Casebook: A Falklands veteran, angry for thirty years

How to move on from chronic anger and resentment.

Owen needed help to open up, after thirty angry years

As a Human Givens therapist I see veterans referred to me by PTSD Resolution and so many of these who are a veteran are chronically depressed.

PTSD Resolution is a charity set up by Human Givens therapists – to offer effective therapy for war veterans enduring significant mental distress and life problems, which in pretty well all cases have been brought about and exacerbated by war trauma.

And of course, they are routinely let down by the conventional mental health system. It has been interesting to see how long it has taken for PTSD Resolution to gain recognition and traction from the conventional/official organs set up to help veterans.  They have typically treated Human Givens with pretty well universal disdain and contempt. But this is now changing. PTSD Resolution is beginning to go from strength to strength.

Owen was one such recent referral – but unlike the others I have seen (who have been veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, Ireland and Bosnia), he was traumatised by his experience in the Falklands. His ship was lost and his response to that was a long lasting guilt that he had survived, unlike many of his friends. Of course, this all happened over 30 years ago.

And since then, he has married, had a family and worked pretty well continuously – though in a solitary profession as a long distant driver.

His trauma around the memory was not severe but unquestionably had remained for all those years. And it had transmuted into an anger, irritability and suspiciousness and it was being taken out mainly on his family. This left him chronically depressed and very hard on himself.

Healing for Owen had to begin with a Rewind of his memories of the Falklands but thereafter he required slow and steady help that spread over 5 sessions.

Not only did his anger response need to be reframed but in its place he needed a more hopeful and positive sense of himself. Though he had used his considerable resources to create a life that worked tolerably well for him for so many years, he was now ready to “raise his game.” He was ready to be more tolerant of both himself and others and to be proud (rather than guilty) of his capacity to build a life that worked both for him and his family.