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Living With My Combat Vet Husband

On October 12, 2012, in Personal Stories, by admin


This November will be our 43rd wedding Anniversary, yes, I am still married to the man of my dreams that I met 45 years ago. He was everything I wanted in a man, loving, gentle, romantic, affectionate, caring, the list goes on and on. I saw him off at the airport in 1967 as he was headed to his first tour of Viet Nam. I will never forget the awesome loving hug he gave me. Four days after he left, I received a post card from him in the mail, “I want to marry you when I get home and be a dad to your baby”. Yes, I was young, became pregnant, he knew that this baby came with the whole package. We wrote letters the whole time he was in Nam. Then I stopped writing. I was young, pregnant, and confused. Well, we started writing again, he told me he was finally headed back home to the USA. We (my-our daughter) met him at the airport, he insisted. It was wonderful to see him walk out of the plane. Our daughter called him “daddy” and our lives as a family began. We got married, that was in 1969.

Fast forward to today. My life with my vet, well, how else can I explain it other than I walk on eggshells every day. My Vet husband is not the same man that I met back in 1968. There no longer is any romance, affection, or hugs. I handle all of the bills/finances, phone calls that need to be made. We live a very secluded life, we have no outside friends other than other Vets that he has joined in the VNV/Legacy Vets M/C (Viet Nam Vets/Legacy Vets Motorcycle club). Those are the only people that he is relaxed and comfortable around. As for family, well, we have 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren, he loves them dearly and enjoys them being around, though only for a short period of time. We have become home bodies. If there is a function of the club going on, we go because that is when he is at ease and not feeling on guard.

I have gone through VERBAL, MENTAL ABUSE, major outburst from him. Some days I just want to run away, but that is not possible, he needs me. Our marriage has gone through many many problems. It has not been easy by any means. I have had friends who have asked me why I stay with him. I LOVE MY VET . HE REALLY AND TRULY LOVES ME. HE WOULD EVEN KILL FOR ME.

I had no clue what I was about to endure after he came home. Always on guard, every night he does a walk through of the house to make sure that all the doors and windows are secure before he goes to sleep, or tries to sleep. He is awake and alert at the drop of a dime. I learned early in our marriage that I cannot touch him to wake him, I stand at the foot of the bed and quietly and calmly call his name to wake up, or he would come up out of the bed ready to kill. These issues have been going on since he came home, 43 years, no it does not go away, does not get better.
It took me 18 months to get him his 100% disability from the VA. He is no longer employable, he does not do well at all in crowds, always on guard, unless he is at a club function with other vets that have gone through the same things as he has endured while in Viet Nam. Just recently has he started to talk about things in Viet Nam, 43 years later. He had to leave his job due to the fact that another employee said the wrong thing to him in 2001, he was ready to kill. He has not worked since then.

There are MANY different things that can trigger him to go off, have a bad outburst. Does it ever end you ask?! NO, it does not end. He can go a day or two without having any episodes, act very normal, be very happy, then out of the blue, he can go into a rage. He has been an outpatient with the VA now sense 2002, thank God for that. Though I still walk on eggshells and have to be careful when talking to him as to not set off a trigger point. No it doesn’t ever go away.

My Vet husband could only hold a job 5 years to longest, and then would have to move on to another job. The longest we have lived in one home is 5 years. Will this ever change? NO! We have been in this home here in Utah now since March of 2012, our lease is up in 2013. Will we renew our lease here? Well, that I CAN’T tell you, it will depend on how my husband feels at that time.

My only personal friends are online. I have found my own personal “ME TIME”, sculpting. It takes my mind off of my every day life of having to walk on eggshells or watching what I say. At any given moment he does interrupt me. I simply just stop what I am doing and listen to what he has to say. He does have one form of therapy, that is his music. He plays the guitar and it relaxes him. I have learned to not interrupt him when he is playing his guitar, watching TV, or interrupt him if he is on the phone. Each one of these are trigger points and automatically throws him into a rage either small or large . I have learned his trigger points, though it has taken me 40 something years.
Will I continue to stay with my VET HUSBAND??!!! YOU BET I WILL, HE NEEDS ME, I WILL ALWAYS BE HERE FOR HIM. His well being is my number 1 priority.




3 Responses to Living With My Combat Vet Husband

  1. Hiwayman says:

    Sorry to hear your problem. Your husband died in Viet Nam. He’s just waiting to quit breathing.

    And yes I’m a dead Nam Vet myself.

    • that’s how I feel after 38 years living w/my VietNam vet – he really did not come home in 69, his body came home, and his brain and heart permanently altered. I feel like i am the walking dead. I’m sure he would deny feeling that way, but he does nothing but survival mode, day after day. He is not the kind that likes to talk about it, very rarely, he has no friends, he did when we were married, then slowly we didn’t see them anymore, and my friends didn’t like him so they also slowly stopped. Any new meetings with people, “me-hey, lets see if we can get together”, actually – I don’t even ask anymore… Eggshells for me too. Hey hon, want to go watch the parade with the kids Saturday? (we adopted very late in life – I don’t know how he was able to do the adoption, I think he feared if he did not that I would leave him, but he did; i think he has always thought I would leave him – after 38 years I think he still thinks this way). His reply – ‘hmmm., crowds, those are prime targets for someone to attack, the kids could get snatched, parking would be hard, hard to get out of their quick if we had to….(me… I get it, I get it.)….I sign the kids up for every field trip so they can see there is more to the world than our neighborhood, our house, their schools….I feel for them. I try to teach them that this is not how most people live. Now my 14 y/o daughter reiterating same things her dad says about every situation has its’ dangers. I am w/abdominal pain daily, all chronic pain, overweight for years, that’s another excuse for lack of intimacy for him with me – it is amazing to me that I am still with him, but he is my husband. I was serious when I said those words. We have one functioning outlet in our living room, which is our bedroom now. I have asked for 2 years for the electric to be repaired. he is frozen. He can only do the minimal – pull weeds, transport the girls to school, get the basics at the store, make coffee. I want him to be creative, take care of our home, have fun, do something fun, laugh when other people laugh. When he laughs (2 x a month) – I see the man that he could be. If I say I will hire someone to fix the electric (or a myriad of other things falling apart), he says, ‘ well that will be about $200 an hour and who knows how many hours it will take to fix it.’ Today, after working all week at a job that is so stressful, I’m exhausted (he is older than me and is already retired from his job that was a horrible job) every day, and on Saturday and Sunday I barely can do my responsibilities – I have just had it. I am going to box up all the kitchen items since I get no help with the cleaning, very little with the cooking and I am going to buy all paper dishes plastic ware for utensils and refuse to buy any more food. I want them all to eat at their favorite McD’s for 3 x day x 2 weeks. I want them to be so sick of that crap that maybe they would prepare a meal at home. But, likely that will backfire on me. I cannot eat that food. I feel like all the responsibility is on me, and everything is falling apart at home and yet I cannot hire a repairman. Maybe this is it, maybe I need to just stop. stop pretending that I am alive. I am not. I need to just accept it – I am already dead.

  2. Teresa says:

    This Made Me Litteraly Break Down And Bawl My Eyes Out At Work. This Really Hits Home To Me In A Way.

    My BoyFriend Recently Passed Away. He Is An Army Vet And Commited Suicide Christmas 2012 After Fighting For Years With PTSD And A TBI (tramatic brian injury) He Recived In Iraq Durring OIF (operation Iraqi Freedom), He Was Only 26.

    We Wernt Married Yet But We Were Dateing For About 3 Years When He Passed. My Life With Him And The Struggles Of Dealing WIth His Moods, Paranoya, Not Knowing What Was Real Or In His Mind And Being Unpredicatble Was Hard To Discribe And People Never Understood It!

    People Always Asked Me Why I Stayed And Put Up With The Hurt He Caused Me. I Asked Myself That Constantly, Esp When He Was Mad At Me; Accusing Me Of Things I Didnt Do, Drinking Like A Fish, Having Sex WIth Other Girls, And Not Returning My Calls. I Couldnt Bring Myself To End Things With Him Because I Knew He Needed Me. I Tryed So Hard To Be There For Him And I Was Still Learning To Be His Rock.

    I Love Hearing That Youve Made It So Long And Tho Its Hard Your Love Is Strong. I Wanted That With Him But God Called Him Home Too Soon. I Hope Other People Find Strangth In This Like I Did.

    Your Amazing!

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