Their drive and passion in their work is part of the reason you fell in love. Knowing the good they are making in this world can fill you with pride. As a partner or loved one, you know it is hard for your responder, but you can't help feeling overlooked, disconnected, and frustrated. The long nights and shifts. Missed holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays. Cancelled date nights due to mandatory overtime. Others always asking where your partner is. And then, when you do get time together, it's running errands or cleaning the house. It feels like there is no time for connection or communication. It is exhausting going through life while loving the person behind the uniform. And on top of it all, you often worry about your responder, but you won't tell them you do.
The academy, boot camp, all of the training, none of it prepared you for the struggles of the job on your personal life and the life of your responder apart from the job. When trying to find support, it can be hard finding people who understand the culture of the first responder and military life. Watching your loved one go through mood issues, anger, depression, knowing they have seen traumatic things they would never burden you with, and the hypervigilance that comes with the territory, it weighs down on you. You want so badly to be there for your partner, but you don't know how when you struggle with your own self-care.
In my own life, I can't remember a time without knowing this way of life. My dad was an army veteran and then became a police officer before I turned 10. Being married to a law enforcement officer has also given me a different perspective of the culture. I understand firsthand the way this lifestyle can impact a family, and particularly an intimate relationship.
Therapy can help the loved ones of first responders and military personnel process and cope with the demands of the lifestyle. From the disrupted routines, to the feelings of disconnect, to the question of, "What is the meaning for all of this?", you can be understood and accepted in ways that help you feel truly seen by another. In therapy, you can gain insights into the way your story impacts the story of your responder, as well as how to enhance the hope this life can bring you. Counseling services can also help with the disconnect and lost intimacy in your relationship with your responder, finding comfort through the chaos of the lifestyle.
I offer a free 20-minute consultation for those interested in services. It will give you a chance to describe your particular issue, ask any questions about my experience and services, and to come to a decision about whether I am the right fit for you.