Dear Ms. Vicki,
I hate to tell you this, but I can't stand my battalion commander's wife! No, really, I'm not joking here. I know you get these letters all of the time about wives who hate their family readiness group blah-blah-blah, but this woman is out of control.
I didn't show up for a leader's meeting ... well, because I didn't want to go. I wanted to stay home. I'm a grown woman who can make my own decisions.
Guess what? I got a nasty email from her saying how I was not upholding the unit standards of what an officer's wife should be and how my non-support could affect my husband's career in a negative way.
She further said that my lack of participation would reflect badly on her husband, and she won't let my insolence stop her husband from making general.
What!! I believe she has already badmouthed me and my hubby to her husband, and she shouldn't be allowed to get away with that.
Ms. Vicki, this woman wants to meet two or three times a week. I can understand about the possibility of deployments at the drop of a dime, and I'm ready to communicate and give support to families down the line. But I can't be with a bossy, disrespectful woman and put up with her behavior out of fear and her intimidation.
I haven't responded to her email because I know I will only end up saying the wrong thing. I need to do something before it's too late. Should I file an IG complaint against her?
-- Grown Woman
Listen, don't have a knee-jerk reaction to this wife. Participation from a spouse is optional. Even more, a service member's ratings or promotions cannot be hindered by a spouse's lack of participation.
However, I have known situations like this to get totally out of control. I've seen spouses fighting, eyes peering with disdain toward one another, and people choosing sides and deciding who's with the clique and who isn't. In my opinion, it's just not worth it.
If I were doing something offensive to a person, I would respect them for telling me instead of filing a complaint against me. However, because of the tone in the email from the CO's wife, I don't think it would be a good idea for you to answer her email. You can save it if you want to for future reference, but don't answer it. You don't need the "tit-for tat" back and forth.
I think you should tell your husband about everything that has transpired. After all, it's your husband's career and his unit. At one time, I would have advised your husband to have an honest conversation with his commander. However, I have seen situations like this escalate in certain commands. Let him make the decision how to handle this.
I think you have to build a network of support that may not come from your battalion FRG, and that's OK. There are others on post and in the community who could be very friendly.
This is a tough situation and one in which you should tread lightly while still advocating for you and your husband. Please stay in touch and let me know how you are doing.
-- Ms. Vicki