Does the anger ever really go away -> 2nd posting

Seeing as how the other posting I had under this title got to be a bit long I thought it would be beneficial to start a new thread on it.  I also thought it prudent to do so seeing as how so much has changed since that original thread.  I wrote the last time seeking answers to a question, a chance at grasping the sands of hope slipping through my fingers.  I’m in a better place now and have a different take on this subject so I wanted to provide some of the insight as it applies to me.  I’m not being selfish, I just don’t wish to assume I know how others feel so please take me with a grain of salt…….

Does the anger ever go away? 

I asked this question many months ago.  I wanted to know through others if my wife could see that the changes in me were making a difference.  I wanted to find through others, a sign that the things I was doing were the right things.  I wanted to be someone in wife’s eyes and make a difference in my kid’s lives.  In response to my last thread I read of others hurting for different reasons and the heart that I found, mine, went out to everyone.

I’ve since learned that much of my anguish was the anger I had inside me.  My diagnosis last year wasn’t what wrecked my marriage and it will not be what saves it either.  I have defended my lovely wife from the beginning and will continue to do so because I personally find it easier to sympathize with someone when I’m only hearing one side of the story.  You are only hearing mine.  She has her own fight, just as I have mine.  I have learned to not watch and react to my wife, but to allow her to live.  The anger inside me is what got in the way of being who I wanted/want to be.

I believed that if I could aknowledge my faults and make visible changes that the differences would be seen as great things ahead.  I look back now and I’m reminded of someone in the forums here that spoke of their spouse as a wolf and a sheep.  The sheep being the apologetic husband, who as the wolf, was overly critical and very hurtful.  I did not see how I related to that, but in hindsight I see that I do, or had.  It’s much easier for me to see where I relate to the sheep in this persons story, but I failed to see that the reality of my situation is that the issue was with trust.  How could my wife trust me, trust the things I perceive as improvements when there have been years of instances of me not being my best for her?

I tried books and marriage counseling only to be told by my wife that it’s too late.  The anger continued to transfer between us both.  Mine, as much as I tried to hide it from her and the kids came from feeling inept and useless.  I’ve been told by Sherri that my wife has to make a conscious decision every day to be angry and/or resentful towards me.  I’ve been told by PJ that my wife has to be exhausted from being angry all the time.  I agree with both of them, but even though this has been ongoing for over a year and I don’t see an end in sight I’m looking at their comments a bit differently.  And in addressing what I mean by this, I’m hoping to address the last gentleman who posted on my previous “anger” thread…..

As I said, I agree that my wife makes the conscious effort to not be happy with me and who I’m trying to become.  What comes to my mind, is that I have a conscious decision to make and that’s what I should be working with.  I can pull memories from my marriage of actions or things I’ve said that my wife would not or did not approve of.  I also know my wife well enough to have known what she would feel even as I did or said those things.  In my case, it’s mostly been about laziness and selfishness, but for others it can apply to many things.  If I knew how my wife would not approve, why would I have acted that way anyway?  I know that’s not who I want to be and that’s the conscious effort I make every day to not become.  If I knowingly acted in a way that she would disapprove of, then I was not being my best for her and in retrospect I was not being my best for me either. 

For many months after my wife sealed me off I would get frustrated and angry thinking I was doing what she wanted.  I could only see that she was still angry.  I thought that being what she wanted was supposed to bring us back together.  I’ve since learned that through letting my wife live her life as she consciously chooses to do, I have in turn found out how to be happy -> by making a conscious effort to make myself happy and depend on anyone else to do it for me.

This doesn’t mean I go out seeking approval from others or partaking in vices.  For me, it’s becoming the person I always wanted to be in the first place.  The person I always knew I could be and should be.  A person who’s not afraid to make mistakes and knows that making a mistake doesn’t mean I’m stupid because I’m forgetful.  I’ve learned that when I’m not so critical of others in an attempt to make me feel better about myself really makes me feel good and that makes me happy.  Knowing that difficulties happen for a reason and that when the lesson is learned something truly amazing will be experienced.  This brings me happiness.  Not my wonderful wife and not the accomplishments of my children.  My happiness comes from within me and that’s how I can be the best for my family and for me.

Does the anger ever really go away?  Yes.  I need only read Melissa’s story to know that.

My story is ongoing.  My wife is still angry, but our relationship is better today than it was at this time last year.  It’s not where I would like it to be, but I do believe that her ongoing resentment towards me is her way of telling me that my work on me is not yet where it needs to be.  Instead of getting frustrated by this, I choose to be optimistic that every day is a new chance to be the best person I can be.

Can I change my previous

Can I change my previous comment? I think with time I have come to think that maybe she is angry because is it the only way she knows how to 'deal' with her fear. Fear of you falling back into the same old patterns, behaviors, and hurtful ways. Analyzing my own anger, my feelings on it have changed a bit. I don't think there is any way to know for sure your wife's motives or reasons for giving such a cold reception to you for so long. Trusting someone after years of status quo is extremely difficult. Sadly, it takes 10 good things to outweigh one bad thing.

I can say it 1000 times, that I wish my husband cared 1/10th as much as you do about his ADHD and marriage, but it doesn't help you any. Two years ago I would have welcomed the I find myself somewhat resentful when I see him 'being the husband I need' (which only lasted about 3 weeks after a recent fight) because I don't trust (rightfully so) that it'll last. I sympathize more with your wife these days...not that I am not still cheering you on and praying for you...I am. I admire you immensely for hanging in there. I do believe your story has a happy ending. 

DF's picture

Your statement still means the same to me

 When I started this thread I just wanted to have something to offer, something I could maybe give.  I know I have a lot to give, but today I question my motive for such urgency.  Sherri I see  what you're saying, but I still see what you said a long while back.  My wife can make a decision to either not be at peace with me or be at peace.  I don't want to live under the umbrella of "potential" anymore, I want to be for real.  The harder I try to distance myself from many of the stories I read here, the more I seem to find that I relate to too many of them.  What makes me different from any of the spouses who are part of why you and others are worn out?  I've never hit or cheated or cursed my wife, but I don't see how I'm any different in that I took advantage of my wife in the eyes of my own self interests. 

I try not to ask for much and I took a risk and asked yesterday if I was ready for a step forward in my relationship with my wife.  I asked for some way to see if I really was ready.  I think I found my answer and I guess I'm not as ready as I thought.  I dreamed last night of a scenario with my wife I'd not dreamed of but maybe 1 or 2 other times in a very long time and I recall that I reacted in the dream with confusion and seeking assurance instead of knowing the right course of action.  Then today during waking hours I was invited by my wife to make an appearance for dinner.  She approached me in a way she had not done since before this past summer, but I declined the invitation.  I've not learned to forgive as well as I would have liked and was not willing to put myself in an uncomfortable situation. (long story)

I don't know what i need to do anymore.  All day I've been searching for ways to reach out.  Things happen for a reason and I was searching for something to happen to take me away from how I'm feeling now.  I'm a tiny bit out of sorts I think because I'm feeling the monumental effort that still lies ahead for me.  I thought that because I could say and do things now without thinking about them that I have made permanent improvements.  I thought that by being able to listen to my wife talk and finding that I really am interested in what she has to say and is important to me was a sign.  I thought that because I was upset (inside) that she got me a gift for Christmas meant that I had changed for the better.  I really wanted nothing from her and was upset I got something.  It felt like she was performing an obligation, same as last year and not something she wanted to do.

Today I'm having a really hard time looking at what I was and what I am and not being able to shake off the memory of my wife telling me she will not fall in love with me and that she will not sleep in the same bed as me because she doesn't want me to think otherwise.  That was four months ago.  I keep pushing forward regardless that I see little, if any, positive results in my marriage.  I just don't know what else to do.

Oddly enough it seems that maybe my failed attempts at getting responses from my reaching out efforts is a sign that I should probably figure this one out for myself.........


Df, please dont be so hard

Df, please dont be so hard on yourself. But please dont stay in this safe zone of seemingly complacent distance, if thats what your doing. It is scary and uncimfortable, for sure, putting yourself out there fr your wife. And I'm sure feels much "safer" not. But if you want to move forward, then you need to push yourself to forge ahead and take a tiny leap of faith. You may be surprised: for that may compel your wife to do the same.***BUT if you really truly are not ready, then there is only one answer. Focus on yourself. It is so hard to look elsewhere when there is little faith in yourself. Let everything else go for now, and continue to work on yourself. As always, you have my admiration at your evolutions..

First, you're not different

First, you're not different in that you did neglect your marriage and hurt your wife with your inattention and living a self-serving life. (according to what you've told us, I certainly don't assume to know first hand). However, you are different in that you are making every effort to rebuild what you tore down and that you've had the patience of Job for well over a year. In the big picture, your diagnosis is extremely new and you're probably going to be all over the board emotionally for at least a year or two post-diagnosis until everything sinks in and settles and THEN you'll probably get a clearer picture of what you're really made of and just how hard you are willing to fight to get your life back. There is always a chance that you won't feel it is worth it, and that is OK too. Now that you know, you're TRYING to do things differently. That is what sets you apart from many others.

Second, putting yourself in situations that are NOT comfortable for you is where you are going to grow the most. This is true for most of us. I would be a total hypocrite if I started giving you advice on forgiveness...but you and I both know that without it, we're screwed. My DH can put a HUGE wedge between us by avoiding social situations because of his viewing life through negative lenses. Ex: he felt my family hated him after we reconciled in 2009 and refused to go to family get togethers..I am VERY close with my family and we have gotten together on every major holiday all of my life and all of our 14 years of was HIS perception/paranoia that they hated him, was NOT true, and it really shoved me out into the world by myself and was my first glimpse of 'hey, I don't have to have him to enjoy life' in a sense, it almost blew up in his face and pushed me into an independence I hadn't felt in a very long time. I need this independence, but I also didn't get married to go in alone all.the.f'in.time. Going outside of your comfort zone for her would be a truly selfless expression of your love and genuine desire to make your marriage about both your feelings and not just your own. 

STOP comparing your situation to others. STOP looking ahead at all of the hard work you feel you have to do. STOP thinking about, working on, and trying to figure out each and every move you make. FOR ME, what terrifies me the most (about my marriage) is your 'I have so much hard work to do' attitude. I know you (ADHDers in general) have learned some shitty behaviors, I know that you've not always known how to put others before your own wants/desires, but I truly believe that with each day comes a chance to practice new ways and eventually the work becomes more habit and then life just goes the hell on without the constant uphill battle. THIS is where your DESIRE to do things differently from now on comes in very handy for you. I don't have ADHD and it has been extremely difficult to change MY behaviors. I would bet my life that your wife has said things that she may have felt she meant at the time she said it, but life is funny in that it proves us wrong all the time. Stop focusing on what she has said...4 months, 6 months, 1 year ago...and just LIVE FOR TODAY. I'll give you the same advice I was given (may have already said it) ...just stop trying to hard and just get up each day and live your life. The harder you focus on "I have ADHD...I did this wrong and that wrong...and my wife said she would never love me again" the more stuck you're going to stay. I have said very similar things to my husband...have told him I hated him even. But, 90% of the time it is my OUT OF CONTROL emotions speaking and not my heart. 

Just let it all go for a while, hold precious each opportunity to show her that you're trying, don't stop telling her that you love her, and just let the chips fall where they may. What other choice do you have, really? Get off of the mountain for a while...and just enjoy the view. You've come so matter what happens, you must find a way to find some pride in that. Just stop trying so life changed forever when I did. 

Hey DF!

It sounds like you are still on the right track to me. You are continuing to do things to improve your behaviors and not asking for validation from anyone. You seem to be steadily re-filling that Big Trust Bucket. I was once told that it took a long time to empty that bucket, so re-filling it will take a while too. Damn... It must be a really big bucket, because I'm still working on my bucket. Things are steadily improving, but I have to remember not to make any trust assumptions. I feel awkward when I try to bring up any details of anything I do that might be perceived as a "What is He doing" moment... We were having a real good day recently and talking freely and comfortably about the past and my DW told me that she was so mad at me (ADD discovery time) that if it were not for the children she would have left me. I knew that then, but hearing it from her made me feel that there have been many more of these moments since then that she was still here because of the kids. I'm not going to give up, so as long as the trend is generally upward I still have hope. 

Keep improving yourself and I'm sure things can improve :)

No one ever REALLY stays

No one ever REALLY stays 'just for the kids'. Please don't let that sink into your head and get into your thoughts in a way that hinders your ability to stay positive and move forward. Truth be told, there have been MANY times that I have felt I wanted out, felt if there were a magic button that I could push and it would give me everything I needed (money, courage) to walk away, I was 100% certain I would have done it. The key to her statement is "I was so angry". Any thought made during anger is most likely not one that is made well. She can say the kids are the only thing that kept her from leaving, but I don't believe it for a minute...speaking from someone who has said it, thought it, felt it 1000 times. She stayed because she loved you and felt there was a way to work through her anger and forgive you. She felt what you had done was horrible, but not unforgivable. I think she is still angry and resentful, but not about the past...but about your weight loss and how you've 'benefitted' from the ADHD diagnosis. Things like this need to be left unsaid...she didn't leave and that's the bottom line. These kinds of reflections serve very little purpose except to stay stuck in the past, hold onto the bitterness, and to inflict some kind of emotional pain on those who hear the words. I know you might not see it this way, but reflecting on myself, and the way I have used words to hurt...I truly feel this is her motive...even if deep down inside and she's not even aware of it. I am not saying she has no reason or right to her feelings, please don't misunderstand. I am just saying that sometime we say things that need to be left unsaid...and then leave unsaid things that desperately need to be said. That is, I feel, the hugest tradgedy of all in these marriages where miscommunication is rampant. (((HUGS)))

Good read, Sherri :)

I knew at the time she was mad enough to leave. I knew before the diagnosis that we were in trouble and my anxiety attacks lead to the diagnosis the weekend before things blew-up. She asked me if I wanted out and I said no, but "Could she forgive me?" I would go to couples therapy and do everything to never let these thing happen again, but I knew I would not do well if my past actions were to be thrown back in my face when she needed a good jab. She has not done this a lot, but she has several times (15+, I'm sure) I of course sink every time it does get mentioned, but I know that is on her and know, inside, she probably regrets bringing it up. We had not been happy as a couple for years before, just going through the busy couple/family life without much connection. I knew she would not leave for herself because she wants to give the kids what she/I never had, Parents married while growing up. 

My DW's anger has always been her biggest issue, driven by low self-esteem and over extending herself to make everyone around her happy. She comes last in her book. I don't follow this method to her degree and usually get things that I want, so losing weight after my diagnosis just torked her. Her meds made her gain weight and of course mine really work well with weight loss as the major side-effect. (I always get what I want) in her mind. What has improved things so much is that she sees a diet doctor every month who does a mini physical, and a refill on her diet pills which is combined with a solid diet plan, similar to "The South Beach Diet" sticking to lean protein, salad and vegetables. The pills help suppress the appetite and she is strictly following the diet, so she has lost over 20 lbs and fitting in clothes she has not worn in a long time. My DW's self-esteem is better, so we are better. Things are trending better, so I'll take it :)

DF's picture

it's not pretty today so I appologize

Let me get what i can together from the different reply's.

Sherri - I don't know that I want to get into the long story about the social event I turned down the other day.  The long and short of it is that it involved another man whom I disapprove of the relationship he has with my wife.  I don't know the depth of it or all the facts or how much it still exists, but the thought of his name or the sight of him hurts me pretty deep.  I have not lashed out or accused my wife of anything and even though I don't believe that there is anything there between them, I am human and knowing that another man has a better relationship with my wife than I do is a bit much for me.  I am not ready to legitimize him and I don't believe my wife invited me because she wanted too. 

She has given me no indication that she wants to do anything at all with me ( status quo ) and she finds ways to make that known every day.  Last night I got a text telling me she would be home late.  She did not come home from work and did not come home until very late.  I'm not accusing her, I just know that I'm in a bit of a funk right now that gave me pause to worry about someone's safety who's responsible for their own actions.  PJ had mentioned something along the lines that when someone is in a crap mood, they attract others who are in a crap mood.  I'm not too keen on the company my wife keeps these days.  They are nice people as far as I can tell, but they are currently troubled and that alone can cloud their judgement.  Some of them know how she feels about me and seem more than happy to provide her an escape, but what I see is a great mother that doesn't see her kids for 24+ hours.  Maybe she feels like she's missed out on her own life some, but we can't turn the clock back and the only thing she's missing now is the kids growing up.  Me being part of that package is not a good excuse.  She's better than that.  I'm fighting for the woman she is and not the one she thinks she is.  I have my faults, always had, but I know I'm right about us and I agree that there is a happy ending to this. My wife had gotten used to lower standards due to my behavior over the years  and I see what you mean by the resentment my current standards are contributing too.  With time I hope that she can get used to the standards I've been working on for so long so that she can learn to trust me again.  I understand your resentment Sherri just as you sympathize with my wife.  It's a bit of the same source and all I can say is ( from my point of view, but maybe your husband's ) - "You're pissed.  I failed your expectations.  But I get it because I see how I failed and if I'm going to change for the better, why not now?"

YYZ - I'm very glad things are improving and I agree with Sherri that people will say things that they "think" they mean, but not actually hearing what it is they are saying.  I'm pretty guilty of that myself.  What I'm reading is that your wife is using past tense when referencing her anger - she "was" angry enough.  That sounds pretty darn good to me.  My heart would probably do back flips for an hour if I heard that.

I may not be the best person to bring this up and I admit that, but are you ready for when the weight stops being an achievement?  What I mean is, even a professional bodybuilder can only lose so much before they stop seeing the results.  It's a wonderful thing that she's excited, but in the event her excitement tapers off, is there something else you could fill in with?  I'm not saying she's going to stop, more that at some point maintaining weight can become just that - maintenance and will demand less effort.  I'm not trying to be cynical, but hopeful that maybe there's something you can throw into your relationship mix now that continues her good feelings about herself.  From the sounds of it your wife may be more receptive to you, if you're not already doing that........

And one more thing.  It appears we're not displaced family --> Go Blues!   ;)



Stars and Blues...

Both teams are rising from the ashes ;) It was a great rivalry back in the late 90's / early 00's! 

My DW's results are actually more than she ever expected to attain, which is good... In a sense she lost weight the same way I did, she started to take care of herself and felt good about it, so it continued to take off. When things come up in the future, they will, hopefully it can be a topic to actually work through, not fighting over semantics of why I'm doing better with my weight. I know your not being cynical, but more realistic. I am just hopeful that moving past this Stall Point can let "Real Issues" come up and be dealt with accordingly. I was feeling a few "Back Flips" over our eased reflections on that terrible period in our lives. It is hard to discuss that period because we both know that was almost it... Maybe the next time the talk will be even more reflective of the positives that were made, instead of What Happened. Almost 3 years and we are slowing edging the right direction. I hope you begin to have a "Back Flip" or two soon.

Your brother from another mother, 

A couple thoughts... -if

A couple thoughts...

-if you're not comfortable with this guy's place in the life of your wife, then going to the dinner and making yourself seen and heard would be the best defense, in my opinion. I have had several occasions where I had no choice but to face the woman my husband cheated with...our daughters are in the same grade...and are friends. (UGH) For a very long time I wouldn't have dreamed of letting my husband off of the hook, making me go alone. (Chorus concerts, school functions) It was very uncomfortable for him but tough shit. Him going (even against his will) gave me a sense that he cared and wanted to help me through those first few tough encounters. Different from your situation, but similar in that you had a chance to present a united front to this man, as your wife's husband, and you didn't. I would personally never miss a chance to show my face to anyone whom I felt my husband had a relationship with that was 'too friendly'. Is this because you're afraid of what she's told him? Is this because your low self esteem made you feel embarrassed to stand up and face this person who is in appropriately (??) involved with your wife? Lastly, I've said it before and I will stay it again...stop assuming you know that she invited you but didn't want to. She may be a lot of things, but she does not seem like the type to ask you along if she doesn't, deep down, really want to. Part of the healing process from codependency that I think can apply to you here is to NEVER assume anything is personal or about you unless you have 100% proof that it is. Unless you have undeniable proof that she didn't want to invite you, then assume she invited you because she wanted you to go, even if only 1% of her wanted you to go...she go. Face your demons. The sight of the tramp that my husband had a 2 month affair with hurts me very deeply...but there is something therapeutic (and, yes, satisfying in a revengeful sort of way) about facing her by his side. Maybe this man would see a side of you he would sympathize with and back away from your wife. Take it for what it's worth...

Your wife will surround herself with people who support her way of thinking right now...and if she's wanting to have a 'bash DF party' then that is the kind of people she will surround herself with. I am fortunate in that my friends, for the most part, just try and help ME and not destroy my marriage. I wouldn't worry too much...once your wife is done with this current state of mind, she will most likely be done with her current 'friends' as well. 

I agree 100%...why not now? The only difference between you and my DH is that the most improvement I've ever seen from him lasts only a few short weeks - a few months...and then he's back to being inattentive, drinking, hiding out in the den doing God knows what, risking his job, etc. If he'd made the effort you've made, obviously trying to make LIFE CHANGES and not just the same old game of 'bait and switch', I would welcome it with open arms. But, he's not. I don't really resent him as much as I just feel quite sad for him. I mostly just want to smack him and say "can't you see you're about to lose everything??!!" so I guess you could say I am frustrated.

For you..and YYZ...anyone else with ADHD...where is the line between saying "I really cannot accept this please stop or I will have no choice but to leave" and not 'leading' someone in their lives? I know if he doesn't conclude some things on his own, then they won't change is meaningful or lasting if it is merely motivated by not wanting to lose someone. But I am often wracked with guilt over feeling like I have to 'warn' him that if he doesn't stop drinking that I have every intention of leaving him. Would you want to know? When I FF in my mind to 6 months from now and see his face when I say "I want a divorce because of your drinking" (and the MANY ways it affects our marriage/lives) I know he will be devastated. But I also know that I cannot live with it. We have no life, no marriage, because of it. My daughter has no father because of it. It is unacceptable. 

The Line...

DF and Sherri... 

I doubt I have the grit you guys have in your respective circumstances. I almost feel bad about the petty things I complain about on this site :)

The effort you two put into saving your marriages is awesome! (Pats on Backs ;) 

Where is the "Line" that gets crossed "One Time Too Many" before someone gives up on the marriage. THAT is the million dollar question, indeed. My dad once told me as long as the good outweighs the bad, then it's good. It seems to make sense, but how do you quantify this measure? Staying together just for the kids is not going to prevent them from future therapy, because they are smarter than we think and will wonder if They had something to do with the unhappiness or why you put up with bad behavior for so long... 

I hope you guys break through your "Line Crossing Issues" soon.

You friend (Always)


I know your question was addressed to ADHDers, but I'm chiming in anyway.  The line between warning and "leading" is this:  He gets to choose how he responds to your bottom line.  You mention six months, probably just as an example.  Thinking about ADHD and time... if he intended to act on such a warning, he'd probably wait to do so until 6 months minus 1 day.  A much better ultimatum might be unless you go to a meeting TODAY, I'm going to start making plans to ____________ TOMORROW.  There is now and not now, and if he is not in danger now, then he is not in danger.  You said:  no change is meaningful or lasting if it is merely motivated by not wanting to lose someone.  Maybe not.  But it's damned good place to start.  Isn't this what motivated DF & YYZ at the beginning?  

The chances are pretty good that if you warn him, he doesn't change, and you follow through, things won't be much different than if you don't warn him, he doesn't change, and you follow through.  Have you ever warned him about something before (with less dire consequences)?  Did it work?  I once wrote a dreadful song where the question was asked how many times will she forgive me and the answer was one less time than you were hoping for.  (except the song rhymed. LOL )  The difficulty is you don't know what hitting bottom is for someone else.  And you can't take them there.  You could hit bottom, and make the big change necessary to survive, and it STILL might not be enough to make him hit bottom (and if he did he'd be ticked off because it was too late.)  Folks like DF and YYZ somehow hit bottom and committed to change BEFORE their spouses did.  But that is due to them, not to actions by their partners, I'm guessing.  If it makes you feel better about what you owe your spouse to warn him, you should.  But don't do it hoping it will prevent the follow through that may have to come later.    I've given "warnings" to my children, my employees, to a neighbor... they were ALREADY aware there was a problem to be solved.  Sometimes the "warning" helps spur things along, and sometimes it doesn't.  But it isn't really connected to the warning giver -- it's already in your husband's hands and he knows it.  

Very true. I was obviously

Very true. I was obviously feeling a bit codependent that day. I have a tendency to 'worry' that the ADHD makes him 'forget' what I've told him in the past. (that he has to stop drinking, that I want more than a husband who rots away in the den...drinking and who knows what else?)

You're right...he knows...and I will try to address the issues as they arise (worked fairly well this weekend) instead of never saying anything. Still, for the most part, I am living my life and trying to let him figure things out for himself. God keeps telling me to hang in there...and for now, I will.