How do I break through this wall?

I'm facing a very difficult decision right now. I am the ADHD spouse in the relationship (you can view my story here). I am 33 year old male that was diagnosed with ADHD in March this year. I decided to see if I was ADHD after reading Mrs. Orlov's book. My wife introduced me to it in September of last year but I didn't start reading it until January and it was like a revelation to me. Since diagnosis, we began seeing a marriage counselor that is experienced with ADHD and CBT. Things were better for awhile but a change in my medication exacerbated my impulsivity and Over focused ADD type behavior. May was a very rough month for us and I had frequent outbursts from frustration and the pace of our lives. My wife left me and took our daughter with her a little over a month ago and moved out of state to be with her family. She has not filed for divorce or separation yet but I fear that is because she plans to get residency there first before doing so. For that reason, I feel like I have to make a decision before she acquires residency. She has since started counseling with me again over the phone. The focus has been on me and her issues with feeling unsafe even though I have never harmed her or our daughter nor have I had any aggressive tendencies or gotten in trouble with school or the law for physical violence in the past. I have tried to reassure her that her insecurity is misguided but she is stuck on the idea that I have the potential to be a raging abuser. I've been doing everything I can to make changes in my life, learning more about ADHD, exercising, eating a healthy diet for an Over focused ADHD type, going to Yoga, Self Hypnosis, Meditation, CBT with our counselor, journaling, correcting medication to negate the negative effect that exacerbated symptoms, taking medication every day as well as supplements,  yet she does not see the change because she is 1000 miles away. In our current situation, I fear that progress will move too slowly for me to be comfortable with not taking legal action to protect my relationship with my daughter before she acquires residency. She wants me to move there to continue my therapy but my career is on the line as well as my financial and emotional stability. We have discussed a trip next month so I can see our daughter but she is not willing to let me have alone time with our daughter while I am there. It will be almost 90 days by the time I see our daughter for something I know i would never do as it is strongly against my moral values. I was raised old school and taught always to turn the other cheek and never to hurt a woman. I honestly don't know what to do.

carathrace's picture

what did you do?

Road, I've been following your story since you first posted and I'm not asking this to be nosy:  what did you do/say to cause her to move 1000 miles away so abruptly?  What in your recollection is the basis for her belief that you will/could harm her or your daughter?  What is she claiming as her backup evidence for violent behavior?

She refers to a few specific

She refers to a few specific instances in our past that have scared her. Once almost two years ago, I lost my temper with my dogs and punished them for running away, which I felt horrible for because I'm an animal lover. The rest of examples she refers to were anger outbursts where I would get upset about something and yell, sometimes clenching my fists but never in her face or physical. I used to play video games and get upset from the competition and one time I put a hole in the desk from banging my fist on it. I stopped playing the same time I got diagnosed. Other than that, it was just argumentative behavior and a negative attitude that has been building over years and years of bad habits, self esteem issues, buried feelings and memories and not knowing what was wrong with me.

The day she left, I was exhausted from lack of sleep due to being on call. She asked me if I was having trouble getting moving that morning because I was laying on the couch when she came downstairs with Irelyn. I mumbled yes I'm tired and she didn't hear me, so she responded with,"Well this is a great marriage, you don't even communicate with me!" I wasn't aware at the time but I had been suffering from Adderall rebound for an entire month as I'm a type 3 Overfocused ADHDer. It was exacerbating my irritability and argumentative nature. So I snapped back asking her why she had to start the morning like this. Couldn't she see how tired I was? Didn't she notice I was up late due to being on call and was woken up at 3 AM due to another emergency call? I kept on going because I was so frustrated and as I walked by her into the kitchen to take my medication, she was startled because my voice was so loud. She took our daughter and went upstairs and I went into my home office to cool down and start work. About a half hour later, I noticed her come downstairs and it looked as if she was going somewhere, she said she was going to the park with our daughter and I followed her to the car. I noticed a bag packed and asked her why. She said she didn't think she wanted to stay at a friends and needed some time. I didn't stop her. I asked her to calm down and come inside to talk but she refused and left.

Between that day and the time she left to go to her parent's I never went chasing her down trying to find out where she was. I never showed up at her work. I let her come by the house twice to pick up stuff she needed and left both times to give her space. Yet, she has it in her head that I am a threat and she won't let it go. My counselor said today that she has to learn to let go. She has a bad tendency to hold grudges and definitely has some past trauma in her life that has affected her social life as well as her opinion of men. But she refuses to address it and lays all the blame on me. I know I can only change myself and be responsible for myself. I've been hoping by trying to be empathetic and patient, things would turn around but it's been over a month now and I haven't seen any sign from her that she thinks differently.

carathrace's picture


With the information as you described it, it sounds to me like her response is way overboard and inappropriate.  You gave her no indication that you would harm her physically.  I think it's a good idea for you to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.  Tell him/her your story as you've told it to us here.  The lawyer may have ideas on some legal maneuver she is planning to try for, that you can't see because you don't know the law.  It almost seems like she had this move-away planned.  I don't know the law but I don't think she has the right to forbid you to see your daughter alone while you visit, unless she has a restraining order, in which case she would have had to prove a physical threat, and I don't know how she could have come up with that.  Find a good lawyer!

You are not the first to give

You are not the first to give me this advice. I have discussed my rights and the situation with a lawyer and have been reassured. She has definitely wanted to make this move for some time now and we had even been discussing and agreeing upon it in the near future once finances and career changes were in order. However, the route she has taken has definitely changed things. Our counselor recently shared with her some of this legal information and let me know that my wife seemed unaware of the laws or consequences of her actions. I don't know if that will make her more defensive or more open though. Our counselor reassured me that in her sessions with my wife, my wife seems to express that she wants to make it work and wants to figure out how to move forward, but I have not seen or heard any of this from my wife so it is a hard pill to swallow. After meeting with our counselor yesterday, we have decided to continue the therapy in hopes that somme change will happen in the next few weeks. Our counselor also is recommending that I go visit my daughter as soon as possible if I can financially afford to. She did confirm that my wife has no right to keep me from my daughter without legal action but I am trying not to have my wife shut down any further. I am trying to hold on to this sliver of hope that she will come around. As I told our counselor last night, the only reason I haven't done so already is because I do want to change and I want rebuild or reinvent our marriage but the 90 day mark for her residency is a fear I face every day.


It's been a hard few weeks. I've been struggling with doubt, negative thoughts, depression, and anger because of the situation my wife and I are in and being away from my daughter whom I love so dearly. We've finally made some progress this past week after I answered some of my wife's questions on my perception of past experiences that made her feel unsafe. It's not much, but it's more than me or our counselor has seen since this all started. I"m taking a 3 week trip next month to spend time with my daughter. Since my wife wants to be present when spending time with dau, I will be able to see if she recognizes the change in me and get a sense of what to do next. I'm happy to feel some progress but I am still very wary, hurt, and weary from all that we've been through over this time. It's going to take some time to get to the point where I feel we can be a whole family again regardless of progress. Tearing up just thinking about all of this as I write this post....

Some Progress

For those following my story, I wanted to share some updates in regards to this saga over the past few weeks. Our counselor is very happy with the results of my treatment over the past couple of months. I've been religiously sticking to my Self Improvement Plan, doing everything in the books suggested to help improve brain function and overall mood, and logging it all in journals. I am currently visiting my wife and dau in the state she is staying in. Today will be the third day together since I've arrived and we do have plans every day I am here to allow me to spend time with my dau. My wife has seemed optimistic and kind so fair albeit distant and cautious as well. I can't begin to describe the emotions I am feeling while spending time with them. Joy, Sadness, Hope, and Love mostly. I will be out here a few more weeks and hope that my wife and I can take a few steps in the right direction before I leave. Praying diligently and keeping my fingers crossed, I truly hope we can get through this. We have a very long road ahead of us and I've been walking that road alone for a few months now. I hope I have a partner to journey with soon.

carathrace's picture

keep on

Thanks for the update, Road.  You're a real trooper, keep on keepin' on.  So glad you get to be with your daughter, enjoy every minute, as I'm sure she is.  I hope, too, that you and your wife can get through this.

Cherish every moment

Thank you, Carathrace. I'm definitely cherishing every moment I have with her. She's grown so much over these past couple of months and is learning so fast. It saddens me to know I've missed out on so much but I hold on to the hope that this sacrifice will pay off in the end.

Lost her ring

Forgot to mention during our visit yesterday, I found out that she lost her engagement ring and hasn't seen it for 2 months. For some reason she thought she had left it behind even though I let her know a month ago that I had found her wedding ring in her jewelry drawer (she prefers wearing her engagement ring). I looked up a text I sent her the day she left asking her to make sure she had her ring and she said she grabbed it. For all I know, she left it in one of the hotels she stayed in between our home and her parent's place 1000 miles away. She had a bad habit of leaving her ring behind on the bathroom counter or bath tub rim. This really stung deep. I kept my composure during our rendezvous but cried for an hour afterwards. Hurts so much that it seemed so trivial to her. Found another text when I let her know about finding her wedding ring and asked her why she didn't take it and she said she rushing and just grabbed "what she thought was important." Another stab in the heart.....

Keep going

Keep going R2R.  Don't assume anything about the ring, she may not want to tell you what she truly feels about it if she is still feeling her way.  Just go forward. We're watching :)

So true

Thanks for the support, Sunlight. I guess she thought I was my happiest during our meeting yesterday and asked why. There was no particular reason, really. In fact, I had only 3 hours of sleep the night before and a very tough day at work. I let her know it was nice to hear her perspective on my mood because I've been keeping track of it as well. I asked her how she thought my mood was the previous days. She noted that she felt like the day she told me about the ring was a bit of a rollercoaster. She could tell I was emotional but not really angry and gave me a little space to process. She also said she thought that it was understandable that I was emotional considering the subject. Unfortunately, she's still not ready to talk one on one about hard topics that we need to get past before real progress, so I will have to wait until next month when we are again 1000 miles apart and hope that progress can be made. Very tough....

Last day

Today is the last day I will see my daughter before heading home. I've been very emotional since I woke up. I've enjoyed spending time with her so much and mending the bond that has been frayed by our separation. It pains me so much to see how much this is affecting my relationship with my daughter. My heart aches knowing that I will be missing out on more of her life until, hopefully, my wife and I work things out.

Symbol of Possession

That is what she referred to the ring as. More and more I wonder if I even want to be with her anymore. It's been almost a week and I haven't seen or talked to my daughter because my wife worked throughout the weekend. She failed to tell me that her work was going to interfere with our daily video calls and doesn't seem to have a problem with depriving me time from my daughter. Yesterday, she sent me an outline of topics she wants to discuss for the next few months in counseling, all while she is remote over the phone. Our counselor doesn't think that her attending remotely is getting us anywhere because she is in a dysfunctional environment and can be easily distracted. She refuses to start seeing a counselor on her end. She has very selective perception about everything both in the past and currently so anything said, read, or seen is taken out of context. She expects me to go without seeing my daughter for my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I don't think it's fair to continue to dictate my relationship with my daughter while we continue to try to reconcile our relationship. I know taking legal action will probably be a setback and may lead to divorce but I cannot continue like this without my daughter.

Symbols and possessions

Ironic then that she is (seems to be) treating your daughter as one (possession).

If not now because she is too young, then soon, your daughter will be asking after you have left from a visit "is daddy coming today", "when can we go to daddy's house?" etc etc.  It seems your wife does not want to confront messy reality but  to push it into the background and imagine that it will all go away.  Fine, except that the child has rights.

I hope that things are improving since this post. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Glimmer of Hope

Yes, it is but I've been summoning up as much empathy as I can muster to try to look at this situation from her point of view of fear. My actions and her insecurities and vulnerabilities led her to create an seed of fear that eventually something would happen. If we can break through that wall, I think she will begin to see why she feels the way she feels and that her fear and actions were not normal under the circumstances, we may be able to address some of the underlying issues on her end that have contributed to our current situation. I think we are beginning to make some headway there. We've started couples counseling again and a main focus is to describe each others point of view and what we were thinking during previous arguments. A potential move is on the horizon, as she asked me to consider moving there before the holidays but has since been a little hesitant to commit to it. Hopefully, a decision will be made in the next couple weeks so I can prepare to do so with enough time before the holidays. I've also offerred to move in with her at her parent's house in an attempt to jumpstart our progress and rebuild trust between all of us along the way. Hopefully, everything works out.

Following Your Story

Best of luck to you. I am new here, my wife and I separated and I moved 500 miles away. We have no children so our situation is different in that sense. Although my wife has told me a few times that she felt like I was going to hurt her. My reaction, "What?" We'll see what happens. In the meantime I can only work on myself, which I continue to do.

Stay strong

Stay strong, JRZ. No matter what happens, you have to choose daily to be happy and to want to change. This is a very hard choice sometimes but remember you are doing it for yourself regardless of what happens because you want to be in control of yourself. I wish you the best of luck.

A Future Unknown

A Future Unknown

I stand at the precipice of change
Staring down the path of a future unknown
My life, I must rearrange
As I keep my heart from turning to stone

My love tears me in two
One part paralyzed with fear
The other, hopeful dreams of you
The one I hold most dear

I plead to God to show me a sign
Of which path I should choose
But in the end, the choice is mine
And my loved one I may lose

I reflect on how far I have come
In such a short time
When my heart goes numb
From being accused of such an awful crime

A crime I know I would never commit
For I believe in love and love alone
Yet I have said words I wish you could forget
Words that cut like a knife to your bone.

In my darkest times, I turn to my faith
To give me strength to carry on
My greatest miracle arrived on May 8th
My love and I did spawn

A daughter of such promise and beauty
To brighten my dark days
And now it is our duty
To give her love and praise

Though I may have failed at many things
Our daughter is my true success
And her happiness brings
Joy to my life that I cannot express

Whatever the future may be for me
I thank God for the honor to be a father
And hope that one day my daughter will see
That I have and will always love her.