Thursday, June 28, 2012

Snips and Snaps

Today's complaint is that I dont listen very well. My marine has been home for some time now ( His home) and he has been looking for work.  To his disappointment he is not finding valuable employment at a decent pay.  During his wait time, he has had a couple interviews.  He voices his frustration with out civilian hiring processes and interviews.  He gets annoyed after each interview and finds himself upset when he doesnt get the job.  I think the challenge is that us civilians arent as good listeners and communicators as military personnel and so, we find in the interview process that we dont hear him correctly and we misunderstand his answers.  We jump to conclusions and judgements quickly.  For example, he interviewed and the interviewer asked him what his 5 year plan was.  He walked her through the factors that drove him to obtain a degree in a field of study he is not interested in (family pressure) and how the military saw something in himn and developed him (as a trainer) and he excelled there.  He shared that he had always been interested in History and that if he could go back, he would have gotten education in that field.  He shared that he liked to teach.  What the employer heard was " I want to be a teacher of history" and so she chose not to go with him as a candidate.  This response angered him and he got fed up with our selection processes.  I tried to encourage him and told him that we civilian (humans) make alot of mistakes and overlook very good people. I tried to urge him not to take it personal.  He does, take it person.  Understandably so, he has risked his life, trained many people, and saved many people in the years he has been in the service.  On days when I sat picking my nose, or playing with my belly button, he crawled under barbed wire, through enemy lines.  On days that I pouted because I didnt have enough money to buy matching earings for my new dress or  because they ran out of my favorite icrecream flavor at the store, he was trying to talk sense to a young marine who was "losing it in Combat'.  I think most of us forget that, or put it out of our minds, how much our military men have endured.  Here Iam worrying about why he hasnt emailed me or texted me and he is probably dodging bullets or doing something, somewhere, he can never talk about to anyone.
Sure, so I try to tell him to be patient and to press on, and I get hurt when he snaps at me, raises his voice and tells me he is irritated, that our civilian ways are stupid ( he doesnt use those words).
He says he wants to work so he can feel comfortable 'bringing me on board'.  Im so silly, I ask " On Board to what?"  I tried to assure him that I dont need things, flowers, gifts and chocolates, and that all I want is time with him so we can do things together.  He is not hearing any of it, he simply says " Thats why I need to work, so I can spend time with you and we can do things". 
He raised his voice at me today when I asked him if he would volunteer with me.  He says " Ive volunteered enough, Im not doing free work anymore... Ive helped enough people... all those people I saved!... You dont listen to me, I said I dont want to volunteer or work for free.  You never listen well... ( and he went on and on and on)".  I was very upset when we ended the call.  I felt like telling him to "F-k off!"  I felt like throwing in the towel.  So I asked God to help me, to calm me and to help me to be loving.  I then texted him to please forgive me for upsetting him and for not listening well.  I told him he is right, that I volunteer too much and need to focus on my needs more.  Shortly thereafter, he appologized for snapping at me.  He always does, appologize (quickly). He doesnt cuss at me or tell me anything offensive (personally).  I like that about him.   I looked at the time and it was lunchtime and it was very hot outside.  I accepted his appology and told him I understand his frustration, its very hot and he is probably hungry since it is almost lunchtime ( men get grumpy when they dont eat, its nothing personal).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Isolation - Pre Deployment

As time drew closer to deployment, he drew more distant.  His texts, emails and phone calls became less frequent.  His kind words were exchanged with direct, and often naughty or derrogatory language. For example, he used to start the morning saying "Good morning beautiful.."  and later he might simple text " I want you to s....k my (blank)".  It seemed to me that when he was in firing practice or combat scenario training, he would often get 'charged and text intimate comments and requests.  I had mixed emotions when I received his messages.  On the one hand, I was a turned on and flattered that he thought of me in those instances, but at the same time, I was taken back by some of his direct requests.  I resided to the fact that he must be in a moment of feeling a 'rush' and that I should be supportive and encouraging and be in the moment with him.  In those times, I found myself giving into his requests and yes, having an exchange of "sexting".  The excitement for me was that, wherever he was (I never really knew where that was), he thought of me and we shared an intimate moment, long distance, through text or emails.  I thought of how it must be difficult on his end, to be focused in his training and the training of others and to be away from me ( or a woman) and the warmth of the experience of being with me.
I missed that warmth too.  What kept me from going berserk for lack of intimacy was to imagine how he must feel to be alone and to not have the option of being with someone.  Now I dont know how easy or hard it is for military men to have access to women during their training exercises.  I imagine, they could watch porno, view magazines, or pick up a one night stand, or something like that... maybe.  But I also beleive that a short term fix, or relationship like that doesnt compare to being with your  'steady person', what I like to call "your person". 
Your person knows you and you know him.  He knows your ways and you know his. You are comfortable with one another and know each others moves, likes and wants. I missed him so much when he was away.  And he is ALWAYS away.
He did tell me " Being with a marine is tough"  and I responded, that I can handle it.  He said " I need you to be patient with me" and I said " I will be patient"  He said " I hope to see you" and I said " We will see each other when we can, and make the most of our moments together". He said " When I get near deployment, its normal for me to get distant from the people I love, my family and my friends".  I responded " I know that's how you are, but you can change, you can see me more.." 
Preparing my heart for when he left was so hard and the time alone in between things was difficult to endure.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

PTSD- We all get it

Somewhere along the line, he shared with me he was diagnosed with PTSD.  Once I heard this, I had to t to understand what it was and what to expect from it.  I immersed myself in books, articles and webinars about it.  Then, I purchased a book called " When War Comes Home" from military ministry.  While reading this book, I began to understand a little about myself and came to realize that I too have have PTSD.  I learned that, with all the scars, hurts and pains that I experienced in life, all the negative experiences had shaped and molded me to the person I was. Those negative experiences that I failed to process in a healthy way had resulted in my ill feelings, in my fears of relationship, in my fears of going out and meeting new people and  my lack of being able to relate to people.  I learned that these repressed negaive memories that I held deep down inside me were the cause of my outward manifestations of showing lack of empathy, of not feeling, of guarding myself against intimacy. 

At the time, I was seeking understanding the truth of what I beleived Spiritually by studying the practice of Thervada Buddism, studying the Vedas and Sutras.  I realized that I was not feeling releif from my depression through the teachings.  Then one day, while reading the Vedas, I read a phrase that said " you seek me(love) and I have always been here, I am at your reach.... you  look and look, but I have always been so close to you".  At that moment, I realized that what I was looking for Truth in the wrong place.  I came to the realization that the only thing that will fill the holes in my lifewas the Word ( the Bible).  I then, put down the Buddist scriptures and stopped attending meditation classes.  Instead, I reverted to focusing on going to church and imersing myself in God's teachings. I remembered that the same stories I read in Sutras, I had read them in the Bible.  The same wisdom. At this, I changed focus and began a journey of self understanding, of getting to know my God intimately and to continue to press into Him.  In part this was done to better understand myself  so that I can prepare myself for understanding my Marine when he comes home from war.
For what I learned from this experience and the understanding and wisdom the past few years brought me, I thank my Marine.  I thank him for allowing me to fall in love with him.  Had he been another man,  I may not have traveled through this spirital path of self understanding and healing.  Had I met someone else and grown to love them, they may have taken up my time.  This time that Iused to spend with myself and with God would have been used spent with the man and his family and I would have never understood why I am the way I am.  I may not have healed from past hurts and those 'sores' ( as they are called in thebook Changes that Heal, by Cloud and Tounsend; or The Four Agreements ) would have manifested themselves in my repeat of past relationship mistakes. 

You see, I grew up with strict parents who lacked empathy.  I didnt learn how to feel, my heart was hard. Sure, I was a go getter and accomplished woman.  Many people saw me as 'Independent and doesnt need a man or anyone'.  On the inside, I felt lonely, I longed for close relationships and I longed to feel loved.  My tendency was to be an enabler.  I knew how to love others and found it hard to request their love in return. This left me empty.  

Why was I this way? Because of how I was raised and because of the things that happened to me.  I realized, while reading about PTSD that fear is what stops us from living and sharing life with others.  Fear, shame, and guilt.  I had past experiences that I was ashamed of, broken hearted, abandoned, unloved, neglected, rejected, harsh words, failures, condemned and many other negative words and feelings.  I had to learn to deal and feel ( How We Love, by Milan and Kay).

I couldnt have stayed in love with my marine, through his readying for deployment, through the absence of him, through his return home... had God not prepared my heart and healed me from all that I experienced.  To love a military man it takes a special person.  It takes someone who cares, someone who loves and supports and someone who doesnt easily give up.  Without God I could not have stayed comitted and patient. Without Him to strengthen me, encourage me, and providing me with the friends and support I need(ed), I could not have done it.   Read on.....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Stubborness and post war depression

OMG!  This man is killing me!!!!
He's been back from Afghanistan for about a year now and whatever he has been up to the past year, is a little sketchy... So I think.  He is not employed and I sense he is feeling frustrated and getting depressed.  What kills me is that I live 50 miles away from him so it is not as if either of us can make a quick trip to see each other.

Today, a very hot day, I tried to entice him to come hang out with me and, of course, he declined. He said he preferred to stay at home, where it is safe.  He had been drinking and doesnt want to attempt to drive under the influence.  This is a good way to think, but I still want to see him and I am frustrated and discouraged.  I suspect he feels bad that his car is in the shop and that i would have to pick him up. Some men see a woman picking them up as deliminiting their manhood.  Although I can appreciate that sentiment, i am still upset. I know that  he defers going to hang out because he is not working and cant afford it.   He has told me this and he says he feels bad that he cant buy me things.  I dont know what more I can do to let him know that spending time and getting to know each other can be economical.  There are plenty of things to do where money doesnt need to be spent.  All I wanted to do was walk and hang around near the beach.  That doesnt cost anything.

He has also shared with me that he doesnt like to go to places that are too crowded.  I read in a PTSD article that persons suffering from depression dont like crowded places and isolate themselves.  I do that too.

Although I empathize with him and what he could be going through, I am feeling frustrated with this whole thing.  I am beginning to resent that I put in 3+ years of time of waiting for him and yet, even though he is not 'readying for deployment, or deploying, or oversees, or adjusting to being home' I still dont get time from him.   This man is killing me and I am allowing it. 

Im so frustrated today and irritated that I dont get time.  I want to just punch him.