Renegotiating a New Normal after Deployment

Section One: Communicating After Deployment

Life happened during the deployment and now it’s time to renegotiate it!

The definition of negotiation is “to try to reach an agreement or compromise by discussion with others” or “to find a way over or through an obstacle or difficult path.” On the other hand, re-negotiation means to negotiate again. Maybe you’re thinking, “My husband and I have been married a long time. We don’t need to renegotiate. Things were working fine before.” Or, “I’ve always worked at my company with the same people and never had a problem.” The reality is, while you were deployed, life happened. It happened to you, it happened to family members, it happened at your civilian workplace, and it happened to your friends. Changes took place and new experiences were had by all. As you adjust to life after deployment, there are many areas that will need to be renegotiated. The key to this renegotiation is communication. It can take time to re-establish common frames of reference and remember that this is ok. Just give it time.

Be aware of how you might ignore or filter out certain information and make an effort to avoid this behavior, especially in important moments.

Often times you may ignore information that you feel you don’t really need. This is natural and part of the way you’ve learned to communicate. Unless you believe the information is important or necessary, you probably don’t pay attention to it. This habit can create problems in your communication with others. Consider how you’re going to start reconnecting with important people in your life. As you rebuild your connections with one another, be truthful about experiences and feelings. If something is bothering you, it should be addressed before it grows into resentment or frustration. Sometimes the truth hurts, but honesty does not have to be brutal. It is possible to speak the truth in a kind and caring manner if you respect the other person.

Understanding the context of information can reduce miscommunication.

Another question to ask yourself as you prepare to reconnect with those around you is, “Have I ever immediately rejected another’s opinion, even subconsciously, because that opinion differed from my own?” It is the context in which we see things that make them appear to be different. Sometimes your perception of others may be based on what you think you are seeing or hearing. Be aware that disputing each other’s views, challenging them, or interpreting them as threatening are all responses that can interfere with effective communication. You do not have to agree with others’ views, but considering and valuing their perspective creates an atmosphere that is conducive to effective communication.