My husband is DX non-medicated (by choice, he refuses meds and therapy. I've been in solo therapy myself for several years). I've commented/posted here before, but feeling quite down with recent conflicts. Separation is not an option because I do love him and I refuse to lose my kid 50% of the time. Posting here to seek fellowship and maybe some ways to consider and approach our conflicts. I also want to emphasize that he is not an abuser per-say, but his behavior is abusive, if that makes sense.
Things fell off the rails when we had our kid several years ago, which coincided with a couple year span of job changes, moving house, the stress from the pandemic, and some serious medical concerns for me (I'm doing much better now). Up until that point, we were a typical in love young married couple. Yes, his ADHD (undiagnosed at the time) caused problems (looking back able to connect all the dots). It was not as impactful prior to the kid and his issues, mistakes, etc were less high stakes.
It's hard to know where to begin. And yet it really doesn't matter in an argument, because he assigns whatever tone, meaning, blame or twist to my words that fits his false memories anyway. I take great care, tiptoe on the eggshells, situate my face into the most neutrally kind expression possible, ask in advance ("is now an ok time to chat?") do lots of gentle sandwiching (starting with drawing attention to my request to chat/asking if its a good time, emphasize that I'm not mad at his actions, but I want to address something important that happened) and he will totally lose it and DARVO me. Most recently, my attempt to address an issue of communication between us as husband and wife. Trying to stay vague for privacy, but basically the issue is that he has started to make big decisions unilaterally without first having a discussion between us. These decisions affect our money and how we spend our time. He will agree to stuff without chatting with me first (we have a kid, everyone's schedule choices directly affect everyone else). I'm usually the last to find out if we are hosting a large group of people at our house (he will invite/confirm with everyone and then tell me AFTER THE FACT). He calls what he is doing as being "decisive." It has gotten so frustrating. He will make plans to go do X, and finalize/pay for those plans prior to running it by me first. I want to be very clear: my problem is NOT WITH HIM DOING X. My problem is with him making these decisions and plans without first having a touch-base conversation with me ("Hey-I want to do X this weekend. This is what time it is. That ok?), like I ALWAYS do with him. I have had so many "surprise solo parent" moments over the years its just the norm for me now. He DARVO's this by 1) Deny - "I did nothing wrong, I can make my own choices of how to spend my time and it's not that big of a deal anyway" 2) Attack - He will then immediately begin attacking my character. Calling me names, saying I have never supported him in our marriage, I do nothing but sit around all day, I complain about being a mother, I'm actually just too sensitive and need to relax 3) Reverse Victim/Offendor - He's actually the victim here because it is really me (wife) who has treated him like a second-class citizen for years, I hate all his hobbies, I never let him do anything, I'm so controlling so it is me (wife) who is the bad guy here, he is a victim of my mistreatment of him.
He cannot/is incapable of apology or accountability. The response I would love to me (wife) saying "Hey - I'm a little upset you didn't run [major plan] by me first. I'm not mad that you agreed to it, but I would like to communicate better in the future so we're all on the same page because you agreed to something and now I'm surprise solo parenting" would be something like this: "Wife, I am so sorry that you were caught off guard by my agreement to X plan. I'll make my best effort to remember to have a preliminary convo before agreeing with others/family/large group so that we can all have our needs met on the weekend." Obviously this never happens and an apology never comes. I get attacked for having too high of standards. I get screamed at for actions I did not do and thoughts I did not have. No amount of denial will dissuade him. He goes and does the thing, we are mad, and eventually time passes.
This specifically comes out during an ADHD meltdown. It is getting worse and more mean (not physical), to the point where the attacks on my character are too much. I spend time secretly crying. There is so much more that has happened. Every medical crisis I've had I have been screamed at for being too self-centered. Every holiday or event is ruined by a meltdown from the pressure. The crazy making part is that his narrative, and truth to him, is that it is my fault. My fault for asking for communication (is it really necessary if wife was going to agree it was ok to do X anyway?) asking for kindness when I'm in the hospital when he's been so unconformable in this chair all day. Logic and reasoning goes totally out the window. One time he fought me tooth and nail that I "wouldn't let him respond" and he "couldn't get a word in edgewise" over a TEXT message conversation. Another time I "Didn't care about him because I didn't respond to a text" when I was at an appointment for our kid.
I know how this all sounds and I know it is abusive behavior. I'm no saint and had my share of mess-ups but I ALWAYS say sorry and I model this with my kid all the time. I've done loads of personal therapy work. This ADHD abuse/conflict cycle happens when he is in a "thing." I can tell by his behavior and by his stimming when he's in a phase. It can sometimes last up to a month. I speak truthfully when I say we are deeply connected but I'm feeling so much more hurt each time. I don't understand why he cannot/will not apologize for anything.