"Are you doing this on purpose?" I asked him, tears streaming down my face, "because I am trying really, really hard to work this out, right now. "Yup," he said smugly, smirking at me.
And that was it. I lost it and smacked him across the face. "Get out. Get out now."
My ADD spouse often berates me, insults me, and puts me down. He also withdraws and withholds his feelings, stomps his feet, gives ultimatums ("if you ever ask me that question again . . ." or "if you ever bring up that topic again . . ."), throws things, and generally just rages at me. But no matter what he does, I have always tried to separate the man from the ADD. And that approach generally helps me keep my cool. I might try and reach out with my hand, touch him, rub his chest (works wonders for soothing anger), talk calmly, and then get him to "step down off the ledge," as I like to say. This weekend alone, I thwarted several meltdowns by calming him and encouraging him to "take a nap," or "take a break" or "let's count to 10 together," before he lost control. It's like being in a relationship with a child, not an adult.
But this time, after two hours of trying to get him to acknowledge my feelings, I'd had it. In these situations, I'll coach him and give him a line or two to say. It's typically something generic and easy to repeat like, "I understand how that must feel. It must be really hard. Would you like a hug?" And having been in a semi-decent, non-ADD relationship before, having to COACH someone into saying something empathetic is really the pits. It feels inauthentic and disingenuous. But I have learned that it's either scripted empathy or none at all.
So tonight I was telling him how hard our life is financially. How difficult it was to be poor (I support the two of us and a kid from another relationship). And how sad I am that we cannot have children, given the current state of our financial life. His response is to make fun of me. In a mocking tone, he says hurtful things like, "You don't care about kids. You're just spoiled. You want someone to do your laundry, clean your house, and buy you s***."
I start to cry. I am the least selfish person that I know. Each Christmas, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, our anniversary, my birthday, my recent promotion . . . they all pass without acknowledgement or celebration. For the sake of the kid (his kid), I wrapped up a bunch of my old things and put them under the tree, last year, just so it wouldn't look like my husband didn't buy me anything. And speaking of the kid, don't get me started on all the slack I'm picking up when it comes to the parenting. Not to mention his constant anger, ill treatment of me, and inability to contribute financially to the household.
So I tell him that I'm disappointed with the state of things. That I just need him to bring home a little extra money and offer a little extra support and care. If he can do that, I'll feel much more secure, much better. But he's not listening. He just ignores me. He doodles on a napkin. He's laughing and playing with our cat. He's intentionally doing everything but listening to me or looking at me.
"PLEASE listen to me," I say, crying out loud, "PLEASE."
"What the h*** do you expect from me? I can't acknowledge you because I don't agree with you. You're so full of yourself," he says walking away.
I ask him to come back.
"Do you know how disrespectful you're being towards me? I'm trying to talk to you."
He looks at me and says nothing.
"Just nod your head, you don't have to say anything. Sweetie, I'm trying to work this out because I love you. Do you understand?"
He says nothing.
"Sweetie? Did you hear me?" I ask again.
Again, he looks at me, but doesn't answer.
"Are you doing this on purpose?" I asked him, tears streaming down my face, "because I am trying really, really hard to work this out, right now.
"Yup," he says finally, flippantly, with a huge smile on hie face.
And that's when I lost it. So I slapped him.
I don't know if I can deal with this anymore. I'm running out of patience. I'm running out of ways to cope. I feel like I'm in a relationship with a child, not a man. He's constantly pushing me to the edge, and I'm always trying to bring us back from the brink. Now I hate what I've done. I hate WHO I've become. I feel so lost and adrift. I don't know what to do.