Saturday, June 25, 2011

MAD or SAD The Family Vacation and PTSD

My parents who are in their eighties notified everyone a year ago that they had made reservations at a resort in Oregon for a family vacation.  Anyone who could not make it needed to let them know 30 days ahead so they could cancel any unneeded accommodations.

My husband returned from his six day Golf trip with the boys and when the topic came up about the family vacation (now two weeks away) he informed me that he didn’t want to go. 

I understand – a week with my mom who has beginnings of dementia and a tendency of frequent anger outbursts is not fun to be around.  My husband was the target on one occasion and once is plenty for both of us.  My sisters kids, 4 years old  and 18 months,  are well behaved darling boys.  But they are kids and that involves some amount of crying and simply being kids.  And then there’s my niece who talks in her outside voice at all times and has an opinion on everything.  It’s always the  opposite of everyone else, quite intentionally I think, just to keep the pot stirred up . And then there’s  my brother-in-law who is in his own world of stress right now, and his problems  envelope the entire family in stress.

When I asked my husband, “What shall I tell my parents?”

He came up with a lie about going to visit his kids.

“No, I’m am not going to lie.  I will just tell them that I don’t want you to go. 

“Well, “  he said,  “ that’s an even bigger lie!”

I didn’t respond.  Because in my heart and mind I knew that it was not a lie.  I knew that if he went I would be on edge knowing that he would do something to set my mom off.  Not intentionally - but there was no doubt in my mind that something would happen.

My chest has been tied in a knot for days now  because  I’m so MAD.    At the same time it’s difficult  to hold the tears back because I’m so SAD. 

So sad to have to have this reality.  Sad,  that I have a husband with PTSD and that  we both  are afraid to go places that might “trigger” his PTSD.  So sad that my family does not understand the world that I live in 24/7. They have no idea what PTSD is, and have no desire to learn anything about it.  To them it is a “made-up” problem and if they believe that, then that’s the way it is.
~ Debbie Sprague 
Proud and Sad Wife of a Vietnam Vet

1 comment:

  1. Debbie,

    I'm sorry you are feeling sad and mad. I do understand your feelings, and they are justified.

    Sometimes you have to do stuff for yourself. Go to the family reunion, and enjoy yourself. If your husband doesn't want to go, don't force him. Just tell him that you are going whether or not he chooses to go--and leave it at that. (I know--easier said than done.)

    Don't answer questions whent they come up from family if you don't want to. Just tell them that this weekend is about your parents, and isn't it a lovely day? (i.e., change the subject) If they persist, simply tell them you'd rather not talk about it. That'll throw them for a loop.

    Prayers for you,
    the PTSD Widow