Hi everyone. I’m happy to have found this forum because I’m losing my ENTIRE mind. I'm going to try and make this as concise as I can.
Some background: we are in our early 30s, together 10 years, married almost 7. We have a 1 year old and my husband works full time and I am a stay at home mom.
There are many facets to what I’m going through, but one of the biggest is that I don’t even know if my husband actually has ADHD and probably never will. He is self-diagnosed and will never get an official diagnoses as he is VEHEMENTLY against mental illness, therapy, and treatment, almost to a point of paranoia. As an example, I am almost certain I had PPD and when I even suggested that might be possible, he basically acted like it was the most devastating, horrific and shameful thing I could say. I will never be able to get professional help even for myself, and while I know we are not doctors, I need to try and figure out if I’m dealing with an ADHD partner or someone who has other issues.
Here is a list of things I have noticed.
-He is not impulsive in the traditional sense. He is socially aware and tactful, and never has any problems in work or school (graduated on time with honors, never been fired, not a job-hopper, etc).
-He DOES go from one period of intense hyperfocus to the next. If something is on his mind it’s all he will talk about, think about, or do. If he’s starting a hobby or making a major purchase he will research things to absolute death, I’m talking days to weeks, sometimes giving himself anxiety or ‘analysis paralysis’. He has made many exchanges and returns and has sold off many things related to old hobbies he is no longer into. BUT...
-He is VERY responsible with money. He does our budget and pays the bills, and we have never been short on money, drowning in debt, etc etc. everything is always paid on time or early.
-He is normal cleanliness for a guy. Not super messy, not super neat-freak. BUT...
-He basically never does chores unless they are ‘his’ that he likes (mowing, building things, doing repairs etc), and even if I ask I’m met with an ‘ugh, fine’ attitude at best and anger at worst. Now to be fair: I don’t mind doing most of the housework. That is our agreement; I am a mom and housewife and I’m 100% on board with that. But things like plopping dishes on the counter as I am physically loading the washer, sitting on the sofa every night among the messy toddler living room (the untidiness stresses him out to no end I might add) until I come in and start cleaning and going “Oh yeah sorry I probably should have done that”, that sort of thing? If he ever DOES do a chore it’s usually a disaster that I have to redo and any sort of comment, no matter how sweet or constructive is met with “You could just be thankful for my help”.
-He has essentially zero patience for anything. Anything that causes him even a microscopic amount of delay, frustration, inconvenience, etc. is cause for an explosion, unless of course it’s something new he’s excited to work on or try.
-He has a terrible temper. He has never raised a finger to me or broken anything or whatever, but he’ll snap, argue, insult, gaslight, and make small threats (“If you can’t talk to me about this I’m sleeping in the guest room.”) and even pick fights if he’s stressed or having a bad day. I’m walking on eggshells frequently.
-His attention span/short term memory seems to be getting a bit worse, or maybe I’m just noticing it more. Things I say are never heard, things he goes to do are often forgotten upon arrival (“What did I come upstairs for?”), etc.
-He can be extremely controlling. There is ALWAYS a comment or opinion on what I should be wearing, cooking, doing, saying, watching, going to do, buying, etc. I watch a certain Youtuber? So beneath me, I should be learning something instead. Tried almond-shaped nails? Trashy, cut them short again. Dyed my hair? Gee I hope I get to see your natural color ever again, it’s so pretty, it’s been FOREVER since you haven’t been using dye (it’s been about 6 months and before that my hair was natural for literal years), etc.
-He has an extremely high sex drive, and my participation is not enough. I’m supposed to be a starry-eyed nymphomaniac or I ‘don’t find him attractive’ etc etc. I have a pretty moderate/maybe low sex drive, but while I’m happy to try and meet him in the middle and do enjoy the romance, unless I come into it already foaming at the mouth it’s not good enough.
-Almost everything is an argument. His short temper and explosive frustration turn even the simplest things into a battle where I am always wrong, losing, or on the back foot. He fights less and less fairly with every passing year, and there have been times where he has said something so insane my mouth has fallen open in shock. Again, to be fair: I am NOT perfect. I don’t always argue right, I have trouble articulating myself, and I can be emotional, stubborn and defensive. I cry a lot, not on purpose but it’s how my body copes with stress. But there have been things I would never say to him or things that are off-limits that don’t really get reciprocated. I have been called names, accused of lying CONSTANTLY, threatened with sleeping in another room or staying in a hotel, told I was a lazy/bad parent, and the latest favorite term used almost daily: I’m gaslighting him. It just happened this morning when I told him twice the tea already had sugar in it, he added more sugar, and then it turned into “You never said that. Ever. Stop gaslighting me.”
I know this is already too long, but I need to add one more thing. I have just painted a horrible picture of the man I love, and I need everyone to understand it is NOT ALL BAD. My husband is smart, funny, loving, and an amazing partner and father. He works so hard for my daughter and I and nothing matters more to him than my happiness and approval. He is so thrilled I’m a stay at home mom and compliments me multiple times a day on how beautiful and wonderful I am and what a great job I do with our daughter. He has made me a smarter and better person. The sun is out a lot of the time in our marriage, but when the clouds roll in it’s always a hurricane. Divorce is not an option, even though sometimes it almost feels easier than the insanity I’m dealing with. I want to learn how to navigate the storm, not go overboard.
Thank you for reading, if you did. Even if no one says anything to this post I’m so thankful to just be able to get all of this out of my head. I’m tired of wondering if I’m just being lowkey abused or if I actually have a husband struggling with mental illness.