- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I have struggled with being a military wife for a long time.

I have struggled at making friends and at being a part of the functions that go on for wives. I tried to volunteer but was told I wasn’t needed several times. My mistake was trying to tell the Family Readiness Group (FRG) leader that I disagreed with how she was handling certain situations. All of a sudden my services were not wanted anymore.

I decided to talk to the colonel’s wife about this. I thought she agreed with me and said she would talk to the FRG leader. Ever since, I have been hated even more for doing the right thing.

Before I started trying to get involved, my husband told me to watch what I said. I figured if I was in the right it should not matter, but in the end it did.

I thought if I couldn’t help within my own FRG, then maybe I could help at the Family Readiness Center at Army Community Service. I was burned there, too.

No one can say I haven’t tried. We have been here for five years, and trust me, I have tried. I think I finally figured it out, though. It doesn’t matter where your heart is, it’s who your husband is, and I guess I am out since my husband is a noncommissioned officer.

Don’t misunderstand me; I am very proud of him. All I ever wanted to do was be involved and help, only to get shut down every time. I am now tired. So, I find myself staying at home and only staying at home. Life is simple that way. No drama, right?

Staying at home has made me more miserable than ever, but I can’t get out. I am in my own prison. I don’t have room in my heart to be hurt or shut out anymore. I have crying spells, and I sleep a lot. I don’t even know why I bother to get up. My husband has a job, and my kids are almost teens, so they are able to take care of themselves somewhat, and they go to school.

Here I am at home! I feel like a maid, a cook, an accountant, and I hate it. I want to find a job; I have a college degree. I did go to one job interview, but they wanted me to go back and take some refresher classes, and I don’t want to do that.

What is here for me? Nothing! No one seems to care enough to know me. It’s all about my husband’s rank. Now the good part of me is not here, and what is left sits here in my house alone, afraid to go out, afraid to make any friends, afraid of saying the wrong thing.

I am lost - can anyone find me? I would love to feel like I can be here again.

Lost

Dear Lost,

I regret your recent experiences. You have been here for several years, and I’m sure you are an asset to the community in many ways. Many things in your letter concern me. First, you are letting your husband’s rank identify who you are. You also are “catastrophizing” the entire five years that you’ve lived here, which is making you feel as if everything you’ve contributed — including your volunteer experiences — was to no avail. Now it appears that you have slipped into a depression; you need to see your doctor immediately about these symptoms.

Here’s some quick advice: First, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible; try to get a same-day appointment. Second, don’t let one or two bad experiences become so paramount that you become jaded about the future. The truth is, good and bad experiences happen. Next, try not to be a busy person; instead, strive to be a person who walks in her purpose. Just being “busy” keeps you empty — and full of regret. “Purpose” is just the opposite, because you wake up every morning being fulfilled, despite the good and bad.

Fourth, don’t be defined by your husband’s rank, and don’t let rank determine what roles or organizations you decide to get involved with. I strive for balance, knowing my husband is the service member, not me. He has a career in the Army, not me. I participate in many activities in and around the surrounding communities as well. But it’s all about my purpose.

Fifth, think about updating your skills and continuing your education, but again, strive for “recognizing your purpose,” not just seeking another degree or certificate or job. You spoke to me about wanting to be there for your children during their middle-school years instead of being in school yourself. For the record, my sons were all in elementary school when I was in graduate school. They can remember making several trips to the University of Louisville with me for classes. Now, my plan is to complete doctoral work over the next year. Overall, I think things work out in time.

Finally, you must know that you are an eagle, and eagles don’t flock, you find them one at a time. No matter what’s thrown at them, good and bad, they continue to soar. I know I’m an eagle, but I’ve been treated like a barnyard chicken many times. That does not change the fact that I’m an eagle, and I don’t eat chicken feed. Stay encouraged and let me know how I can help further.

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I guess I tend to move too quickly. I met the man of my dreams and quickly fell head over heels in love with him. I knew he was the one for me. I immediately introduced him to my family and friends. They fell in love with him, too.

He was quite refreshing after a string of broken relationships. I’ve had many. Being 26 years old and unmarried is hard for me as I watch many of my friends and family members get married and start a family.

Well, this relationship started to crumble right before my eyes. I found out this man is married with two children in another state. I am now facing financial trouble because I loaned him more than $2,000 to pay his bills.

I am angry and not sure what to do. How can I get my money back, or should I even try? Are there any good guys left in the world? Ms. Vicki, I need some advice.

Can’t Find True Love

Dear True,

It’s obvious that you move too quickly in the name of love. Dating rule number No. 1 says if they ask you for money, you should run as fast as you can in the other direction. Dating rule No. 2 says if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

I’m not sure how you can get your money back. Maybe you should look into small-claims court, or seek legal advice. However, I am sure of one thing: You must stop opening and closing your bedroom door for now. Let your sheets cool off. It seems that you open up everything when someone says they love you.

Spend some time “with you” and nurture your goals and aspirations. Try to discover why you are afraid not to have a man. A wise woman said, “You can learn just as much from a handshake as you can by taking someone to bed.” I hope this helps.

&#8226 Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her column runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at [email protected]

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