Last night in my group therapy session we talked about how problematic thinking can cause those with PTSD to narrow their world view. The homework assignment, which I missed because I was working in Pensacola, was to list an event and answer certain questions in order to redefine the problematic thinking. Even though I missed the last class period I was still able to comprehend the thought patterns that have narrowed my world view.
For instance the thought of having to control every aspect of life is by all means impossible. This thought pattern that has been ingrained in military and PTSD veterans. The military conditioning process that starts in basic training forces soldiers to understand that without control people get hurt or equipment gets damaged. Once out of the military, Veterans, especially those facing PTSD symptoms, have a hard time dealing with control. We tend to try to grab a hold of every detail in our lives and try to bend them towards our own will. This philosophy is impossible and maddening to try and do as none of us can actually control all aspects of our own lives. Even with other people’s lives, whether they be friends or family, military veterans instinctively try to have control over them as well. This constant control issue is just one of many issues that narrow the world scope of many returning veterans.
Fixing this problem requires changing the thought processes that instigates the need to have control. An example of this is using alternative thoughts to change problematic thinking that deal with control. Using the problematic thinking technique veterans can identify the instigating or “negative thought” and come up with alternative thoughts in order to deal with the issue. If the problematic thought is “If I don’t have control over my wife then she could get hurt or injured.” if we can come up with alternative thoughts to this than we can start to loosen the grasp of control on our loved ones. An example of an alternative thought could be “What is the probability that my wife will get hurt? and She needs to be independent and I should let her be herself.” These are just two examples yet they can drastically change the problematic thinking about controlling your wife.
I often struggled with this in my own life as I looked after my daughter. When my daughter was two, my ex-fiance’ claimed that my only phrase I said to our daughter was “be carefull”. This was because I tried to keep my daughter safe from everything. I was just recently rewarded with the tools to change that thought process through therapy. Now if I feel someone is being unsafe but not to the extent of life and limb I can say to myself “Everyone has to fall and get hurt in order to realize they can get back up again.” This helps me tremendously by changing the problematic thinking.
Once again thank you for reading the blog. I suggest to all my readers that there is help out there for you. Please, to those struggling with PTSD I encourage you to find help. Please join our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/fugazilife Also continue reading and following me on my journey towards recovery.