What’s a War Veteran’s Woman to Do?

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Today, thousands of War Veterans and their families suffer from what is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the battle after their war rages on within them. The wives and families of Veterans are often referred to as “The Silent Victims”! If you are one of these “Silent Victims” and you thought you were the only one, please know and understand that you are not alone and there is hope for all of us.

Have your children ever asked, “Why does Dad act like he does?”. Do you ever feel that you were acting like a football referee between your children and your husband? Are you feeling like like you’re single, although you are married? Does it seem as if all the problems and stress are yours to shoulder alone each and every day? Has your husband isolated himself from you and the rest of the family?

At this point you might be thinking, “My husband didn’t fight in Vietnam, but he was involved in Iraq”. [or, Afghanistan, Somalia, Rwanda,or some other more recent conflict?]. However, no matter what conflict your loved one served in, the scars, visible or invisible, are very much the same. Many wives have made comments similar to those following:

“I can’t reach him in his thoughts, or understand what he went through, but I can stand beside him”.

“My husband’s a Veteran and I’m proud of him. I support him in his efforts to deal with his memories and his pain, but frankly, do the kids and I have to live with the war every day of our lives?”

“When I married my husband, I knew that he had served in Vietnam (or wherever?), but I wasn’t prepared to have our children and myself trained to be ‘soldiers and prepared to fight the enemy’, I’m not even sure who the ‘enemy’ actually is!”

“I love my husband, but he’s driving me nuts! I thought when he joined one of the Veterans’ groups that he might be able to talk things out with his mates and get this war thing out of his system. I must admit that he is not the angry, depressed bloke he used to be, but now he wants to help all the others that struggle with their war problems. He wants to be involved in anything and everything connected with war. I guess I was hoping now that he seems to be getting over a lot of his problems, maybe we could put the war behind us and we could get on with our lives”.

“I really and truly love my husband and I’m really proud that he fought in the War. He believed he was fighting for freedom and democracy. I know that he went through some pretty rotten stuff while he was there, but why can’t he see that I’m hurting too? Can’t he understand that all I want to do is come alongside him to support and encourage him…and yes, in my own way, share his pain. We are supposed to be ‘one’ in our marriage, but I feel like war is his mistress!”

ON THE HOMEFRONT

Have you ever wondered how different your life, your marriage, or your husband would be if it weren’t for the war? Have you heard yourself sharing similar things about your husband as those above? Have you ever wondered if wives of other Veterans experience what you do in your marriage, or are you just an isolated case? How can we support and understand what our husbands, sons, brothers and loved ones went through and what war does to a person?

My husband got some counseling recently, but is there any place where I can get help for my problems too? Is there anyone who understands what Veterans’ wives, families and loved one’s live with each day? Can anyone hear our pain and loneliness over the roar of our loved one’s cry?

Obviously, we can’t experience war in the same way they did. We can’t get inside their heads or under their skins so that we can see, feel and smell the memories, nightmares, pain and anger lived and re-lived on an almost daily basis. We can, however, learn to understand, support, and recognise ‘triggers’ which touch their very souls and often take them unwillingly back in time and space to a circumstance where over and over again, they re-live what they so much would like to forget.

Help!!! If you, or someone you know, wants to be helped, encouraged, or just interested in learning more please contact us.

About Fred Grigg