I've been reading through some of the posts on the forum and I can't help but find myself feeling as though I've been slapped in the face! I see others feeling/experiencing/dealing with all of the same things I've been experiencing/feeling/dealing with! I just want to say thank you God, I am not alone -- for the longest time I have felt utterly alone in this turmoil.
A little background:
Husband and I have been married just shy of 5 years. He is 39 and I am 34. He has two children from a previous marriage and we have 2 children together. He has ADD, diagnosed and medicated. I do not. I have OCD-as in clean & orderly standards that no one else can uphold. Holy cow, can you say we should have seen this coming!!???!! Volatile roller coaster to say the least. It's been killing me that I feel my only option is divorce. I never saw myself as a single mother.
I have read so many posts on this forum that just ring true. I'm angry; he's angry. I feel alone, he doesn't validate or understand why. I watch project after project go unfinished. I see to-do lists that never get a second glance. I see a planner that has plenty of things omitted. I see the magnetic planner on the fridge be ignored even though if you took a moment to glance, the whole month's responsibilities, plans, etc are listed there. I hear my 4 year old wanting to play with her Daddy as soon as he wakes up but he is either in a brain fog or hyper-focused on something else. I never knew the term hyper-focused until today. The last argument was tops for me. I am so separated and detached from the relationship it doesn't seem there is any getting it back. I have convinced myself that I will be much better off without him - that I can have routine, stability, "normal" if he and I didn't live in the same house. How did I ever get to that point? I realize now, it wasn't by myself. I realize now, that by turning a blind eye and ear to his disorder (yes, ADD/ADHD is a disorder) I enabled our lives to spiral much worse than what they should have.
So my resolve? Well, firstly - I need to regain some independence (work outside of the home, bank account, estate planning) while accommodating his disorder by setting up strategies with him that help US overcome the obstacle of the moment, hour, day, week, month, year.
So back to my 4 year old pleading and whining for her Daddy to play catch with her with a huge beach ball. She's screaming at the top of her lungs because he's yelling at her "Not now" and she doesn't understand why he won't just hold his hands up and catch a ball. My light switch flipped on. For the first time EVER, I calmly tell him "I know you are hyper focused on something else right now, but she doesn't understand that. So while you might get angry at her......" he cuts me off, yelling, "I'm mad because she's crying and whining." to which I respond, "No, you aren't. You are mad because if you get distracted now you may never return to the task you are trying to complete." He stops and stares at me. I state, "You can tell me I'm wrong, but I don't think I am. I learned this morning what hyper-focused is and I am going to work very hard to understand your ADD and how it affects our home, our relationship, and our children. But if you ever yell at her again like that over playing with her, we will be leaving. There will be no discussion whatsoever and I will not ever keep your children from you, but your angry outbursts will no longer be tolerated."
He just stared at me, in disbelief. I didn't raise my voice - I didn't waver in my statements. And it worked. He backed off. He calmed himself. He finished his task. And while this might have been a once in a lifetime occurrence - I finally felt relief. Like I had finally identified the demon. The demon isn't my husband, his attitude, the fact that at this point I just think he's an asshole. The demon is his behavior because of his ADD. And I will, in all honesty, try my hardest to accommodate him - help him identify strategies for success, but I won't do it at the sake of my own self-esteem, self-worth, my children's health and well being.
I am so glad I found this site - I am hoping to learn so much more and as quickly as I possibly can. Anyone out there have any other tips/tricks/strategies for healthily dealing with their ADD spouse?