I have always thought it was strange to call a hit, or fire from one's own side, friendly. What a strange term for something so painful. To be injured by one's team has to be one of the worst ways to encounter an injury especially if the hit was intentional.
I began to think about this term recently as things are beginning to ramp up for WW3. As we begin to call on civilians to come closer to their families, try to gather communities to work together for the greater good of humanity, and possibly hunker down for the hard times to come, this term came back to me. Let me back up a bit and give this a little context as to why I thought of this term.
As a veteran of the US military, I have taken some very painful hits. None of these hits came from enemy fire. My injuries very intentionally came from the team that I was serving on. I took hits to my physical and emotional body. The country that I served decided that my body was a tool for medical experimentation for biological weapons. I took hits from fellow servicemen who took out their pain and frustration on woman that served by assaulting us. I took hits as a woman of African descent through racism. I have taken many bullets of "friendly fire."
My intention here is not to minimize the injuries that many combat veterans have gone through as they were wounded in battle. My deepest respect to those who have suffered ANY attack. As I sit in veteran circles however, I realize that only those who have been hit by the enemy's fire can have a real voice. It cost nothing to the listener to empathize with the veteran whose injuries came from outside the ranks. It is easier to talk about because that story doesn't put the ear of the listener in conflict emotionally.
As I began to tell my stories I began to see something strange in the faces of those same listeners. They go into a blank stare as if they checked out. Their response to what I am saying is void. They are not there. There is this strange cognitive dissonance that they have to grapple with that the military that they glorified a moment ago in the combat veteran's injuries is now being attacked. The fire is from inside the ranks. What do they do with that information? Most people don't know so they don't respond.
To be hit by friendly fire is extremely disorientating. It is a betrayal of the deepest level. To think that someone that is supposed to have your back and cover you can be the person that hurts you is more painful than any enemy attack. The hurt is layered with the weight of betrayal, mistrust, and overall unsafe feelings. It is much harder to get over than a hit from the enemy. Once you have experienced that level of pain you may never really trust that space again.
It is unfortunate, but I have come to know that level of friendly fire on many different levels. From family to work, to religous settings, to friends, and beyond. To be hurt by the people you care about is the worst type of pain. The closer the relationship of betrayal the worst the pain feels.
So, why do people hurt the people they are supposed to close ranks with? What are some of the reasons why a person who should be on your team hurt you? Most of the time the person who is the perpetrator is experiencing a hurt of their own that is so deep they deflect it onto someone else. It is for this reason that I stress healing those childhood wounds to the best of my ability, doing shadow work, and seeing all the parts of your inner being that needs healing and help.
When we take the time to do the part that we can to clean up some of the hurt and trauma, we are less likely to pass that on to someone else. This makes us a safer person to be around. If we are a safer person to be around then we are more likely to have the ability to be in community with others without harming them.
In the days to come, we are going to need to have each other's back. We are going to need to huddle has families and communities as things get tougher and tougher. No one should feel fear of being in the presence of their loved ones because of "friendly fire." It's past time to engage in doing the work of cleaning up our dysfunctions so that we can be better equipped to thrive in the days to come. Shadow work, mental and emotional healing work, cleansing and detoxing, and proper self-care can aid us in being a healthier human being. We are less likely to be the culprit of administering that brutal painful hit of friendly fire to the people if we do the work. This will become more important in the days to come as we try to close ranks.
Healing is a personal journey but it affects the whole. We need each other. Let's do a better job of loving ourselves so that we can learn to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. No more friendly fire.
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