Hope for the Hopeless

I wanted to share a bit of my story and where I'm at for those of you who are where I have been and was just a short time ago.

If you look down at some of my previous posts you will see a lot of my frustration/anger with my spouse and the point of hopelessness that I was at. Things had gotten so bad that we separated 2 months ago. We have 4 children, and have been married 12 years, so the decision was not an easy one to make. At the point that we separated I was not sure what my spouse would do. I was fully prepared that he may decide to do nothing and that our marriage would sadly come to an end.

Like many of you, I have tried hundreds of different tactics over the last 12 years. From begging/pleading, to nagging, to encouraging, to demanding/yelling, you name it, I've done it. I read Melissa's book 2 years ago and it was like reading the story of our lives. The bad thing was that my spouse was unwilling to read the book or to participate in any of the plans/techniques mentioned in the book, so while it was helpful, it didn't go anywhere.

When we separated I made it clear to my spouse that he had 6 months so get things figured out. I told him that I was unwilling to live our lives the way we had been living for the last couple years, and that I refuse to be his mother any longer. I have pursued counseling on my side and allowed him to do whatever he thinks he needs to do on his end. I wrote him a letter with clear boundaries as to what I would/would not tolerate and we separated the finances for the time being.

I won't lie and say things have been easy or even close to it. My children (all 4 under 11) are missing their daddy, and I really am not loving being a single mom (while going to school full time). I am having to take a hard look at MYSELF and my contributions to this whole mess, which isn't fun either. I read and reread the  book Codependent No More, which I think anyone on here should read IMMEDIATELY, because if you're like me, the entire book is applicable to your situations.

The first few weeks were horrible, adjusting to the new normal, dealing with being alone, all of the emotions still between us. But slowly things leveled out a bit. It has been extremely hard for me to let go of all of the things that I had previously taken care of for him. Most were out of fear of what would happen if I didn't do it, like making sure he filled/took his meds, making sure he got up for work, making sure he turned in paperwork, etc. I had to quit that all cold turkey. He has stumbled around quite a bit on things, and is not doing it perfectly, but slowly he is picking back up the things that I had taken from him for so long.

I realized (after reading the Codependent book), that the reason I was doing so much rescuing and taking care of so many things for him was because I didn't trust him to take care of himself, that I thought he was incompetent. In the process, he came to believe the same thing, that he was incapable of taking care of himself. The result was little to no self-confidence or ability to believe in himself. We were both stuck in this cycle of dependence and reacting that was miserable for both of us and got us nowhere.

The separation, while extreme, forced him to face the choice of either giving himself 100% to fixing what was wrong, or losing his family. The consequences were/are in his face daily, and he knows that if we don't figure this out and quit running from it, we will lose our marriage.

We started Melissa's class on October 1st, and it has been an awesome resource and way for us to talk about the issues that got us to where we are now. He is finally willing to look at his part in things, and not run away because he's overwhelmed or afraid that I'm saying it's all his fault. Melissa does a great job of keeping both partners accountable for their part in the process, and not blaming it on one or the other. She is very clear about saying that if things are to get any better you BOTH have to work on your actionsr/reactions.

We are still in the beginning stages of fixing our relationship, but for the first time in a long time I have faith that we can make it work, without me having to sacrifice my happiness and live the rest of my life as his mother instead of his wife. I just wanted to encourage everyone here that no matter how dark it seems, if you have two people willing to find a way to make it work, you can do it. The problem, I think, a lot of the time with ADHDers, is getting them to the place that they realize that this is NOT something that can just be blown over or ignored. It may take something extreme or serious enough that they sit up and take notice.

It was not until I was willing to admit the reality of our situation, and realize that I would be miserable for the rest of my life if things didn't change drastically, that I was brave enough to lay it all on the line and possibly lose my marriage. I am still struggling daily with my codependent habits and I know we're a long way from having things fixed, but I know that no matter what the outcome of this, I and my kids (and my husband) will be in a better place because of it.

You CANNOT live the rest of your life being responsible for another adult. No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to control them, and you will make yourself crazy and miserable in the process. Your spouse IS capable of taking responsibility for themselves and their own actions, but that will not happen until you step back and allow/force them to do so. You DESERVE peace, you DESERVE to be loved, and you DESERVE a partner, not another child.

I hope my story/progress helps someone, I know it helped ME to read anything that seemed to help other couples in my situation when I was at my lowest point. Sometimes you just need a nudge to get on the road to where you need to go.