So after 5 years of marriage I've - mostly by chance - figured out that my wife has ADD, a moderate form. No she, hasn't been diagnosed yet - raising that is the next big step - but I'm very careful, have done my homework, and it's just too exact a fit. It explains so much. Trust me on that.
What's stunning is that not one person - none of our friends, and neither of the therapists (one she was seeing, one we saw together) - ever seriously listened to the issues I was raising. They just started from their own pre-existing stereotypes - if a man ever shows any anger and frustration, he's a monster, and they don't need to hear any facts to decide who's at fault. They don't need to know how extreme the circumstances were that led to a verbal outburst, the torture that far exceeded the words said. And, if a man ever gets angry, why you're surely on the edge of snapping and violence - no matter how you live the rest of your life.
Part of this is just that people don't understand ADD, and the multitude of effects it can have. Especially the filtering and distortion of reality. Our marriage counselor always seemed to have the attitude that there was her reality, and my reality, and that both were equally valid. Except when hers was more valid - after all, men are always so sure they're right, so they must be wrong - right?
Part of it is just the sexism everyone walks around with. Friends who have known me for 20 years immediately assumed it was my fault. I realize that those stereotypes exist for reasons - there are so many cases where they might be right. But no one seems to stop to realize that they don't know what's really going on, and that they need to spend a lot of time listening before they jump to conclusions.
You'd think therapists would know better. But the sexism among therapists and social workers is what's really alarming. You'd think they'd be trained to be a lot more careful in their evaluation of a situation, what to rule in and what to rule out. But there's a lot of laziness, cramming in too many clients, etc. Some of it is just human - their mind wanders, they are tired - which would be fine if they realized their own limitations, rather than assuming they know the answers before you speak.
Has anyone else (male or female) experienced these things - that people who should know you better (friends) or just plain know better (therapists) assume that because you're angry, it's your fault, and they don't need to listen and understand the situation?