Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Deployment Cycle: What You Need to Know to Survive Pre-Deployment Fighting

So this is sort of an addendum to my series called “Deployment Boxing.” It was a series I created to reflect the awesome fighting that occurs before a cruise. It makes everyone feel psychotic because the last thing you want to do before your man leaves for six to eight months – or “indefinitely” due to some awesome thing called sequestration – is fight with them!!!!

I had only intended to write three parts to this series but my experiences have convinced me to write a fourth and final part.

photo credit: clydeorama via photopin cc

When I realized I needed to write a fourth part to this series, I asked my husband (the day he deployed), “What’s it called when boxing has a fourth round?”
“What do you mean? Boxing has three rounds. Or ten, depending.”

“Ten! Not important, well what if they go into overtime or whatever, like in hokey? You know in hokey it’s Sudden Death? But in boxing it's . . . ?”

He laughs. “Boxing doesn’t have overtime. After three rounds, or ten, depending, the judges call it.”

“Crap. Well, not like this post isn't going to be messed up anyways, fine Sudden Death it is!”

So here it goes, the unintended part four to my boxing series and the random non-senseacle switch to hockey terms:

Deployment Boxing: SUDDEN DEATH!!!  (One Week OUT!!!)

photo credit: advertisingelyse via photopin cc
So my last post to this series had the “oh so sweet” answer to all your problems as being: Forgiveness. Awww, fluffy happy bunnies and shiny happy people rejoice.

Yeah, well that was freaking wrong! Just to be clear, I’m writing these posts based off of my own insane experiences so after I wrote that sweet conclusion to my fighting dilemmas, I tried to apply my own advice. . . Yeah, that didn’t work.

It went something like this:
“Husband speaks . . . doesn’t really matter what he says. Could have been I just won a million dollars.”
Inside I’m cringing, thinking, shut up, you’re driving me crazy, shut up, ok wait, no be forgiving. Forgiving… “SHUT UP!!!!” Then I end up crying in the driveway at ten o’clock at night.

During the week leading up to our deployment, I had a really hard time. Harder a time than I remember having in the past, and I’ve done several cruises. I kept telling myself, forgive him, he’s under a lot of pressure too. It’s just the deployment. It’s not you guys. Just keep it together until he leaves. On the outside, I felt like our relationship was falling apart! We were walking on egg shells around each other, and getting angry over nothing, and I kept accidentally having one too many glasses of wine and crying over nothing in the bathroom, or my car, and yes, seriously, sitting in my pajamas on the driveway. 

photo credit: HeatherKaiser
via photopin cc

Dang my eyes were swollen! I literally went to work and tried to keep my sunglasses on the entire day at one point . . . yeah, was losing it Desperate Housewives style.

Well here is the big SECRET to what I missed, and I hope somebody out there reads this and doesn’t have to deal with the crap I went through, and probably a lot of people go through this even though the solution is kind of duh thing when you think about it. The thing is, when you're stressed, on the emotional deployment roller coaster, duh things are pretty far from your grasp.

Can anybody guess what my big mistake was? Well here’s the big SECRET, talk to him stupid!!! Yelling at myself. Not you guys . . .

I was holding everything in, giving him breaks, not bothering him with the things that were pissing me off because he was leaving soon. I was going easy on him, and that was a HUGE MISTAKE! 

We were miserable for the last week we had together and nothing got better until finally like two days before he left, we had this humongous fight over something stupid and broke every rule in my “play fair” fighting handbook: we called each other names, I tried to walk out, he got loud to try to shut me up, oh and he pulled the “Go on and cry,” card to which I replied, “I’m not crying because I’m so mad at you because you’re a big stupid $#%^&!!!”

photo credit: hang_in_there via photopin cc
*** Now let me be clear, most of the time my husband and I fight using the fair rules and the majority of our fights are very productive and aren’t painful, so I’m not saying to throw that rule-book out the window. I’m just pointing out that we were beyond the point of controlling ourselves. ***

Finally, this lead to him pushing me to tell him what was wrong. It turns out he’s NOT dumb and blind and knew I was upset about something and not talking about it. Frustrated, still recovering from a crying headache from the night before, and pushed to the edge, I unleashed a flood of complaints, most of which individually were very minor, but which together apparently had built into this huge burden I was carrying around. 

He took it graciously and afterwards, to my surprise, I was able to return to my normal self, and we were able to have two blissful days together as the happy couple that we truly are without the pressures of a deployment hanging over our heads.

After all that, I couldn’t bear to let you guys think forgiveness and fighting fair and recognizing you are both under stress is enough . . . you have to talk to each other! That’s the secret to not going freaking nuts before a deployment. Talk to him, tell him why you are annoyed, or upset, or pissed, or depressed or whatever. Don’t go too easy on each other, don't hide your feelings about everything, don’t try to keep his mind clear from home stresses so he can focus on the mission.

All you are going to do is make the home stresses worse!

Trust me.

I know.

photo credit: jaqian via photopin cc

Come one share! Tell us about the ridiculous, crazy way you acted leading up to your last deployment. If you can't share your craziness anonymously around other crazy people then who can you share with?

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About Stephanie Carroll
U&E Founder & Author
Buy Her Book A White Room!
Photo by Randy Enriquez
I dated and married my husband in 2004 when I was 19. I felt like an outsider for the first half of our marriage. He didn't understand what I needed to know about the Navy, and I didn't know what to ask.

After ten years of learning in the Navy, I founded Unhinged & Empowered. I wanted to spread the knowledge that I needed when I was new, to reveal what took years for me to learn.   
Cover Design by Jenny Q
In addition to being a Navy Wife, I am also a novelist. I write historical women's fiction.

My first novel A White Room debuted in 2013 and is about a woman forced to sacrifice her own ambitions of becoming a nurse to marry a man who can save her destitute family. He moves her to a strange, small town where she slowly succumbs to madness until she stumbles on an opportunity to nurse to the poor despite the fact that her husband prosecutes unlicensed practitioners.

Learn more at and connect with me @CarrollBooks on Twitter, Facebook, or on Pinterest!

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