Psychological effects and how to deal with them

This is a discussion on Psychological effects and how to deal with them within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Didn't your handgun instructor cover any of this? He should have. I do in my classes....

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Thread: Psychological effects and how to deal with them

  1. #16
    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    Didn't your handgun instructor cover any of this? He should have. I do in my classes.
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  3. #17
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    JMO, but I don't think anything can "prepare you" for the after math of a shooting. Each person will handle it differently, and in their own way. Some may continue on as if nothing has happened, some may seek counselling, either individual or group, or some may turn to religious counselling. In the worst case one may not be able to handle the fact that they took anothers life.
    Am I prepared to take anothers life to save my own or a family member? Yes. How will I handle it after it has happened? I don't know, and pray that I never have to find out.
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  4. #18
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    Didn't your handgun instructor cover any of this? He should have. I do in my classes.
    Yeah, he did but it wasn't near enough I'm sure. The CHL class was focused more on altercation avoidance than anything else, which is a valid topic, but there is no way to cover all of the topics in depth in a 9 hour class. Which is 1 more reason I am glad this forum and others like it exist.
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

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  5. #19
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    Let's keep this thread on topic. (I'm just saying this as a "pre-emptive strike"; so far, the replies have all been relevant). Paco asked a legitimate question. The taking of a human life, even when justified in self defense, will have a psychological impact on the shooter, some more than others.

    You will have to deal with it. You may not want to, but you will have to. It won't go away. How you cope with it, whether alone or with help, is your personal choice.

    Archer51 summed it up quite nicely, I think.

    Massad Ayoob has written extensively on this subject.


    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Just roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
    And go to your God like a soldier.

    Rudyard Kipling


    Terry

  6. #20
    Member Array Captain38's Avatar
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    You REALLY should read ON COMBAT by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and listen to his CD entitled BULLET-PROOF MIND.

  7. #21
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Paco, search on Massad Ayoob and "Post Shooting Trauma" or "Post Violent Event Trauma". It is one of the things that Ayoob does cover fairly extensively, at least in his LFI-1 course. It is also one of the more controversial subjects he addresses, at least as far as some of his detractors are concerned.

    The basics are that PVET is different from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PVET is a result of a single event of extraordinary violence, whereas PSTD is the result of long-term exposure to lower levels of stress.

    There are a couple of major symptoms that most everybody seems to experience in PVET (mainly due to the hangover effects of a massive adrenaline rush), and a bunch of other symptoms that may or may not be experienced. One of the important results of the research Ayoob cites is that there is an innoculation effect---knowing what can happen and accepting it beforehand tends to greatly improve the chances of getting over it fairly quickly, or even minimizing the effects of the psychological symptoms altogether. It lets you skip the, "Why is this happening to me? What is wrong with me?" thing that can happen to unprepared folks.
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

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  8. #22
    Member Array GHFLRLTD's Avatar
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    My Take - Three Steps

    1. You Need to Get Your Mind Right. This is where you come to grips and make your peace with the fact that you are carrying the power of life and death. You need to walk through the various scenarios for what will happen after to be prepared for the entire event.

    You can not put off getting yourself ready. There are no RSVPs to gun/knife/club fights. Even if you avoid going anywhere where there might be a confrontation - unless the government sends you there - that does not mean you will not be in one; the other side has a vote on creating a confrontation for their own reason(s). You must be ready beforehand for the event and the aftermath. If you have not gotten past this step, you can not deal with Steps 2 and 3 clearly, and you are setting yourself all of the emotional issues that will come your way if you are carrying ANY weapon - gun/knife/club - and use it.


    2. You Have to Know Where the Bright Line to Act Is. At what point can you legally stop the threat.

    You must know at what point under what circumstances deadly force is appropriate. This is not something you can figure out at the time, you must have internalized it before it the event starts, much like what you do when you drive your car on ice, for example. Each state is different, so you must be well-versed in any state you are in, and every separate kind of situation (home/domicile, car, outside home/car, etc.) that is possible. You must automatically and immediately know when the line is crossed.


    3. As John Bernard Books - John Wayne's character in his last movie The Shootist stated - You Must Be WILLING. There can be NO hesitation as soon as the opportunity/shot is cleared tactically after the Bright Line has been and remains crossed.

    You can not be looking for wiggle room or a gray area here. The threat exists, and needs to be stopped. Looking for a Third Middle Compromise Solution leads to hesitation, which will lead to you not dealing with your responsibilities in a timely manner. It is you - not the person or persons presenting the threat - that you are responsible for.
    George H. Foster
    Orlando, Florida

  9. #23
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I don't think anybody is going to know how they will react after shooting/killing somebody until it actually happens,we can talk about guns/calibres/when to shoot/don't shoot all day long but until you pull the trigger you won't know.If that day ever happens and you feel you need help I would look toward somebody who specialises in PTSD
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  10. #24
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    I don't think anybody is going to know how they will react after shooting/killing somebody until it actually happens,we can talk about guns/calibres/when to shoot/don't shoot all day long but until you pull the trigger you won't know.If that day ever happens and you feel you need help I would look toward somebody who specialises in PTSD

    Well said, and the truth.


    How you react to one situation and it's aftermath may be vastly different in a second or third situation too.

    Biker

  11. #25
    Senior Member Array NYcarry's Avatar
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    I have no issue being "detached" from hurting, possible killing, while trying to stop a threat to my family or myself.

    I have seen plenty of unpleasant incidents over the last twenty years in the Fire Service.

    But when it comes to family no remorse for the "bad guys", it is a life decision they made. Watching that jailhouse confession just drives it home even further.

  12. #26
    Member Array Captain38's Avatar
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    Absolutely!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    I don't think anybody is going to know how they will react after shooting/killing somebody until it actually happens,we can talk about guns/calibres/when to shoot/don't shoot all day long but until you pull the trigger you won't know.If that day ever happens and you feel you need help I would look toward somebody who specialises in PTSD
    The biggest, strongest Trooper I ever knew did a belly-button to belly-button Dance of Death with a guy with a handgun, struggling to avoid getting shot himself and all the while begging him repeatedly, "Don't make me kill you!" When it couldn't be avoided and deadly force had been used, this good and gentle giant of a man survived but for at least a year or more he was so torn from the event that it looked as if his law enforcement career might come to a premature end.

    It was devastating, and if it could effect him that way, it could cause emotional ruin for anyone.

  13. #27
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    For myself i knew all the folks involved . I do still wonder if i could have done anything different . ( to this day i could not have ) . when i get really tuckerd out physically i will dream it and at times it wakes me . That is the worst effect , and as to how i deal with it , i roll over and hug my bride of 26 years . She seems to welcome the hug and rather than ask questions snuggles back , then i go back to sleep and dream better dreams .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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  14. #28
    Member Array Balsac's Avatar
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    Exclamation OK....

    After the shooting event I had in January in which I was forced to fire on a BG who broke into my apartment I have had very little patience with small things and get angry very easily. More than before. I tend to "over react" according to my new girlfriend. I have been to counseling which was ok and given a clean bill of health (lol) Probably could use some anger management tho... Meh.. ..

    The whole wake up with every noise thing went away after about 2 months and got my hearing back 100%! I strongly feel that if a situation ever arises which involves me to open fire again I will perform better under stress. I feel ready at a moments notice to act and win. Confident.


    I dont feel bad for the scumbag at all. If you play with fire you get burned right? Too bad he will see a jail cell and not his maker.


    Good enough insight?
    "Life is like a box of chocolate... You never know who you are going to shoot."

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  15. #29
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    I was on my departments "Peer Support Team" for several years and we did quite a bit of training on this. The bad news is there is no short and quick answer. Everybody reacts differently. You may suffer no ill effects or it may be totally debilitating. What you need to remember is that your symptom(s) are normal reactions to a highly abnormal situation.
    What you can do to help mitigate the symptoms is force yourself to maintain your routine. I am not saying you have to drive the exact same route to work every day (especially if this takes you past the scene of your event), but keep the same bed time, meal times, and work out routine as much as possible.
    This helps restore a sense of normalcy.
    And seek professional help!
    There is a laundry list of symptoms you may suffer. Some people exhibit them all, some one or two, other people none. Doesn't make you abnormal, just makes you you.
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  16. #30
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    I am a combat vet from the 1991 Gulf War. What I can and will say is this: the fact that I killed people did not bother me at the time that I had to do it. It wasn't until more than a month later when hostilities had died down and I was not as occupied and had the free time to think or dwell on what happened that I started to be bothered by it. At the time that it happened, the overwhelming emotion was anger. I was angry that these men were trying to kill me, that they were trying to keep me from ever seeing my wife and new born son (now a rather large 17 year old) again. I was not scared, not even a little which was a complete surprise to me. Just angry.

    Then, as I said, more than a month later, as I sat thinking of all that had happened over the last month or so, then I started to wonder about them. Were they married like me? Were they new fathers like me? How many children would never see their father because of what I was forced to do? Did they even really believe in the cause they were fighting for or were they forced to fight and die? Did this make me a bad person? How would I ever explain to my child(ren) that Dad had killed people? Would they think I was a bad person for this? And so much more flooded through my mind.

    I had some dreams but they were more or less just repeats of the events, not that I was a bad person or not. Just reliving that whole event.

    Eventually, with out talking to someone as I should, I came to realize that the most important thing, to me anyway, was that I survived. I was forced to fire on these people because they fired on me first. I did not initiate the actions but was just forced to react to protect myself and the others on board and the ship as a whole. I was doing what I had to do.

    The dreams eventually stopped and I no longer have them. I feel, not good about what happened, but not bad. And I usually do not talk about it either. I do not dwell on it nor will I ever. It isn't worth it to effect my life now with the thoughts of the past that I can do nothing to change.
    And I know it doesn't make me a bad person.

    In the end, I can feel some sense of pride that I reacted the way I had been trained to react, with out hesitation and I performed my duty as I should have. I went home to my family and in the end, after any event where you are forced to use deadly force, that is the greatest reward you can hope to achieve.
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