My husband and I have been married for 19 years and I'm so happy to have found this site. I will try to make my post to the point...but there are so many details - and I'm so frazzled - I'm not sure how concise I can be. I'm so very thankful to know I'm not alone in this ADD-world. I am struggling with MANY things in our marriage right now - here are some of the main ones:
---Is ADD considered a disability worthy of receiving monthly Disability Income for? My husband (ADD) cannot keep a job as an employee. He says he has no good references left to use on a resume in his current line of work because he's been let-go or fired from so many jobs in his field. When I suggest he try looking for work in a different field, preferably something in a less-stressful environment (he does NOT handle stress well AT ALL) - he gets upset because this would mean getting a job outside of his line of work, which would result in much lower pay. Then he says "what am I not worth more than $-- per hour to you? I'm not going to even apply for a job that pays less than $-- per hour as we cannot afford to live on less" (WHEN he's employed, he does make very good money). For the last 5 years, his various jobs have not lasted for longer than 9 months. Just as soon as I feel like I have a handle on getting all bills caught up on from the previous bout of unemployment, then he gets fired or let-go once again. If he can make it longer than 9 months in a job - it will be a record and something I celebrate with tears of joy. Getting us "caught up" on bills is no small task - but because I have done it so many times, I am very used to it now - I pretty much have it down to a science. It is so overwhelming and stressful and consumes my every thought and such careful management as he gets upset if we don't have enough money for the food he's used to eating - but somehow I make it all work. I could live on rice and beans, toast and fruit - but I guess that's not the point.
---I do work, but it is not enough to pay much of our bills and it is at a school - so I have summers off to be with our kids which is awesome (I do not take that privilege for granted - I am very appreciative he lets me have a job with summers off)...but working at a school does not pay much at all and I don't get paychecks for the 3 months of summer break. His unemployment cycles always seem to have him unemployed in the summer for some reason - so then summers are very stressful as the kids and I are all off for summer break - and home all day - with him also home all day unemployed - and we have no money to do anything and are home all day at each other's throats because my kids would love nothing more than to go do fun activities (a small vacation would be a DREAM come true!) like their friends get to do over summer break - but alas - we find ourselves at home (or living at grandma and grandpa's house) - and my kids get to go back to school in the fall and hear about all the fun things their friends did and trips their friends went on over summer break. I really do try to do the very best job I can do with free activities...parks, bike rides, friend's houses, etc...please don't think I'm complaining here - even the unemployed American's life is much better than the employed life people experience in other countries - I *totally* get that and am sensitive to that.
---It's just hard watching your married friends who you've known since high school or college with houses almost paid off - (or at least half-way paid off by this point in our lives) - nice cars paid for - (with tires in driveable/safe condition, and non-cracked windshields - more about that later), planting and nurturing gardens and flower beds in their yards...I can't even imagine having my own yard or anything besides clothing to call my own at this point. My kids would love to have a small garden in their yard - but we can't even keep income going for one full year at a rental property - and are looking at moving back in with parents next month due to unemployment - again. Not sure my kids will ever experience what it is to live in the same house for longer than one year at a time. This breaks my heart. This will be our 3rd or 4th time of living with parents, by the way. How do I explain this to my pre-teen and teen kids? "We have to move back in with Grandma and Grandpa" (who are so beyond gracious and kind to us it's truly amazing). Do I want my 14 year old son seeing that this is how you raise a family? You move back in with grandma and grandpa every other year? How do I explain this to my friends whose husbands don't make extravagant income - BUT - because most of my friend's husbands have worked at the same place of employment for more than 10 years now - they have had the consistency that only time can build and the benefits that consistency with a stable income can bring to them and to their families. Our family has never experienced that - and honestly I don't think we ever will. Will my daughters think this is normal and follow in my footsteps and marry someone who cannot provide for them? This is my biggest fear...
---Even though he's currently unemployed, my husband is not applying for jobs because he is convinced he just cannot be a good employee due to his ADD. So, he is only pursuing things that will allow him to work from home and/or be self-employed (and work from home). That's it - nothing else. Even if it means moving back in with my parents - that's not enough of a deterrent for him. He will gladly move back in with my parents over looking for an employee-boss type situation where he cannot work from home. His ADD brain is full of a multitude of inventions that if some venture capitalist could just see his visions, we would be millionaires (or so he tells me). This is currently what he's putting all of his hopes into now - and our entire future really (since he is not willing to apply for jobs) - is resting on him finding a venture capitalist to fund some of his inventions and ideas. Because I am not a risk-taker (at all) - and over the years I have become quite the pessimist (I so wish I wasn't this way) - I am very skeptical about this. It bothers me so much that he is willing for us to have to move from our current rental with our kids - which we all like this place we've been living the past year - back into my parent's house - and all of the shame and humiliation that will bring to our kids, myself and my husband to live under his in-laws roof (again)...it saddens me so much. I desperately do not want to have to tell people our address has changed once again and that we are moving BACK in with my parents. What kind of an example is this showing to my daughters for the type of man I hope they will marry? what kind of example is this showing to my son for the type of husband and provider he needs to be?
---We ended up doing a short-sale on the last house we owned - and have been either living with my parents or renting ever since the short-sale. I was SO hopeful that we would end up being able to buy another house soon - but once again - we find ourselves with him unemployed (like I said earlier - his longest time of employment in the last 5 years has been 9 months). Since this means falling behind on bills once again - our credit score will drop once again (it's already low from a BK and short-sale) and the hope and dream of ever owning our own home is drifting further and further away from my reality. No - we have no savings account to use during times of unemployment because he's never employed long enough for us to build up any savings after we get caught up on all of our late/past bills from being unemployed less than one year prior. Our lease is up in one month and we cannot renew our lease without income to pay rent - so once again we will be needing to move in with parents. I'm afraid to ever sign another lease or move out of my parent's house after this because his employment never lasts longer than 9 months before the contract abruptly ends or he gets fired or let go. Short of winning the lottery or striking it rich with a MLM business, I don't see how we will ever be able to afford to live in a place of our own - renting or owning. The credit check and job history would scare any landlord away.
---My ADD husband NEVER drives without holding his phone in his left hand - he has both hands on the steering wheel - but has his phone always in his left hand ready at any moment to look up a playlist, look up something on Google, or text someone with his right hand. It pains me to even say this on a public forum! It's so unsafe!! He's had drivers in the car next to him at a red light honk and get upset at him because he's messing around on his cell phone - and he just laughs at them. Quite the example he's setting for our kids, right? But - if I try to point this out to him - he gets upset.
---He has speeding tickets, failure to stop for a school bus, inattentive driving, has wrecked my vehicle because he rear-ended someone, etc, etc, etc...he is a very inattentive driver and quite spacy. he doesn't pay attention to his surroundings at all. If he's having a conversation with me or one of the kids while driving, for some reason he cannot pay attention to the speed he is driving and all of a sudden he will be going 50 mph and not even notice it.---Both of our vehicles DESPERATELY need new tires and new windshields - but because we are in a cycle of unemployment - we can never get caught up on car repairs and maintenance because we have other more pressing issues/bills that need immediate assistance. He doesn't ever show concern that the kids and I are driving around in a vehicle with tires that are almost bald and a windshield with a huge crack...his vehicle has tires that are 8 years old and his windshield is worse than mine. I wish he would think ahead enough to call our car insurance company and get a new windshield replacement set up for both of our vehicles - that's cheaper than tires - and would be a good start - but for him to take initiative on his own to get something like this scheduled doesn't typically happen. He is a REACTIVE, NOT PROACTIVE person. I did call today and left a voicemail for our insurance agent, but w/out employment, I felt even silly even calling because we cannot afford the deductible anyways - so what's the point? Not sure why I even called about this since we cannot fix it. Thus - I drive around in an unsafe vehicle with a hugely cracked windshield and nothing to do about it.
**IT'S ALL MY FAULT:
---Everything that is wrong with our marriage, is my fault. Every job he has been fired from was my fault. (I stress him out at home). Nevermind the fact that I do EVERYTHING at home: bills, cooking, shopping (he admits that he spends way too much money when he is the one that goes to the store, so it's something I must do), laundry, garbage, cleaning, filling up cars with gas, washing cars, etc, etc.) Sometimes he will do a load of dirty dishes and putting away clean laundry. He is DEFINITELY one of my kids. He is not a helpmate. Guess what his nickname for me is?! "Mom". My dad told he and I that this really bothers him that he calls his wife "mom" - and since then, my husband has not called me "mom" as much lately, thank goodness. Luckily for him and our kids, I am a highly motivated person. If I didn't do these things - they literally would not get done. Literally. I've tried leaving messes and see how long they will go - it becomes unsanitary - so I just do them. Anything I ask him to do - he: 1) says he will do them but doesn't, 2) says he cannot do them because of his ADD (executive functioning things), or 3) gets mad at me for asking him to do more around the house (even tho he really doesn't do much to begin with) - he's so stressed out and tired already how dare I ask him to do more tasks. Any tasks stress him out immensely. Work is about all he can handle in one day - and even then - he's got breaks of unemployment scattered throughout his year. Basically - anything that has to do with his schedule - changing it or adding to it in any way - will throw him into a small anxiety attack usually involving a temper tantrum (not sure what else to call it), yelling, swearing, or freaking out in some way. If he does end up doing something that I have asked him to do - he requires so much praise for doing that one task that if I don't make his task a big deal and praise, praise, praise him for doing the dishes or picking up the living room a little bit - he says I don't appreciate him. nevermind the fact that all the work I do around the house rarely gets any sort of acknowledgement. I can be working my tail off cleaning and doing a million things at one time - and if I don't make it to the grocery shopping before bedtime - he's upset that I didn't make meal-planning more of a priority. I just cannot win. sometimes he's sympathetic to all that I have going on with managing kids' schedules, my own work schedule, and household tasks - and wont' make the grocery store a big deal. but that's rare. There have been many times I have gone shopping when it's dark out, late at night, in the winter or bad weather, by myself. Safe? No. Am I exhausted and have to get up early and work the next morning? Yes. Is he always the LAST person to wake up every morning? Yes. Always has been.
---If he does actually start to put away a load of clean laundry, he will remember something he needed to do on the computer and leave the undone laundry for me to do. If I question him about his unfinished task (45 minutes later), he gets furious and says it was just a quick 5-minute thing he really needed to get done. Then he says I'm nagging him and follow him around everyone monitoring his every move and don't trust him.
---He says I am verbally abusive - and has started telling both my and his parents this as well. I never once have yelled at him - he has yelled, sweared and said AWFUL things to me and our kids on SEVERAL occasions. He grew up in a verbally abusive home - I did not. I have never experienced being yelled and sweared at until marrying him. he says I am just like his mom and that I verbally abuse him. (His mom is manipulative and verbally abusive - and was all during his growing up years) I have gotten frustrated because I don't feel financially provided for what-so-ever - anytime I ask him what our future holds financially - he gets upset and says it's HIS LIFE and he will live it how he wants to and that I'm nagging him all the time and stressing him out wanting to know what the "plan" is. and that I need to just "trust him" for once - and know that things will work out. They've never "worked out" for us in the past - but this is always due to me and it's my fault we are where we are. He says I am not keeping my marriage vows because I am not loving and supporting him through the good and bad times...when I tell him he's not keeping his vow to me (and the vow he made to my father when we got married) to financially provide for me - he gets mad and says that he's lost all of his jobs because of me. ??? WHAT ??? I feel like I'm going insane not understanding how his job losses are my fault. Every job he has had, he tried to finagle these crazy work schedules that allow him to come to work late (because he sleeps so much and cannot wake up early and be somewhere by normal work hours), he will work straight through his lunch hour and not take any breaks what-so-ever to make up for coming in late or taking sick days or whatever. When he is at work - he cannot stay awake - the last job he had that was not working from home - he fell asleep at work so much that his boss commented on it several times.
---We recently went to a friend's BBQ and after eating - everyone played Pictionary. Has anyone else noticed that playing board or other types of games with an ADD person is NOT A GOOD IDEA?? He was so obsessed with the rules of Pictionary and making sure each team was following the rules and explaining and giving examples of WHY we all needed to follow the rules - people were laughing about it (he didn't notice - if he had - it would have just made him mad). I was on his team and my turn to draw got skipped one time and he could NOT stop telling everyone that it really needed to be my turn and was so worried about the order of who was drawing next and when I was going to get to make-up my turn to draw - it was getting embarrassing so I left the room and faked having to use the restroom. I tried to politely try to tell him tonight that we really shouldn't participate when there are games involved (on the RARE OCCASION that we are actually invited over to someone's house). The last couple of times playing board or other games is involved - it does NOT end well - either for me or the other people at the gathering. Does anyone else experience this?? But - guess what - if I try to tell him that he really shouldn't play board games as he gets WAY too worked up over the details or the correct answers - he will get so mad at me and say I'm so sensitive when it comes to social situations. In social situations - he has no control over what he says. he says things that are inappropriate, says rude things about our children, other friends, or family members, past places of employment/bosses/co-workers, or political things. All things you just don't rant about in public. also - once he gets talking - he will corner someone and talk to them NON-STOP for a very long, uncomfortable time. He also likes to explain how things work to people. He loves to explain why something works the way it does, or get into some deep discussion in which nobody else cares to talk about for 45 minutes, so it ends up being a monologue. rather than sending thank you notes to people for kindly having us over for dinner or dessert - I usually end up sending a note of apology for making them feel so uncomfortable. If it is a buffet or potluck style gathering - he will usually eat first - while all the other husbands wait at the back of the line and let the wives go first - not him...he won't even think twice about being at the front of the line talking with all of my friends about topics they aren't interested in while all the other husbands are in the back of the line talking about guy-things - he will be at the front of the line. if I dare have a friend over for coffee when he's home - he will completely dominate my time with my friend - talking about things I don't want him to talk about or getting into some deep discussion which most women could care less about - taking over my time to hang out with my female friends - which doesn't happen for me very often.
---We are RARELY invited to do things with friends. I think I know why.
---He is AWAYS RIGHT. Enough said about that. And while he's always right - he will explain into further details (that nobody really cares about at that particular moment) as to WHY his answer or opinion is correct or better than someone else's.
I feel terrible for saying all of this - but if anyone has any advice on any of the above topics - that would mean so much to me. If he could get Disability for his ADD which keeps him unemployed so often - that would be a huge blessing for our family. Maybe we could afford some sort of housing if we had that combined with my small paychecks. Everything I try to initiate with him comes down to me doing something wrong and me being the cause of all of our problems.
I just don't know what to do anymore. It would be one thing if we had stable income and a consistent place of our own to live - but we don't have either of those and the inconsistency of the life we are forced to live because of him and his ADD and his mood-swings is killing our family. I just don't know how much more I can take of living like this. But with kids involved, I feel trapped and it would break their hearts if our family split apart. plus I would get no child support as my husband cannot keep a job to begin with. I just don't like the example he is setting for my kids - because of their ages (they are not young anymore) - I fear that damage has already been done to them and I never wanted them to follow in his footsteps when they get married and think this is an appropriate way to raise a family, because it is so *not* normal....