grieving my ADDer

I posted here a couple of months ago about my BF of two years who was verbally abusive to me (we broke up recently). I'm 37, he is 35. He has a good job, we had an amazing sex life, he was a fun and creative person, he had an amazing family, but there were issues... One of them was responsibility. He took two years to clean up his house which was littered with boxes of junk from the many times he had moved after his divorce. When he lived with me for a couple of months (he just sort of moved in), he would spend tens of hours on a computer game, but get angry with me when I asked for help with chores. I was caring for my two kids (one of which was dealing with an anxiety disorder at the time that eventually hospitalized her), his high-needs daughter (diabetic and celiac), his dog (which would poop and pee throughout my house), my household on an acre, my business, and him, for the most part on my own. He did not contribute financially, and couldn't get it together to go back to his house to clean it up so that it could be rented out. He had very few chores, but it was always very hard to get him to follow through. I'd try leaving gentle notes, but even that didn't work, so I'd often do them myself, but then I was exhausted. To his credit, I probably did become irritable. I had so much stress during that time.

He had a good income but was constantly out of money due to past debts. He had speeding tickets that went ignored, etc. Power turned off. House foreclosed on.

But the bigger issue I had with him was his anger. He was frequently angry, or at least very irritable/frustrated-- at me, at the world, at his family. He would intermittently have periods of self reflection, followed by a lot of deflection. It got to the place where I felt I couldn't do anything right... I would text him at the wrong time, or not text him at the right time (he liked control). He would frequently tell me I had intentions that I didn't have-- of manipulating him, of not trying to understand him, of being passive aggressive, of not taking him seriously, of crossing the line with other men. I would try to change, but then he'd want the opposite treatment, and still be angry. He would say I didn't listen, even when I was quietly standing there. He had rages. When I would stand up to him, he would resent me, as if I didn't let him express his feelings. He would use body language to shun me, shut me out. If I tried to remain on topic during an argument, usually over a question he didn't feel like answering or an issue he didn't feel like compromising on, he would have a lot of tactics to try to gain control, usually resulting in him getting more and more angry. He'd say stuff like, "You don't want to see me get really angry." He'd sigh, and glare, and tell me I had issues, to get the spotlight off of him and whatever issue we were discussing. My counselor told me to stay calm, and just keep stating my question, which I did. He would then say I was controlling, not letting him express his feelings, or say what he wanted to say. To me, I was trying to keep the conversation from going down a destructive road. I saw through his diversion tactics, so eventually he would just rage and leave me, threatening to break up. If I asked about his threats the next day, he'd accuse me of being insecure, saying he wanted to marry me, that I was the woman of his dreams, that he'd break up with me if I ever asked about his desire to break up again, because it frustrated him. He told everyone this, that I had every trait he ever wanted in a woman, that he'd never met anyone like me, etc. 

Last August, he started therapy because of his anger, and because of childhood traumas (many surgeries as a toddler, very strict father, family that didn't know he had ADD, teacher who shut him in a corner for a year for being disruptive), and the therapists said he doesn't have an anger problem, apparently, that his anger at me is valid. He told me in fact that the therapists think that I interrogate him. I don't understand... I did occasionally ask him questions, which he hated, such as, "Are you coming to dinner tonight?" and he'd get defensive, hating to be put on the spot, telling me I put pressure on him. I don't think this is interrogation. Or when I'd notice his inconsistencies or lies (which were frequent), I'd sometimes (not always, mind you, because I accepted that he told me that ADDers lie, but don't mean anything by it), ask for clarification, and he'd get irate or at least highly irritated at me. This is what confuses me. If it wasn't an anger problem, then what was it? Or is he just not telling them what happened?

There were times when he'd forget what he'd done or said the next day. Recently he said that there were only three times that he really raged at me. Well, true, there were three times I threatened to leave him, because it was so bad. My family once heard him on the phone, as I was visiting them, and they described it as "severely abusive." When he found out they had heard, he was very angry at me. I understand it was a breach of privacy, but he was screaming at me through the phone, and telling me I was crazy, etc., so I needed some validation that I wasn't the one causing him to act like that.

It got to the point where I stopped labeling it as an anger problem or abuse because he would get mad at me for that. He would tell me I didn't care to listen to him. I'd try to listen, and he'd then not want to talk, saying it wasn't worth it, I wouldn't understand, I have issues, etc.

I ended up asking him to move back to his house, and he did, and he also did finally clean it up. He got a raise at work. His therapist was working with him on setting limits for his life so he could manage it. And simultaneously he started distancing himself from me, wanting less time together. He said we just don't get along. I noticed that he was starting to party and hang out with people much younger than him, going to bars, etc. He said that he needed time to process and get over the divorce that I had "put him through," that he resented how much pain he had to see me in over grieving my marriage (we met a year after my separation, but the legal process had not begun... I regret this now, but he claimed to want to be there for me, so it seems odd holding this over my head two years later). He said he thought maybe he needed to just not date anyone, to learn to be a "respectable man of society." And yet he said he still wanted to date me, just not to see me as often. I'd find evidence of him having parties, by accidentally seeing pictures on Facebook of his arm around other women (he claimed later that this was just a childhood friend). I called him shocked when I first saw this, and he said, "I don't need your F-ing S-t" and hung up on me, not talking to me for a day. On the flip side, if I so much as got an email from a man, he'd be very insecure and angry, cursing sometimes, or just really asking me a ton of questions about my intentions, thinking I had terrible boundaries. This was apparently another thing he "couldn't get over." There was one time, admittedly, when a male friend was spending the night at my house from out of town, and I invited my BF as well to be sure that it wasn't a sticky situation. My BF raged at me after we had all had wine, thinking I had been flirtatious, and said he was done with me, so I cried, and got comfort from my male friend (sitting by him and crying while he consoled me). That friend later that night tried to kiss me, but I didn't kiss him, went to bed on my own, and later cut off all contact with him. Nothing happened, but I still felt guilt about this situation, guilt that I sought comfort and put myself in a vulnerable situation. My BF said he never got over it.

My BF would also drink a lot, sometimes drive while drunk, or seemingly drunk.

He also, I should add, has trouble communicating with his family. They loan him money, and yet he's always angry at his dad, for childhood stuff, for asking about his finances (I think it's his right to ask, if he's still loaning him money). Also, he started taking Adderal last year, which helped a lot, but he still has this general angry persona, controlling.

When we broke up about a month ago (he initiated it, but I honestly had enough as well, as he was constantly angry, and wanting space, and wanting to be asked no questions about anything, even when he was going on trips without me, and I couldn't hack it), I stopped communicating. A week later, he said he missed me terribly, had a lot of growing up to do, imagined that I was not the person I'd envisioned for myself, was sorry, hoped we ended up together eventually, and wanted me to communicate with him. I figured what the heck, and I started emailing to try to get closure on the relationship. I sent three very heartfelt letters. Somehow, he interpreted them negatively, and was mad again. I tried to express the things I felt I had done wrong, as well as the things I had issue with in him, to get closure. He said I take no responsibility for my part... And yet I counted 12 times in the letters that I unconditionally apologized for the various things he claimed to have been hurt by in our relationship.

He wrote me back saying I never knew him, all he ever wanted was love and understanding. I definitely loved him. I feel like I TRIED to understand him. I don't understand why he broke up with me, honestly, if I'm supposedly all he wanted in a person. He told my friend that I have my "crap" together, and he doesn't, and he's just a grumpy man who can't change.

Okay, a week ago I found him on a dating site. So, I called him and said I don't wish to communicate anymore, since he lied to me about not planning to date for a long time (He told me when we broke up that his therapist would dump him if he dated after me, as she thought he needed to be alone... he had gone on a spree of dating 60 women after he ended his marriage, before me, and felt he needed to heal from this... he said when he was ready to date ,he would let me know, to see if there was anything still there). He claimed he signed up by accident while drunk, that he's not trying to date. He since took the profile down. But I did stop communicating, and asked him to get all his things from my house, which he did this week.

On the good side, he loved my kids (although fought with my 7 year old, often feeling slighted by her). He was creative, and smart. I loved his family. And our sex life was absolutely amazing... much, much better than my marriage, probably the best I'll ever have. In some ways I think I was bonded to him because of this, and held on longer than I otherwise would have. He said all of the right things, some of the time.

On paper, we had the same values, a similar upbringing, and shared goals. He liked to live simply, as did I. He wasn't showy, which I appreciated. His main "charm" was his humor-- sometimes crude and harsh--but he got people laughing. I appreciated his intense creativity. I fed on it, and it brought out my creative side.

I should add that he always thought I had bad boundaries with men, read my emails on my computer when he lived here, and constantly misinterpreted things as me trying to "not take him seriously" or get involved with other men... something I didn't remotely do, but I began questioning myself, wondering if there was something I was missing. I'm an editor and writer, helping other authors, so I admittedly got personal with one client of mine in order to help him write his life story. But there was no romantic interest, and he knew I was dating my BF.

He has called me names, saying I'm "acting like a bitch," or a nag, vulture, jerk. He would tell me stuff like, "That was a stupid thing to do," when I'd call him at a time he didn't want to talk, etc. I've never been called stupid by anyone. My intelligence has never been in question. But, given my past, I am vulnerable to all the other labels.

I was married to a sex addict probable narcissist man who abandoned me and my daughters for a much younger woman, right after he completed a Ph.D. program I supported him through, to give you some history. I met my ADD partner at a very vulnerable time. He had to listen to me question myself over that relationship, and he validated me 100% against my ex. He came to hate my ex, for all that he put me through in our divorce.

I'm on here because I'm seeking answers. Everything I read about verbal and emotional abuse seems to fit him. I see that these patterns are common for ADDers. But when I've tried to mention that to him, he gets angry, saying I'm labeling him unfairly, that I'm the one with issues, that I should be in more therapy. My therapist thinks it is abuse, but then she's hearing only my side. To his credit, he saw me through a very rough divorce, and I do have abandonment issues. I can take responsibility for those. But honestly, I feel abandoned by him too, and so confused given his black/white behavior with me... wanting to marry me, then wanting to break up, over and over again. He would tell all my friends he was going to marry me. But then he'd go off with his friends, most of whom I never met, and do whatever he wanted. I was not supposed to question him, so I didn't... and yet he questioned me. I felt ready to throw in the towel given the trauma state I constantly felt I was in, always thrown off, unable to express my real feelings or concerns, walking on eggshells, and yet he initiated it, and I feel very betrayed and confused. I question myself, wondering what I did to cause him to treat me this way, to leave me. If I was the "woman of his dreams," why would he give up? I guess that is the hardest part for me, not understanding how someone who was so abusive to me, and yet idealized me so much, would be the one to throw in the towel and move on. How do I get over the good parts, and stop thinking I could have made it work? I know that no relationship is perfect, but I want to believe that I can find someone who treats me better than this. All my friends, male and female, say I'm amazing, have everything to offer, and should just move on. Many commented as much while we were dating, not feeling he was a good match for me, saying things like that he was not emotionally mature, or that he was treating me as a punching bag, or that he was not as intelligent. I just loved him, and wanted him to get help, and to love me back. Ugh. I sound like a teenager! Advice is welcome. Thanks for letting me ramble.

Abuse is never acceptaable!

I want to say that I am very very sorry to read your story. No one should have had to go through such a difficult situation, but in my opinion you have much more than ADD going on here.

It is hard to know what to tell you with regard to which of his behaviors were AD/HD, which were his own baggage, & which were learned behaviors/poor coping skills he developed.  I'm sure it would be very hard for even his therapist to get to the bottom of those issues.  He has a LONG way to go before he is ready for a relationship, and I hope that you are now convinced that relationship will never be with you!

AD/HD behaviors and loved ones reactions to them often do cause an anger reaction in one or both parties.  In our case, when we had no idea my husband had ADD, I was angry with him for over-promising and under-delivering on what he said he'd do.  I just had no idea why he would behave this way, so I was angry.  He was angry because he knew that he always had the intention (and intention seems to be VERY important to ADDers) of doing what he said he would do, and he knew he was trying to follow through, and he was frustrated that he felt he *couldn't* while I was treating him like he *wouldn't*.  So a lot of his anger came from frustration and also anger at me for being angry at him when he was TRYING......however I saw the lack of result and not the trying, so I wasn't cutting him sufficient slack there when I didn't know what was going on.

Fortunately for us this didn't last long and he realized something was clearly wrong and shortly afterward, he was diagnosed with ADD.  Nothing was ever abusive nor would either of us have accepted it if it was.

I think it is HORRIBLE that your boyfriend was supporting during hard times like your divored and then later using your struggles against you.  I think he did treat you abusively--possibly because he is so out of control with his behaviors and emotions, possibly because he is just messed up inside from many different things, possibly somewhat out of guilt for being such a mess or envying you because you weren't.  But to me WHY he was abusive isn't the important part. 

The fact of the matter is that he is an abuser who isn't taking responsibility of what he's done and who isn't, at this point, ready to grow up and get his stuff together.  You are grieving the loss of your relationship, and no doubt you didn't do everything perfectly, but you have taken responsibility for that and you've gotten closure, and you know that he is still a mess and his actions say he plans to stay that way for a while.

I sympathize with you so much, and I hope you know I mean you the best when I say that I believe it is time for you to work through your grief alone.  CUT ALL CONTACT with him and keep it cut.   Every time you reengage with him it sets back YOUR recovery.  I don't see ANY hope for this relationship in the future, and since I agree that you deserve a relationship that will be healthier for you than this, the only way to get yourself in a mental and emotional place to be ready when that man arrives, is to recover from this one.

Wishing you all the best!

Thank you so much for this

Thank you so much for this validation. I see people on here dealing with their ADD partners and wonder why I couldn't make it work. But it helps to hear that it may be more than just ADD. In reality, I am getting stronger by the week since I've cut off contact. I still miss the comfort of having him there, but I know that is not enough reason to stay with someone. When I read about emotional/verbal abuse, I feel like he fits it to a tee.... but I've struggled with labeling him. The crazy thing is, he's very well read about topics of abuse, control, etc., and yet he doesn't seem to see himself in what he reads.

I am hoping in time I fill my life and question myself less. It takes a toll.

Before I get off on a tangent

Before I get off on a tangent and forget to make this seems that his 'lack of an anger problem' is coming from him? Not something you saw/were told first hand by a counselor? HA HA HA. Sorry...Ok..seriously, either he's lying to them or lying to you. For many years my husband sat in counseling and had his 'own version of reality' (don't want to say he was intentionally lying) and I was sitting RIGHT THERE. Can you imagine how dishonest and one sided his sessions were without you there? I mean the deflection of blame is a vicious cycle most all of us are familiar with, but this just gave him full reign to bulldoze your already floundering self-esteem into a ditch...and take the blame off of him. ARGH. over your original post. Print it out and post in on your fridge. Read it everyday. Listen to your words. Listen to the pain. Listen to the obnoxious one-sidedness of it all. Listen to your pain being used against you. Listen to your kind words being used to kick you when you're down. Listen to how out of touch with reality he really is. HEAR what you're saying. It is is a man who has no control of himself but wants total control of your life while he goes about his merry way. Look at...count the lies you've caught him in, and I'm just talking about the ones in your original post. (dating service because he was drunk??? Riiiight! NOT!)

Please, please, please stop questioning what you could have done to change the outcome of this situation. My husband is a much, much milder and far less destructive form of what your BF is...and I have had to, for my own sanity, to stop letting his distorted view of the world (at times) make ME feel like I did something wrong or am not a great person. You're not dealing with someone who is healthy mentally..I suspect you're not just dealing with ADD either. Why would you give enough consideration to his wacky accusations to make you question your own self worth and what you have to offer the world? You can filter through and see where he is not 'rational' or living in reality, so why are you even considering 2% of his accusations and deflections of blame YOUR fault or something you could have changed? God knows, honey, there IS no changing an ADDer...unless and until they are ready. He's perfectly happy in his own little 'bubble' of a world where everyone else is to blame for everything wrong...he's nowhere near ready to change.

Count your blessings and move ON! (I don't say this often...but I definitely feel you're better off!) ((((HUGS))))

Thanks so much for the

Thanks so much for the validation, Sherri. I think I am just coming to terms with how abusive it was. I wanted to forgive him, because he always used the excuse, "I have ADD," so I thought it meant I needed to be more tolerant, but it helps to hear that this is likely beyond just ADD. I think since I met him during a terrible divorce in which my ex husband was very abusive, I was easily "conned" into getting close, trusting him, letting him "protect" me from my husband, etc. In reality, it was just a way he could gain control, because I didn't have my guard up, and I needed his support. When the divorce was done, I was able to look at the relationship more objectively, and with more strength. As I started setting boundaries, he showed his true colors even more. I think I question myself simply because I went through two relationships like this back to back. My husband was also very controlling, questioned my motives with men, monitored my emails, blamed me when he left, and yet he was unfaithful through our whole marriage and ultimately abandoned me with our two young children. So anyway, it doesn't change or excuse my BF's behavior. In many ways, my husband was nicer, at least day to day, even though he had a secret life. It's just a situation I must accept, and move on from, and have faith that this is not a pattern I am bound to repeat, nor does it mean I will end up alone. In my therapy, I'm working on figuring out how I got into these patterns where I tolerated so much. I have a lot to offer, I feel, and yet my esteem has been very damaged. Since my husband left for such a young, Barbie type, I thought it might be about my looks. But for my age, I'm attractive... that shouldn't be an excuse for needing to stay in an abusive relationship. I am independent, don't ask for a ton, have lots of very good friends, own my own home, run my own business. Sigh. Just don't yet know how to get a good relationship! But meanwhile, I'll keep healing by the day, and focusing on my kids. Thank you! The validation helps so much.

It also occurred to me that in the relationship, I helped "anchor" him to a slightly better way of living. When he moved back home, and started seeing me less, I think there's a chance that he reverted to even worse behavior, his true self. Who knows.

Yeah, the dating service thing seemed absurd to me. He managed to convince some of his friends, and my alcoholic sister, that it was done in err, however. But really, who accidentally fills out an entire profile, submits a credit card, and then has activity showing on his profile (said he'd been on within 24 hours, which he blamed on his daughter saying she "must have clicked on his history.")? Seriously, I'm not an idiot! He was MAD at me for finding it, saying I was snooping. Blech.

Just following up on this

Just following up on this post. I have come to more clearly recognize that he was verbally and emotionally abusive to me. What I struggle with wrapping my head around is the times in between when he was nice, committed, sweet, seeming to be wanting to marry me and make it work with me. I struggle because I feel like none of it was real, like it was all just a ploy to keep me on the hook, or like he didn't even know what was real or was really just manipulating me. If that is the case, it just hurts to feel that I committed to someone who wasn't real with me. And if it was real, then why couldn't he maintain it? Why did he flip flop? I am wondering from those on this board how you deal with reconciling the black/white behavior. Now that he's gone, I don't even have the assurance of, "Well, at least he wanted to be with me." He would talk like he was SO committed, wanting to marry me, insecure that I'd leave him, and then he'd get nasty and talk about leaving me. No sense.

I can only say this...I pray

I can only say this...I pray that you don't spend the rest of your life, or even another minute for that matter, trying to figure out how and why he was one way one minute, another the next. It is simply some sort of disorder that is not being treated correctly and causes his mind to wander from here, to over there, and then back all within 15 minutes. It isn't something you can understand...and even if you have clear cut answers, it does not change the fact that he is untreated and toxic to you.

With ADD/ADHD there has to be a TON of understanding and patience on BOTH ends of the marriage. Both parties have to come to grips with the fact that although you don't/can't understand the way the other's mind works, you love them enough to learn to accept it and not let it be a source of conflict in the marriage. Love has a way of making all things possible...even when it feels impossible. This understanding comes with a true commitment by both parties to the relationship and with a lot of hard work the relationship/marriage can survive..and even thrive. This happens only when the ADDer accepts that the disorder is a problem, the ADDer seeks help and is serious about learning to control the disorder, and when both parties are patient and committed to making things better for everyone. Without any aspect of this there is only hurt, chaos, rejection, anger, violence, lies, cheating, abuse, addiction, and many various other ugly aspects of the disorder. You cannot change the world. You cannot change him. He has made his choices...and I pray someday that you see that you were actually very lucky that you got out when you did because left untreated, with things as bad as they were already, you would be left in ruins.

Try looking at this as merely a blessing...and not asking why anymore. Until he hits a brick wall, and decides things aren't working out well for him the way they are, then nothing will ever matter how convincing the words are he simply does not have the ability to give you what he promises.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

When is a brick wall a brick wall?

I had thought my husband had hit the bottom this past summer.  I guess not.  How can a person really know that someone has hit rock bottom?

Honestly, I ask myself this a

Honestly, I ask myself this a lot lately...because I wonder the same thing about my own husband. I don't know. I guess one of two things happen...changes are long term OR in a few months things go back to the same old patterns. Then we have to decide if it is time to just walk away or pray for another 'rock bottom'.

Sorry to be so negative...I will go post and explain...


Thanks Sherri. The nutty

Thanks Sherri. The nutty thing was, he was in treatment-- Adderal, twice weekly therapy. I tried to be patient and understanding. But I struggled with the lies and back and forth behavior in regards to his commitment to me, as well as the anger/manipulation, and jealousy he had towards me, often thinking I was intending to cheat or cross lines. He actually used his treatment as a reason why we needed to break up, so he could focus on getting healthy on his own without the stress of our relationship added to the mix. Whatever. I do know I'm better off without someone who is so instable. I still miss the good, but I think that is just grief. I have to remember the crazymaking that was so much a part of our relationship-- the deflection, projection, misinterpretations. I interestingly found a blog entry he wrote this week about his ADHD and about how his primary difficulty is in relationships, how he'll answer questions inconsistently, misquote people, etc. He has these periods of self reflection where he gets it, but then he gets triggered again, and makes drastic decisions while in that state that I simply cannot live with.

Then his treatment isn't

Then his treatment isn't working. Twice a week and on meds...either he's on the wrong meds or his counselor sucks..or both. I would give anything to be able to go to counseling twice a week...but if it is with the wrong person, you may as well not go at all.

Yes, i am certain you are grieving the we all do when one ends...just find ways to keep yourself busy and eventually you'll be more content with things and see it from a different perspective. He is a very 'untreated' young man...and this would never mean anything positive for you. ((HUGS))