PCS

5 Stages of Grief when PCSing…and How to Overcome Them

2. Anger

This can set in at any time, before or after your move. The anger might be directed toward your new duty station (Why are the stupid streets so confusing here?) or you could feel it toward your spouse (Why did you make us move?). Experiencing anger is normal and healthy, unless it turns into violence.

The work through: There are many healthy ways to express anger, but for any of them to be helpful you must first acknowledge why you are angry. Once you admit that you are angry because you have no friends, or because of your lost career, or because the children are having trouble adjusting, your emotions will make more sense and become more manageable. Some people like to write about their anger in a journal or talk it out with a non-involved party, like your mom or an old friend. Others channel it into a hobby like music, exercise or cooking. Either way, be honest with yourself and your spouse about what you are experiencing, and know that it won’t last forever.

3. Bargaining

We made this mistake. People told us, “California will be an easy adjustment for you because it is so much like Spain.” The bargain I unconsciously made was that I would move IF the next base was similar to the one I loved. When things weren’t the same, I felt betrayed. We often make bargains without realizing it. When you justify your move by saying, “If we move there, at least I will save money/get a job/go back to school/lose weight, etc.” then you are in the bargaining stage and you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

The work through: Try to be conscious of your expectations so that they will be realistic. Don’t make promises to yourself or your children that you don’t know you will be able to keep. If you are a list person, try making a pro and con list of the duty station you loved so much. Being honest about the good and bad things about the old location may help you realize that there are good and bad things about your new duty station, too.

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