Monday, February 1, 2010

Victim Or Volunteer

From a Spouse who has endured the hell, I wanted to share with you the things they don't tell you in the books:

1. Anger and Resentment: It can be any little thing and any big thing. I find that he is angry about everything most of the time. Not sure always what about, and sometimes the anger is always geared towards me. I find myself wondering what did I do wrong this time? This happens on a weekly if not daily basis, when it's at its peak. Resentment: I find that sometimes I feel he resents me for being here. Resentful that he has children, resentment towards the military, resentment towards the air that he breathes.

2. Sleepwalking: This started out first when I knew something was wrong the first few days he was home. He would fall asleep and then when he was deeply asleep the games would begin. Sometimes it was hollering out, or kicking. Other times I would wake up after feeling movement and find he was standing on the bed trying to work with what reminded me of control buttons, invisible on the ceiling. How in the world this over six foot tall man detoured the ceiling fan that was going every night continuously amazed me. Other times he was walking around not only the bedroom but the rest of the house, looking for someone although never caught his name. Other times he would wake me up and grab me and curse at me. Scared me to death! I mean, getting woke up out of the blue and finding this pod person standing over you and cussing you, doesn't say good morning star shine! The hitting the kicking, was just about too much for me. One night, I woke up and he started yelling about someone not paying attention. When I tried to gently wake him up and say Honey it's me, I got the hands wrapped around my neck and called all sorts of names. Once I hit him back and said dammit let go! He stopped, rolled over and went back to sleep. I never told him about that night, not knowing if one he would believe me, but two make him feel bad. I knew he couldn't help it. I haven't had a good night's sleep since then and it's been over two years.

3. Going anywhere in public: Ok let's face it, most men don't want to go grocery shopping with their spouses or head to Wal-Mart because well Wal-Mart is sometimes a cornerstone to hell if you catch it on a busy day. I guess in the short amount of time we have had to spend with each other, I am so desperate for time with him even grocery shopping allows me to feel like he is with me. Some places he gets irritable and cranky, other places where people start bumping into him he flips out and starts cussing. Other places he just gets so bad I get embarrassed and he ends up leaving and I end up by myself on the verge of tears. Most of the time he is constantly looking for the exits in each room, or scans the perimeter as I see it. Sometimes he just doesn't want to go anywhere period. Our children love love love Chuckey Cheese, and although I can honestly say that place makes me want to be an alcoholic sometimes a parent must endure the crappy stuff just to see their children smile. He on the other hand would rather stay home, let me face the questions of "Mom how come we can't go here or there" and then try to explain that places like that upset daddy or simply, we will go another time. I resent that. Extremely so. I resent we can't go anywhere without an episode or ruining it for the whole family. Some days I just give up on the idea of making memories other than ones that are made here at home or simply put, any memory that we must face that doesn't include him.

4. Paranoia: Gosh, where does one begin? Since he has been home, there have been so many accusations I could not even remember all of them even if I wanted to. Some have been just out and out ludicrous, and others have been so hurtful that I am not even sure I could ever get those comments out of my head. They range from having affairs while he was gone, poisoning him via his meals during supper (although we all ate from same pot and at same time), stealing money from our account and hiding it in a secret stash (what money! It's not like we are making 100 grand a year), and the most hurtful of all......accusing me of getting pregnant on purpose with our two children, to even accusing me of getting pregnant from another man while he was gone and trying to pass it off as his. I got pregnant within the first two weeks he was home, and throughout the whole pregnancy felt no matter what I did I could not prove to him that this was his child. Naturally once he saw his son, and the tell tale trait of his side of the family, no denying that one.

5. Ruins Every Important Moment or Holiday: Sabotage I tell you and I can't figure out why! It doesn't matter whether it's Christmas or anniversary, there is either an instigated fight on his side or he acts like this total monster so we are all angry at him and the event has been ruined. Nowhere in all this PTSD resource information can I find anything remotely pertaining to this.

6. High Sex Drive: I think this has something to do with the adrenaline, or perhaps his medications. He could have sex every day three or four times a day and never be happy with anything less than seven days a week or 365 a year. I read that one of his medications causes his sex drive to be higher, but seriously? No woman could stand seven days a week!

7. Violence: He often gets mad and then he wants to kill that person who ticked him off, of course not literally but still just goes on and on. Sometimes it concerns me, but often enough this type of behavior makes me a little worried. There have been several occasions where I have pushed him out of my way or to get him out of my face and his temper gets the best of him. Once he slapped me in the face. I hate to admit that, especially to a void but this part of him concerns me and scares me. Never one to do such a thing before and he says he doesn't even remember doing it.

8. Blackouts: Sometimes he refers to blackouts like driving down the road and not knowing where he is going or how he got there. Other times when he gets in his tirades, he doesn't remember doing it or the things he says. It's like another part of him takes over and his mind is no longer there.

9. Everything is everyone else's fault: Let's play the blame game ladies and gentlemen! I don't know if this is even relevant to PTSD but seems to be consistent with other spouses I have spoken to whose spouse has PTSD. I can't even get an apology without adding a but so and so ticked me off, or I'm sorry but you constantly nag. Ummm ok. It seems to be a constant thing whether it be at work, friends, at home....always someone else's fault. Most of the time though, I take the blame for any and all....even when he doesn't tell me what's wrong.

10. The Stupid Syndrome: as I so lovingly refer to it. This can be from anything that gives them an adrenaline rush. One night under the influence of several of Busch's products, it was mentioned that him doing stupid stuff gave him the same high or adrenaline rush like he had every time he would go outside the wire overseas. Some can be petty, but others I want to smack him upside the head and yell "are you stupid or do you want to just try and kill yourself!". Hence the name "Stupid Syndrome".

11. Secrecy and Lies: Not really sure how to describe this one as I have all of these "times" rolodexed in my memory like the men claim we have. Mostly it has to do with money, or transactions. Others can be as small as where he was at a friend's house when he was actually somewhere else. At times, I often think he has an affair, as any sane woman would automatically think when there are lies and secrecy, but everything he has done has been verified. So why lie about something so piddly and unimportant? In the entire time we have been married, no lies and no secrets....just since he has been home.

12. The infamous "D" Word: Now I admit since he has been home that things have been so complicated and stressed, that I have said if we could not work things out or if he didn't love me anymore, then I should leave. I partially accept responsibility for the actions I have said, but it seems to me like sometimes that is the only way I can get him to listen if I say I can't take this anymore. However, in self-defense, when he gets angry, its "I don't love you anymore" or "You should leave and leave me alone", constantly. I have tried to explain to him that this I love you, get out....wait don't go I hate you, is not healthy for me or the family. Hell it wouldn't be for anyone! So why is it when we get angry, the big ugly "D" word comes out? Is divorce really what he wants? I don't know. Some days I feel if me and the kids left, he would probably kick up his heels and says yes! Another part of me says he really doesn't feel that way, it's just an easier way to hurt me because he is hurting and has no one else to take it out on. Other parts of me feels like he just doesn't care whether I stay or leave. The biggest part of me wishes though that the man I loved and married would look at me and say "If you leave, you will take all of my happiness and I can't live without you". Sigh....the romantic in me. Guess this is no movie ladies and the leading man fails to rescue his one true love.

So there you have it. Although many more, these are my top twelve. Hopefully, one of you will say exactly! Perhaps you feel as if I do. Some days its knowing that there are more of me out there that feel alone and lost, than those who do not understand. Maybe there are more of me going through the same amount of hell each and every day looking for that one last shred of what used to be our spouses. How long are supposed to keep looking though? Is this something that falls into the "for sickness and in health" portion of our vows? Did the person who came up with that portion of it ever face this constant emotional roller coaster ride we endure? When is the time do you say 'I can't take it anymore" and it truly be acceptable? My mama used to tell me that in every life, you have victims and volunteers. Those who try to get out and do something for themselves are simply just victims. Those who stay and stay, are volunteering themselves for more punishment. I love my mama and man do I miss her every day....but I do believe I would tell her she was wrong. I don't feel like a victim although some days it seems like I am being punished for something I didn't do. Does this rank me as a volunteer though because I stay? I am all he has left, and I keep thinking that one day he will wake up from this Iraqi endured coma and say wow, you really stuck by me through thick and thin. Am I letting myself down in the process though? It sure feels that way. It's more like the old saying of "Damned if you do, and damned if you don't". No matter how hard you try, and no matter how hard you never really gain anything in the process nor do you ever see the end of the tunnel.

Until then,
A Volunteer

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