Impact of Work Life on Family

Work problems become home problems.

Your loved one is a hero. At least, that’s what everyone tells you.

They suit up daily, putting themselves in harm’s way to help others. They are saving lives and helping people through their darkest hours. At least that’s what people tell you. The news, media, movies – they all paint them in such heroic lights.

So… why aren’t they like that at home?

At home, they are cold. They seem indifferent about your daily struggles. Why does everyone else get to be saved by them when they need help, but not you?

Why does the rest of the world get the best parts of them, while the family gets what’s left?

Here’s the truth. They are suffering and SO ARE YOU! They don’t want it to be that way. They try their best to leave work at work and to be with you at home. But neither of those things are happening, and it is impacting both of you.

They try to keep them separate, but that doesn’t always work. Here’s why…

Let’s give an example:

It’s no secret that military members and first responders are trained to delete emotion from decision making. They arrive at a scene where there is complete chaos. Imagine arriving at a scene and hearing the buzz of bullets, feeling the searing heat of a blazing house, or sensing the imminent dangers that often come in the heat of a domestic disturbance!

Our heroes quickly assess the situation, screen the important from the unimportant facts, and make quick decisions to protect human life. To remain professional and execute their mission, they often have to resist expressing intense emotions like fear, anger, or frustration. This is the job, and these skills are important because they keep them safe.

Unfortunately, those skills do not translate well to the home front.

A spouse has had a hard day at their comfortable office job and wants to vent…

A child is upset because their favorite toy is broken (even after you warned him three times to stop doing that because it was going to break)…

It is in these times where the appropriate response is empathy – making an effort to care and understand how these important people in your life are feeling, so you can help them through it.

But for many of us, we have become so accustomed to dealing with problems on the job that we take the same cold, “professional” approach to dealing with our problems at home.

This approach leads to broken homes.

It’s no surprise. You’re likely to see higher rates of anxiety and substance abuse among spouses and children of professionals in these highly charged, highly traumatic lines of work.

This potent mix of stress and anxiety on your part and their part is creating a powder keg in the home.

The hero comes home tired from another stressful day. Their family members are having their own issues.

The hero seems emotionless again with little empathy for what the family is going through. The family members need their hero to be engaged but are frustrated that yet again, they are absent when needed most.

This cycle repeats, day after day, week after week until someone decides they don’t want to play the game anymore and they leave.

But this doesn’t have to happen!

What if instead of quitting, someone decided to break the cycle in a healthy way?

There is a path where the hero can recover the lost empathy. There is a path where the family better understands the struggle of the hero but also holds them accountable for being a member of the family.

In many cases, the only way is to have an experienced guide to help get you all on the path to healing and mutual support. That’s what Operation True North is here to help you with.

We at Operation True North understand this because we have lived it.

Josh was the poster boy for what we discussed above.

He was cold and heartless in the home when it came to Cheri’s feelings, often assuming her needs to be trivial compared to the horrors he had faced throughout his day. But Cheri was suffering. She knew Josh loved her and wanted the best for her, but also knew that she needed to see that from him.

Cheri began researching post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and vicarious trauma treatment.

Cheri finally decided to draw the line. She said to Josh, “I get it; you have been through some horrible things in your life. But… you’re an adult and you’re responsible for your decisions. You can continue to mope around here like a victim, or you can go get some help. But, either way, it’s not ok for you to continue to treat me this way. If you want me to stay, you need to get some help.”

Josh knew she was right and entered into an intensive outpatient treatment program changing his and Cheri’s lives forever.

You can keep your professional edge, but we can help you refine it…

… so that your approach to work doesn’t become the mainstay of your approach to home.

We know you’re tired of suffering in silence. You’re hurting and your family is hurting.

But we’re here to help bring restoration and long-lasting, positive change to your family life.

If you have noticed that the challenges you face at work seem to be impacting your relationships at home, give us a call: (720) 379-3759.