Caregiver Doesn’t Equal Doormat

Fuck you cards.

Fuck you cards. (Photo credit: m.k.)

You know, I started this particular blog  for 2 reasons. The first being my need for a mostly private place to share snark and joy- somewhere I can freely stomp around in my rantipants and spew whatever I wish without worrying that, someone I’m talking about will see it and throw a ginormous hissy fit. Fuck that. No one needs that. Especially me.

The second reason is so that there can be name calling, cursing, swearing, truth telling, encouragement, inspiration or just to tell me I’m fucked in the head. I don’t want anyone reading or commenting to have to worry that some decrepit, asshole auntie is going to give you shit at the next family reunion because you used the word “fuck” on the Internet. And it is my hope you’ll comment and and tell me what’s on your mind when you want to make a snarky, bitchy comment.

And I no longer care how semi-private this blog is. Really.  I have shit to say and there are people who want to hear what it is BUT krishanna | dot |com is not the proper forum this type of …stuff.

Having said that, there’s something that’s really been sticking in my craw. I’m not losing sleep over it or anything but it irks me enough to mutter snarky and wholly inappropriate remarks every time I see it. In my typical analytical fashion, I’ve attempted to figure out why it bugs the shit out of me but more about that another time.

A little backstory. I belong to several PTSD Caregiver groups- some military, some not.  I joined them because I wanted some insight, some facts, some place to glean information about caregiving and how to navigate the huge cluster fuck our Veteran’s Administration bureaucracy is. No such luck. Mostly.

Recently, there was a woman venting about how fucking annoying and abusive “her Vet” has become. He’s plowing through their house ranting, breaking shit and throwing cats. The kids are cowering in abject fear and sliding into home right under their beds to escape. This is not a one shot deal. It happens EVERY fucking day.

Another one is idealing with serial infidelity emotionally and sexually. It depends on who he’s contacting and flirting with on any number of online dating sites and which one of  them will actually play slap and tickle with him offline.

They’re asking us HOW TO MAKE HIM STOP.

  • “He can’t help it. He has PTSD and TBI.” (Bullshit).
  • “I’m afraid he will hate me if I get him placed in an inpatient treatment program to help him with his anger issues”. (So what?)
  • Or, “I got  him into an inpatient program but now he calls me everyday to tell me what a worthless piece of shit I am and how he is sorry he ever married me”. (My phone has an END button, doesn’t yours?)

And it’s true, these things are symptoms of PTSD. It’s a regular pattern: they rage; they cheat; they overspend; they blame everyone and everything  and as one woman told me, “Honey, I’ve been living with this stuff for 40 years”. to which I replied, “Maybe you but not me, lady.”

WTF?!  FORTY YEARS?

Now, I realize I’m probably very lucky. 90% of the time King Dingaling treats me like gold and not only notices but acknowledges all I do around here and for him.  He’s a very loving and supportive partner most of the time. And that’s what saves his ass when he’s a complete fucking asshole.

I haven’t had to deal too much with the ranting and raving when he’s enraged but the few times I have, I’m not usually the one he’s pissed at so I can talk him into calmer waters. I have had to deal with the inappropriate friendship stuff when he had a friendship with The Skank, not too long ago. He didn’t do the deed with her  and if he had, I wouldn’t be sitting here to write this entry while still healing up from the disinfecting I would have given myself), but there was some hand holding and inappropriateness expressed in front of  Princess Run Amuck.

There was The Skank’s looniness all over Facebook, telling mutual friends he was going to leave me for her and of course, the never ending narrative in his ear about what an unholy, evil , spiritually bankrupt cow I was and he’d be so much happier with her. After all, I didn’t know anything about raising kids and she’d already raised a girl (who was knocked up in high school and divorced by 25 with 2 kids) He could move right in with her- the house was paid for.  Princess Run Amuck could be their daughter and she’d make room for her too. The cherry on top was that she professed to be a devout and deeply spiritual Christian Woman.

Evidently, she missed Sunday School the morning they covered Commandments 7 through 10.

It was a very difficult 4 months. He was a total dickhead almost all the time. I became HIS cross to bear and the Spoiler of All Fun.  All I ever did was bitch and remind him of shit he didn’t want to think about. She made him feel better about himself. I made him feel like shit. Boo-fucking-hoo.

I didn’t back down and I didn’t give an inch. No matter what he tried to hide, I found out. No matter what BS he threw at me, I figured it out. I yelled. I got pissed. I even cried. And then, after getting honest about what was happening with some very good friends who told me the truth and not what I wanted to hear, I decided what *I* was going to do and it wasn’t dependent on what he was or wasn’t doing.

I put a deposit on my own apartment and started making plans. I did some magical work. For the first time in our relationship, I was cash register honest with him.  I didn’t tell him everything, as I always had. It was really hard and I felt dishonest as hell with him but I knew i was taking care of myself.

Finally, something snapped in me one day and I realized I could be  a fucking, miserable bitch living all alone and my cats would love me anyway and so I told him he’d  have to choose: The Skank or me.  I told him I knew I did not want to and most importantly would not live that way anymore. I gave him a month to get his shit together because either way life as he knew it was going to change, brought some boxes home and started packing.

He was not a happy man. He threw tantrums. He stormed around the apartment squawking about how unfair it all was because he “wasn’t doing anything wrong”.  I stood my ground and kept moving forward.  It unnerved him that I wouldn’t be budged nor emotionally bullied. I still loved him and I didn’t want to move but I had no other option other than living in chaos and crazy. Been there. Not going back.

Fortunately, he pulled his head out of his ass, started PTSD treatment again and got rid of The Skank.  This time, say some people.

I can say I know and he knows there will be not even the suggestion of a repeat performances or he’ll find himself alone, scratching his ass, wondering how he got there.

So, when I read about these other women putting up with abuse and cheating and continuing to ride the PTSD Crazy Train for years, I don’t get it and irks the hell out of me.

If we want our loved ones who live with PTSD to recover, we have to take care of ourselves (and our kids if we have them)- no matter what.  We have to learn how to say what we mean and  mean what we say. We have learn not to take things personally. We have to learn not to assume. We have to learn to always do our best.

We have to not only  treat our husbands, boyfriends and loved ones like they can recover but we have to BELIEVE that they can.

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