Thank you. I am so thankful. I love my husband of 3 years deeply, passionately. He is a good man (at times) and a good husband (at times). If I need something done, I point him in the direction and it gets done. He is generous. He is kind. He is thoughtful (at times).
From the beginning of our marriage, there were always good days and bad days. I had a lot of bad things happen to me in a short period of time along with some massive life changes. It completely destroyed my ability to function in a healthy manner. I always had 2 good days then a bad one, then 3 good days, and then a bad one, and then 7 good days and three bad ones, and then more bad ones than good of late. I felt out of control, because I was out of control. I read all these things, blogs, books, went to counseling, but none of it really helped. I would lose my shit after 8 to 10 boundary violations and would decompensate for a day or two, and then recover. I was looking at the wrong things, and I was mourning. Mourning the loss of a dream of a traditional family and stability for my 16 year old daughter who I raised on my own.
My husband is away at a conference this weekend (8 or 9th conference of the year and it's only September) and I had a revelation. I figured it out. My husband has ADD. I called his mom to ask, and she suspects as well (they are estranged, his father sexually assaulted his daughter and his mom didn't believe the daughter and my husband will never forgive her). I read the websites, I read people's comments and it was my whole life for the last year being played before me. The best was the information about ways a spouse with ADD might feel or be, they described me to a "T".
My life had been terrible at times, horrifying, a nightmare. I was so exhausted from trying to keep up with him and keep a relationship with him, that my life began to fall apart. Last May, I drew a line in the sand. I cut him out of my life for a week so that I could take some control of my own life. I was explicit in my expectations and boundaries. No phone calls, no contact, no emails, no Facebook posts, no questions through other people. I want a week to myself. A week with friends. A week with calm and happiness. A week where I could know who I was and what I wanted. I had given up so much of my life so I could have some kind of relationship, squeezed in the last five minutes a day, an hour somewhere in passing, a weekend a month. I worked so hard to have a relationship with him, I basically had no life of my own.
I have been a disaster. I have been angry. I have lost my mind. I have screamed until I have lost my voice in fear, in anger, in loss of control, in not understanding. I have thrown things. I have hid things. I have been bitter, I have been petty, and I couldn't help it. It wasn't my fault. I am terrified of this revelation, of this diagnosis, but I can still hope. I can depersonalize some of his behaviors and when we are in a good space, I can approach him about diagnosis and treatment. I want a good life again. I want to enjoy the time I have with him. I want to not be angry when I am with him and miss him when he is gone. I want to hold a winning hand. Actually, I want us both to win. I want to hope.
I am learning to look after myself. I am learning how to ask for what I need, without anger. Communicate directly. Speak clearly. Set boundaries. Not with anger, but with surety. I am learning that I need to limit my exposure to my husband at times and lovingly detach. So that I can lovingly attach when it is time and he is present.
It is amazing to me, how happy I am to know that my responses and behaviors are common responses for a spouse of a person with ADD. And now my job is to be healthy. To be happy. To enjoy my life. To learn to manage my anxiety. And help him occasionally, but not save him from himself.
Just now I got off the phone from having a conversation with him. His conference he booked in October is overbooked and he will need to go to a different one, further away, and be gone on a different weekend, for longer. And I didn't lose my shit. I responded respectfully and supportively, because, this is one that actually matters to him. That will make a difference. And I, I am fine on my own. Which I wasn't for a very long time.
And in this space that I have created for myself, I can breathe. I can make a good choice. I can set boundaries. (For example, if he cheats on me, I am done, some of you ladies needed to walk away a long time ago, but I get it, you feel trapped, you think of the good times, you are exhausted, at the end of your wits and you don't know what to do. You really barely can put a few thoughts in a row and you want to die or for him to die, just so both of you can escape the hell you have created). If things continue along at this high level of relationship dysfunction, I am done. But for now, I have an answer, and I can hope. I know where my end point is. I am prepared.
I used to get angry because he would ask me questions constantly that would push my boundaries and be totally inappropriate questions. Now I know that he truly doesn't know, and I can answer.
Hopefully this peace and calmness doesn't set off a whole new set of provoking behaviors when he returns. We will see. Anyhow thank you.