MacGyver and I were discussing some things as they relate to regulations within the Army, specifically as they pertain to funding. He was lamenting the ridiculous nature of all of the parameters that regulate how different monies are spent within the Army (appropriated funds vs. non-appropriated funds vs. MWR funds, etc.) I said I could sympathize because those same regulations also pertain to FRG monies and that was one of the biggest headaches in running a Family Readiness Group - the money.

As the conversation wound down, I made the comment that I was glad I'd never have to worry about it again, given the fact that I plan to have nothing to do with FRG leadership again. The past sixteen months have left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth, sadly. MacGyver seemed a little surprised by that declaration.

A few days ago, he came home and informed me that the company FRG was getting a new FRG leader (the old FRG leader was PCSing) and mentioned that the new FRG leader would like to call and get my input on some things. Which is fine - I have no problem offering advice if it is asked for. This evening, after I had announced that I would not be participating in another FRG, he pointed out that "they really wanted you back". And, while there is some smug satisfaction to be had there (I'd be lying if I said there wasn't), the bitter taste in my mouth prevents me from doing much more than that.

When all of the mess with MacGyver's career started, I found that people fell into one of three groups:

* the group that immediately distanced themselves, as though I had some kind of contagious disease

* the group that professed their undying support and then vanished (or worse)

* the group that stuck around

Sadly, the first two groups were bigger than the third. As for the first group, I get it. I understand that the enormity of the situation (and the possible consequences) was a lot to handle. Trying living it. So I can't say I hold a lot of contempt for those that walked away. At least that was an honest reaction to a lousy situation. So I get that, even though it sucked to watch people that you thought were your friends turn their backs on you when you needed them the most.

However, I don't get the second group. It's bad enough to be left out in the cold. For a long time (and even now, to some extent...though probably more of my own doing than anyone else's) I felt as though I wasn't even a military spouse anymore. Guilty until proven innocent, of sorts. So not only left out in the cold but, to some extent, thrown under the bus as well.

Maybe that's a bit melodramatic. Maybe. I was definitely left to fall between the cracks. And that hurt. I was, and still AM, a military spouse. And it still hurts. I don't react well when I am hurt. Anger is my SOP when I get hurt so it seems there is a lot of anger under the surface.

And the irony of the situation is almost laughable. The entity that ditched me and my family when I needed it THE MOST is now in need of my help. Huh. Go figure. Does it make me a bad person to want to say "kiss off"? Because that's my gut reaction. Probably not the most mature reaction (nor the most Christian, I am sure) though. My hope is that my anger will fade and my heart will soften. But that's going to take some time.

For now, I have no desire to go anywhere near a Family Readiness Group or the Army. I've distanced myself as much as I can right now - partially because I thought it was going to be necessary and partially because I felt as though I didn't belong. I need time to lick my wounds, so to speak.

But the irony makes me chuckle.


- hfs


Mayberry Mom said...

"Does it make me a bad person to want to say "kiss off"? Because that's my gut reaction. Probably not the most mature reaction (nor the most Christian, I am sure) though." It is a very human reaction.

My hubby was asked to resign his Children's Pastor position 7 years ago. He was asked to resign due to money issues within the church. They just couldn't afford to pay him anymore. That should have left things cut and dried and not been emotional. BUT some of the things that happened in the 3 months we were there transitioning out hurt a lot. Showed some people true colors and they were ugly.

SEVEN years later I still need to stop and pray when I think about some of those things. Forgiveness is a process and it's ongoing. I know that I've forgiven the people, but sometimes the anger overshadows that and I have to stop and remind myself and pray to feel it again.


Oh~I emailed you once before from a different address. My google account is under an old address. I am the Tracy that emailed you from tmsmith0705@yahoo.com)

Fort Riley Wife said...

My husband had a situation when he was deployed last year. An accusation of an "improper" relationship with his female Commander, which lead to lots of lots of inquiries and eventually an all-clear by the Army, but it didn't matter. The damage from the gossip mill was already done.

In my case - the worst part was the 4th group ... the ones that only wanted to stick around and be your friend because they wanted a front row seat to the good gossip and inside information.

That's what happened to me. About 10 of my so-called "best" friends ended up being the absolute worst friends when they took the priviledged, private information that was pouring out of my soul and proceeded to tell everyone what was happening.

Was it a lie? No ... they got it from the horse's mouth, but what they did with that information wounded me more than the actual act that my husband was being accused of.

At least now I know who my real friends are. It's almost a relief to know. You know?

Homefront Six said...

Tracy ~ thanks for the perspective. I have a tendency to react first and think later. Thankfully my husband knows this about me and is usually able to let my first reaction kind of slide. He knows I'll process, work through it, pray on it, etc. And hopefully come to a better reaction.

I'm usually able to forgive (as it is the basis of my faith) but the forgetting part is where I stumble.

FRW ~ I am sorry that that happened to you. It's an awful thing to go through. There were some people that fell into that category (the clingers that just wanted a front row seat to the show) but they were so incredibly transparent that it was easy to see through them, even before all of this happened. So when they showed their true stripes, it didn't come as a surprise. And, like you said, it was kind of a relief to be able to distance myself from them.

Through all of this, I've never kept anything from anyone. Granted, I don't discuss details on this blog but I have no problem discussing the situation in real life. I have nothing to hide. Nor does my husband. He was up front and honest with everyone involved when all of this happened. My reactions and my feelings through all of this, though personal, were never of quite the personal nature that your situation seems to have been. So no one had any ammunition (of sorts) with which to hurt me in the manner you were hurt.

I am sorry they did that to you.

It broke my heart to walk away from that FRG. I had busted my butt to build it up and get it ready for the upcoming deployment. And we were getting there. I had some incredible people helping out, we had a great group of women involved in the FRG, we had weathered a storm prior to the deployment that had made us stronger as a group. And when everything hit the fan, it was my decision to step back from the FRG (as opposed to the command asking me to do so) because I didn't want my fiasco to get in the way of the mission of the FRG - to support the families.

Somewhere along the line, they forgot my family was one of those that needed the support too.

That hurts.

Mayberry Mom said...

I so understand the react first think later statement. I resemble that comment!! lol My first reaction is always frustration and anger also. I have to vent it out to get to the forgiveness part. My hubby, like yours, understands that about me and lets me get it all out before trying to have a reasonable conversation with me!

If you are ever in Wisconsin, you should come visit, I think we'd all get along famously! :)

Chaotic Mom said...

Your experiences with FRGs, clubs, etc, is exactly what I'm looking for in essays (I just left a comment on another post). Especially what you've learned from the not-so-good times. I've learned a lot of "lessons" over the last 20 years. I'm working on this collection of essays because it's something I wish I could have read 20 years ago. "The Girlfriend's Guide to Being an Army Wife: Stuff I WISH Someone Would Have Told Me", or something like that.

My faith, and ONLY my faith in God and his Love, have seen me through some very tough times. I will keep you guys in my prayers, even if I don't know you. God does. ;)

Again: http://MilitarySpouseBooks.blogspot.com


Wrote this six years ago. Nothing's changed.  One of my favorite movies is 'Bull Durham'. And one of my favorite scenes in ...