Friday, December 30, 2016

Combat PTSD, Legacy of Leaving?

Fight Back For Their Sake
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 30, 2016

He still has PTSD but I have a good marriage and so do a lot of us older wives. We wanted to leave a legacy of love, not of leaving.
How is it that we knew more then? Thirty-two years later, it seems as if most of us knew what to do so that we could have better lives with PTSD than this generation knows now. The other thing is that back then, we had to learn the hard way.

No one was going to the press to get coverage for talking about raising awareness for themselves while doing absolutely nothing meaningful. We had a hard enough time to get the press to report on what all of us were going through. 

No social media groups to seek out. No cell phones to call for help or even phone numbers other than 911. No computers to link us to others, or have the basic ability to learn about others so we no longer felt all alone.


Maybe we were just doing whatever we could because our lives depended on getting whatever help we could to help them? 

Ok, enough of that. What got me started on this is I read an article on Ask Ms. Vickie about a wife going through what all of us did.
I am a wife of a lieutenant colonel in Army Reserve. We have been married for 25 years. The first 10 years were fairly normal with some ups and downs.
The next 10 years from 2001 until 2011, my husband served multiple deployments overseas for the most recent two wars. He seemed to be gone more than he was home. Those were very turbulent years. Among those deployments were two-year deployments to Afghanistan, and his last deployment was one year in Iraq.
Sound familiar?  If not this next part will.
He is done with his counseling now, but not much else has changed. He lies about things and takes me for granted. He keeps threatening to file for divorce.
I've never stopped loving him and I can't see my life without him, but he acts like he doesn't love me and he says that he is numb to me. I know that all of this fits the PTSD pattern.
Is there anything that can be done or anything out there that might be able to save my marriage? Thank you for your help!
Normally she is pretty good with the advice but not so much this time.
So my question for you is, why you are staying with someone who doesn't respect you and doesn't want to be with you? In my opinion, he's already saying the marriage is over. You're the only one fighting for the marriage.
Good Lord! If I had a dollar for every time my husband said stuff like this hubby does, I'd have a second house! Everything going on comes with the territory. How about she suggest he actually see a counselor that knows what he/she is talking about? Like maybe one with the specialized training in combat trauma?

Yes, Ms. Vickie is right to talk about getting away from physical abuse. There is no excuse for that at all. It would have been a lot more helpful for her to explain to the "wife" why he does what he does, thinks the way he does and treats his family like this.

Most of it comes with PTSD, when they think they do not deserve help at the same time they demand respect from us. When they feel so miserable about what is going on inside of them, they want the rest of the family to be miserable too, then wonder why we are. When they are suffering and seek out anything to feel better, like buying stuff, making bad decisions, cheating or thrill seeking. That list is pretty endless, but while they don't seem to mind using that energy for all that, they can't seem to find the strength to fight back against what PTSD is doing to them or their family.

Twisted? Yep but when you understand what PTSD is, and what it does to them, you know the person we fell in love with is still in there. 

Advice to the "wife" is, get to a safe place, then learn whatever you can about what PTSD is. No matter if you go back with him or not, you still have to live with yourself and help your kids recover from all of this. 

It has nothing to do with you or really, even the way he feels about you, since it is a pretty safe bet that he doesn't feel much at all. You may be thinking it is about what you lack, but it isn't. Your kids wonder about themselves as well. They think it is their fault. Trust me. I did when I was an Army brat and then when I was older, a vet-Army wife. (Hubby was already out of the Army by the time we met.) 

We went though all that was bad but came out on the other side and we still hold hands when we go shopping. I wasn't just the only one fighting for my marriage, anymore than a lot of my friends were just fighting for theirs. We were fighting for our lives and the future we were creating for our kids.

Is it hard? Hell yes! We split up more times in the beginning than I can even remember but we never once stopped talking. He knew I love him but he also knew what I wouldn't put up with.

The last thing hubby or wife needs is a lazy lover. They need someone who loves them enough to fight for them. There was no way in hell I was about to let Vietnam take my husband away from me. She had him for just one year but haunted him trying to keep him with her. I said, screw that! I learned about that enemy and knew her weakness. I knew that love was a good weapon but it was like an unloaded bow. I didn't just have to figure out how to make the arrows but how to use them. So here's some sound advice.

Mood swings Use the good mood swings to enjoy a day together. Don't screw it up with talking about what they did wrong during a bad day. On a bad day, walk away. Go off and do what you want to do without hostility against him. Have your own life when he can't be part of it and share it when he can. Always let him know he is welcome to come with you but never force him to go or you'll both have a miserable time.

Learn what battles to fight and what ones to let go of
Your enemy is PTSD. Not him. It is trying to destroy the same person willing to risk their lives for the sake of someone else. That comes from a very strong emotional core that few others have. Think about the size of the population of this country then understand less than 1% serve now and less than 10% are veterans. Our husband are not the only rare ones. So are we!

Is it worth losing sleep because he didn't unload the dishwasher or take the trash out? Is it worth an argument because you want to go to a movie and the thought of sitting in dark theater with a bunch of strangers behind him is so repulsive that he causes a fight right before you are heading out the door? Pick you battles because you need as much time and energy as you can get to destroy the enemy instead of helping it defeat the person you are supposed to love.

It is alway easier to walk away than to stay in the short term but there is something you need to consider. If you walk away too soon without giving it all you have to give and getting whatever you can to help you help him, what will you miss?

If you thought they were special enough to fall in love with, then why aren't they special enough to fight for now? When I think about the last 15 years or so, imagining I would have gone though the worst times, walked away and would have missed the best times, it make me sick to think of all I would have missed. He still has PTSD but I have a good marriage and so do a lot of us older wives. We managed to do it all with a lot less than wives have now. We wanted to leave a legacy of love, not of leaving.