To my ADHD spouse:
As I sit here, I wonder why I allowed myself to go so far in our relationship; one that has been entirely unfulfilling for over a decade.
You've shared this link with me and I should be grateful yet, I feel I am the only one who will make the effort to gain anything from it. I have read so many posts on here and felt each one resonates with me. I see "us" in almost every post. Some more than others, of course. It was almost as exhausting to read these posts as it is to communicate with you these days. There hasn't been a good conversation around our home for quite some time. I feel like I am going crazy.
It has become a daunting task to get thru a day lately. I'm sure it's been the same for you, although we don't talk about it. I have spent countless seasons trying to navigate the rocky shores our relationship has become. You know I don't like sharing our personal business with others. Once you put something out there, you can't take it back and I have never wanted friends or family to view you in a negative light. So I stayed silent for your sake and for the sake of our marriage. I tried to talking to you. I tried asking what you needed. I tried making suggestions or recommendations. I tried asking you to talk to someone. Multiple times. I helped you navigate when it wasn't a good fit. Multiple times as well. You weren't on the right meds. And now you feel you are. You do. I don't. But that's not something we can discuss because it turns ugly. Everything we discuss turns ugly. You are more aggressive now, more explosive, more over-reactive. You tort back that you are more clear and are finally fighting back. There's nothing to fight back on. It was a conversation that unfortunately turned into something more. Everything begins as a conversation and spirals at the speed of light.
I can't imagine what goes on in your head and I truly feel for you. I'm sorry I have said you are acting childish but what else do you call it when a grown adult throws a temper tantrum because they don't like what someone says. I'm sorry that I have said I'm tired of managing you but what else do you call it when you own entirely everything associated with running a household plus managing a job or school or any combination of those things. Managing has become my full time gig - managing you and the house. Trying new and improved ways to do things. To address things. I've made a list of all household responsibilities and asked you to pick from that. Pick only what you feel you can do thoroughly and consistently and I will own the rest. I will own the rest. Nothing. The things you have been able to stay consistent with are the things you did for yourself long before we married. We talk about this. At great lengths. And then we fight about it. And it turns ugly. And we go days on end stressed, frustrated, angry, sad and exhausted. Exhausted.
I have read up on ADHD to try to better understand where you are coming from. I have tried talking to you differently as to not lose your focus. I have recommended doing things before work as opposed to after as you seem lost at the end of the day. I have asked countless times for you to shut the television off as it has become the biggest time suck in our home. Well, actually, fighting trumps that nowadays. I have tried lists, shared calendars, bought you a notebook, a planner, a planner with a place for notes... You tell me what's been recommended in therapy. But nothing is done. No action is taken. No advice is heeded. We have discussed couples counseling and my greatest concern is that I would end up managing that too. As it stands, you aren't taking action from your own appointments. I thought it unfair for me to have to go to my own sessions and ours while you just show up to yours and seemingly do nothing in between visits.
I am sorry that we have bottomed out time and time again in our lives. I am sorry that we have said the meanest of mean things to each other. Sadly, they don't even seem to hurt anymore. I'm numb and I imagine you are as well. There is no emotion. No response to sadness. Just flat affect time and time again.
I have had to walk away from both a career and years of education towards a career change because I chose to focus my efforts on us. Every decision made in our life was made together and then from that moment on, you pull a Houdini. "Yes, take that promotion - I'll step up and do more" or "Yes, that's a great career change and will be stressful but I'll step up and do more" and then POOF! The great disappearing act. Which has left me, time and time again, holding the bag on additional stress outside the home with no additional support at home, which ultimately leads to additional stress at home...and there we have it, folks. Everything is a cycle. And where has that led to? My demise. Shame on me for having continued faith in your repeated promises to make effort. You actually need to make effort in order to see change. I don't think you are selfish. I think you are unaware. And I know you want to try, but I'm not seeing effort. And that's what pains me the most. No matter what I say, nothing changes.
I share with you how I am feeling and the response to anything and everything I say is, "I'm sorry that you (parrot back what I said)" and the conversation on your behalf has ended. So there is no conversation. And when there is conversation, it turns ugly and we spiral. We are stuck in a vicious cycle that I truly don't think we can break.
The words that come to mind these days when I think about our relationship: Sadness. Frustration. Hurt. Neglect. Abandonment. Empty. Exhausted. Anger. A whole lot of anger. Do you think I want to be this angry? The funny part is that is the only one you seem to touch on. "You are always so angry!" Yes, I am. And I am also sad, frustrated and hurt. I also feel neglected and abandoned and exhausted. And I have shared ALL of those things with you because I don't expect you to see them or feel them. Even when I tell you, you just can't seem to comprehend it. I am exhausted because I have been putting every ounce of energy I have had into this relationship and the outcome hasn't changed a bit.
The majority of advice on here leans towards the non-spouse having to take the reins in order to make things work. And I have tried that for quite some time. I could say I didn't sign up for this when we got married but to marry is to acknowledge there will be many uncertainties you will have to navigate thru. Marriage is a partnership. It's together-ness. However, I can say with certainty I didn't marry to end up navigating thru life alone. Or to be the Captain. Not to be the Captain every moment of every day. And that is how I feel. In charge. And alone.
I feel that we left the shore together and I am drowning. And you are just sitting, safe and dry on the boat, having a drink, enjoying the view, holding the life preserver, telling me that you really want to throw it to me. You wish you could. You really do. And I truly believe you do. I truly do. However, intentional or unintentional, I am still drowning.
I managed to keep my head above water in order to share my thoughts. Based on this site, at least I know I am not crazy. Alone perhaps... but not crazy.