by Scott R. Tucker

July 20, 2021

Tom Satterly

In this episode, we have Tom Satterly, a retired CSM Delta Force, best-selling author of All Secure, co-founder and co-CEO of All Secure Foundation, professional speaker, and podcast host. Let us gain more insight about the secret to getting beyond PTSD through strong relationships and much more.

Episode Highlights:

  • 02:44- Journey of Tom’s after the transition

  • 10:39- What should people come to All secure for, and how they're being served?

  • 17:22- Addressing the relationship issue 

  • 19:50- Relationship dealing with the pandemic 

Key Points:

  1. The relationship is work, and we should put effort to be good at it. 

  2. We have not been taught of everything, admit that you need help,  ask for help, and start taking care of yourself.

  3. The solution to solving PTSD is the strong relationship


  • “What we don't realize is that we put all our efforts into helping other people in the serving industry, but we never take care of ourselves”

  • “Be aware that it's physically impossible to have been taught of everything, and so start listening to people and judge less”

Transcript of Episode 043 with Tom Satterly - Getting Beyond PTSD

Scott Tucker: All right. Welcome back everybody. To another episode of Veteran Wealth Secrets. I'm Scott Tucker. And Hey, if you're joining us for the first time please subscribe, hit the like button below. Share with a friend. Our mission here is to help veterans coming out of the military, whether it's still active duty and they're planning for it, or they're in the middle of transition or they're already out and starting to realize, Hey, I want to, I'll need to look for something else.

Something different to help me out. And oftentimes, we put so much focus on the individual Veteran as we should, of course, but. We need to account for that military spouse and the experience that they went through. And there's absolutely nobody better to talk to us about that today than former Sergeant ma command Sergeant major Tom Satterley.

I'm so honored to have him on the show. Tom is a highly decorated combat veteran. Having served in the army for 25 years. The last 20 of which in the U S military is most elite tier one unit Delta force has been involved in and led some of our nation's most important military campaigns. He was, he fought in and was portrayed in the Oscar winning the 2001 film black Hawk down, which was the longest sustained firefight since Vietnam.

He's also the author of all secure a best-selling book on Amazon. It's a special oper operation soldiers fight to survive on the battlefield and the Homefront. And that's, what's so important what we want to talk about today. So the founder of the all secure foundation, Tom Satterley. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Tom Satterly: Hey, thanks Scott. I appreciate you.

Scott Tucker: Yeah, what you're doing is absolutely so important. My wife's got a podcast called holding down the Fort to focus on bringing more education to the military family. We ended, we're talking mostly about understanding benefits and how military careers work and that kind of stuff.

I think that has a play into post-military life, of course. But at the end of the day, we know the major issue facing our community is PTSD and. You've been in so many situations, I'm sure where you've got a lot of stories to tell. And we'd love to get into that, of course, but really, I know what your main mission is so important, but let's say time, you had a 25 year career.

You had to be thinking at some point during that time, what am I going to do after the military? Walk us through what your thoughts were as you're ending your career and what ended up happening. So you ended up creating.

Tom Satterly: Yeah here's exactly what happened. I had zero thoughts about my next life, my next career.

I was so dedicated to my job and into it, and I was suffering from PTSD that I, I didn't know, I was just drinking, hanging out. I was miserable. So I, I didn't plan and I literally retired and a friend. Called me within 10 days. Within 10 days, I was in a module and living there teaching the Jordanian army, how to be special forces qualified.

It was somebody looking for a job. I took it, it was a contract position. I lived on month Jordan for a year and a half, but I had zero plans. I got lucky that I got that job when I got out. In 2010, the jobs were starting to dry up a little bit, but there was some contract jobs out there that paid well, but again, you're gone, you're overseas. You're not family. That life continues, there was no moment for me. It was the same for my spouse. It was the same. He's gone. He's gone for months at a time. He'll be home for two weeks and he's got to go back and set up for the next course. And he's gone for four months. It'd be home for two weeks.

That was, it was worse when I retired and not having a plan, not saving money, tooling along like most people were, are doing and it came crashing down a year and a half, two years later when that job. And I started looking for contract jobs in the states, and that's when you take whatever, and then you realize that people own you, you feel less worth you don't belong to anything other than I need to make money to survive.

That retirement check doesn't cut it. It's and you start to realize that things that I should have been thinking about two years prior, before retirement, two years, even longer, honestly, just like in life, you should start planning your time. Right on 40, 50 years old. Real retirement.

Yeah. So a lot of people don't make those plans in the military. It's, you're taken care of. You're given things, you have the money. You have enough money to live and do some decent things. Everything else is pretty much covered. And guys don't think to plan on it.

Scott Tucker: Yeah, we, we signed up to the military to serve and how, you know how to get paid more get promoted it's or stay in longer.

It's pretty easy math. Yeah, like you said, a lot of things are taken care of for us. But at the end of the day, there is family life for the majority of us. And we got to be aware of that. So talk to us about what was that like as you were coming through transition and when did you realize you needed to really take a look at this a lot deeper?

Tom Satterly: Probably after my third divorce Morel was about a year and a half after retirement. I think that year and a half in Jordan did it in I had a he's 21 now, I had probably 15, 14, 13 year old son that I didn't know at the time I'm still don't know. I'm still trying to get to know him still trying to get to where he'll call me back and talk to me like a friend or a father.

But I wasn't there.

What we don't realize is that we put all of our efforts into helping other people, our entire careers, service industry, military law enforcement. We just, we provide for others, we help others and we never take care of ourselves. It's literally the last place that we go to work on is ourselves. And that's when things fall apart, it's work on your relationship.

You don't, relationships. A job is work. Building muscles is work, being good at shooting us work and we put the effort into it to be good at it. Don't put any work into our relationships other than to go home. And Hey, I love you. Bye. You pick a president, on holidays and maybe some flowers if I think about it.

But we don't put the work. We need to put into our relationships and then we wonder why they start to tank. I'm on my fourth, last wife and I learned a lot. Finally, after retirement, when hit rock bottom, almost lost this life, behaving the same way, acting out for PTs drinking, living that life, but not putting in work into my relationship.

Not being self-aware. Figuring out what's causing the issues right. On the common denominator and for marriages. Aren't I, so all that she didn't do this and she didn't understand this. I'm like, wow. All those women. So when you become self-aware to the point of, I haven't been taught everything.

finally realized that I haven't been taught everything that there is to know on this earth. And it's physically impossible for me to know everything. It's physically impossible for me to have been taught everything by the people. But all I know is what I've been doing. And so when I realized that's so small, that's such a small amount of information.

I can open my eyes and start listening to other people and judging less. And I was in that military that PTs kind of environment of, this is the culture, right? We're hard. We're just what we do. We, we pull in tight, but when that's gone and you miss it so much, you feel so alone that guys are taking their lives and that's a huge number.

The worst enemy for any military person or themselves, we've killed ourselves in greater numbers than the enemy has ever killed us in taking our own lives. And that's a problem. But the bigger problem is the hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering that haven't taken their lives suffering.

They're still out there potentially could take their lives, but they're suffering. So the numbers so much bigger people's suffering. 90% of what we get from people, or I need help in my relationship. I'm losing my family. I'm screaming my kids all the time. It's always the same. It's literally, I don't care where you worked, what you did.

The stories are different that way. But on this side of it, I need help with my relationship. I have anger issues. I don't know how to manage things, but we do. We've been taught everything we need to know. We just don't apply it on the battlefield run. Yeah. We don't have rules when we fight with our spouse, we should have rules because when you violate those rules, you did that nuclear button, right?

Oh honey. Yeah. You throw that, that one thing, drives her crazy. Just so you win the argument. Then she turns around and tries to win. The argument says something back that she knows is going to really upset you. So now that cycle starts, instead of the relationship winning each individual's trying to win and the relationship loses.

So having a self-awareness to catch yourself, Walk away admit that, okay, this is not the way to handle things and come back. But yet we're our own worst enemies. We won't take care of ourselves. We won't admit that we might need a little help and it might be from outside source. And that person may or may not have been to combat.

I'm not talking to somebody let's say been to combat and understand it. You just limited 90% of the people in the world that can. Yeah.

Scott Tucker: Yeah. Yeah. It's funny that you said it, we spent so much time, training and working with, our weapons systems and our teammates so that we can operate most effectively.

And yet we don't tend to do that with our spouse because we think, Hey, we have the issues they don't understand, or maybe, Hey, we don't want to talk to them about it. But I know your mantra is that the solution to solve PTSD is the strong relationship. What, w what is it that that you guys do at all secure that when people come to you or what should people come to you for and how do you.

Tom Satterly: People come to us for everything. We've had suicides suicide of a child, suicide of a spouse. Those are horrible and we handle everything with truth. We're not therapists. Okay. We're friends, we're here to help you with experiences. And when someone calls me and says, my son just killed themselves, and I know that exact same person wanting to kill himself a year ago, when we got them out of that, now this person is my son.

BB took, my son, took the golden bullet, The way we view things is crazy. Problems we want to fix or solve problems can't we remove them. And when we can't fix ourselves and we can't, I think we can't fix ourselves, then we remove the problem. But wait, people it's relationships. I scream at my kids when the dishes are dirty or, they don't do what they're supposed to.

So we're taking our past muscle memory from combat or training. And we're applying it to a home situation. They're not, I've heard this, I'm not your soldier, I'm not your private, and it's true. Civilians want to be taught that way, and we act like our way's the best way. Our way is the way it might be in combat, dominate that from get on top of it, no matter what.

And then sorted out and everybody lives, or few amount of casualties as well. But at home, it's not that way. At home, the dishes can be dirty. There might be a reason, thousands of reasons of lost relationships with children, because there's a little problem with daddy, the doll arm on my arm, on my doll, bro.

It's not a real arm who, okay. Kids, aren't net for combat. They're not supposed to grow up already, so we need to let them be children, but we're such teachers. We try to teach them everything to save them. My job is to make sure that they can live on their own out there in the world. It's a shitty, tough world as opposed to getting on the floor and talking to the children and their little problems are big to them.

And if you don't listen to the little problems, they won't come to you with their big problems later, lo and behold, I've learned that one, right? So we help them with, by giving tools. We can't do the work for anybody, right? It's hard. Work relationships are hard, work. Anything you want is hard.

You want a relationship? You better work hard at it, or he or she is going to strip. They're going to cheat. Why someone's going to say that's a nice dress or that's a nice jacket and you're gonna. Somebody paid attention to me. And that felt good because at home it's just normal every day, it's boring anymore.

So you have to flirt, you have to date your spouse. You have to keep it active or that's just the natural order of things. You just can't demand. Someone stay with you and do nothing your whole life. It gets boring and old. And so you have to work at it. So we give the couples the tools. To work at it.

Here's some tools and they're conversational. They're communication skills. They're easy to apply. You'll screw it up along the way, because your muscle memory is one way it's over here, yelling, screaming, and dominating. There's a new thing we're learning, just like basic training. It's overwhelming until you get ahold of it and then you get little good at it and then you get better at it.

Then it's your new way. And that's the effort we have to put into our relationships. We have to make rules. So we don't go out of bounds. We have to make a plan for when we're going to, not if, but when we fight. So we know when to break away from it, come back, keep it civil. We have to plan and talk about how we're gonna, talk with our children and our family.

And we have to share our life experiences. You're not protecting your spouse by not sharing it. They know kids know when you're messed up kids. They know when you're screwed up, they're smarter than you think. They just don't know how to ask you because they haven't taught those words. What's going on?

Hey, Dan's got a tough job. Mom's got a tough job. You don't have to say, I buy parts from everywhere. Okay. That's a story, but it's a tough job, man. And people die. And it's hard when I come home, I'm not always right there and they'll understand and learn how to live together. And that's why we work on the spouses so much.

It's you can't just help one part of that because when they come home that lives, their life happens and that's, what's been going on your entire life. You're at work, doing one thing. You come home and do another, we want you to be doing that all the time. And it doesn't matter if you're CEO of an organization putting on all the hours, trying to keep your organization.

You're there. You're not at home. Something's got to give the military pro sports. Anything that you spend a lot of time, have to be good at. It takes away from something else. So you gotta make a plan to pay attention to that. Other thing.

Scott Tucker: No. You said it exactly right? I actually, this last year is the first time my wife and I did any sort of couples counseling one we've found an organization through a veterans group where they're offered it for free and we're like, heck, we're all just sitting around anyways, how can this hurt?

And it's helped tremendously and just little things, honestly, recognize. Hey, everybody's got a trigger, instead of, and it'll escalate very quickly to your response mechanism of what your assumptions are, what the other person's doing. And so it's just a real quick little thing like that.

It's just been so helpful. How do we make more veterans? And I just never thought about it. I was like, eh, totally. I've had life coaches and stuff before, but I never thought we had problems in a way where it's I needed that kind of stuff. Now. I wasn't in heavy combat. I was down range, but I was an officer.

So I sit in talks, but but still there, there were things coming out of the military. I don't recognize. That I portray on my wife and boy, I wish I would start at it from day one to be talking about that stuff because, even she was not with me when I was active, but she was a a military child.

She was a gold star. Lost her father to suicide when he was at year 17 he jumped off a ship and yeah it's just crazy. She never dealt with that for 20 years

Tom Satterly: and we think there's nothing wrong with us, but just by what you tell them, that's a stack on top of something and dealt with it's and people aren't killing themselves.

They're hitting their hands screaming. I miss Johnny from combat, or I missed that. They're having and dealt with childhood trauma. That's resurfacing due to. Combat and stress, and it's almost always and dealt with trauma from previous issues.

Scott Tucker: Yeah. No stress. Yeah. That's, it's so true. And just having her kind of recognize that she recognized she had, oh, I am actually in the military and I know maybe a lot of military spouses, you live the military spouse life, but of course you're not feeling you're in it.

So there's a lot of disconnect there. So for both perspectives w I, if, for folks that aren't quite seeing yet I need to address this relationship issue. How do we wake them up and say, Hey, go work on the relationship first.

Tom Satterly: That's easy. They've been throwing that book at you since you were private.

Yes. Keep it working. So it doesn't break preventive, maintenance, checks and services. How many times do you read those manuals and maybe I'm dating myself. They got funny change the oil in your vehicle. So it doesn't

Scott Tucker: break. It's an iPad. It's automated,

Tom Satterly: but now it's easy. So now it's, there's, it's written down how to take care of something.

So you don't break it because it's harder to work on it when it's broken. What's a relationship. Call it a vehicle, do preventative maintenance on it. Keep it spicy, keep it real, keep it happy. Keep it interesting. Keep them communication. Flood. You're growing apart. You're growing different. As you grow up, we mature, we grow differently and if we don't communicate and especially if you're a part, a lot in the military or any other job sales.

Okay. We grow apart. And so it's work like everything else, you treat it like a job or relationship is a job. And if you don't work at it, it will fail. Trust me, I didn't work at three of them. I worked at a job that had my, had any of my previous spouses said it's me or that I would've said see ya, because I had spent so much time and energy into this one thing and it led into the other.

What's the value out of it when you married and you should have, I was a kid when I married, man, we're still young. When we married, we don't know military people shouldn't marry until 30. Nobody should really married till 30 and get grown up anyway. But military people marry young and then they grew up in a lot of spouses.

I'm sorry, guys, my wife, we, we have another website Virago and she wrote a book arsenal of both about the other side. A lot of spouses will never do it. Would you do it all over the soldiers? Like absolutely. And the spouse is like notepad. I know how lonely and hard it would have been.

I wouldn't have done it again. Would I ever tell him that? No. Will we get a divorce? Maybe? I don't know, but I definitely wouldn't have done it again, which means they're not

Scott Tucker: happy now. Wow. Let me, what about what it's going on right now with the lockdowns? All of a sudden everything shift where now people are forced to be at, stay at home.

Are you seeing anything? Is that becoming a positive thing or is that having a negative? Because now we're not used to it. It's okay. And it's. So is there anything folks can be doing right now to deal with our, who knows how long this is going to?

Tom Satterly: So I look at this, like taking a train soldier and an untrained, still an untrained person, throwing them both into combat.

Okay. You go like COVID was the instant PTSD symptoms, isolation, fear of the unknown enemy attacking us. You can't see it disinformation. Oh. Then throw any election, throw in riots, throw in the murder of Warners and throw in whatever else attacked us this year. It's been ridiculous. People are so stressed out that the drinking and drug abuse and spousal abuse is up through the roof.

Suicides went from 22 to 28 a day. It's. The isolation is horrible. There's young soldiers. We've different units that we talked to, that they lost four soldiers in three months. And one of them shot themselves on the range. They went out and got their weapons through the reverends, went out to the ranch and they turned his gun on himself.

So there's more soldiers. This isolation is the worst thing. We all need safety, security, attachment connection, and we start to break apart. I don't care how tough you are. I've worked with the hardest pipe hitters in the world, and I get him crying on the phone, man, our therapists to get them current in, because the reality of it is you're here.

You've been trained to do something that goes against your morals and you've done it so easily with muscle memory in our room. I turn a corner, there's a hands empty. There's another hand gun. Kill it. I don't even know what color was sex, where you're from. There's a gun in your hand. And I know you're not one of my guys you're dead and then I'll assess it later.

That's gone. You don't even think about it, but you been taught your whole life not to do that. So it comes back later when you start thinking about it man, I took, I don't know how many people's lives. And you started to think about it. And then you start to and I'm not talking about crying in the corner, feeling bad because they tried to kill you and your friends, but as time passes, all that kind of thins out, unless you hold hate your whole life, which then you're just not going anywhere anyway, either. But once you start to come out of it and start to humanize again, you start thinking about those lives and you start thinking about man, they think they're the good guys too.

They're fighting for their cause as well. So everything I'm doing is because I was taught this by where I was everything he's doing or she's doing, because it was taught by what they're they brought up and we're going at it for somebody else. Who's just telling us to go at it from each other and see who wins because we need to, and I'm not complaining, I love the military, but I want people to have awareness of what you're doing.

What are you really doing? I'm fighting for my country. That's a slogan. That's a recruitment speech. And it gets you going. It got me going, I'll never done the best training in the world. Yeah. I've seen little kids shoot, highly trained people. Wow. No training, highly trained kid turns a corner and shoots him.

It's, that's it. It's good for, you're pushing for your, for what you believe in, but until you stop and really consider what you believe in can be very little. And what you understand about life can be very limited. Hopefully that pushes you to go out and learn more, go out and understand, go out and investigate and remain curious about everything you do, because once it's safety, security attachment connection starts to break down.

After 24 hours without a hug or connection, people start to break down and it's physically proven that a hug of 30 seconds, 40 seconds. My wife will kill me for not knowing the time. Physiologically biologically changes you, it changes you just like PTs is biological. It changes you. It's not your fault.

It's not because you're afraid or it's not because you're tough. It's biological. You can't do it.

Scott Tucker: No. Tom, thanks. Thank you so much for your honesty on those two, two main points. One having been through so many marriages to, to say, Hey, I need to wake up and find out how to do this is better and help others do it, but also to be aware of, Hey, what we're signing up to serve to do don't just go into it blindly because you get a nice paycheck and benefits.

That, stuff's nice. That's a good, thank you from the American taxpayer, but also realize. There's other people with agendas that have that are telling you what to do. And if we only follow their path also, Hey, how did I get out of the military? How to get a job, how to go on with your life. It's if you just keep following them, you're never going to take full control of your opportunities.

And right now with so many organizations is especially ones like yours that are willing to help. We can take a step back. Open up our eyes and take advantage of really what's so amazing right now the ability to connect and figure out what you really want to do, what your new sense of purpose is.

And I believe that's part of the solving. The problem of PTs is, finding a new sense of purpose to, to make you want to go on. But anyways, thank you so much for coming on, sharing all your insight. Can't wait to. To get into your book and share that with my wife. I know she'll love it, but how do folks get ahold of you who should be contacting you at all?

And yeah. How do they reach you? It's pretty easy.

Tom Satterly: If you go to the website, all secure and you hit contact, that goes to my wife and I, we have everything ourselves. We have a couple of other people that help us, but keep costs low and to keep all that money going back to helping others, we do it ourselves, but all secure work.

Okay. There's a contact button there. We're on Facebook, all secure foundation or me, Tom, Sarah. All that content is the same. It's just us trying to get it out there without getting censored or blocked too, because we're veterans military, and we feel that way that we're hitting it everywhere.

We're on Instagram. We're on Twitter, it all secure beds, but any avenue that you can hit us up on we respond to immediately and. Not immediately, but some of the messages on DMS and things, and I get thousands, it takes a bit, I always tell people, Hey, please email me here. That way, it's more official and it's not Hey, thanks.

And I got to go through thousands of those and I missed

Scott Tucker: something, but we

Tom Satterly: respond right away. And like you were going through therapy this year. We offer that free, right? We'll give you three sessions for free over the phone or zoom, whatever you want. While our therapist finds a therapist in your area locally, that takes your interest.

For you to help you out, continue on. If you want to, where you continue with her, she has the time, but she is so amazing that she understands and everybody that's talked to her once her, it's like something I got to hold on to keep hold of, but she was our like third or fourth therapist for my wife and I, and when we found her, she was so amazing.

We hired her. It was a, and we're, non-stop on the phone with people. There's no excuses. It's free. Nobody's going to know your calling. I don't tell him. I connect you, you talk and people call me back saying, I love her. She's great. I was crying for hours and I'm like, Hey, I appreciate the feedback, but it's private between you and her and nobody can get ahold of this.

So those excuses are gone. If somebody will find out or people will make fun of me or I can't afford it, we want to help people. And that's what we're doing.

Scott Tucker: Awesome. Thanks Tom. And thanks everybody for joining us again today and we'll see it again.


About the author 

Scott R. Tucker

Scott R. Tucker is an author, speaker and the founder of US VetWealth, a lifestyle and financial consulting brand that helps service members go from paychecks and government benefits to wealth and liberty. He likes to say, "I Help The 1% Who Serve Our Country Become The 1% Who Influence It." A West Point graduate, serial world traveler, military financial expert, and entrepreneur, Scott brings valuable experience and insight to those who have sacrificed so much in service to our country.

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