Melissa's last newsletter was about "bad behavior." https://www.adhdmarriage.com/newsletter/news-1-5
I found this came at the perfect time as I'm trying to forgive my husband (ADHD spouse) for some awful things he had said and done to me.
(Very) Long story short, my business is closing at the end of September and we have to personally file for bankruptcy. After working with a business advisor, it came to my attention that I was taken advantage of by the bank and my ex-business partner whom I purchased the business from. I take full accountability for my own mistakes in not doing more research beforehand and trusting too easily. Now this business partner gets to walk away with a million dollars and we're losing our home. The universe is unfair. When I first shared this news with my husband, he was very supportive and understanding. However, since then, we've been getting hit with more bad news after the other. Most recently, we found out that my father-in-law has cancer and has a 50/50 chance of surviving after surgery. The responsibility to take care of him and his end of life planning will most likely fall on us.
Understandably, my husband is feeling overwhelmed by emotions, mostly a loss of control over his life. For the most part, we are able to talk openly about our feelings and try to support each other. However, the other night he lost control over his emotions. He expressed his anger at me by calling me stupid and careless; blamed me for ruining our lives and the life of our unborn daughter (yes, to make matters more complicated we're expecting our first child in a few months). He told me he wanted to punch me in the face and choke me. This is the first time he has ever expressed wanting to hurt me physically. I was scared, but another part of me tuned him out because I had become so numb to all the drama. A little part of me thought that if he did hurt me, I maybe deserve it for fucking up our lives so badly. He did not hurt me. After he left the room, I went for a drive to clear my head. I decided to drive to my parent's cabin to spend the night away from him. During my drive there, he called and demanded I come home or else I would regret what was going to happen next. He made these vague threats and I didn't really know what he meant, but I definitely knew I didn't want to go back home. Then he texted me and told me I had to be home by midnight, no exceptions. He said that that was his only warning and I had to make my choice, and that he hopes I'm happy with what I get. I eventually went home, spent the night in a different room, locked the door and avoided him until he went to work the next morning.
The next morning he texted me that he regret feeling the ways he did. That he wants to be a more tolerant person, but is wounded. He loves me and hoped that I would have a better day.
So... what do I make of this? To me, this isn't a real apology. He harps on me for saying "I'm sorry, but...(explanation of my behavior)." Lately, I've come to accept the fact that I will not always get an apology from my ADHD spouse and must choose to forgive anyway. Forgiveness is a decision, not a process that begins with the other person accepting responsibility for their wrongdoings. I appreciated this quote that Melissa included in her newsletter:
“Bad behavior is the language of the wounded. You can hate the behavior and still love the person. That leaves room for forgiveness.” -Jane Fonda
I love my husband. I see that he is wounded, but I hate his behavior (threats of violence, manipulation, etc.).
Where do you draw the line between excusable behavior and abuse? Where do you draw the line between forgiving and reinforcing negative behavior?
Thanks for reading. Please send positive vibes my way. Sometimes the universe is fucked out of balance, but I'm hopeful for equilibrium soon.