Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Where is the Support?

8 years ago, I went through my very first deployment. Of course, when it was over and my ex and I broke up a few months later, I said that I was never ever dating a service member.

Ever.

I even stomped my foot and crossed my arms.

Yea. I was that serious.

But here I am. I've been able to watch the military SO community evolve from what it was not long after both the Afghanistan and Iraq war began to how it is now and I can tell you, the changes are extreme.

I remember many late nights so many years ago, sitting at my computer in AOL chat room for military girlfriends, fiances and wives. If I had a question, needed a hug (communication then was so not what it is now, I was lucky to get an email once a week so it really took a toll on you), or wanted to offer support, you could. It was amazing. This chat room branched to a blog where we copied our conversations from that evening and posted them.

To put it simply, it was amazing.

Newbies (like me) could ask questions and not have to worry about it spinning into something that it was never fully intended to. When a question was asked, an answer was given, there were no attacks on someone because the question was something that even the newest spouse should know. We were there for each other.

The reason for this post was because of an incident that I saw earlier, and I actually see quite often in groups on Facebook involving military spouses.

Someone, who has only been married for 6 days, had posted a question regarding OPSEC (operational security). She was asking if, when you're husband is deployed, if you are allowed to tell anyone. Being a new spouse, she was only going off what her husband had said to her.

The post started off innocent enough, it's since been deleted so I am paraphrasing.

People were answering, some weren't completely correct, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to the difference between OPSEC and PERSEC (personal security). But it was fine, the information being passed along regarding PERSEC was helpful, especially to a new wife, for example, don't tell complete strangers that your husband is deployed and you're home alone. Definitely common sense but it may be something that someone doesn't think about at the time.

Somehow, the post became an attack. This person didn't post the right information and this other person should know because she's been married to her spouse for 4 years or, this person says they're right because their husband has been deployed 5 times.

Sharing information shouldn't be a competition. It seems that it's all about who has seen more, who has done more, who has sacrificed more. Support and helping other spouses shouldn't be like that. You should want to share or help because you genuinely want to help this spouse, not because it's a popularity contest.

You know, I have seen many wives say that military spouses are such a small, tight knit community. That is somewhat true, I do still see a community that can come together and make great things happen. There are still spouses out there that believe in what this community used to be about.

I wish that some of these newer spouses could see where we were 9 years ago. Overly Sensitive Military Wives and Dependa's didn't exist. It was free of judging others for their looks, what they sold at yard sales, what they wore. It was all about being there for each other.

I'm going to close this with the comment that I left on my personal Facebook page about the whole situation because I believe it sums it up best.

"I guess at the beginning of the war, we were all a little more sympathetic towards each other because we are all going through something new together, no one had see more, done more, experienced more. We were just trying to get through it with the least amount of scars."

3 comments:

  1. AMEN!!! I've been a spouse for geesh 11 years now and while there are many things that are better than they used to be, to negatived have gotten bigger as well. Sometimes I think that social media is detrimental to the Military Spouse. But I guess it's a matter of finding the right people and trying not to take things to heart. It's sad though that some of those groups have gotten out of hand. I think your parting comment was a wonderful thing to say!

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    1. I am so happy that I am not the only one that feels this way! I miss the friendships that I used to have, I used to consider military SO's as some of my best friends, the things we went through together, no one else would ever come close.

      Sadly, I now try to avoid most spouses because you never know who will turn on you, or send in your screenshots to websites so others can make fun of you.

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  2. Well said. I am not an Army spouse, I am a West Point mom…soon to be Army mom. I have seen it all in our groups - attacks on "newbies" and self righteous leaders making things their way or the highway…the competition, the pettiness. And over the past 4 years, I guess I've become a bit touchy. I love the way you wrote about all this…you are totally not the only one who feels this way..when my Cadet graduates in May, I will carefully vet the support I turn to. Found your blog on SITS comment luv…so glad I did!!!

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