Psychological effects and how to deal with them

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; This is a hard topic to discuss, I am admitting that up front. I am also stating that I don't want to force anyone to ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    Psychological effects and how to deal with them

    This is a hard topic to discuss, I am admitting that up front. I am also stating that I don't want to force anyone to relive any negative psychological effects they may have endured, but as someone who will carry when the CHL comes in, and also will defend myself and those I love I want to ask some advice (and pray to God I never need to use it). I searched and didn't find anything on this topic, unless I just suck at using the search.

    But, if you feel comfortable discussing, or PM me, with the psychological effects after a shoot and how to cope with the knowledge that you have either severely injured someone or taken a life.

    I ask this not out of morbid curiosity, but out of preparation to have to deal with it as the odds of this occurring to any one of us grows stronger daily.

    When I went through Basic there was not much discussion on this topic, other than to keep a tight grouping. And I am not a LEO, nor do I play one on TV, so I am clearly ignorant to "life after a shoot", other than some of the thugs I grew up with who were so callous I wouldn't want their advice anyway.
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

    -Paco
    http://www.shieldsd.net


  2. #2
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    I've never heard of a BG seeking counseling after they have shot or killed someone---have you? You mentioned 'basic'. So you were in the armed forces? Were you prepared to take the enemy then? And now? What would be the difference? I'm still just as ready and prepared now as I was then. Being out of the service and among the general population now hasn't affected me in any way in that respect. Maybe it shows in my sig, maybe I do sound callous.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Rod View Post
    I've never heard of a BG seeking counseling after they have shot or killed someone---have you? You mentioned 'basic'. So you were in the armed forces? Were you prepared to take the enemy then? And now? What would be the difference? I'm still just as ready and prepared now as I was then. Being out of the service and among the general population now hasn't affected me in any way in that respect. Maybe it shows in my sig, maybe I do sound callous.
    I think he's talking about after use of force, not the mental preparation to use it.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

  4. #4
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    NRA - Personal Protection in the Home and Personal Protection outside the Home have sections in the course and booklets.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array HowardCohodas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paco View Post
    I ask this not out of morbid curiosity, but out of preparation to have to deal with it as the odds of this occurring to any one of us grows stronger daily.
    My preparation for SD legal support is to only learn enough about the law to have one or more qualified lawyers in my phone list to contact. My preparation for SD emotional support is similarly to have already chosen the people I will call on to provide professional help.
    Howard
    I carry a gun because I can't carry a cop!!
    Politically Incorrect Self Defense

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    Yes I was Army (Combat Engineer) and I was prepared to take a life if called to do so. I was referring to after the fact, how does one cope with knowing they have taken a life. Even though it, if it ever happens, will be in self defense I'm sure there are side effects.

    Just wondering from those with a longer military career or LE careers have been taught how to deal with it, either through educational settings or on their own after a shooting.
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

    -Paco
    http://www.shieldsd.net

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paco View Post
    Yes I was Army (Combat Engineer) and I was prepared to take a life if called to do so. I was referring to after the fact, how does one cope with knowing they have taken a life. Even though it, if it ever happens, will be in self defense I'm sure there are side effects.

    Just wondering from those with a longer military career or LE careers have been taught how to deal with it, either through educational settings or on their own after a shooting.
    This book is spot-on:

    Amazon.com: Deadly Force Encounters: What Cops Need To Know To Mentally And Physically Prepare For And Survive A Gunfight: Alexis Artwohl, Loren W. Christensen: Books

    Since you brought this back up, I think I'm going to go read it again.

    They go over several cases... some Officers dealt with serious emotional issues, others did not. They share them all and do not push an agenda - some of the other authors I have read take a one-size-fits-all approach, not the case here.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

  8. #8
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    I was referring to after the fact, how does one cope with knowing they have taken a life. Even though it, if it ever happens, will be in self defense I'm sure there are side effects.
    Yes--I understand, but it doesn't change my answer. Psychologically speaking of course.

  9. #9
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    I have a "shrink" that specializes in LEO's and a Support Group.

  10. #10
    Member Array DarinD's Avatar
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    Being ex military and an ex correctional officer, there is a callous side to me although as a Christian, I do struggle with this a bit. Even in the bible, we are allowed to defend ourselves. The best thing to do, IMHO, is to talk to your Pastor to see if there are any books or someone that He might be able to recommend for you to read or talk to for assistance in this matter. Keep in mind, I would rather have my family members alive and have some trouble sleeping occasionally then to not have them anymore because I failed them.
    Life is too short, stop to smell the roses and don't let anyone take it away from you!

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    I have a great family and ring of friends that I can call on should this ever happen, I too am pretty callous and don't suspect there will be any long term issues should I be called upon to defend myself or others; chalk it up to the realization that the BG should have known this was an occupational hazard for his line of work.
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

    -Paco
    http://www.shieldsd.net

  12. #12
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    Array buckeye .45's Avatar
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    A force recon Marine that I know one time was talking to a group of us about combat and such. He made the analogy that the ability to take lives is like a jar inside us. Some people are born with the jar full (unable to kill), some with the jar empty, and the jars are all different sizes. He was someone who didn't really have a problem doing what he had to. Seems like a pretty good analogy to me, but I have never been in a gunfight.

    In the infantry such concerns do seem to come up from time to time, and the general consensus is that a strong emotional support network (fellow Marines, family) is what is usually needed. Aside from that we do have some training to help us deal with the issue before it happens.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

  13. #13
    Ex Member Array FN1910's Avatar
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    My CWP instructor talked about this and later he made a presentation for our men's group at our church. He told about how he used to wake up and night after a dream that he was in a situation that he needed to shoot someone but his gun just would not fire. He said that he had that dream repeatedly and it was really bothering him. He sat down one day and had a long talk with the Lord and realized that when it came time to defend yourself that it was not against Christianity to kill someone in order to save your own life. He said that not only was it right it was his duty. He talked about this at length. He said that after that he never had that dream again.

    The key is that you do not pull your gun to scare or intimidate. If is your last choice in defense. If you need to use it unless you are unusual you will be troubled by it. There is nothing that anyone can say in advance that will prevent you from being troubled but remember that there is nothing wrong with defending yourself. That is your duty whether you carry a gun or not. A gun provides you with an additional option and is not to be taken lightly but if you need it then by all means use it.

    I have seen threads about people discussing war stories and many, even most, who really went through war do not talk about it and especially do not brag about it. Thank goodness I have never had to use mine and I hope and pray that I never do. There are some that seem to go out looking for an excuse to use theirs and I hope I never run into one of them. You are right to be concerned but we all make decisions that even if they are the right decisions we worry about them. Just remember that it is normal and there are a lot of people that will stand behind you and support you.

    No two people will react the same way and you can't really prepare yourself fully for that day but at the same time you can't control the orther guy. No matter what you read the ones that it does happen to is a small number in comparison to the total number of people in the US. Just be prepared and worry about it if it happens.

  14. #14
    Member Array gunshrink's Avatar
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    Response

    I was glad and excited to see the request for this information. First of all, as someone said, not morbid curiosity but professional and personal need. I am a licensed mental health professional, CCW holder, NRA instructor and a Vietnam vet who took 14 years of battling PTSD to "fully" get home. While I have not done many post shootings, PTSD is something that crosses the door quite frequently. LEO's have a department therapist (hate the word shrink) but who do the rest of us go to. I am working on setting up a support network through my firearm teaching team and other professionals who do still believe in the 2nd amendment. While this is something that hopefully we never need to mobilize, it could be there if and when. As for the NRA material, I teach that segment for PPITH (Personal Protection in the Home) and for awareness it is right on. It does not however substitute for professional help. Find someone in your community who is firearm sensitive and get the help you need. I have offered my services locally to those in an incident (within the club and teaching team) beyond what insurance will pay probono and I am sure there must be others who would do the same.

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    Speak2u, awesome info and thanks for your service. Also thanks to all who chimed in, great links and I know this would also be a place where someone could get it off their chest if the need arose.
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

    -Paco
    http://www.shieldsd.net

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