How do non-ADHD spouses let go of the anger and resentment?

I've been with my husband for 16 years. He was diagnosed about 10 years ago with varying amounts of counseling and medications over the years. It's been a roller coaster of ups and downs. We have 2 kids which has added to the stress and responsibilities that have to be navigated. I get very hurt and angry when something happens or doesn't happen that is related to his ADHD. For a long time I didn't say much and just thought it was my job to be a good wife and be understanding. Then a therapist said I needed to tell him right when something happened since he couldn't remember details if we discussed it later. But with his anxiety he either shuts down or just simply holds his ground without being able to hear my side. He says it's because I'm so angry that he doesn't feel like he can discuss it. But I am so hurt that I can't calmly say what is bothering me without the emotion coming across. Any negative vibe makes him feel attacked even if I dont yell. But if I wait and say it later, he can't remember why he did it or participate in talking through it to a conclusion. So I'm feeling crazy and don't know what to do. Conflicts don't lead to any apology from either of us or agreement for how to handle the situation differently in the future so we have the same arguement over and over. I'm not comfortable with his defense being either a) I'm being unreasonable because I'm trying to change him and can't accept him for who he is or b) he didn't intend to hurt me so I shouldn't be upset and basically I need to get over it. How do I constructively state my issue in a way that helps him understand where I am coming from and discuss if there is a way to do it differently in the future that works for both of us? This parent-child dynamic is destructive and I feel stuck.

It sounds so much like you're

It sounds so much like you're talking about my marriage. My husband has frequently said that he can't talk to me because I'm too angry. So I've worked on remaining calm (I wanted to for my own sake anyway.) Now he says he can't talk to me because I'm too calm and that means that I'm not sharing myself with him, an obvious projection mechanism. Sheesh. The other layer I have added in is that my husband (just diagnosed a few months ago) has been lying to me about his "friendships" with other women for years now. There have been in between times when he comes clean and takes responsibility, makes practical changes to the way he lives his life (reading about addictions and adhd, counselling, nutrition and exercise, and most importantly, practicing honesty and intimacy with me) but then he falls off the wagon. I stand here looking at him and thinking, well, I know his reward/incentive and impulsivity and consequences mechanisms are all screwed up but honestly, this is hard to take. When I read the self-help literature on coping with infidelity, and the advice on how the injured spouse can be helped to recover from his/her pain and resentment, it invariably recommends that the cheating spouse do things like be extra-transparent in their actions, that they go out of their way to accommodate the forgiveness of their spouse, that the injured spouse be really clear about setting boundaries (e.g. I need you to check with me before you have any personal contact with that co-worker) so that she/he can regain trust, etc. Because of who my husband is, I wasn't able to have any of that in place for me because my husband just shuts down completely at any reminders about how "wrong" he was. His defensiveness is overwhelming. I have had to be the bigger person - the only adult in the situation. And he's made big - huge - strides over the last few years but he still lies to me during his downward cycles... because he's wired differently and hasn't yet learned how to deal with that?? And so I just forgive, over and over and over again. The last time he actually full-on cheated a little more than two years ago I made him move out and that did get the message through in a way that he could understand, and retain, that extramarital sex is non-negotiable. Now that we've reconciled he started up again with arranging situations to be flirtatious or heroic with younger girls (a big blow to the self-esteem of a dedicated wife who's about to turn 40 let me tell you!) to stroke his ego and then the consequence is that his high guilt and anxiety lead him to (a) be secretive and lie, (b) stop working on himself and (c) find ways to blame me for everything. Ugh.

I find so often that the mainstream advice I hear or read about dealing with marital conflicts doesn't necessarily apply appropriately to my marriage because things are not heard/received by my husband the same way that they would be by a non-ADHD (and in our case, non-addicted) spouse. (I don't know if that's a correct thing for me to say or if it's just yet another sign that I'm a classic enabler!) But I know that having resources like these as well as a therapist who understands those differences makes a big difference. Does your husband have enough self-awareness to be able to articulate to you, during a cool, calm time, what would be helpful for him in the heat of the moment so that he doesn't have reaction as his only option? That's something we're working on these days with respect to the relatively smaller conflicts. I won't say he had an easy answer for me and we've actually opened a can of worms with this conversation but I'm glad at least that those darn worms are out in the open.

Good luck to you, Willow. I will add my question to yours: where do I make my line in the sand? For my sanity right now, I have to do 2 things simultaneously that don't really jive together: I have to back off and say, "You want to withdraw from me? Whatever, life's too short and so I'm going to be over here living. Let me know when you're done and we can talk," and I have to say, somehow, "Lying to me (including lies of omission) is not a behaviour that I'm willing to tolerate from you and so I need you to come clean with me." How do I do this with a man whose self-defense mechanisms of attack and withdraw are so finely-tuned that they still catch me off balance after all these years? History shows that if I do the first thing he'll definitely come around out of his zone of oblivion but he won't come clean unless confronted and if I confront him about lying, either now or later, he'll withdraw like a frightened turtle, occasionally reaching out of his shell to snap at me. I sure understand what you say about feeling stuck!

I feel the same, i am in the

I feel the same, i am in the same position-marriage. Been married 15 years, has known maybe 13 of those years, has taken medicine, but not done the work. I have been in counseling forever because of my past and because i thought a lot of our problems were mine... I am livid and wicked pissed now and tired of all the bs. He needs to do the work. I am done with the defensive attitude, the bullying attitude, the talking down to me, and the same childish "not me, what about when you did or said blah blah blah years ago". So over it. I feel like i am living in a never ending, terrible episode, of ground hog day! Fed up. Not into any more excuses. He is becoming very similar to his demeaning, antagnogistic, bully, biggoted father. And let me tell you, i am not attracted to him or his father. I am done with all the letting go and forgiving everything. We have two kids and they see us argue more often than not. I am really struggling with trying to figure out a way to make it work. I think he is scared now. He made an appt with hopefully an adhd doctor. He is very humble when he wants to be, he has stopped drinking for the moment... but, i am still just mad. I have no energy, i cant seem to pull it together to get out and do fun stuff with the kids. However, we did go see a movie yesterday. I feel more lost and alone than ever. I feel like i have no one to talk to. No one gets it. No one knows in his family, this burden is all my own. I dont have family close by, they all live in other states. Plus, they wouldnt get it anyway. So, last resort, i bought the book and am almost through it. If he could all of a sudden stop the bullying, defensive, belittling behavior, i would be on better footing to try to keep it all together. i wish i had something to offer you in the way of advice, but it sounds like we are in the same boat. The parent child dynamic seems to be huge. No guarantees they will ever grow up... I heard this at a seminar a while back. The most we can hope for is for them to mature to the age of 40 by the time they are in their 60s. : (. Im sorry so negative, just in a tight spot. Perhaps time will help.

Letting go of anger and resentment - thanks for the responses

Your comment about being like the movie Ground Hog day is spot-on correct! I know from reading Melissa Orlov's book that I have to communicate differently with him but I'm really not sure how to go about doing it and preserving myself at the same time. I don't have the infidelity element in my marriage. That has always been a non-negotiable item for me so I feel confident that I would have left the first time it happened, regardless of why. I wish that we were in a place in our relationship where we could talk when things aren't emotionally charged but there's no room to talk about much of anything these days. It's walking the mine field and I have been stepping on a lot of mines by bringing anything up. Minefields include the typical issues: Spending/budgeting, time management/scheduling, affection/sex. From reading different relationship books, they just say "let it (the anger) go" - I really want to. History in my marriage has proven to me that letting it go would be denial if our behaviors don't change. So it's like which came first the chicken or the egg - do I change my behavior first and then he'll change his behavior and then my anger will go away? Or am I supposed to "fake it until I make it" telling myself that I forgive him and won't think about it anymore after a while?

It's that whole defensive

It's that whole defensive thing. No matter what, they feel attacked, regardless of their actions. I have that same problem as well. I am wondering if this is a personality thing instead of adhd thing. i dont understand the fight, fight, fight, thing. It is exhausting. The constant denials, defensive, "not me" stuff. I Consider that a maturity issue and i have reached the end of "letting it go". I want to be with a grown up. My children are starting to do what he does. I dont want them to grow up thinking its ok to lie or defend their actions if they could have done oe said something differently. Another thing that is wearing on me is his lack of responsibility. He constantly says "just tell me what you want me to do and i'll do it". It relieves him of any responsibility, takes away any accountability, and then has ammunition to say "i did what you said, and its still isnt good enough." is that adhd or personality? Last week, he said his meds were going to cost ALOT of money, we have new insurance, so new deductible, and meds arent covered for a while. We are on a major freeze as far as un needed expenses go. I said we can not pay that much EVERY month. So, he didnt buy them and didnt take them for over week because i said we can not afford that EVERY month... Again, pointing the finger at me, instead of figuring out how to make it work - ie, change meds with doctor, find other places to buy them that are less expensive, or just plain figure out a solution!! Instead he chose to not do anything at all.... And said it was my fault? Is this personality, or adhd? Or lack of maturity? I have a million of these "you said" things all the time. There is no inbetween, no problem solving, no looking for a compromise, just doing the exact opposite so it ends up somehow being my fault. I have to read the book again. Do you have these types of things too?

@Willow...you have to get out

@Willow...you have to get out of the mindset that letting go of the anger is FOR HIM. It isn't. It has nothing to do with him, or shouldn't anyway. It is about you. Your happiness. Your sanity. You detach from him and his ADHD and you learn to live and be happy in spite of his ADHD. Melissa says it best...stop focusing on saving the marriage and just focus on finding yourself again. Put the issues aside that you can for now (affection, for ex) and just focus on YOU. I know, if you're like me, you hate HATE hate the 'angry you'. I hate the power that I have to give up to him to be so angry AT him. To be so angry because of him. Angry at the world. It's NUTS. It is fine to do it in the hopes that he'll reciprocate, but if you do it for that purpose alone, it will only return eventually and it will matter so much more if you do it FOR YOU. It is extremely liberating to just let go and let them be responsible for their own decisions and behaviors. You're allowed to be upset. You're allow to be hurt. It is what you do with those emotions that matter. Stop fighting over money. I have learned that once he spends it, it is gone...and there is nothing I can do..however, I CAN take more control of things by physically taking control of the money. (i.e. I pay the bills and then empty the bank account and deal only with cash from there on out...and give him ONLY what we can afford for him to have and I feel NO GUILT about it at all) I took his debit card again too. Nothing was learned in the year he didn't have it apparently. I will not let him destroy our family financially...I do draw the line there.

@pjloops...pretty much everything you've described is uncontrolled ADHD. It does look like immaturity, but it isn't. Not in the normal sense. A lot of it is simply the "it's easier to give up/do it my way/do nothing/sit here and pretend not to care than it is to do the hard work to make things better" attitude. "why bother?" Also, it does manifest itself as defensiveness. Nothing at all new about this behavior. Pretty much across the board kind of stuff. However, I would suggest that in order to save yourself from the "I did what you told me and it wasn't good enough game" is to either stop telling him what to do OR tell him and don't mention a word if it isn't done the way you'd have hoped. If anything approach it as a mis-communication (even if you think they heard you perfectly, I can promise he probably didn't). As for the meds...the "we cannot afford that every month" would never have come out of my mouth. "wow, that's expensive..how long do we have to pay that much? We'll figure something out" and then finding a way to make it work is a better solution. I try and think about it from the aspect of what if it were my meds that I needed and he told me no...which he would never do. I know what it is like to live with someone who spends too much money or has no sense of frugality, but when it comes to things like meds this is when being a partner to him (in spite of his behavior) is really important and you figure out a way to swing it because he needs it.
 

Thanks sherri, glad to hear

Thanks sherri, glad to hear it is uncontrolled and not personality... Doesnt make it any better to hear. I am struggling to find it in me to give it one more go, one more "let it go". I dont play his games any more and i havent for quite a while. He still says the exact same things, does the exact same things and expects me to satisfy all his needs (which i dont do either). I am very stubborn and very closed off. I am not an easy person to be around and more so with all of this. When i first came into this marriage i was very laid back, calm, accepting, helpful, wanting desperately to help him, and labeled a saint... I had no idea what they all meant by "saint". Now i am bitter, withdrawn, depressed and mean. I am broken. I have been in counseling forever, did everything i could to fix me to better our marriage to now see that it wasnt all me... Which only leads me to be more withdrawn and hostile. I do agree your response about the med price was much nicer and with love, but i dont see it that way anymore. I keep hoping to see signs of a thought provoking partner poke up out of this mess. I keep hoping he can make the big decisions to take care of himself and make a decison that would mean he thinks first of his own well being. He has this way to try to make everyone feel sorry for him and i dont go to pity parties anymore. Ugh... Im thinking a few more days and i will have resigned myself to a place of acceptance again and then move forward, finding a way to project happy for the kids. I also must confess this total meltdown and breakdown of mine came a few weeks ago after a very awful vacation with him and my family. Sorry to be soooo negative. I really appreciate all your time and thoughts. You are very strong and very helpful. After reading what you've been through, i would have left long ago. How do you keep moving forward? Im with willow, how do you let it go over and over and over again?

When you can move towards

When you can move towards loving the person but not letting their often "out of kllter" perceptions affect how you feel about yourself or the things you care about...then you are on your way. I have been reading Paula Evans book about verbally abusive relationships, and while painful to read, highlights to me how much I have been dealing with. It is absolutely a good thing to state your needs, to expect respect and kindness. Somehow i forgot that - because the "crazymaking" aspects kept pulling me into the rollercoaster (and still does on occasion). But I am noticing that as I move on towards my personal goals, try to stay connected to my kids, and tell my often verbally abusive husband what I need (picking good times is important), then I feel better about myself-- I struggle to keep his words from hurting me (they can be pretty bad), but strive to keep him from having THAT power to hurt me. Its getting better, but I am still waiting to see- his denial and blame are still very very strong.

@SherriW13 - I do agree that

@SherriW13 - I do agree that letting the anger go needs to be for me and not for him. You're right - I hate the "angry me". It's not the person I want to be, the person I like to be and the one that many times seems like a distant memory. But, where I have trouble is to do that for myself - at some point will I understand if the marriage is working or if I need to leave? One of the ADD coaches I talked to casually said that I need to close my exits - ie don't think about divorce being an alternative. So I'm having trouble just focusing on making myself happy and being with my kids because in my head I'm thinking that if I'm having to do it that I am shutting my husband out and not giving him a chance to be in the relationship with me. I guess I'm saying how am I going to that without being cold and insensitive and shut him out? I'm confused how I'm supposed to be in a marriage, living in the same household but behaving as if he's not part of the relationship (by making choices that are just about me). I agree with you in principal but am confused how to do it and be okay with it.

ex: we got back into church

ex: we got back into church TOGETHER after many years of not going. When he had his "unravel" starting in mid-February, he quit going. I am still going, but going alone. I have made it very clear to him that him going means a LOT to me but he still refuses to go. At some point I will have to decide if this is a deal breaker for me. It kills me a little more inside each time he doesn't go. He LOVED going, BTW...but when he unraveled, he let some duties at church slide and put people in a hard spot so that is why I think he won't go back...not wanting to face what he did. All it would take is a couple of phone calls and apologies...and I am sure all would be forgiven. I pray about it a lot.

ex: it used to KILL me when he would not go with me when my family got together for holidays and birthdays (A LOT of them during the spring/summer). when he started unraveling, he pretty much refused to go with me at all. I would let him know of the plans, and when the time came he wouldn't go. I started going without him. This really came back to bite him because it made me realize that I don't need him to go in order to enjoy myself and I have gotten past the 'embarassment' or feeling of sadness and loneliness when he wouldn't go...and it was the beginning of the end of my co-dependency. (still a work in progress, but I am getting there). He was always invited, but chose not to go and tried to make ME choose between my family and him. He has already succeeded in shutting his family out almost entirely, I am NOT going to let him start keeping me from mine. Not to mention, my family all love him and want him to be included, but he's so paranoid about all of the shit he's done to me that he is convinced otherwise and, like always, he avoids the situation rather than just letting it go and realizing they really don't give a shit.

ex: we used to spend Saturdays as a family...going out, going riding, maybe walk the trails at the dam, having picnics, etc. He lost all interest in this too for a long while...so I started making plans and doing things without him. I took my daughter to paint ceramics on Saturday mornings, I took the kids to the movies, to the drive-in, etc. He was invited to go along but would always refuse the invite. It was hard at first, but I made myself go without him...and it is much easier now. It beats sitting at home and staring at four walls as a stark reminder of how he was trying to change the rules on me again and take away yet another thing (Family Day) from all of us that was so precious to us all.

None of this has to be done by shutting him out. It has to be done by just simply moving forward. Finding things you enjoy and doing them, even if he won't. The more you disconnect yourself from being STUCK in the same place, doing the same thing then the better you'll start to feel. I could have given up and stopped going to church because going alone is a hurtful reminder to me that we were once on the right track by bringing God back into our marriage..together...and now we're not. But I refuse to. For weeks I couldn't walk through the doors without breaking down...but I'm doing better...meeting more and more people...and they are becoming a part of my family. I could sit at home and not do things with my family because he didn't want to go (he spent Father's Day alone because of his refusal to go) but I feel it is completely unfair of him to try and change everything after 14 years of us spending them with my family. They are all I have left. I have lost both of my parents and so has he. He has nothing to do with his family, so my brother and sister and their families are all either of us have left. I have to CONSTANTLY remind myself...'this isn't him, this is his ADHD..this is his paranoia and his warped sense of perspective...he isn't doing this..this is not him.." over and over and over again.

As for being cold and insensitive...you don't have to be either in order to move forward. As a matter of fact, being kind is probably going to help you let go of the anger more than anything else. My husband is very much a part of our relationship when we are together. I talk to him, I listen to how his day is going/went, we are getting along better now than we have in many weeks...but I am convinced that this only came about because I started moving on without him. I told him that the days of this marriage being all about him were over...and I meant it. I do love him, I do want to connect with him and his happiness does matter to me, but I won't let his untreated ADHD control everything anymore. One of our issues is his reckless spending...and I finally put my foot down and came up with a way to give him what he NEEDS, but keeping him from spending so much that I cannot make the bills. Literally, him spending $100 could cause a snowballing affect that would put us behind. I give him what I have, tell him that is all we are going to have, and he has to make do. If he gets angry, I know that if I just give him time he'll get over it...and he does. I could let the guilt of his tantrums control me and give him more money than we have to give, but I'm done playing that game. If he won't spend time with me, I find other things to do. I don't sit and mope and be sad about.

Deep down...he really is a very, very kind and giving person. He has ADHD. For the longest time he refused to even seek treatment for it. It was one of the hardest times in my life. I was so angry that he would CHOOSE not to do anything about this horrible disorder that was ripping us apart and hurting all of us. Then I realized, it was only ripping us apart and hurting me because I took it personally and I was convinced he was doing it on purpose. I let him know "I'm here, I love you, but I won't let this drag me down anymore...when you're ready to move forward, we'll move forward together" I left him alone to deal with it...to face the demons and to battle himself all alone. I stopped trying to 'fix' it. I stopped trying to discuss ADHD with him. I stopped saying "stop doing this to us! it hurts!" I just simply stopped spending every waking minute trying to 'fix' my marriage. I took all discussion of ADHD, counseling, meds, marriage, etc...off of the table and just focused on making the absolute most for myself and my kids out of what we had. I just wanted to laugh and have fun again. I cannot tell you how important this is...it has come to be so precious to me. Laughter was something I had become a stranger to.

He pretended to be doing well, but in the end the truth came out and at that point I insisted he needed to go see his doctor. He insisted he go see a psychiatrist and since it came from someone whose motives he doesn't question, he agreed. He goes Aug 9th. Again, he only started moving forward and re-engaging in the family when I started first.

***edit...I didn't insist he see his doctor...I take that back..I sat down and said "what are you going to do about what happened because I won't ignore it and I won't let you ignore it..and it is unacceptable" and that is when he said he was going to see his doctor, made the appt himself, and asked me to come with him. Just wanted to clarify.

 

 

Wow, a great, great, great

Wow, a great, great, great reply sherri. You are right, by doing what i am doing, i am not making myself happy. i need to read your stuff over and over. Thanks for sharing... : ) a lot to think about. I feel like such a debbie downer... You always inspire and i keep going back wards. I am wondering how long it took for you to get into the frame of mind that there are no exits? Now finally after years and years (15) I think i wrote that he wants to fix this and i cant seem to muster up one more time... I find myself contemplating the thought of never having what i thought we were going to have. The dream of a full partnership, with grace and understanding, with accepting i have a brain which is very important to me. I want to look up and admire him, be proud of him... All i see is a child. The mourning of what could have been seems to keep me down. I swear, i find it hard to breathe everyday. Did you have to go through a "mourning period" before you found a way UP?

mourning the dream

Hi,  through a different life experience not related to my marriage, I discovered you do have to mourn the story you didn't end up living in order to create a new one.  I also discovered you can mourn that loss at the same time you work on the new dream.  You don't have to "wait" to get started on many of the positive mind-sets and strategies we are reading about here while you mourn that loss.  You may not be able to make the commitment that seems required most days until you've done some of that... But you also might be waiting for your partner to have an ah-ah moment and make a real apology before you muster up "one more time."  I'm no where near that place yet, but I already have an inkling it won't happen like that.  My guy may never understand well enough (even if he gets treatment) just what I'm hoping he apologies for.  Nature of the beast, maybe.  I've been unable to breath.  I've had a numb face.  I've felt like I'm choking.  Ain't it amazing how your body keeps trying to say HEY, PAY ATTENTION OVER HERE!  :)  Just learning "I'm not crazy" has started me on the road to better. 

Oh Lord yes! Actually I just

Oh Lord yes! Actually I just posted about a grieving period I just went through...possibly am still crawling out of. It hit doubly hard for me this time because when we reconciled (3 month separation prompted by an affair I didn't know he was having) in Dec 2009 I REALLY thought he had finally 'gotten it'. It wasn't perfect by any means, but he was acknowledging his faults and mistakes and past behaviors and was 100% fully on board and willing to do whatever it took. It was the first time in our (then) 12 year marriage that I actually felt like we'd turned a corner. At the same time I had just lost my Daddy and was just ready to let go of the anger and all of the 'ugly' and just try something new. He got the diagnosis in June of 2010 and the next 4 months things really started to improve. He started meds in Oct 2010 and by Feb 2011 I was ready to divorce him. They made him very hostile and angry. He stopped them cold turkey and came unglued. I also found out about some other 'self medicating' things he had been doing (had kept it from me for over a year even though I suspected and asked numerous times) during this time. He withdrew completely (see above post) and spent several weeks sleeping in the den.

I was stunned. Shocked. Devastated. Worse than ever before. He literally went from asking me to renew our wedding vows to being aggressive and hostile towards me within a matter of just a couple of weeks. (after starting ADHD meds) He went from holding himself completely accountable for his actions to blaming me for everything again. In all fairness,  my anger and resentment returned FULL FORCE almost immediately when he withdrew to the den and checked out of the marriage. NOT when he was being ugly on the meds...I knew that was caused by the meds and I just did a lot of biting my tongue and saying nothing to him unless I had to, and tried to be patient.

I think it finally dawned on me...there was no 'fixing' this situation. At best I could hope for things to be bearable...for him not to cheat again, for him to at least control his spending enough not to cause the bills to be behind, and for me to just learn to deal with the constant drama and chaos that swirls around him. THIS IS MY LIFE. Then I started to slowly realize that it didn't have to be my life, that I was choosing to let it be my life. I didn't want 'at best', I wanted happiness and peace. I wanted to be able to respect him and I would never respect him if I continued to let everything be about him (while secretly resenting him for it being that way) and if I continued to expect nothing from him I would, in fact, get nothing from him. It was a process that took me from mid-February until probably June to go through. I cried...a lot. I looked at other marriages with envy. I looked at men that I know who are strong and funny and who have a generally positive attitude most of the time and longed for my husband to be that way. I was also going through a lot personally myself (and with my special needs son) during his unravel and him not being {able to be} there for me felt like the cherry on top of the banana split. I was just done. Time for plan B.

Then I, as I described, took everything off of the table and started focusing on what "I" could do to make things better..TODAY. Not waiting for him to get to a place where he could get help, but just moving forward and making sure I was there for him when he DID reach a place where he wanted help. I asked him several times during his unravel to please go see his doctor and talk to him about what was happening...and he refused. Don't get me wrong...me backing off didn't make him better...he actually went the other way and went back to self medicating...but it all blew up in his face and the truth finally came out. (will he EVER learn that I know him better than he knows himself???!!) THEN I said "what do you plan on doing about this?" and he chose to go see his doctor. I didn't trust him. I wasn't pretending things were OK. I knew he wasn't OK. But I wasn't trying to 'fix' him either.

I have some walls up right now that I know are not healthy...and I plan on working on this with him once he's in therapy again and has started his treatment. He senses that I am not the same...and in many ways, I'm not. Yes, this last time really sealed the deal for me...the fairy tale is over. It will never be what I dreamed. But, in the end, I truly feel that ALL marriages come to this realization at one point or another. I love him very much. He is my best friend. He can appear to be a selfish, immature child-like brat sometimes...but it is all he's ever known, the only way he's ever been taught to act/react, and until he gets help and learns new ways I can accept that it is just his ADHD and I'm not taking it personally anymore. However, I do expect him to step up and take charge of his treatment. Seeing the psychiatrist and getting a complete and hopefully accurate diagnosis and getting the right meds and therapy going for him is a lot of what I am holding onto right now. I do not plan on spending the rest of my life trying to fix him...but I also do not plan on spending the rest of my life with him refusing treatment either. I KNOW that without treatment his past behaviors will repeat themselves and I am not willing to stick around and wait for that to happen to me again. So, although I've moved forward and hoped he would come to a place where he accepted that he needs help...and I am glad he has...I won't stay married to him if he remains untreated..period. I don't need fairy tales and perfection...FAR from it. But I do need more than I have gotten in the past 7 years..and he knows it.

So many similarities, at

So many similarities, Sherri, at least in terms of the aggression and hostility following the beginning of meds (my DH is still taking his, and on one level seems a little better). But the continued "jaunts" into self medication (especially w alcohol) and the inconsistency of meds sometimes (though that thank God is getting better) is still making life especially difficult. I am at a similar point, I think as you, so I feel comfortable in saying this: WE NEED RESPECT. Not perfection (none of us are), but the assurance that we will not be unfairly attacked or used as a scapegoat whenever the feeling arises. The right to PEACE and stability as much as our DHs truly crave. I get the loving detachment, but also with the stand that there are certain things I need to stand up for- as my right to feel secure in my home and for my kids. To not let the "crazymaking" be part of my life as I no longer choose to be a part of it, yet be allowed to react if he acts in "that way" (and not be afraid or intimidated by his dramatics). His voice will be heard, but only when offered with the same respect we all deserve.... Or he is welcome to leave (and I told him that). I am working hard for that stability too, and the peace- and feel a renewed strength and happiness as a result. Thanks to others on this website, I am realizing that the opportunity to have happiness exists in the event that my beloved husband can not get off his verbally abusive bent- at least with me. That, though I love him, I love me enough too- to know I deserve more. Phew! I guess time will tell what direction he wants to go, as I try to keep my path towards finding and nourishing my self worth continues.