Who do I talk to??

I have a situation that I'm sure is similar to many boomers. My dad was a WW2 vet but he talked a lot about the war. The trouble is I have no one to talk to because I am not a veteran. I am 59 but dad told me war stories when I was 8 and pictures too. I have some horrible things to share but I hate getting backslapped by vets who think I shouldn't complain because I was not in a war. My dad was a brave soldier. He was wounded in Okinawa saving a mans life on the battlefield. But he brought the war home to us kids. We were all beaten because they didn't even know what PTSD was back then. I almost had a knife in my eye if not for my fast reflexes. I had him rage at me that he would put a bullet in my head. He put a knife to my throat and held me in a headlock at 17. The day I moved out He broke a barbecue grill on my head and knocked me out. I am called mentally ill but it is not a chemical imbalance like the shrinks told me. I was never in a war but my own house was a dangerous place. Dad was deadly violent. I have sympathy for all veterans but also for their families who suffer because no one really knows what to do with the damaged men and women who come back from the wars and can't function the way they did before they went out. We all need help support and compassion and understanding. I want all of us veterans and non veterans to understand and to help each other. I don't hate my dad. I just suffer with the secondary damage from what he went through in the war. Many kids hide behind a smile in school and go home to the insanity at home. That's my story for now.

26 Replies

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  • I hear you alamagoosa!

    I was not in the military, but feel like I was because of what happened with my Father. He was in the Marine Corps in 1946, witnessed and participated in some violent abuse that affected him deeply (I later found a story he wrote about it). When he was blackout drunk, he acted out similar violence on me when I was a teenager, which caused my PTSD. I later realized that my healing journey meant I had to deal with my own anger and issues because of what happened with my Dad. My house too was a very dangerous place.

    I think you've found a great place to talk about how to deal with what you went through. Opening up like you just did is a real starting point!

    Glad you are here, and welcome! :)

  • You don't have to be in a war to have PTSD. I'm so sorry for the abuse and danger you lived through. You are a survivor, just as the rest of us here are. Severe abuse can bring on PTSD, too. Our stories are all different, our traumas are different, but it all adds up to the same thing. We have survived, but the act of survival has left us overwhelmed and fractured.

    You are safe here. We all share our stories and encourage each other in our struggles to survive another day. We understand.... and you are welcome. Talk to us all you want to. We're here to listen.

    ((((((hugs))))

  • Just a thought- have you attempted to get help at the VA? At our local 'Integration Center' in Columbia, SC, they have therapy groups for family members. Many of them are older than you, so I suspect they are also secondary casualties of an earlier war as you were. Suggestion- call 1-800-SUICIDE. It is a national hotline number, and it is for more than suicide. There is a recording at the beginning that says if you are concerned about a Veteran, dial 1. They are specially trained in Vet affairs and have listings for services. Just tell them your truth about why you are calling and see if they can help you find services. That is why they are there. Give that a try and let us know if that helped you find something in your area.

    I want to say thank you for bringing your story here alamagoosa. I am sure that many have experienced what you have. Feel free to speak in here about anything you need to. You will find acceptance here.

    Hugs if you want them-

  • You and your story are important. As a woman who spent my childhood and early teen years as the only girl among a dozen boys about my age, and later as a woman working in a traditional male field, I've had many close male friendships over long spans of time. There are so many men who suffered abuse, unjust anger and competition from there fathers. We have several generations of damaged father/son relationships, many the direct result or enhanced by the demons of wartime service.

    All you can do is seek help -- it's not too late to heal. There is progress -- you can learn to understand the underlying cause of the trauma suffered by men of your father's generation during wartime. You can learn to understand why your father was unable to exert control over his inner rage. You can learn how to nurture yourself apart from what happened to you as a victim. You can move closer to being the man your "healthy dad" would have wanted for you.

  • You might want to try Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families. Sometimes these groups are formed under the titled Adult Children of Alcoholics. Often the dynamics are similar. Meetings are free and a 12 step program is often available for those who wish to be part of it, regardless of whether one has an addiction problem or not. Contact your town or city mental health group meeting lists if you wish.

  • Great direction, NatureLove! I've been involved with ACA for a long time, and it has been one of the key elements in my healing journey. The 12 step process is very powerful as a healing tool.

  • Great idea. I have been looking for real people to meet with as well as being a part of this group. Real people with skin on from time to time. thanks!

  • So glad to hear it, Dan. I've heard really good things about it from other folks I admire.

  • Honestly, ACA gave me back my life, because it all went back to growing up in the alcoholic household. It's changed a lot since I was first in it - they've now got a support book, which I think can be overwhelming for newcomers - a lot of clinical sounding information. Groups can vary quite a bit - like with any small group gathering.

  • My cousin was in Vietnam

    He brought it home too, but for the most part he didn't allow it to spill out on his family.

    He told me of a bit of what he went through!

    He also used alcohol to deaden the noise? He was a really great guy!

    He died a few years ago from liver disease. his family all miss him a lot!

    It seems vets were pretty much left to figure out what to do about PTSD on their own... I think a lot of them had the same problems with it that we have had... No real help from the medical community, or govt.

  • Yep, for sure the Vietnam Vets got the raw end of the deal. another thing I notice too is how 'sissyfied' some older vets and older people have toward the whole PTSD diagnosis. Knowledge can change perception, and I can choose to accept the knowledge or stay stuck in 'the past' because it is what I know. Fortunately, I choose to accept my erroneous ways and change.

  • It sounds like your dad brought war home with him and created his very own war zone in the house.

    It was only after trauma and PTSD that I came to see how my home and school environment had been contributing factors in it all. I grew up thinking hypervigilance was normal.

    I still find the family dynamic very difficult. I try to minimise contact and keep them out of my life as much as possible. That makes me feel like crap at times. But I cannot pretend any more.

    I've had to learn for myself what it means to be a man because what I learnt at home wasn't helpful. Instead trauma and PTSD seem to have been my biggest teachers.

    You survived. Now you are living with the consequences. Here you are sharing whats real for you. Thats good and healthy.

    Hugs

  • Good for you! I am doing the same thing. For the first time in 20 years I live near my original family. I have the internal 'nag' of old that says, "all family is suppose to get along because we started out living in the same house together."

    Really. So because I was born in a stable with pigs and cows, I should continue to want to hang out in the manure and mud?

    I am learning to listen to my gut. My gut says, 'No. i feel dirty and smelly after I am around XYZ. I am tired of going home after a visit and spending 3 hours scrubbing my mind and wrestling with the old 'nag'. NO MORE!

    so I may appear an outcast and a problem child (nothing new) to the 'family'. Now I think that if family is NOT helping, but hurting, keep them away.

    The real problem is an early one for me. I DO not want too be the 'zero' in the family. I crave their approval, though realistically it will not come. Accepting that fact and finding other people who DO see me, warts and all, and say, "Wow, you are a very cool creation," that is what family is suppose to be all about. And eventually I will be able to look at myself and say the same thing because it will be real to me.

  • you just told my whole story. bless you

  • you just told my whole story. bless you

  • I started staying away from my family in 1988. They were too toxic to keep in my ring of family and friends.

    I had one foray into a 9 month on again/off again relationship 10 years later in 1998. After that time I have not seen anyone in my family. I don't call them. They don't call me. There's an occasional email from one member and a promise that he'll visit me some day. It's been 15 years since I've seen any of my brothers and their families.

    My mom died in 2010, and I refused to attend her funeral. After her death, memories flooded my mind on a daily basis. I couldn't stop writing about what happened to me as a child. My PTSD symptoms went through the roof, again.

    One therapist I saw while seeing my family in 1998 told me to treat them as if they were senile. That helped immensely.

  • My whole family is dysfunctional and I had PTSD at a very early age. My mom married a pedophile who was Narcissistic and would be emotional, physically and verbally abusive as well. I went through some more severe trauma in my adult life and I have come a long way pretty much on my own. I no longer have contact with my family and I am completely alright with that. They can't hurt or manipulate me anymore. I have 3 other sisters and we were all impacted by the abuse. I am working on my health and I am in therapy. I also go to an Outpatient program where they taught me a lot about DBT skills when I was in the program. I am also learning CBT skills as well. The only problem is that my memory and retention is poor because of the severity of PTSD and so I struggle to retain what I learn. As a survivor I just take it day by day and try to balance my body, mind, social and spiritual life.

  • aujoymyjoy i am staying away from family as much as possible. it hurts but i have to stay healthy. i wish i was more independent financially. then i wouldn't need them so much. glad i found this place.

  • Good to read your story and I agree with you. Soldiers that come back from war are changed forever. I spend time at a local VA hospital and see the deep wounds from trauma. It is funny how comfortable I feel with them because trauma and war-like atmospheres happen in many homes and are equally destructive.

    I highly respect and honor all vets' sacrifice for me, and do all I can to encourage them as they live with the changes being a solider war brought to their life. I know first hand from my friend who passed away the PTSD that was brought to his life from his vet dad.

    I compare so often the abuse that occurred in my own home likened to a civil war at home. Some physical damage which heals and others can identify with. The emotional and soul devastation that comes from fear, anxiety, words that burn my identity to a crisp every day, toxic tones that mingle with 'sweet' words confuse my own thoughts silencing the just rage that boils inside.

    Seems like this is a place to talk, to air the yuck and most importantly, to me, to find the person I can be despite the yuck. I know each wounded soul has another chance. As R rated as my life has been, I have begun to see that beauty will come from ashes. I didn't think that was true for many years. I know it is true now.

  • Hi until I read your post I didn't join the dots. My father used to belittle me, and my mother and was violent towards me at times. After reading your blog it all fell in to place. The problem is even now when military personnel return from a conflict they do not received adequate support and the rage you witnessed was probably frustration as it had no where else to go. My father served in the Royal Navy during world war 2 from the age of 15. He did tell me some things, but did not go in too much detail, although he did talk about his comrades that were killed and how they were killed. The strange thing was that he did not want to leave the service after the war, but was invalided out on hurt certificates. This where the problems lie, when service men serve together it is a brotherhood and they look out for each other because they understand what there comrades are going through. I hope you can find some closure and work through how your childhood has affected you.

  • My father was deadly violent too, alamagoosa. He was a serial killer and forced me to watch and participate in his criminal acts. The only saving grace was I didn't live with him full-time. I lived with my somewhat normal stepdad, he had his problems too (a personality disorder), and my mom, who was anything but normal (two personality disorders).

  • cant combat stress help as am sure they deal with families as wellas the vets

  • Interesting - sorry you have been scarred because of another's behavior - it hurts when it's someone you love & is surpose to unconditionally love you. Life has taught me that almost all children want & need to love their parents. No matter if they are deserving of that love. Life is strange! As is Love..

    My father was also in WW2 & as a child I loved listening to his stories - I wish I had recorded the stories - my brothers both served during the Viet Nahm War in Nahm & my husband served here in the US. I am so very proud that they were willing to put their lives on the line for their country - to me this is the ultimate in love for ones country - feel everyone should serve if the draft was what activated ones service - Smith because of say flat feet could have a office job & our college football hero could play football but NOT serve because of leg injury? Hmmm football-soldier ??? Peel the onion back & see what's what. I hope we never need to have a draft again - but if necessity dictates then everyone in age bracket - rich -poor - middleclass ect ect. Right across the board - needs to answer :Greeting Uncle Sam wants you - finger pointing @ you! Yup even you ivy leaguers. Kinda a melting pot so to speak. Also, I believe it's 38 or 36 when Uncle Sam feels your over the hill - but we now want folks to work past 65 - anyone care to explain this? What are your thoughts Alma? You watched the movie about programming soldiers - Don't you ever wonder if maybe some are more susceptible to being programmed than another NOT that they stepped up & said I'm next - definitely undercover - maybe even on homeland? Life as WE certainly know is STRANGE @ best!!!

    I truly am sorry you had to endure what you did as a child. hope you can find positive ways to move beyond the wrong that took place - we all have our own nightmares - I know my loved ones & @ times I know that what comes out of ones mouth in my opinion is indeed - a case of: DON't put words in my mouth, & worse action w/the words. My take - (ever watch the series LIFE in there one scene Charlie & his new partner -she has like photomatic memory - well - he says I knew my best friend -I knew him -key word KNEW - as I Knew the core of my loved ones. Unthinkable -another domestic movie -sleeping w/the enemy. with Sandra Bullock. Let me know your thoughts.

  • Need to say - My husband's cousin - a very intellectual person graduated UNO NUMO in his class - law degree & a military College - He served in desert storm -well he was fighting the government trying to end their putting returning vets on medication - called Thorizine - they tied him up in red tape - I had after seeing a Psychitrist for 15 min. Been put on this - Here's what I said to him - " I don't know if I'm more scared of leaving my marriage or of staying." Gary was NOT a mean person I just didn't know what I needed or wanted - That required an antipsychotic drug - I had a real fog like I was living in -& I thought I had done things I hadn't. It was hell & I didn't need to lose weight & it was dropping continually - Well after I had said some unreal things I thought I had done -Gary spoke to his cousin about this bizarre thought process & he wanted to know what I was on - when Gary told him he was GET HER OFF THAT MY GOD - ect ect. He & his comrades had been sprayed with agent orange & it was killing him literally & the government kept saying it didn't happen. It did & - I know our government made his life a living hell & it was proven that they ACCIDENTLY did spray their own troops with agent orange - he was right on both of his suits against the US. # 1. He wanted vets being drugged with antipsychotic drugs Thorizine & (they have problems & this med only made things worse. PLus, because he wanted our Vets not to suffer even more @ the hands of those who swore to care for them - so if I sometimes seem like I don't care for medical personnal - most lawyers & let's NOT forget the cops!!!! It's learned behavior they once were grouped with the Easter Bunny & Santa - guess as one grows up all our heros die one way or the other.Oh yes - I junticed ( one turns yellow -bile not taken out of your blood by kidneys) on the meds a few days later - a sign from above my way of thinking - they quarenteend me - said I had hepaticed B - so had me in this private tent like dealie & Gary came to see me - they said you have to put on a mask ect ect. & He informed them "She's my wife and I'll see her right now & he walked in & guess he foiled what ever their plan was - I went home without Hep B. Conspiracy Theory & you wonder why I don't trust - really now who needs a good doze of an antipsychotic drug - (they wish me - THINK again!!! ) I'm voting for the Dr. On this one. JUST MY THOUGHTS!!

  • I feel bad for all the vets. Especially the ones who are pissed on by their own government. They suffered and so did their families. And the money it costs the taxpayers for mental illness and alcohol treatment and the damage done to their kids tells me we should have a ready military force. But we should not be so eager to use it. I am sure firemen and women don't hope for another fire. I bet they would love to have a fire department just in case. But who really want's a war but an arrogant leader and weapons manufacturers. That is the real cause of war. The soldiers march into harms way with honor a dignity while the rich bastards that start them and make money off them count their profits and don't care about the body count.

  • I agree - I remember hearing folks talking about how when our country is involved in a war that the US does encounter a better standard of living - this was years ago - not sure how it works out nowadays. War is Hell - guess fighting anything involving the system is going to NOT go well - so one needs to decide to focus on the positive & what makes one happy - I'm all for happy BUT now one needs to figure out what that consist of. Bottom line - there 's a large bucket of water & you place your hand in it & when you remove it the time it takes for the water to fill in where your hand was that's the time it will take for life to move on without me, or whoever -in one's work world - home life - ect. Ect. Point being in the scheme of life ones importance no matter who you are - how important one thinks they are - so it makes sense to just take good care of oneself & do whatever one can to find happiness. Things are set up that one isn't going to be able to fight the system - bottom line - one is going to lose their aware

    That the ball is always in their court & and when you lose sight of the fact life isn't fair & it is a fact IT ISN'T 'T!!!!! the very best thing is to do what makes you happy & do your best not to make waves for the backlash can kill you & that's if your Luckey. Theirs certainly worst ways to go!!! BUT why not die being involved making life tolerable then better then HAPPY! It's a PLAN - mine!

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