I am beyond exhausted and I don't know what to do. My ADD husband* falls into an awful "cycle" or "pattern" whenever I have needs. It goes something like this:
1. Wife does too much.** She gets exhausted, overwhelmed, and overworked.
2. Wife reaches out to husband for help, but Husband becomes defensive and feels "accused."
3. Husband tries to "help" by defending and explaining himself. Husband may lash out and "runs away" and goes missing for a few days.
4. Husband knows that he is "expected" apologize, but only does so after explaining his point of view ad nauseum. Instead of apologizing, Husband lectures Wife for three hours straight and becomes furious when "interrputed."
5. Wife gives up on her needs or accepts whatever "breadcrumbs" Husband offers . . . until next time.
Wife is worse off than ever before. And she's angry because:
- Wife's original need to feel supported is never met. Now Wife is MORE overwhelmed -- especially when husband is missing and creates chaos.
- Husband's apparent lack of empathy and inability to be sensitive is very hurtful.
- Husband's tendency to focus on his needs and feelings is also hurtful.
- Even though she's exhausted, Wife has to GIVE MORE (listening, patience, understanding) in order to get what she should have gotten without question in the beginning -- a little love and understanding. Unless she jumps through the necessary hoops, Wife gets nothing.
I've been seeing a therapist and I finally decided that I can't deal with the constant emotional chaos. How awful is it when you tell your husband, "hey, I'm having a hard time, can you please put your arm around me and make me feel better?" but he responds with volatility and unkindness?
I coach him, lead him, scaffold . . . do whatever I can to make it easy for him to step up to the plate. I take him by the hand, lovingly, look into his eyes, and tell him how much I'm hurting. Then, as soon as I'm vulnerable, open, willing to try anything to save our relationship, he intentionally picks at me or puts me down to hurt me. It's so cruel.
Today I told him that I'd "had it," and that I'm planning to leave. We agree to talk before I pack my things and go. But THEN he throws another wrench in things by inviting his daughter over! And we've been fighting NON STOP for three days. I'm about to get on a plane and go to my parents' house, but he plans to bring the kid over so she can be right in the middle of the dispute! Tell me that wasn't intentional!
I tell him that it's very inconsiderate and "not a good decision." Then he lashes out more and more and more and more . . .
I am so, so, so, exhausted by this cycle. I suppose that if I just shut my mouth and never ask for anything, it would keep the peace. But I can't life that way. I have to stand my ground and get the love and care that I deserve.
* Husband sees two therapists and is medicated.
** I take care of my stepdaughter, clean, cook, do the bills, drive, shop for food, do the taxes (he's behind, of course), help the kid with homework, liaise with teachers, help the husband with his homework, run the errands, clean the house, care for sick family members . . .