permeated every aspect of my life growing up. It was not pretty for me.

Don
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#468925 - 08/14/14 02:59 PM Re: Any "Brats" here? [Re: gaatt]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 123
Thanks Don,

Thanks for setting your ground rules too. I'm glad to see that you are taking care of yourself. I'll do my best to respect them and if you notice that I'm off track, please help me stay on track for you.

My history is a little different and perhaps less loaded for me. My father didn't directly abuse me at all. His role was more that of failing to support me, than actively abusing. He also failed to provide a positive role model for relating to women that was helpful to me. I'm straight too, so I didn't have that aspect of human relationships to deal with at all. I can imagine coming out must have been immensely stressful for you. I've had many gay friends and have generally liked them. Gay men, in my experience, tend to be more aware of their sexuality and more open about it than most straight men. Congratulations for surviving! You've been through alot! Congratulations for having the courage to participate in this discussion and face your fear of the military. Many kudos to you!

When I think of my father, I usually feel sadness. He was in many ways a very good gentle family man (with a quick temper unfortunately) caught up in a paradigm that didn't value sensitivity, vulnerability (or intimacy) for men at all. These are crucial for kids.

I could have used a father who would cuddle up to me and love me when my mother wasn't capable. I could have also used a father who saw the sexualization of my connection to my mother and rather than getting competitive with me (and overprotective of her) and would see it as the problem in his adult relationship to my mother that it was. I could have used a father with whom I could talk about all kinds of things including emotions and sexuality. My parents' approach to dealing with any kind of emotional distress was to go for a walk (and not deal with the source upon returning). My father could not communicate at all around issues about sexuality (that fell on my mother unfortunately). He couldn't express worry or vulnerability either, they would come out as anger.

I never served in the military (other than as a child dependent). My father very much wanted me to follow in his footsteps so when I graduated from high school I applied for the program that allows young people to serve while attending university. I passed the requirements with flying colours but didn't go because I didn't like the social environment at all. There was also very little room for my love of nature, botany, and biology.

Like you, the military pervaded all aspects of my life growing up. We moved frequently and my closest friends were all associated with the military. The Cold War was in full swing during my youth and my father participated in it at a fairly senior level (He was an officer. We lived at the military headquarters of NATO in Europe during my high school years). I found that whole scene confusing.

If there was anything in my relationship to my father that was lacking it was effective support for early childhood bonding and sexual health. He embraced the military model for maleness quite well which isn't great, in my experience, for young kids. It's not really much different than what was expected for men in general. It's just a little more extreme and more obvious.

In a very strange twist of fate, I have kind of stepped into my father's shoes. I have become a man who values positive human relations and peace. These were the intentions behind his participation in the military (My father participated in many UN missions). I just approach it in a very different way. I work on healing myself, loving myself, coming to peace with myself and then supporting other people with their efforts in this direction when I can.

I struggle with being proud of myself. My efforts seem so small and relatively unsupported compared to the great deal of celebration and social support that the military of my youth got. I'm sure my father would have liked me to celebrate his career more fully. I just couldn't. It was missing something very key for me. He did do some interesting (and controversial like my own path) spiritual searching near the end of his life. I'm very proud of him for that and sad that we couldn't have shared more of it together.

Sincerely,

"GAATT"


Edited by gaatt (08/14/14 03:02 PM)
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#468945 - 08/14/14 11:20 PM Re: Any "Brats" here? [Re: gaatt]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 800
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi Gaatt,

I've decided to keep my focus very narrow here, and only comment on aspects of the military that affected my life.

My experience of my father was that he required a template to figure out how to live his life. The military was one template, and religion was another. He became a minister a few years before he retired from the military.

His military training, from my perspective, taught him to follow orders without question. And, as far as I could tell, my father did not ever indulge in creative thinking, and was not able to ever see me as anything except an extension of himself. He never saw me as a person with value or distinction. My only value was how I made him look. If I ever disagreed with him the threat of lethal consequences was always there. I learned very early to avoid him at all costs, to completely sublimate any individuality, to live in an even more hyper-vigilant state when he was around. I don't even remember what I believe the serious violence he perpetrated on me. I still, even after 45 years of fairly continuous effort (since age 20), am completely dissociated from most of what I believe he did to me. I've been mining deeper and deeper into my infancy and early childhood, and most of the feelings that arise from the past 12 years of effort are only disconnected versions of "Daddy don't hurt me, daddy don't hurt me" coupled with a sense of my brain just scrambling around the feelings. There is a sense that the complete events are too serious to actually bring into focus, at least at this time.

To say this is connected to the military is not exactly accurate. A more honest assessment would seem that my father was drawn to the military because it provided a structure he was unable to provide for himself, and gave him an outlet for the violence that was just a part of his own nature.

The other part of the military that had such an impact for me was the draft issue. I lived in horror for years that someone would find out about my draft classification. I believe it was 4-f, and I assumed it was just some sort of undesirable classification. My father taught me so much shame and humiliation if I did not fit his very narrow version of what it is to be a man. Of course, I have learned that is not how I feel or believe, but his beliefs that got poured into me caused decades of feeling worthless, continuously being attracted to emotionally shut down men who would continue to treat me as only being valuable for what I could do for them, and an underlying terror at a level close to instinct that someone was always out to hurt me.

Again, that is the profile of my father. And, he found the military and his version of Christianity a comfortable place to live out his beliefs.

Don


Edited by don64 (08/14/14 11:25 PM)
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#469020 - 08/16/14 01:34 PM Re: Any "Brats" here? [Re: don64]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 123
Hi Don,
Originally Posted By: don64
His military training, from my perspective, taught him to follow orders without question... A more honest assessment would seem that my father was drawn to the military because it provided a structure he was unable to provide for himself, and gave him an outlet for the violence that was just a part of his own nature.

This is close to my own father too. I think that he was partly drawn to the military, I suspect, because it was such a strong part of his family of birth. All of his brothers participated in WWII. He was too young. His father was a military doctor and his mother a military nurse in WWI. Family was important to my father and hence so was military service. They kind of went together.

Originally Posted By: don64
The other part of the military that had such an impact for me was the draft issue.

I, fortunately, never experienced that and likely never will. The last draft in Canada was in WWI, long before my time. It did influence my grandfather on my mother's side quite strongly and in a very negative way, which I think trickled down to me through her (there was lots of unresolved death trauma in my mother's family). I can imagine that the whole draft scene would be very troubling for many people. I'm not sure what I would do.

I admire your courage for facing your fears. I was thinking after I wrote my first response, that I wish there were medals for people who find ways to heal themselves and face the kind of fear you are now facing. I would certainly award one to you.

Sincerely,

"GAATT"
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#469026 - 08/16/14 03:56 PM Re: Any "Brats" here? [Re: gaatt]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 800
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi Gaatt,

Thanks so much for your sensitivity and particularly for awarding me a medal. I just love it and have also been having some great chuckles thinking about my medal. It's making me laugh a lot. It's great.

I'm so grateful you opened this post. I didn't realize I had so much unresolved energy inside regarding the military issue. This has been a great release for me, and also great resolution for me. There is a sense of being finished with this. Not finished in that I will never think of it again, but finished in terms of none of it is hidden any more. It feels like it's all in consciousness now. A great gift to me.

Thanks, and I send you love and support.

Don
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#469071 - 08/17/14 04:22 PM Re: Any "Brats" here? [Re: don64]
gaatt Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 123
Hi Don,

You are welcome. Thanks for responding too. I'm glad that I've met another adult with a history of being a dependent child of a military parent.

One thing that bothers me quite deeply about the military is the "collateral damage" that it often creates. I see military kids as sometimes being a part of that damage and that damage is generally ignored or swept under the carpet as much as possible. In my case, as in yours (it seems to me), this is what happened. A medal is a way to bring it out into the open and celebrate the efforts of someone who has chosen to heal himself rather than perpetuate the trauma. That's you! Congratulations! I wish I had a physical one to send you somehow. I'm glad that you are getting joy from the virtual one. It's a pleasure and an honour to be able to present it to you. It is healing for me too:



To Don: GAATT's medal for courage in the service of healing, inner peace, and positive human relations.


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....*****


I've been doing a fair amount of writing to my now deceased father as a result of this thread and reading a book called "Emotional Incest Syndrome" by Patricia Love. The writing is helping me be less angry at the culture that surrounds me. I realize the beliefs and ideology of the past belong right there: in the past and with the people who still embrace them (not me!). I'm embracing a very different approach to life, one in which Love, Consciousness and healing have a big place. Thanks for helping me stand in my values in a way that I'm sure my father could respect (if not fully understand).

Love, your friend

"GAATT"
_________________________
"Love yourself and watch...Today, Tomorrow, Always." Buddha.

My Story: http://www.malesurvivor.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=468661#Post468661

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#469081 - 08/17/14 11:34 PM Re: Any "Brats" here? [Re: gaatt]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6875
Loc: USA
Yes,

I was an army brat until I was about 7. It was during WWII. I wasn't abused directly because of his military service. But the absence of my father as he attended war duties set me up for abuse. He was very busy and it interfered with home life.

Puffer

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