"I just can't keep going over it and over it." -- but if we don't go over it, how can we change it? and other issues

My husband is a loving, generous, very smart man who was diagnosed as an adult with add. We have been together 14 years and have children. He holds down a fairly flexible job and is good at it, but has difficulty with any deadlines, reports, meetings, and schedules in general and so far has been able to avoid getting in too much trouble over it (I understand that these things are hard for him but I worry about his job security). We argue frequently and heatedly, and I am numb and exhausted from it, and worry about the toll it must take on our children, even though I try to shield them from it. 

I have begged him repeatedly to go to counseling with me, and am beginning to accept the fact that even if it means he may lose me, or we may continue in the same patterns forever, he just will not go. He says that he just can't bear to talk about conflict or difficult things. He can't bear the talking part, and for me, the only way to get through a difficulty is to discuss it, or try to fix it. He literally compares this process to torture. He will not go to a counselor with me because he can't stand the idea of having to talk about everything. I have come out and told him that I wished he loved me or cared enough about me to go--what could it hurt? And he still won't. I tell him that we fight way too much and too heatedly, and that this is damaging for everyone and not ok. I am heartbroken when he refuses and says, "do what you have to do, then--I wake up every day and try to be a good person and start fresh." 

When I do try to talk to him on my own, he can be very defensive. For years, he was very good at turning everything back around on me--I was the one with the problem, I was angry, I was intolerant... He is a bright person and discussions quickly feel like they are turning into debates, which he usually wins by wearing me down, dissecting my feelings until I am left sad and doubting myself. 

Toughest thing: our entire existence as a family depends on me for structure and stability. Everything: food, bills, errands, pickup, drop off, medical care, taxes, appointments, children's education, family communication, cleaning, laundry--I feel like I either have to do these things or nag him to the point of fighting to get him to--he is "helping" or it is a special occasion for him to. He justifies it by explaining how many other things he does--works on the house, earns extra money with private ventures (this hasn't been a reality for years), plays with the kids, has health issues, etc. But I do not feel as if it balances out and I am exhausted, in my forties, and can't imagine going on like this. Plus, I have my own career that I am good at and I am so tired all the time I can barely even smile or take happiness in anything, anymore. And he is pretty nocturnal, and left to his own devices, would retire about 4 a.m. each day and sleep until noon. Which would be ok. If we were 19. And didn't have small children. Who get up at 6. 

He does do things--they are just not a priority in my eyes and they do not make sense. The classic things--can't wash a dish but will spend 8 hours in the driveway waxing his car. Doesn't really edit his thoughts--I understand now that this is part of the territory--but he will say everything from how hot some other woman is to embarrassing me (once) at a holiday party at work by yelling sort of a joke, that wasn't really funny, when an elderly lady lost her coat. Becomes upset if he does get engaged in something and gets interrupted. Quick to anger. Forgets every birthday and holiday. Every gift ever purchased for any relative comes from me. Wants sex but gets defensive when I ask him to work with me to be romantic or affectionate--I have lost all interest because I am so wounded. When he does work, it is when he has the energy or focus for it, sometimes in long sustained bursts that leave him dropping dirty dishes in his wake and ignoring absolutely everything for days, including me and our children. He thinks he is a hero when he pulls a series of 14 hour days rebuilding a bathroom that was the lowest priority on the long home repair list that we have. And he set up a table saw in the kitchen, with no plastic or warning to me, and just started cutting wood one day--and thought I was unreasonable, and a b**ch, because I complained about it never being finished and about being left to clean up the sawdust, dirt, and power tools that he left everywhere when he sort-of finished. I don't care that he worked on the bathroom so much--I care that by default I got left to handle everything for two weeks without any discussion beforehand, then I was the bad guy when I complained about this. "This is the way I work--I can't do it any other way," he explains. 

We have no relatives close by to help and our house is usually so messy, I am embarrassed to have people over. I have become buried, and feel like he is sort of taking me down with him in terms of being messy and disorganized--I just don't have the energy for it anymore. I hide how unhappy we are although I am tired of going in to work with puffy eyes from crying the night before. He takes medication and has other health problems, which just make it harder for him to function and makes me look like more of a shrew when I criticize him. Most of all, he accuses me of being angry all the time and I know he is right, I am. I don't want to be. I feel like if I just shut up and could roll with it, and be superwoman, and let him be a very smart, charming, 9 year-old, everything would be fine. 

 

Wow, that was a lot. Appreciate this forum and being able to let it out. Anyone out there got any advice or suggestions? 

 

Anyone else experience any of this? 

Experienced it, could write a

Experienced it, could write a book on it. 

The only suggestion I have is to maybe try and communicate about the 'difficult' subjects through e-mail.  A lot of people have success with that. Personally, my ADHD (untreated) DH will not respond to e-mails either..nor will he take the time to write/send one when I ask for his input on something. So, same as you..no talking about it...no e-mailing about it. So, as a last resort I have stopped 'discussing' anything with him. There is no discussion. There is me saying "I know you lied about _____ and it is really hurtful to know that you would lie to me like that" "I am tired to being alone in this marriage...and I am still here, trying, but I cannot go on like this forever" and then I just leave him to think about it and PRAY that he eventually gets it. So far, doesn't seem so. I stopped fighting with him completely back in Sept and started focusing on myself and getting myself emotionally stronger. Started asking myself the tough questions...like why I stay married to a man who behaves in a way that screams he does not really want to be here. The answers are tough and the decisions even tougher...but in the past several months I have grown more emotionally than I ever have in my life and feel I can finally leave (or have him leave) and know that I will be OK. Just waiting for my heart to tell me that it is time....and holding out hope (and Faith in God) that he will somehow pull through for our family at the 11th hour.

Stop trying to fix everything...it is just absolute common knowledge that in situations such as yours (mine and yours) that 'talking' with an ADHDer does not 'fix' things. We all LONG for the reality that we can sit down, discuss things as adults, come up with a compromise and then execute it without ever having to further address the issue. NOT HAPPENING. I am going to venture it probably is torture for your DH...as I am fairly certain is IS torture for my DH too. All they hear is "you're failing me as a husband and I am unhappy...you are not the man I need and you probably never will be" regardless of what is coming out of our mouths, I would bet that 2 minutes into the conversation they have, in their minds, completely given up on the marriage...are blaming us somehow (in order to avoid having to admit they aren't doing enough/are failing at their marriage), and progress does not happen under these circumstances. If you have a problem with something he has done...tell him "that makes me feel ____" and then don't wait for a response, stop expecting him to be something he isn't (able to think it through, offer options, and stick to the agreed option) and hope that if you give him time to think through how his actions make you feel, without adding all of the other 'noise' to the conversation...then he will 'get it' and maybe start making internal changes all on his own.