An examination of our armor from the inside out (Trigger warning?)

Possible trigger warning?

We thought it might be a good self-reflection, and even possibly provide some ideas for others, if we tried to put down in a post the things we use as armor. Both our internal, and external security measures. We have attempted to explain them to individuals when asked, but it is tough to just list them off the cuff. This may all seem a bit much to some and we understand that. If you find just one thing you find useful and throw the rest away then it is worth your time. We also understand that some of this may come off as paranoid or extreme but as we try to remind ourselves daily, we are all here with different pasts and experiences. These are the things that work for us. This is our OPSEC

Internal Measures: This can encompass virtually anything but here are a few highlights. Opsec includes shutting down emotion, as it can be seen by others as a weakness. We have identified only 3 useful emotions, the rest are clutter at best and dangerous at their worse. Being aware of the room or space. Calculating egress points and positioning yourself for the best defense or escape route. Sitting with your back to the wall but near enough to block an entryway with your boot. Analyzing and evaluating the threat level of persons present. Always planning your actions to respond to a threat. Remembering to always lock doors at the house or to keep a vehicle locked if you are in it. Remembering to keep curtains closed. Listening intently for any noise that seems out of place and investigating it immediately. Calculating and questioning the words of others and their motivations. Silence is safety and as such thinking twice before responding to others (although we fail at this periodically). Listen to the advice of ipes. Attempt to avoid or remove emotional response from conversation. Pay keen attention to the inflection and meaning of the words of others for appropriate response. Do not engage strangers if it can be avoided. Do not agree to engage in activities off the compound unless they take place in remote places. Limit exposure to uncontrolled areas in general. If you do engage with others, offer as little as possible, if that cannot be avoided double check your anonymity. If there is no way to do those things, if you must engage with persons (like a doctor) tell them as little as possible, but own the space with your presence. Keep those persons off-kilter using your opsec to remain as unapproachable as possible. Short and gruff. Not there to make friends and neither are they. We often use inappropriate humor to keep them off balance when they attempt to get more information than is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. Interview and interrogation techniques are on the table at all times. Manipulate the situation to your advantage, and calculate your responses to acquire the information necessary to retain your opsec at all times.

Personal External Measures: We do not leave the property without the following items. Dark or mirrored Sunglasses (to allow you to scan your immediate environment, calculate threats undetected, egress, and maintain the unapproachable image). Personal body armor (for obvious reasons but also because it just feels right. It also keeps people at a distance and keeps those pesky doctors off balance when they see you remove it for an examination). A brimmed hat like a baseball cap etc (the less they can see the better and the less identifiable you are the better). Chelsea our service dog (not only does she help us scan for threats and identify episodes, she creates space, always standing between us and anyone else, as part of her job). Our appearance is also an opsec measure. The beard, the tattoos, the scars, the bald head, these things say to others that we are not someone to casually approach and say hello to. On the flip side, they say to others who understand what those markings are, that we are one of you and those people are the only ones we want to engage with anyway. Win-win. There are other items things that we will not mention here for opsec reasons but they are a 13+1 force multipliers. Some things you keep close to the vest.

Greater External Measures: Our remote location limits our exposure to others and other communities in general. The fence is an opsec measure as are the cameras that cover the grounds recording 24/7. The dogs provide audio cues and we encourage them to alert to unknown or unidentified presence. Our cabin sits on what you might call the back 40. It is furthest from the road and a person must first park at the motorpool area, cross the front property, pass the big house, and take the path to our cabin. This allows us ample opportunity for the dogs, the cameras, and the motion lights to alert us. We recently purchased barriers for the building windows that provide a one-way mirror effect that is most effective, allowing you to see out and no one to see inside a structure. Down in the motor pool our vehicles are always kept topped off and loaded with necessary supplies along with a pioneer kit. They are suitably four wheel equipped for opsec and as a practical measure for our remoteness. We have many overlapping contingencies in place, as is necessary, living up here.

There is so much more, little and big things that we do. We pondered carefully whether or not posting this was in itself an opsec violation. After much time, we examined the anonymity of MS and decided it was worth the risk to us if even one other person could relate to any of it. We understand that it may sound odd, extreme, isolationist, pick your descriptor. We further understand that "experts" will criticize and others will scoff. Having said that, there are things that all of us do, every day, that contribute to our opsec. Those things may not be as obvious, but they serve the same purpose. Your opsec may not include many of these things, they may include others we have not incorporated into our own opsec. One way or the other, we all have our measures in place.

We like to think that we are always learning, what opsec measures do you employ?
 
Last edited:
#1 OPSEC measure...
prayer_0.jpg
 

Jacob S

Registrant
Mindfulness meditation has been a big help to me in learning how to evaluate how I'm feeling without judging myself.
 
Hi iaccus

I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. I do some of the same things. I can see where too, as you have trained for OPSEC we are different I do not have the same senses you have. I was never trained like that but I defiantly project an image that not many will approach sunglasses, hat, collar up on my coat not much of me is visible. I am trying hard to leave that part behind not doing well at it. I say hi to people and lots move away. Had a lady almost running to stay away from me on one of my favourite trails. I started to walk faster and she did run. She was running away from my appearance that must be an unapproachable appearance. When she started to run I knew it was me she was nervous about so I backed off. I believe that happens a lot, people move away from me. I have tried to alter my appearance to see if it makes any difference it doesn't so I am not sure how I project this stay away from me but it sure does work.

Take care
Esterio
 
After I grew out my beard and added a "flourish" - Random people will come up to me and ask me about it, asking me about it, men asking for tips, compliments, etc. It actually has helped me on my Healing Journey and my own self-esteem.

My default before this was to hide in my sameness. Somehow the beard made me more approachable!
 
Thank you for acknowledging that there are things you do for your own opsec. perhaps we are not as crazy as we think we are.

Hi iaccus

I can relate to a lot of what you are saying. I do some of the same things. I can see where too, as you have trained for OPSEC we are different I do not have the same senses you have. I was never trained like that but I defiantly project an image that not many will approach sunglasses, hat, collar up on my coat not much of me is visible. I am trying hard to leave that part behind not doing well at it. I say hi to people and lots move away. Had a lady almost running to stay away from me on one of my favourite trails. I started to walk faster and she did run. She was running away from my appearance that must be an unapproachable appearance. When she started to run I knew it was me she was nervous about so I backed off. I believe that happens a lot, people move away from me. I have tried to alter my appearance to see if it makes any difference it doesn't so I am not sure how I project this stay away from me but it sure does work.

Take care
Esterio
 
Interesting sir.

After I grew out my beard and added a "flourish" - Random people will come up to me and ask me about it, asking me about it, men asking for tips, compliments, etc. It actually has helped me on my Healing Journey and my own self-esteem.

My default before this was to hide in my sameness. Somehow the beard made me more approachable!
 
I'm sorry you have to work so hard in the effort to protect yourself. Yes, it is important that we do that for ourselves. As adults we have responsibility for caring for the sometimes confused and often frightened parts of ourselves. I respect the fact you participate on this website and draw on support from others contending with trauma. We all can use support. This is challenging work. You're fortunate that you have a partner who supports you as you heal. The best to you both...
 

Guss

Registrant
I have protections that most people don't see. I remain at a proper social distance. I am polite but reserved in my interaction with people. I can be very proper.
Coming on here lets me let my guard down in some ways. I can misbehave if I want too. I can clown and joke. I can enjoy a bad joke. I enjoy it.
 
Last edited:

Sundance

Registrant
Dear Iaccus

I do wish to thank you for your post. The thing is that almost all of those who have been abused uses some sort of opsec. Many though do not even know it. Because we have used it for years and honed it for many many years till it's second nature. We have forgotten that we even do it. Or at least that's how it is for me. It's a art to talk with others without really saying anything about your self. Just the same as it is to be seen yet remain invisible so no one remembers you. That is harder than it sounds but it served me well in my boyhood years and I was so use to doing it it was just normal for me. I still do it with out thinking about it.

I was taught how from mainly mom but dad did it as well. Mom drilled me and my older brother several times a week so we could it and not say anything we weren't supposed to. Mom did not want us to spill the beans about the things she was doing. Hence the training. If those that were abused think about it to then they use some sort of opsec to survive. How much do you use from abuse that helped live thru that time?
 
Dear Iaccus

I do wish to thank you for your post. The thing is that almost all of those who have been abused uses some sort of opsec. Many though do not even know it. Because we have used it for years and honed it for many many years till it's second nature. We have forgotten that we even do it. Or at least that's how it is for me. It's a art to talk with others without really saying anything about your self. Just the same as it is to be seen yet remain invisible so no one remembers you. That is harder than it sounds but it served me well in my boyhood years and I was so use to doing it it was just normal for me. I still do it with out thinking about it.

I was taught how from mainly mom but dad did it as well. Mom drilled me and my older brother several times a week so we could it and not say anything we weren't supposed to. Mom did not want us to spill the beans about the things she was doing. Hence the training. If those that were abused think about it to then they use some sort of opsec to survive. How much do you use from abuse that helped live thru that time?
we absolutely agree with you sir, although we use many things learned other places what you say rings absolutely right sir.
 
Dogs. Dogs are absolutely essential to my OPSEC. If it weren't for dogs, and the love of dogs my wife shares with me, I'm not sure I'd be alive right now. And while I don't want to compromise too much anonymity by revealing the specific breed, let me say that they are a type also relied on by the military, and I appreciate the fact that they have both cool heads and a valiant impulse to protect.
 
Opsec includes shutting down emotion, as it can be seen by others as a weakness. We have identified only 3 useful emotions, the rest are clutter at best and dangerous at their worse.
My T and I have been discussing my emotions or I guess how I am in T or when alone versus around others. She had pointed out how I can sit in session analyze things speak in two form, one my logical mind then what I call my emotional mind. Yet to the outside world I present this positive happy pretty confident person that is compassionate and caring to others. She says it like I have this gift to turn it on and off. I am sure it’s a gift.

But what strikes me in what you wrote about a lot of the internal stuff I realized I have been doing a lot of that since I was a kid. I guess I never thought about as opsec. I know some I picked up from my dad since he was in law enforcement. Going out to eat he never would sit with his back to a door or open area. He always wanted to be able to watch the room. I do that myself even today.

As I have gotten older I find myself more and more concerned about things around me. I put up cameras outside last week. If you would have asked me about doing that a few years ago I would have said never. Now I feel less and less secure. I worry about sharing things to others even at times here as I fear it will used against me like it could be made to damage me. I worry about reading or purchasing books for survivors as somehow others would know. I told my T how doing our sessions online or over the phone during the lockdown gave me anxiety as I now think nothing is private anymore.

I think back to how as a kid I liked to sit in the back of my closet in the dark hidden like it felt safe. For years I though how silly or stupid was that. Now I am starting to realize subconsciously I was my mind was trying to protect. Yet I was never beating as a kid never even been in a fight yet I had fear.

Thanks for your post.
 

Sundance

Registrant
Thanks for the kind words. I do understand where you're coming from. I to use many things to insure safety and like you I keep them close to the vest.
 
Just reading your opsec measures for the first time. It becomes clearer to me why you are so masterful at saying very little. I like your opsec measures. It is standard I think for humans to pretend they are not wearing their armor. I find it refreshing that your opsec measure are clear, complete, badass, and you make no excuses for them. I tend to walk around appearing defenseless (that's one of my defenses), but for ppl who enjoy hurting ppl, the appearance of defenselessness can just get you stabbed in the heart a lot. I aspire to let fewer ppl in. It's an honor to know you sir. I wonder though and it's probably not abiding by your opsec to answer, but I for one have found that there are certain very special people that I know I can trust, and one of the reasons I know this is because they are not in a hurry to gain my trust, they wait for me to be ready. Even so, I find it very hard to trust even the people I know I can trust. Is there anyone you trust enough to let inside? BTW I miss you and everyone, I have been offline for a while.
 
Just reading your opsec measures for the first time. It becomes clearer to me why you are so masterful at saying very little. I like your opsec measures. It is standard I think for humans to pretend they are not wearing their armor. I find it refreshing that your opsec measure are clear, complete, badass, and you make no excuses for them.

Your words are kind sir. There is a price to be paid. We know they speak behind our back, stare at us but try very hard not to let us see it. There is a great deal of judgment and we fully understand that our outward visible measures invite that. We have simply chosen to embrace it and see it for the tool we can use to own the space. It has the desired effect about 80% of the time. It has backfired on us before but it is the best tool we have come up with. We understand it is not something everyone can do but it works for us sir.

I tend to walk around appearing defenseless (that's one of my defenses), but for ppl who enjoy hurting ppl, the appearance of defenselessness can just get you stabbed in the heart a lot. I aspire to let fewer ppl in. It's an honor to know you sir. I wonder though and it's probably not abiding by your opsec to answer, but I for one have found that there are certain very special people that I know I can trust, and one of the reasons I know this is because they are not in a hurry to gain my trust, they wait for me to be ready. Even so, I find it very hard to trust even the people I know I can trust. Is there anyone you trust enough to let inside? BTW I miss you and everyone, I have been offline for a while.

That is a difficult question, who do we let in. Our wife who we know understands. A friend we have known since childhood (actually he was born on the same day) and knows it all. There have been a couple fellow vets that we knew who we talked with about that aspect but never really opened up about everything to sir. We have talked with many shrinks and confessed details to but trust was never really an option as we recognize them for the real danger they present. We understand how sad and pathetic that may sound, its just the way it is sir.

Be well
 
Top