ADD Men's Gift Giving Guide 2011

I have been thinking a lot about the subject of gifts, after a number of posts from people who felt really hurt this year because of the kind of the gifts they received either for Christmas or some other occasion, or the lack of gift at all.  So I thought I would give my thoughts on gift-giving to the ADD men out there -- I actually think this could be a book in and of itself.  Perhaps my own DH will take a look at this at some point.

Here are the major events for which you SHOULD give a gift, and what you should think about when buying/planning it:

1.  Valentine's Day: think ROMANCE.  Most women recognize that Valentine's Day is an artificial holiday which really ends up making everyone feel a little used and forced into doing or buying something.  We all remember how much we hated this day when we were single, and the cliche gifts like roses or some overpriced dinner at a restaurant crammed with other couples is usually not necessary (and you probably won't be able to get a reservation at a restaurant anyway if you wait till the last minute, which ADD-ers are likely to do).  HOWEVER, it is nice to celebrate the spirit of this holiday, which as I said, is romance.  Try to think about what you used to do when you were wooing your wife.  Maybe coming home early and preparing a nice home-cooked, candlelight dinner.  Or maybe reading some love poems, or an old love letter you wrote her, by a fire.  Or if you live somewhere warm, maybe a little picnic with wine, under the stars.  Basically, something that goes back to the courtship period, JUST FOR ONE DAY.  (NOTE: I would not recommend the "lets-get-it-on" type of gift, like sexy lingerie...if you're on this site, it's likely your marriage is a little rocky, and you're liable to get strangled with a thong.)

2.  Anniversary: think LOVE and MEMORIES.  Anniversaries are the time to celebrate YOUR MARRIAGE.  They are also nice occasions to develop some kind of ritual (which can lessen the need to plan every year) -- like, is there a particular restaurant you went to for your first date, or when you were first married?  Maybe that's where you go on your anniversary.  If you REALLY can't think of anything, you can always look at the traditional marriage gifts, and do something with that, for example http://marriage.about.com/cs/anniversaries/a/wedannivideas.htm -- again, the thinking is kind of done for you, and you can get a little random and still have it mean something.  Your spouse might actually think it's fun for you to come up with a gift made of tin or aluminum for your 10th anniversary, for example (just remember that if you give her 10 boxes of aluminum foil, please also take her to dinner).

3.  Mother's Day: think APPRECIATION.  Here's where some act of service can really go a long way -- take care of your kids and give your wife the entire day off.  Or focus on that long Honey-Do list and tackle them for a day.  Take over the chores she most dreads.  Be her "butler" and bring her breakfast in bed.  Anything you do on this day where you "let her off the hook" for what she does the other 364 days of the year will implicitly convey your immense gratitude for the value she adds to your and your family's life.

4.  Birthday:  think SPECIAL and UNIQUE.  So, you will actually need to think about your wife's INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITY, her INTERESTS, her HOBBIES, what SHE likes.  There are clues all over the place of you just look. It doesn't have to be extravagant, just really, really THOUGHTFUL.  Birthdays, in my opinion, are a time to give someone what they WANT, rather than NEED.  For example, if your wife has been complaining that the vacuum has been broken, and you get her a new vacuum for her birthday, you might find her less than enthused.  Why?  Because the vacuum, although it is thoughtful and something she needs, isn't about HER (except the fact that it reinforces that she does the cleaning, not the message you want to send).  The point here is that you want to give her something that reflects your knowledge of her as a person.  Honestly, if you are really stuck, call one of her girlfriends or her mom or sister and they will give you some ideas.

5.  Christmas: think FUN and SURPRISE.  I think Christmas is actually very similar to birthdays, but you have a little more latitude -- here I think you can go with things she NEEDS as well as WANTS (though I highly recommend that you still pass on the vacuum, or anything that links to things she does for YOU).  So, if she's just started exercising or running, it's fine to get her a really nice pair of running shoes.  Again, needed, but also thoughtful and about her.  Maybe a book or DVD that reflects some topic or interest or passion of hers.  It's going to depend on your wife, but you want to take the extra step here and WRAP the gift.  In wrapping paper.  Do not wrap it in brown paper bag, like my husband often does, because that looks like a mail bomb.  

6.  BONUS POINTS: Just Because.  I think that at least TWO TIMES a year, you can give your wife a random, "just because" gift.  Something small, that just says you are thinking of her.  Like, picking up a pint of her favorite ice cream when you go to the grocery store.  Or a small little note tucked into her purse or briefcase that she'll find at some point.  You have NO IDEA how much a small gesture will mean to your wife and how much it will add to her emotional bank account.

A few logistics:

1.  Get a card for each holiday.  Just do it.  You can buy a box of neutral, blank cards with kittens on them or something and use them for each one, but the step of taking the time to write a short note, sticking it in an envelope, and presenting it to her along with whatever gift you have planned or bought is a VERY nice touch.

2.  If there is a dinner involved, make the reservation yourself.  This is NOT hard.  Simply go to Google and search the name of the restaurant.  It will pop up, along with a number.  Call the number, say "table for two at x:00" and give your name.  DONE.  It will take all of THREE MINUTES.

3.  You will see that almost all of the above require a little advance planning, which probably causes your heart rate to rise.  Set an alarm/reminder for (at least) ONE WEEK BEFORE to just think about the particular occasion.  I really can't imagine that the entire planning phase for any of the above would take more than an hour (possibly a bit more for the birthday, though as I mentioned you can cheat and call some friends and family).  Think about it: five major holidays = FIVE HOURS of thinking.  That's .05% of your entire mental energy expended over the course of entire year.  The return on that small amount of mental energy will be HUGE.

You can do it!  Good luck!!!

LOL!! Strangled by a thong!

I agree...this needs to be a 'How To' book. It surprises me that this is such a problem for so many non-ADD spouses...especially when these occasions are completely IGNORED. There really is no excuse. My ADHD husband even said "that's not ADHD related, that's just them being a$$holes".

I know that for many years we had a lot of passive-aggressive stuff going on in my marriage....and he went from being an amazing gift giver to barely getting me a card for a few occasions, a few years. Some occasions I didn't even get him a card. I KNOW for a fact it isn't because of his ADHD...and I don't have ADHD...so it was just us being jerks. 

I think your ideas are fabulous! I wish there were a way to mass market it...maybe make it part of the ADHD treatment and require all counselors hand it out. :)

My husband rarely ever goes to the store that he doesn't bring me something that lets me know he was thinking of me...a Coke Zero, tootsie roll, etc. and always calls to ask if I need anything. He is really, really thoughtful with his gifts and TRULY cares if I like what he gets me or not. He calls and texts frequently throughout the day. I know he hates crowds and probably would not be caught dead at the Mall 2 days before Christmas...but there are SOOOO many other ways (online, shop EARLY) to avoid this problem. There really is no excuse, in my book, for letting this be an issue in marriages..unless the 'desire' to please just isn't there...or worse yet, they are intentionally buying seemingly thoughtless gifts. Just sad.

not necessarily an ADD thing.

I think this is a Mars vs. Venus thing as opposed to ADHD.  I am the ADHD wife, and I am used to the disappointment now.  'Valentines day is a made up holiday' and "you're not MY mother" on mother's day are my husband's reasons for ignoring these holidays.  My first mother's day was really tough because it was such a big deal in my family growing up.  I was expecting something - ANYTHING - and got nothing from him.  My daughter's school will usually have a mother's day craft, so I do get something - but it would mean so much to me if my husband would acknowledge the fact that I am HIS child's mother.  oh well.

DF's picture

Guilty as charged...... but reformed?

Sherri I agree with your husband on this one.  in my case it wasn't enough to just be an a$$, I felt like one for days.  It was as if I loved the punishment for knowing I was going to screw it up and then knowing I had.  As I mentioned in another post I have made a promise to myself to never let that happen again.

My wife likes my gifts.  I try to do something unique every time.  It's hard sometimes for me to come up with something on the fly around B-Day and Mothers Day.  They are only a month apart and it takes me that long at least just to feel like I got it right.  Case in point, it took me 5 months to envision her B-day present.  When it came to me in the way I felt it would be perfect, I created it with my own two hands ( I'm the creative type of ADD ).  I gave it to her the other day cuz I couldn't wait till her B-Day.  Besides, she tends to be mopey about everyone aknowledging her getting older.  It was a happy gift and I didn't want it mucked up with her (possible) sour mood.  She told me twice that she liked it.  I know she did, but I'm not sure if the second time was to tell me in the event that I forgot she said so........  I took your's and Lulu's advice and emailed her my feelings about ADD the other day.  Still no talk-e

Mothers day will be harder.  The butler for a day has never worked out because we always do family stuff together.  I'm a bit apprehensive this year.  I'm worried she will not want to spend time alone with me in the family equasion and will want to invite people over for a cook out or something. 

I don't have a gift idea yet for mothers day, but I'm working on it.  She's under a ton of financial stress and any sign of my spending a lot of money ( even on her ) puts her in a bit of a cold mood.  Her B-Day gift(s) cost me less than $60 all together since I made it so I think that's okay.

As for Valentines day this year - I feel really bad about that.  I wanted to do something different and show her that she is special.  She has a super soft - Mom Only - blanket that I nor the kids can touch.  I thought it would be neat to get her Mom Only bath towels.  I searched everywhere for over a month including product review forums.  I found some really nice bath towels that are really soft and really expensive - but on sale at a good price.

Eh.... I put them in the trunk of her car to open when I wasn't around.  I got a text asking "Why did you get me bath towels?"  I explained it.  She understands it and seemed to appreciate it.  Problem is, I can't stop beating myself up over the fact that her initial reaction was most likely not good.  Texting is impersonal I know, but my anxiety and fear was completely amplified and I can't help but think she was disappointed - even if she may(?) not be now. 

Even on meds for the first time in my life, I'm stressing about Mothers Day.  I can honestly say that it's the ONLY thing that is getting a rise out of me since Adderall slowed my world down.  The gift has to be right.  It must be.......

Ok..first please explain

Ok..first please explain this: in my case it wasn't enough to just be an a$$, I felt like one for days. It was as if I loved the punishment for knowing I was going to screw it up and then knowing I had. I don't get it. Did you intentionally not buy anything and see that as a way you punished YOURSELF? At what point did how he would make her feel come into the equation? I truly want to understand this...not that my husband isn't good at gift giving, but I think this can relate to other areas of ADHD and I really want to understand as much as I can. I'm not looking to beat you up for your past mistakes, on the contrary, I applaud you for caring so much and trying so hard to change it...the insight as to why it was the way it was would be valuable to us non's.

Second, unless your wife is a complete witch (and I assume she's not from all of your lovely thoughts and words you've posted about her) then I think you're putting entirely too much stress on yourself over the Mother's Day gift idea. It would take all of the joy out of it for me to think that my husband was as worried about it as you are. Stop, take a deep breath, and just think for a minute. Take some time to think about what she likes...you've been married to her long enough to know. A gift certificate for a massage? A bottle of her favorite perfume? Breakfast in bed?

If she wants to invite people over for a cookout, then go along with it..it is Mother's Day..her day. Take over the kitchen and let her relax and enjoy herself. I agree a good 'gift' comes from putting a lot of thought into it, but it doesn't mean you have to kill yourself over it.

Don't be discouraged that you haven't gotten a response to your e-mail...and don't mention it. You didn't send it to get kudos or brownie points (I hope) you sent it because you want her to know how you feel about her and you want to her trust you. She will in time..just keep on keepin on!

DF's picture

okay okay okay

First - I'm not stressing the email at all that I sent her.  It wasn't as easy to write as it is in these forums, but I do not expect a reply.  I had to convince myself in advance that that's what I wanted.  That way I wouldn't stress it.

Now - the explanation.  As seen in other posts of mine I have anxiety.  Didn't realize that's what it was.  Funny thing about that is I thought anxiety meant you couldn't function.  Well, guilty as charged.  You see, leading up to an event that would give me pause to get a gift for my wife I could see in advance that I did not have the money to do something special.  I would fret over that for days.  It consumed me ( hyper-focusing? ) knowing I would fail and it would get in the way of my creativity. 

So on the special day I would give my wife a hug and a sorry excuse - she knows I love her right? ( not exactly ).  I would hate myself for a few days afterwards too...... well actually forever, because I still can't forget those times.  Yet I can't explain why I still continued to fail.  Sherri I don't know. 

If I didn't get her a card ( except for that one mothers day I failed miserably ), it was usually because all I thought about was what she would think even if I didn't know what it was.  "What, a card?!  That's it?!"  ->  She never did this to me, but it still ate at me.  My self loathing nature would always take over and I'd beat myself up.  I still do. 

I suppose in retrospect, I continued on this horrible path because I believed she knew that I love her.  I didn't express it to her out of fear of rejection and it pains me horribly to say that because she never gave me anything but her love and support.  It stinks even more thinking back on it.  Our last anniversary was kind of a last straw for both of us in a way.  She is tired of it and I'm tired of hating myself.  I've a very upbeat person around people, just not alone with my chalkboard of thoughts.  As I had mentioned I vowed never to take any more holiday's for granted.  When she took her affections away from me, that only emboldens me to persevere.

I stress because my gifts from here on out have to be perfect.  If I fail, her steel wall will rise up from the ground and surround her or I'll just fall into the category of 'same-o-same-o'.  She is not a witch, you are correct and I don't want her to feel like one.

The massage stuff - Personally I like giving my 3 hour ones, but she never asks.  I have to tell her to go lay down, but I know when I'm pushing my luck by asking about doing that more than once or twice a month.  January was a good month for those, but I took a giant step back and there have been fewer.  I like giving them, she like to have them, but if you're annoyed with someone do you really want them touching you?

Buying a massage is a common gift for me in the past.  She likes those too and has stressed that I can do that whenever I wanted, but we're strapped for cash and she's stressed bad about money.  That kind of gift is tough to pull. 

The perfume - I'd love too, but since she's been actively looking at several different kinds.  She uses them all and that's great, but what if she doesn't like the one I get her?  That would not be nearly as bad as me feeling like she would wear it every now and then because she felt guilty because she couldn't tell me she didn't like it. -> See the dilema rising here?

Breakfast in bed?  She's not a huge breakfast person.  I've tried.  I settle for the luxury of getting her coffee every morning.  I feel useful and she has specificly told me she appreciates it. 

I was trying to think of gift ideas tonight while on the treadmill.  The crap thing about Adderall is that I'm starting to notice I have only one thought going on at a time instead of my normal parade of nonsense, but one thought always lead to another and another until something really gelled.  I have an idea, but we'll see how it develops.  The thing about pictures is, when do they become just a normal gift.  Not to mention feeling like I need to find pictures that I'm not in so she'll want to hang it up.

I hate feeling sorry for myself. 

Hi DF, So throughout your

Hi DF, So throughout your stressing and anxiety, I have to ask- do you think your wife has any idea of how muchthought you are putting into this? How much angst? Or is the entire process behind a "veil of secrecy" and she only gets to see the outcome- ie, here are some bath towels honey? I dont mean to sound critical of your present, on the contrary, I think it is quite sweet- but maybe because I know the process behind it - offered in this seemingly calmly stated post. Soo... How about this- in times like this why dont you try communicating, communicating... For example, "honey, I love you and want to get you something really special for n Mothers Day but I know we are strapped. Still though want to get/do something special for you. What would YOU like?". Will it still be Surprise? Perhaps not, but your anxiety will lessen and quite possibly hers as well. There is still enough surprise because it WONT be like she was out getting a gift for herself, you know? I just want to reiterate something that doesnt come easily for my spouse (so maybe not for you?): when in doubt: ask communicate, share... When things are calm and you both have a moment to think (no screaming kids in the background, lol). Even if she does not immediately have a tangible idea, the take home message is what you are trying to convey anyway: that you love her and you care. You are awesome DF :)
DF's picture

You are correct, but stand corrected

No - She has no idea my level of self punishment.  Probably never will.  I've been saying I'm sorry so darn much over the years it sounds hollow to me and I can only imagine what that sounds like to her. 

Having slept on last nights post I see this a small bit clearer.  You see, I would gift, hoping for the best, but "knowing" I would fail.  This applies to the stress over not giving a gift - I'm going to fail anyway soooo....  It's the ADD MO.  My life is full of failures.  I did not buy an engagement ring, because she has a beautiful diamond ring already.  She's wanted me to buy a different band for it so that it would be ours.  All I can think about is how I can't afford to fix her car when it breaks or pay for the electric bill.  I work my screwed up f%*^ing spinning head off 45-55 hrs a week and make three times as much as she does and I can't find ways to relieve her financial stress! -FAILURE FAILURE FAILURE FAILURE!!!!!

....ahem...  Now that I've  stopped to breath for a few minutes, let me continue.

So my overwhelming sense of failure is behind my madness.  Have I told her?  No.  Will I?  No.  I've been a tough pill to swallow for a long time and I'm a walking Catch-22.  If she knows about my inner freaking out she would feel obligated to express extreme gratitude even when she doesn't want too.  And me knowing that she's aware of my anxiety, I would not believe her and feel as though she was just trying to make me happy.  I'm here in these forums because of the demands I've placed on her over the years.  I'm not going to ask anything of her.  I'm going to earn it and embrace it when it comes.

When your in the dog house I play co-ed softball rules ( no I don't play, just like the metaphor ).  Every batter starts with 1 strike.  I've asked her to go to counceling with me twice - 3 strikes, out.  I've asked her to check out this web site twice - 3 strikes, out.  If I swing again after being out, I'm only pissing off the other team.

Oh - and communicating.  What does she want?  Doesn't work 9.8 times out of 10.  She's not secretive to punish me, she'd just rather see $50 go to a bill than into a gift.  But how could she not be disappointed with me if I don't get something?!  I've heard this so many times -"You don't have to get me anything".  My brain translates this as - "If you bother at all, I'll most likely not be impressed anyway."

This low self esteem nonsense really pisses me off because I'll be the first to tell you I'm awesome.  I flippin know it, I just can't make myself believe it.

First, let me say...I would

First, let me say...I would bet my life on the fact that when/if her car messes up and the money isn't available to fix it, that the thought does not even cross her mind that it is YOUR FAULT. That is YOUR issue and an issue that I urge you to deal with before it causes anymore issues. Yes, it does cause issues in your marriage because what you FEEL is always going to effect who you are and how you interact with those you love. I know this first hand. If we are having financial issues, my husband also sees himself as the one responsible and I have often felt, due to comments he makes, that he THINKS that I think the way he thinks about it...but I don't. In other words he feels directly responsible and blames himself...and he is certain that I feel the same way. The reality is that I don't. Not at all. Not even close. BUT just his thoughts alone drive a wedge between us...and I don't think I have to explain to you why. ARe you the cause of the financial stress (poor money management?)? No matter how you answer that question, don't focus on what you CAN'T do and try and focus on what you can do...even if it is just carry some of the burden with her. It would mean so much for my to have my husband sit down and do our budget with me...but he never has time, never the right time, never has the interest...but yet I am made out to be the bad guy for questioning $180 worth of cash withdraws in 3 days time...when there are bills that will now go unpaid because of it. Not saying you do that..just got off on my own personal little tangent...moving on...

Second...NEVER EVER EVER assume you think you know what your wife will do or say in any given situation. What you have THOUGHT she would feel or say has caused you more problems than facing her head on and COMMUNICATING to her what your feelings are a letting her tell you how she feels. Assuming you think you know what her reaction will be to your gifts therefore you just 'give up' and concede failure before you even try...well, it doesn't work...as you have so clearly seen. Your treatment of your wife the other 364 days a year will supersede and gift you give her on Mother's Day. The 'special days' mean so much more when the rest suck so badly, ya know? I have made the mistake, and so has my husband, of assuming I knew what he was thinking or how he would react to a certain situation so by avoiding it or acting according to how I THOUGHT he would react, I made a mess of things....and he has too.  You do not know that she would feel obligated to express extreme gratitude if you share with her what you're feeling...that is what you THINK she would feel and you could be very wrong. You could be very wrong in keeping all of this from her, simply because it could be very healing for BOTH of you to have the truth out on the table. "for a very long time I gave you no gifts because....(insert explanation above)...and the way I felt about myself for doing this was (insert emotions from above)...and although I know it's tough for you to understand any of this, it is important for me to tell you because I don't want you to think for one minute that I didn't value and love you...I took for granted you knew, I let my ADD get the best of me, and I'm going to change that".

In my opinion, there is a line that has to be drawn where you 'explain' what you're going through...but you don't 'dump' it on her over and over again as an 'excuse'. I think you're blurring the two. No matter how big of a poophead you've been through the years, you're TRYING and succeeding at doing things 'different' now and that is where your focus should be.

In my own marriage I can explain to you how destructive many of these things are... A) you not forgiving yourself...my husband's guilt over past mistakes snowballs in his own head until he feels so low and so unworthy that he just shoves away anything and everything that matters. You will eventually be defeated by your unforgiveness of yourself. Let it motivate you to change, but as you change, LET IT GO. If you truly want to save your marriage, you have to recognize this as part of the process. B) assuming you can think ahead and predict your wife's feelings and reactions...don't do it. Give her a chance to HAVE a reaction and have a feeling. This shows you're interacting with her and that you consider and respect her feelings and opinion.  Stop thinking for her. Ask. Open up the lines of communication. C) stop seeing your personal struggles...financial and otherwise...as YOUR OWN personal failures. If you're laying on the couch eating Cheetos 24/7 then yes, that is your fault. If you're spending money recklessly instead of paying bills, then stop. Otherwise, you two are a couple and a partnership...and your troubles are collectively both of yours. Stop blaming yourself, I am sure she doesn't.

I am like her..in that I would rather my husband not take $50 and buy me something for my birthday when we are struggling financially, but he always does anyway and I always appreciate the effort...regardless of the gift. Time to get creative, spend as little as possible, and get her a Mother's Day gift. I don't agree that asking her what she wants would be a bad choice for you...even if she responds not to spend anything on her...just explain "It would really mean a lot to me to get you something..even something little...even if you can't understand, I promise not to overspend, but I would really like to give you something. " and maybe ask her to write you a short list of things she'd really like to have...that maybe would be a treat to her, that she doesn't typically buy herself because she would see it as splurging. I know that I could give my husband a list of 10 things in 5 minutes that are all under $20 that would make very nice Mother's Day gifts .. for ME..because I often don't buy myself these certain things because they are what I consider 'luxuries'...such as Oil of Olay lotion. LOL Seriously. Quit being so afraid and just ask. If she resists, explain that it is important to YOU, but that you'll compromise and keep spending low because you dont' want it to stress her.

DF's picture

So Poophead is catching on I see

Sherri - You bug me.  You remind me of my sister and you two seem to be right most all of the time.  I'm watching you Sherri.  One day I'm going to be right and you're going to be wrong!  Until then I will continue to concede defeat to your un-muddled perspective.

I have spawned an idea for M-Day.  It's nice to see the meds have not completely destroyed my creative flare.  But with that said, I will ask her what she wants.  I know what she will say, but you are correct, it will give me an opportunity to express to her how important it is for me to do this for her. 

I need to be clear though.  I get the impression a lot of posters have communication with their spouses.  I'm just learning how to talk and it's a struggle.  I do not know if my wife wants to hear me fuddle around some thoughts.  I know that trying to talk to her about "us" puts her on edge because who wants to feel all emotional or reminded of what frustrates you?  If she's already frustrated that it takes me 10 minutes just to say - "Sure I'll pick up the kids", it's even harder for me to explain how I feel.

Look I know my wife cares deeply for me.  I know that she's not packing her things and is 1 foot out the door.  I know there's not another man of interest in her life.  What I know is that I've let her down consistently for a long long time and she's had enough.  I know that she has to believe in the person she sees in front of her today and not the guy that blew up in public in front of her dad and brother one year ago.

In two weeks, I've been making slow and steady progress in fighting my insecurities.  The only negative I can think of off hand was my inability to talk about what my diagnosis really means.  It came off sounding like an excuse.  Granted, she hasn't done her homework on ADD so she discredits it as something that played a role in our lives, but until she actually looks into it, I can't really talk much about it.  I'm making progress with me and any little difference I can find in "us" I try to build on that.  Every night now I go to bed facing her and if not, I always wake up anyway and I roll over on my side to face her.  She has been replying in kind.  I tell her or text her every night now to say goodnight and I love her.  This forum has really been a huge help in so many ways.  I've built up enough courage to kiss her on the top of her head when she's asleep(?).  It's not been much, but I hope to graduate soon to doing that 2-4 times a week and not 1-2.

I used to dread going to bed and feeling rejected or worrying obsessivly about her safety when she was out late with friends.  Now, it's my favorite part of the day.  At night I see hope.

LOL I am glad all of the

LOL I am glad all of the years in counseling and learning all that I have from that is helpful to someone at this point. Sigh.

(((HUGS))) One day at a time...you're not losing this battle...and you know it. Relax and enjoy life a little. Now that you're out of that coma, there is nowhere to go but UP! ;-)

DF's picture

Perfect place for my low point

I re-read this post from the beginning.  No better place to be right now to speak.  I'm a full week into meds and I'm a bit emotional because I'm starting to get scared and it's starting to mess with me a bit on the emotional side.  Yes I like being able to focus, but I'm on 10mg of Adderall and I feel like I'm high as a kite.  I feel like I'm doped up and walking around like a space cadet.  I will do anything for my family and I feel like if my wife doesn't see that ADD has played a negative role in our lives, I'll be stuck feeling like there's a hand squeezing my brain.  I'm also EXTREMELY bent out of shape over my son.  He's on 5mg, but I feel like he should up his dose and I'm scared because he's a young kid and I know what 10mg is doing to me and I'm so absolutely scared for him.

Next.  This past holiday weekend here I got to spend a lot of time during the day with my wife.  Waking hours are so very difficult for me sometimes and quite possibly exasperated by the effect of the meds.  I'm struggling with feeling doped up.  I've never been a drug user - well I downed A LOT of Ephedrine back in my athletic prime ( it was legal 15 years ago people! ).  Not healthy to take a few hundred mg's of the stuff, I know, but it was nothing like this.  I just want so damn bad to talk to her and tell her how I feel, what the meds are doing to me and that I'm scared for my son.  During the daytime I honestly feel as though she is itching to get away.  Finding small talk is so hard for me because she rarely reciprocates in kind. 

Then it seems when I'm making progress in our relationship, I get to some invisible buffer zone and she pulls back and slides the dead-bolt back on the door.  I'm making progress with me and I can feel it, but man is it so damn hard.  I come to this site and it gives me hope, courage and empowerment, but other times it fills me with grief.  There are so many of you that don't have ADD(HD) that are here wanting to understand and make it work.  My wife gives me the impression she doesn't believe ADD has played a role and the past few days I feel like that just means I was a Poophead these last several years for the fun of it.  I feel so horrifyingly alone.  I keep so many things close to me so I have anyone I can really talk too about me.  I grew up a military brat before the days of internet so I don't have childhood friends.  I surrendered everything for my family and I would do it again 1000 times over and maybe somewhere in all those chances I would have seen what I was doing was because of ADD and addressed it a long time ago.

Sorry - way off track.  Back to the subject at hand.

So I get the silent treatment much of the time from my wife.  I hate feeling like I'm blaming her, because I am.  I feel stupid trying to make pointless conversation that goes nowhere and I'm forgetting to appreciate when she sends me a text or calls.  Damn it! Getting off track again.  Adderall is failing with focus right now.

Yesterday my wife wanted to go to Easter mass as a family.  It's the first time since Christmas that she's expressed interest and it meant that I didn't have to wake up early to go to 7AM mass alone as usual.  Nice.  Should have been.  Could have been.  Wasn't.  Both kids were just bitching the whole time about EVERYTHING and fighting each other.  Even on the meds I was going insane.  I kept my cool.  I did not get upset or aggressive with the kids.  I expressed logically that they needed to calm down, relax and be respectful of each other in public.  Inside I was white hot fury, but I did not let it show in my face or my voice.  My wife was visibly frustrated and the kids just kept on pushing.  I could see she just wanted to get away from us.  I could see it and it hurts so damn much.  I wanted the kids to calm down and didn't know what to do.  You can't tell your children that they're driving their mom crazy and that she leaves to get away and collect herself.  I would never do that to them or to her.    And they are always asking me if she'll be home before they go to bed.   My heart dies a little every time they say that to me because it is my fault and I know that she won't.  She loves those boys and would do anything for them, but I'm home and I'm up and about and I remind her of something she's unhappy about.  I should be up studying for classes, but instead I go to bed early so she doesn't have to come home late and see me.  I worry about her safety very much but I give her all the space she needs and I do not question what she does.  I believe in her and I know in my soul I'm not a fool for doing so. 

She is trying to do what so many of you non-ADD spouses are here talking about.  For almost a year now she's been trying to find her sense of self.  She's finding her center again, her "me".  I was making it worse early on when I hyperfocused on her.  But I know and I understand now.  Doesn't mean feeling alone doesn't suck A$$ any less, it just means it's harder to let go of my guilt for being such a flippin' Poophead for so long.  I really did believe I was normal like everyone else. 

So lets make this longer.  Lets talk about why I'm posting here under the gift giving section......

My wife's birthday is this week.  I had planned a huge thing for months, but that was backed out and she was relieved that it was.  We don't have much money due to lifes little road blocks and not me being an impulsive spender ( seriously ).  Anyway, she had told me what she wanted.  Just a room reserved at a place she likes and a guest list of her choosing.  I'm working with a friend of hers on it, but I'm doing most everything I can, because I love her and it's what I want to do for her - even though I already got her 2 gifts.  It's not too expensive since we don't have to pay for anything at all, but my wife thought it would be nice to have appetizers and beer for people and I agree and want to take care of this.  Well, more roadblocks this week.  Two of them.  I'm done.  I haven't been this broke in so long.  A major appliance broke and I had to pay to get it fixed and then one of the doctor's offices called about a way long overdue bill.  It finished me.  My wife works a second job part time because I can't due to my on call duties.  She said she would pay for the party with the money she makes this week.  I told her I would not allow that - ever!

I'm one paycheck away from the party and I don't know yet if I can find Peter to rob him and pay Paul.  I want so bad so damn bad to not fail like I always had for so many years!  I can't!  And I will not accept any help from anyone because it's too damn important to me.  It's a rare opportunity for me to do something for her that SHE WANTS.  I'm giving everything I have to make change be forever.  I'm so sick of my own $hit and I want this for her so bad. 

Right now all tapped out financially and emotionally.  I'm going to go donate plasma this weekend.  Normally I can find 10 funny things to say about that, but I've not got the heart for it right now.  To add a pound of salt to the wound - I've been doing so well with my exercise that when I went to the doctor to get my perscription last week I found out I lost 15lbs in the past 8 months.  I weigh 149lbs.  That puts me under 150lbs needed to get the full $50 for my first time donation.  It's not that I can't stop running and start force feeding myself for a week, it's just that it's another notch on the broom stick of failure that I can't seem to dislodge from my tailpipe.

My wife has gone out a few times with friends recently for a b-day drink.  It makes her feel good and I'm glad she has an outlet to something that makes her happy.  The alternative would be to sit around the house and anticipate my next disappointment.  She's always so alive when her friend comes over and it's hard for me to see past the moments we're alone and she's - distant. 

I will continue to work on me.  It's just super hard right now.  I really would like to talk to her about my ADD and its affect on our relationship, what its done and where I'm going with it from here on.  But I have to know first that she understands it, because if she doesn't learn about it and accept it then it's just a lame excuse for me being me.  I get nowhere and I remain alone in my battle.

I feel so selfish.  I'm sorry.

 

Okay DF, first thing: BIG

Okay DF, first thing: BIG HUG. Seriously- you are doing great, except for freaking out by being so mean to yourself. VERY important: dont know if anyone said anything but taking these meds is a process (not really a "medical " comment, just a fact)- so while you are getting the right med or right dose or even just getting mentally used to taking these type of meds (or all of the above)... You might feel a lot of extra emotions that make it harder for you to cope. And the same may be true for your wife. Is it possible she took a small step aside to give you time to get the meds in order - i did that myself though i think the action was misinterpreted as not caring or anger at the time (i think). I was not sure what was going to happen and i was worried about possible freak out effects so i wanted to give my dh time to become used to the meds. And I'll admit to having been a little more scared about the process and how his behavior might change. As for the birthday celebration: WHOA! Lol (really), you are a sweet man to want to make it special for your wife but by not letting things happen without stress you are complicating things more for yoursel and possibly wife. Look she told you what she wants and though life intervened to affect the cash outlay, LET it happen without fuss or muss. Tell your wife who KNoWS abour the appliance repair bill and the drs bill (right?!) that it woukd be great to use her paycheck and that you will pay her back asap. Then give her a big hug, say you love her and then mOve on to allow both you and HER to actually enjoy the occasion. By stressing out like this, you are not letting her do that (or you). DF (dear friend?), you are letting that big ole mean voice inside pull you down and you must stop it. I really wish you would check out Jon Kabat Zinn- he has a very cool idea in promoting the idea of mindfulness. It is not hokey. Just the idea of living in the real present moment, drawing yourself back to see the greater picture.. And then meditating on just "being" in the present. I believe research studies have shown it helps to promota beta EEG waves, as used for focus. Seriously this is great for those with not only focus/attention issues but lowself esteem. C'mon give it a go! :) Speakng as a former antimeditation critic and now reformed believer!

Don't make me get out my

Don't make me get out my boots and kick your a$$!

Seriously...has anyone discussed with you what you might experience when first starting the meds? I've heard that it is very difficult to adjust to how they make you feel and think. If they are making you feel really doped up, especially considering your weight, I might call and ask the doctor if you can take 5mgs for a while. I think most doctors just slam people with a 'starting dosage' and don't consider individual reactions. I still, to this day, think my husband was simply on too damn much medication. Start there. Share your feelings here until you feel better and more in control of your thoughts...if it helps. It makes me sad that you don't even feel comfortable enough to say "man, these meds are really making me feel....(insert what you told us)..."

As for the birthday...ARGH...really..you're going to have to stop making such a huge, huge deal out of everything. My Lord, I'm stressed out just reading about you being stressed out! LOL Relax, consider your options, and pick one. Is there anyone you could borrow the money from that would keep it a secret from her and you could pay them back when you get paid next? I am not sure why you feel that is such a horrible option....but shit happens...the appliance broke and the doctor's office needed their money and here you are. You have to learn to 'cope' with these kinds of setbacks and not get this worked up or you are never going to be happy. My heart breaks for you at the way you are coming down on yourself...and the way you are absolutely panicked over the impending birthday that you've already convinced yourself is going to be a disaster! You are just like my husband, your own worst enemy. Imagine the worst and you'll always get it.

I am a little confused about the kids/church thing...why doesn't she tell them to knock it off? It seems that you feel solely responsible for the behavior of the children and that you're worried she'll leave if they don't behave, but yet you're afraid to raise your voice to them for fear that she'll be mad, but yet she won't say anything to them? Please clarify.

Do you have anyone in your life, locally, that you are able to lean on for support? I am glad you have us, and I am happy to help talk some sense into you when needed and listen when not needed, but I cannot help but feel you need a warm bodied human in front of you to lean on. If my husband was doing the introspection you are, and was taking the steps you are, and had all of that going on inside of him and didn't feel he could share it with me, it would break my heart. As a matter of fact, I'll go one further and say that I think him not sharing with me has been a huge issue and he has somehow, after all of these years, turned it around and made it like he CAN'T talk to me because I'm not 'understanding' enough or 'whatever' enough. When he does talk about it, it is purely from a stand point of "you just don't understand how my mind works" and not a "man, this ADHD has really caused me to treat you poorly through the years".

YOU'RE DOING GREAT! Give the doctor a ring about the meds if you feel a lower dosage might be better for you. They made my husband feel horrible physically, and again, I think his dosage was just too high. List the things you've written about...and figure out a plan to start taking care of each. Just like the rest of the population, we all face struggles and times when we want to give up, see no way to resolve our current financial woes or parenting woes...but just like us, you have to identify the issues, identify some possible solutions, and change what you can and accept what you can't. You've got the weight of the world on your shoulders....and it simply doesn't have to be there.

It is almost 1 a.m. and way past my bedtime..I pray some of this makes sense...I just couldn't go to bed without a good cyber butt kicking for you tonight. (((((((HUGS)))))))

Sherri

Yes, and come to think of it,

Yes, and come to think of it, MY Easter had moments of the screaming mee-mees too- and sounding suspiciously like my mother to my kids- "kids stop that! No yelling! Be nice in church! Sit quietly!) that I wanted to run away too, lol. Did you look at the other parents around and not see some of the same things? Sometimes you just have to laugh and let it go- or just LET IT GO. I dont know why your wife left, except to perhaps get a moment of silence--not necessarily to carry a negative statement on you, your marriage OR your kids. Just a moment to think. But, you know, that could be something to talkti your wife about when you are both calm (and alone- no kids). And laugh- you both were driven nuts by your beautiful sometimes exasperating kids, like us all.... Utimately, you have to believe its all good.
DF's picture

I did it again

I put thoughts into words and it projected the wrong image or I left out enough detail to give readers pause.

Here:

"... the kids/church thing...why doesn't she tell them to knock it off? It seems that you feel solely responsible for the behavior of the children and that you're worried she'll leave if they don't behave, but yet you're afraid to raise your voice to them for fear that she'll be mad, but yet she won't say anything to them? Please clarify....."

And Here:
 

"... I dont know why your wife left, except to perhaps get a moment of silence...."

First the top one.  It's not that my wife doesn't try, it's that she hates being frustrated with the kids.  We have great kids.  They are well mannered and respectful, but those rare (literally) moments when they are both going to task in public it's frustrating.  How many times can you tell a kid to knock it off before you just have to button up in order to avoid yelling in public?  I feel solely responsible because I was the third kid for a lot of years.  My wife is worn out on trying to mediate my crap and theirs so I'm trying to lead by example.  Kids don't just wake up one day like I believe I did and I get that.  She loves her kids and cares for me and I want her to be happy in her own home so things get amplified in my minds eye when I see that she needs to defrag.

Now the second one.  Yes she needs personal time to let it go.  I also believe that your home is where you should be able to go and just have some release.  I don't see that she has that in our home and it makes me try harder because I feel like I'm not doing enough.  I take it very personally because my wife needs her 'me' time since she hasn't had any for 11 of the last 12 years and I know how much she cares for the kids.

It's hard for me to see if she's happy with me and if you're not happy with someone how can you like always being around them?  Now add the kids going nuts on each other to this equasion.

.....SIGH.......

DF's picture

Forgot to add:

I gave my wife her second b-day gift.  Want an example of why I stress so dang much over gifts?

For 2 months I've had this thing and thought it to be a great idea, cheap and something she would be able to put to use.  I got her a CD that she used to really like to listen too 10 years back and had lost the copy.  I tracked an out of print version online and went for it. It was a cool idea. 

When she opened it she asked me why I got it.  She was not disappointed at all and I could see that, but she was curious.  I explained to her that I remembered a long time (years) back we discovered that the CD had been missing and she was unable to listen to it anymore.  She then reminded me that we had a second copy that she had found and it has been in her car for some time now.

And so the storm of FAILURE has clouded my day.  ......

Hmm so if I close my eyes and

Hmm so if I close my eyes and think if my husband did that... Ok, I would probably laugh, admittedly roll my eyes a bit and think space cadet (sorry, just being honest but hopefully not hurtful), THEN think that it was sweet that he remembered that fact even if i already had the CD. And now there are two! Cool... Lighten up Luther- the take home message was still- you CARE about your wife...

The storm is your own

The storm is your own personal storm that no one else sees, feels, or experiences. Get out a good emotional umbrella, something bright and sunny...YELLOW perhaps...and look up at it and pretend it is the sun. This really is too much...you're doing this to yourself for no good reason. You didn't fail at ANYTHING. You gave a gift that has a funny ending...but that came from the heart. RELAX!!! This is NOT a failure. Not to her anyway. Only to you. As one poster just said, see this through "her" eyes...and let it go. Breathe!

Birthday Gift - CD

Wow, I was pretty disappointed in your wife after reading her response to your gift.  Just because you have some issues to deal with doesn't excuse her from every day consideration.  If someone else, a friend,  had given her the CD with as much thought behind it would she have responded so inconsiderately (what I really mean is rudely)?  Most people wouldn't have even mentioned the other CD copy and if they had to make mention would have responded  along the line of, " that's awesome, now I can keep one in the house and one in the car".  It really is supposed to be the thought that counts...if she doesn't subscribe to that theory it's no slight on you. 

 

 

DF's picture

As always I leave things out

Got It - Please do understand I appreciate your take.  I may not have said it right and that's not new or me, but she does appreciate it.  She asked because she was curious.  It makes sense if you thought the other person knew you already had that gift.  At the end of the day, she had a way to let me know she appreciated it.  It came up as casual conversation and she really did like the thought of it.  Heck I even got a hug out of it and that's all the thank you I could have ever hoped for and then some.  Let be clear - She walked over to me and gave me a hug, not the other way around.

sullygrl's picture

Wow, your email could be from my husband

The constant anxiety....wow...that is a LOT of pressure you put on yourself. My husband is the exact same - will mull over the simplest of decisions for months, finally choose, and then go off on himself because he knows it's wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. Even if it's not. Or no big deal. He mulls things over so much I can smell smoke coming from inside his brain lol. And saying "sorry" a billion times when there is really nothing to be sorry for is a constant in our house too....

So she won't go to therapy with you, are you going? Are you working on this anxiety thing? Cause I can tell you even if you think it's in your head most women can feel stress like that and may not know what it is or where it's from but it puts them on edge. My husband won't get gifts, we've pretty much cancelled Christmas for all except my daughter, and I do any shopping for her.  He doesn't want to exchange gifts ever. He never brings me chocolate or flowers or massage certificates or nice fluffy towels that only I can use for the bath. A card is better than no gift at all.  Fluffy towels meant only for her is sweet. Even a CD replacement of a cd she has already replaced is sweet. Anything that shows you were thinking of her. THAT is what counts.

Do you keep your finances separate? Is there a reason for that? If she is better at money have you thought of letting her handle that and you each get "allowance" for what I like to call my Starbucks money? Money that no-one gets to ask about or care about and you can buy ten packs of bubble gum if that is what catches your fancy but it it yours and not in the household account?

Breathe...just breathe....

DF's picture

Oh My Sully -

Interesting take on the anxiety thing and how women pick up on that.  More knowledge gained on my part.  My wife knew I was upset and it is very frustrating for me because I see it today, but my vision was clouded yesterday when she was trying to tell me it was okay.  I'm sorry about your gift giving situation.  I was there and I made a personal blood oath that I would never go there again.  I think that's what it takes I guess to get the point across to ourselves.

And now the can of worms........ Yes our finances are separate.  Why you might ask?  Because I make more money and in a perfect world that we dreamed "together", my money would go towards bills and her money would go towards family activities and basic needs. 

I have assumed for a long long time that I was protecting her from the stress of my own financial issues.  If our money was pooled together, she would see how bad in debt I really am when it comes to dividing up the money for monthly payments.  There is also the added difficulty that I don't know how much money I'm going to get each paycheck.  After insurance and all the other wonderful things that are pre-tax dollars, I have no idea what I'm taking home due to my fluctuating hours.  I do know for a fact that I'm in the red if I only put in 40 hours a week so I work extra where I can.  I have money from each check that gets directly deposited into her ( our ) joint account to cover the mortgage and another hundred dollars or so to go to whatever. 

This is odd to people.  I know.  I also know it's not enough.  This arrangement is soon to change.  Soon.  I'm going to become more salary and have a set check no matter what hours I work.  This also comes with a pay increase.  I've told my wife that my "desire" is to increase the amount I deposit into her ( our ) joint account by $300-$350 and I want to take over 2 big bills that she struggles with and pay them from my account.  Note:  I do not use our joint account.

I hate seeing her struggle with the stress of finances.  I hate it and feel powerless.  It kills me that she took on a second job.  I want to protect her.  I want to provide.  This is why I have a separate account.  I don't want her to worry about whether there's enough money in our account to put gas in her car because we were low on cash and our second car needed gas too.

Coming to these forums has done a few things for me:

- I control my anxiety better.  Of course I know what it is now.

- I make daily efforts to make sure my wife knows i love her.  NO MORE ASSUMING -> A$$-U-ME   Not anymore!

- I control my anger better.

- I try harder to "listen" when spoken too.

- I am thinking about changing this separate account situation.

- I know I haven't been a team player in our relationship and I'm practicing to win and not to keep up.

- I'm doing better with my feelings of rejection.

- I'm less overbearing with what I'M feeling ( I think )

One problem. 

I've been working hard on me and this site has been helpful.  I read a lot about non-ADD(HD) spouses not having needs met.  One in particular got me - Doing things around the house, your spouse "thinks" he's doing everything he can.  Can someone elaborate on this?  I believe I'm guilty of this and I'm fuzzy on what I "could" be doing.  If my wife is frustrated with me and quite possibly questioning her status with me, I can't say I know what her needs are other than for me to continue giving her space and not crowding her.  But then aren't I defeating my efforts to let her know i love her if I'm coming across as not interested in what she does?  I'm struggling here bad.  I do care and I want to have dialog with my wife, but I want her to know that I trust her and her judgment so I don't EVER ask who she's doing what with or where and I don't ask her anything about it other than if she had a good time.  I worry very much about her safety and I know some of it comes from her having more fun away from me than with me.

I sometimes feel like she thinks I don't care, but I don't really know for sure since we don't talk that much about our feelings.  She gets upset with me and I get that, especially since I found out about my ADD.  She doesn't believe it played a factor in our marriage, but after all I've read about it, it sure as heck did/does.  If she's not interested in learning if that's true, how the heck am I supposed to stop digging my own damn grave?

Your marriage is a

Your marriage is a partnership. She isn't a child that needs to be 'protected' from the big bad wolf of finances and such. Why do you feel bad that she had to get a second job? Are the bills she struggles with a direct result of something neglectful you did or are you just taking on yet another burden that you should not have to carry because you love beating yourself up so much? I'll be honest, I think it is BS that you want to 'protect' her from having to worry about finances. That isn't your job as her husband. Your job is to help provide and do your part and if, sometimes, hardships happen and it requires one or both of you to have to roll up your sleeves and put in more work, then that is NOT a reflection (good or bad) on either of you unless one of you is somehow neglectfully responsible for the extra burden. (did you buy a yacht without asking?) I can't see this from her perspective and don't mean to assume that she 'WANTS' this 'princess that needs to be shielded' role you put her in, but if she truly wants to be a partner to you then she probably does not mind the extra work nearly as much as you feel she does. She's an adult...and life is hard sometimes. Why do you feel it is your job to ensure she never suffers any discomfort? Your ADHD mistakes of the past do not dictate that you have to NEVER EVER EVER let her suffer in any way, shape, or form from here on out. I admire you for wanting to provide but I can't help but feel you're taking it to a whole other unhealthy level..and this will not help your marriage in the long run. Pitch in, work some extra hours, get some debt paid off so she can work only one job, or no jobs if that is a goal, but why are you beating yourself to a pulp over stuff like this? I just don't get it. I would feel like absolute crap if my husband felt this way. Troubles happen...we deal with them and move on. As long as you're not perpetuating them, how is it you feel this is your burden to carry..alone?

DF's picture

My burden - yes

I'm sure I've been a good part of the reason we're where we are.  I'm looking at bills, medical and others, and I just thought they were handled.  She told me it was tough over the years and therein lies my burden.

I wasn't hearing her.  We did stuff over the years as a family.  We didn't eat out a lot, once a month, but we try to do things for the kids as much as possible.  We would go camping - who do you think bought the tent?  How about the food for those weekends?  How about light bulbs that burn out?  Or the deck needing to be re-stained?  My list is huge!  All these things she did for the family by putting off a bill one month or paying less than what was owed.  All the while I couldn't see where my money was going.  To this day I still can't see it because I'm not spending any.  There's nothing to spend.

I don't recall doing much. 

My burden - yes it is.  I want to take her blood sweat and tears and give her what I haven't for years - a partner and a provider.  All she's done since she's been with me is work, work, work.  Gardening is her passion.  She's not had time or money to invest in her passion.  I want to give her work, passion, family and not in that order.

Knowing what I know now about my diagnosis, it's all about the grief I've caused.  But I see it now.  It has a name.  I want this burden because it fuels my passion to control it and make sure I never fail her again. 

Will I slip up?  Yes.  The difference is I know I will not just let it go.  I will talk to her about it and how "we" feel about my slip.  Granted I have to get to that stage where we're talking and she's not frustrated......
 

But in the end she has to

But in the end she has to FORGIVE you for all of these things and move forward. Again, I admire what you're trying to do. I admire that you seem to be trying to commit to never hurting her again (although I hope you realize, realistically that is an impossibility..we are all human). What I am afraid of, however, is that you've internalized SO much of this and where TRUE growth will come is when the walls come down and the lines of communication are open. Are you guys communicating AT ALL? I mean what is the day-to-day like? I understand she's probably very gun shy and hesitant to open up, but eventually this has to start working both ways. I know you feel like Hercules right now and you want to wrap her up in cotton and put her on a shelf and never hurt her again, but eventually you're going to burn out trying to carry all of this emotional crap all.by.yourself. I know you say having us helps, but your fears of talking to her about anything (what it seems like to me anyway) are paralyzing you and making this process harder for you than it has to be. Yes, it is hard work...but going from one extreme (seeing/feeling/doing nothing) to taking on the entire weight of the success of your marriage on yourself is not the answer either. I hope that eventually you are able to open up and she will open up to you too...I just feel so...sad...and exhausted after reading your posts because I can't help but feel that you're in this marriage (emotionally) all alone right now and that you're hyper focused on not 'failing' her again, at your own expense.

Granted, what 'feels' like chaos and terror and overwhelming fear of failure when I read your posts could simply be me 'over reacting' like I am accused of doing with my own husband during his moments of dramatic expression...that pass as quickly as a tornado...but leave no less destruction (for me).

DF's picture

And here we go again Sherri

My Dear Sherri you are correct again in several ways.  I guess you can say the weight is mine, because much of the time I feel as though I've lost my wife.  Well not lost, just pushed her away enough to where she just gave up pushing back.  I refuse to call her an enabler, because that feels like placing blame. 

What is our daily communication like?  Idle chit chat.  I don't discuss future hopes and dreams because I don't believe she see's "us" in the future.
 

She did everything all the time for everyone.  She hit her limit and now she's done.

She opened up tonight.  I'm glad I didn't have that stupid smirk of mine.  That's one good thing that came out of it.  I still can't explain how ADD isn't an excuse.  I'm failing there, but always will until she wants to read about it and its' affects on relationships.

It felt good to just talk.  It felt good for me to see her voice some things that she's been keeping in.  Granted, I'm happy today, but I'll hear what she said two days from now and that may sting some.  Usually does.  One that stuck out was that she said she doesn't feel like she knows me anymore.  I don't sound the same and I don't talk the same.  I didn't take it that she meant that as an improvement. 

I also got out of it that I'm still suffocating her.  Figures.  Kind of thought I'd been anyway.  I told her I was struggling with giving her space and letting her know how i feel about her because sometimes I feel like I'm creating distance like I had been doing for years.  Taking interest in her and the things she likes is not being very productive right now.  The success or failure of my marriage is in my hands.  I'm not the one contemplating on maybe leaving.

Fair enough. Your kids are

Fair enough. Your kids are great but human (and kids). They were expressing as kids will do, and that is normal though irritating at times. All those with kids, get this idea really well, and thats good. Your wife is human too. So she needs "me" time and a moment to regroup. If that needs to be away from home sometimes then there it is. Its hard to relax from the mom role in the home sometimes because, well, just because. But that does not nor should it necessarily feel like it reflects upon you or your relationship- no matter the past. It just is. Df, if there seems to be a lot of guilt for your past actions on your part then let this be the take home message- for you guys to really happily move forward you must be cognizant of both your needs in a kind and considerate manner. As much as you want to give to your wife (and trust me, being on that side of the relationship I am hardpressed to convince you otherwise) you can not continue this self flaggelating whipping post mentality because it is healthy for neither you nor the relationship. If you feel your wife is not ready to talk about the adhd experience but that causes you a great source if hurt- then see it, own it, and put that away just for now .. Dont get hung up on that one aspect of things because there is so many other things you can address in the meantime. Balance, communication, time outs with boundaries.. Tools that Melissa and the other people here offer up- are the things that will help evolve our relationships to a more happy and respectful outcome. Otherwise, you may feel so frustrated by this process, you give up, or your wife may feel misunderstood or misunderstand you... Or a dozen other less happy scenarios can pop up. Balance. Mutual respect. Communication (with boundaries). BOUNDARIES. Did I mention boundaries ? :)