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.
Submitted by NowOrNever (not verified) on
Dependentorigination, I read you a couple times. Sounds like you're in a big shift. Look, a big journey is made with little steps. You can't shazam! end up at the goal, skipping those ups and downs and little steps in between. Do your best when he gets home. That's all you have to do, that day's best. Not perfect, only that day's effort, OK? And start over the next day. I LOVED this
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.
Just keep working on mastering doing that. I'm cheering for you. And you and him. He does what he does, you just keep tackling what you're doing.
I'm the wife of someone with ADHD. Working on it, too.
Thank you for your kind words
Submitted by DependentOrigination on
It nice after all this lostness to at least hold a road map, even if I don't know where I am on it or where I am going.
One day at a time, and even if it is not perfect. Our best quality is our ability to forgive each other and try to love each other no matter how bad it gets. And we both believe in the institution of marriage. Which helps a lot.
I found a book on this site suggested for further reading entitled "How to fix your marriage without talking about it". I think I am going to read it because the idea resonates with me. I have tried to do so much understanding and explaining in endless conversations because I had no idea what was going on. Now I know what is going on. The abandonment is still going to hurt. The loss will still need to be mourned, but maybe, I won't have to talk to him so much about it. And we can try to enjoy our lives.
Home on Saturday... We will see how it goes. Thank you again for you kind words.
I love that phrase too!
Submitted by SpaceyStacey197... on
I love that phrase too!
"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."
I need to learn that myself. Granted my situation is a bit different (marriage is ending) but it makes me very happy to see that there can be success. Hang in there, take care of yourself - I second what Now says 100% :-)
I Am Sorry
Submitted by DependentOrigination on
That must be incredibly difficult, but I imagine incredibly freeing. There were many times, I was so unhappy and confused and miserabl, I would have done anything for the situation to change, even divorce. I held back. Mostly because I had NO IDEA what was going on.
I have been okay since my husband has been home. I got a little naggy on Sunday. He made breakfast in his usual manner (food for 20, even though there was only 6). He lost his shit after he fell mountain biking and refused to take the trail I wanted, so after yelling for 2 seconds I clammed up and went and did my own thing. Normally I would give in and just go do what he wanted. Then I would spend the rest of the night angry and hurt. This way, we both ended up at the bottom of the hill and hadn't done irreparable harm. Yes, I didn't get to ride my bike with my husband, but is there a trade off? Not sure.
Not sure at all. But that is for another day. A lot of counseling and two more years away. Do I think about what I might be missing, sure I do. But the grass always looks greener and everyone comes with baggage. We will see.
Good luck! I wish you well in your next adventure.
Thank you for your post! My
Submitted by anteight on
Thank you for your post! My Spouse and I decided today to separate for a short time. Undertermined st this point. It's strange to me that although I have threatened to leave so many times in our short 4 yr marriage when he agreed it nearly broke my heart! We have not discussed specifics as to when and if we will be in contact nor how long but after reading your post I believe that perhaps we too should have no contact for a time! Your statements have resonated so much with me and also given me some hope! I hate the mean angry person I have become but I also love him and he me. This I am sure of. I feel I am fearful that he being away from me will make him decide he is happier. However I know he is afraid of that too. Thank you again. You and your spouse are in my prayers!
I have that fear as well...
Submitted by DependentOrigination on
It's the ADD. While I am out doing my own shit, making myself happy, is my spouse going to ever come back down into my sphere of rotatation, without my cuing? I cued today. No word of a lie. I sent him a calendar invite to make me dinner tonight with a reminder set for two hours before I would be home. And then I called him one and a half hours before I got home. Dinner was well on its way when I did get home and neither of us was resentful. That I could tell anyway. We had a good family dinner with my 16 year old daughter. I got what I wanted.
I really don't know what would happen if I didn't cue my husband. I want to pick a month and see what happens. Not any month soon, because I am still figuring out what is going on and want to be happier first.
For me, the space I took was for myself, not to punish him. Not to make him miss me, but to clear my mind. It helped a lot. I had a second week to myself, just this last week and it was great. Normally I would be stressed and angry that he was out there enjoying life without me. This last week I visited friends, planned some trips with my daughter, colored with an adult coloring book, made jam (well, sauce, it didn't really set), slept soundly every night for 8 hours and found some friends here on this website.
All that I know is that what I was doing before wasn't working. And I needed to get myself out of that cycle. I was pretty tempted to text him today to ask him if he was ever going to book his flight to visit my family on Thanksgiving, but I am just going to let it ride. Maybe space is what I need. Maybe space means we are happier. I know I am less stressed when he isn't around. Maybe space means I am not meeting his needs. Maybe space means he forgets I am alive. Maybe space means he cheats on me in his spare time. Who knows? But I can't be his conscience anymore. And I can't contain him within my four walls anymore simply with the strength of my will. And I can't burn myself out trying to save him from himself. It made me miserable.
I don't know what is going to happen. Maybe this is a good story, or maybe it is the beginning of the end. Either way, I am healthier, have more self control and can see the future and make decisions for myself. I can enjoy my time alone. And I know why I was so crazy and afraid (the word terror comes to mind, always) for so long.
The truth is, my husband's life kind of sucks for him. If I am not mad at him, his daughter is, or his son, or he's pissed somebody off at Search and Rescue, or his maladaptive family dynamics get out of control in some other way, or his boss is angry at him. His life isn't that great on his own. I know that. Deep down. I am sure you see it too. Good luck with your time apart. Take that time for yourself. Make your world a bit better. Find something you loved before your life took this crazy turn. Love yourself. Make a life you can be proud of.
I wish you luck. I don't pray much, but I will try one, for you.
Thank you for sharing. I
Submitted by anteight on