I have been married for 14/15 years to my husband and was diagnosed a few years ago with predominantly inattentive type ADHD when my undiagnosed symptoms worsened after aggressive chemotherapy for breast cancer and premature menopause. Our daughter was diagnosed with ADHD a few years before I was. There have been lots of increasing difficulties in the relationship and my husband has not been at at all open to seeing his part in any of our problems, educating himself re ADHD and the ADHD relationship dynamic, to come to therapy and basically has consistently blamed everything on me. My mental health has deteriorated over the years and I started realizing (as have a couple of close friends) that he has been progressively (covertly to begin) emotionally and mentally abusing me for quite some years. He was using my ADHD and everything, anything & nothing else (very bewildering - I couldn't win!!) about me against me, constantly criticizes me about everything and anything, nothing I ever do is right or good enough, he ignores me, doesnt listen to me, doesnt communicate with me, doesnt tell me anything that he is doing or that is going on for him, withholds, shows no care or consideration, and has started exploding in rage and anger out of the blue (although I started sensing the signs of a build up to it) over nothing or over the tiniest things. etc etc etc.
He recently left thank god but not before lining up another relationship which I sensed and asked him about but his response was to self righteously deny this and be extremely indignant about the fact I would suggest this let alone even think it!! He said this proved what a crazy, vindictive, paranoid , neurotic I was! I confess that I got into his email account and indeed discovered he was lying about the affair, about a whole lot of other things over the years and was saying the most horrible cruel hurtful contemptuous insulting things about me to this new girl and to one or 2 of his only friends.
I had sensed his dislike hated of me for quite some time but when I had ever asked him about this he had always denied it telling me he loved me madly but that I just drove him crazy sometimes but then I realise now continue to mistreat and lie to me. I had many times asked if we could go to therapy together even if just to learn how to better deal with my ADHD together or to get help to decide if we do need to separate and how to do that the best way, Always he would say no and just tell me I was the one with the problems that needs to sort myself out and that he didnt have much hope that would happen. So I would then say if that is the case then why do you stay? I even suggested to him once or twice (out of love!) that if he is so unhappy with the me then he should leave and find his happiness elsewhere because I just cant be what he wants me to be. But again he would say no I love you. Sometimes when we would get into arguments or he would go into one of his rages he would threaten to leave but then back down on this. When I found out all that had really been going on it was utterly traumatic BUT it also made so much sense of all the crazymaking undermining stuff I felt had been going on that I couldnt pinpoint, articulate or make sense of!! Really in retrospect he had just about fully brainwashed me into believing I was really the main problem, that I was loosing my mind and was all these horrible things he had been consistently telling me I was that I knew I wasnt but was becoming less and less sure about! (I now see this as mostly all projection on his part and his twisting all my weaknesses and vulnerabilities back against me!). The ADHD is certainly not a non issue but I realise now that it was just one of so many things he used against me. It as well as depression and anxiety had just been getting worse and worse over the years as was my self confidence, sense of reality and hope. When he left everything improved significantly almost overnight for first time in years!!! I still have a way to go because it had got so very bad but the difference was startling!!
When I confronted him about all his lying and cheating, backstabbing and mistreatment of me over the years his response was (once yet again) to coldly and self righteously list out ALL the reasons I was to blame for all of this over the years, ask me "So what did you expect? Derrrr!" and to state with great certainty that he did not owe me any explanations beyond that and certainly did not owe me any apologies whatsover and in future will have no communication with me whatsover except in regards ro our daughter!!! So...no apologies (Havent heard one for many years anyway - I was the one apologizing all the time in the end!), no sympathy, empathy, compassion or remorse (again something I realise havent seen or felt from him for many years). I was so utterly, utterly utterly gobsmacked ......I had this sudden clear as a bell realization that I was not dealing with a normal human being at all!!!!
I was so traumatised but what I found out (and had been enduring fro years as I realise) and particularly to find out really the last so many years (at least 9 or so) had been a lie!!!! I have never ever ever experienced anything like this before! I have been a mess, totally bewildered, disoriented, dissociated even ...but have a couple of good friends who have been great and a therapist who is supporting me. I was so bewildered by his behaviour and what I found out about him that I did a whole lot more research online about emotional abuse of this kind which led me to information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (particularly a more covert variety) which I wasnt expecting and almost dismissed. But I stopped to read through the information and was utterly shocked to recognise everything about him, the relationship I had been experiencing with him and the psychological, mental and emotional (even physical!) impact on me of being in this relationship with him!!!! rhe more info I read the more the pieces fell into place - click click click and the more convinced I became at same time as flip flopping between this increasing certainty and denial becuase it just seemed so crazy and unbelievable that I would actually end up with someone like this let alone stay in a relationship with them for 15 YEARS and not realise there was something seriously wrong with him!!! But the more I read the more I understood that this is not unusual because these types are often extremely clever and pretending to be something they are not (even to themselves!) and can be incredibly covert, subtle and insidious with their abuse and brainwashing! And apparently even the most insightful, self aware, intelligent, well balanced of people can be totally blindsided sometimes for decades! Whixh was some small compensation because boy am I feeling like the biggest sucker in the universe right now!!! :(
I found private closed support group for people like me and I cannot begin to tell you what a life saver it has been in so many ways. ive learnt quickly that few people can understand this stuff let alone believe that he has done this to me or that this sort of abuse exists let alone understand how damaging it can be. my therapist also gets it as does my ADHD psychiatrist who informed me that unfortunately a lot of people turn up to therapy in the same state as me wondering what the hell is wrong with them and it turns out that they are in relationships with narcissists (or sociopaths/psychopaths who share some common features with narcissists). As you might imagine I had little to know chance of being able to best manage my ADHD (or anything else for that matter) under these circumstances no matter how hard I tried because he would keep undermining me in everyway and then blaming me for not taking responsibility for it or for anything else! Arggg - seriously towards the end I was contemplating suicide quite regularly because I felt so hopeless, helpless, useless and as if I was increasingly no good to anyone (especially my daughter) - and this was SO UNLIKE ME!!!! Fortunately, I told my friend, psychiatrist and could never think of a good enough way to kill myself that would not totally destroy my daughter!!! And since he has left I have had none of these suicidal thoughts or feelings at all! I do feel an awful lot of shame however.
Im just wondering if ANY other ADHDers have had any experiences similar to this or have had to deal with being in relationship with a personality disordered partner (whether they knew it at time or not)??? Please I would be so grateful if you could let me know, or even if you dont know but this sounds familiar, or for any other advice or feedback from anyone. Please know that I have spent years taking on far too much blame and responsibility for things in the relationship and within the family and it has to stop now. I have searched my soul for years in this relationship turning myself inside out trying to work out what is going wrong, what Im doing wrong, worrying that I am going crazy and going to therapist after therapist, taking meds, researching, trying hard to help myself and my daughter manage our ADHD without any real support from him....I am pretty convinced that what Im describing here goes way beyond ADHD denial and avoidance of responsibility. And this is firmly backed up by my friends, therapist and the support group I mentioned. In fact my friends have been trying to tell me this for years!!