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!)
Thank you, Island Girl. I
Submitted by NowOrNever (not verified) on
Thank you, Island Girl. I look forward to your next post. I agree that acceptance of each other, as they are, is foundational.
You've been clear that you in your lovely way, mean only to tell your story, hoping that giving it to us, you are offering help. Yes, it does help me to listen to your exploration of yourself and steps you have taken toward better. Yes your description of discovery that your husband is fine as he is was important and inspiring to read.
You are writing from who you are, about you, your husband and ADHD. I'd like to respond to you in the same way, writing from myself
You may or may not get into a subject that I want to bring up, after having read two of your posts, and knowing that you're going to write about your whole relation as you see it. I don't expect you to get into the topic that I'm going to bring up, but if you do, I'll be very interested.
Based on what I've seen and done in my life, I believe that an intimate relation involving adults (parent/child, two adult friends, adult dating relations and adult cohabitation or marriage) hasmore parts to it than the two individuals. I think relations involving adults have
1) one partner who comes bringing her history, her needs, her capabilities for doing things in the relation, and her psychological and physical challenges
2) the other partner, who comes bringing all of his. It obviously is leaving something out, to leave out the needs, challenges and gifts, and capabilities for relation of one and value only those of the other. As I've read what you've written thus far, quantitatively a lot of it what you said has to do with 2), although you've given us your shifts of thought and feeling about your husband. You have yet to talk about you, your needs, but I can tell that that is on the way, since you've referred to it in both your posts....you just haven't got to your needs and wellbeing yet, except as it relates to him.
3) I think there is also in the relation (one that has adults involved) what I call the common good. It is real. It is neither individual. There is something that I'm calling the common good that is the responsibility of both (adults) that is not the good of one, nor the good of the other. The common good is not my good plus his good, it's a third being, a social being, you might say. Its got all kinds of things in it. For example mutual respect. Or its lack. What the couple have in common can be a lack of reciprocal respect. For example mutual willingness to take action to make sure that food is on the table. Or its lack. In my opinion common good is the part of the relationship from which something beyond the two individuals comes...or doesn't . Children are born and raised out of the common good, not out of private desire or limitations. Doing anything that comes out of the couple that helps anyone beyond the couple, comes out of the common good.
It's such an odd thing, this common good. The couple makes it live or die. Although I've tried to pull it off (like a dodo, because it was impossible, but then again I was so young,) one of the couple can't be the only one taking care of it or developing it while the other of the couple doesn't care about it or bestir him or herself about it. Either in the couple can do things to contribute to it, ignore it, harm it, perhaps a start off a change in it.. No adult gets a hall pass, to avoid it. It exists anyway. It is the social being, the social fabric, the co- part of the relation, out of which care for others and gifts to others beyond the couple come. It nourishes each of the two partners...that is, if it is not sickly or put in the closet like a useless thing. The question is, what shape it is in, and what is it doing in the relation.
Therapists talk about the common good when they say that the relationship, not one partner nor the other, needs therapy.
Maybe you will talk about this part of adult relation, maybe you have other things to tell us. I'm just talking with you about what I think it takes to live in relation with anybody adult, really, and with ADHD in the mix, as a subset of that.
Perceptual and memory problems being what they are with the ADHD going on in my house, ADHD may or may not be a problem, regarding the common good. As far as I can tell, my partner came into our relation not having had much opportunity to practice intimate-relation common good. I also think some of this common good is invisible to him, or not easy for him to deal with, since common good matters often require ongoing foresight and hindsight, plus the ability to notice things like a shared habit growing in a direction that doesn't do the couple any good. Nor am I the champeen at contributing to common good.
I am very, very lucky to be with who I am on this one although I'd be whitewashing if I didn't also say we also have some really serious common good challenges. We have a long way to go to build up our common good, which again is not just his wellbeing, not just mine, not just the pair of individual well beings, but some thing that is co-work, co-commitment, serving something beyond ourselves.
Many, many people showing up on this board since I've been on it reading, come with a common good as well as individual problem that I surely hope that you and your husband don't have at home. Both are serious, bona fide problems. Once thing that a lot of people come here for is acceptance that yes they are in this double whammy of living with being personally challenged, regarding their individual well being, and of living with a wounded common good, which is a problem in itself, and it doubles up the struggle of the person bringing it here. They want recognition that it's as doubly hard as it is.
Yes there's ADHD/ADD or ADD/ADHD like behaviors at home, but quite a few people, whether they have ADHD or not, come to the board to work on ADHD Plus, meaning more than ADHD in their home life: substance abuse, addiction to porn, a habit of physical violence, a habit of mental violence, lack of control of anger, deep suspicion and defensiveness, narcissism, or another emotional dysfunction that no is not produced directly by ADHD, yet it is there in the relation.
Of course, of course, the addiction, narcissism, Borderline behavior, habit of physical violence is the responsibility to change or not of the person who owns the problem, not the other spouse. Of course. But that doesn't deal with its damage. things so big as these not only are liable to harm the other partner individually, if the person doesn't have healthy equipment to deal with the fall out of the addiction, narcissism, violence etc. at home and, these dysfunctions often drastically damage the common good. Which no one, of the two can fix.
Posters on this board, and I am one of them, have to do the daily double task of living like a healthy adult, accepting and fostering one's partner (as you have so wonderfully described), and living like a healthy adult in close proximity to something that frankly is damaging, that in a different situation in life, one ought to get away from, fast. There's a long history of therapeutic examination of the fact that these add-ons to the relation are relationship deal breakers.
With Narcissism, addiction, pathological lying and cheating, and other dysfunctions included with ADHD in the mix, or in fact without ADHD, the person in the relation can't simply say, "well that's him, I accept him as he is, I'll learn to love him better and be my best self with him" Or she. There's a double whammy going on. Or if you like, quadruple whammy: the add on Plus involves behaviors thatare unhealthy for the other partner unless he/she has a phenomenal set of healthy coping approaches (and most of us find ourselves shy of them), it affects the common good as that other partner accesses it, the dysfunction-generated behavior harms the Narcissist/violent person/liar/addict.., and harms the narcissist/violent person/liar ets access to the common good, of the couple that is healthy enough to do him or her some good.
We're in a modern world in which often I think the individual(that is, the specialness of your husband, your specialness, my specialness) l is valued more than anything else. Yes indeed we're all valuable. We ought not only to accept each other, but treat each other well.
But I think common good is the one thing that gets passed over in discussions so very, very often.
No one gets a hall pass that excuses him or her from responsibility not only for affecting his or her partner personally, but also for affecting the very glue, the very bond, out of which children are born and raised, and out of which come any moral responsibility of the couple to things beyond themselves.
I've loved your first posts. If you're 25 as I think I remember that you said, and have been on this site for years and working on your marital relation for years as well, you had an early start, and I love that.. I love the love with which you write.
It takes two. We're not only on this earth for each other.
Submitted by Island-Girl23 on
I feel like I understand what you're saying. I definitely think that we all have our limits. My hubby did have an addiction to marijuana and he also went through a few cycles of abusing alcohol. I mean we are still pretty young but we have been through a WHOLE LOT together. Like I said in my post, I don't want to get into naming all the things he has done right now (I'm not saying that you're asking me to), but for me, the drug/alcohol issue was pretty serious and I feel like it would have been enough for me to fully walk away from him if he didn't take steps to stop.
Like I said before, my husband and I have been together since we were only teenagers so even though I didn't like the drinking/smoking weed - I didn't think it was as serious since I thought it was just him being a teenaged boy. Something that teenagers/college kids do?
It didn't take too long before I wasn't having it anymore though because like I mentioned in my first post, we had our kids at a young age, I had my first daughter at 21. It was a super BUMPY road when it came to parenting and while we didn't break up - we did stop living together for about a year. Again, we've been through a lot so I feel like I understand what you're saying when it comes to problems outside of ADHD. He doesn't have those sorts of problems right now, but who knows if or when he'll choose to start again? I have no clue...It hasn't been an issue for us for some time now and he says that he's MUCH happier for it.
Porn addiction, violence, infidelity, - I believe that, that would be too much for me to handle. We are all different. I'm definitely not trying to dismiss other people's feelings or trying to say that their situations are the same as mine. I'm also not trying to tell anyone what to do in their situation. (I'm not accusing you of accusing me either.)
I for sure can relate to SO SO much of what the Non-ADHD partners have been through/are going through. I definitely feel like their hurt, pain, frustration - most of the feelings that are shared here hit close to home for me and my perception of them (Non-ADHD partners) based on the stories that are shared here, is that they are incredibly strong individuals who are deserving of the happiness that they so desperately seek.
Your comment about the common good...In my situation, I don't feel as if I'm the only person who cares about the common good but I definitely DID feel that way for a LONG TIME. Nowadays I do feel like my husband does genuinely care about the common good and If I didn't, I'm not sure if I would still be with him right now. Or maybe I would be with him but I'd probably be feeling just as miserable as I had felt in the past. I didn't think so much about his intentions back then. I mostly only cared about RESULTS. Intent and results are important to me now. And I, MYSELF am much more IMPORTANT to myself nowadays as well.
It might be coming across right now as if I'm saying that - the ADHD's partner's feelings/wants/needs is the ONLY thing that matters or that it's the main thing that matters. I was a bit nervous about telling this part of my story and thought that maybe I should just skip it because I haven't spoken so much about myself, my feelings, and how I am finding happiness yet. I felt like it might come across as being dismissive of myself and other Non-ADHD partners. But then I decided to push through that fear and to just try my best to tell the whole truth of my story and have faith that the readers here would give me the chance & hear me out. I'm trying my best to get the words out right. I don't know how my story is supposed to help anybody else but I'd love to give it a try anyway.
In this post, I spoke about not feeling entitled and I probably didn't explain too well of what I meant by that. What I mean is, if I have the view that someone SHOULD be doing something for me or HAS TO do something for me, then their efforts/attempts will probably not be VALUED as much. The Non-ADHD partners likely feel that much of what they do for their ADHD partners goes unvalued or undervalued because their ADHD partners may act as if their Non-ADHD partners SHOULD/HAVE TO pick up the slack for them. ADHD partners may make it seem like "a good Non-ADHD partner" SHOULD revolve their lives around the ADHD partners "issues". I know from personal experience that, that is not a good feeling at all.
In my opinion, it goes both ways. For me, this realization was very, very helpful. It was an eye-opening experience for me. I'm not trying to say that since I'm not entitled to x, y, and z that I do not WANT certain things or that I feel UNWORTHY of receiving anything from my ADHD partner. I promise that I will get to ME and MY SIDE very soon. I apologize that it's taking me so long to tell the whole story. I really didn't think it would take so many posts but I just want to tell the full story and not just the good parts.
Thanks so much for your thought provoking comments and for taking the time to read my posts. I will try to be more clear with my words. I agree with everything you've shared with me.
Yes, it goes both ways. I
Submitted by NowOrNever (not verified) on
Yes, it goes both ways. I agree with what you've said about either partner feeling entitled, so self focused as to believe and act like only their way mattered. You go, girl : )
I look forward to your next part.
You wrote in your last post
"I didn't think so much about his intentions back then. I mostly only cared about RESULTS. Intent and results are important to me now. And I, MYSELF am much more IMPORTANT to myself nowadays as well."
Your last post, and J's last post, which in a hypothetical example situation described how a couple can quickly pass back and forth anger and frustration in a closed loop of setting each other off, brought up the topic of close interface.
People who live together trigger each other, in all kinds of ways all the time, good and bad. Even when attempts to manipulate and active or passive power plays arent going on. It's like they're a piece of paper, With two distinct sides, but one side of the paper unable to live and do without involving the other side of the paper. Seems to me to be particular to intimate relations, like marriage and cohabitation
IG, you've said a couple times so far that as you began to try to find more out about your husband, and allow him to be as he is and foster him as he is, you began to care differently about yourself and feel better about yourself. There's that two sides of the paper, that what happens or is done to or on one side of it affects the other side. So as you released expectations and let your husband be and stopped nagging him it affected your side of the paper too, in good ways that I hope you tell us about
I began to think about the distinct but so-close-as to be-inseparable-sides of-the paper by starting over on my partner's side
i had never, ever run into anyone in my life who interrupted me when I started to speak so many times, and had never met anyone in my life who went further so many times, not only interrupting me before I could get half of the first sentence out, but proceeding to tell me what he presumed I was thinking. It was very startling. I was stumped. It wasn't there in the beginning, before we were married. I could see that he didn't do the interrupting with people outside of the house, although he sometimes would hold forth at length, not giving other people a chance to speak. But he didn't interrupt them and cut them off, at all, let alone repeatedly, nor did he go on to tell them what he presumed they were thinking, or say to them, I already understand what you're starting to say and don't want to hear any more of what you have to say because I don't need to. (lol, and VERY often missing by a country mile...what WAS this about?)
The incessant interrupting 24/7 at home what was it about? It came across at home like he was being a complete jerk to me, at first. People out there out side the house usually are doing well known social coding, and are doing putdowns and shutups, when they do that kind of thing. They usually tell you why they're trying to shut you down! But my partner, I knew wasn't basically mean, so why did he interrupt me such a colossally high number of times? It was mostly at home, but not out, yet to my embarrassment, sometimes he did it to me in front of people, but not to anyone else. Whatever it was, I seemed to trigger him to interrupt, whether I intended that or not, when I spoke, and they didn't.
I could not presume though that it came from him being a mean man. I know he's not one.
My first glimmer came when I stopped focusing on myself, on the impact on me of being interrupted feeling like I was the one being mistreated, and began to read about ADHD, the professional literature that would list frequent impact of ADHD on the person who has it and in the partner who is around it. Interrupting came up pretty often.
The glimmer of possibility was "hm, it seems when he interrupts, he's treating me like he treats himself, or maybe as an extension of himself.His own thought trains, unless he's hypermonofocused, are also interrupting each other, all swirling, so maybe my voice is just one more voice in the mix in his head. If so he is doing to me to me what he does to himself, "talking over himself" or his immediately prior line of thinking when a new thought crops up, his attention goes to it, engages with it.....and then his attention dashes on to the next thought. Maybe I'm being interrupted, not because he is intending discourtesy or a power play on me personally (that would be me treating him as an extension of me) but because when I do something (anything) that pops up in his world as a new demand on his attention I'm showing up on other side of his paper. I'm so close to him...to him... that when I start to speak, especially when he's mind-flooded, that cant not interface with that thought flood. Or maybe he's responding to me as an extension of him (lol if so kudos to me, ha, my voice has about the impact on him of one of his many new thoughts), which he hastens to deal with, because it broke into what he was thinking....and then he zooms off into another thought as soon as he can.
So maybe I haven't quite hit the bullseye with my guessing (it is all going on inside his head, after all), but I think I'm at least in the right ball park. If he's treating me like he treats his own thought flooding, well, then he's dealing with New Attention Challenge Coming In the way that he presently has to cope and likely has to cope with his side of the paper...By the way, the details about my partner's racing thoughts are what he has said about them, not what general literature has said about them. My guesses are about how my talking may crop up to him differently than it does to me, or someone else's talking to me does to me.
at any rate, once I began to think about his very high interruption rate of me, but not of outsiders, not in terms of discourtesy to me, or bullying, but in terms of who he is in himself (a man with a mind that floods him, unless he's hyperfocused) yes IG, I can report to you, like you, that acceptance of that feature of ADHD, thought flooding, in him released me so that I come up with new ideas for taking better care of myself in this particular kind of situation. it is day by day, though.
I haven't been reduced to silence. I'm too far along in life to be shut down, and in any event, I know that anything, even a partner with ADHD needing to manage his own attention, that consistently shuts me down, no matter what I start to say, is not healthy for me. But I have changed how I ask for his attention, or wait for it. He has a different attention pattern than mine. Or I set him up with a better idea of how much interruption to whatever he's doing my starting to speak is going to amount to, if I really need to say something to him without delay. That seems to take pressure off him to forcefully stop the new influx to his mind. He has ADHD attention issues, and I don't I have my own. We won't be happy if we don't learn to deal with our different mind patterns.
I still believe that there are matters of basic courtesy involved in how talking and listening are conducted. But our habits of courtesy are going to have to work for us, as we are, and so are starting to look a little different from what gets used outside the house.
Back to you, looking forward to the next part IG
Very Good Insights NowOrNever
Submitted by kellyj on
If I may offer a new discovery into this with the help of my T. For the sake of argument....I may impulsively interrupt or finish sentences but they are in response and going along with the person who has the floor and the subject matter at hand. In respect to finishing sentences.....I am accurately listening and just impatiently speeding things up by correctly doing it for the other person. This was the first ADHD symptom that I focused on to correct years ago and it is not only obvious (or was to me) but I immediately say I'm sorry after I have done it. As you might expect if someone rudely interrupts. This has always been the case and I have always been aware of it going back to when I was quite young. That goes along with jumping ahead or getting ahead of myself. As soon as it has ever been brought to my attention.....I quickly see it too even if I was a little delayed in preventing it from happening and it just blurted out of me in my past.
But what you are talking about is different and it's the same exact description of what I experience with my wife. It drives me to complete exasperation to the point that I have reacted with vehement anger before I finally started coming to the same conclusions you have here....almost verbatim.
I personally have an issue with this that I can apply directly to what I was mentioning earlier about "attachment styles." I most definitely had an insecure attachment (not a disorder thankfully) but none the less....it use to cause me a great deal of problems in my relationships. Through therapy....I am pretty centered most of the time unless I am really stressed and in a weakened state to cope and manage. By default....I will regress a bit but that too I come to my senses pretty quickly without much of a delay. The visceral reaction I have however...is still there even if I manage it and I know not to buy in or go with it since I understand why this is for myself. On most days I can let it slide by without a hitch and it's no longer a problem. I have learned to self soothe and move past these moments without too much difficulty.
You were wondering about what triggers your H and speculating why he does this? I think what is most important as you said is not the "why" but only that " it is."
But as I am and always curious....for myself....I had a more burning need to know. The key words my T gave me were "dismissive", "avoidant" and "disorganized." He did this somewhat surreptitiously in our (my wife and I ) therapy session together for my benefit because this was causing me so much anxiety and I myself was not managing this well at all.
Without going into all the details if you are curious for a better explanation, you can look this up yourself. But the ball park that I think you are curious about has to do with this very thing.
Using myself as a guinea pig for my part (the past insecure attachment or my default if things go badly) mine is considered "anxious/preoccupied". It took me a long time to really process this and arrive at this and being able to be more confident placing myself in the past because it is really a jumble at first and like reading horoscopes, and you can easily fit yourself into more than one or more without question....so it's really easy to put yourself in the wrong category without some professional help. Again...these things are associated with all kinds of disorders but based on our previous discussions about not diagnosing......(and having conformation by my T in respect to anything outside of ADHD) this is the category where I have been and still am if I am not being centered as my default.
I couldn't copy this pdf file and past it here....but this is an excerpt from a very good article associating this with ADHD and the description of what I personally believe is true for myself based on my entire experience with this including what I have learned through therapy.( the parts only relevant to me) It also continues to explain what I am now feeling pretty confidently is happening with my wife that helps explain this better. The reason for doing this? Compassion and empathy for my wife and a better understanding of her. In the moment when I really am struggling with her in this area...it is the thing that I can remind myself and know it has nothing to do with me and not to take it personally.
The present study examined attachment and autonomy for late-diagnosed adults with ADHD of the combined type. The percentage of securely attached adults with ADHD in this study is 18 percent, over three times lower than in the normal population (59 %). This percentage comes close to the percentage of 13 that is found by IJzendoorn and Bakermans-Kranenberg (1996) for a clinical sample of psychiatric patients. Most frequently, adults with ADHD reported the fearful attachment style (44 %), followed by the preoccupied style (27 %). These two styles are characterized by a negative image of self. Many studies demonstrate adults with ADHD to suffer from low self-esteem (e.g. Barkley, n.d.; Kooij et al., 2010; Ramsay & Rostain, 2005). The first hypothesis, adults with ADHD reporting more insecure attachment styles than the normal population, was confirmed.
Furthermore, it was hypothesized that people with an insecure attachment style would report more psychological problems than people with a secure attachment style. This hypothesis was only confirmed partly: adults with ADHD who have a preoccupied attachment style reported significantly more psychological problems than both the secure and the dismissive group.
For the fearful group no significant differences were found with any of the other styles, both secure and insecure.
These results indicated two interesting findings. First of all, the dismissive attachment style, which is an insecure style, could be seen as “equal” to the secure attachment style when general psychological functioning is considered. Wearden, Lamberton, Crook & Walsh (2005) found similar results in their study of a normal population. Secondly, the preoccupied attachment style seems to generate most psychological problems. Analyzing the original model of attachment by Bartholomew and Horowitz (1991), the common factor between the Attachment and autonomy in adult ADHD 16 secure and dismissive attachment style is a positive image of self.
Applying this to the first finding, a positive image of self seems to have a larger impact on general psychological functioning than a positive image of others. Wearden et al. (2005) found dismissing individuals to be prone to the social desirability bias, suggesting they might have negative symptoms and feelings without reporting them. Murphey and Bates (1997), however, suggested another explanation. They found that people who are highly critical of themselves are more vulnerable to depression. Additionally, they found dismissively attached individuals to be less critical of themselves compared to individuals with other insecure attachment styles. Therefore, they would be less vulnerable to depression and consequently will report less symptoms.
Another explanation might be related to the construct of psychological functioning itself, that is, by nature, more about intrapersonal wellbeing and less about interpersonal functioning. Therefore, it can be expected to be influenced more by someone’s self-image than by someone’s image of others. Trying to explain the second result that the preoccupied attachment style seems to generate most psychological problems, led us to the original model as well.
Supposedly, people with ADHD who have a negative image of themselves and a positive image of others (preoccupied) have even more problems in psychological functioning than people who have a negative image of themselves and a negative image of others (fearful). Many studies found fearful attachment to generate more psychological problems than preoccupied attachment (Vanheule and Declercq, 2009; Murphy and Bates, 1997; Wearden et al., 2005; Pielage, 2000)
However, other studies found the preoccupied style to have the highest association with various psychological problems (Bogaerts and Daalder, 2011; Sumer, 2001; Verdecias, Girardin, Ferdinand, Casimir & Browne). Verdecias et al. stressed the rumination habits of preoccupiedly attached individuals. The original model of Bartholomew and Horowitz (1991) offers another possible explanation for the difference between the preoccupied and fearful Attachment and autonomy in adult ADHD 17 style. By avoiding close involvement with others, persons with a fearful style protect themselves against anticipated rejection.
Preoccupied individuals, however, need acceptance from others to increase their self-esteem, which is a mission impossible by nature, and experience rejection every time they try. Since adults with ADHD often suffer from a chronic sense of failure already (Ramsay & Rostain, 2005), the additional failure experiences resulting from their preoccupied attachment style, might damage their self-esteem even more, thus causing them to report more psychological problems. Besides attachment style, autonomy was studied in adults with ADHD. The first two hypotheses concerning autonomy were confirmed: adults with ADHD had significantly lower self-awareness and higher sensitivity to others than the normal population.
This agrees with the possible explanations mentioned before; additionally, still unknown factors might play a role as well. The findings of Rapport et al. (2002) that adults with ADHD would be less sensitive to others, were contradicted by the results of this study.
Although it was expected that adults with ADHD would be less capable of managing new situations, they were found not to differ from the normal population. It is possible that several explanatory factors have a neutralizing effect on each other, resulting in an average score on capacity for new situations for the whole group. The same principle may apply to subgroups within the sample, for example related to attachment style. More research is needed to further investigate this subject.
Concerning the relationship between the three autonomy components and psychological functioning, capacity to manage new situations correlated most strongly with all BSI-scales, followed by sensitivity to others. The hypothesis concerning self-awareness was rejected. Interestingly enough, capacity to manage new situations was the only component of autonomy on which adults with ADHD didn’t deviate from the normal Attachment and autonomy in adult ADHD 18 population. However, since the sample used for present study is rather small, certain effects that were expected might have remained invisible due to lack of power.
Disseminating this a bit for you from a recommendation and partial explanation of why someone might interrupt you if they see the conversation headed in a direction that starts to trigger this particular defense mechanism?
How can someone heal from disorganized attachment?
The important message to take away is that there is such thing as “earned secure attachment.” People with disorganized attachment can heal by making sense of their story and forming a coherent narrative. They can find healthier ways to deal with unresolved trauma and loss by facing and feeling the full pain of their experiences. Hiding from their past or trying to bury their emotions doesn’t work, as painful feelings will be triggered in moments of stress. Getting help to resolve early trauma can come in many forms. Most important is to form a healthy relationship that exists over time with a romantic partner, a friend or a therapist, which allows a person to develop trust and resolve his or her issues with attachment.
Bottom line? The underlying emotion that is buried underneath that is blocking a person from being able to look inward at themselves is fear. It can be terrifying when you've used denial (or dissociation in this case ) all your life to protect yourself from the pain of past hurtful experiences and trauma. Things that trigger these past blocked memories will illicit these kind of responses even if that person is completely unaware of it.
I think this kind of interrupting is another manifestation of doing this very thing?
PS...As these things go....the mother is the primary source to look at for a cause in most cases. Mine of course...was anxious/preoccupied herself. As these things tend to go.
Separate thread on attachment styles coming
Submitted by NowOrNever (not verified) on
I read you. I think the best thing to do, since attachment theory is a big topic in itself, is to move our discussion of it into a new thread from this one. Apologies that today is a workday that has me offline, but I'll get the new thread going pretty soon here. I've followed your links & want to talk with you more about attachment styles. Any sound diagnostic grid yields its own insights, and attachment styles looks to me like it is very helpful in helping couples predict and interact in their own couple dynamics. Hope that the software of this site allows big copies and pastes :) See you soon, N
Thanks IG-23...There is a more Excellent Way!
Submitted by c ur self on
I love this sad truth...How Noble we are for staying??...LOL...Entitlement...Now that's a nice place to suffer for a while:)....Their Obligation? Now there's a nice self Righteous place that will prop us up on our podiums:):):) It's amazing what a person will do to get what they think they want and need.....I'm glad you are doing such a great job at self-awareness....Husbands have Obligations and wives have Obligations...But, If either one of us lets our minds drift from our own Obligations onto our spouses..ouch!....All manner of Dysfunction starts up in our hearts and minds....(I see the proof of it every day in the mirror) And IG-23 you have done one Awesome Job of listing the nasty truth of the Human Dilemma...
Submitted by Island-Girl23 on
Thanks for your words of encouragement. This was a tricky one for me to write. What I meant by obligation - yes, we all have obligations, for example, I have certain "obligations" to my children but I never want them to feel like an obligation to me??I want them to feel loved and that I am happy to be their mom. Taking care of them is a JOY and a GIFT and an HONOR. I am grateful for them. I treasure them and the role I get to play in their lives. I swear, I never feel like I can fully explain what I mean. LOL Does that make sense? It sounds like you pretty much understood what I was trying to say. Thanks again. c:
Yes it makes great sense!..
Submitted by c ur self on
Yes it makes great sense!...but because we are all human; we must daily have an awareness of our humanity. So we can discipline ourselves...Without Self Discipline and Self Control a human never comes to understand what it truly means to experience the Gift of being a Mom, Child, Husband, Wife...
Break Through Part 3 (edit addition )
Submitted by kellyj on
Hi Island-girl23, I had to respond to what you wrote here. I also had a similar breakthrough (in understanding). It is the corresponding side to what you said....
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.
Before I say anything, I want to put everyone on the same page together at the same time. This isn't about the specifics of these events...it's about the interaction itself and what is happening (the dynamic).
For the sake of argument...let assume a couple of things here. Let's assume NO one is at fault but things have evolved to this stage and now here you are. Forget about who's wrong and who's right and assume that everyone is wrong and everyone is too blame. Let's pick up right here..
I am moody, messy I get restless, I get senseless And you never seem to care. When I'm angry, You listen. Make me happy, It's a mission. And you won't stop till I'm there.
For illustration purposes...picture your H walking down the sidewalk on his way somewhere? You (are in this state of mind). He's done a lot of things to piss you off and now your mad at him in this moment. He on the other hand...is not angry right at the moment and thinking about where he is going and not thinking much of anything.
(the antagonist) I am moody, messy (irritable and uncontrollable) I get restless, I get senseless (impatient) And you never seem to care. (disrespected and dismissed)
You just had a talk (one of many) with your H and he didn't give you the answer you were looking for. It didn't fix this problem and sure didn't do anything but make you more impatient and angry because the answer was either: not understood, wasn't what you wanted to hear, wasn't going to do anything about this problem in the short run or was completely confusing or worse....confabulated?
Now the next part where he's walking down the side walk on his way somewhere and not thinking about any of this stuff at the moment because he's thinking about where he's going and what he has to do (right now this very minute). You approach him from behind and tap him on the shoulder. He turns around and there you are and he gets this..... I am moody, messy I get restless, I get senseless And you never seem to care. When I'm angry, You listen. Make me happy, It's a mission. And you won't stop till I'm there. (This is like a parent scolding a child. Sound familiar?)
Then...when he tries to respond....you don't listen. Nothing he has to say is relevant to your state of mind because you're talking....and he's just suppose to listen. As soon as he say's a word...you turn and start running the other direction. (from this kind of thinking looking at it again from a parental position...."don't back sass me you impertinent child!) It definitely has a superior ring to it in tone and self righteousness.....imperious to say the least.) If you see your H as a child....this is how it will come out whether you know it or not. You may say you know the difference....but if you believe this is true somewhere in your thinking even subliminally....it comes out despite what you "really think you believe" or goes contrary to your conscious thoughts. (Ambivalence and Denial). Even if that's what you are feeling and aren't able to place it yourself...it comes across as "imperious" and "superior" none the less to anyone on the outside experiencing it.
Now he feels disrespected and hurt because you just did a "Hit and Run" on him. This makes him angry!! Now he's pissed and he starts chasing after you.
Ah ha....now he's the antagonist and he's running you down to have a few words with you about this. You might as well have just sneaked up behind him and hit him on the head with a hammer and turned and ran away as fast as you could without a chance to rebut or say "OUCH!! Hey. that hurts!!...what the hell do you think you're doing! You can't just sneak up on someone and hit them in the head and expect them to show you any empathy or compassion!! I'll show you! (or TEACH you a thing or two!! (Lecturing, flooding, scolding and teaching you a lesson. "I'll learn you!!! errrrrrr) Sound familiar? :)
This is the parent talking now to the child. He feels incredulous and just reversed roles on you. Actually...he didn't reverse roles at all....he was never the child to begin with and now he's doing the same thing you did. Taking on the parent role instead of your partner in retaliation to you doing this with him and in turn....is scolding you and making corrections to you. Tit for Tat!
But when he catches up to you...are you listening to any of this? Of course not. Your the one who's pissed in the first place and now he's pissed at you. What nerve!!! He sounds "haughty and arrogant" to you based on how you see yourself and him (as the child who would do such a thing) It is at the very least....condescending. Correct me if I'm wrong. Please?
Which in turn. You leave him standing there and not having a chance to say "why" he's angry since you clearly are not in the mood to listen. Now...he's pissed and he didn't get to express it to you or even say why?
Now he's here... I am moody, messy I get restless, I get senseless And you never seem to care.... And since he didn't get his two cents in to tell you why he feels disrespected, hurt and angry and you left him standing there with his mouth hanging open....what comes next? (it's too late to argue who's right and wrong here...two wrong's don't make a "right". But yet....everyone keeps trying to win this argument. Competitive? Why yes....it is. In reality... its an exercise in futility and hopelessness at that point and it will never be any different as long as both people play their part like this. Assault and defense (antagonist/perpetrator and Victim/Defensive alternatively...both people play both parts in turn. This is Co-Dependence right there.
One person cannot change this dynamic to make it stop. 'But they can nurture or encourage the other one away from it by not engaging in it however Eventually the one who changes it will be beaten down and fall back into it again if the other one never changes from it. That or they will just leave and go somewhere else. That is also inevitable.
But if they stay after putting up with this long enough and they fall back into the pattern again....the other one will go "Ah Ha...."SEE..there you go again! I was right after all....YOU were just faking it and trying to fool me weren't you?" This is not only suspicious sounding (where's the question here??????????? There isn't one. It's rhetorical and doesn't deserve and answer. It's also accusatory and paranoid at the same time. You, You, You!!!! )
The problem here....is the person on either side who says this is missing something (even if only for a moment and then snaps back into reality later)....What's missing in the moment (or completely if it's really that bad) is the part that they had to play that instigated and perpetuated this event and how that effected the other person. (Cause and Effect) It isn't compassionate or empathetic and is lying to yourself at the same time ie: Denial (even if momentarily).
So what comes next from your H when this happens and he's played his part or role in this dynamic?
Passive aggression. That anger has gotta go somewhere and if he can't express it to you directly....it'll come out behind your back.
And the cycle continues....again, and again and again.
Did the issues get discussed or any plan of ways to work together in finding a plan? No . All that happened was this and that is exactly the other side of this dysfunctional way of communicating together.
No wonder nothing ever changes? I thought I would fill in the other side to make this story complete. Like I said....no one is at fault but both people are to blame.
Submitted by Island-Girl23 on
Thanks so much for reading and responding to my post. I feel like you're bringing up really great points and if I'm understanding you correctly then yes, I have been in this place that you are describing in your comment post. What I was trying to communicate with you all was how my perception of my H has changed and due to the change in my perceptions, I feel like I'm not in this passive aggressive place that you are describing to me. As they say, perception is everything, right? I really feel like we are interpreting the lyrics in two completely different ways. It was a huge mistake to think that people would automatically understand how I, personally, interpret the lyrics. I really should have written about what the lyrics personally mean to me in the post. After I explain my interpretation of the song lyrics to you, I will edit the post and add it in.
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. I am not looking at the lyrics "you never seem to care" in a dismissive/passive aggressive way "pretending not to notice or pretending it doesn't bother them". I am interpreting the lyrics as meaning "you never seem to mind" or better yet, "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 to understand 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." = 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.
Things totally can change. c:
Thanks For Responding and the Feedback Island-Girl23
Submitted by kellyj on
I realized due to my impetuous nature.....I jumped ahead of myself a bit when I responded to you. (something new? are you kidding me! ha ) Despite my lack of prefacing the fact that yes...I understood you as you interpreted me and my lack of sensitively only reflects my inability in these areas at times in my communication with you. Credit here goes to you! lol
And no....was I no way implying that you are like this now but more in retrospect to the past as you said. My bad in this case in not being clearer. I was glad you responded to what I had noticed after the fact. Again.....good job at interpreting my communication...I was a bit confusing?
I'd like to bring up one thing that this has proven to me despite already being aware of this....your feedback not only reconfirms this too me but also tells me exactly what I need to watch out for. I think this could be a valuable tool for you too use with your husband as well. A second chance to make sense out of speaking impulsively and getting to the real heart of the matter even if he doesn't do this the first time when he talks? Possibly? If he is like me that is and jumps ahead in the conversation which does get confusing for everyone. I am very aware of it and it only takes me a few moments of slowing down to figure this out myself but many times....it's difficult to go back and correct myself after the fact when in person or trying to speak effectively "live" and in person. Your feedback is exactly what someone like myself needs in order to get clearly understood at times which it does sound like is a common problem for people with ADHD. Thank you for that:)
How I should have started out saying (eh hem).......Is that I commend you for coming to the place you are now and the work it must have taken to get there. I do understand the journey and I can imagine.....it has been a long and arduous one at times. If I read you correctly.....you are saying that you have come to learn the value in doing things differently than in the past and were expressing both your triumphs and your discoveries both at the same time. Kudos in every respect to you and the hard work you've put in.
That would have put things in the context better and then moved on to what I was actually thinking but as I tend to do.....jump right into and continue on with the same train of thought and carry that forward while omitting my thoughts along these lines to the ones I'm thinking next. Putting it into that context....I think what I said might be more relevant to the things you were saying by filling in those blanks and making myself more clear thinking in terms of the future and ways to problem solve and find better solutions.
In my ass backwards way of thinking and then communicating at times (moving starting from the end of the story to the beginning)...and without acknowledging your personal contributions and feelings about the song lyrics before I launched in (as I do;) when I get excited about these discoveries....I can say without hesitation that my unbridled enthusiasm can be own worst enemy at times when I get ahead of myself and don't communicate well. (with best intentions of course) lol
I did make an assumption that from the things that you said....that you have found that these things are working for you and you've discovered that they actually do work? (if I understand you correctly?) My excitement when I hear someone like yourself coming to these things and then coming to the same understandings of why they do is so encouraging to me and it gives me a great deal of respect for what you have accomplished to date. I do hope you continue on the path your on because I think you are headed in the right direction. I saying this based on the same things I have discovered which is kind of where I started when I was attempting to further examine these situations we find ourselves in and hoping to avoid the same problems in conflicted areas you might have found yourself in the past.
In context to what I just said (and should have to begin with)....I was taking this to the next step and offering an objective look at what I see from my own journey of discovery.
And just so you know.....Melissa's seminar class that I am currently taking part in has helped my wife and I find the some of the sources these our communication break down and this is one of them for me. It seems so often....we really are talking about the same thing together but arriving there differently and sometimes not at the same time? I've found sometimes I am ahead of her....and sometimes I'm behind. This in itself is the only problem we find ourselves in since mostly we've discovered that we really don't have that many areas where we disagree about things....but coming to those understandings in the first place seems more of a problem more often that not! Feedback is a very insightful tool and it's much appreciated.
And yes you are right about one thing....peoples interpretations of music and songs are quite distinctly different. I'm not familiar with the song so I did take the words at face value out of context except you did say it was personal to you and your H and that was the part that I skipped over and taking those words to apply it to something that I really don't believe was your intention for including it. Not so much trying to read into the words but looking at them from a different perspective from a literal point of view. An alternative meaning I guess not just being contrary?
I think this is so relevant to what I think we are both trying to say? A person can see something differently but without being sure of how someone else might interpret what you say.....the other person will also not understand how you feel as well.
In respect to you here.....I'm a fixer and problem solver by nature....it's the first place my mind goes to and then jumps to how I feel or any opinion I might have later. Unfortunately....even if critical thinking works well in this way to find answers or solutions in a positive way....it still involves looking at the positive by subtracting the negatives to get there. This may all be good and fine but....it still involves talking about the negative parts which can get pretty confusing if someone else is not on the same page with you at the same time. I see this now much more clearly than I ever did before and you helped point this out once again. It is the thing I am trying to pay more attention too and working hard to correct:)
I hope I didn't offend you by dismissing your feelings in my response and I am sorry if I did? Thanks for posting this and all the things you said in it. It really is encouraging and gives me a lot of hope.
Thank you...keep it coming
Submitted by LateDiagnosis on
i am so glad that you've written the 2nd installment. This is therapeutic for me to read. I think you've started to shine light on your side, which I feel will help others in the same boat as I am as the ADHD partner. I believe that once you get to more of your side of things, I will, as will others like me, have a better insight into what we've been subjecting and dragging our partners through.
ive been lucky and have a counselor who is the non-ADHD partner, but who is very good at helping with dealing with ADHD, almost from the standpoint that she has it too. She has met with my wife and tried to give her a glimpse into my world (albeit it futile because she didn't want to be told she could be wrong) so that we could work to repair our relationship.
I, again, eagerly await the follow up! THANK YOU AGAIN!
It's Attachment Theory LateDiagnosis
Submitted by kellyj on
I too have been fortunate enough to have a councilor who is familiar with this. He actually...as he says, has a "touch" of ADD and is more introverted instead of extroverted like me. That's not to say he appears like a book worm librarian type....he is very outgoing and engaging to say the least...but that's not what the definition actually means....it's more what's going on in the inside than the outside. You can't always judge a book by it's cover as they say. He also has a son with ADHD (surprise? not so much! ha ha)
His professional opinion and stand on this entire relationship dynamic process he has made very clear to me in no uncertain terms which says "ADHD is not the cause or the source of this dynamic even if there seems to be a more common "One" or "Two" that seem to be the "most common". Which means they are the ones that seemed to more often observed and documented with people who have ADHD. These dynamics are relationship ones. That means.....two people always have to be in interaction with each other in every given case. If you want to find your answers or figure out what the REAL problem is....Attachment theory and relationship "Styles" are where you should be looking."
And before I say anything else.....EVERYONE has a relationship "style" whether it be unhealthy or not. Healthy is considered "secure attachment" and unhealthy or damaging is considered all the others. But because it's "dynamic" ( or in motion and is moving and changing) even a secure attached individual will default to acting in "insecure" or "unhealthy" ways themselves when paired with an "insecure attached" individual. The feeling of "losing yourself" means....you are no longer secure even if you weren't that way to begin with. If you've lost yourself along the way....you are not acting like you did before and are now just as much to blame for continuing on the path you're on as the person who was less "secure" in this way as you were. Or vise versa.
This is not a DISORDER!!! I repeat..NOT!!! There are "attachment disorders" and are extreme and very rare. The level of those kinds of disorders come from things that are way out of the norm! Having different attachment styles or even insecure ones are not only common....but prevalent in everyone at different times for different reasons. It is part of the human condition and is part of being human to be this way to a certain degree. The matter of degree is what makes the determination and of when it becomes a problem in your life...it just means it's time to do something different. You can change a "insecure attachment" to a "secure one" and anyone can do this barring something else involved. It just takes some work and effort to do it and getting some help like it sounds that you are doing.
Within the theory itself...that means, your wife HAS to do it too especially if she didn't start out being "secure" herself. Both people have to do the work if they both have "insecure" or unhealthy "attachment styles" which most people could stand a little work anyway no matter how secure you think you are. It can't hurt but it might make you a little depressed. Thinking.....pretty much a given at least for a little while:) But after that....it only gets better.
An example here from this thread alone. As you know....ADHD makes you impulsive at times.(me too) "Impulsive" is not "compulsive" and Neurotic if you understand the difference? Neither is "impulsive"..."reactionary"....... even though all of these things can be easily confused as being similar of one in the same looking at it from the outside.
Taking this a step further....if you have a tendency to be emotional libel....IF you do react to something emotionally....it might be less controlled as someone who isn't this way. Okay...that in itself did not cause you to react...but it's still a problem albeit, a different one or in addition to being reactionary. You don't just self implode or self combust sitting in a vacuum despite being emotionally libel!. You don't just go off for no reason and whether it's founded on solid ground or not has everything to do with Attachment Theory and really nothing to do with ADHD or being emotionally libel. It's not Schizophrenia and you hear voices coming from your dog telling you to go kill people at random out of paranoid delusions?
In other words....ADHD may be symptomatic with emotionality and impulse but your cognition and conscious and unconscious thinking and thoughts are where these things come into play. This is true for everyone ADHD or not. As my T explained it to me......ADHD is like adding nutmeg to the dish and flavors it a bit differently than without it. It has it's own unique flavor that differs from other ingredients. But the dish itself in this respect....is not the dish itself....attachment theory is.
So if that's the case....focusing on the ADHD as the source for you problems in your relationships is looking under the wrong rock in trying to find those answers even though it is the cause for many annoyances that really ARE the nutmeg in the soup. If that makes sense. Nutmeg in soup? That falls more under the category of personal taste or preference I think? Either you learn to like it or you don't....but it doesn't mean that it's not "soup" with or without it? lol
Think of the first time you ever tasted Alcohol? I remember and I spit it out immediately! yuck!!! Some may still feel this way....others (myself included) find that they got over that part and can enjoy a drink and the effect it has on you once you get past the taste initially? I still prefer a milk shake over a drink if I want something that only tastes good. (but actually, both can be pretty good mixed together too :)
If you want to look up more about this yourself. I found one site ( out or many!!! on the internet) that I enjoyed and think it provided some really good examples as a means to start seeing what combination of "attachment styles" you have in comparison to your wife and then seeing the combination together to help sort this all out.
I am glad to hear that this helped you as well the same as it has for me. It might be a good topic to discuss with your councilor if you haven't done so already. It's a BIG topic and requires some time to absorb and then go back and keep revisiting it again just to get a better understanding of it. That's the work you have to do or you will soon forget about it (as I have) and then keep going back again until it really sinks in and you begin to see it on your own without anyone there to help you see it anymore. I am just know seeing the light and have a long way to go!! lol
I also found this on the same site talking about domestic violence. It highlights the "dynamic" by showing it in an extreme form. (I found the best way to see these things and then apply them to yourself to show you the same thing you're doing even to a lessor degree. "You" as in the two of you) It's still abusive but only to say....that the lines between victim and abuser are not as clear as you might think? (antagonist vs victim and who really is the abuser?) Severity on either side does not release you from responsibility of your part. That is....the "How" doesn't necessary trump the "why"....it only shows which one is worse on a one time basis. Not only not fair but in complete denial of the truth.
I think the article show this perfectly and I personally agree with it 100%. There is a video that was taken off of YouTube that was suppose to accompany it...so I included it in a separate link below since it is one of the examples that he was using to show this very thing. It is enlightening to say the least.
Hello again LD
Submitted by Island-Girl23 on
I'm so glad you liked this post and that it's been helpful for you in whatever way. Like I said in my post, I don't really plan out what I'm going to say but since I'm telling my true story, I do have a good idea of what I want to say in each post. I have a good idea about the "outline" of where I'm going with this, but I don't preplan the words. I'm just letting it flow, trying to get each "step" of my story across to everyone (who chooses to read my posts.) I did want to jump right into my side, my feelings, and what I specifically did to find happiness within myself and in my relationship with my partner as he is - BUT learning that I had this "feeling of entitlement" was actually one of the MAJOR milestones that brought me to the happy place that I am in today. My husband says that he is very happy nowadays too. c: With that said, the way my story goes, me remembering or bringing up all the things my partner put me through wasn't a huge part of my personal breakthrough. I kind of had to push that off to the side, push through my fears, and focus/take care of myself. So I'm not 100% sure that I will be speaking too much about what my husband put me through. I could be wrong, though. We shall see.
Hi LateDiagnosis...Human = Wrong...LOL
Submitted by c ur self on
(albeit it futile because she didn't want to be told she could be wrong)
I laughed when I read this statement...because I know exactly what it's like to be in your wife's head...Experience can be a cruel task master! If we allow it alone to teach us, we can really get locked in on what is good or evil TO US, over our life time...Sadly when we put all our eggs in the one basket of our own reality, we can miss so much opportunity to grow and expand ourselves...It becomes easy to turn a deaf ear (pain causes it) after a while. I would encourage you to be patient and not give up on your wife....After so many failed attempts to communicate it can seem hopeless, no matter how much we would love for things to be different...(A different we can accept and understand).
In my own marriage I'm learning ( not putting words in her mouth, but, I believe she might say the same if asked) it will more than likely never be what She or I would like for it to be. I think this is true for most marriages where there isn't much commonality, adhd or not...But, there can be a healthy reality for the two of us if we can just accept and respect each other's "uniqueness."
If your wife can't tell your uniqueness
Submitted by dedelight4 on
A question: If your wife can't even SEE or understand your "uniqueness" due to her ADHD, I'd like to ask how can she accept "who" YOU are? or doesn't that matter to you anymore? just asking. As I've seen in my husband, he doesn't THINK about me and hasn't for a long time, if ever, because he's so wrapped up in his OWN mind. Jay seems to be very unique here, as a person who tries very hard to understand himself and his wife, as well as Melissa's husband, but by and large, it doesn't seem to be something many ADHD persons are willing or capable of doing.
So, do you think it boils down to both people totally living separate lives, and sort of "passing" in the night (so to speak)? The relationship IS very lopsided, and as hard as it is to have ADHD, they can't know how difficult it is to live with them, and yet they feel "sorry" for themselves for not getting what they "want". I admire your striving for selflessness, and it's an inspiration. It's also sad, because I know at times you have to feel lonely, and just "want to be heard" and appreciated by your wife. We all do, and it's hard when your spouse either can't or won't acknowledge their marriage partner. It makes it very hard for BOTH people.
Good morning DeDe....
Submitted by c ur self on
In my experience adhd doesn't blind our spouses or us from seeing the effort that is being put into our relationships, and the chores of daily life.... If a person is so overwhelmed by add or some other mental or physical issues, then I would describe it only as permanent limits...These are or real issues and need to be dealt with appropriately by all parties effected...
To answer your question, I think my wife is limited in awareness, because of many things, (Independence, being offended by the word submission and faulty priorties to name a few) and her add being only fuel on the fire, so to speak...
If you take your husband's hand and kindly tell him...I need affection from you...Or I'm starved for affection from you...At that point unless he is in a coma or a sleep he knows!...If he doesn't summit to his responsibilities at that point it hasn't anything to do w/ adhd....
Now I can't be so prideful as to not realize I have to communicate this openly and in a non-threatening way....Assumption is definitely the enemy of any relationship, esp...in a mind filled w/ distraction, and hyper-focus.
Something I have to watch out for in my life is when it comes to personal pain...It is so easy to make stands and have fixed opinions or even Disrespectful Judgments of others....Which makes me the Judge, Jury, and executioner....
You are right; when both parties do not give due diligence to their own responsibilties with in a marriage of two being one..The product isn't usually the desired one....
(So, do you think it boils down to both people totally living separate lives, and sort of "passing" in the night (so to speak)?
What's the alternative? I can only be fit for a relationship when I am living a stable life as an individual first... If I am able to bring a healthy love, stability, honesty and be attentive to the responsibilities of life and to my marriage partner, then I've done all with in my power to do....Any effort past that drifts off into the illusion of control and I've been there and it only took me where I didn't want to go....
I will take your need to a place where there is no limits...Blessings...
Cultivating Our Own Garden
Submitted by Delphine on
Very interesting thread which I have just read through, want to comment on this:
" DeDe: (So, do you think it boils down to both people totally living separate lives, and sort of "passing" in the night (so to speak)?
C: What's the alternative? I can only be fit for a relationship when I am living a stable life as an individual first... If I am able to bring a healthy love, stability, honesty and be attentive to the responsibilities of life and to my marriage partner, then I've done all with in my power to do....Any effort past that drifts off into the illusion of control and I've been there and it only took me where I didn't want to go...."
I think you are very wise, C. Really, all we can do is cultivate our OWN garden. Trying to control others is an exercise in futility. I think this is an important lesson for many of us in relationship, and not just with ADHDers. I too have been there and done that. I hope I've learned my lesson there by now! If we are doing the best we can in our own sphere of influence, we are doing enough. Here's a quote I like on this subject: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/96194142017497317/
A Breath of Spring
Submitted by ADH9er on
What a refreshing read. I,a 'Journeying' ADHD husband, have enormous respect for your insights. With all my heart I hope your Journey Blossoms and bears much fruit in your relationship. And even more I pray that your spouse can recognize his blessings, in you, and will be invigorated to be equally attuned to Gifting you.
I know that this Forum can be a place for us to commiserate our injury & desperate suffering with the desire to glean wisdom, healing and Hope, You, dear Island-Girl23, are a harbinger of Hope.
Submitted by Island-Girl23 on
Thank you so much for you very kind, very sweet, and encouraging words. My husband is so WONDERFUL! He makes me feel so amazing, so at ease, and so so LOVED. Although neither of us are where we want to be in other parts of our lives (let's say career wise), we are very happy on our journey together as a couple and as a family. I feel so blessed and my hubby tells me that he feels the same way. Thanks again A. c:
WOW, just WOW
Submitted by ADHD_Highway_to... on
Well, from an ADHDer perspective, this was a true breath of fresh air. . . . I wish my DW would have such an epiphany. . . . . thank you for saying what you did because this is what people like me want to hear - that we're people who at least deserve basic human dignity.
I have baited breath!
Submitted by MusicLvr528 on
Submitted by Island-Girl23 on
Thanks so much for following my threads. I'm sorry that it's been some time since I've posted here.I am working on part three now and hope to have it up soon. c:
Submitted by Zapp10 on
It is amazing to me where I am now as compared to 7 months ago, when I "hit" the wall after 7 years of WTH is going on?
Discovering this forum/site was a "lifeline" as I was losing strength "treading water".
For me, choosing to separate became a "hopefully" marriage saving course of action. Did I think it would be when I made that decision?......no. I seriously was being selfish trying to save me. But the journey that ensued was life changing in more ways than I could have dreamed. Putting distance between me and the "tension" was obviously much needed in order to "breathe". Once I could breathe I could "think" more clearly and once that happened I found the courage to look at myself,myH, marriage and life......and I wasn't OVERWHELMED letting this process begin. I often said my H was "white knuckling" his way through life....well, well, well ..so was I...AND...I discovered it was not ALL because of him.(like I didn't know). The ADD WAS wrecking havoc! I believe for me, I HAD to get out and away from the situation with no expectation of where it would lead. The opportunity to "leave" had never been there before (no money, no place to go, animals that were my responsibility etc) Was there divine intervention at work that the apartment we fixed up upstairs in our home vacated? I'LL TAKE IT!!!
We are progressing....s.l.o.w.l.y but it is PROGRESS! Will it have a "happy" ending? Yes it will...HOWEVER, it goes. I think what I am trying to say is ..our being apart gave way to the dust being able to settle. And yes H did not like that I left at all....but I WAS SERIOUS about the situation EVEN though HE could not grasp that there was "really any problem". With this passage of months H is coming to understand the ADD a little more.
I learned to not overreact, not engage(negatively) and not expect.....which was HARD. But in doing this I realized that I needed to not do this with others as well! In other words, I "toned" myself down. Now this doesn't mean I became someone I wasn't....in fact ...I found it was who I had become in reaction to ...ADD? I am still cheerful, fun and "out there" but I am more"in check" of myself. Isn't that what I want from my ADD H ?
I can so identify with the frustration and despair....we try everything, we don't WANT to make mistakes. What one does may not work for another. My take on this......you do what you do. If it ends up good....great. If it doesn't ...ok, THAT didn't work....pick yourself up and MOVE to the next step....what ever you think/see that being. BUT until you "see" both sides to your situation, to the very best of your ability, you will not be good with decisions you make. You can't force "responsibility" for actions on anyone but you. Stepping back is essential and HARD when you have done it for TOO long.
I am not advocating "separating". I am saying you have to look at all the possibilities........even the ones you do not want to.
For me, it has been eye opening and considering I am not 30, 40 or 50 anymore I am not WASTING my time anymore trying to FIX other" things" until I FIX me. It is amazing what becomes priority and what doesn't....
As always I look forward to the insight of SO many people here. Even if I am not posting.....I AM here.....a work in progress.....good days and bad.
Great news Zapp10
Submitted by Delphine on
Your post gives me a lot of food for thought! I've been advocating separation here (when it seems we are out of other options--as in your case, it doesn't have to mean the end of relationship), and glad to see it's been productive for you.
Like this especially: "I learned to not overreact, not engage(negatively) and not expect.....which was HARD. But in doing this I realized that I needed to not do this with others as well! In other words, I "toned" myself down. Now this doesn't mean I became someone I wasn't....in fact ...I found it was who I had become in reaction to ...ADD? I am still cheerful, fun and "out there" but I am more"in check" of myself. Isn't that what I want from my ADD H ?"
Working on those things too...whether in relation to ADHD or all on my ownsome! :)
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks again IG for sharing
Submitted by Tylo on
Thanks again IG for sharing your story. It's certainly given me a new way to look at things - not sure I can bring myself to fully adopt your approach but a new perspective is always helpful and I admire your honesty with your own feelings and motivations.
If you don't mind I'd like to share some of my own story that relates and also question the things I'm having trouble taking on board. Please don't take this as criticism. I think it's fantastic you as a couple have found a way forward and I'm really looking forward to reading part 3. I suppose I just want to pick your brains a bit (and those of others on here) in the hope I can get over some of our stumbling blocks and find a way forward.
Firstly, I'm not sure you should feel shame for your previous actions. Should someone feel shame for being upset/angry/frustrated when someone else continually hurts them? It seems your actions were the result of you trying to avoid the hurt your partner was causing you.
I kinda understand what you're saying about not feeling entitled to anything and not wanting your partner to feel obligated to do things. But when you're partner doesn't do those things of their own free will, although they tell you they love you, how is that not hurtful. You say you shouldn't feel entitled to anything but don't you look at other couples and see what they do for each other and feel somehow cheated, for lack of a better word? When you willingly do things to make your partner happy and it isn't reciprocated , how do you bring yourself to accept that and still feel happy and loved?
In the early days of our relationship, many years ago, this was the case. After a few months I brought it up. Although I was madly in love with her, and her with me, I felt taken for granted as it was always me making an effort to do things. We had no idea about ADD at the time but looking back the problems were very typical. It didn't help that I was somewhat insecure with girls as it was but when her mind would wander off as I was talking, or she wouldn't come home for hours and I had no idea where she was (before the days of cell phones), it broke down the trust between us very quickly. Funnily enough, in the many times we have spent apart, we often get along very well. Which of course is why we always ended up getting back together. I think your theory of entitlement goes right to the heart of this. When we aren't 'together', we have no expectations of each other. We just appreciate whatever the other gives. I often say to friends, she makes a great girlfriend but a lousy wife because she's always up for anything, is easy-going and fun to be around but when it comes to taking responsibility for anything or doing things that are tedious or mundane she really struggles. Unfortunately much of raising children involves these things and it is them that I feel are suffering the most. I don't know if I can accept in my heart your idea that you shouldn't feel entitled to some things from your partner. I know you're not obliged to clean their mess but unless you want to live with it, what choice do you have?
Anyway, again my thanks for sharing and I'm interested to read part 3 to see how you have integrated not feeling entitled with still getting what you need out of your relationship.
Hi Tylo c:
Submitted by Island-Girl23 on
I don't take anything you've said as criticism, I don't see anything "negative" in what you've written. Thank you for reading my posts and for asking some really great questions. I've asked myself the same questions and I will share with you the answers that I've come up with. I hope this helps.
"Firstly, I'm not sure you should feel shame for your previous actions. Should someone feel shame for being upset/angry/frustrated when someone else continually hurts them? It seems your actions were the result of you trying to avoid the hurt your partner was causing you."
While I understand WHY I ended up mistreating my partner - I do feel quite ashamed for my previous actions. I think it's a normal way to feel once you realize all of the hurt you've caused another person - especially one you claim to love. This post is not about making myself out to be "the bad guy" in the relationship. It's about owning up to my wrongs and not making "exceptions" for myself. I used to think in the way of, "Well, what do you expect when you treat me so bad?" "I'm just sticking up for myself."etc. But no matter what the REASONS were that "caused" me to treat my husband so bad - it did NOT make it right. The truth is, if I discovered that it wasn't possible for me to treat my partner with love and respect, it would be best for me to walk away.
In my opinion, all feelings are VALID - it's okay to feel the way we feel for whatever reason - or even for no reason at all. I feel that it's very important to be able to express myself freely and openly - including feelings of anger, hurt, disappointment etc. - but being upset, hurt, or angry DOES NOT give me a free pass to mistreat my partner or anyone else for that matter. Am I saying that I NEVER mistreat my guy? No, I'm not saying that at all. I still "lose my cool" at times. What matters is that I apologize for my wrongs, learn from my mistakes, and keep moving forward. I don't hang on to guilt.
"But when you're partner doesn't do those things of their own free will, although they tell you they love you, how is that not hurtful."
The problem is when we need things from others in order to feel loved. It's very easy to feel loved by other people when you love yourself completely. When we have "low levels" of self-love, though, we need so much PROOF that we are loved by others...we want to see the EVIDENCE and so we begin to think in the ways of, "If you loved me you would do this." "If you really cared about me, you would do that." and so on. And because we need so much "proof" - it's very difficult for us to feel loved at all. Nowadays, I love myself SO MUCH that while I absolutely LOVE and APPRECIATE when my partner does this or that for me --I don't need him to do things for me in order to feel loved - I know he loves me regardless of how he acts.
People who love each other hurt each other all the time but it doesn't mean that they don't love one another...For example, I hurt my husband very much FOR YEARS by the way that I treated him - but it didn't mean that I didn't love him, quite the contrary - I love him with all my heart. And because I understand this of myself, I understand that although my partner HURT ME very much throughout our relationship together - it does NOT mean that he didn't or doesn't love me. Learning TO love someone is one thing, but learning HOW to love is one of the greatest lessons of all IMO - I truly believe that the best way to learn how to do this is by first, learning to love OURSELVES. When we learn to love ourselves, not only does it make it easier to FEEL loved by others but it also makes it easier for other people to SHOW YOU that they love you as well because... we teach people how to treat us by the way that we treat ourselves.
"You say you shouldn't feel entitled to anything but don't you look at other couples and see what they do for each other and feel somehow cheated, for lack of a better word?"
I did feel cheated in the past. But I now feel that the reasons WHY couples treat each other the way they do matters more than anything. Most couples go out for dinner on Valentines Day, for example, but many do it out of "obligation", they do it because they think they have to or feel like they're supposed to, or because they are trying to avoid an argument. It's really supposed to be about wanting to spend time with one another and enjoying each others company, <-- so if that's not the case when it comes to me and my man, then I'd rather have nothing at all. Now, when it comes to the couples who do sweet things with each other and for one another because they WANT to, because it makes them HAPPY to do so - there's no reason to feel jealous or to feel cheated. They are simply showing me what I would like to have (what I want) and it's something to strive for. It makes me wonder about why my partner wouldn't want to do such things with/for me...and makes me wonder about what I could do to INSPIRE that want/desire within him.
When you willingly do things to make your partner happy and it isn't reciprocated , how do you bring yourself to accept that and still feel happy and loved?
It's hard for me to answer this question without typing out a brand new discussion post but I will try my best. The thing is - we cannot make anyone happy. We can only contribute to the happiness of other people. Happiness comes from within. To explain what I mean by this, try to imagine a time when you were feeling down and out, depressed even - perhaps someone you love passed away, or maybe you were going through a terrible breakup, or you lost a job and didn't know how you were going to make it through the next month etc. A friend may come along and try to cheer you up, make you laugh, take you out for a night on the town etc. At best, your friend's attempts to cheer you up MAY have helped for a moment but what happens as soon as the joke ends and the laugh is over? What happens once your friend goes home? What happens when you lay your head down at night alone in the dark? All those painful feelings resurface as if they never left...because they never really did. Your friend didn't have any power to make you any happier than you already were... But if you are ALREADY happy and your friend comes along with a joke, or invites you out somewhere...what happens? You feel even HAPPIER right? And those feelings linger on even after your friend goes home for the evening (they added on to your happiness). Point being, no one can make us happy - they can only add on to the happiness we already have within. If we depend on others to make us happy - it becomes their job and their responsibility to keep us happy & whenever we are UNhappy- it becomes their fault....We become entitled and demanding - there is no "free will" involved for our partners in situations like this.
So when you say, "when you willingly do things to make your partner happy and it isn't reciprocated..." First off, I now know that there's nothing that I can do to make my partner happy and that there's nothing that HE can do to make me happy either, we can only CONTRIBUTE to or ADD ON to the happiness that we already hold within ourselves as individuals. I don't do anything to "make" my partner happy. If he's unhappy - it has nothing to do with me and it's not my job to fix it for him (vice versa). Secondly, I don't give anything to my partner because I'm looking to GET something of "equal value" in return. I give because I want to and because it makes me happy to do so.
Do I hope that what I do for him contributes to his happiness? OF COURSE, I do! But I don't do sweet, loving, or caring things for him with strings attached. There is no debt to be repaid. If/when my partner does sweet/loving things for me, I do not feel as though I have to "match" him, either. Feelings of happiness and love are NOT dependent upon other people, they are entirely dependent upon ourselves. When we get these things from ourselves, it's EASY to feel, feelings of happiness/love from other people.
How do I accept it when my husband DOESN'T do sweet/loving things for me and still feel happy and loved anyway? My partner doesn't have to prove his love to me. I simply know he loves me. When he doesn't do sweet things for me, I don't assume it's because he doesn't love me (the way I used to), I assume that the reason he's not giving to me is because he doesn't have much to give during that period of time. He needs to focus on himself, restore his self-love and find happiness within himself first BEFORE he's able to give anything at all to me. <- Otherwise he'd only be "giving" to me in order to GET from me, which is not giving at all because giving is FREE.
I definitely feel like you understand what I was trying to explain about entitlements. In my third post, I spoke a bit about child-rearing and house cleaning and things like that so I feel like it would be better to talk about those sorts of issues after you've read part 3. I'll be writing a part 4 soon (which will hopefully be the last part of this series) where I will explain how I "get what I want" from my partner and I'll talk about how I deal with being angry/upset/hurt by my partner as well.
Thanks so much for the
Submitted by Tylo on
Thanks so much for the detailed response, there's a lot there to take in. Part of me was starting to wonder as I read if you're a real 'ordinary' person because your attitude seems almost saintly - dalai lama-like. You're certainly a stronger person emotionally than I.
You say you don't need proof your partner loves you, you simply know he does. I'm a big believer in actions speaking louder than words and in believing what I can see and understand for myself rather than what others tell me. With no actions to demonstrate love, then what is 'love'? How do you know it even exists or if it's gone, if there are no actions to show it was ever there? Someone can tell you how they feel but you can't feel their feelings so if the actions don't match the words how do you believe? It seems a religious sort of faith in your partner is required. That said, I did eventually come to the conclusion that my partner loves me, or at least did once, but that she just wasn't capable of showing it in the usual ways or the ways I needed. A realisation that unfortunately came after much damage had been done on both sides.
On making another person happy vs adding to their happiness, I'm not sure I see the difference or if it really matters. I'm also not sure I agree. If I'm feeling down and a friend does something to pick me up, I think some of that feeling stays after the friend leaves. Knowing that others care for you, even if they're not right next to you in bed, gives a sense of comfort and security. It's certainly much harder to deal with tough times when you feel like you're on your own and no-one really cares. I feel some of your ideas on this contradict each other. You say if your partner is unhappy it has nothing to do with you but you acknowledge feeling shame for things you have done that have caused your partner pain. Surely we are responsible for our actions and the consequences of them on those around us? Your attitude to happiness - that there's nothing anyone can do to make another person happy - seems to absolve everyone of any responsibility towards each other. To me it's saying, we're all free to behave any way we want and it shouldn't make anyone else unhappy because their happiness is their responsibility alone. If this is indeed what you mean, it sounds very buddhist and I'm not sure why anyone would ever get married at all. Having said that, I will certainly be giving a lot more thought to your philosophy on this.
On other couples having what you (and I assume just about everyone else on here) wants, you say 'it makes me wonder about why my partner wouldn't want to do such things with/for me'. I wonder what answers you come up with in your wondering because it's that same wondering that was the beginning of the end for me. Why should we have to strive for or try to inspire demonstrations of caring from our partners? I assume the answer from them would be that they're trying but their ADD makes it difficult. Now I don't expect a blind person to see simply by trying but if they are offerred a guide dog and refuse it, instead relying on you to help them, you would question where they're interests lay. I understand change can be scary at times but surely they can see the damage they're doing to they're loved ones. My apologies for digressing, I seem to have gone away from what you have said and instead into a bit of venting. : /
Another thought I had on entitlements and obligations - do our children have the right to feel entitled to certain things from their parents? After all these years I've come to expect hurtful actions from my wife and have slowly become mostly immune (of course the side effect of that is I also no longer care when she does something good because I've learnt over and over again that getting my hopes up always leads to more pain for me) but it's the things she does that have a negative effect on our children that really get to me now. Are they solely responsible for their own happiness too? You want to love your partner as he is without requiring him to change, which sounds very noble, but what about the harm to the children? Who protects their interests?
I have read part 3 and have some thoughts on that but don't want to go on for too long so I'll leave that for another post. I hope I'm not coming across as attacking you or your way of thinking. I can be argumentative by nature and I think it's only by questioning ideas that you can truly understand them and then decide for yourself what you believe. I think you've done an excellent job of explaining yourself and it's only that I respect your opinion that I question.
Submitted by Island-Girl23 on
"Someone can tell you how they feel but you can't feel their feelings so if the actions don't match the words how do you believe?"
Actions in themselves do not demonstrate love. A person who doesn't love you could do all the things for you that you wish your wife would do -- but it doesn't mean it's love. Love is a feeling, a connection, a bond. There is a difference between being loved and feeling loved. For example, many TEENAGERS go through phases of not feeling loved by their parents - this does not mean that their parents don't love them, though, does it? It's not a religious faith, it's just learning from my own experience and learning from myself. Do you act lovingly towards your partner and towards all the people who you love in your life, ALL THE TIME? Of course not, none of us do. So why is it okay for you, but it's not okay for your wife? If you know she loves you but she is not showing it, it's probably because she needs some self-love - she needs to take care of herself - same goes for you. Instead of focusing your energy on trying to get someone else to make you happy and treat you well - why not focus that energy on making yourself happy and treating yourself well?
"Knowing that others care for you, even if they're not right next to you in bed, gives a sense of comfort and security."
Yes, it does make hard times easier when we have other people to support us - but still they are only adding to your happiness. When you're sad and a friend tries to cheer you up, you are only slightly happier (happy that your friend cares) and still very much sad (about the thing that caused your sadness). Nobody can take those feelings away for you. You don't go from depressed to joyful just because a friend spends the day with you. We must work through our own feelings ourselves - which was the point.
"You say if your partner is unhappy it has nothing to do with you but you acknowledge feeling shame for things you have done that have caused your partner pain."
Everyone has the ability to hurt others, to cause pain, this is true. We are all responsible for our own actions - therefore, I feel ashamed for my past mistakes (never mind the fact that when we hurt others we also hurt ourselves). At the same time, we are all responsible for taking care of ourselves and making sure that we are happy in life. My husband cannot say, "I am miserable because of my wife." <- No, if you stay in a situation where you are miserable and if you allow people to mistreat you, then it's your own fault that you are unhappy and it's your job to fix it.
"To me it's saying, we're all free to behave any way we want and it shouldn't make anyone else unhappy because their happiness is their responsibility alone."
Here's the thing - we ARE all free to behave any way we want. Our actions may or may not make other people unhappy - but it's THEIR JOB to do something about it.
I'm just going to ignore your Buddhist remarks.
"Why should we have to strive for or try to inspire demonstrations of caring from our partners?"
You don't have to do anything - neither does your wife. Think back to when you first met your wife, how you treated her, how she treated you...Why did your wife treat you in those ways? What was it about you that attracted her? How are you different now vs. then? Trying to FORCE people into caring about you is the fastest way to push them away. People don't do things for you because of "who you are" or they role you are supposed to play in their life (Husband, Father, Brother etc.), they do things because they want to, because it feels good for them to do so, because they feel connected to you etc...
"Do our children have the right to feel entitled to certain things from their parents?"
Of course, they do. As I've said, all feelings are valid - we can feel however we want to feel for any reason or for no reason at all. Now, will those entitled feelings do them any good? I doubt it.
"Are they solely responsible for their own happiness too?"
There is a huge difference between adults and children. Adults are fully responsible for themselves while children are not. When it comes to being responsible for their own happiness, children, especially younger children, are MUCH better at keeping themselves happy than adults are but NO, I wouldn't say that children are entirely responsible for their own happiness.
"You want to love your partner as he is without requiring him to change, which sounds very noble, but what about the harm to the children?"
It's not noble - it's just love. When it comes to harm to the children -- how are your current actions, behaviors, and treatments towards your wife helping the relationship between your wife and your children? I'm guessing, it's not. I know that in my situation, the way I treated my husband added MORE harm onto our children, it didn't take any of it away. Choosing to love him, choosing to see the good in him, and choosing to TREAT HIM as if he were a good person/parent only HELPED our situation. I don't know your life or what's going on in your family so I cannot say that I know what's best because I don't. I can only speak from my own experience.
"Who protects their interests?"
The way that I worked through this issue was thinking about what I COULD do to "protect" my children. The answer that I came up with was... unless I was willing to keep the children away from their father altogether, there was NOTHING that I could do to protect them from him. And hypothetically speaking, there's a fat chance that the courts would allow me to have full custody of our girls with NO visitation rights for my husband (since he's not a violent criminal or whatever.) So really what could I do to "protect them" from him? He's going to be a part of their lives regardless of the way I treat him. So I had to decide if the way I treated him was HARMING or HELPING.
Another thing I thought about was --> Is keeping the children away from their father even "protecting them" at all? A lot of harm has been caused in the name of "protection." If I chose to keep my children away from their father, they may grow up to resent ME and feel that I'm the one who damaged them...Thier father may emotionally hurt them, he may disappoint them, he may CONFUSE them (I mean all parents do though, don't they?) But unless they are in SERIOUS danger, who am I to take their father away from them? All parents cause pain to their children even when they are doing their BEST. Our best is all we have to offer and yet, for the most part, children love their parents just the same. They may not LIKE them very much at after a certain point...but the love is still there.
As parents, we wish our children could live perfect lives where they never get hurt or sick. We just want them to be filled with happiness all the time. But it IS okay to let them fall and to scrape their knees and it IS okay for them to FEEL, to hurt - we cannot prevent these things from happening and in many cases, WE SHOULDN'T. What we can do for them, though, is help them through the pain. For example, when it comes to my children and their relationship with their father, I like to ask them questions, I try to get them to open up, I encourage them to express themselves, and I even encourage them to talk to their father themselves about their feelings/issues/questions etc.
Submitted by Delphine on
Tylo, just on a hunch, I thought I'd share this post from J Jamieson on vulnerability, which I saved to my files because I think it's a keeper. And the advice there is much in sync with IslandGirl's.
Excerpt that I think is particularly apropos here:
The answer for a person with ADHD coming from what we need? To trust you, for you to love us and believe you will still be there tomorrow despite all of the issues you face with being with us. If you were to try and not do something to set these gears in motion that trigger denial and defense from us....give us your faith and reassurance and treat us like you like us. Not just love us.....but you like who we are and you like being with us. You can like someone and treat them better than the people you love. Ain't that the truth
So is you took what I just said....even if you don't feel this way for now.....if you were to do anything along the lines of manipulation of sorts....try not to show displeasure for a while even though you dont feel like it...and replace it with approval, reassurance and lots of validation and see what happens if you can pull this off without letting her see how unhappy you are. Just for a little while. Just play the role or act the part by trying to hide how you really feel if it's negative at all. Not forever or even a very long time....but even for a couple of weeks and see what happens if you do just these things.
In other words.....tell her the things she does right....and don't tell her anything she does wrong just for a start and see where that goes. I'll bet your effort in not showing any negative reactions will pay off in dividends for you. Once you ease her back out of her hole that way. let her have a chance to feel safe again and then move into talking about your issues after you had a chance feel safe with each other again.
Thank you for the replies.
Submitted by Tylo on
Thank you for the replies. Delphine, I know this is what my wife wants, she has basically asked me to do just that. I just don't know if I can do it. I have tried and while I am capable of not saying anything disapproving, she know me well enough now to read my body language and know what I'm thinking - the little sighs, the gritted teeth, it's hard to hide. Particularly when you come from a tough day at work and you're sore, tired, and stressed, it's pretty hard to pretend to be happy about things when you're very far from it.
take time for yourself
Submitted by Delphine on
Tylo, when you come home from a hard day, of course you're going to have a more difficult time being patient and loving. You have to take time for yourself, to unwind and get in a better place before you can be there for others. For me it's yoga. Releases tension and unifies body, mind and spirit. Doesn't have to take a lot of time, either. Five minutes of the headstand and I'm good to go :)
When my son was small, he learned that when Mommy was upside down, she was not to be disturbed :)
But only you can make sure you get the time and space you need. You have to be insistent about it and make it priority.
My son likes jumping on the rebounder. He has ADHD, and this is something that I feel helps keep him in balance. Heavy exercise and a high-protein, low carb diet work well for ADHD.
Maybe you could get a rebounder that both you and your wife could use. It is one of the very best exercises for all-around health.
A MILLION THANK YOU!
Submitted by sugarFrosTine on
I am in tears as I read your post! :') I am just now worried if my boyfriend will trust me again (he asked for some time to think and the last message I got from him was a "yes" answer after I asked him if he honestly loves me). This post gave me so much to realize and learn. I am doing my best now to regain his trust though he still not read my messages yet. The last one that managed to read (but not replied to, but it's ok) was me telling him to not give up on us because despite of my complaints and demands, HE IS THE ONLY THING THAT I WANT. I am though planning on writing a handwritten letter for him and hopes he reads it soon. And I praying fervently that he gives us a another shot though we didn't broke up yet. I should've realized all this when he told me about his ADHD. I was the only one who he managed to confessed about it despite of him being in two past relationships before. I do ask for some prayers to keep his hopes well! We may be 19, but I really do love this guy and he says the same thing to me though he might fall short on his affections (he is affectionate, it was just me and my own set of idea of affection that keeps getting in the way *facepalm*). *cross fingers*