June 10, 2010

Reservist Wife Cares for Combat PTSD Veteran: To Blame or Not to Blame

As I was working online today, I got an email in regards to this blog. A wonderful email which really reduced me to tears, which by the way, have been trying to push aside. Thank you so much for sending me that, and know that what was said will always remain between you and I except the permission you gave me on the used statements.

The subject of "Being angry at my spouse for his mental issues," and "Do you ever blame your husband for the way he is?" Really made me think. I can totally relate to your anger, because I live with it every day. Some days are moderately ok....eeking by one hour at a time, and if he's gone from the house, worrying from minute to minute until he is back. Other days, the damn hours are so long that you wish it was bedtime the minute you roll out of bed!

The 'Blame Game'. Do I ever blame my husband? OH YEAH!

As you suddenly get thrown into the role of caregiver to your spouse with PTSD/TBI, everything as you know it suddenly changes. It's even harder if you have children in the household, because as I have mentioned before in another blog...you suddenly lost a husband, gained another child and the kids have lost their dad as they knew him. What's left is this empty pod person who has no emotions and incapable of feeling anything, and you are suddenly left making excuses and dealing with a lot of resentment and anger from the children. You as a spouse, must make up for your needs, your losses, and your failure to fix everything.

Miss Mistress expresses her frustration, fear and feelings of failure...
It's one of the hardest things to do in my entire life, to tell my children, no....we can't go to Chuckey Cheese's because the noise bothers daddy. No son, please do play the video games too loud because the sudden pops makes your dad go off....or no, we can't go to the movies with dad, but I can take you. No matter what you do or say, they don't fully comprehend it. Then as the spouse, you are left with this deep, burning, rolling frustration and anger in the pit of your stomach. As a mother, you get sick and tired of letting down your children and wonder what this will do to them as adults. I know, I know...children are highly resilient. No matter though....what is the long term damage on them when they become adults?

Then when you think you can get over that funky feeling and ward off a nervous breakdown, you must deal with how you feel. There you have the resentment, the anger, the frustration and so much more that you literally want to turn on your spouse and say " GET OVER IT"....I know in my mind, he has problems. I know in my heart, that I should not be that way and chide myself for being selfish for wanting mine and my family's needs met, but I can't help it. I stay angry...all the time. I hate who I have become because I never used to be this way. I am sometimes ashamed of myself because I feel like a failure as a human being and a wife. Should you blame? No. It really isn't their fault. Is it right for you to blame? That question is somewhat hard to answer because mentally, they are not capable as they were before and don't know what to do. Mentally? Yes. I would think it would be a normal reaction and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you got to let it out, and feel what you are going to feel.....whether it's wrong or right. Otherwise, we are going to be lumped in with our Vets with PTSD incapable of feeling or showing our emotions. Don't do that to yourself.

I blame my husband although it's not his fault. I blame him for not being strong enough to fight back, or even try as I am trying. I blame him for not being there for me and the kids, missing important milestones in their lives, missing the years we have lost since he has been home. I blame him for yelling at me when his anger is misdirected, blame him for letting me down and no longer being my rock to lean on...I blame him for not helping out more and for letting my children down. I can't blame him for having PTSD/TBI because it's not his fault. I know from past drunken episodes, that my husband saw some pretty horrific things. Things I would never repeat, things you would think that would not ever happen or just simply blind to, things he told me that I still can't help but think of from time to time. Anyone who saw this stuff on a daily basis, who can blame them for having PTSD? It just happens and I know that it is indeed an unseen wound that just never goes away.

As for dealing with it...I have no answers. I really wish I did. I don't want any of you to look for me for answers on "how to deal" because honestly this is how I deal. I write, I speak about it, I volunteer, and I stay busy. I read a lot on not just this subject but many. You have to find yourself an outlet for the anger and frustration, or it will eat you up inside. The best thing I can say is, do you love your spouse enough to deal with this the rest of your life? Are you strong enough and have the will to fight PTSD together. You really have to look at it as PTSD is simply an outside unwanted visitor. My husband and I are trying to get on one side of the team and working together...hopefully through counseling, we can achieve that goal and perhaps fight it. It's a long road, and you got to have a lot of strength. Find others who are in the same situation and get together...sometimes just letting it all loose, stepping away from it for a while, is the best thing for you. I hope that helps somewhat. I am learning as you are learning, and each one of us is different.

Hopefully in our lifetime or our children's, they can find a cure for PTSD/TBI and our children and their spouses will never have to face what we are going through. You must feel what you feel, and never apologize for that. Once you do that, you have forever lost yourself like your spouse. Thank you for the wonderful emails today and encouragement, and know you are not alone. I am trying to answer all of them as soon as I can and I will answer each one!

Virtual hugs to you all,

Uncle Sam's Mistress

2 comments:

  1. Isn't it amazing how when you write with such emotion behind every word you write some of your most eloquent and insightful pieces? This is raw... rubbed back to the bare bone for all to see.

    And you are right... "don't look to me for answers", I feel like saying the same to those that ask me how I cope or for tips on dealing with their loved ones.

    Each of our veteran spouses is unique, their underlying personalities and their combat experiences are all different. My husband is extremely introverted. I've only seen him come unglued once and that was during a very scary road-rage episode.

    I could say hang in there, chin up, good job, you're so strong, etc. But if you're anything like me you don't feel "strong" you're just "coping".

    D

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  2. D, yes....was never much of a writer and still takes me some time to figure out what I want to say. I write just like I feel, except I have the paper/blog instead of a counselor or friend to talk to. I am getting more and more emails stemming from my blog and scott's, with just "atta girl" comments and then some "how do you deal with it?" Beats the hell out of me! I am lumped in with all of those who email and just write about it. I never said I was an expert, just merely stating how it is. I do wish I had all the answers, but I don't. I think that is the most heartbreaking thing I have to write back in response. I can't help you, I don't have the answers, can't even direct you to the right resource...BUT I know how you feel, know what you are going through, and yes, it's ok to feel the way you do. I think that helps me most of all..........

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