In my first post (link above^) I spoke about how I realized the mistakes I had been making as the Non-ADHD partner in my relationship with my husband. I realized how awful I had been making him feel on a daily basis by treating him as if he were "broken" and needed me to fix him, help him, lecture him etc. etc. etc. All I really did was make him feel as if he wasn't good enough for me :c. After coming to those realizations, I was not happy with myself at all but at the same time, I realized that we didn't end up that way for no reason. His feelings and his side of the story finally got through to me and all but what about my side of the story? Did my side of the story matter anymore? I wanted for my hubby to feel good and happy but I wanted ME to feel happy in our relationship and in my life as well. So where do I go from here? How could I make an authentic and meaningful change in myself? What could I do differently? How could I find happiness within myself and within our relationship?
Here's where I elaborate on the backstory:
I thought about all the things I had "tried" in the past and why it didn't work. I tried talking to him, "we" had longgg, epic talks (where I did most of the talking and did pretty much none of the listening) about what he was doing wrong and how it affected me and then I'd "kindly" share my brilliant ideas about what he could do to improve and why I deserved it. (face palm) My God...if someone did that to me....it would be a total nightmare. I know I would feel like dirt and I'd probably get pissed off and feel totally ashamed and defensive. My guard would definitely go way up. Shame and embarrassment are such POWERFUL, painful feelings. That idea was so WRONG on so many levels and yet I felt that THAT was my best idea ever. I couldn't understand why it didn't work.....I was blinded by my good intentions. I couldn't see my mistakes since I was only seeing everything through my eyes without considering him and his side of the story.
Never mind all the times I yelled at him, got into HUGE, intense arguments, insulted him, disrespected him, called him every name in the book. I became cold and unaffectionate. It went from BAD sex to NO sex life whatsoever. All of the "I love you's" were empty emotionless words. My hands are literally shaking right now as I type this just thinking about what I had done. I put my husband through absolute hell and I actually blamed him for it all. I felt so right and so justified. I thought to myself, who WOULDN'T feel this way??? Who WOULDN'T react this way after "everything he put me through"? I thought to myself that anyone else would react in the same way or they would end up leaving him. And how noble was I for staying with him anyway??
I tried ignoring his "issues" and I tried to "play nice" while I took on all the responsibility with a fake smile plastered on my face, speaking to him in a fake "sweet" voice. I tried sending him "friendly reminders". I tried asking him what he thought I should or could be doing better. I tried guilt tripping him into doing what I wanted him to do by naming off all the "millions of amazing things" that I did for him ALL THE TIME and so why couldn't he do the same for me???.....Blah, blah,blah, all of those ideas were shit. It didn't matter what I did because the fact that I was doing it with the goal of trying to get him to change was wrong, plain and simple. It was wrong. I was trying to GET something from him. What I was doing is called manipulation. Manipulation is not love.
- And yes, he did put me through a lot okay. I'm not saying that he didn't and I'm not saying that he didn't treat me just as bad at times either. I'm not gonna name everything "he did or does" right now because that's beside the point. At the end of the day, I treated him this way because I was basically asking him for the world (without realizing it) and I punished him brutally for not giving it to me...even though he wanted to </3. There is absolutely no excuse for the way I treated him. I finally began to eat some of the SHAME that I fed him to every day for years, safe to say that it did not taste good. At this point, there was nothing he could say or do to make me feel as badly as I made myself feel once I finally woke up and smelled the cold, nasty, bitter coffee that I’ve been brewing up for him all these years. We had our good times every now and then...but it was mostly ugly
So what now?
Lesson #2) Lose the Entitlement.
After much thought, I realized that I had been walking around with a chip on my shoulder because I had a sense of entitlement.
- the fact of having a right to something.
- the amount to which a person has a right.
- the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.
Everything that I wanted from my husband was just that, a want, not a right. Why should I feel entitled to anything? Who in this world owes me anything, really? Nobody. I can't think of a single person who "owes me" just for my being me. So why should I feel entitled for my husband to be or to do anything for me? Who says my husband has to do anything? He can do whatever he wants and he can not do whatever he wants. And same goes for me. I don't have to do or be anything that I don't want to. I am free to make my own choices. I don't owe anyone anything and nobody owes me. Once I could see this and came to this understanding is when my life began to change for the better. The anger and resentment inside of me vanished and the funny part about it all was he didn't have to change at all. The only thing that had to change was my perception. Realizing that I had this sense of entitlement was the most FREEING discovery of my life.
It made me think back on why I was with my hubby in the first place. I didn't decide to spend the rest of my life with him because I wanted someone to help me clean house. I didn't choose to be with him because I wanted someone to help me out with the bills. I didn't choose to be with him so that I would suddenly have the "right" to make someone feel obligated into spending time with me etc. etc. etc. YUCK! I would never want to be made to feel that way. Imagine if someone wanted to marry me so that I am forced to have sex with them? Make them sandwiches? Use me as a baby-making-machine? To be their personal house maid and chef? Whatever. F-that. That is so gross to me.Obligation is an ugly word.
I want someone to be with me because they not only love me but they actually really like me as well. Because I am their favorite person. Because they feel strongly connected and attracted to me. Because being around me makes them feel good, happy, safe, at ease. I never want ANYONE to do anything with or for me out of obligation. That's not that kind of person I want to be. But I had been acting this way all along. How could anyone ever feel like they WANT to do anything with or for me if I've already made the choice for them? It's either, do what I want them to do or pay the price. Tisk-tisk! Tisk-tisk!
By thinking this way, I made myself feel absolutely MISERABLE!
Anything my husband DID do went unappreciated or under-appreciated (<-- it's the same thing) because I could name about a hundred and one other things that I wanted him to do that he wasn't doing, did wrong, too little too late etc. etc. etc. There is no sense of GRATITUDE or appreciation when one is feeling entitled. There would always be something MORE, I'd always want MORE, he could never satisfy my appetite for MORE. (facepalm!)
By losing my sense of entitlement, I learned that everything was a gift! He owes me nothing. I never want him to feel that he owes me anything. Anything that he does with or for me is a gift and is HOPEFULLY something that he WANTS to give me by his own free will. Not because I will otherwise be mad. Not because I cooked dinner last night so he should do something nice to repay me or whatever. He is free to give me or to not give me anything he wants. I wouldn't have it any other way.
When I freed him, I freed MYSELF. I realized that I had OBLIGATED myself into doing so many things that I actually didn't want to do and I blamed him for it (I blamed him for most EVERYTHING). I felt like HE was obligating ME when this really wasn't the case. He never asked me to do HALF the things that I volunteered myself into doing. I made it seem like "he's just making this mess so that I have to slave away." etc. etc. etc.- WRONG! He only ever asked me for my love, respect, and understanding. He really only wanted to see the sweet, happy, fun-loving, smiling girl that he lost long ago. THAT would be the greatest gift I could give him. He didn't want a servant, or a momager, or fricken guru, or a damn historian who just has to remind him of every mistake he's ever made. He wanted the girl he fell in love with to come back, that's it. And I wanted her back too. Finally, we agreed on something. c:
So what did I do from here? It's simple.
I backed off.
I didn't back off and leave him alone with the secret intention of changing him. I wasn't playing "nice" and "ignoring his mistakes" while hoping that he would change (like I had done in the past). No mind games. No manipulation. I simply let him be. My goal was not to change him anymore. My new goal was to regain his trust. I wanted more than anything for him to trust me with his heart. After all of the pain and embarrassment I had caused him, I didn't blame him for being so defensive around me. I didn't blame him for putting his guard up. If he treated me the way I treated him, I know that I would feel so low, and so hurt, and so ashamed that I would have built The Great Wall of China all around me to protect myself against another brutal attack. :'c
This might sound weird but one day I was remembering this song that we used to listen to together when we were younger and this one part of the song really hit's home for me.
It's called Pieces of Me by Ashlee Simpson and it goes like this:
I am moody, messy
I get restless, I get senseless
And you never seem to care.
When I'm angry,
Make me happy,
It's a mission.
And you won't stop till I'm there.
Fall, sometimes I fall so fast.
When I hit that bottom crash,
You're all I have.
It seems like I can finally rest my head on something real.
I like the way that feels.
It's as if you know me better than I ever knew myself.
I love how you can tell.
All the pieces, pieces, pieces of me.
*EDIT* My interpretation of the song lyrics:
I am moody. I am messy. I get restless. I get senseless. And you never seem to care:
This, to me, sounds like a person who is describing some of the "flaws" in their personality traits and yet their partner never makes them feel judged or less than. Their partner doesn't look at them differently, their partner doesn't like them any LESS because of this. They feel comfortable, loved, and accepted by their partner.
- "And you never seem to care." = You never make me feel like I'm bothering you.
- Their partner says to them,"Yes, you can be moody or messy or impatient/irritable and I love you just the same."
When I'm angry, you listen:
This, to me, sounds like a person who has a partner who understands them well enough, to know that when this person is angry, all they are really looking for is someone to listen, someone to care, someone who understands their point of view. Their partner knows them well enough to understand that they are NOT looking for someone to fix their problems for them, they are NOT looking for someone who will try to tell them what to do/how to handle it, and they are NOT looking for someone to pacify them (all things that a parent may try to do to their child??? All things that I have Definitely done to my husband.)
Make me happy, it's a mission. And you won't stop till I'm there:
Again, this sounds like a person describing a "flaw" in their personality.
- "Make me happy, it's a mission." = sometimes it seems impossible to make me happy.
- "But you won't stop till I'm there" = You never give up on me or You always have faith in me regardless.
Fall, sometimes I fall so fast. When I hit that bottom crash, You're all I have. It seems like I can finally rest my head on something real. I like the way that feels:
- "Fall, sometimes I fall so fast". = Their whole world is crashing down on them or falling apart. Nothing in their life is going right.
- "When I hit that bottom crash, you're all I have." = Even when everything is going wrong, I know I have you by my side.
- "It seems like I can finally rest my head on something real, I like the way that feels."= Safety. Feeling at ease. I can relax and breath a while with you. I find peace in my life with you.
It's as if you know me better than I ever knew myself. All the pieces, pieces, pieces of me:
- "It's as if you know me better than I ever knew myself." = You understand me and my needs.
- "All the pieces, pieces, pieces of me." = You love and accept all of me and not just the "good" or "easy" parts of me.
^ THAT IS HOW I WANT HIM TO FEEL TOWARDS ME. That is my goal. That's level of trust and confidence that I wanted him to feel towards me. I wanted him to finally feel at ease with me again no matter what. That's it.
Backing off means: No more nagging. No more reminding. No more expecting. No more "time limits". No more epic talks about what he's doing wrong and how it affects me. No more telling him what he should and shouldn't be doing. No more helpful suggestions or advice (acting like I know better than him). No more assuming. No more "trying to predict the future". No more getting upset about something that hasn't even happened yet. I no longer wanted to give him a reason to feel NERVOUS around me. I didn't want him to feel like a PROBLEM or a BURDEN on me any more. I wanted his trust and I wanted him to feel LOVED just as he is, the good, the bad, the ugly. REAL ACTUAL LOVE! This should have been my goal from the start. How could I ask HIM for something that I MYSELF wasn't willing to give? How is that fair? It's not fair at all. Real love is FREE. It's not "my way or the highway."
In order to accomplish this goal, I realized that I needed to let my guard down too. I needed to learn how to trust him again as well. Most of all, I needed to find happiness within myself. Nobody is going to feel comfortable or at ease with someone who is in a bad mood, feeling miserable, and overwhelmed all the time. I really needed to take my focus off of him and put it onto myself instead, for BOTH of us. More on this in part 3.
(I hope this is making some sort of sense guys & gals. I'm sorry if I sound repetitive. I'm not really planning out what I'm going to say I'm just telling my story from the heart, trying to be as raw and as real as possible. And again, anything that I'm saying about myself, I speak only for myself and about myself. I'm not saying that my story is the same as anyone else's situation. If you can relate to my story in any way, though, I hope it helps!)