Living with a veteran who suffers the effects of Post-Vietnam Stress is like running blindfolded with weights on. Nothing is easy; the smallest tasks become monumental. Nothing is reliable; the rules change the minute you understand them.
-the wife of a Vietnam veteran (p. 2)
As the children of Vietnam veterans reach the age at which their fathers went overseas, veterans and their families, especially their wives, face new stressors in mid-life. Even twenty-five years after the end of the war, in many families life is still neither easy nor reliable, and the rules continue to change.
The recent anniversary of the end of the war in Vietnam has focused attention on the long-term effects of the combat experience. In Vietnam Wives: Facing the Challenges of Life with Veterans Suffering Post-Traumatic Stress, Aphrodite Matsakis revisits the plight of the secondary victims of the war: the wives and children of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. The book explores the many changes encountered by traumatized veterans and their families as they face the difficult developmental stage of mid-life: retirement, the "empty nest syndrome," becoming grandparents, and, in many cases, separation and divorce.
Matsakis deftly leads readers through the process of finding better ways to cope with new challenges and old. She explains post-traumatic stress disorder, its causes, symptoms, and the devastating long-term effects, including domestic violence, substance abuse, and suicidal feelings. To illustrate both problems and solutions, Dr. Matsakis extensively uses interviews with wives of Vietnam veterans who have lived through a variety of experiences. Intended primarily for wives of veterans, but of great interest to their extended families and close friends as well, this book provides compassion and support while pointing the way to recovery from post-traumatic stress. --- from the publisher
About the Author:
Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D. is a psychologist with extensive experience working with both Vietnam veterans and their wives, at the V.A. Medical Center and at the Vet Center Outreach Program in Washington, D.C. She is the author of I Can't Get Over It: A Handbook for Survivors and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Complete Treatment Guide.
"There is a second edition of Vietnam Wives because the first edition struck a resonant chord among those who care most about the lessons it provides -- the hundreds of thousands of wives who care deeply about their warrior husbands. They know about living with someone with a disability (PTSD) that, like a disease, destroys people and their relationships with others. Dr. Matsakis states on page 2: "To all of you Vietnam wives who think that your suffering is unique, I wish to assure you. You are not alone." And we are all the better for it.
-Charles Figley, Ph.D., Psychosocial Stress Research Program, Florida State University
What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Living with the Ice Man
PTSD and Sex
The Reality of Multiple Roles
Alcohol and Drug Addiction
"But Military Wives Never..."
Wives of African-American, Native American, and Hispanic Vietnam Veterans
PTSD and Children : Read excerpts from this chapter online!
Suicide and the Vietnam Veteran Family
"I Believe In Love" - The Hope of Therapy
Stay or Go
Coping Techniques for the Vietnam Wife, Resource Guide and Reading List