The challenges Military Spouses face with deployment separation
Military spouses often face very challenging situations when their partners have been transferred to a different area thereby creating a distance relationship or when they are trying to move to a new state or country. Military families have experienced a lot of emotional trauma when deployment occurs, perhaps what is been the contributing factor in the continued deployment of military men is the downsizing of the army over the few years in the past and thereby causing separation. Over the years there has been an increasing concern on the spouses who have been separated from their families due to deployment and therefore we seek to describe the psychological and sociocultural related aspects that are related to the deployment of the military families.
Often, when a soldier has been deployed there are several things that will happen in his life and the life of the family. The first thing that may occur can be broadly categorized into a step called pre deployment stage. During this stage the actual departing of the soldier occurs and renders his family to live without him. This is a period when the spouses try to absorb the anticipation of loss and separation. During the patting shot, the spouses will often ask many questions like “you don’t really have to leave, do you?” soldiers often tend to talk more about their work in the mission ground at this time and they like giving an assurance to the spouses that they will come back again and meet their families. This stage gives an increasing sense of physical and emotional distance. Amidst frustrations, spouses often wish that it was the returning journey that was being discussed. Many things though dawns on the spouse as his or her partner leaves. A spouse will often ask “how will I take care of the children alone?” will my spouse come back alive?” and “will my relationship and marriage survive without my partner?” as these questions flash in the minds of these spouses, the truth however comes to them when their partners board the actual means of transportation and off they go.
The departure of the soldier to the mission leads to another stage known as the actual deployment. This is the stage when the soldier moves away from his home and settles in the mission ground. There are several feelings that a spouse will feel during this time. They will often feel overwhelmed and disoriented. Others will easily try and disguise the idea of their partner leaving and brush it off in their mind by simply saying that their partners have just gone to a safari. Still other spouses will feel so hollow and their emptiness will stay for quite sometime. This hollowness will be characterized by sadness, loneliness, numbness and abandonment. If the spouses can get a chance to communicate, they often will either feel better or others will feel tormented every time they get the phone call. Such phone calls may even lead to high levels of stress that individuals often may require to visit a counseling center. The consideration that soldiers give during the time of special events like birthdays, anniversaries and holidays to call their spouses really creates a sense of belonging and close touch in individuals. This helps to lessen the gap that has been created.
Sustainment is the next stage that an individual will undergo through because of their separation with the spouse. This is a time when the spouse has obtained different methods of dealing with the stress that has been created in his life due to separation. One of the important factors that an individual does during this time is obtaining help from the Family Readiness Group (FRG). This body often serves as a network that brings in information about the mission and updates the spouses by giving the latest information. Other spouses develop serious relationships with their church members, their neighbours and their friends so that they try and forget about the separation that has occurred between them and their spouses. As challenges come, spouses report that they feel more at ease to solve them because of their ability to handle with a lot of experience. During this period they have a lot of control and feel confident to handle issues. They therefore tend to accept the idea that their spouses are just save wherever they are and they are in a journey just like any other journey. This time is characterized by the rapid increase in information sharing by phone or by mail. This will therefore tend to keep the distance close although one major challenge is that some spouses will often feel reminded of their spouses and they therefore get a lot of mental disturbances. Some spouses become obsessed with phone calls and they tend to stay indoors for fear of their spouses calling or for fear of new information delivered to them via mail without their presence. Their activities during the day are paralyzed, this type of spouses tend to lazy around and live becomes almost impossible without their spouses. Communication can also create romours within the FRG group. Since deployment is often characterized by issue like the other spouse being infidel, the FRG tends to bring up these issues so that the other spouse will be affected so much. They could also spread romours like injuries during the mission, changes in the date when the soldiers will come back and disciplinary actions that the soldier may have been put in. these also tend to put the spouses at a point in which they feel trapped and frustrated.
One month or some considerable time before the soldier comes home, there is a scenario that takes place and this stage is often referred to as the redeployment stage. During this stage, the soldier is scheduled to come home and the spouse is given the message by the FRG. This is one of the anticipation stages. The spouse often feels a sense of reunion again. They wish for the time to come very soon. There is a constant feeling of mixed reactions in the spouse. For some they feel an inner excitement and for some others they will feel a sense of apprehension. They will often ask themselves whether their spouses will really value the changes that have taken place. During this stage the spouse feels a sense of mixed emotions up to a point that they cannot decide for themselves. For the majority of the spouses, they will feel a sense of burst of energy again and they therefore want to complete some tasks before their spouses come back again.
The actual age of coming back of the spouse eventually comes. This is known as the post deployment stage. The whole process begins with the soldier reporting to the home station in which he is based. The soldier then is given a chance to go and meet their long anticipating families. Their follows a very joyous occasion with the children rushing to hug their parent with kisses and warm embrace. Although a homecoming often is reported in advance, there are a lot of changes that occur in the camp and the dates of arrival are often postponed. Spouse who have remained at home often feel that they are the true heroes who have stood with their families and they consider their spouses to be selfish since they have only considered themselves alone. This stage is probably the most important stage in the life of a spouse because the actual guesses can be proved by confirming directly from the spouse. This stage requires the individuals to exercise a lot of care in communicating since there are a lot of issue that might have occur and they may touch the spouse in a completely different way.
Division of Neuropsychiatry, (1984). The Impact of Deployment Separation on Families,
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, D.C., 1-14.