My husband as some of you know is a Disabled veteran. He served in the Vietnam conflict.
We have been married for over 30 years and up until last week he has never spoken to me about this. Now all of the sudden he is talking about it and he is filled with such anger and hurt over the way the Vietnam Veterans were treated when they returned home. He told me that he was even called a Baby Killer by the preacher of the church that he and his family had attended all of his life.
For some reason it is like someone opened the flood gates and now this is all he wants to talk about. Since I am 18 years his junior I was not really old enough to know how things where then.
I am very proud of him and try to assure him of that but it just seems like he wants answers that I cant give him.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
i really dont know what to tell you other than continue to be there for him and listen and tellin him you love him and are proud of him **HUGS**
One person cannot be all things to another. It is common for us to want our partner to be our cheerleader, confidant, therapist, lover, and friend. This is not possible or healthy. I suggest he find someone to talk to that can relate to his experiences more. Perhaps he could join a Veterans group where not only could he share his experience , but could be supportive to others going through the same thing. Counseling is also a great way to process thought ...that are more of an internal dialog than a conversation.
Good luck, and I hope it all works out
Politics and War ... are Evil ... Anytime, Anywhere ... The only Winner in both ... is Suffering ...
In War ... The "Winners" suffer ... and the "Losers" Suffer ... The kids and the old folks Suffer ... just as your disabled husband has, and is suffering ... who else do you know, is Suffering ... though decades have passed since he fought ... some other proxies.
Stand up for Peace in the World ... Regardless of what your Politicians and the Media Feeds you ...
Fight against War faring ... if you must Fight against anything ... Fight for Peace ... for the children you can save from being Orphaned ... or save the bright faces of youth from being clouded by dismay ... for the rest of their lives.
Do not Fight Wars as the Proxies of those, who think, humans are animals ... to whom, their misplaced Egos are more important, than human lives.
yeah, i have to agree with pinky about that. even though i was never alive during that era, i do know a lot of soldier's suffered due to post traumatic stress syndrome according to some historians. it sounds like he's been bottling this up inside for a while, and now he can't keep it inside anymore. one of the many reasons why i always say that a soldier's job is never as valued as it should be in our society. they sacrifice so much of themselves, yet we in society treat them as nothing more than hired guns of the government. when in reality, they suffer far more than most normal people would.
all i can say is just follow pinky's advice and just listen to him and try to comfort him the best you can. maybe even tell him that whatever he did or had to do to survive the vietnam war, wasn't his fault. after all, a soldier has to face life and death situations all the time, in war. sure, he might've had to take another life, (something I'll never make light of), but if he hadn't then the person would've killed him. is it fair? no, but in times of war, a soldier needs to do what it takes to survive out there. anyway, i hope that helps you. just try to listen to him with an open mind when you comfort him, and tell him whatever he had to do to survive, it wasn't his fault. anyway, i hope that helps. im sorry, i couldn't say much else.
I know what you're going through as I am in a similar situation. If you want to talk, send me an email. I'd rather not air it out here.
Stevennix as I said any and all advice is welcome. It is almost a little scary that he has so much hurt and anger about this now after having been silent for so long. I am basically a Military Brat, as nearly all the men in my family have served at one time or another. Most however served during peace time. My Uncle was in the Air force during the Korean War but he doesn't talk much about his experiences either. It seems stange to have been a part of such a large Military family and have so little knowledge of how to help him.
its not strange at all as a lot of soldiers hold it in and bottle it up as a result of most people around them tend to judge before knowing facts... as for the preacher and with the fact this will probably piss some people off but the preacher is an ass for saying such things to your husband after all your husband was serving and fighting for all of us Americans and anyone that can judge and flat out say such things about what our armed forces do are just sissies in my opinion!
i agree with you there pinky. in fact, i think the military is probably one of the most under appreciated jobs in this country. anyone who calls them a baby killer for what they've done, should be ashamed of themselves. their just doing their job. they have no control over what the fat cat politicians force them to do.
yeah, i'm a military brat myself. however, like i said, it sounds like he just needs someone to listen to him and not judge him for what he had to do during the war. all i can say is just hug him and listen to everything he tells you with an open mind. don't judge him, and when he's done' telling you what he wants to say, then try to let him know that it wasn't his fault. anyway, i hope he feels better soon. i'm sorry to hear about your predicament.
PrettyPanther thank you for the lovely offer. I am sad to hear that you are also going through this. I will send off my e-mail in the A.M. right now I am also trying to concentrate on writing a little. (LOL not working so well as I find that I would rather be in the forums)
I went through flash-backs from over 35 years previously. It was horrific not only for me, but for the few family members I shared it with, particularly my mom. I would cry on the phone to her and ask her if I was nuts, or did this stuff really happen. She verified it all happened.
Some people can get through this kind of stuff without help. I couldn't. I had to shop around and go through three counselors before I found the right one who could listen to the horrors and still keep me working toward healing and sanity.
The most important thing I learned was that this stuff is toxic to us and it actually needs to come up at some point, so it's actually a good sign that he's trying to heal what happened. However, getting through it is not easy, and it usually requires some help.
I don't know if your hubby is up to counseling. Some people just aren't. If he is, I think thoughtfully considering some options there might help. The other things that helped me the most are "presence" and "awareness" teachings by people like Eckhardt Tolle (The Power of Now), Dr. Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, and many others.
I've written about this in some hubs. One is about abuse, another about a meadow and another about a bad day. Just passing it along if it helps.
Sending kindest and best to you and one of America's Finest.
Many thanks I will read your hubs asap. I know that it may seem that I am not giving him the proper respect he is due by asking this but please understand that he has said nothing to me of any of this in the 30+ years of our marriage, and I have to wonder if it really was so bad for you guys when you returned home or has the long years of keeping it bottled up convoluted his memories a little?
He does not speak of regret for anything he did while in Vietnam only of the hurt and anger at the poor treatment he received upon returning home.
Well, to be clear, I was never a veteran of anything except surviving horrific abuse. However, the principles behind cleaning it up are exactly the same.
Of course you are giving proper respect. You are concerned and willing to listen and willing to keep going through this as a support to him.
As for whether or not his memory is accurate or not, it absolutely is. Trauma is incredibly accurate. More accurate than other types of memories. And that is perhaps one of the most unfortunate things of all.
However, I can tell you, having survived what I did, now having a good life, now able to be calm and rational and not filled with hatred and fear, we *can* get through it. No matter how bad it seems to get, it's actually a sign his mind is doing what it needs to to heal.
I have had a look at the Hubs you recommended and you offer such inspirational advice I truly hope I can put it to good use and help him find peace.
Something may have triggered the reaction in him. It happens to many veterans of Vietnam and other wars. Recognize the symptom as a possible sign of PTSD. Listen to him and especially acknowledge his feelings, anger and emotions. He will appreciate it.
donotfear. I am trying. I am also trying to get more educated on the war and the era in American History so I at least have some foundation to discuss this with him. As far as a trigger I think it is likely that his failing health probably has a lot to do with that.
I was really hoping to find at least one Veitnam Vet that could help me out with this.
Sorry but I thought I would have one more go at this. I have had a lot of helpful and supportive response but I would really be interested in learning just what did happen when the American Military returned home after the Vietnam conflict.
One place to start would be the movie, "Born on The Forth of July" It is awful, I could not get through the whole movie. I do not recommend watching it with him, unless he has already seen it.
Another resource might be YouTube, but i will have to check that out for you.
As a rule, if anything is ever going to change in this country, the first change I would like to see is how our own government treats its Veterans. It is a true crime of epic proportions, almost as if they were supposed to die over there. They have to fight for every single morsel of health care from the VA hospital, while some of these hospitals do not have their own "kitchen" and actually pay a catering service to deliver the meals.
What a waste of money, that could be keeping a veteran from becoming homeless.
Sorry Ohma, I guess that will be hubworthy. Maybe my next outcry for change.
Hug him and love him and tell him, there are some of us out here who are enraged at the way he was treated. I am one, and I know many more.
Here's a YouTube video
There were many responses to troops returning from Vietnam, the war was very unpopular among the generation that is now in control of government (Baby Boomers)some people openly berated men who had done nothing more than what their country asked of them.
The troops came back as failures to a lot of people,the men who fought that war and the ones fighting today were not allowed to win. I am a veteran and have seen quite a bit of conflict I never had any problems with PTSD or flashbacks or any problem related to the combat I was involved in.
I think that the men of that era were thrown into situations that couldn't be prepared for. The closest experience would have been what the Marines in WW2 endured in the Pacific theater. Your husband has a resource in Vietnam veterans groups and may need to be with others who experienced what he did.
Well.....I wish I could direct you to my ex-husband who is a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict. But he's not a friendly guy. Very odd outlook. He was a point man in Vietnam, sniper, etc. Very serious, quiet, non-emotional. I was married to him for 12 years. Absolutely void of healthy emotion. I don't know if I contribute this as a result of Vietnam or his upbringing, which was not exactly normal. I can tell you, I remember waking up while he was talking in his sleep, speaking some language I didn't understand. He would get drunk beyond belief............still does. I was glad to leave that marriage but it helped me understand the era much better. One more thing: Men who fought on the front lines and walked point NEVER stayed high on pot while they were in the field. Never. You couldn't or you'd get killed. This would infuriate my ex when soldiers of that time were depicted sitting around in the jungle getting high on all the weed growing freely. Not where he was....
Thank You Faybe I have not seen that movie but I guess I might have to have a look at it.
Padrino I think you are right I have looked into our local VFW but there are not many participating Vietnam Era veterans and I am at a loss as to where else to look.
Though on a far less scale than what he went through, I also received ridicule after returning from Desert Storm in '91. All I can say is, continue to love and reassure him of your appreciation for him. Hey, another idea would be to talk to a local school teacher, and have the kids make pictures and posters of what freedom means to them and why they respect and love your husband. Although, not in actual battle now, all soldiers love receiving these tokens of appreciation.
One final note. It is extremely good that he is talking now, but be assured that there are deep feelings inside as you know. In many ways he is still at war in Vietnam. Often, when a soldier returns to scoffing from the very country they fought to protect and serve, they will revert at heart to the last place they felt they had purpose and importance - the battlefield. This, I fear, is where your husband has been since the real Vietnam conflict. He is now wanting to come home and is seeking understanding and welcome from the country that shamed him before. Take it from that direction and make his welcome home a positive one. He deserves it!
Its interesting that you mention Desert Storm there were antiwar rallies held where maybe 20 people showed up and were shouted down by 300 people supporting the troops.
They did not want a repeat of Vietnam era protests.
Very true. And I'm thankful my coming home was not nearly as severe as was for this good woman's husband. We live in a different society. In '91 people were becoming more apathetic and void of any thought of "necessary" death during times of protection or liberty on behalf of others. In secret there were those who looked upon us as murderers as many of our active servicemen are today.
This is why it is so imperative to ensure a "true" welcome home when our servicemen knock at the door, of their homeland country, for the second time. They long to come home and to be freed from the never-ending recons in the jungle. Love and understanding is the true name of the game in the end.
May your husband be blessed beyond measure as he finds the warmth of, once again, being comforted by the red, white and blue.
Goldenpath thank you as well for serving and for your wonderful insights. Maybe you have helped me to find a new way to see what he sees. It is a perspective I had never even thought about before.
Donotfear, considering what I am learning about that time I don't wonder that your ex was a little odd as you say. It seems to me that the greatest fight these guys faced was after they come home.
Not that I am judging your divorce I am not. Honestly I really do not know if I could have stayed in my marriage if all this had come up 20 years ago. I am thankful that I am older and wiser now and not so quick to anger.
I am off to bed thank everyone so much I hope to see you all tomorrow.
eh,war seems the msot popular topic everywhere last week I've seen some hot threads about this issue. Really pitty that people still suffer from war and portwar traumas.
As for your husband:
1. Have you ever asked about his war experience?
2. Feelings of the people who are involved in the war activities and of those who watch them on TV are veeery different. And the society is too strict towards those who was fighting. They know that War is bad, but it comes only theoretical discussions. But your husband knows real meaning of War. Padniro gave you a good advice... I'm sure hge will feelbetter if he joins Vietnam Veterans support group.
<<<I think that the men of that era were thrown into situations that couldn't be prepared for.>>> I think that even the best trained soldier is not ready for war massacres.
I have a very dear friend who served in Vietnam and suffers daily-mentally and physically. Did you say that your husband is disabled? My friend is as well.
His most chronic problem is with the VA hospital care that is doled out with horrific complexity. It never gets easier on a soldier.
You put your ears on when he is open to talking about it. You say tell me about it. Get him to fully describe his anger. When he finishes speaking ask, "Is there any more on that?" If there is listen. When he is all done ask acknowledge him with a Thank You then ask, "What is your positive opposite of anger/rage. When he give you HIS positive opposite give the command Tell me about __________ (whatever his opposite is). When he is done again acknowledge him with a Thank You.
As for the minister....well, I'll have to run my rage out on that one cause that just p double esses me. I don't live in the US. We took in a lot of draft dodgers during the Vietnam War. I was in my teens and early twenties. My heart went out to the soldiers then, when they returned home and now. There is no excuse whatsoever for the way they have been treated!!!!
I would suggest that he call your local V.A. office and get some free counselling.
My heart goes out to you both.
The VietNam Era was filled with so much conflict and became very unpopular as it continued. The Anti War Movement was huge and many of us said very insensitive things to the Vets that many of us, myself included, have come to greatly regret. The situation there was a living hell: the enemy was unclear, the jungles were filled with snipers, and there were pitch black tunnels with enemies also. Images of burning villages with screaming women and children haunt a person forever. A soldier was only doing his job.
We get to a point as we age that our memories surge with crystal clarity, and we are either forced to talk or write about them. Listen patiently and encourage him to write his memories down. He can throw them away later. Counselling or a support group at the VA is a good option too. He probably doesn't need your feedback or comments - just your love. All the best!
Being a daughter of veteran from that time, I can tell you that they weren't treated right when they came home, and they were over there for the wrong reasons. The government basically started a war they shouldn't have and forced our men to go there. PSTD or post traumatic disorder is very common. They deal with it in their own time, and he might just be able to talk about it now, because he is healing now. It was a very bad experience, and damaged many people the soldiers and their families. It was probably one of the worst wars in our times emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. I agree above with cat, that a counselor would help. It just was a very horrific adventure for most of them.
I think that you , and he , already know that PTSD has a huge effect on VietVets, you have to answer this yourself though , you have been married thirty years and know him more than anyone at this point. Classic PTSD symtoms are easy to look up and counciling for him would be easy and good for him ...and you. I believe veterans have a tough time in later years , but family members , especially wives and children as well pay heavily for PTSD. Good Luck.
I think he's suffering from post traumatic stress and all the nightmare he went through is resurfacing. My advice to you is go to a professional so he can vent everything he had stored for all these years and receive the therapy he desperately needs.
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