Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Five Stages: Anger

This is the first in a series of blogs based on Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief. These, however, are the five stages of a deployment, or extended TDY, or any time our Soldier is “away”.

The time frame for these may vary depending on the spouse and on the individual couple. For example, when we first got married and I had moved halfway across the country, our first CQ involved all five stages because it happened the first day in our new home. Now, I don’t really do many of these until about the third week, or they pass so quickly it’s a mere bad mood.


I am purposefully not doing the stages in the usual order, because even Kubler-Ross says these stages aren’t necessarily complete or chronological. Each person is unique.

First: Anger

There comes a point in nearly every “away”, where the military spouse is just fed up. This usually comes when she is doing something that is usually the Soldier’s job, or hurts herself, or gets sick, or simply comes home at the end of the day and is just wiped out.

Usually this coincides with the pets and the kids and even the neighbors all needing her at once.

Generally, but certainly not always, this happens at the same time as a natural hormonal low. PMS on steroids.

Ironically, it sometimes occurs just as the spouse is feeling like this time isn’t so bad. She’s got this. It’s all good. Then—blammo.

Suddenly, it’s all the Soldier’s fault. And the Army (Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy) sucks. And why did she even agree to this in the first place? Marrying a CPA would have been easier. Well, except in April but that’s entirely beside the point.

In my case, much cussing is usually involved. Sometimes the fatigue is so heavy that I’ll find myself in bed at 9 pm. But then unable to sleep. Almost always, I will question the wisdom of having pets or children or getting married at all. The questioning period is brief, thankfully, but it’s there.

The thing is, every spouse feels this time differently. And we all cope with it in our own ways. For me, this (justifiable?) anger is generally a sign that I need to go out with a girlfriend or to a movie or at least buy an overpriced frozen drink somewhere. Self-care during any “away” is crucial, and if we listen to our hearts we will know when we really need to do more to take care of ourselves.

When do you reach that angry time?

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