What a year. We got married in August and are now living with his parents after serious financial fallout. Ups and downs like crazy. Simultaneously one of the best and worst years of my life so, obviously, stressful, draining. Didn't exactly see myself being a housewife and living with my in-laws 4 months into marriage. (Especially when we've already been together so long. Man, that's some bad timing. Thanks, life!)
I've been with him for about 5 years now, so we've been around the bend together a few times. Stress has always made his ADHD symptoms worse; rather, his coping strategies go out the window.
He hides things from me because of my depression, anxiety, and other disorders, operating under the idea that he doesn't want to stress me out or make me feel worse. Of course, this completely backfires, as something even of minor stress may happen, but then I'm left guessing for a week about what I did wrong or knowing that he's keeping something from me. I wouldn't care as much if he didn't turn into a different, explosive, intolerant person as he feels more and more inwardly overwhelmed.
For instance, last week, we forgot about a certain auto-payment, and it over-drafted our account a bit. Of course it's stressful and frustrating, but it's done, and there is little to do about it... but it's easy in that you know exactly what needs to be done. This was churning him up inside for a week, a blow to his self-esteem (since he believes he should be making six figures to be a good husband for some reason). I ended up crying again and he came out with it... "I'm just stressed from all of this stuff going on obviously, but we over-drafted last week." Me: "Couldn't you have told me that :then:? One sentence, done, and I'd know what's going on. And you ALWAYS feel better once you've talked about things, instantly. Instead, I've been in pain and struggling to figure out what happened or if I've been doing something wrong." He apologizes, I encourage him to talk to me in the future. Same ol'.
...He always says he won't do it again, always does. He is very supportive of me when I need to talk about things, and has said that I reciprocate completely, that he always feels good about it, loved. So, it's just frustrating when something like this happens... One week of turmoil ending in tears or 10 minutes of unfortunate mourning?
Because of his desires to keep me out of the loop for what he deems is my own good, he shuts me out almost completely during the mysterious span of his concealment, just as he does when under general stress. It just compounds when another factor is added. Considering we've had this bad level of stress since September, it's gotten trying. I'm doing my best to stay patient - I'm feeling the stress too. I understand. Without me even mentioning it to them, the entire family on both sides senses his stress level and that something is different about him, and I am frequently asked if he is feeling less stressed since we are now on the path out of the woods. The relief lasted about two weeks before he took on new worries to stack on his shoulders.
What has been hurting me most is him telling me to stop talking. "Shut up." "Shh!" "Stop. Just stop!" "Okay, okay, okay, I get it." If I try to continue, I am interrupted and told again, as a child would be when "talking back." If I say anything after :that:, he goes off, "Oh my GOD. Just shut. UP!" and rolls his eyes. (The "omg" is the cherry on the cake - completely dehumanizes me after instantly pissing me off before.) He is already loud, and gets louder to yelling level at me, which not only raises my anxiety level but my anger problems surface, and I really feel like I'm going to punch him straight in the face, and wouldn't feel sorry...I don't take disrespect of anyone well, so especially myself. We end up not talking. Why would I want to anyway when I'm just told to stop or shut up? I can never tell what will set it off. Talk about eggshells. So I find myself not talking to him...not on purpose as a cold shoulder, simply from anxiety and being mentally beaten down, feeling like whatever I say will just be upsetting or useless, like I am the last person in the world he wants to be around or hear. Which then has :me: holding things in, afraid to say :anything: to avoid feeling how I do when he reacts again.
It came to a head a couple days ago - he crossed the line. I was trying to tell him about something that he needed to hear (truly, an impending event for the morning), and he told me to stop. I said he needed to listen because it was important for the here and now. He told me no, whatever, just stop. I got a few words into it anyway..."Okay, okay, I get it," which was impossible given what little I'd said. I tried to speak up and say how hurtful he was being. He asked me why I was being such a b****. When asked why he felt like that, he told me to shut up. I'd had enough - I said no, that he can't just not listen to things he doesn't want to hear. (THAT is always when he seems to do it, even if it's something stupid like, "There are clean spoons in the dishwasher.")
I just broke, admittedly childish (or maybe just finally forced fully into a corner, I'm not sure), and kept countering with "no" or my own "stop" as he continued...I didn't know what else to say. Meanwhile...this is all taking place in his parents' loft over an echoing living area. His mother was close by, easily within hearing distance of just :regular: speaking volumes. I was whispering the entire time, even just mouthing, trying to keep the matter private, and he was shouting, telling me to stop and shut up, louder and louder, told me to stop being a b****, and to shut up some more. I'm talking :yelling:. I removed myself from the situation, went to our room. I don't really get embarrassed...but that certainly did it, although it took a few minutes to kick in, to realize the weight of it...plus my inner ember took blaze. I cry when I'm really furious, so I don't put holes in the walls. He essentially debased and invalidated me in front of someone, and his :mother: at that. There wasn't anything left for me to do at that point but just cry for an hour, powerless in no matter what I do.
We had a long talk afterward, and he apologized without prompt, bringing me dinner he cooked for us while I had my alone time. (It's also difficult transitioning with the rubberbanding of his moods. I don't calm down quickly at all, and sometimes it actually feels offensive that he's "over it" already for some major things...it's like, we are NOT okay!) We talked about how what he did was so painful to me, and why. The next morning, I gave him Melissa's article "The Care and Feeding of a Non-ADHD Spouse," which really seemed to hit home for him. He asked me to email it to him too, saying he wanted to have it to reread sometimes. This gave me so much hope. In the time since that incident, he has been really aware, as have I. But this has happened before, after reading ADHD and Marriage and Is it You, Me or ADD?, and yet that wore off too, as other things had in the past.
I'll be continuing to try my best - I definitely understand how a person can be "controlled" by their brain - but my gut unfortunately tells me this glowing span of time will be over in an :instant: some morning sooner than later. He'd done the "shushing" in the past but not as strongly, and I'd gotten him to realize the hurt but, again, it wasn't as severe then, and stress wasn't as heightened. So, I have good reason to believe this will pop up again...We are still early on in the behavior re-training of our relationship.
Also, he does the classic ADHD mishearing or not focusing on conversation...hearing partially or incorrectly. I've noticed he only listens to/takes away what he expected or wanted to hear, not my actual words, or will get frustrated when not said how he seems to have wanted. Missing or not applying context is especially, bad. Me: "I just cleaned the big mugs." Him: "Oh, okay, cool." Me:"Can you please put them away? I can't reach the top shelf." Him:"Put what away?" ...This has caused a LOT of problems, but more in less trivial scenarios like, Me: "You are being very inconsiderate right no--" Him: "What?! How can you say I'm an inconsiderate person?!" ...He doesn't recognize the "you are being" and "right now" referencing the specific present situation, only that I am speaking at him and said the word "inconsiderate." So, even when he doesn't tell me to shut up, I can't "get it right" anyway. He is always getting frustrated, saying things like "I don't understand what you're saying/talk about at all"...and then just removes his engagement of focus because it's apparently too difficult for him. (I mean that without sarcasm).
He also makes zero effort to keep focus on me for more than, say, 15 or 20 minutes. We are both very avid gamers, so I get the desire to play and explore...but not if it's hurting a relationship. Even if we play a game together, and we're having a fantastic and fun time together (something rare and precious these days), he'll suddenly say he wants to go play his own game, out of the blue. When stressed, he checks out. Being locked onto a screen is his drug of choice to stay numb, and human interaction during is out of the question. Talk about feeling rejected. Even when playing together, lose out to the PC, again ...Why am I even here? I feel unwanted and not worth spending time with, or like time spent with me is far less important than [insert material method of checking out here]. As silly as it is, even the genre difference hurts, hah...I choose games that take mental investment, strategy, puzzle solving...he chooses mindless, repetitive games during this time. Even more hurtful that a :mindless: activity takes him away, for me.
What can I do? How can I make things better (see: functional) again in this time of stress and into the future? Are there different communication techniques during those times that work better? It feels impossible and like I'm emotionally powerless (down on myself/dehumanizing/beaten down) with his coping mechanisms out of place. As a couple, figuratively tied together, it feels like we are trying to escape drowning, but I'm the only one moving my limbs, like carrying dead weight, while he yells at me that he doesn't know where we're going and that I swim wrong. I don't want to be controlling and don't :like: being controlling - it's not in my personality. So, it's frustrating having to point us both in the right direction(s) as it takes some serious energy for me. Is there a way to simply encourage him to take hold of his own direction? I've tried talking up his self-esteem, but you can probably guess at this point what I get told.
There is just so much frustration and anger beneath and above the surface. At this point, some resentment too. I could stop trying altogether, to let him go down with the ship if that's what he's set on doing, but... as a spouse, someone that loves him, I can't just do that. He's not functional in any way when stressed like this, so it's not like I'm condemning his methods or some kind of inefficiency - he has no methods. Not trying at this point is abandonment.
Just really frustrated, sad, and desperate to figure out strategies for our present situation. I feel small, ineffectual, and like I've done so much work already, only to be forced to start from scratch. Instead of a wife, I feel like a girl who's pining for a guy not really into her.