Movies/TV etc glorify violence done ‘in the name of Right’ but yes, Selco, all of it becomes a dark presence and stays with us. Whether necessary for survival or merely the ‘norm’ of the times of war.

I did not experience nearly what you have, but grew up in an abusive and violent cult. My own isolated world of tears, pain and violence. I can function well in society now but nightmares and anger sometimes return in the night. Scars from childhood remain. In my case I still have guilt about things I did and did not do–for instance, did not protect others just tried to survive myself. Allowed terrible things to happen to other children. Thank God I have a strong and gentle husband who understands and is my friend.

I believe that an understanding group around you can heal a lot. I know that my grandmother and her elderly friends used to whisper about the terrible things that happened to their friends and families in WWI when they were being exterminated in Turkey. I think it was shared to let out some of the dark caged memories.

You say when your former group got together they could not talk openly–perhaps the Jewish people experienced some cleansing catharsis by publicly displaying the WWII Nazi horrors in front of the world. Yet, I think they have held on to it as a badge of victim-honor… Not sure it actually has healed much by relentlessly avenging themselves on the perpetrators. Perhaps forgiveness might have been more the moral high ground.

So, no, I have no words of wisdom as to how to deal with the scars left by violence. Especially if you are the one who committed it, no matter how justified. I know that personally, my faith in God, His forgiveness of me through Jesus Christ, thus my (sometimes repeated) forgiveness of those who wronged me, and His Presence in my life have helped me heal far more than many others from my past. Maybe, for those of us who might have to ‘do violence’ to survive, the difficult ability to forgive oneself might be a key as well.