It’s Veterans Day, and I can’t help but reflect back on my experiences with The Narcissist. Those of you who read this blog are likely already aware that the Narcissist is a Veteran.
He was active duty for most of our marriage, he had multiple deployments throughout his 9 year career to the desert and other remote parts of the world and he developed and struggled with PTSD as a result. I supported him through his trauma and his healing process the best that I could and I walked along side him as he made the very difficult transition from military life to the civilian world… but the reality is that I often bared the brunt of his suffering. Elements of his trauma translated into mental, emotional and physical abuse within our marriage, and I am certainly not alone in this experience.(Combat veterans are responsible for 21% of domestic violence claims in the US.)
While my marriage to The Narcissist was wrong and broken in so many ways, I still look back and feel a deep sympathy and respect for him and for all of our Veterans for the weight that they carry for all of us. I will forever be thankful for (most of) the experiences that were brought into my life as a result of becoming a military wife. I was able to live abroad and experience the wonders of a foreign culture. I met some of the most amazing and passionate people I have ever known. I became a fitness nut thanks to training with the guys every morning. And I got to see first hand how much our military members truly sacrifice to serve their country.
So on this day, I would like to remind everyone that so many of our Veterans are suffering in silence with the effects of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This suffering is resulting in so many veteran suicides every single day, and those who continue to live with these traumas are impacting their spouses, children, families and friends as well.
Veteran Statistics for PTSD, TBI, Depression and Suicide:
(SOURCE: RAND Corporation Study The Invisible Wounds of War Tanielian, Terri L.)
- As of September 2014, there are about 2.7 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars
- According to RAND, at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression.
- 50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment
- out of the half that seek treatment, only half of them get “minimally adequate” treatment
- 19% of veterans may have traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Over 260,000 veterans from OIF and OEF so far have been diagnosed with TBI.
- 7% of veterans have both post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury
- rates of post-traumatic stress are greater for these wars than prior conflicts
- recent statistical studies show that rates of veteran suicide are much higher than previously thought, as much as five to eight thousand a year (22 a day, up from a low of 18-a-year in 2007, based on a 2012 VA Suicide Data Report)
If you have a loved one suffering from PTSD or the effects of TBI, please do everything that you can to get them help. In my experience, a veteran will try to manage this on their own, they will try to do it alone, and they will really believe that they can heal themselves.
These types of trauma do not get better on their own, in fact, they often get worse. Most people don’t realize that living with someone who has PTSD can also give you PTSD, especially when there is abuse involved in the equation. I know it is scary but you are not alone and there are so many resources available to help. ❤
- Get information at: VA Caregiver Support website
- Call the VA Caregiver Support Line: 1-855-260-3274
For help with talking to a Veteran about getting needed care, you can contact VA’s Coaching Into Care program: 1-888-823-7458.