Free U.S. Shipping on orders over $20.00


New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community

Thursday, July 14, 2016
As a retired police captain, Dan Willis has seen firsthand how law-enforcement officials and other first responders can struggle with the stress and emotional trauma that go with their jobs. He has made it his personal mission to safeguard and enhance the wellness and wholeness of police officers, firefighters, EMTs, emergency-room personnel, and soldiers. His book, Bulletproof Spirit: The First Responder’s Essential Resource for Protecting and Healing Mind and Heart, offers field-tested expertise designed to be used by all first responders — and their families — to heal themselves so they can continue serving with compassion and strength. We hope you’ll enjoy this guest blog from Captain Willis, which is based on the book. 

# # #

The most often overlooked pillar of support for law-enforcement officials is the most essential — support from home. Unfortunately, family members receive practically no information about how to uniquely care for loved ones who have devoted their lives to serving others. However, with awareness of the special needs of first responders — and of the ways to most effectively care for their loved ones’ emotional and spiritual wellness — spouses and other family members can become hidden partners in ensuring first responders’ overall wellness and emotional survival. 

Below are suggestions for family members, particularly spouses, of emergency first responders. By following these guidelines, they can fulfill their vital role in nurturing, protecting, and sustaining the spirit of their loved ones to help mitigate the suffering and emotional trauma so prevalent in first-responder professions. 

Creating a Supportive Home Environment
First, create a stress-free home; this is essential. Be positive, keep your spouse centered, and enjoy each other during the limited time you have together. Be understanding. Listen to their needs, without forgetting your own. 

Knowing your law-enforcement spouse is crucial in order for you to offer help. Being able to read them, and knowing when they need to talk and when they just need time alone to process what they are feeling, is very important. When your first-responder mate is quiet or somewhat distant, it isn’t always about you. Most of the time they are trying to come to terms with issues on their own before bringing them to your attention. Giving them the time they need without feeling resentful can be difficult, but it’s necessary. Understand when your partner needs to talk, and make sure you are there for them when that time comes. Learning to put your law-enforcement spouse’s needs before your own when they really need your understanding, support, and care is a valuable skill to cultivate.

Complaining or trying to force your spouse to talk can ruin a first-responder marriage. Your spouses have chosen a life of service, and you need to step up and be strong and independent so you can lead your family, often in the absence of your first-responder mate. Complaining about the way things are will not change them; it will only make the situation worse. 

Remember that time with your spouse is precious; value it and make the most of it. Try not to spend your time together complaining that they are never home and that you always have to do things alone. They know that, and it hurts them as well. First responders see many terrible things during their work, experience trauma and acute stress, and often have feelings of helplessness. They want and need to be able to come home to a safe, peaceful, and loving home. If they know that at the end of their shift they will be greeted with complaints and arguments, they will likely choose to go elsewhere.

It’s critical to keep the lines of communication open, without prying or nagging. Try to be patient. First responders often need some downtime when they come home so they can recharge, release the day, and tune in to being at home as an engaged and active parent and/or spouse.

Let your first-responder spouse know that you are always there for them whenever they need you or want to talk. Your role as their most essential pillar of support is to be there as a positive, loving, and understanding mate who helps keep them well. You are an essential silent partner for their emotional survival and ability to process what they experience at work. Remember that your spouse needs to be focused at work; their life and the safety of others depend on that. Don’t get into arguments on the phone or discuss home issues while they’re at work because you need to talk about it. Your first-responder spouse needs to remain focused at work to be safe.

The life of a first responder is a constant roller coaster of emotion. Between shift work, overtime, court cases, never-ending stress, and critical incidents, life always seems to be changing. There is a lot more to being a first-responder spouse than spending nights and holidays alone. Remember that your mate would much rather be at home with you; the separation hurts both of you.

If you’re a police spouse, go on a ride-along with your husband or wife at work to get a better understanding of what they face each day. You’ll begin to understand that the second they put on their uniform, they become more alert, serious, multitasking, energized, and decisive. After ten to twelve hours of this, they may come home tired, remote, grumpy, and disengaged, wanting to be left alone and not have to make any decisions. Allow them to have some downtime when coming home; they need it to regain balance and tune in to home life.

For first responders, having a supportive partner is something precious. By assisting your first-responder loved one in processing much of the stress, danger, suffering, and evil they deal with on a daily basis, you can become their lifeline.

# # #

Dan Willis, a retired captain of the La Mesa, CA, police department, is the author of Bulletproof Spirit. He is a former homicide investigator and SWAT commander who has developed wellness programs and specializes in providing emotional-survival and wellness training to first responders. Find him online at   

Based on the book Bulletproof Spirit. Copyright © 2014 by Dan Willis.






May 2019 (3)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (4)
January 2019 (5)
December 2018 (3)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (4)
June 2018 (5)
May 2018 (7)
April 2018 (5)
March 2018 (5)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (5)
December 2017 (3)
November 2017 (6)
October 2017 (6)
September 2017 (6)
August 2017 (6)
July 2017 (5)
June 2017 (7)
May 2017 (6)
April 2017 (6)
March 2017 (8)
February 2017 (5)
January 2017 (5)
December 2016 (6)
November 2016 (8)
October 2016 (6)
September 2016 (7)
August 2016 (6)
July 2016 (6)
June 2016 (7)
May 2016 (7)
April 2016 (6)
March 2016 (7)
February 2016 (6)
January 2016 (6)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (7)
October 2015 (7)
September 2015 (6)
August 2015 (7)
July 2015 (9)
June 2015 (9)
May 2015 (8)
April 2015 (9)
March 2015 (9)
February 2015 (8)
January 2015 (8)
December 2014 (7)
November 2014 (7)
October 2014 (9)
September 2014 (9)
August 2014 (8)
July 2014 (10)
June 2014 (8)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
March 2014 (9)
February 2014 (9)
January 2014 (7)
December 2013 (7)
November 2013 (4)
October 2013 (5)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (4)
July 2013 (3)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (3)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (2)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (4)
October 2012 (5)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (3)
July 2012 (2)
June 2012 (3)
May 2012 (2)
April 2012 (3)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (3)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (4)
November 2011 (3)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (2)
June 2011 (3)
May 2011 (3)
April 2011 (4)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (3)
January 2011 (1)
December 2010 (3)
November 2010 (3)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (2)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (4)
June 2010 (2)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (5)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (1)