My wife and I have been working to improve communications and reduce frustration and anger over ADHD related issues for over a year now. We have purchased several of Dr. Hallowell's books and attended a weekend semninar is Boston last summer. She started on meds last year, and some things have improved as a result. I'm working on my anger - trying not to explode when I get frustrated, but instead to clearly communicate the EFFECT her actions have on me. I know she NEVER intends to do the things she does - but that they are a result of her ADHD. I'm also working on being less of a nag and letting as many things "slide" as I can - trying to be selective about giving "constructive" feedback. And I know she really loves me and is always sorry when she realizes she has done something that hurts me. We BOTH want things to be better, and that's what makes me able to continue working on things. We have successfully dealt with several issues. My not getting enough "quality" time has been solved by us having one "date night" a week, where we go out together, just the two of us, no cells phones, and talk about things other than work. We usually talk about US! We also have one night a week at home where we have "together time" starting at 6pm - again, no cell phone, no computers, just the two of us, spending the entire evening together, with at least a half hour of conversation. We make sure to put these two nights on the calendar each week, and we both look forward to them. So progress is being made!
I still struggle, though, with those times where I feel invisible, inconsequential. Where she does something that I see as "inconsiderate" in that it's crystal clear she hasn't taken me or my feelings into consideration at all. Like last night. I had a meeting to go to after work, and expected to be home around 9:30. She was planning on stopping at the grocery store on her way home from work. I was supposed to email her a list of what we needed from the store. When I drove into the garage at 9:30 and she wasn't home yet, I assumed she must be at the grocery store and I thought "Drat! I forgot to send her the shopping list." I tried calling her cell - no answer - but that's not unusual - she often doesn't answer because the ringer isn't on. So, I sent her an email with the list - apologizing for forgetting and saying "I hope you get this before checkout, but if not, don't worry."
I did a few chores and then sat down to watch some TV. At 10:30 or so, she wasn't home yet, and I wondered what was keeping her, but I wasn't really worried. Then at about 11 - which is when we usually go to bed, she called and said "I'm just leaving work. Are you mad?" And I said, quite honestly, that I wasn't. And that I might be in bed by the time you get home. When she got home, she said - I'm sorry, I was at work. And I said - And it never occured to you to call me to let me know where you were? She said "I didn't know how long I'd be there. And without recounting the details of our conversation, I basically said to her - "I'm not mad. But I'm incredulous that you could let the whole night pass without me knowing where you were and not call me until 11. (She had never done this before.) That I never even entered into the equation. Even after I sent you an email (which she had read before 10) indicating I thought you were at the grocery store about to check out. It would never OCCUR to me not to tell you where I was. Consider for a moment if I did - how might that make you feel?" (I expressed this all very calmly.)
She got the message, felt very badly, and apologized sincerely. Which I needed. So, all in all, the interaction went well and the issue was resolved.
Sort of. And I say sort of, because this issue is all too common. And I wonder how long I can go on without either getting angry or becoming detached. We both agreed that it was indicitive of how OFTEN she does things like that that I DIDN't get angry or worried. And my concern is that I won't be successful NOT getting upset, angry and bitter that there are so many times where I feel invisible (which, by the way, is one of my hot buttons).
I'm not sure what I am looking for by writing this. Except I must say, it feels good to be writing it.