Be the change you want to see

You know I remember times when I would get home and just sit in my driveway because I didn't want to go in and deal with my husband.  There were moments and even weeks where I was so angry at him for letting me down and for not being the man I felt I deserved.  I resented him and anything that he did, no matter how small, was just another excuse for me to resent him more and put further blame on him for the decay of our marriage.  I would have panic attacks that I was going to find him "focusing" on yet another woman and giving her the attention that I felt that I deserved from him.  We would have the nastiest fights one can imagine and I don't know if anyone, even us, believed that we should remain married.  And now I am more in love with him than I can ever remember being.  I would love to tell you that it's because my husband woke up one day and was no longer ADHD or that he suddenly saw that everything I said was right but that would be incorrect.  Don't get me wrong, he has grown and changed a lot and seems more like the man I remember falling in love with but most of the change came from the way I viewed and treated him.  It certainly didn't happen over night but slowly I began to start seeing him as my husband instead of some bum that was squatting in my home and draining my life away.  And as I started to change the way I saw him and thus treated him, a funny thing happened, he started seeing and treating me differently too.  It was incredibly hard sometimes especially when my husband was at his worst but I forged on through; mistakes and all.  I started by promising to never make my husband look bad in front of other people again and then that became to not only not make him look bad but to also make him look great.  It was tough at first and my negative self talk tried to convince me that I would have no one to turn to when I had problems if I couldn't say anything bad about my husband but I actually didn't have that issue.  In fact it kind of made me feel good after awhile to not be the one with the miserable marriage and without all the negative feedback fueling my hatred I was able to really start thinking.  Next I made the decision to try not to fight with him.  I don't mean I did nothing, I mean that I went out of my way NOT to fight with him.  That was very tough because I am extremely confrontational and I always felt like I was going to get walked all over and never be happy if I didn't fight for it.  Basically I didn't trust that he would give me what I needed if I didn't fight him for it every step of the way but on second thought I realized he wasn't giving me what I needed anyway and all the negativity and fighting was slowly chipping away at my soul.  I also started taking better care of myself.  I went to the doctor and got put on meds for depression and anxiety which took a lot of edge off for me and made it easier to control my emotions.  And I made sure to look nice every day, like I was going on a date or something.  I forced myself to go to PTA and scout meetings and get involved (I say force b/c I get very nervous around new people) and even started volunteering.  I had every excuse in the world before about why I couldn't live my life or enjoy my hobbies, but once again I stopped listening to my negative self talk and made the effort to find sitters and trust my husband to watch the kids.  It's amazing what you can accomplish when you stop saying I can't and you start saying I will.  And coming from someone who wants her house CLEAN kids or not, I had to let go on some of that stuff and re prioritize. I started to feel pretty good about myself and my husband started to notice changes too.  At first he thought I had a boyfriend, LOL, which I have to admit kind of made me glad but over time he realized that I was just happier, more positive about life, and more relaxed.  It's a side of me that both of us missed.  And he responded.  What I learned is that my husband believed that I HATED him and that he couldn't do anything to make me change me mind so he just gave up.  He was depressed, he felt worthless and he reacted to me with hurt and resentment.  Ironically the same exact way I had been lashing out at him.  It's funny how we both had the same thoughts about the other person.  I must admit I felt like a pretty awful person for claiming to love someone and then treating them so abusively.  I look back and remember some pretty horrible things that I said to that man and I am ashamed.  I'm not very churchy but a verse from childhood stuck in my head and stayed there, I'm going to butcher this but it goes something like, why do you point out the splinter in your neighbors eye when you have a log in your own...  Anyways I realized that I was so worried about how poorly he was making me feel that I never stopped to see how poorly I was making him feel.  How could I ask him to make amends to me when I was too selfish and stubborn to make amends to him?  And so the story goes... I see a lot of that in this forum.  So much pain and hurt and disappointment that it blinds us to our own flaws.  It makes us treat our spouses like monsters instead of men and we justify the abuse because they didn't do the dishes for us or bought something we think was unnecessary.  My husband treats me with love now because I treat him with respect.  I didn't make him EARN that respect because I don't feel like I should have to EARN his love, I gave it to him as a gift.  I remember when I finally told him that I was sorry for the way that I had treated him and that I was wrong.  I thought he would hold it over my head but he sobbed on my shoulder, I felt like the monster at that moment.  Nothing is ever perfect and we still have our moments and sometimes I let that negative self talk back in but like anything else it slowly becomes a habit and our problems today are nothing like our problems two years or even a year ago.  I wish that one of my friends would have stood up and told me the cold hard truth instead of being "supportive".  Maybe my marriage could have turned around sooner and I could saved us both a lot of hurt.