Deployment Cycles: Stage 3 – Emotional Disorganization

The book cover of Tracie Ciambotti's book, Battles of the Heart.

Emotional disorganization, or stage 3 of the emotional cycle of deployment, occurs during the first six weeks of deployment.  My experience with this cycle, as the mother of a soldier, is different from that of a spouse; my husband is still here, my daily routine doesn’t change, and I don’t take on new responsibilities as a single parent and head of the household.

Although I try to prepare my emotions for my son’s departure, I can’t fully concoct, or practice controlling, the emotions that begin to flow once we have said our good-byes and I watch him walk away.

The thoughts and questions that I try to fight off always seem to slip into my mind in the first days and weeks of a deployment: Will I ever see my son again?  I already miss him and the sound of his voice. 

Josh’s last deployment was his third and I’ve learned new lessons with each.    He received the best training in the world for his role as a combat soldier; I was not offered any training or preparation for my role as his mother.

I learned the hard way that when he goes to war—I face my own war at home.  His war is physical, mine is emotional.  Unlike my son, trained and confident, I was unaware and unprepared for the emotional battle that takes place in your heart and mind when your child goes to a war zone.

I struggled with this phase during Josh’s first deployment because I wasn’t prepared for the emotional trauma.  I was overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness, fear, and sadness.

Stage 3 is appropriately labeled emotional disorganization.  It was during this phase of Josh’s first deployment that I learned how to handle emotional trauma and I am now able to win the battle for my heart and mind.  I share this entire story in Battles of the Heart: Boot Camp for Military Moms

I now spend the first six weeks of deployments practicing and reinforcing the truths and techniques I’ve learned to overcome the emotional trauma of deployment.

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5 Responses

  1. this is my sons second deployment and this one is so much worse….and my fear is so much greater. I don’t know how to handle it. I can’t remember things, don’t pay bills on time, forget where I should be, put the milk in the cabinet, look all over and panic for my cell phone thats in my hand! All I think about is he going to call, is he ok? one of his close friends got injured pretty badly. Several others he knows have also. I went to see his friend in the hospital…….the look in his eyes was more pain than I ever wanted to see in any of these young men or womens eyes. I want this to go away! I want to be put in ice until his feet hit american soil! But one thing positive it helps to know other mothers feel this way and I am not crazy! Thank you!

    • Lynlee – my thoughts and prayers are with you and your son. Your feelings and reactions are very normal. Deployments are very difficult for the entire family and I do believe we mothers have a particularly difficult time because of our natural protective instincts. My Book, Battles of the Heart: Boot Camp for Military Moms, really focuses on this very issue–emotional trauma to the family left at home. I hope the book can bring you some comfort.

      Are there any military family support groups in your area? You really need to connect with other military moms. Check out Blue Star Mothers (http://www.bluestarmothers.org/) to see if there is a chapter close to you.

      Please email me anytime and I can provide you with my cell # if you would like to talk.

      God Bless!
      Tracie Ciambotti

    • Lynlee, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your son. Your feelings and reactions are completely normal. Deployments are very difficult for the entire family and I do believe that we mothers have a particularly difficult time due to our natural protective instincts.

      My book, Battles of the Heart: Boot Camp for Military Moms deals with this very subject — emotional trauma for the families during deployments. I pray it will bring you some comfort.

      Are there any military support groups in your community? You really need to connect with other military moms locally. Check out the Blue Star Mothers national website @ http://www.bluestarmothers.org/, to see if there are any chapters close to you.

      Please feel free to email me at anytime at tracie@militaryfamiliesministry.com and I can provide you with a number if you would like to talk.

      God Bless,
      Tracie Ciambotti

      http://tracieciambotti.authorsxpress.com/

  2. Tracie you did an awesome job on this book just the few things that I have read.Thank you for your wisdom and strength. I think subconcieously that I do the same thing that Lynlee does but I can’t really forget everything because I have 7 other kids here, 6 of which live with me to take care of. But I do forget the bills and my mind always wonders somewhere else. I do know that when he was blessed with leave time from afganistan that my life seemed alot happier and got more things done. Don’t understand why but I have noticed and don’t know what I can do to change it. Except knowing that God has him in his hands and that his Guardian Angles are with him..

  3. Denice,

    Thank you for your kind words. I pray the book will bring you comfort and some ways to get your thoughts under control. It is very hard and I struggled alot during my son’s first deployment.

    We are praying for you and your son.

    God Bless,
    Tracie Ciambotti

    http://tracieciambotti.authorsxpress.com/

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