Being kind and being real

I love Rick Green!  And I love the Totally ADD webiste.  My most recent e-mail update from them was so in-line with my life experiences this week.

"This is about how a small thing can feel so big, or perhaps how a small trigger sets off a huge explosion… of sadness.  Hmm. That doesn’t sound right. Anger explodes. Sadness… feels more like quicksand, pulling me down, and under."  ~Rick Green~  

  I really, really get that.  It breaks my heart to see my spouse melt into sadness and/or dispair.   I have mentioned in an earlier post that my spouse now reads this forum.  My participation here was not a secret.  We actually attended one of Melissa Orlov's Couple's seminars after I found this site.  

I have freely shared my frustrations.  I originally thought my time of being able to post here was over.  Then I realized that the timing could not have been better.  I had turned the corner on my obsession with understanding my spouse and ADHD, and turned my focus into being the best person Liz can possibly be.  Each day I learn a bit more on how to communicate better, and how not to take my spouse's personal inventory, but rather work on my own.  

One reality I have seen by reading countless experiences here is this:  There is evidence of a definite pattern that happens when a person has unidentified ADHD as a child, spend a lifetime develeoping their own coping pattern of behavior, and then 20 some years into a marriage, when their spouse has taken on more relationship responsibility than they should have, they finally reach their own breaking point when that unstable framework collapses under the strain.  

I have been working on myself, Liz.  I am breaking old patterns of destructive communication.  I am breaking old patterns of scooping up more responsibility that I should by falsely thinking I could keep everything going smoothly.  It really wasn't working.  I just thought it was.  Maybe to outsiders, it looked like it was working.  But for me, it was overwhelming.  

I have stopped making excuses.  I have stopped smoothing over rough places.  I continually have to reiterate to our 2 adult children that I did what I did because I knew at the time it was the correct thing to be doing.  Now I know better, so I am doing better.   I am valuing Liz and her well being, not sacrificing it to keep everyone else happy.  Even in that, it is really rough.  They grew up in a world where Daddy being happy was everything.  And Mommy made it her goal to achieve that.  And now I know THAT WAS NOT THE  RIGHT THING TO DO.  Everyone is having to adjust.  I upset the fruit basket.  

I refuse to get into verbal disputes that will only get louder and louder and louder.  I know without a doubt that I cannot convince my spouse of anything he does not, cannot, or will not see.  My reality is my reality.  My prior post - ADHD - stuff to accept, and stuff not to expect - was carefully thought out.  Edited and edited many times so it would reflect my feelings.  It still struck a nerve in my spouse when he read it.  So I went and reread it.  And still feel comfortable in everything I shared.  It is always wisdom to choose words carefully.  I am finding the balance between feeling fearful that no matter what I say, no matter when I say it, it will be the wrong thing.  Oh, that eggshell walking gives me a knot in my stomach.  Is it truthful?  Is it necessary?  Is it said to purposely hurt someone else?  Those are what I choose to use as my filters.       

I am in a community here on this forum, of those who understand.  And I continue to encourage my spouse to give himself a voice and say what is on his mind by participating.  

"This is about how a small thing can feel so big, or perhaps how a small trigger sets off a huge explosion… of sadness.  Hmm. That doesn’t sound right. Anger explodes. Sadness… feels more like quicksand, pulling me down, and under."  ~Rick Green~ 

The holidays are here.  I spent many past holidays skirting around a lot of things.  And being constrained by my inability to MAKE it happy and joyful for my marriage and everyone else.  So, I eneded up just not doing a lot of things I wanted and dreamed of doing,  in order to keep it peaceful here.  And in reality - it never worked.  I was not happy.  I was disappointed.  

Thus, this year, as I mentioned in my previous post, I am doing Liz's side of planning based on Liz. What I had done in previous years was isolated myself from a lot of things because I couldn't control the situation and make it happy and joyful.

I think I had some sort of breakthrough.  I was sharing my plans for Thansgiving with my spouse - attending a Community Thanksgiving Dinner, and then going to visit my parents. These choices were based on several things.  1.  Our children are adults, our daughter works that day, and our son is having dinner with his girlfriend and her family. 2.  My spouse had told me that he cannot do family events (my family or his family) right now. 3.  I did not just want to stay home all by ourselves. 4.  Holidays have always - yep, this time that word is valid - always been a source of upheaval as far as the emotional parts go.  Where I hoped for joy, and fun, and spending time with those I love, it was high anxiety, sullen frustration, and out and out feelings that presented themselvs as anger and hostility. My spouse appeared really cross.  He responded it was "always like this on the holidays.  Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety.  Where to go.  Who to spend time with. Family stuff........."     I responded that it always did seem to be that way, and this year I was NOT going to allow that to  rule the way I spent my holidays.  AND, I was really glad he saw that, because I felt I have been struggling with it for years.

Oh, this relationship of mine is still in a precarious spot.  I want to be able to re-negotiate the rest of our lives.  That means some things gotta change.  Until that time presents itself, when I feel that is a possibility, I will continue to work on Liz.  And, enjoy the upcoming holidays!!!