We are about to have some of my husband's family as guests for a few days. I am especially uncomfortable about this because of the state of messy chaos in our home. My husband is going into one of his power clean up spurts that only ever occur when he is on the verge of being embarrassed by someone who would be a guest in our home. They will still have to sleep in our exercise room, because the bedrooms are full of his piles of stuff, and I will still be terribly embarrassed to have them here ( never mind the fact that our marriage is hanging on by the slimmest thread). I really feel so bad that the only times he will attempt to clean up/ finish projects is when he is aware of how it looks to outsiders, but he doesn't make much effort when it's just me. I don't get the opportunity to give positive reinforcement very often in this area, so I'll do it, but I have to fight against the hurt and resentment I feel.
Is this hurtful?
Submitted by perfectstorm5 on 07/02/2014.
I know the feeling.
Submitted by boilergirl on
I really know what you are going through. Last year, I didn't even have the kids' birthday parties here, let alone have anyone over besides immediate family (his, mainly). This year, i just said screw it b/c life is too short and people want to see us and don't care about our house (well, that is what I told myself.) Funny how the day we had people coming over, Dh decided to move his office out of our dining room and back into his actual office room (which he moved so he could rebuild his desk for the 6th time that year.) At least it got him to do it, but it bothers me that he will only do these things when he feels like it. He is in week 2 of a garage clean out. This means there are piles of stuff on our driveway as part of the reorganization, I guess. Last week, I asked if he could finish when I was at work on Friday. No, he had other things to do. Monday, when I went to work, he asked if there was anything in particular I needed done. I just looked at him and he said, "The garage, I bet." Then he came up with a billion excuses of why he couldn't (the wood is still wet from the rain! Well, yes, if you keep leaving it out there, it will keep getting wet.) Why ask, then, if you are just going to do what you want???
So yes, it is hurtful. But, they will point out all of the awesome cleaning they are doing and we are supposed to pat them on the back and tell them what a good job they did. Like you, I do it to keep the peace, but it makes me seethe inside.
Yes it is hurtful
Submitted by silent scream on
I can one up you on the hurt and resentment. ;-) My former fiance/boyfriend/then-just-sometime-boyfriend had his house, yard, and garage going downhill over the eight years we've been together. It was one of many (many) red flags with me and I offered countless times to help him in some way. He couldn't and wouldn't make any moves even though he hated the condition of his environment himself. It was mind blowing to me.
Well, long story short, after pulling away from him for quite awhile, even though I still loved him and he loves me, he finally realized we weren't going to work and found someone else within a week. He is now going to have either his family or a huge cleaning service (I didn't ask---don't want to know) come "help" him clean up his mess for the new girl. I am not kidding. And I live right next to him so I will be so hurt and so resentful. I'm going to have to do some major work on my psyche when this happens (soon).
So, yeah, you have a right to feel the way you do. They won't do it for us, the ones who love them, and they won't do it for themselves.
Submitted by perfectstorm5 on
Thank you both for weighing in. Sometimes I think that I'll never understand the mystery of the ADHD mind, but it does help to get support here, because if you ever try to confide in a non ADHD friend about this type of struggle, they give you well meaning, logical feedback that doesn't apply.
No matter what, silent scream, you may never be able to understand the choice your boyfriend made, but I am guessing that even if he gets his mess cleaned up for someone else, it won't stay that way, and at some point that woman will have to face it, too, unless he addresses the root of the problem. It's hard not to think that this could all turn out a lot better than you expect in the long run, and I truly hope the hurt doesn't last too long.
You said that he wanted to fix the problem, but he couldn't make himself do it, and I know that describes my situation exactly. My husband had to replace some baseboards after we got new floors, and he has been procrastinating that project for 7 months...long enough so that when he actually went to do it he found that they had warped, and it was ten times harder. He was in a big hurry to finally do it, though, since we were about to have company.
I used to try to have the same attitude as you, boilergirl, about people not caring about the state of our house if they care about us, and I do believe that life is too short to obsess about that stuff....BUT I am not even asking for standards that I would choose anymore. There is just a certain level of mess that is disgusting, embarrassing, and unacceptable to me. It impacts our lives in so many ways because he can rarely find anything he needs.
I have a sister (who could have ADHD) and we shared a bedroom when we were young. It was a mess all the time, and when our parents made us clean it up, my sister would just shove everything under the bed, or stuff it in the back of her closet. Finally, my mother separated us into different rooms, and I got to live in an orderly space that was my own. (BTW, I am far from a neat and clean freak). Today I can still remember the overwhelming sense of calm that I felt when I was in my own environment. I just want my husband's mess to stop its relentless expansion, and I don't think it's unreasonable to want him to confine it to a smaller area of our shared home.
I didn't mean to discount your feelings.
Submitted by boilergirl on
It is completely embarrassing and I totally agree with you. I pick and choose who I have had over. For example, my parents are 3 hours away and haven't been here in a year or two (we always go up there.) It takes the stress off of me worrying about the house. The neighbors are having a party tomorrow and Dh hasn't cut the grass in two weeks. Yet when I say I will do it or attempt to, there is always some reason I can't. Like, he feels he should be the one to do it. Yet, doesn't.He also has dirt spots from where he dug up grass (yet hasn't replanted) piles of crap on the side of the garage, etc. Piles of wood still in the driveway. Also empty paint cans (because instead of bringing the old paint in the cans to the recycling center-let's make more work for ourselves. Pour it into one big bucket so we can take the metal off of the cans to get $$ for it.)
I also am not a neat freak, but his mess has a chaotic feel to it. I recently asked if he could please keep the public areas downstairs free of his mess. Yet the kitchen and dining room tables have piles again. And God forbid I move his stuff. He has his own office and can do whatever he wants in there...I just shut the door.
You are not being unreasonable for what you are asking. There are so many times I dream of divorce just because I could have my house exactly how I want it. My DH also can't find what he needs. This is why I have started buying my own basic tools and keeping them separate. He probably has 4 hammers yet one can never be found (or I have to climb over piles in the garage.) I hope things get done for your company.
shopping for a new toolbox
Submitted by perfectstorm5 on
Boilergirl, I don't know why I never considered your great idea of getting my own tools!! That would have solved so many problems in the past. My husband has talked about setting up a work bench area in the garage for years, but the tools are still scattered, and yes, we also have multiples of things. I literally have no idea to look when I need a screwdriver or a hammer, and if I find one it's because it was a lucky guess. I will get a toolbox, and start collecting my own, so thanks for that suggestion.
Now about those dirt piles... we have the same, and it has caused a huge argument when I said I wanted to hire someone to help me take care of that. My husband believes that he can do everything better and cheaper than me, so he wants to be the one even though so few projects ever get completed. I am not a perfectionist by any stretch, and I just like the feeling of accomplishment from seeing something through even if it's not perfect. I think because he lives in the "should have, would have, could have" mode, he is always worried that I will dive into something without considering all the angles and possibilities.
Our company left today, and it was a strain so I'm glad it's over. In all the days they were here, no one ever asked my husband what he does all day, and since I'm at a boiling point it seems like such a huge omission. I wouldn't embarrass him on purpose in front of friends and family, but I feel like I am being made a fool of every day that he hides the fact that he is not even trying to support himself. I understand that ADHD can be a source of shame for those who have it, but left untreated for years the shame ends up spreading to the whole family.
They way things change
Submitted by I'm So Exhausted on
As has been happening a lot lately, I read through the posts here on the forum, and something strikes me. Today it was your comment: "I don't get the opportunity to give positive reinforcement very often in this area, so I'll do it, but I have to fight against the hurt and resentment I feel." I too fought the feelings of hurt and resentment.
I spent many years of my early marriage just trying to figure things out. Growing up in an alcoholic home, I did not have a good example of a functional marriage from watching my parents. I knew I wanted better for myself, so I read every book I could find on marriage. Being a Christian, a lot of influence came from that realm. I wanted to do it right, so I tried very hard to implement healthy emotional choices in what I did. I worked HARD. Lots of effort. Lots of changing. Lots of trying. Lots of searching. I love and embrace the whole idea of being a wife and mother.
I knew nothing of ADHD - at all - until our son was diagnosed in 4th grade. The usual questions of "Does anyone else in your family have ADHD?" was answered with "No, definitely not." Never even heard of it.
NOW looking back, of course my husband has an ADHD wired brain. Fully diagnosed, but not until age 53. I am sure, based solely on my own learning and experience, that his Dad did also. What I know now, is there was not a name for it back then. It always has been, no one just had ever taken the time to identify the symptoms, and give it a label.
I now realize, I FOUGHT TOO MUCH. I tried to tell myself I had a lot to do, and I had to adjust how I felt, and I had to learn to be tough, and I had to, I had to, I had to. . . . . . . . .
I tried to deny my own feelings for a long time. Now I can see I was so out of touch.
Can't go back. Can't change the past. HOWEVER, what happens from this moment forward, that is where I can have the big impact on change. If not for my marriage, then, for me. I would surely hope my spouse would want to learn new things, but I cannot hang my hat on that hope.
If I feel hurt, there is a reason.
If I feel resentment, there is a reason.
I am so over feeling embarrassed, and left out, and walked on, and my feeling dissed and dismissed by my spouse. I am no longer concerned over his words of trying to control me by 'sharing' that 'others' think I am wrong. I really care to some degree what others think, as they MAY have something important I can learn from. But being shamed into behaving a certain way because someone may think less of me - no longer works on me :)
I do not regret supporting my spouse, building him up, standing behind him, guarding his heart, encouraging him, being his cheerleader. I do know that now I am spent. Tapped out. With nothing coming back in return, my hope that our marriage will last into our golden years, has faded. If I do not get something back - something that I - myself - determine is what I need, then it will not work. I do not want anyone, my spouse, the church, anyone, telling me what I need or do not need to be happy. I have spent a lifetime of work figuring it out for myself. My heart if full of the Love of Christ. I am content with my own gifts. I want to share them - and I hope my spouse decides he wants to share in them too.
I am already feeling the sadness of the disappointment that he does not- or will not - or cannot.
pain and hope
Submitted by perfectstorm5 on
Even though this post is full of pain, there is a lot of hope, too. I am almost there with you, but it sure is a struggle. In the depths of the worst time of my marriage, I have discovered a lot of positive things about myself. I am at the point where I know I would be better off without fighting all the time, and I am just sad that it may mean permanently dissolving my family.
I think you have to forge ahead, and continue to do what will make you happy. It sounds like you have put a lot of effort into understanding yourself, and if your husband is similar to mine, I can imagine that would be threatening to him. I hope for your sake that your spouse sees what you have to offer, and can see the value in sharing that.
Stay the same or change
Submitted by I'm So Exhausted on
I look at myself, and I feel hypocritical. Maybe the main reason I am still living here is the fact that I do not want to have to go out on my own and get a full time job to support myself.
Kickstarting a career at 54 is not something I want to do. My life dream was to be a stay at home Mom, help my spouse run his construction business, and maybe write some children's books after my children had grown and were on their own. That was my own mantra, what I set my sights on. I guess I had put on blinders to the rest of my marriage, to keep my eyes on the prize. Marriage is for ever. Marriage is hard. Only a few will succeed. I WILL succeed.
I have dabbled at writing my whole life. Sent out a few articles here and there, attended Writer's Conferences, and collected rejection letters :) Since the probability is that I could not support myself as a writer, I have been working towards a business degree since January 2012. Writing can be a hobby, that can possibly provide some random income.
"if your husband is similar to mine, I can imagine that would be threatening to him." Boy, is that comment the truth! I knew, believed and accepted this since I first met my spouse. It is not only me, he is threatened by anyone who is successful. He never got to learn the concept of how much wisdom a person can attain by watching and spending time with a successful person. Finding what they do that could be incorporated into his own life to grow and be successful. Nope, he will drill himself into the ground to try to prove that his way is the best way.
As with many issues in our marriage, I do not know what is ADHD, what is pride, what is something that is all together not at all ADHD.