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PTSD and Contribution To Divorce: Army Forces Divorce and Ignored Concerns

Bachelors Degree in Organizational Behavioral Psychology with a background in Autism, Mental Health, Business Psychology. Sales Management.


Rear Detatchment, Broken Regulations

My husband returned from NTC; a training of one month for preparation for deployment to Iraq, in May of 2010. The first three days were wonderful and it felt as the last four months had because we just seemed to be "us" again. I barely started making friends with my neighbors and resolving a misunderstanding regarding two thousand dollars of money I was "in trouble" for with him for foolishly handling trying to buy a used vehicle. He helped tie up the remaining loose ends and gave me a lecture about letting someone influence my decisions and for thinking for me. I let someone who we both had discussed numerous times for being a very negative influence in our relationship; thus, I was supposed to try and find a way to disconnect from but at that point trust her again and didn't want to. He told me that I have let her influence me so much I accused my best friend at the time; of theft when in reality he didn't think that was the case and to drop the charges I had filed at the insistence of the outside party.

Other then this being an issue with my husband nothing was amiss. He left on mother's day evening to go down the road to play around with his RC cars and never came home until the following mid-afternoon.

Of course, my first thought was my husband was dead on the side of the road somewhere and I cried; I blew up his phone, I panicked...I figured he would have called if he wasn't coming home and got drunk maybe though he didn't drink much at all since we got married.

Then I got anxious thinking he was having an affair and that wasn't really sitting right either; my husband wasn't a cheater.

He came home and handed me his cell phone with a letter to me that said it was over; divorce with three detailed options and what they were. I fell to my knees hysterical saying “no,” over and over again. I tried to talk to him to ask why. It didn't make sense it was money and my irresponsibility with it. It wasn't something we even had fought about in six months. I didn't get it, I still don't. (Update: Fast forward 10 years, I still am not clear on what happened).

He had stopped taking his medication in training and was hanging around with a new female friend, a mutual soldier. She had been out at NTC training with him. She was married, they lived 5 houses away from us in family housing.

I didn't know she was also a neighbor that lived at the end of the block; not until he’d moved Into the barracks. She was trouble from day one and I knew she was somehow involved; but, I thought it was because they were sleeping together. I turned out way beyond wrong (Update: I was correct. He was caught in Iraq by a mutual friend; having a sexual relationship with this female soldier.)

My husband wasn't even slightly attracted to her and I knew that, I felt that. So why was that the reason I thought he left me? I think I didn't want it to really be my fault and I know that now, some was indeed my contribution to the end of our marriage though I still believe we could have gotten professional help in our marriage if PTSD hadn't been so severe.

I won't go into her personal stuff because its her life not mine. I will say though my husband was manipulated, that he believed a rumor about me and they fabricated “evidence.” To this soldiers credit, she made it look so valid that it is easy to see why he believed it to be true. He fell for it hook line and sinker. (Update: Came our years later that the soldier had her friend and husband stalk my house. At 5 In the morning; when my kids and are all sound asleep; the friend, dressed in PT gear, made it look like he was exiting my house. Her husband took a picture and they sent it via text message to my husband. After it was verified I was devastated.)

I won't ever believe he would have cheated with her because I can't go against what my intuition is. I have been cheated on so many times if I felt or saw anything that would say that now I wouldn't deny it a possibility. (Update: He actually cheated on me at least twice. My son with him, has a half-sister, she is two weeks older than he is. I truly believe I talked myself into ignoring all the obvious signs.)

His attitude toward me changed drastically. He had decided to stay at the house and we would be friends and we would wait until the deployment was over to see where we were at. I found out this friend had told him he didn't need the medication and there was nothing wrong with him; thus, his insistence now to not take it on his own. I was handing him his pill daily and I was watching him swallow it.

After a week or so he started staying at our house during the week and disappearing all weekend to a friends house. Another one he still has that I understand thinks they are being a good friend. Normally I probably would have agreed; but, they don't know anything about our relationship or who he is or what he has been through so their support is misguided and misdirected.

I don't hate them or have ill feelings towards their support of his choices, because they at least thought best for him. It still bothers me though my ex-husband can't see what this other women had done to make it all worse.

When he was spending more and more time with her; my neighbors were very blunt about discussing with me the fact it looked like he was sleeping with a married women and a neighbor to boot. No one liked her as it was and it became hostile around my neighborhood. She would get dirty looks, stares, they talked about her all the time and I do appreciate that they cared about me and what it did to me but I was also feeling bad I was being pitied.

My close male friend across the street had to have been the best friend I could have made at that moment because we had the same anxiety problems, he wasn‘t medicated and I was and we might as well be twins in a lot of our ways of thinking and such. He helped find my son when he went missing, I helped their marriage when it was meddled with, and though we aren't friends anymore due to cruel rumors and gossip untrue; I hold a special place for him as he got me through the worst times of my life.

See, soldier's won't necessarily be there when MP's show up and statements are made or when you need to call them or talk to CID (Criminal Investigations Division). It is something the wives are there for; to support you. You will normally see the soldier's fade into the background, but he didn't do that to me. He stood there through everything and he gave me advice and he supported my choices and showed me how to think. To think about what reasons I was doing what I was doing.

This is why there was only one report I made that I signed, that I initiated and I supported. I wasn't going to let my husband's career be affected; well at least that was not my intention. I had defended him even to CID and MPI (Military Police Investigation). I didn't want the Army seeing him as this monster, but as a good man that had needed help. Help that the Army was ignoring.

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I signed that statement knowing I might as well have signed my own death warrant in terms of my marriage. I knew that it was going to be a no return and no do-over situation. I cared only about his mental health and safety and I hoped one day he would truly understand that I was doing what I did because of loving him that much. That I did what any Army wife should have done for their own husband. Never did I do one thing to be vindictive or try to hurt him. That is what his friend was doing when she was telling him not to take his medication and supporting and encouraging the abusive language and behavior

Fort Stewart, Georgia (2010)

Fort Stewart, Georgia (2010)

I Loved Him, That's Why It Happened

After signing my statement; he stopped coming home half the week. He stopped coming by on weekends, even just to see his son and two step-children. I got really upset and hurt. I tried to talk to him and yes, was very emotional. All it did was push him further away. I didn't intend to do that. I took everything he said that I did to affect the choice for divorce and I started actively changing the things that had merit.

Now flash forward to 2020; as I sit here to update and edit this journey I endured in 2010; I see quite clearly I was not to blame. To take all that blame, to change every little thing he threw at me, was a desperate attempt on my behalf. This wasn’t my fault.

I looked at myself in the mirror one day back in 2010 and said I didn‘t like many things about myself so I set a plan for myself to fix it. I didn't fix what I felt was something I couldn't change for me. I did however, evaluate my morals and values. My ethics. What I wanted and didn't want in my life. In the process, with constant rejection, dwindling friend support, no money, no car...I began to self-medicate with pills and alcohol.

No matter what I did he didn't believe me and it turned out to be because people thought my life was a game to them and would feed him things blatantly untrue. That is when I found out he walked out of my life because someone took a picture of a truck in my driveway and texts it to him in training. That a man was reported to him coming in and out of my house all the time; that was my seventeen year old god-son that we both had known for six years.

By the time truth was told to him by myself; it was still not going to change his mind because that meddlesome friend got into every account on my computer I had and deleted files and changed emails and forwarded him IM talks with other people. (Update: years later the Army wife that hacked into all my accounts, fully admitted everything she did. But it was years too late.)

Nothing was immoral and I didn't cheat on him but it was portrayed I was psychotic and I was unfaithful. That would damage any one's mental health, even in the best of circumstances. Especially with how he divulged to me his infatuation with me from the first day he met me; he can tell you exactly what I was wearing the day i walked into our first Family Readiness Group meeting when I first showed my face to anyone in my husband SGT J wife. We had just gotten to Fort Hood and we were just finally stable in our relationship. Jay didn't see what taking over FRG did to me or that it was destroying me slowly and John did. He also was concerned. He can tell you what color my phone was and I was reading and smoking and where I was sitting the day my husband was leaving on his first deployment when they showed up at my house for an issue we had to help with. I guess my point is; there is no way that my husband would destroy us. That was my thinking. He believed anything that was told to him and I sat abandoned, alone, confused, lost etc.

Flashback to 2006: I attended the other wives going away ceremony because I felt that it was important to set aside my own pain to help them with theirs. I was already going downhill fast but I refused to let anyone see it. He had been having an issue of his own and kept seeking me out. We had become friends during the last few weeks. He helped a lot with FRG functions and clean up and he had also took care of my kids at the unit Christmas party that I was in attendance to help co-run with our other company's FRG Leaders.

I had to do the NCO wife thing and FRG leader talk with the commander and she and I were open and talked a lot about the stuff in life that we saw in the unit. She would laugh at the childish stuff that went on. I didn't know it would destroy me later, that one of the NCO's would end up abusing me and another, John, would save me; ended up getting married. You don't leave getting what you never thought you would have it. He loved me in ways no one else did. But he walked out. He left and told me the one thing that would feel like it destroyed me and it was he didn't love me.


Rear Detatchment: When Gold Bars Mean Nothing

I stayed quiet until mutual “friends” stated they were greatly concerned; intervened and down I get dragged as the person at fault no matter what I did or didn't do. Frankly, I didn't care anymore; time was closing in on another deployment and I had been having nightmares that he wasn't going to return in one piece. I have never felt anything but confident sending him away he was returning if he had the power to as he would be there with his "head in the game" but this time I knew it wasn't. I knew he didn't see it or didn't want to and that his female soldier friend was making it very hard to even communicate over small things without it blowing up in my face.

She was very manipulative and conniving and, as I said, I caught her game right off but she wasn't banking on the fact that I don't turn my back and put my head between my knees when challenged. I don't lose if I know I am right and she wasn't going to make matters worse.

I did just that, after my phone bill was cut off and he wouldn't pay our bills, yelled at me in the parking lot of the grocery because we "spent to much on food and he didn't have much left for him". He left that night and I don't think he ever returned without police involved from that day one.

On the initial day I told him that he needed to go to a friends because the kids were upset and my son (8 years old with Autism) had asked if he could stay away for a few days because he was angry at hearing him yell like that at his mom. My older two kids think of him as their daddy but my Autistic son is only protective of me when you have to divide anyone; I win. If we would have had it his way, the police would have come by the night he overheard his dad tell me he never loved me. They had to arrest him for not loving his mommy.

I was the one the police treated like a suspect.

I have a scared Autistic kid, his younger sister who had witnessed the crowbar incident, and my toddler son all scared their dad would come back. They insisted I was mandated to be removed from my home, at 1 in the morning with all my kids, so they could enter the premises .

I refused to let anyone in and argued until I couldn't stop crying and pointing at my husband asking how he could do this to the kids. They threatened to detain me and they made me remove all three sleeping children in the middle of the night for them to escort him inside to get his army gear and his uniforms as well as his medications.

That was the problem right there and I tried to explain to them that he had not been taking any of the important medications and the other one was whenever I hand gave it to him watching him swallow it. I insisted I could prove it because not one pill was missing from the bottle: that if they let him go in he will flush the pills and they wouldn't be able to validate what I said.

So to get back at me he told them I stole prescription medications and because I watch my godson in the morning, sometimes I had an empty bottle of a controlled substance in his name. It was for his ADD medication that I gave to him that week and they started an investigation and I had to speak with investigators Because I was accused of stealing narcotics. Army MPs swarmed my house, digging up any pill bottle they found and filed an investigation on felony crimes.

He had them convinced I was crazy at the unit. They thought I was the one that was abusive and that I was the one that started the violent heated arguements but; and not saying I am innocent, or that I didn't provoke him, but I wasn't the cause.

I wasn't crazy.

I didn't lie when I said he was getting worse.

I was the only one that loved that man more then life itself. I stayed when he got on the hood of my car with a dangerous object. I am the one that defended his real character and I was the one that sat through tirades that were based on bad memory and through fights over money that I didn't spend.

I knew who my husband was not and this was what he was not; maybe prior to us he was but not while with me. That proved to me how much he loved me and I was so afraid if I didn't hang on and I just walked away for a better life with someone who may not ever love me the way he did; but that made me feel wanted and needed and pretty and special.

That didn't make me feel inferior and a failure all the time; he would wake up from this nightmare one day and hit rock bottom and no one would be there when he did. This female friend wouldn't be there and he's a fool for thinking she would. His other friends did have his best interest at heart but they knew only what he told them. Only I know him that way and I know what he lied about and I didn't want him to regret it.

If he would have sat there and looked me in the eye and calmly stated he didn't love me anymore and he wasn't happy and needed a divorce? I would have turned around and walked away.

I only wanted him to be happy and I love him enough to do whatever that would be; but, even after months and months and even still; asking him to do it and I will walk away he can't do it.

"Actions speak louder then words" is his saying for he has done some asinine stuff but he told me that when he gets in that frame of mind and he is acting foolish and making mistakes that do hurt me to remember that sometimes he will do what he has to and say what he has to so he gets what he wants and so I always know where I stand to look into what isn't being said and that actions speak louder then words.

I know he loved me at least. I believe he still does and I believe he always will. But at the time, I had no intention of walking away.

I went to rear detachment as a last resort. It was not like him to just cut me off completely for we had gone through the process last deployment and yanked the papers a month before it was for actual validated reasons he did file.

This time we didn't have those in my mind because you don't make choices that affect your life like this when your not in a mental capacity that you are known to be at on a regular basis and nothing was in character. Nothing. He was drinking every weekend and getting drunk and its a first since we got married. He didn't even come home half the time and for him impressions are important and he won't let himself look bad so that made him look like it was infidelity which really made me look like a fool.

I guess I accused him myself because it was easier. Not when it was that friend though and I went to talk to them to see if they could restrict contact; only so we could get someone to mediate for us that was non-partial so we could at least work out some financial things before he was going to deploy.

He refused to see me, he asked for a no-contact order so I dumped one on them as an inappropriate relationship with no intention of ever going after her career unless she really hurt my husband or my kids in a way that would justify such a thing. She had kids too and its not the kids fault when us as parents don't do things the way we should or make choices we shouldn't.

I knew that according to Army regulations that because of the severity of the situation and the fact he had PTSD they had to normally assign him a case worker at family advocacy but they refused.

They stated that they wouldn't ever lift the order until legal proceedings for a divorce were finalized. We weren't even allowed to have contact in a courtroom.

I was told that there was nothing I could do because he wasnt ever going to be allowed home or he risked being arrested, losing his career, his rank, everything. I was a mess but I saw the military life consultant who unlike the rear detachment commander Captain Cooper; was impressed with me and my rational thinking even though I was in hysterics.

He understood I couldn't fall apart at home because of the kids unlike the Captain who knowingly withheld a letter for the food stamp office ;thus getting us denied three times. I was not able to purchase food because we were cut off. Then he degraded my integrity when he tried to accuse me of lying about recieveing five hundred dollars a month in an account that he had access to and I didn't.

They made him fix it but I had a car that I couldn't register and no money to save to move out and didn't get food stamps until right before I divorced.

When rear detachment commander looked in my face and lied to me when I confronted him a few weeks later; when my husband was staying on rear detachment before deploying late September, I was in his face nearly and telling him exactly what I thought of his lying, despicable character and poor excuse for a leader no "wonder he is on rear detachment".

I had it with the Army and I turned around and proudly walked into the consultant's office who once again stated that if I knew that because of what I reacted and said; Army life was done for me I was more intuitive and self aware then half the world and he respected it. I took my kids up there for them to see their father and the Captain wouldn't let them. Said that we had to arrange it and someone I didn't know was to pick the kids up and he was to have no contact on the cell to call his kids.

I snapped but kept it together and told him I wanted his contact information for his chain of command and all of a sudden he is my best friend in the world and if we get therapy and show improvement we would be lifted of the order.

That wasn't going to happen because in July I was blindsided and tricked to get to the lawyers office and right before walking in he said if I didn't sign them and not fight this then he wouldn't ever be friends with me even again and he would sign over rights to our son and he would never see him again. I couldn’t believe my husband was willing to sign over parental rights. I was stunned that he was so manipulative and took advantage of my emotional instability.

I signed the papers; a blubbering mess and never read the documents. He forged the parenting class later and finalized the divorce and never faxed me the order until six weeks after it was final. I never received a certified copy of my divorce decree.

I was a mess and it took me until 2015 to get over it.

He didn't look good on leave in the sense of his health. My worry grows as he hadn't called his other son not once. That he took responsibility for something that he didn't have to but acts as if its a good thing yet hates the person now involved in his life no matter what he tells her. He started arguments and I just had had it. I wanted to wait for him to see if he would come back but I don't think emotionally I can.

I started bonding with someone and our friendship grew while he was checking in all the time really caring how I was doing. Yes, I want to see where that goes but am afraid to be a failure and afraid I will do what happened to my husband to this guy I care about and I am afraid to love again and I am afraid I won't be able to love again. I am afraid to blink sometimes as I start to forget what his voice sounds like. I don't want to remember sometimes because its a reminder of trying to be an army wife they should want in us but that they force us out of their lives instead.

Five wives just went through the same thing this week all renting from my realtor now. I hope to help them; to help get their lives up and going because mine died at first. I don't know what will happen but I will pray for them to get him the help he needs or for him to deal with issues he has so that one day he doesn't look back and say it was a mistake because I may not be there for him to come home to anymore. Truth is I signed the papers because I loved him so much I wanted to do what he needed and he needs to find out what he is going to fix in his life and its huge for our kids. The Army needs to take responsibility for this. For all of it.

Update: After returning home in 2011 from a 18 month deployment in Iraq; my now ex-husband attempted suicide. He fought for an honorable discharge, an investigation was launched by CID, and eventually he got full benefits as 90% disabled for PTSD through the VA.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2011 Abby Rourk


Dorothy on May 05, 2011:

This is my husband's second tour. We have been married for 17 1/2 years. Three months ago, my husband gave me a "dear jane" letter on facebook. It was rather cryptic, and some of it was really wrong, a complete 180 of his real personality. Everyone else believes him and whatever he is saying to them. He has my isolated, and all I hear from everyone else is rumor. He stopped talking to me completely for over a month. When he did start talking to me, he refused to talk about our "relationship" it was "dead". When in fact, in his initial letter, he claimed that he himself was dead inside.

My daughter had a heads up about this. Three days after I had surgery, we found out we were moving. Shortly thereafter, my husband found out that he was going to Fort Drum and being deployed. That's when his chronic headaches started and he stopped sleeping. That was also when he told our daughter that he was thinking of divorcing me.

I had had a nightmare in that time frame, that involved him and me divorcing. It seems almost prophetic now, but when I woke up from it, he comforted me and told me, "I will never leave you.". He had already been showing odd, small signs that his previous deployment, to Iraq, had affected him adversely. When he found out he was going to Afghanistan, he fell off a cliff.

When he did start emailing me again, he was back and forth, back and forth. He is shipping me home to my parents, even though I have a right to stay here. He's forcing the divorce through before he even returns. I can't get any help. His command says he's fine, even though he admitted to my daughter and me both that on three separate occasions, he came close to shooting people, and not the enemy. He had thanked me for not mistreating him like some of the other wives.

But then the divorce demand on face book, that made no sense, and mostly talked about how much pain he was in and was more a scream for help than a divorce demand. Then when he was talking to me again, the back and forth. My move home was costing too much, then money is no object, then it's costing too much, then money's no object.

Now he's sent me an "explanation email", this time he says the opposite. He had initially said that "we tried" that we had tried to change, tried to make it work. Now he says that we've changed so much that we're two different people, not bad, just different, he just can't live with me anymore.

He's not making any sense, but his command is taking his word as if it was golden. My family and his family, and even our daughter is believing him hook, line and sinker.

This is not a sane man, but he's going to not only be allowed to do to me, whatever he wishes, but is being helped.

I'm a little scattered with this, and I'm sorry. I've spent about three months dealing with this while almost totally isolated. I still haven't made it back home to my parents. I'm 43 in a few days. I'm dealing with rumors about me, about my situation, I'm dealing with a big mess and no way to clean it up on my own, and an insane man as my husband, who will dictate to me, my future.

Oh God, please someone help.

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