January 21, 2010

It's My Pity Party and I'll Cry if I Want to

It’s Friday morning and my husband leaves the house for the VA to attend one of his support groups and I’m left home alone. I use the time to vacuum (a noisy chore that may upset my husband), empty the dishwasher (another noisy chore that may startle him), and throw in a load of laundry. It is a scene of domestic normality as the cat follows me from room to room curiously observing me dust and mop. I spray down the kitchen counter top and proceed to wipe away the crumbs from breakfast, a mindless task that finds me gazing out the French doors. On the wall, the new 2010 calendar just recently hung briefly catches my attention and I move in for a closer look to check some of the appointments I have jotted down.
  • Hubby’s VA group
  • Hubby’s Psychologist appointment
  • Hubby’s Primary Care Physician appointment
  • Hubby’s Nurse Practitioner appointment
  • ...and on, and on, and on
Hmmm, hubby, hubby, hubby. I flip through the months and the only appointment I can find for myself is my bi-annual teeth cleaning. Wtf! What about me? Where is my support group? Where is my psychologist? Oh shit, am I feeling sorry for myself?

Break out the violin, send for the waaaaambulance, do you want some cheese with that whine? Boo fucking hoo, but I still can't stop myself from wondering who’s in my corner cheering me on? “You’re doing great...you are a strong and resourceful woman” Nah, it’s not happening. And just like the sugar crash that comes after drinking a giant Red Bull I suddenly feel incredibly guilty. How dare I detract from his suffering, how dare I question why he needs so much therapeutic rehabilitation?

Let me just say this it is okay to have those thoughts and feelings. What is not okay is to allow those feelings to become the "elephant in the room". It is there, and it is real. Please discuss with your combat vet the fact that you may need to seek some help. His problems and your problems should not become dueling banjos competing for the number one spot. You need to seek support just as much for yourself as for your vet. You need to remain strong and yet allow yourself to recognize the vulnerability in yourself because you are human.


  1. Awesome insights, to identify the needs you have in contrast with your husbands. To perceive the attached guilt and shame with meeting your needs and him seeking his, all the while the later has become lost within your husbands.

    I want to share with you a revelation that I had early in my journey of recovery. Just because I had good insights did not mean that they translate easily to my own life. I thought that all I had to do was identify the problem and all would be healed, taken care of or whatever. I came to realize the practicing my new lessons learned came with a price, more pain. But this new pain came with rewards that enabled me to countervail the pain of the past.

  2. I hear you...it's almost like you know what is technically/academically correct or acceptable but putting those things into practice only forces you to face your pain.....but I am on my third vodka so maybe I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about!

  3. You got it, 3rd Vodka or not it is within you.

  4. Now that I'm almost 13 years out of it, I can read that and wonder why on earth she isn't taking care of herself...why she feels like he is the priority...? But I am over 13 years out now...

    It was never enough. Couldn't ever be enough. If he was the priority, we all were victims. It didn't matter how good I was, didn't matter how good anything was, he victimized us. It was only after leaving, after getting help, that I saw all his behavior as abusive...and now, even all these years later, all four of us are still dealing with the emotional and psychological repercussions of HIS PTSD. It's rather ironic that now WE have PTSD.

    Where the hell is our website? Where is our cause? Who cares about us or is raising money for us or donates therapy time? No one cares that we had to leave everything and had no money, no insurance. It doesn't matter to anyone if we were homeless or lived in hideous conditions or had to be in hiding. How many people think about the (former) military wives & children who have to flee? Does anyone look at their stories? Where are their resources? What's happened to them? (I can't tell you how many people have said to me, "I'm SURE there's some sort of assistance you can get for those kids; He's a VETERAN, for goodness sakes!" What a joke.)

    I know how real and horrific PTSD is because I live with it, my children live with it, and (take note here) this PTSD sufferer actually rises above my own suffering for my own children to help them. How the hell can ANYONE see someone they love suffer like this and not get to a point somehow, at some time, when they dig as deep as they fucking need to???

    Get help for yourself. NOW.


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