Advice I Received was "Develop An Exit Strategy"

As you can see from the subject line, it's reached "critical mass" here. Trying to physically restrain me from getting into my vehicle to prevent me from going to church, then chasing me on foot until I actually turned the corner...the advice I'd received seemed far overdo. The advice had come from professionals and also 3 folks I've known for over 30 years. The yelling, screaming, jumping up and down is daily. There is no talking to my spouse without a rage taking place and I'm not up to it any longer.  No matter the topic, it always ends up "I've got ADHD and it's not my fault. It's the way I am. It's a brain dysfunction". He is a medical professional in psychology and helps others cope and strategize in dealing with a whole host of issues, especially ADHD. He has had the police called on him due to his extreme behavior while out in public (including a hospital and a large clinic).  However, I get told it's always my fault. I need to add that, of course, he's always invited to attend church with me. This, however, happened to be a day he had to work. He was going to be leaving the house 45 minutes after me.

I'm told I should have used this word instead of that word. Several years ago I learned to select my words very carefully so they could not be misunderstood. It created such fear that I had even kept a journal of all these "forbidden words". Those journals were burned when it dawned on me it had nothing to do with which words I'd spoken. Now, there are perceived "looks" I give my spouse. Although, there's no truth to this, as often I'm not even on the same floor in the house. This plus the constant negativity regarding almost everything has worn me out. 

Physically, I'm dealing with several significant health issues. They are improving and I'm beyond grateful. Simply put, the advice I received was not what I really desire. Yet, I cannot handle the daily struggle. There are also daily "promises" that occur as well. Yet, not ONCE has a promise been kept. There are as many excuses as there are grains of sand on the planet. We'd even been to counseling. That didn't go well as my spouse stood up, pointed his finger in his face and said "You're going to listen to me! I'm paying for this session".

Right now, even the thought of an "exit strategy" is tiring. I've no energy left. Outwardly, I'm quiet yet inwardly, I'm screaming.





Hi Deborah....

I understand what you are dealing with, but, only you are experiencing it...So only you know if you can continue to deal with it....Based on your post its definitely abuse. I think agree w/ the advice you have been given...Never heard anyone that was so much a victim that they would verbally excuse themselves (holler out, It's not my fault, I have ADHD) like you state here. I wish I had the perfect thing to tell you...I will just say this...Pray about it...abuse is not something you need to continue to subject yourself to...It really sounds dangerous to me.....

I will pray for you also...


Same advice

I am the ADHD spouse, and have received the exact same advice from my spouse.  She is at her wit's end dealing with my symptoms, and has told me that if I can't change enough, soon enough, I need an exit strategy.  I can only assume this means a plan for divorce, which I am willing to entertain if I can be convinced its in her best interest.  I want her to be well, even if it means without me.  But it's a very sobering step to take..

I wish you and your spouse the best of luck discovering your path forward.


My thoughts are with you. 

My thoughts are with you. 

Health problems make any situations that much more difficult.  Our health, which isn't always under our control, impacts not just our physical well being but our minds as well.  Health problems can be devastating, leaving us with crushed self-image, the loss of our hopes and dreams, ruined careers and finances.  It can be like having your whole life ripped from you, leaving a broken shell behind.  Even if health improves, there can be lasting effects to our self-image, confidence, and motivation.

Please, develop more than just an exit strategy.  You need emotional safety and stability.  Take care of yourself for a while.  There are many ways of doing this, and only you will be able to figure out what you need, but here are some things that have worked for me.

  • Don't reinvent the wheel, rely upon systems and wisdom that has helped others for a long time.  If you have a spiritual life, church, or community you can try this to help you recenter and regain perspective.  Even if you are not religious, there are many truths in religious texts from around the world.  For example, I'm not a Taoist or a Buddhist but have found these books to be interesting and productive ways to think about my life.  I know others who have found yoga or meditation to be very effective.  I have been curious about Tai Chi over the years and think I may give it a try.  Don't be afraid that if something fails, to try something else.  There is a lot out there and most of it is compatible in basic truths and concepts.
  • It's OK to take pleasure in a physical hobby or collection.  Is there something simple that you always loved or were curious about?  Discover more about it, rediscover it.  This is something for you, something that is fun to look at, use, touch, explore. (Edit for specifics)  For example, I like tech.  I have a few old computers and a bunch of personal tech projects that I enjoy playing with.  These things let me lose myself in fun and discovery.  I've automated our home, setup a nifty home theater with a projector, built a robot that is mostly useless but still cool.  But for others, gardening works.  Others love pottery, ceramics, sculpture because they beat the clay, take a shapeless form, and turn it into something.
  • Try some simple things that take you even further from the horrible emotions you are feeling now.  Even if for a few minutes, get lost in a world created by someone else by reading, watching, playing.  This distraction may sound frivolous or silly, but it can seriously help.
  • Disengage the conflict.  Wow, this can be difficult, but if you say to yourself "no, I'm not going to have this discussion, this conflict," then you are empowering yourself.  It is completely and totally OK to say "no," it is a gift you can give yourself.
  • Reschedule things to give yourself peace.  Don't always live by others' schedules, try living by your own for a while.  And this can be especially helpful for your health as well. 
  • If your body needs 10 hours of sleep to heal, give it 10 hours.  It won't last forever but one day you will start feeling better.  And stress is a hurtful thing, your body needs to heal from that as well.  Sleep resets some of your physical systems and deactivates production of some of those chemicals related to stress.  Not enough sleep and those chemicals and production of them is still carried over from the day (or days, or months) before.
  • Many, many of us start our days better if that first hour or two is in peace.  I think it also has something to do with *not* kickstarting those stress and conflict chemical systems in our bodies.  Try *not* interacting with your spouse or family for the first hour you are awake, giving yourself time for that cup of coffee (or tea or whatever) and time to gather your thoughts and plans for the day.  Some of us need more time, some less.  But I've found this essential for even having the slightest chance of a positive, productive, and stable day.  It is so much easier to face whatever life throws at us when our day starts well.
  • (Edit, can't believe I forgot this one) I know you've heard this before.  Physical activity, physical therapy, exercise does a million good things.  It isn't only for the body, it helps our mind and emotional state.  Even walking.  Don't want to walk near home? Go somewhere you do want to walk.  I don't like walking, but I used to love biking.  Now my bones and back won't let me do that, but I've got a recumbent exercise bike that that doesn't strain things that a normal bike would.  I turn on the TV, set the timer, and ride it for at least 30 minutes at least 2x a week.  It has done wonders, even improved the arthritis somewhat, and even my back doesn't hurt as much.  I feel better, I look better, I have more energy, and everything is simply better.  And I did all of that while watching TV :-D

These are just a few suggestions.  There are so many ways to establish greater stability for yourself.  It isn't easy and it takes time, but once you have stability it is a lot harder for others to knock you off balance.  Stability also creates fantastic opportunities for happiness that simply aren't there otherwise.

If you can get started with your personal stability, the "exit strategy" will be easier to cope with.  You will realize that you are not simply leaving a bad situation, you are gaining stability with amazing opportunities for yourself that you did not have before.  And if you stay, you will make that choice from a place of strength and not of fear.

Stability is where it's at and where you want to be  ;-)