Not sure where I am right now. I love my husband, who was diagnosed with ADHD (takes medication) a few years ago, but I am so tired and frustrated and I find myself angry much more frequently than is healthy. I know it is affecting my children and my ability to parent and be a healthy, happy person. It would really help just to know that there were others out there who have experienced these things, and to know how they dealt with it. We have 2 young children. We live without family close by. We both work, although my job is more demanding and time consuming. And my husband has developed physical health issues which are now complicating everything. I am sure I appear ok to the outside world, but inside I feel like a shell of my former self. I don't know how much longer I can go on like this, but I don't know what to do. I am young but feel like I am about 80. Here goes.
Much of this stuff has gotten worse over time. It honestly wasn't bad, or there, or noticeable, when we were first married. We had a great deal of fun when we first met. When we met, my husband hyper focused on me. He is a loving, smart, charming guy, but over the years, the gestures, affirmation, and general kindnesses have waned to almost nothing. He frequently does not edit what he says, he can be abrupt and quick to anger, and his sense of humor can be hurtful. He becomes defensive when I try to talk to him about this. He will not go to counseling, despite my begging him to over and over again. He says it is just too painful for him to have to sit and talk about everything, and he hates talking through issues---he may apologize, but when I try to analyze what happened or what went wrong, he gets so anxious and defensive, it is like I am trying to peel his skin off. He just can't talk through things. I am so very angry, so much of the time.
He does almost NOTHING around the house except large scale projects which he usually doesn't finish. He is bright and creative and often has amazing ideas. At this point, I don't want amazing. I want someone to clean the toilets once in a while. I don't consider washing the dishes or picking the kids up from school or paying the bills optional, and the things he chooses to do, like build a whatever, are. At times, he will tell me that instead of getting resentful, I should just ASK him. True, but it is so hard to have to be in charge of everything all the time. How can he not see that children need dinner or a bath? That the laundry is piled up and the sidewalk is covered in snow? I have to be in charge of, and worry about, EVERYTHING. I end up doing almost everything that has to be done to keep our family going. He tells me that it doesn't bother him like it does me, to just leave the dishes. He threw clothes in to wash once last week, to "help" (it isn't "helping" when I do it:-) and then forgot and left them in there wet so long they mildewed the washer. I am getting so tired and overwhelmed that things are getting missed. I missed our utility bill and almost got our power shut off.
His sleep patterns are very hard for me to deal with. He has always had insomnia, but he also has a natural rhythm of staying up very late and sleeping late, or going without sleep. It is not unusual on a weekend for him to sleep until almost noon. He comes awake at night and does not understand and is hurt when I just want to sit and watch tv and not talk at 10 p.m. I am an introvert and by that time of the day, am just so exhausted, I don't have anything left. He loses track of time and can go on talking about something for 20 minutes, not noticing that I have gotten tired or haven't gotten a word in, myself. If he does get up and get ready to do something, I can count on him not being "ready" until 2 or 3 p.m. He moves like molasses and keeps saying, "I am almost ready..." Well, our kids get up at 7 a.m. I am on my own, for years now, with the morning shift. I am not a morning person either, and I can't remember sleeping in or not being the first one up. Ever. I have tried and tried to explain my point of view. I would be willing to take this one off the table (I understand--this is physically really hard for him), but nothing else is changing, either. I end up letting our children watch tv or play video games way more than they should, just to get a break.
We do not have discussions or come to decisions together about how we will work together as a household. I try to explain to him that his decisions affect the family. I understand the ADHD component---he can get so caught up in a task that he won't eat. But for example, when our children were little, he would just walk out into the driveway and start working on his car. For 8 or 10 hours. He wouldn't ask me, or talk to me about it. I can't imagine doing that to him--I know it is at least partly the ADHD, but it is hard not to see it as inconsiderate and selfish. And if I interrupt him mid-task, it really upsets him and he can't rest until he feels like he is finished (can't walk away with the idea that he will pick it up again later...) He recently disappeared into the garage to fiddle around with a project, which took days. I got so mad, I yelled, and told him that his decisions affected me. It was vacation, and he just left me and the children on our own. We had a horrible fight. He mentioned that I get my hair cut, or I sit and watch tv at night, and it is the same. Well, I don't think it is--I might relax at night for an hour or two, after working and taking care of our children for 14 hours and they are asleep. I hate this. It wears me out.
He honestly is sick, and has developed physical issues, but he is so melodramatic and emotional, it just sucks all the air out of the room at times. When he is sick or in pain, he moans, and talks endlessly about how bad he feels. He will tell total strangers that his back hurts. If he feels nauseous, he will make the loudest retching noises you have ever heard--and this can be 10 seconds after I quietly mention that I have a pounding migraine. I can't understate this--once, when I was recovering from surgery, he fell down in the floor with stomach cramps, and I had to get up and help take care of our children (my mother was helping, but got sick and had to leave early). I am sure his stomach really hurt--he had undiagnosed celiac disease--but really--I had just had surgery!!! I hurt myself getting up but we had toddlers! I think it may be some sort of weird exaggeration thing for him--if he has a cough, it is probably pneumonia, and if his knee hurts, he has to use a cane to walk, etc. I have had friends and family look at me like "is he serious?" at times. I feel like he gets so focused on himself that he does not even think about how I am feeling, and I feel terrible about this, but it makes me so resentful I have a hard time even being compassionate, at times. I tried to talk to him about it and he was so hurt, and accused me of being cold and uncaring and having issues with letting people know I am sick or in pain that I am projecting on him (true, I am very private about this and something about my upbringing makes me keep it to myself). He is very, very sensitive to criticism.
He takes medication, but will not engage in any type of counseling to go with it. Our family doctor, who is compassionate and smart, but not a specialist, has prescribed the medication for him. I am not sure it is the right kind or dose, although it does seem to help him focus at work and on tasks at times. My DH cannot pick up, or clean, or organize anything. He loses EVERYTHING. Our house is almost always so messy and dirty that I am embarrassed to have anyone come in. I can't find things. We spend HOURS walking around looking for keys, or a document, or reading glasses. I used to keep it fairly clean and orderly, but I just can't do everything any more. And now he is physically sick, in pain, and it is harder for him to get around or do tasks. I am afraid that I am going to be practically a single parent who is burned out, resentful, tired, and joyless, who does not have a loving, kind relationship with my spouse. I can't tell you how many times I have tried to talk to him. If I mention his ADHD, he tells me I am anxious (probably true) and angry all the time (also true). It just doesn't work--we end up fighting or crying or debate and talk in circles. I hit every sore point possible, and I know I am resentful and hanging on to things, and sometimes take things the wrong way. There is never a "good time" to try to talk. Recently, my car was in the driveway, covered in about a foot of snow. His was in the garage and there wasn't room for two. I was late for work and had to dig the whole thing out, with my children late for school. I cried the whole time, and couldn't believe he just didn't care. It took 20 minutes to scrape the ice off. He was inside, asleep. Well, later I mentioned it when I was no longer upset--and honestly, it didn't dawn on him. He offered me the spot in the garage and was worried about me. He has started looking at me, sighing, and saying, "What did I do wrong, now?"
I don't want to leave and I don't want to be this angry. I don't want to shut down, which I am in danger of doing, and close him out and only worry about myself. I want my family intact. I want my joy back. I want my husband back. He is so smart, and funny, and loyal, and when he is engaged, he is such a wonderful father. His smile could break apart clouds. I do love him, but I am not in love with him any more. I am afraid that soon, I won't be able to be, again. These things have been going on for so long (11 years) that I think it would take a great deal of conscious work to change things. And he won't go to a therapist, and I don't think we have the tools to do it without one.
Any words from anyone out there, would be much appreciated.