Wounded Warrior's wives are not to be trifled with. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should never piss off (or mess with) a wounded warrior's wife:
5: We are ready to fight, just like our husbands once were.
We know how to fight because we practice it every day. We spent years following our husbands across the globe, always "ready" for his next mission. Now it's our turn and we are taking the helm.
We fight with doctors to get the proper treatment he deserves. We fight with Tricare, the VA and Medicare to get that treatment paid for. We fight with the VA to get the benefits he deserves. We fight with the DoD to keep his military records straight.
We fight for his rights as a disabled person with airlines, restaurants and any other business that is lacking in basic knowledge of ADA laws. We fight with creditors who harass us in illegal ways when we give up our jobs (and our incomes) to care for our spouses. We fight with big banks to stay in our homes, despite how many military consumer laws are willfully ignored. We fight with people in our communities, our state representatives, and on a national level to bring awareness about the needs and fundamental rights of our spouses.
We fight to educate our friends and family when they get mad at us for cancelling at the last minute, or in the middle of, social functions. We even fight amongst ourselves when the going gets too rough. We fight to keep our kids on an even keel when his post traumatic stress disorder kicks in. Some of us even fight to keep custody of our kids after "concerned" family members hear the words PTSD and assume our husband will end up in a clock tower someday.
Do you think for a second that we would hesitate to fight with a complete stranger who was totally asking for it?
4. We have popular blogs, use social media liberally -- and all major media outlets are on our speed dial.
We are a verbal and opinionated lot, us gals. We share our lives through our blogs, through social media, and with each other. And, when someone pisses us off, we blog about it for the masses to read for all eternity, talk about it in social media until it goes viral...or we just call The Washington Post, The Huffington Post or The New York Times. Some of us even write for these outlets. News travels fast.
Do you think for a New York Times minute that any wrongdoing on your part will go unnoticed?
3: We are social deviants.
We were real people once, and may find ourselves again someday, but until then we've followed our husbands to live in the middle of nowhere, far from the environmental triggers of a city (AKA urban jungle, kill zone, etc.), living in semi-isolation. We have cut off ties and disposed of the majority of our friends or family who refused to understand our situation or circumstances. We all suffer from the residue of PTSD, a term now called "secondary PTSD." We deal with flashbacks, nightmares, disassociative episodes and bouts of depression (on both sides). We take care of husbands who are housebound, usually wearing a caretaker uniform of PJs and a ponytail, praying the VA will recognize the level of care that we give each day. We don't go to the salon to get our hair or nails done unless someone else pays for it, which they don't. There is no room (or time off) for such frills. We stay home with our husbands, caring for them 24/7, and carve out as much sanity as we can find.
Our lives are not like other people's lives. Do you really want to make us angry? Or do you want to give us a really really wide berth and back away slowly because you're scared of what we might do if we snap? Yes, you say? Heh...that's a VERY good choice.
2. We are already angry.
We accept responsibility for marrying a military man, but we do not easily accept having a different man than we married coming back from war. Some of our husbands do not remember our own children's names. They don't remember how to dress themselves, the route to take to pick the kids up from school, or how to cook a simple meal. Our husbands have no recollection of our wedding day, our favorite flowers, or even our birthday or anniversary date. We are not angry with THEM about these things: We are furious at the cards we were dealt and indignant that such a horrible thing had to happen to our husbands in the first place. We are angry about the loss of the marriage we were supposed to have, and we never truly stop mourning. We're angry at the doctors who blow us off when we give our input, or the VA who puts him into a backlog while we wait for benefits that would keep a roof over our head or food in our stomachs. We hold a grudge against anybody who ever failed us as we tried to make sense of this chaos. We are also furious at ourselves, because we constantly feel like we're not doing enough to help.
We are already the poster children of resentment...do you want to be the straw that breaks the camel's back?
1. We are sleep (and, likely sex) deprived.
Some of us haven't had a good night's sleep in years. Between the stress, depression, anxiety, and the husband who wakes up screaming multiple times a night from nightmares and flashbacks, we're all beyond exhausted. A nap after sex would help, but that's not happening either. Between the two of us, whether it is our medications, depression, sleep deprivation and/or exhaustion, our libido is now GONE. Replacing sex with intimacy only goes so far...
We're muddled and short-tempered and irrational and crazy. Like ax-murderer crazy.
There are all sorts of studies linking sleep deprivation to psychosis and that would probably hold up in court if I decided to assault you. In my best "Dirty Harry" voice, I ask: "Do you feel lucky?"
Keep this all in mind the next time you fail to keep your opinions to yourself, spout out absurdities about how easy our lives are, or just plain don't give a damn about our injured service members in the first place.
...and beware the Wounded Warrior's Wife.