This may be long, I'll try to summarize best I can though.
Husband and I married 6 years, together 8. Have 2 children. He is military and has had occasional depressive swings since we met. Nothing major and very random. Fast forward to 2008, he has become a very mean, angry man. Mentally, verbally, emotionally abusive about 50% of the time. He goes to Iraq, comes back more angry and distant, and while there carried on a text/internet "thing" with another servicemember at a base near his. I stayed, he came home and we moved and (accidentally) conceived our son while in the middle of separating because his anger and rages were out of control and constant. We decide to stay together for our now two children, and fix the marriage, but he's leaving for Afghanistan so it'll be via internet for a year. It's now 2012 and he's returned.......and boy is he different. Instantly noticeable that PTSD is present, and bad. His previous anger issues and mean words have become a constant way of treating me, he also now swings happy-to-mean in a matter of hours, and multiple times a week. I left him in October of 2012, told him to see a Counselor and let me know when he was ready to get himself straight, and we'd work it out. He is now seeing a military PTSD Counselor, and I came back in December. Not 2 weeks later, he was back to rage swinging and hurling awful things at me, even blaming ME for him "having to" abuse me verbally and emotionally. When he's calm he says I'm an amazing woman that he's lucky to have, and that he hates treating me poorly but doesn't know why he does it. When I told him he HAS to bring it all up to the PTSD Counselor so he can get more in-depth treatment and (maybe?) even Meds, he keeps saying he will, but then never does and admitted he doesn't want to "ruin" his career hopes. Then last night he said (when calm, not in a rage) that he loves me and I'm his other half, but he doesn't feel that crazy-in-love, I'm-the-One kind of love for me anymore. He said he is tired of our rut, tired of my health issues causing our sex lifes decline (when it's really a combo of him always being angry so I don't want to touch him, and we're no longer 22 and have children, school, work and stress) and if I don't start giving him sex when HE wants it (3-4x a week minimum, he said) he will continue to harass me about it. He says he can't picture me not being in his future, but I told him I can't be married to someone who is used to me and cares for me, but isn't IN love with me like they should be.
What should I do here? Leave, for good? Could he have Bi-Polar disorder or is he just an @ss and I shoulda walked away before it started?! I have no friends where we're stationed, and my family consists of just a Mom who is unsupportive and unhelpful, and a Brother I never see/talk to.
I'm lost and alone and sooooo unsure of anything & everything right now.
Welcome to the TAM forum, Abra. I'm sorry you and your H are having such difficulties. It is unclear whether you are describing problems that are limited only to PTSD. It therefore would be helpful if you would provide us additional details, if you feel comfortable doing so.
Specifically, are you saying that -- of the 8 year relationship -- you had 2 wonderful trouble-free years before the issues developed in 2005? If so, was he deployed overseas in 2005 (as a possible cause of the PTSD)? And does that mean his abusive treatment of you began immediately after the wedding or before that? Does he treat everyone abusively or only you?
As to his mood swings, when did they begin? Did they start in his late teens or, rather, right after your wedding? Does it take two weeks for them to develop or do they develop in minutes? Do they typically last two weeks or only several hours? Finally, how often do they occur, e.g., four times a month or four times a year?
He started acting this way a little before we married in late 2006. He didn't join the military until later that month. He didn't deploy for the first time until 2008, and was acting this way on occasion before he ever saw combat. Combat just exacerbated him, I think?
He acts this way about twice a week now, and it takes nothing to change him. A bad day at work, me saying something about a topic he didn't wanna talk about, the kids irritating him......who ever knows what it'll be. He shifts quickly, then back just as quick. He wasn't this way with his first wife, but wasn't very loving towards her, and they also fought a lot. She told me he was an @$$hole, but that's about it. She left him for his best friend in their 7th year of marriage in 2004.
His swings last a couple hours, til he's run out of steam hurling mean words and accusations (of made-up bad behavior or slights on my part that never occured). Once he's done, and calm and "empty", he swings right back to being repentant and lovey and saying he's sorry.
More often than not, he's hateful and far too strict to our 6yo daughter. She doesn't care for him because he cracks down on her for EVERY thing, minor infraction or perceived one. I try to buffer his punishments now, by calling him off if he yells a little too long or tries to spank her when it's not warranted. It causes us to fight, but hey he leaves her alone, at least. I'll take the brunt from her, gladly. As for the 2yo, he dotes on him, and he's 100% loving towards him.
It should also be noted that he is exceptionally well-decorated and revered at work, he's a model Soldier and to his family he is what I call "The Golden Boy". The world outside our home thinks he's amazing. His last Chain of Command didn't believe me when I went to them for help with him. So I now don't try to go through the military for help. He got sympathy for having a "crazy, interfering wife" and I got told to go home.
What I'm seeing here is an abusive man, which has nothing to do with the military, whose combat experiences give him excuses to act worse. Because he's seeing a counselor, there's not much more his commander can do without it harming your husband's career, which is why you didn't get help there. The commander can order your husband out of military housing and require that you receive BAH. He can assign your husband to extra duty or take some pay, but these are definitely career-breakers. You said he's the golden boy, so the CO can't very well do that without harming the unit, too. If you really want the chain of command involved, it may require telling the CO that if he doesn't take action, you'll to to the brigade commander. This will likely hurt your marriage and his career, though, but may be necessary if your husband escalates to physical/sexual violence.
Your guy's behavior is NOT because of PTSD. Do not gloss over the fact that you saw these signals before he was in the military.
Also, it's nice that you're willing to take the brunt of his abuse in order to protect your child, but you're still letting your child be exposed to that abuse.
Have you ever read up on the abuse cycle? When things are at peace, it starts a BUILDUP period. He gets irritated easily and may or may not say something about it, but he's building resentments inside him. You don't have to do anything wrong to be targeted by those resentments. You'll likely notice him being critical and controlling during this time. Things like what you wear, who you talk to, and other non-events become sources of resentment.
Eventually, that buildup period ends with an explosion: hurtful words designed to humiliate or hurt you are some of the earliest signs, but over time, these explosions DO get worse and progress to physical and/or sexual violence. Your husband's PTSD may exaggerate what is already there, but by itself doesn't cause someone to be abusive. Even if he never got deployed, you'd be seeing these effects worsen anyway simply because time is passing.
The explosion stage releases those resentments. The abuser comes back with remorse, apologies, and promises in a way that makes you feel very needed, important, and special. This leads back to the buildup stage.
As a military dependent, you're also entitled to health care. If you aren't ready to leave yet, please use this time to get counseling to figure out why you would justify exposing your child to ongoing abuse and what you can do to change things.
If he's afraid of problems with his career, can you take the counseling off base and into the civilian area?
Otherwise, it's won't get better if he doesn't get help.
Counseling on post will not cause problems with his career unless he is non-compliant AND is a command referral. Since he went on his own, he can't be forced to comply. The OP is better off keeping the counseling on base as long as they're seeing an actual MSW, LSW, or LCSW. (I was a drug and alcohol counselor in the military. While I received training and certification, this did not give me the same qualifications as a full social worker and I could only work in my own area of expertise. His PTSD counselor may have had specialized training and lack full psychology training.)
However, if his commander sent him and he didn't comply with treatment, there would be a command meeting where his commander would be informed that he is not making adequate progress. The commander would then decide whether to order him to continue counseling and be compliant, let him quit without any actions, or institute UCMJ (uniform code of military justice) action.
Because it's a marital issue that so far doesn't appear to involve violence, there's little chance of the commander instituting UCMJ or processing her husband for separation from the Army. Once violence takes place, though, it's a game changer.
This will have devastating effects on your children, your first priority has to be their well being. I would suggest that you keep a voice activated recorder on you at all times...or at least in the same room so that his outburst can be recorded. What you do with the recordings? Share them with his counselor, possibly the chain of command. Shame on them for dismissing your claims.