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Entitled – or Quit yer Bitchin’…

June 10, 2010

Oh, quit whining. What do you military families want anyway? You knew what you were getting into when you married him. Suck it up. MY wife can do this with no help, so why can’t you. You shouldn’t have married the guy if you didn’t think you could take it. Why are you expecting so much. You are being so exclusionary. Don’t be so aggressive about asking for/demanding something. There are those who “have greatest disdain” for the “special attention” being paid to anyone in the current military, especially the National Guard…

Just a few responses to posts on military family issues I’ve seen lately.   Some were in response to the post concerning the family waiting for the flight home for their son’s funeral – the comments were on Tom Ricks’ blog which linked to LeftFace.    Some were from Military Officer magazine we get from MOAA – a letter to the editor regarding counseling and understanding for children whose parent is deployed.   What do many of these statements have in common?   They are from members of the military – either retired or active duty.   Not, interestingly, from their spouses!

During the MyCAA debacle, I read this from some civilians, “why were we expecting a free ride?”  The country is in a depression, we should be grateful that our spouses have jobs.  After all, we get free healthcare, we get free housing (now THAT one made me laugh out loud) and why is our spouse’s pay tax free when they are deployed (well, maybe being in a war zone, getting mortared, living in filthy conditions is worth a couple bucks to the country that sent them there?).   The “Free Ride” was a program set up by DoD, a promise to help military spouses with training in “portable careers”. (that’s another posting, and we’ve discussed this here)

We knew what we were getting into?   When I married my husband quite a few years ago, I didn’t expect back to back TDYs followed by a 22 month deployment, one year home and then another deployment!  And how does anyone really know, until they have gone through a deployment – until they have gone through that level or worrying, that feeling of being on edge 24/7, that fear of a knock on the door…

What did I want to say to the servicemembers who said those things?   Exclusionary?  Oh please, sir, the last BBQ I went to, the Rangers stood over there bumping tabs, the ring knockers were all cloistered together over in another corner, the senior spouses clustered in the other.  Ever heard the Fobbit trash talk, the “Seals are the ONLY warriors” etc.??  The military puts us into little slots – Officer, Enlisted, and there are still restrictions on fraternization, is that exclusionary too?

Yes, we DO think we are different, we are different!  We are members of the One Percent who have any connection with the wars currently being fought.   We try to stay close with our civilian friends and acquaintances, but they aren’t comfortable with us anymore.   They don’t understand how we feel, and they don’t want to hang out with us because we scare them, they don’t want these wars shoved in their face by looking at us, making them uncomfortable.   We get sick of having our concerns disregarded by our civilian sisters, having deployments of 6, 8, 12 months compared to weekend camping trips (when Bambi gets mortars, talk to me…)  We are tired of hearing “if you need anything, call me” and when we do swallow our pride and ask for help, we hear nothing but excuses, or silence.  How do you answer the questions they ask – “how do you DO it?” “has he killed anyone” “is he coming home for [pick a holiday]” “but he just got back, why does he have to go again”.  It’s safer, it’s easier to talk to our friends who are also military, for whom we don’t have to translate the acronyms, who understand that we do not have much control over where/how we live or much of anything else.

The country waves flags at us, commanding officers tell us they are there for us, they tell us that we are the reason our spouses can serve, our spouses are told “we are there for your family, go deploy, we’ll take care of them.”   But when we ask for the help we are told is there for us… we are told ;  it’ll be a couple months until you can talk to someone about your depression; child care – no sorry, all full up; job training – sorry, had to yank that without notice, sorry for putting you in debt again. The FRG? – oh no, you can’t have a phone tree (opsec) you can’t have a vFRG (opsec), we meet during the day… you work, oh well, can’t have names, all the activities are during the week – for some of us, the FRG is a disaster, although I have heard of some that have been fantastic.

When MyCAA was being touted to enlisting service personnel or to those considering whether to re enlist, or not to resign their commission – see, here’s something for your spouse too – and then arbitrarily yanked away, we quite rightly objected.   If you are going to promise something, keep your promise!   That’s not being spoiled, that’s not demanding, or saying we are entitled… that’s expecting that a promise made will be honoured.   Telling us not to give in to depression, to ask for help when we need it, and then telling us that after the few free appointments on the phone we can finagle from MilitaryOneSource or Give an Hour (a great group) that there aren’t any counselors available, or if you are OCONUS, the counselor has so many PTS patients, he can’t see any family members, that’s another promise broken.   Don’t tell us to go get help, when TriCare won’t cover it and the few counseling groups that will take TriCare are not accepting patients.

Those bitching about the little things, the PX not carrying something, the ones who wear their husband’s rank embroidered on their bra straps – those have given us all a bad name.   The spouses who hold the families together and keep it all going, should be allowed to expect the promises made to be kept.   If they choose to feel safe, and happy, and secure with their military spouse friends – they shouldn’t be told they are “exclusionary”.   It’s called a comfort zone.    Let us have that, which you are downrange, ok?


10 Comments leave one →
  1. michelle permalink
    June 10, 2010 3:00 pm

    you can get rank embroidered on your bra strap?? I had no idea!!! LOL

    In all honesty – your post is so spot on that I have thought every single thought. A few long time spouses in our group have decided to set our own little frg system up that works for us – online, whenever we want, we share what info we have. We’ve been functioning for 6 years now. The “official” frg – there is none. I have wives who can’t get childcare for their kids for the summer (where’s all the free childcare they talk about???) I have wives with roofs falling in (where’s all the free help?) I have wives with kids with severe emotional trauma but can’t get anyone to help. Luckily, my non-official group contains wives at all levels of the COC and WE get stuff done for each other; screw exclusionary, the major’s wife and the e3’s wife swap childcare now.

    so anyone who wants to begrudge us what we ‘get” I say I’d give it up in a second, just to have my husband home to see his kids graduate high school, or to see the birth of a child, or just to hug his little boy when things are going well.

  2. June 10, 2010 3:04 pm

    And the kids. The kids never chose this. I was a military brat, but it was a *very* different experience. My father came home from his last deployment in 1973, when I was an infant.

    Military kids now live with the constant fear of the loss of a parent, something most of us can’t even comprehend until it happens. They’re also dealing with the secondary fallout from injuries, combat stress and TBI. We don’t even know what the long term effects will be on an entire generation of military kids.

    So when someone tells me to stop “whining” I just want to scream. I’ll sit down and shut up when kids can get the help, treatment and resiliency training they need, when they need it. And if those soldiers claiming “their” families do it just fine really believe that, I have a bridge I’d like to sell them in Brooklyn. Really cheap. Cheaper than 25 years of therapy.

  3. June 10, 2010 4:51 pm

    I waited nearly 3 years for Tricare to get me a PCM, and a few months later we are getting ready to PCS, and I have to start all over again. In the last almost 4 years I have only seen my husband cumulatively for only a few months. He is currently on a TDY a thousand miles away, and my apartment has had a rampant rodent and insect problem. My new neighbors that looked like a nice family the night they moved in turned out to be drunks and crackheads. My FRG is only good for spreading the latest gossip. I don’t know anyone here. I don’t have girlfriends that understand this life or anyone to help me get a couch down a flight of stairs. I live in a economically devastated community outside Fort Drum, NY. I have no job because there are no jobs.

    As a military wife, I am not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me. But I am in complete agreement, when someone promises something, especially something like the MyCAA program they better damn well come through. When I was here alone feeling like my brain and heart were rotting inside this apartment, going to school was probably the only thing that saved me. I had nothing else to look forward to, I have hung all my hopes on my education. I need to know there is possibility and chance.

    I didn’t want a free ride, I wanted a glimmer of hope while I’m helping my husband put back the broken pieces of his life.

    • June 30, 2010 1:16 pm

      @ Allie

      I live in a economically devastated community outside Fort Drum, NY. I have no job because there are no jobs.

      CRAAAAAAAP. Ft. Drum is our next PCS.

  4. Jennifer permalink
    June 10, 2010 5:47 pm

    Oh my god, Allie! I wish I could help you. What a crappy situation you’re in. I added you as a contact on flickr (IrishJenn). If you need long-distance emotional support or someone to listen to your venting, contact me there and we can find a way to communicate.
    Take care.

    (Beautiful photography, BTW.)

  5. LAW permalink
    June 10, 2010 5:53 pm

    OK, anyone at Drum? anyone really ready to help out a fellow milspouse?

  6. June 10, 2010 6:31 pm

    I appreciate the kind words. Really, I am fine. Thank you.

  7. June 11, 2010 1:26 am

    People are stupid. STUPID. It makes me want to hurt them, so instead I just keep my trap shut and bitch to my husband… when I actually have him around. Ya know, those pesky deployments that other people think are tropical vacations… well they tend to limit contact. Bummer. Well at least we’re rich and get lots of free shit on the government’s dime, right?

  8. June 11, 2010 8:03 am

    I had a long post typed up, but what it all boiled down to is this: Awesome. LAW, you’re awesome. and I *heart* you to pieces.


  1. The Great “Entitlement” Debate « LeftFace — The Other MilSpouse Blog

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