A Moral Conflict -v- A Moral Injury

Friday

Moderator
so is this some thing which is semantic for you in particular?
Nope. Not really. No more so than squares & rectangles, or a person -v- people.

it’s a useful way to conceptualize things, for me. Some rectangles are squares, but not all -or even most- of them are. A person is singular, even in all their complexity; whilst people is plural.

Someone said something to me, years ago now, that all “it” takes is going against your own morals, even once, for shit to get seeeeeeriously complicated… and that resonated. But the concept of “moral injury” has always fallen flat. Incomplete. Not right. Partly right, maybe, but also completely lacking. Like trying to describe a rainbow as red. Sure, red is there, but a rainbow? Is far more than just red.
and what my suspecion is with regards to your trauma that you likely have a lot of this as well that you are using terminology that exists but doesn't quite define the experiences you've had.
Very much so.
and the differences between: -> before the event -> during the event -> the effects after the event and what persists.
Again, yes. Very much.
 

Friday

Moderator
So, am I right in thinking this can be not only sins of omission and commission, but a response to things you were on the receiving end of? Whatever you call it, it seems to be a real thing, doesn't it? You don't have to look very far to see examples around this forum.
Absolutely. Betrayal probably sums this up, best? At least in my life.
 

Friday

Moderator
I am interested in the "victim-glorious" and the false helplessness you're referring to. Are we looking at accountability? Resilience? Strictly from a combat perspective?
It’s an idea that persists in pop-culture… that the only thing with any validity is how it hurts YOU. How YOU were a victim. How only victims suffer any consequence &/or have any credibility. How you must have been a victim, somehow, in order to ABCXYZ.

It’s a very black & white (good v evil) kind of thinking, where “clearly” anyone who does -or has done- anything even remotely bad is blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Whilst victims??? Are the heroes of the story, full stop.

The Disney-fication doesn’t exist in historical context… which is part of why I like reading Latin and Early-ish English accounts, where things are more complicated. Where there isn’t always a “hero & villain” paradigm, where the victim is always the hero, and the villain is always evil and one dimensional.

((I also suspect that’s a big part of why modern people have so much difficulty seeing someone they “like” as ever doing anything “bad”, like domestic violence, or being cruel in personal/professional lives. Like it’s somehow “unauthentic”? IDFK. I can like someone personally or professionally, without assuming they’re as awesome in the other parts of their lives, as in the narrow window I see them in. But? Shrug. I have the trauma history that says people are complicated. Rather than the same as I know them in every facet of their lives. So I can’t really blame others for that bias. I just don’t grok it. A person’s character? Isn’t a one dimensional thing, the same across all fields. Even if that’s the modern expectation.))

It’s not that being a victim is wrong.,, I’ve been a victim of many things. It’s that there’s more TO life, and to pain, and to complication… than only being a victim. And more things matter… than how it hurts you.
 
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enough

MyPTSD Pro
we all see "coming of age" stories played out in movies and books where the hero starts at A and then things happen to prepare them, usher them, to be able to get to state B, hooray, roll credits.
So, if I start with moral viewpoint A and things happen and I am at moral viewpoint B afterward, am I a victim of what i can now do or did or a victim of the things that happened to bring me to point B? And is the difference only a bad thing in my mind if moral point B is inferior to point A? Who gets to decide that?
stuff happens, we change, not liking the change is just one more circumstance we encounter that maybe ushers us back to where we started. A recovering morality. a person that strayed from point A and is glad to be back. Maybe point A 2.0 is better because of the trial by fire and the self-knowledge that comes with it? That's not an injury is it?
I don't feel injured by my own actions, maybe of the events that changed me. But even if you believe we are truly able to steer these boats we are in, if I only did what i had to do to stay afloat I am just a victim of the seas and where I end up is a product of the currents and winds. To stretch the metaphore, maybe we can be pissed at ourselves for leaving the port and blame everything that happened after on our choice but thats post hoc ergo hoc thinking, it doesn't hold up.
 

internal

Sponsor
Nope. Not really. No more so than squares & rectangles, or a person -v- people.
i understand what you mean. i would define that as semantic! (in the sense that: you are looking for the meaning.) and not in the sense that it isn't important, or that you're getting stuck on something else. because it is-incredibly important. and maybe if we had concrete language to describe these things it would be "just" the search for semantic bullshit, but it actually is a search-for meaning. for what it is. because we don't f*cking have it.

that the only thing with any validity is how it hurts YOU. How YOU were a victim.
this is a very good point. especially with regards to this particular thing. because-it wasn't just us. it wasn't just what happened to us. it's not holistic to just refer to ourselfs. most especially as the people that were impacted. because it wasn't just us.

and this is the thing, actually, that makes this so hard to talk about. because people will be like-oh, well, you were forced, it's not your fault, blah. or people will be like oh, well you did what you had to do. or you did your best. like, and it's not holistic.

okay, well what about the actual victims, then? what about the people who are looking at us as the bad guys?

I also suspect that’s a big part of why modern people have so much difficulty seeing someone they “like” as ever doing anything “bad”
that and also because people divorce those who do these severely bad things as "not human." without stopping to understand that a big part of humanity? is bad shit. like you aren't suddenly not a person just because you do something violent or horrible.

that stuff is a part of human nature, too. and we like to think our human-detector is always right. so when people do something shitty, we're like-oh, wait, what, but they seem like such a person! because people are three dimensional. most people. i know a very few who weren't and they're actually odd. like caricatures, like it's actually hard for me to understand them because they were so one dimensional that it's almost like, it warps my reality a bit

that i entered society and i had a hard time understanding this stuff, too-like how to identify bad people because i'd interpret any small kindness and be like oh my god this is an amazing person! (because what i grew up with was like, insane evil f*cking meth heads-you know, and intellectually i understand it was the meth, but the search for meaning is like-wait, what?)

and that made it much more difficult to understand that people could be a million different things at once, and you are just seeing one or two parts of them. which is why people who disbelief what like celebreties, like that's a f*cking celebrity. you don't know them. they made a hilarious joke or donate to charety or wrote a good song-yeah, because they're a person? you know.
 

Friday

Moderator
To stretch the metaphore, maybe we can be pissed at ourselves for leaving the port
One of my fave quotes:

“If a captain’s highest priority was truly the safety of their ship, and their crew? They’d never leave port.”

Another is that “Adventure is defined as any time that all one wants most in the world is to be warm, dry, clean, well fed, and curled up in front of the fire with a good book.” IE if you aren’t miserable and wishing you were safe at home? It’s not an adventure. Adventures are thrilling to listen to, or recount, but rather suck to live.


that and also because people divorce those who do these severely bad things as "not human." without stopping to understand that a big part of humanity? is bad shit. like you aren't suddenly not a person just because you do something violent or horrible.
Yep.

And even if someone -most people- is/are stretching to attempt to include whatever they now know, with what they conceptualise? The “not your fault” comes into play. Sure. Absolutely. Sometimes? Is AIN’T your fault. But it’s not something -where blame lies- I can accept as a knee jerk response. Nope. Some things? ARE my fault. Others aren’t. But the victim-centric “not your fault” = the only “real” justification? Nope. Can’t trust the perceptions/judgment of anyone who only sees things as someone else’s fault as justified. Because it ain’t just the things that aren’t a direct result of your own actions -or inactions- that leave a mark.
 

Freida

Sponsor
Another is that “Adventure is defined as any time that all one wants most in the world is to be warm, dry, clean, well fed, and curled up in front of the fire with a good book.” IE if you aren’t miserable and wishing you were safe at home? It’s not an adventure. Adventures are thrilling to listen to, or recount, but rather suck to live.
OMG I totally love this - and can picture multiple times I've been here! It's a good reminder for me that sometimes the world is exciting and miserable and funny and sad and blah blah blah
Because it ain’t just the things that aren’t a direct result of your own actions -or inactions- that leave a mark.
I struggle with this a lot. (shocker I know 😉)
One thing I am finally starting to sort out is the idea of guilt for what I've done, vs guilt for what I've had to do.
I've made some really bad decisions in my life and had to live with the consequences. Sometimes it's trauma level, sometimes it's just totally f*cking up and not being true to myself.

But I don't think it had crossed my mind that the events that are clearly driven by my actions, without anyone else's, can lead to a moral injury. That? Is an interesting concept. T is gonna love that door being opened. 😊
 

Friday

Moderator
your morality is gone. you do what it takes. whatever it costs. it's forever going to be altered. meaningless? maybe not. because there is that line. you picked survival. and if you're lucky and your mind doesn't break. some people don't get that far. you can try to cobble together some meaning out of the experience.
Yep yep. Been there, & done that. All of it. In different ways at different times.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
But the concept of “moral injury” has always fallen flat. Incomplete. Not right. Partly right, maybe, but also completely lacking. Like trying to describe a rainbow as red. Sure, red is there, but a rainbow? Is far more than just red.
I understand this. I think what I'm seeing called a "moral injury" is something I'm more likely to call - in my own head - mental damage caused by extreme cognitive dissonance.

When you're being told to do something that goes against every fibre of your being - a thing that in and of itself is traumatic - the experience is, to me, like something ripping through the fabric of my mind and self. It feels like tearing, ripping - like a violent thing. "Moral injury", to me, sounds like a very pretty way to describe something that is fundamentally extremely raw and messy.
 

Friday

Moderator
It feels like tearing, ripping - like a violent thing. "Moral injury", to me, sounds like a very pretty way to describe something that is fundamentally extremely raw and messy.
Truth.


When you're being told to do something…
& when no one is telling you to do it? Or is even arguing against it, because they have the leisure of not having to be the one to make that/those decisions? It gets complicated as hell.

I hadn’t even thought, until reading this (being told to do something that goes against every fibre) …how much my custody “agreement” (no, I do not agree // too damn bad, welcome to a court order) tied into this. Every week, like clockwork, having to choose to do what I was told… every day, having to choose not to kill & put an end to it… tied into this. Huh.
 
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