Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Words, Words, Words

Words: a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning.
speech or talk: to express one's emotion in words; Words mean little when action is called for.

 Words are probably one of those things in life we take for granted, overlook, overuse, abuse and are both in the wrong and right category to someone, at any time and any place. What side are words on really?  There never seems to be in this life, a right or wrong way to portray what we really feel or what we endure. Some words are chosen for one person but, another person can find a million other words to portray what that single person wracked their brains trying to figure out. Powerful, words can be but, like the dictionary says "mean little when action is called for". Rather amazing our language isn't it? They can heal, they can soothe, they can release a variety of emotions but, they can also cut deep and cause pain that it emotional and physical. They can be full of joy, love and then hate, jealousy and malice. They can be the first from a child's mouth but, then can be a last confession or goodbye from a dying breath. They can give someone a name, a title, stardom, recognition and at the same time, give someone a reputation, a brand, a mark on an otherwise unmarked person. Words can build hope and empires but, they can also break you down and crumble a civilization. So many to choose from, so many to flip through but, nothing sounds right.

Or at least to me. Not right now. 

It's been a bad week. Full of ups, more downs and everything gets so jumbled up in my head at night, that I struggle to sort it all out. Things again blew up today with my husband that wasn't even necessary. Something so small and lack of communication turned into a shouting match. He did something behind my back and it wasn't so much the act, but the lack of trust I have in him. A broken promise, a single word of trust was a lie. That part angered and truly hurt me the most. He lured me in with some kind words, I took the bait and bam! It began. It seems these days all he wants to do is scream and yell. What I want is to actually talk and have a conversation that is important, or hell, not even talk at all. I hate he knows the right words to find what buttons to hurt me with but, all the wrong word to say to encourage or to show feelings. I hate that words can't be found to the point where I can no longer speak to him. All of these words I can spew forth and turn on the verbal faucet and yet, couldn't even find the right words to relay to my husband. Because his anger has increased, so has his foul language and the yelling. In return, I just basically shut down these days or yell back to stop yelling at me. I sometimes wish we could just shut up, run away, lock ourselves away in a small cabin with nothing more than necessity items, a fireplace, duct tape and a really big ass tub.

Most of all? No words to be spoken at all.

 I got to thinking about how powerful words were the other day on Facebook when a conversation happened over one single word between two friends. Both had very valid points, and I always like to look and analyze from both sides. One remarked about an article being released on "Caregiver Burden" in regards to the Phase One of he Dole Foundation Study done on Caregivers and, she said she never felt like it was a "burden". That word to them, was chosen to be taken out of their vocabulary. I thought that was interesting because in our home, certain words are not used either. I honestly, have never really paid much attention to what the media says because half the time its distorted, misused, misquoted and sensationalized. Her remark made me think about anything being a burden in my home. On the other hand, another dear friend remarked that with the media, using other choice words like "Military Caregivers are being Inconvenienced" wouldn't help pass legislation. So there we go back to the right words but portraying it in the wrong way or the wrong words being used to call into action which would have to be right because that's the only way. I guess I am not really making any sense but, their conversation sparked a fire in my mind that this is how it is with my husband and I. I say one thing, he says the other and before we know it; words are flying all over the place and they are neither wrong or right.

Sometimes with all my words, I wish I could find the right words my husband needs to hear.

I often wonder if my husband is even there anymore to sincerely "hear" me as I speak. Or if it just comes out, goes in to his brain and somehow gets jumbled? Why must even nice things or effort on my part suddenly for him, turn into a personal attack? I try so very hard to accept his injuries, am pretty knowledgeable about it, but at the same time, I just don't really "get it". He doesn't really "get" me either. I learn every day, or at least try my best to. I used to think that by not saying anything at all, it meant acceptance. That silence meant that you accepted whatever it was going on, whether it be right or wrong. Now sometimes all I wish for is silence and no words on the computer, the phone, the television, the kids and the list goes on. From him though....all I want is just words that are filled with something more than emptiness, hate and hopelessness.

For the first time two weeks ago and again reminded today, I realized I no longer see my "husband" at all anymore or anywhere. I don't recognize his voice, is actions, his thinking. Nothing. It's like he just disappeared. I don't understand how in a matter of just a few months, that suddenly we are changing this drastic and here I am left to figure it all out. Some ask me "how can I help?". While appreciated, I honestly don't know. Is it possible he is right that he is too far gone to be saved? If he truly believes that, is he completely a lost soul forever?

I promised him once upon a time that I would never let him down. I haven't. Not once. I also promised that I would never allow him to become just another statistic in a file cabinet somewhere only known as "last four of his social". Sometimes I wonder if I set my standards too high. Maybe I promised too much and now my biggest fear is that I am slowly losing him, watching him get further and further away from us and failing at my promises. If there was any backing to the word Burden in our world of PTSD and TBI as Caregivers, to me, this is my burden. The burden of promising and the fear of failure. I know sometimes he pushes me away, hurts me so I will walk away thinking in the long run he is saving me. Little does he know that while yes, it does hurt.....he is only hurting himself.

Today, I had no words left to speak to him on the phone. None. I didn't now what to say so I just simply hung up.

Chicken shit way out, I know. Nothing pisses him off more than my hanging up on him and man, does he hold grudges and punishes you by not speaking to you because you hung up. However, his hang ups on me don't apparently count in his double standards. Now we can't even talk to each other. My best friend, who I shared everything with, always talked to, never lied to and never hid anything behind his just simply gone. Therapy at the VA to him , he seems to think its working but, I see no improvements but, far more worse behavior. I don't believe he is being honest or talking about any of these issues with his therapist at all. That's ok but at the same time, I want him to succeed in life and to get to a point where he can just be at ease. I see so much in him that still can be saved and yet, he is so ready to give up. All I can wonder tonight is.......were we, as his wife and children, not enough to stand up and fight for like we did for him?

Words can torture a soul, shatter a mind in a million ways but, tonight? I can't think of one single word that describes my hurt, distrust, losses, and pain. The long winded blogger, Uncle Sam's Mistress, has simply run out of words to say period. It scares me completely and no one here really cares or understands. I keep thinking if I keep trying, just one more time, just one more time...he will see. Yet, he never does. He never hears me and for the life of me.....I don't know what I did to deserve this. At least if you have an answer you can cope, but this? There is nothing more than unanswered questions, second guesses and picking yourself apart to see what you could have done wrong. To beat it all, even after geting this off my chest this evening...

I still can't find the right or wrong words to say to him, so I shall say nothing at all.


  1. I agree on the point that using words is not communicating. Talking at someone is not talking with someone. All the correct grammar will not count as communication as long as one party has filters up that keep the meaning obscure. Maybe you could ask to attend one of the counseling sessions and bring these points up for discussion.

  2. My boyfriend/ex-fiance is an Iraqi War veteran, and for much of the same reasons you just talked about, I broke off our engagement. I see so much potential in him, but he just doesn't want to help himself. Every little thing I say, he snaps at me. It hurts me that every day, one of us says or does something that puts the other one in a sour mood. Is it worth it?

  3. For someone who is currently struggling with words, you are incredibly articulate and well spoken. Indeed the effects of TBI and PTSD are long lasting, and the injuries left over seem to be the rope that holds both caregiver and victim together while simultaneously ripping them apart

    Might I suggest group therapy sessions for veterans for your husband? Perhaps venting his feelings with people who share a similar story will be therapeutic for both of you. Best of luck, we'll keep you in our prayers

  4. My husband and I have been on this rollercoaster since about three months after he returned from Afghanistan. It is exhausting and not healthy for anyone, especially the kids. At this point I am left wondering at what point MUST I throw in the towel to save the kids and I.

  5. Thank you for these words. Every sentence you have written on this post is almost penned from my own mind. My husband and I have been married for almost 5 years, we struggle with this EVERY DAY. I try so hard to be the dutiful wife he needs, caregiving, appointments, med management....(the list goes on & on) It frustrates me to no end he can never HEAR me and always turns my attempt at communicating my frustrations into a full out battle. My words are never meant to be fighting words, no matter how I gently, kind or heart-felt I put it, they are to him. I believe that I am a trigger for him. Which is not a good feeling to have as a wife and caregiver. I wish I could say I today was the first time I have thought that he is giving up on our family. But this is definitely the most far gone he has been. Weeks with a dazed off look, constantly disassociating from life, avoiding responsibilities, yelling for no reason.. It is too much to bear. My heart goes out to all the families, struggling through these (and other) battles, due to combat injuries. It feels good to know that I am not alone. I googled "how to handle ptsd tbi blow up" & found your site. SO glad I did. I am so scared to think that he is willing to give up on all the treatment and progress we have made, together, as a family. We have all sacrificed, but as a mother and wife, I wonder how long I can continue this role in my own life. He used to protect and care for me, but I have to look out for my child and myself first. My #YO daughter was playing with her toys after my husband blew up & left tonight, she said "the mommy is sad because she misses the daddy" she also said "I wish I could say sorry" because his latest "incident" was over our toddler raising her voice to him. God bless the veterans. And their families. (sorry if this is incoherent, pretty distraught this evening) thanks for your blog, you are doing us wives a great service. <3


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