We have had a rough month this May, there is no denying that one. I don't know what's going on with my husband except that I do know I can do no right. The Social Security hearing tore us all up mostly because this was the first time I didn't have a safety net in place, no aces up the sleeves, and definitely had no idea what the hell to expect. As in my last post, our attorney we worried about, did ok and the judge who we were prepped to expect to be bombarded with questions...never asked a single thing. I had to check to see several times if the Vocational Rehabilitation Expert who sits in these hearings and asks questions then suggests jobs for disabled people; to see what he was doodling was anything interesting and a couple of times...to see if he was still awake. After our lawyer asked my husband if he had homicidal and suicidal tendencies, and his response was truthful that yes he did, but he didn't act upon them (which is normal for all of our Veterans); the Voc Rehab guy started packing his stuff up. I guess the last resort of "He can always get a job as a Walmart Door Greeter" went right out the window on those last questions. Twenty minutes turned to an hour and a half but it was over and done with, with a comment of "We will make our decision within 30 days". I held my husband's hand through it all, I softly patted his back when he started to get upset, I calmly explained anything he couldn't get out due to nerves and when he froze. Once it was over, we felt like we had been put through the ringer literally. With all this, his new therapy which he seems to really like and the med board paperwork is done and sent in. We got our tax return in finally which was a good surprise and other than the kids ending up their school year? That is pretty much it except for some much needed maintenance around the house.
For some reason, he just can't find anything to be happy about. If he does, then he counteracts it with something to be pissed off. It's like there are two people inside of him leveling out the playing field. This week and last, he has done nothing but pick on me, yell, scream and find things to be mad at me about. I know that stress and out of routine/structure "field trips" as I call them, can set him off and upset him. One incident recalled our relationship 12 years ago when I didn't marry him within three months of dating. He is still angry about this and I asked "Seriously? Is this the best you can come up with? We are married now and have been a long time...so why are you mad?" If it's raining, it's my fault. If it's too hot, its my fault. I have to say this past two weeks have literally exhausted me to the point I can't even sleep or think straight. I clean the house once a week, and in between days and sometimes every day...I dust, sweep up crumbs, run the vacuum, laundry, cook and deal with my children. The kids alone take most of my time because with three boys there is always one who needs scolding, one who needs holding and one who needs advice on girls or school. There are fights, there are times where they are rowdy, and they are just boys. There isn't enough hours in my day to get it all done, so what's left goes on tomorrow's list. Last Wednesday before the hearing I cleaned so much that I have to admit I did things with an old toothbrush that someone would be shocked to hear. I only wanted to clean to wear myself out to sleep due to nerves and hopefully stay out of his way and his yelling because I knew it was coming due to stress. The house is cleaned, the laundry is done accept for a few odd and ends, paperwork is done, the kids have all their stuff completed, and things are scheduled.
In part of my "Saving My Sanity" plan, was to start allowing him to do more of his paperwork and to be more involved with his caseworkers. There were times where I didn't want to deal with it anymore and asked desperately, "Please, talk with them today. They are YOUR caseworkers and you need to be a part of this" only to get a blank stare and "You can take care of it". So I did and I did the best I could, always keeping his best interests in the number one slot. I thought if I could let him be more involved, step back a little and let him see what I have been doing; it would reduce the level of paranoia and the chronic weird comments he comes up with in regards to me. It didn't help and I have to say that some days...it's defeating. He is angry now because he is having to do this stuff and I am not doing it all. I am always there to help but sometimes he needs to be a part of this or he has no right to yell at me. I didn't ask to be put in this position, I didn't ask to give up my life to care for him, I didn't ask for the stress or having no rock to lean on....but I did it and I did it alone. He isn't dead, and yes, he is capable of filling out paperwork but instead of just trying with me helping...he blew his top. Yesterday, he had to fill some of his Med Board paperwork out and just completely lost it over having to do it on his own. A bulk of it was already filled in. He yelled at me and said "Aren't you getting paid to do all this for me?" referring to the Caregiver program.
I have to say, it was a slap in the face. This comment has been brought up many many times and I know this is a statement that many of us have probably heard. If I am not doing something all day long and night, then I get reminded I am getting paid to do such things. He reminded me yesterday that I was easily replaceable and he didn't need my help. I felt sorry for him because of his behavior although I was extremely hurt, pissed off and confused why he was so upset. He wanted more involvement, I gave it to him and now he is mad. I took on the fight because he wanted me to, and he was mad about that. It's like no matter what....nothing is good enough. He just kept going on yesterday about crap that happened years ago. I once got a speeding ticket the first year we were together, I once bounced a check and was mortified although it was the bank's fault and not mine, and I once burned a dinner the first year of marriage. Out of all the years, out of all my hard work....that's it.
I realized yesterday that although my forgive and forget was an issue with me, I wasn't carrying anymore miles with me. His though? His will always have a debt with it. A debt so large, an enemy target painted on my chest so huge that there is no place to keep from being hit. No matter what I do, no matter how hard I fight...I will always be in the wrong. I stood my ground with him yesterday and told him calmly he needed to listen to what he is saying, walk away and then come back to the paperwork. That turned into all my hard work in filing, prepping, and indexing his binders for the Army and the VA (which there is so much paper that we probably are responsible for half of the tree losses in the US) wasn't good enough and I should have done it a different way. I should have "been smarter than that". All because he didn't want to fill out three forms.
All those hours working. All those hours reading, highlighting, putting in order by date and in specific ways determined by the Army and with no help from him at all. Not even a glance over. Not even a thank you, or an offer to help. He did sit down one day after hours of punching holes and my hands swollen, to punch the last few remaining pages. He never once offered to help me with the house while all the fighting with the VA and the Army...nothing. All the stress I carried for my entire family. All the times I had to figure things out on my own because I refused to be a quitter. I just sat yesterday at the table and the tears came. I cried most of the morning yesterday and just was so disappointed in him. I recently heard the news that a friend of my Army Wife community got the casualty notification of her husband. Her son's face always lit up my Facebook page with his grin and his "mini-me" looks of his father. Their pictures graced my screen and the look of love, happiness and togetherness always made me smile. My heart was breaking for her and here my husband was yelling at me for something so stupid and looking for reasons to again, give up. Her husband wanted to come home and live....here I was dealing with a grown up child throwing a temper tantrum because he "just woke up that way" with the weekly reminders of how he didn't want to come home. It's a very big, hard, and bitter pill to swallow. You can judge me how you want to, but that's the honest truth. It's hard to think about that "knock" on the door because I remember every single day of deployment looking out the blinds at the front stoop. How my heart would stop when an unmarked black car would come up our street. When there were weeks that went by with no word from him and the call that I got when there were wounded, but didn't tell us families who they were for almost a week. I was there on the other end of the phone, a million miles away from each other, with a hollow sounding man telling me he didn't want to come home from Iraq. For five years, I have been reminded we weren't important enough for him to come home to or to stay alive for. I cried in the tub for my friend, because I felt horribly guilty and for the sorrow I felt. I think for the first time in my life...I really felt ashamed. I know that sounds horrible, but its the truth and how I feel. I wish it didn't happen to their family but it infuriates me that my husband can't be happy that he is home.
All I can think is if the house is cleaned, he has no reason to be angry. If we can win just one more battle, he will be happy. If I can keep the kids quiet, the laundry done, the cooking to be perfect, his appointments running on time, and everything goes his way...then he has no reason to be mad at me. It doesn't work like that though because he will always find a reason to be angry at me. When he told me yesterday that I could be easily replaced, I told him he didn't have to fire me...I quit. "Good luck in finding someone else who will do what I have done for you in the past 13 years". So he huffed, he sighed and slammed the pen around. Then it was "Are you going to help me or not". Yes, when you can have respect for me and ask me nicely. Rather than choosing to ask me nicely, he said "Well I will do it and if its screwed up, it will all be all your fault". I just walked away.......
Eventually he calmed down, but I haven't. I went to bed early after a hot bath and another good cry. I wanted him to come to me and just say "I'm sorry" but I can't even tell you how many of those I have heard or even count them on my hands. I understand that he has issues, I have accepted his disabilities, and I know that he will never be the same man I married. However, I feel there is still a degree of responsibility of control and the facing of consequences. Just because they have PTSD and/or TBI doesn't mean they can act like an ass and then its excused. I think what hurts is I just keep trying and he isn't at all. Yet, I have the most debt to carry in his eyes that will never be paid up. How does one determine which part is PTSD, what part is TBI, and what part is just being an asshole? How does one make up or try to combat things that I have no control over or ever did? How does one repay a debt when you don't even know what you owe it for? I can't make the battlefields greener, I can't take away the dreams, I can't make it any better....but God knows I have tried and have always been there to support him. I wish just once, he could see how fortunate he is, how loved he is by his family, and most of all....that his closest ally and biggest fan, he has hurt the most.
Hurting More Than You Could Ever Know,