Saturday, March 5, 2011

Stages/Cycles of Deployment

Some of you may think there are 5 - 10 stages of a deployment. I, on the other hand, don't really think there are stages of a deployment written in stone like the 10 Commandments. It's all in a personal opinion. I've read several different things.

One is this: Her War, Her Voice

Five Stages:

-Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.

& the 7 Stage Cycle Model is here: Emotional Cycles of Deployment

1. Anticipation of Departure:
Much like the "Re-Deployment" stage in the 5 Stage Cycle, in this stage, spouses may alternately feel denial and anticipation of loss. As reality sinks in, tempers may flare as couples attempt to take care of all the items on a Family pre-deployment checklist, while striving to make time for "memorable" moments. In the new emotional cycles of deployment, Stage 1 may begin again before a couple or Family has even had time to renegotiate a shared vision of who they are after the changes from the last deployment.

2. Detachment and Withdrawal:
In this stage, service members become more and more psychologically prepared for deployment, focusing on the mission and their unit. Bonding with their fellow service members is essential to unit cohesion, but this may create emotional distance within the marriage. Sadness and anger occur as couples attempt to protect themselves from the hurt of separation. In the new emotional cycles of deployment, as this stage happens more often and more frequently, marital problems may escalate. When a husband or wife must repeatedly create emotional "distance", they may gradually shut down their emotions. It may seem easier to just feel "numb" rather than sad, but the lack of emotional connection to your spouse can lead to difficulties in a marriage.

3. Emotional Disorganization:
With back to back deployments, one might think that this stage of adjusting to new responsibilities and being alone would get easier. Although a military spouse may be familiar with the routine, (s)he may also be experiencing "burn-out" and fatigue from the last deployment, and feel overwhelmed at starting this stage again.

4. Recovery and Stabilization:
Here, spouses realize they are fundamentally resilient and able to cope with the deployment. They develop increased confidence and a positive outlook. With back to back deployments, however, spouses may find it hard to muster the emotional strength required, but many resources are available to provide needed support.

5. Anticipation of Return:
This is generally a happy and hectic time spent preparing for the return of the service member. Spouses, children and parents of the service member need to talk about realistic plans and expectations for the return and reunion.

6. Return Adjustment and Renegotiation:
Like "Post-Deployment" in the 5 Stage Cycle, couples and Families must reset their expectations and renegotiate their roles during this stage. The key to successful adjustment and renegotiation is open communication. Families also need to be prepared to deal with the effects of combat stress on the returning service member. Such stress and trauma can be difficult to deal with. Troops with combat stress are often irritable, guarded, and want to be alone. Some may use increased alcohol or drugs in a failed attempt to "numb" the emotional pain they are experiencing. Attempts at renegotiation may result in increasing marital arguments.

7. Reintegration and Stabilization:
This stage can take up to 6 months as the couple and Family stabilize their relationships anew. As noted with Stage 6, the presence of combat stress can severely disrupt the stabilization process. Reintegration and stabilization can hit more roadblocks when a Family must make a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move immediately upon the return of the service member. Back to back deployments create stress as Families stabilize only to begin Stage 1 once again.


I'm definitely stuck on number 5! Ah, I think the anticipation of his return is eating away at me faster and worse than the anticipation of his departure. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. Anyone have any advice other than staying busy? I start back to work next Thursday & I'm more than ready!! I need the constant busy, always on the go thing again. & being sick right now isn't helping anything. I just wanna lay up in bed all day but I think if I lay in bed anymore I'm going to scream and go stir crazy. I'm not used to being at home all the time anymore. Once Sailor gets home, that'll change. When he's home, I'm used to being a home-body when we're not at work. It's just our thing.


  1. This list is pretty accurate... We did all of those stages... THough, stage 7 can take a lot longer than 6 months.. how about a year and counting for us. :)

    As far as keeping busy and all that... There is not much else I can say. What I personally did was set goals. I made a list of books I wanted to read before his return, new hobbies I wanted to try, places I wanted to eat, things like that. Then I would focus on trying to complete my list, then I would make a new list. :)

    I can tell you that some days, I had to take it one breath at a time. I would lay in bed and say, "all you have to do is get out of bed, nothing more." Then, when I had made it downstairs, "All you have to do is eat breakfast, nothing more" Etc. I would usually be able to at least reach the showering point of my day, even if nothing else got done.

    And the hardest part for me was when I hit the half way point. My perspective changed from "he just left" to "he almost home" That is when the goal setting got kicked into high gear to keep my sanity level somewhat close to just moderately insane. LOL! :)

  2. Wish I had advice, but nothing I did helped me any more LOL. I just remember, that for me, homecoming was ALWAYS way more emotional then departure (the day of at least).

  3. I literally feel like I'm losing my sanity at this point!! We only have a few *weeks* left - not months anymore!! Once I actually *have* to get up outta bed is gonna make it easier.