top of page
  • georgialeearts


Updated: Jul 10

Source:  Bing Free Images

Written by Georgia Lee Arts

July 10, 2024

Coming Home: The Journey of a Woman Veteran

When a woman veteran comes home, she faces a unique and often complex journey of reintegration. "Coming home" is more than just a physical return; it's an emotional, psychological, and social process that requires recognition, support, and a community that values her service. Yet, for many women veterans, this journey is fraught with challenges, from being the "new kid on the block" to facing relational aggression and stolen valor in unexpected ways. 

Recognition of Service: More Than a Thank You

For women veterans, recognition of service is paramount. It's not just about receiving a thank you; it's about acknowledging the sacrifices, skills, and experiences that come with military service. This recognition validates their contributions and helps bridge the gap between their military and civilian identities. Without this acknowledgment, women veterans can feel invisible and undervalued, exacerbating the challenges of reintegration.

The New Kid on the Block: Facing Insecurity and Threats

Returning to civilian life often means entering new social and professional circles. For women veterans, being the new kid on the block can be daunting. They may encounter insecurity and perceived threats from established members of these groups. This can manifest as exclusion, reluctance to offer support, and even outright hostility. The tight-knit nature of some communities can make it difficult for outsiders, particularly those with strong and unique backgrounds, to find their footing.

Relational Aggression: The Silent Saboteur

One of the most insidious challenges women veterans face is relational aggression. In nine years of experience and collected data the profile of a female bully is that she is networked, employed, in community leadership, nonprofit, medical, or wellness role.  This form of aggression, characterized by exclusion, gossip, and manipulation, can be incredibly damaging. In competitive environments, some individuals may feel threatened by the skills and experiences of a veteran, leading to attempts to undermine and isolate them. This behavior affects the veteran’s ability to integrate and erodes their sense of belonging and wellness.  The bully will publicly profess that she is concerned about veteran homelessness, 22 A Day, employment, breaking the barriers, and collaboration while being a contributing factor to why the veteran can't come home and integrate.

Stolen Valor and Stolen Identity

Stolen valor traditionally refers to the unauthorized wearing of military medals by individuals who did not earn them. However, in civilian life, a similar concept can emerge: the theft of service and business identity. Women veterans may find their ideas, experiences, and achievements appropriated by others seeking to shine brighter and gain community recognition. This stolen identity diminishes the veteran's visibility and prevents them from establishing a professional identity along with the compensation and credit due that they rightfully deserve.

Building a Supportive Community

To combat these challenges, it is crucial to foster a supportive community that genuinely values the contributions of women veterans. This involves:

Active Recognition: Beyond a perfunctory thank-you, actively recognizing and celebrating the unique skills and experiences that women veterans bring to the table.

Inclusive Practices: Creating environments that welcome new members and value diverse backgrounds, ensuring that women veterans feel included and supported.

Addressing Relational Aggression: Raising awareness about the damaging effects of relational aggression and promoting a culture of collaboration over competition.  Women supporting the bully are bullies by proxy.

Protecting Identity: Ensuring that women veterans receive proper credit for their contributions and ideas, safeguarding their professional and personal identities from appropriation.


"Coming home" for a woman veteran is a multifaceted journey that requires more than just physical return. It demands recognition, support, and a community that understands and values their service. By addressing the challenges of insecurity, relational aggression, and stolen identity, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment where women veterans can truly thrive instead of finding themselves on a community battlefield. Their service deserves nothing less.

For coaching email

To be a guest on the Elysian Dream podcast: “Dream Journey, Breaking the Dream Barriers” ™ send an email to

Georgia Lee Arts, founder of Elysian Dream, is a degreed career strategist and certified coach. She has 30+ years of experience in leadership, training, and coaching.


27 views0 comments


bottom of page