Friday, April 26, 2013

Faced with anger...

Nothing means more to my husband than his family. His kids are his pride and joy. He knows his injuries place abnormal strain on them from time to time, but when he is able he does everything in his power to help them. Today has been a true test of his anger management, and he passed with flying colors.

We are big believers in raising children for success. When I say success, I am not speaking of finances. I am speaking of a happy, healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually), and all around good life. We believe in boundaries, discipline, and the value of education. Unfortunately, my stepson's mother does not share our views.

Yesterday was my stepson's birthday. Although she had already let him skip school for no reason 5 days this year, she let him skip on his birthday... making it 6 days he has skipped. This does not include the days he has had excused absences such as an illness or an educational experience. These days are simply "playing hooky" as she puts it. He is struggling in one of his classes, and his attendance was very important. Yet she allowed him to skip school. Her excuse? His birthday is one of the two most important days in my life, and I want him to know that. Our view? If you truly love your kid that much wouldn't you want them to learn and grow into a mature, responsible individual? Why would you want your child who is struggling in a class to miss out on lessons he needs to know. The poor kid has absolutely hated school ever since he started experiencing struggles in math. Wouldn't you want him to learn to at least tolerate school by relieving the stress of him not understanding anything in math? She stood firm that she was doing right. So... we logged it.

We are blessed with the fact that she freely gives us reasons to log information. It seems she daily makes decisions a court would see as poor and not in the best interest of the child. We will never have to dig for information. She lays it out plain and clear to us.

Today we received a call from the school saying my stepson was in the principal's office for not turning in his math homework too many times. We began looking into it, and we were shocked at how often he does not do his homework when he is at his mom's house. Wouldn't turning in his work be a start to helping him do better in math?

My husband was livid. But, incredibly, he contained his anger extremely well. Again, he logged it. He spoke with the assistant principal about the truancy throughout the year. Although he was not 100% clear on all the facts, his understanding was that if my stepson's mother allows him to miss 2 more unexcused days this quarter, the school will automatically be taking her to court.

What did my husband do? He could have told her. He could have gone off on her. He had every reason to lay into her about how she is doing his son such an injustice... how badly she is hurting his son. But, no... instead he prayed about it. We prayed together about it. We talked it out and decided the best thing  we can do is be the best parents we can be at our house, continue to be very involved in the school, do our best to influence the boy to make the right decisions, continue to never speak ill of his mother to him, and pray.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Living with PTSD

Living with a husband with PTSD is hard... especially when there are children involved. The bursts of rage are scary. You do everything in your power to shield them from it, but it so often comes on without warning that you can't always protect them. Luckily my husband is never physically violent toward people, but the yelling, slamming doors, punching holes in walls, etc., at the drop of a hat are not something kids should be exposed to. He lives life as a ticking time bomb ready to explode at any second. When he does he changes quickly into it, and then he's quickly out of it. And it's more likely to occur as a result of a simple mistake he made. Almost never is it aimed at anyone other than himself. No words are said to him by anyone else to bring it on. No provoking occurs. No blame is placed or guilt is thrown. As a PTSD wife you learn to NEVER acknowledge to your husband that he has done something wrong, or the episode would be MUCH worse. The problem is, the baby's already screaming and crying by the time he's finished with his episode, and the 12-year-old has already shut himself in his room. Yet he sees nothing wrong with his behavior, and I suddenly become the bad guy for telling him to stay away from the kids until he calms down.

Yes, living with PTSD is hard... much harder than I ever imagined. But we do our best as wives and mothers... loving our husbands and protecting our kids... all the while praying this doesn't have long-term negative effects on the children.

The beauty of this situation is he typically controls it in front of the kids. The last time before tonight I can remember an outrage when the kids were present was about a year ago. And the PTSD therapy we went through and knowledge we gained on the disorder has helped him improve drastically. The frequency of episodes is extremely rare compared to what it was in the past. And prayer... well... prayer is the greatest healer of all. I have faith that with God's help these struggles will become a distant memory.