When a Firefighter Needs Help

by | Difficult Calls, Everyday, Fire Family Life, Top Posts

He came in and sat the bags of things I asked him to pick up on his way home on the kitchen floor. I didn’t look up or even greet him, I was “too busy” trying to fix the dishwasher tray as the kids had broken it the night before. He reached over me to grab a drinking glass and then I heard the heavy thud on the counter. I knew what it was and I hesitated to look. I stood up and finally looked at him and saw the liquor bottle on the counter and the red rings around his eyes.

In that moment my heart broke, even though I had no clue as to why, my heart was broken for him.

I found my stomach in my throat and the fear I wouldn’t know how to help, with whatever was wrong. I’m normally the one who needs a rock.

I asked him what was wrong only to be greeted with a “Nothing.”, he knew I knew it was a lie. I’d rather be met in silence than a lie. I asked again and asked him not to lie to me.

Of course he could have just avoided me but he finally said, “It’s been a bad morning.” and his eyes glazed over. He backed up and leaned against the counter and I hugged him for what felt like forever. All I could smell was the bourbon on his breath and the rising cinnamon dough on the stove.

I choked back the lump in my throat and knew I must control my own emotions.

He had a bad morning. A bad call. Death had been working that morning. He was on duty at a one man fire station. They aren’t equipped to handle much in the way of medical calls. This morning he arrived on scene where a wife was anxious for someone to “fix” her husband. To be honest, I’ll spare the details but it didn’t sound like there was anything viable about the poor man anyway.

BUT helping people is what they do and he was going to try.

He had done everything he knew to do and had the equipment to do. She stared at him, he said almost as if she expected a miracle and he never felt more helpless or alone in his life. I thought my heart couldn’t break anymore for him but it did and continues to. He was alone.  With just a wife who didn’t know she was a widow, a man who had seeming passed and himself.  Alone.

He has never had the burden of deciding whether there was a life to save or if there was no life left. On top of that an eager wife watching you, because you are expected to have all of the answers and all of the means to fix everything.

That single decision is something that has to come with a heavy price you pay with every bit of heart and the bits of doubting yourself try to slip in too.

Nothing short of a real Lazarus moment miracle would have brought the man back, he has to know that. I hope he accepts that.

I pushed the thoughts of being a tired fire wife who was looking forward to some kind of break today to the back of my mind, and just pushed through. Being whatever he needed me to be. All I can do is listen and offer comfort that I am here and if he needs to talk about it, I can handle hearing it. The particulars never both me, it is the lives that go on even when others don’t that make me sad. It’s important to let them talk it out if that is what they feel they need to do.

You are his other half, the one who he should be able to bare his soul to, please find a way to let him pour this out to you if that is how he copes.

Sadly so many firefighters do not. I wish they all felt comfortable enough to not bottle up the things that haunt them.  I wish they knew it is not a burden to their spouse.



I wish they reached out for help more often.

When a firefighter needs help, it is not a sign of weakness.  It is a sign that they are real.  Human.  The heart that gives them the drive to enter into the fire service isn’t made of stone, it’s real.

It beats and it hurts like every other heart in the world.  

Please let them know that having emotions is not being weak.  Please also watch how your firefighters cope.  My husband only needed a drink to calm the nerves in the moment, it isn’t something he regularly does or turns to for comfort.  All too many times, firefighters turn to alcohol repeatedly and that doesn’t help anyone.

If you don’t like to hear some of the more detailed information, you should have a conversation about that NOW, for when the time does come that he needs to let it out, you may be somewhat prepared to listen while he may be more prepared in what to leave out. Explain that if you ever need to be an ear, that you are more than willing to listen to anything but (insert whatever it is that you don’t think you can handle). Some of it, like a wife watching over him as he worked, as he had to debate over actions to take with her husband, is hard to hear but you must listen.  You can decide as a couple how much detail you’re comfortable with hearing and what best helps when these types of emotions arise.

There are times when seeking professional help is the answer. Taking care of yourself is the honorable thing to do if you want to continue helping others.  Reach out.

Death is part of the fire service; it’s in our lives whether we want it there or not.

Don’t wait until it’s time to be his rock to say you don’t want to hear it. You have to hear it because if he needs to say it, someone needs to listen. If not you, then who?  If your firefighter is not a talker and he seems withdrawn, it may just be his process, don’t force him to share with you but take note on behavioral changes.  Support him or her in other ways that you can.

If your firefighter is showing signs of depression or PTSD, please reach out and find resources to help not only them cope, but help you too.

Unfortunately, these situations take their toll on marriages. The stress and hazards of the Fire Service when not met head on can rip a relationship apart. Some still do not survive meeting it head on but you must try, give it all you can.  My husband is an occasional drinker and while I didn’t say anything about his morning nip, I also know to speak up if he consumed more than what I think is ok considering the circumstances.  Don’t put your head in the sand, watch for any signs of any substance abuse or other behavior.

Family, friends and firefighters… reach out for resources.  We have a few resources for you HERE


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Jessie -

Just a small town girl married to a firefighter since 2008, but she's so much more than a Fire Wife. She's been a member of the FirefighterWife family since 2012 and knows marriage takes a lot of work, even when it's in the best seasons.


  1. Maryland Firefighter

    Jessie Thanks for you Blog Post.

    I have been in those shoes before and almost ended my life back in 2008. I reached out for help with my employer and it wasn’t easy. Too many hoops to jump through, too many questions from fellow employees. You would think that when you go to your supervisor for help, they wouldn’t let everyone you work with know what your problems are. Several firefighters lost the trust in me and was scared to even work shift with me. I ended up off work for 4 weeks and into therapy. I had to get that on my own through my personal physician. I had to prove myself all over again even though I was a senior man with more that 18 years on the JOB! I let so many things over my 18 year career bottle up inside and it took me getting a Divorce, having a death in the family & loosing the girl I had dated just after my divorce to realize that I had something wrong and needed help. I was drinking on the job just to kill the pain of all that happened over those years and sat down and home one night and stuck a gun to my head and the phone rang. It was my mother… On MOTHERS DAY telling me how much fun she had that day… I lost it and knew… That was it…. I begged for help… Begged and cried that night for hours. Prayer after Prayer begging for forgiveness. That next day I sat in the Doctors office sobbing. I was finally going to get the help I so desperately needed… Finally my sigh of relief.

    Over that last few years I’ve tried so hard to get the right channels rolling at work for fellow employees who made need help but the supervisors are hard headed and too old school to understand that PTSD is real!! They Don’t want to listen and them they pawn you off on the employee assistance program that is for all employees for the entire government and then require you to bring notes in that say your able to work and mentally stable. That you don’t pose a threat to yourself or anyone you work with. I cam to realize very quickly they don’t understand the needs of Firefighters & Police Officers. They just don’t get it… They cant comprehend the things that we’ve seen and the thing we do.

    So now their are several private companies that specialize in PTSD for Firefighters, Paramedics, EMT’s & Police Officers. My supervisor has finally came around and understands the importance of confidentiality.

    So with all that said… If it weren’t for certain group firefighters going through similar things and talking with them almost on a daily basis, I wouldn’t be here today and I grateful for the friendships I’ve made over that last 8 years. So I beg for those of you who are in need of help.. PLEASE reach out for it. Just think of it as a MAY-DAY!! Yell Scream Kick… Get that help Brothers & Sisters!!

  2. Jessie - She's Fully Involved

    Thank you for sharing. I am glad to hear you go the help you needed and deserved. I hope that the stigma that comes with asking for help disappears one day.

  3. Heather Isaacs

    Such a powerful story Maryland Firefighter. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Sheryl McGeary

    I was a firefighters wife. i lived the life in my husbands shadow, all the glory, the honor the prestige, the hero. We lived 2 lives, we had the first face that showed honor and dignity to fellow workers honored and respected for his position. Then we had the 2nd face the one nobody ever saw but those that lived with it on those days outside of the firehouse walls. First came the drinking, then the abuse, first physical, but when those left marks, psychological abuse, where only in ones heart could they be viewed if you wanted to dig that deep. The face kept smiling. You endured because you knew the stress he faced everyday, the tragedy he witnessed, you minimized your pain, you minimized the problem, you talked yourself into saying and believing its just the job. You made excuses for the behavior, yet you lived a hidden nightmare. Then you try to cope, alcohol, pornography,to numb the pain. You viewed love this way cause thats all you knew. No tenderness all surface gratification. Feeling lost feeling alone, but you were the lucky firefighter wife.Anybody would trade you for your life. You married a hero. Nobody knew, but the shadow knew all to well. The pain and anguish of work related stress took its toll and the tool of the pain was us, his family. Behind closed doors the horror began. You cried to him to seek help, only to be told I don’t need help. You cried out to God. God where are you? You find yourself praying for death, you of yourself or more him. You feel the guilt and shame that surrounds it. If he would die, then I can get the benefits and keep my face without divulging the truth. that will work God right? Silence, or maybe you didn’t want to hear. You were eventually told “its your fault why do you make me so angry? It must be you I get along great with everybody else. His birth family thinks he is the greatest, even when witnessing the abuse, and they sympathize with you but nothing more . I dont blame them blood is thicker , i love them and they are not to blame.You Always keep smiling always pretending that life was great being a firefighter’s wife. Other women envied you and made no point to hide it, affairs!!!! competition for your own husband. The attention was hard to resist for any man. You developed an eating disorder because you wanted to keep up with the competition only to still fight with your own worth. Your identity was being a firefighter wife, you may have had a career or JUST being a a stay at home mom, what a privilege that was, great income with great benefits that came with the job. You were the blessed firefighter wife. He was home more than he worked. Time to spend together with family we were blessed. so everybody thought and believed. We kept the faces, we kept the upper middle class lifestyle, he was honored and looked up to wherever we went. The shadow would always say .I am proud to be a firefighter wife. It, however, came to end one day after 37 years and in middle age getting ready to retire with all those good benefits you earned over the years were abruptly cut off with the words”I don’t love you anymore” I want a divorce” Your life as you know it is over and shattered. What? I am no longer the firefighter wife. You loose the home, the family, the benefits, the prestige, all you have worked for all your life. You had your retirement set then it was all changed. In midlife you are forced to start over, no guarantees, all your benefits depends if he lives or dies. I was not the first, others came before me, you watched them leave, you had pity, and false assurance. Glad that it wasn’t you. your firefighter family was no longer your family. So much loss, Is there Life after being a firefighter wife? Yes, one day in the pain and the anguish, the loss and the tears. God answers. He is here. He is with you. Take my hand. I will save you. God is embraced and a love greater than ever experienced in a lifetime is revealed. Why now why in this brokenness? Cause, thats where it must happen in our brokenness. I am moving on, i have found life outside of being a firefighter wife. I have found love again. I have found forgiveness. This is my story. The one you don’t hear told through all the whitewash of the Glory honor and heroism. I am a survivor and have found purpose in this life even as a shadow. I work with women suffering with domestic violence. My call to all do not hide behind the door, the honor, the glory, the excuses, the minimizing. There is help, marriages can be saved if so desired. Their pain can be released by other ways other than you. Reach out. Don’t stay hidden in this sin. Let people know. It happens in all economic and prestigious lives and the highest rate of abuse comes from firefighter families and police. I am a living testimony. I am free. I have 2 beautiful children and 5 grandchildren so there are no regrets. The regret is I did not get help sooner. But remember its never too late. God hates divorce but also hates abuse. Don’t be afraid to tell. I love you all. May God use this story to help others understand. I am not bitter. I am better.
    6 minutes ago · Edited · Like
    Sheryl Pantti McGeary

    • Lori Mercer - WifeOnFire

      Sheryl your story is so important and I am so glad you shared it here! Yes so sad and I feel awful for those years but happy you have found peace and purpose. But what I most want to emphasize is this: firefighter wife is not a title to live for. It’s a just a bonus (that’s comes with a lot of tough stuff too!)
      First and foremost we are women, unique and gifted in our own way. No abuse is ever worth staying In a relationship no matter what “hero” you are married to. I do not like any women in our community to identify so strongly with being a fire wife that they lose their own identity. As you can probably share that is pretty unhealthy.
      Blessings to you! I pray you lead many women safely out if abusive situations!

      • CakeGirl

        Yes yes yes Thank you for dating that Lori!!!

      • Erma Hart

        My husband had ptsb ,but just couldn’t get the proper help from the fire dept. He went through “HELL” .To make long story short and less painful my beloved husband died. They were heartless and cold about his condition.

  5. Jessie - She's Fully Involved

    Ms Sherly I want to first say that I am so sorry that you had to endure that. No one deserves that and we would never condone that in any relationship… There is no love worth that. Only those willing to be saved can be saved and I hope that he eventually finds himself wanting help. It is comforting to see that you have since learned to forgive and find a happy life, especially reaching out and helping others. Thank you for sharing such a deep story with us.

  6. Heather Isaacs

    Such power in the openness and honesty here. I could very easily change the title of this post to “When a fire wife needs help.” Or “When a woman needs help.”

    Sheryl, even though you may no longer be a fire wife…you are still fire strong. Hugs to you on your healing and journey.

    • Sheryl McGeary

      Thank you so much for responding to me. and of course the hugs, seems i need a lot more these days this was very difficult to write and relive through, but necessary for the process of healing the blog post triggered something in me that needed to be addressed a long time ago. I shared it with my support group last night that I facilitate for abused women and the topic just happened to be forgiveness. Go figure. lol. No I am not a Fire Wife anymore I am much better I’M ME!!!!!!!! YAY Thanks Heather

      • CakeGirl

        Letting any job define your self worth is dangerous. That’s awesome!

  7. jeremy

    Sometimes we need a drink when we come home, sounds like he has a good life. A nice wife, some food in the stove and a good job. I think he needs to quit being a bitch and fix the dishwasher. He must be new, give him a few years and he will get nice and numb.

    • Jessie - She's Fully Involved

      Nope Jeremy, not new, close to a decade in but I pray he never becomes numb. He’s had brain matter on his gloves, extricated crushed bodies from vehicles knows what charred bodies look like, smelled what a week of being dead smells like… gore and death is no issue for him. Of course there are missing pieces of the story, those details are better left for my husband and the family of the deceased, not for me to share.

      I am sorry you find it a weakness and I hope you never feel pressured to bottle anything up when it’s so easy to talk it out. Anxiety and depression shouldn’t come with taboo or stigma, neither should needing to share things so that they don’t become those things.

      You are right though, he does have a good life and a really nice wife ( who fixed the dishwasher herself 😉 )

    • A. Kuchar

      Jeremy you are an idiot, you know nothing. Until you have given rescue breaths mouth to mouth to a pulse less infant, you have no right to have an opinion or open your mouth! I struggle with many calls I have been on and I assure you I’m no bitch.

  8. CakeGirl

    Aww Jeremy that makes me sad to hear you say that. It didn’t show weakness. It showed humanity. Numb is not Ok. Eventually, that breaks. Please maybe think about reaching out for some debriefing. Hugs to you.

  9. Marie

    Sheryl thank you for sharing your story. My husband just started physically abusing me. I love him and don’t want to leave. He says he is sorry and that he suffers from ptsd. I just don’t know what to do. My family wants me to divorce him. He didn’t punch me. I think he is telling the truth when he says it will never happen again.

    • Lori Mercer - WifeOnFire

      Marie – Please seek outside help. The phone number above can help you find the resources you need for you and your husband. PTSD is no excuse for abuse. Praying for you.

    • John

      Firefighters psychological support. They’re on Facebook, they’re committed to helping with PTSD. This only gets better with help. I think they have a referral service if you’re not local to them.

  10. Sheryl McGeary

    Thank you for your openness and honesty and your cry for help. This is the first step and the most important and the most difficult I know. I wish I could reassure you that this won’t happen again but unfortunately I can’t. The fact that he even started gives you a good indication that he is not coping well. You say he has PTSD if that is the case this does not go away over night and he cannot control when things are going to happen or how severe they are going to be. Triggers can come out of nowhere and if you are there or your children you will get hurt, if not physically but emotionally. I encourage you both to get help. He has good insurance as a firefighter and their are ways to get help if he wants it. There are also domestic violence shelters in every city. Make contact with them. Please don’t prolong it as long as I did, I, as you read minimized it, made excuses for it, till it nearly destroyed me. If he is physical you must depart from the violent situation immediately. If emotional which is just as damaging must be dealt with. I am never an advocate of divorce and I believe that sometimes we need a break from the situation and a separation may be in order, with therapy, marriage counseling on both your parts, reconciliation can happen. If you allow it to continue then it will only get worse don’t put yourself through that pain it is not necessary. I understand your struggles with that, as you read ,i tried to maintain it all and lost it anyway, but looking back i can’t believe i let it go so far. This is not Love Maria, love and pain do not go together. He needs help and if he loves YOU ENOUGH he will get it. You can not walk through this alone. You have my email please contact me and I can help you get started on the path to healing, I will even give you my number and we can get info for resources where you live. Dont be my story!!!!! I am here for you. I am praying for you please please please reach out.

  11. Sheryl McGeary

    Thank you so much for your encouraging words and support. Also so happy you posted that blog, if not I probably would not have written what I did. A friend from my old fire department posted it on fb. When I read it it brought back the pain I endured and needed speak out. I called my ex ( we do have a relationship where we can talk things out) and read it to him. He was very silent, then I asked him. IS it true? and he said yes it’s all true. He stll has not really apologized for it though, all he says is its all done why go to the past. Kinda sad but ya can’t force somebody to apologize, but at least I was able to express it and he did validate it so thats good enough. Maybe one day it will hit him. He also told me he is getting re- married this week. YAY. So had to deal with that. He did allow me to post this though and that was a huge thing. I felt if this ever comes back to him it was not done for revenge or to be malicious ,but to address a problem out there that we are so tight lipped about. HE AGREED. GO FIGURE RIGHT? He retired as a Bat Chief which would have been more scandalous to say the least at the time. So He lives retired in AZ and probably figures he is safe now. Unfortunately he never got the help or never will. We need to let them know there is help for both parties involved. Divorces are so high in the firefighter world because of the stress of both husband and wife involved. I wanted to help where I can. Blessing and thank you. I will pray for your life and marriage.

  12. Sheryl McGeary

    thank you so much for your encouraging Words. I only wish to help others and hopefully save them the pain I had endured for years. Blessings to you. Lori

  13. Tim Berthiaume

    Truly a powerful letter that needed to be written. Ten days a month I was there. It was right around me & I never saw it. I saw others in need and in pain & was there myself but I never saw yours. Writing your letter shows that you are making remarkable recovery. I wish you well & you are always welcome to visit us here in our home in Florida . Tim Berthiaume

  14. CakeGirl

    Ah Jessie so proud of both of you.

  15. Sheryl McGeary

    Wow Tim you are the last person I expected to comment. This was very difficult to write but very needful. I got Dan’s permission to do so as I did not want it to come back as I was trying to do this in malice. Are life was very toxic and as you can see we were able to hide it very well. Dan was very secretive even with me and that was part of the problem. This, however, was just the tip of the iceberg, as it was even worse but all the details need not be given. It is not good for anyone involved. I thank you for reaching out. You don’t know how that has helped me. I so love you and Terri so much and glad your not a statistic. I never thought I would be ever. In fact it was a total surprise (or I was blind) when he told me. He is to be re-married in a week . Thats a whole nother story and mess, but I am dealing with it. I am free. The Kids are torn and being adults does not make this easy as he seems to think it should. We are all survivors, we will get through this. I love Colorado Springs I am ready to start a new life and move on. This was an important step to do this. Thank you for your validation. It so would be nice to see you guys. I appreciate the offer that alone means alot. Give hugs and kisses to Teri. I miss you guys and much love to 2 friends that i truly feel is my family.

  16. Rodney

    There a song by “Big Daddy Weave” called “I am Redeemed”, Listen to that and see if it don’t hit the mark. The problems is that you have a higher calling than most in caring for a complete stranger. I spent 27 years in the fire service and prided myself in working at our busiest stations. Our number one mission is to save lives. The part we miss, is one of the lives we are supposed to watch after is our own. We also have families that have a hard time relating to our situation. In reality our wives are in the same PTSD world that we live in. Quit going to others in your field for help. It’s like going to a bar to get help with your drinking problem. Those in your department are suffering from the same thing, and live in denial. We often turn our backs to the church also, because we wonder how god could do some of the things we see on calls. Believe me, the devil working also, and most of the firefighters I see that live healthy lives, walk right around temptation and right into church. Your life, my life, your department’s life is not an original story. It’s all been written. When you are purposed for a higher calling, you need a higher support system. If anyone has found one other than God, please let me know

  17. Samantha

    Thank you for this post. The honesty in it is what I’m most in love with. I am the wife of a paramedic who works almost full time and stays home with our child the rest of the time. So your comment about “pushing your thoughts of having any kind of a break today” out of your mind really hit home. You truly never know what to expect when they arrive home. My medic has had calls very similar to this as well as ones far more traumatic. Adits true what you said – you just have to let them work through it, comfort them the best you know how, and be prepared yonlistenwhen they’re ready to talk. Thank you so much for sharing.

  18. KELLI

    One thing, I’ve learned in 20 years, is that if they don’t want to talk – DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. A lot of woman do, and they get angry. Just let them be inside their own heads, for awhile. Sometimes they don’t even know why THAT call made them so upset, angry, or aggrivated. Let them internalize it. Let them talk to God , for awhile, before talking to you. And, if they never talk about it, then so be it. My husband told me once “it’s bad enough I had to see what I saw, I don’t want those images floating around in your head, too.” He’s saving you from the pain – because he loves you!!

  19. Lori

    I never thought I would relate to a post like this, much less responding to it in empathy, but I have to let it out somewhere. This is killing me a little, day by day, on the inside. My “senior firefighter” (in 22 years) has changed. He doesn’t abuse substances, but he is so easy to anger, constantly moody, doesn’t sleep,
    You are right. It is the pornography, the dating websites (“I just go on there to troll, not to meet people”), the affairs. It has escalated to a constant negative hum in our house. In the past 2 weeks he has broken my finger, punched me in the ribs, and thrown me on the ground, in the snow, twice. I am a stay at home mom and have no income other than his. The house is in his name. The car. Everything. Last time, I called the police to press charges, but then I thought, he will lose his job IF they believe me, but who are they more likely to protect? Not me. Him. Their brother. No matter what, when the cards fall, I am an outsider.
    He has finally agreed to therapy, but the cracks are showing so deeply at home now, I wonder if this can ever be fixed. I want it to. I still love him. I still miss him when he is on 24 hr duty. I have buried my head in the sand for so long. I thought it was getting better, but then I got really mentally ill in part, due to this, and I realize now that I am coming out of my fog, it is worse than ever.
    There are holes all over the house where he has punched holes in the walls, black marks on the walls from him beating it with his belt… The kids never saw until this past Tuesday when he threw me to the ground.
    He used to not cry when he had to let it out. Now he does. It is the 3 year old little girl whose brains fell out as he picked her up, the charred baby he kicked to the side, thinking it was a piece of debris. It is the little boy who drowned and whose mother stood by screaming for someone to help her son. It is the father who shot himself in the head and then they had to collect skull and brain matter in baggies. I don’t mind listening to the stories. I never have. I have always been sort of honored that he would show that vulnerability to me, but the cracks are there and they are becoming canyons.
    He seems ok at work, except that he never sleeps there anymore. He dozes. Life at the station has changed so much in the past few years, it is hard to look at it as “home away from home” anymore. The other guys are aging out and retiring and he still has two years left. If he doesn’t take therapy seriously and really work on all these issues, I am not sure he will make it. I am not sure we will, and I don’t know where to begin without him. Our family is utterly dependent on him.
    Thanks for the post. I have been desperately searching for someone who can relate or someone who can help. He doesn’t want help from the department. He doesn’t want anyone to know. He can’t bare the shame. However, if help doesn’t come soon, our family, and my body, can’t bare the strain.

  20. MyRedSandals

    My son is a Lt/firefighter/paramedic. I’ve heard many stories about the runs he makes each shift; he’s told me that it can be difficult to stay on an even keel emotionally. If he didn’t have the Lord in his life, I don’t know where he would be.

    But I actually related more to your story about your long-term marriage breaking up. My own husband of 37 years (not a firefighter) recently left me to pursue “greener grass” and on the cusp of what promised to be a bright retirement, things are now going to be pretty bleak for my “golden years”. Like my son, my only hope is to rely on the Lord to provide for me. He knows my heart, He is faithful and He has promised to never leave me or forsake me.

  21. Sheryl McGeary

    My heart so goes out to you in your pain. Thank you for your courage to tell your story. I have been where you have been with the horrible thought and question” what am I going to do”? I was trapped in that same fear of economic struggle, trying to understand his pain, making excuses for his behavior, walking on eggs wondering if he was going to come home in a good mood or bad and walking on eggshells. The kids were also developing fears and were effected. The fact is I would definitely not hesitate to leave looking back . Money or none, As you can see I accumulated more pain and lost it all anyway. Straight up , get in touch with your local domestic violence shelter every city has one. They can give you a plan to help in this situation, and they can help you get on your feet. Separating yourself from this situation is necessary to keep you and your children safe. You are in a violent situation, where you don’t know his next step. Divorce does not have to be the answer but drastic measures need to be taken to get his attention for help and you must be in a safe environment while he seeks help.. Separating from the situation can help and both of you can get the help with possible reconciliation one day. Things are only going to get worse if you allow him to continue. I know your fears and your insecurity but the fact is he is a dangerous man who is not in control. His anger is being directed at you and this is also an unhealthy environment for your children. You take the first step. Don;t let your fears paralyze you. You do have benefits from him with his job security that are extended to you and the kids. This is the hardest thing you will ever do but you must tell somebody, seek help. for his sake and yours I realize his trauma but he is not coping and you are right , things will start going south quickly. Hiding to protect his reputation or job is not helping him. Feel free to reach me by email if you like you cannot walk through this alone. Help is available. Please reach out I will be praying for you. You can make a new start and live free of pain. You must take the first step. Don’t live “my story” I so wish I would have done something sooner and saved myself years of pain. If I can help let me know. this is serious. I will be praying for you.

  22. Fire Captain

    When I read this story, I understood that it was about Firefighters. The comments have made me feel like it has become about Firefighters wives. We live our lives for others every day. There are times when we need someone there to help us live our lives for ourselves. Family, integrity and trust in your fellow firefighters comes with the territory, something not taken for granted. An abusive person might need that push of stress and trauma to activate it, but it was always there. Abusers come in all shapes and forms, so putting the label on Firefighters in particular is disingenuous and wrong. I am very sorry for what happened to you and your family, but being a Firefighter was the motivator for the behavior…not the cause. There are those persons, truly, who should really not be in the service because of that . Gentleness, and a desire to ease the pain and suffering of others has always been a great motivator for me. 7 years in the Military working for the US Army Rangers was stressful, and being a Fire Captain for one of the busiest Cities in the Nation puts me in the category of “Highly Stressed”. I am blessed with an understanding wife, a grateful family, and children who cant wait to hear the stories of my exploits, or visit the Fire Station to see what I do. It is the things we cherish most in life that sets us apart from others…the desire to do good, and get the respect of others because of what we do, and who we are. The courage, sacrifice, and bearing set us apart from others. THAT is what the focus should be on. Building up the profession, not tearing it down.

    • Jessie - She's Fully Involved

      This is exactly why I felt motivated to write this, not only for the firefighters but for everyone in general to know that it is ok for someone to ask for help, but more importantly for the wives to know that they sometimes need to be the sounding board for their husbands. To not turn him away when he needs an outlet because some departments and even in society it isn’t viewed as manly to need to talk about things. Luckily my story isn’t anything like those shared in the comments, my husband has never raised a hand or his voice to me, neglected me or treated me anything less than what he should. My story is about the firefighters, not just mine but all of them.

      It isn’t fair for there to be such stigma tied to saying I need help, like being called names that are suppose to tear down my husband’s masculinity. Men in particular aren’t accepted as well when they say something bothered them or stuck with them about a call, no matter what it is sometimes. I would love for every department everywhere to be able to lift their firefighters up and say it is ok to have these emotions, lets work through them instead of bottling them up until you’re breaking. You are so right, no one should be tearing each other down.

  23. Patty

    So sorry to read your story….

  24. Allison Murphy

    I am saddened to hear these testimonies. I am saddened because we should be in a time and place where firefighters should feel it is ok to talk about what they are feeling. I am a female firefighter and I feel lucky to have such a warm and caring partner at home. He knows when I’ve had a bad call at work and he is willing to listen to what I need to tell him, but I know he doesn’t like gory details an I try to spare him as much as I can. Needless to say, it is a constant balancing act. I don’t want to share too many details, yet I don’t want to bottle so much up that it becomes unbearable. I am also lucky in the fact that I have found a good therapist to help me deal with some of the terrible things that we deal with in this profession. My hope is that every firefighter recognizes their vulnerability and finds the way to cope with it.

    • Jessie - She's Fully Involved

      So glad you have that sounding board and that you found a therapist to help where your partner can’t. So acceptable and honorable. I agree 100% we should be in a time where anyone in general can say “hey, my mental health needs some maintenance.” without any backlash. Thank you for sharing!!!

  25. abercrombie pas cher

    I turn out enjoying Grooveshark though. <3 my family some grooveshark!!

  26. 503 Service Unavailable

    I love what you guys are usually up too. Such clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to our blogroll.

  27. Sierra

    My fireman and I have been together since high school and it will be 4 years engaged in February. He’s been a volunteer since he was sixteen, and his father was a fireman as well. I’ve always been happy to be a fireman wife but like so many others I have been abused quite a few times. Our main argument has always been him spending almost all his time concerned with a fire department that doesn’t appreciate him. His whole life is firefighting, there is hardly any room for me in it. I know he gets stressed and bottles up his emotions, he admits that himself. I try to look past the abuse because usually I know I have pushed him to it. No one ever said this life was easy, I get congratulated on him all the time about what a hero he is, if only they knew our home life. Luckily there are no kids involved and we plan on never having any. I have learned that no matter what psychological abuse he’s going through it should never be projected on to you. I know we sympathize with them but we can only do that for so long and keep making excuses for them before we realize what damage it is doing to us. Happy to say it’s getting better and I am able to stick by him, but if he’s breaking bones or hurting you so bad it would require a doctor, that’s not stress, that’s violent. I know most of us rely on our husbands to provide for us but that is never an excuse! Where there is a will there is a way!!
    Love sent to all,
    20 year old fully involved wife of a volunteer!

    • Lori Mercer - WifeOnFire

      Sierra so true. We NEVER condone violence. Or even verbal abuse. Being understanding of the stress from the job is no free ticket to treat a spouse badly. be sure he is seeking help outside the department. Counseling of some sort. Or at least that he is hanging around other firefighters who are supportive of honoring marriage and being honorable citizens.

  28. Shannon Connell

    Hey Jessie- my husband is a firefighter in south ga too! Can you email me and maybe we can chat? I would love to have a fellow firewifes feedback about things that happen here at small depts in the south. Thanks- I’ve only been doing this for a year.

  29. A.Mack

    This post is us. Thank God he has been a strong tower in my ff life. But this job still takes an unending toll on the ff. We have reached out and reached across and God has blessed us with so many helpful resources and people sometimes, I am blown away. Now, it hasn’t EVER been EASY. It has always been a battle, UGLY most times but we are on the other side for now. Blessings to all. My FF has been on for better of 15yrs. Its tough but they love their jobs and it can be so WONDERFUL when they are able to SAVE that one person……………Hold tight if your in it, grab ahold of Jesus and some enduring friends and equip yourself with knowledge, this website, and a GOOD counselor!!!!!!!!

  30. Jen

    thank you for posting this! My husband is dealing with PTSD and I am so scared and don’t know how to handle it. He has always been the one to help me. I wanted to put it into words but in couldn’t have said it better!



  1. Lyn Diaries of Real Fire Wives – Day 4 – Lyn - Firefighter Wife - […] what happened has created huge waves in our community, starting conversations everywhere about PTSD and firefighters mental health. Check…

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