I cannot forgive myself.

Hello everyone,

I am a 40 year-old married woman and was diagnosed with ADHD in January 2013 and I am new here.

My ADHD has been so destructive. All my life, I have felt insecure, inferior, anxious, false - worried that someone will find out what I really am like. I got married at age 24 to a man ten years my senior. From the get-go, he couldn't cope with the fact that I was so disorganized, couldn't prioritize, my inability to manage time properly and the fact that I neglected him emotionally, physically and sexually (to name but a few). Needless to say, this caused major conflict. Over the years he has repeatedly accused me of being lazy, not loving him enough to try harder, saying that he was embarrassed of me - he once told me that when he is with me, he feels like there is a piece of toilet paper hanging out of his bum - said that I was the reason for all the unhappiness in our marriage, he constantly compared me to our friends, asking why couldn't I be more like this one or that one. During our arguments, he would become verbally very abusive and would imply that I was mentally retarded in some way - once, he told me that the best thing I could do for everyone, was to kill myself - this after I had been considering the same thing myself for some time already. There were a couple instances of physical abuse, which according to him was the result of years of frustration on his part.

All I ever wanted (even as a child) was to be accepted for who I am. I thought that when you love someone enough to marry them, you love them for the good and the bad. I couldn't understand why he just could not accept me the way I was. I resented him trying to change me, the fact that he was forever trying to 'fix' me, because I did not consider myself broken. I knew that there was something wrong with me, but I thought it was tied to my personality. I reasoned that my husband also had shortcomings, but I did not hold it against him - I accepted it as part of him and loved him despite it - and I couldn't understand why he could not meet me halfway on this.

So, I grew to despise him. I wished him dead. If he was late home from work, I would feel excited at the prospect that he might have died - only to be disappointed when he would walk in the door. Our arguments became more frequent and intense and I did consider divorcing him, but I am a full-time mom to 3 young children (2 with combined ADHD and one with an Autism Spectrum Disorder) without an income and he is an attorney, so I felt that I had no option but to stay. Instead, I emotionally distanced myself from him.

I realized that I would never find happiness with him, so I made a very calculated decision to find my own. How I went about it still sickens me. I decided to look for someone who would love me the way I was. Someone who actually cared about me. Someone who looked forward to seeing me. Someone who would find my imperfections endearing. Someone who would miss me when I was not with him. I realized that it would be next to impossible to find someone like that in the normal course of life, because my husband is a very prominent businessman in our town, so I decided to join a web-site called Married And Looking, hoping to find someone in a similar situation to mine. I wanted to have an affair with a married man, because he would not expect me to leave my family or take unnecessary risks, as he would have equally as much to lose. Up to that point, I had never been unfaithful to my husband, not in thought or deed.

I soon realized though that for the men on these type of sites, it was really only about sex, so I decided to break my own rule and started seeing single men as well. I ended up giving sex in exchange for warmth and affection. I would meet with these men in my house or at their houses, in hotels, motels, anywhere really. Sometimes I would have sex with one man in the morning and another in the afternoon. Through these men I was introduced to group sex, male and female and even toyed with BDSM. Strangely enough, I received more kindness from these strangers and was treated with more tenderness, than by my own husband. I suppose one always think that it is just weirdos, perverts and psychopaths who join those kind of sites (what does that say about me?), but the truth is that I have met some of the kindest people there. Usually, after the sex, there would follow an hour or two, where whomever I was with would hold me in his arms and we would talk and listen and laugh and share. It was those moments I lived for and I was willing to provide sex in order to have that 'afterwards part'. This period of my life lasted for 3 years. My last indiscretion being in November last year.

Since my diagnosis in January this year, I have been crippled with guilt and shame, because I realize that it was not just my husband's fault that our marriage was in the state it was in. I now accept that I carry a tremendous amount of the blame as well, that he too is a victim in all of this. I have since educated myself about adult ADHD and am taking medication for it. I do realize that my undiagnosed ADHD caused most of the unhappiness both me and my husband experienced and we are slowly, but surely rebuilding our relationship. He doesn't know the extent of my deceit though and I will never tell him, but I do live in constant fear that he will somehow find out about it. But even if he does and for some reason, find it within himself to forgive me...I do not think that I could ever forgive myself.

Thank you for lending an ear x

 

Wow!!

NinaJane..

I know this thread was written a while ago and I'm surprised that nobody has responded...

As I was reading this I couldn't help but feel so sad for you, I have been in a relationship that was abusive however it wasn't as long term as you, I wasn't married to him and we didn't have children thankfully!

I am going to be very honest with you now, while I never ever saw anyone else in the physical sense I did have emotional affairs with two different guys who were friends at the time, one lived interstate and the other live overseas so they were online and phone friendships if you like and both men advised me so many times to get away from him and one day I did but it took 6 months to get rid of him completely but I did it and it was one of the best decisions I've made in a while.

You have mentioned that you are now rebuilding your relationship with your husband now, I commend both of you for that but I personally think you should be completely honest with him as you would only be rebuilding that relationship based on lies and that's not right or fair on him really, he does have a right to know and you need to be honest about why you did it too.

 

DragonTamerWife's picture

Trauma Bonds

NinaJane,

I'm so sorry to hear about all the pain you have been in, and I completely understand your very human desire for warmth and intimacy. It's very common for people with ADHD to sustain psychological damage as children, and then to have that damage re-enacted as adults. It's almost like we bond more strongly with people who will treat us as badly as we were treated as children. They call it a "trauma bond," and I think the relationship with your husband, and maybe even your sexualized relationships with other men, might be a good example. 

First of all, I hope you can find a professional in "real-time" to talk to about the emotional abuse you've suffered as a result of the ADHD, and in your marriage. Talking about it to a compassionate, educated person can relieve your pain and help you change your patterns. Since you are still married to your husband, finding ways to stop the pattern of emotional/physical abuse is important. Find some therapy now, so the kids will be able to see you get stronger and happier!

It sounds like your sexual activities outside of your marriage were by choice, and a cry for help. You got your needs for warmth and intimacy met, but it does sound like you feel like you were out of your integrity--out of the way you want to be in the world. No shame, no blame, though. You did the best you could at the time. If you find yourself unable to stop acting out sexually, I've got a list of resources on my site, CouplesPornHelp.com. I really hope you find some counseling or therapy soon. You deserve some real self-care right now.