I have just had my A-ha! Moment

Well Where to start?

I have been trawling this site (what a godsend it is) for the best part of 4 days and nights (as time and energy will allow at least). I thought it was time I joined to  find some support for myself and to try and gain some insight into my deeply distressing situation.

A bit of back history for you

Firstly I will introduce myself, I am Natalie, I am from the UK and I am married to what I think, is an ADHD spouse. To make matters worse and more complicated, he is not English, he is Turkish, though he speaks English brilliantly (he probably learned it with the same level of hyperfocus it took to woo me)  

To begin with I kind of thought that his "foibles" where infact part of his cultural heritage and mostly brushed them off, our courtship was intense and he showered me with love and affection unlike any other man I had known, I felt as if I was in a misty heart shaped bubble and my usual rational mind went for an extended leave as I fell for the rouse hook line and sinker.

 Our relationship was long distance for a while, so we were only ever our best selves in each other's company. We were engaged within a year and after two I was pregnant with our Daughter. It was after this point, that the period of bliss, that I now like to call "lala land" abruptly began to disintegrate. I duly did what any pregnant and soon to be married women would (well a co-dependant one at least) I clung on for dear life...trying to fix him, trying to fix us, trying to make it work. It was then, that when I think about it, the tables turned and I became the only one invested in the relationship on any sort of level, he just sort of breezed along.

Where I am at now

Fast forward 2 and a half years of living with each other and being married and I can tell you stories that would make you laugh, or cry or feel pity, or probably likely the same rage that I am fueled with on a daily basis. In our first few weeks of living together, once he had moved back from Turkey, I found text messages on his phone from some other woman, our daughter was 5 weeks old. The messages themselves were ones he sent (he deleted any incriminating evidence of any received messages as he often does) kind of insinuating that he was coming to work in the UK, not to marry me, live a family life with our daughter. Anyway, that dented our relationship from the outset.

Then he finds old pictures of me with other men (shock horror) not in any kind of passionate tryst or anything and his attitude to me completely cooled off. We then endured two years of living with my negatron mother, which cumulated in such deep sadness and anguish on all our parts that I told him to get out in March this year (after telling me for the 9 millionth time he wanted a divorce)

We continued to see each other, he got a room locally and on the weekends we would act like a normal family, that is between 10am and 6pm, after which he would go back to his garret and drink himself into a stupor.

He liked his own space and his own timetable so much that he stayed that way until july, when he asked could we get our own place together again. I was full of trepidation, but after a while, I felt like I needed to give my marriage the best shot I've got, so I moved into a new home with him. My dream was back in place, the man I loved had returned to me and it was so lovely...That is, until 4 weeks after moving in together, in a new area, away from my family and friends, I found it. The bank statement with the evidence. He had been out all night with friends "drinking" on  more than 2 occasions since we moved back in together - but I found on at least 2 of those occasions he had in fact been in a hotel with another woman.

Of course he tried to deny it, he tried to blame me for opening his bank statement, he tried to say I was possessive controlling and jealous (why, of course I am!) He said it was for a "friend" I was shaking with shock and rage, I didn't know what to do, say, think, or feel. I was devastated, I still am. Eventually he fessed up, but he minimized the whole thing "it was just sex" "I think I finally found someone that is just like me, she just wanted sex too" I found out that they had frequently had sex while we were separated and that he had spend a large sum of  money on sex toys to boot, none of which were for me, I may add.

Of course he begged me for forgiveness and because I am a woman of faith, I chose to try and work on that. BUT I wanted so desperately to feel loved by him still, that I didn't set boundaries, I just let him continue to walk all over me, I wanted our new life to work, I wanted my dream. So I let him continue to dictate the order of our lives (or this disorder), continue to walk around the place leaving a trail of destruction and mess (he cant even put Landry in the basket, rather on the floor BY the basket) continue to act with reckless abandon, to engineer arguments so he could flee and go drinking himself into a stupor. I felt like I was an utterly abused wife, with no one and no where to go. All my family and friends had long since given up the battle to make me see "sense".

I have  discovered that he was told at school that he was "hyperactive" his schooling ended abruptly for his explosive reactions in the classroom and he was constantly running away from home and getting involved in reckless and addictive behaviors (gangs, drinking, smoking hash). He also worked in a holiday area for a time and had numerous flings and one night stands - I am the only long term relationship he has been involved in... now I am starting to see why.

In the 2 and a half years Since living together, he has "run away" from our home, slept rough in the park, fallen down the stairs drunk, passed out on the kitchen floor, been found in the crawl space in the attic passed out with a bottle of whiskey had blind drunken rages, been in and out of the "big bed" to self exile. They are just some examples of his darkest moments, of which there have been many. He repeatedly says he wants a divorce when I challenge him to look at his behavior, he blames me, the nagging, controlling wife, the needy depressive monster, that I have become (in his opinion)

Last night however was a new low, where I was so enraged at his inability to show me love and affection, he said he didn't love me, and that we should just live together as friends because it's better that way - so we don't have to hurt each other. That was because I even mentioned ADHD is a possibility.  He then starts his mantra of "you are sick, you make me depressed" and threatens to take me off to the hospital. He then of course turns it all around on me, and states coldly, stop crying you are making me feel hurt. HIM.... HIM! This is where my rage starts to boil and I throw anything that isn't nailed down at him and then fall in a heap on floor sobbing. He just sat there, looking at me and then called my dad. Eventually he came over and held me, and said I am not the woman he fell in love with - maybe that I pretended to be someone else during the time we were falling in love.... Does that sound familiar? ERM Hello. That is YOU mister.

On the up shot, he is a loving father who would do anything for his daughter, who is now a toddler,  and is regimented about some things, he cant stand mess or noise, except certain music of his choice and I know our Daughter who is also showing signs of hyperactivity, stresses him out when she cries.

But he despises my daughter (17 year old from a previous relationship) and says that she is a "spoiled disrespectful bitch" they used to get on fine, but she cant stand his hypocrisy and neither can I. All my family find him abrupt and strange (confidence issues I think) and my friends just steer clear. The only person who has any time for him aside from me and his friends, is my Father, who has rooted for us all the way. Sadly though, now even he is telling me that it is time to seriously consider what I want.

I am really at the point where I am so ready to throw in the towel. I have tried everything and more to make him happy, to make our relationship work, but now it's having too much of a detrimental effect on me, where I am so love-lost and I am grieving the relationship and the man I had. This person, I don't even know.

I believe marriage is for life and I truly do not want a divorce, but right now, it seems like my only option. I cant live in a house where he expects I act like the maid, hold down a full time professional career (I also earn far more than him - which he likes to spend on the aforementioned frivolities) and be chief cook and bottle washer and night time nurse for our daughter. He has a job, granted and that is his current area of hyper-focus and is well liked in the workplace, even though his temper gets the better of him there too from time to time.

I just do not know what my next move is, except to work on myself, to try and stop reacting to him and his whim's and detach. But surely this is not marriage? And How do I do that?

Sorry for the long introductory post, but I am just in that place at the moment, trying to make sense out of it, trying to understand and accept it and trying to move on.





The nugget is there

Hello and welcome,

I've been married 36  years to my guy who has ADHD.  He's never been diagnosed or treated.  We've had two conversations about this possibility.  However, using just what I have learned over the last 4 months, I have made remarkable progress about how I feel day-to-day and have seen small improvements in his awareness and effort to minimize his ADHD behaviors and crappy coping mechanisms.   My situation has never been as distressing as what you describe - Most of my unhappiness comes from carrying the whole load, household and financially, and feeling invisible.  Only you can decide whether you want to try to improve your marriage and what the boundaries are.  In the meantime, here is what you should focus on, and you said it yourself:  except to work on myself.  Hard to say how much you contribute to or exacerbate the situation or make yourself feel worse than necessary. All spouses do to some extent.  But only by building yourself up, remembering what love really is (both yours to him and his to you) and working it day to day will you come out whole, however it goes.  He will do what he will do.  You need to stop regulating what you do as a reaction to him. Some folks here do use the word "detach" as you did, but I struggle with that word because it has cold connotations for me, and in order to feel like working on my marriage is the right thing to do, I need to feel love, not coldness.  I prefer Buddha's phase "do by not doing".  It's the opposite of chasing, clinging, struggling, controlling, manipulating, keeping the lid on, etc.  Those are the traps most of us non ADHD spouses fall into.  The first step is into that grace of "not doing" so you can begin to figure out what's a reasonable expectation and what's not.  Folks with ADHD have become very skilled at suggesting that what you think is not what is reality.  You need a little distance to verify and consider. 

If I were you I'd be tempted to say that if he wants to live as "friends" (is this as a breather or forever?) then I'd calmly state that your finances need to be separated immediately, he needs to pay his proportionate share of the household expenses, he needs to do half the household chores and he needs to identify how long this will continue.  And as a friend you can calmly tell him he desperately needs diagnosis, treatment and coaching to help him be the fabulous person you first met.  I encourage you to have no more big "fights", drama, throwing or sobbing on the floor.  You can be angry, hurt, desperate -- of course you are -- but drama hurts you, hurts your children, and never advance the cause.   And here's something you may not know:  fighting "stimulates" the ADHD brain, one might even say some ADHDers think it is fun! 

One last curious question -- he says repeatedly he wants a divorce.  Is he expecting you to take care of that for him, too?  If he wanted it so badly, why do you suppose he hasn't done it?    And lastly, if I could get everyone on the planet to meditate at least 15 minutes a day, I'd be a happy girl.  Could save your sanity.  Best wishes.

Thank you...

For your kind and thoughtful reply.

I completely agree with you that I can only work on myself. Only he can work on himself.

The downright depressing thing is, my job is in the field of rehabilitation of offenders, I see so many young, bright, hopeful men going through the system for want of a diagnosis and treatment for a variety of what we would call "learning disabilities" in the UK, they include ADD/ADHD ODD and Aspergers, they end up in the justice system because they often don't do much work (or cant) on thinking, attitude and behaviors. When confronted with it on my own doorstep, it was like I refused to believe it is the cause on one hand, but knew it was on the other.

Having re-read my first post, I was still reeling from the night before. I was at the end of my rope, and I told my husband so. Interestingly, I know he does not want a divorce, I know that somewhere inside his confused mind, I know he doesn't want out of the relationship. It's the cycle of action-reaction-retaliation-reaction which inevitably ends up in more action, but not necessarily the positive variety.

The evening after the night before, I came home from work and asked if we could talk as friends, as dispassionately as I could, I asked him calmly about spectrum of feelings, thoughts and behaviors he has, and suggested that it is linked to his childhood hyperactivity, he was drinking ( after 2 beers he is actually about as lucid and balanced as he gets) and I suggested that maybe the beer was his way of "silencing the noise and thoughts inside his own head" and that I understood, but if we didn't work this out, it would mean the end of our marriage.

He opened up a great deal, and said that he feels like I am pushing him away because I don't appreciate anything he does. He then has the ability to switch off his emotions, so feel no love, no care, no compassion, just I suppose anger and resentment at me for making him feel that way.

 He has grandiose ideas about what he does or doesn't do around the house, his perception of "look at all what I do for you and our daughters..." is a drop in the ocean compared to what I actually need. Though I appreciate he does some things really well and I celebrate that. But what I want is more than a man who mows the lawn or cleans the car (the two household tasks which he is 100% committed to) a man that is a stable, non substance abusing husband, who is consistent and cheerful. That said, I know that how I react to his moods, in the needy, clingy, obsessive way that I have developed over the last 5 years, is a reflection of my own insecurity, and exasperates this situation. So, we talked and talked "as friends" and we actually communicated more than we have in months, since I found out about his infidelity.

I have told him that I am going to work on myself, and he should think about what he wants to do, at present he has agreed on taking more exercise (which he used to do martial arts) and some fish oil but doesn't want to consider any coaching or meds.... We went through our finances and agreed that we now have a plan of action, we have a small surplus income each month after the bills and living expenses are paid, and we will both try to ensure that we keep all the receipts for expenditure for 1 month so we can see what we are spending this money on, then figure out of we can save it.

I like your philosophy, and I really will take your advice and try and implement it on my behalf. I have found a local ADHD support group, and booked myself in for some EFT in the hope that it may at least help me deal with the anger and resentment that I feel.

I do not want to feel cold to my husband, and I truly said the words of my marriage vows with conviction. So, time will tell. I hope that soon I can move onto the Joy section of the forum, but I know it will be a long road with many bumps.