So, my bona fides, my self justification for writing here. You can skip this whole paragraph basically. I have ADHD. I was diagnosed when I was 35. I'm 36 now. I take my meds. I try to listen better. I really try to communicate. I try to focus on medium range life, not put blinders on and get lost in the immediacy of the now, or the la la land of the "whatever ionosphere" I can go to so easily (e.g. what if I write a best selling novel? Perhaps I should get my pilot's license and move to Alaska... What am I going to do when my dad gives me his fishing boat? What if I really am an alien robot sent to find humanity's weakness so that my superior designers can come here and reign destruction down upon the world... At the last thought, loop back to the first about a best selling novel. You get the idea).
My wife is on this blog all the time. I don't come here because I know her blog name, and I feel like she needs space. I don't want to read what she's written about us. Usually she's here when she's mad at me, at least that's what I see. She reads lots and lots about ADHD. And I appreciate her efforts, they have made a difference. But her clinical understanding doesn't yet equate to emotional acceptance.
So much of our pain comes back defensiveness. Let me assure anyone who reads this, my awful defensiveness is also the grit that has gotten me through life. Until recently, its been the steroid that allows me to play ball with everyone else--it assists me, while also killing me. Actually, this kind of "steroid" kills everything around me. Thus, I have the typical ADHD path of destruction behind me, a-la Sherman's march to the Atlantic.
Even with meds, diagnosis, etc., I am bewildered at how to give up defensiveness to emotionally relate to someone as "an equal." I am always perched, awaiting the blow from nowhere. Waiting to defend myself in the follow up conversations with friends I will soon abandon, which in essence state, "Psst. Andy. Newsflash. You should have seen that one coming from a mile away...what the hell's wrong with you?"
When it comes to emotional crises, given the right amount of time, the conclusions I have about the dilemma are not usually mean or selfish. Over the past several months, these conclusions have even begun to have less of the barbs of defensiveness than they used to. I truly admit fault now. But the time I need to get to this point is unfortunately is never in any relationship I've been in. Its "now-now-now--tell me what you feel right now!" And my mind is a hall of mirrors I have to extract meaning from. What I usually offer in the moment is too blunt and with no context, and comes across mean, selfish, narcissistic, etc. While I'm busy working it out, life moves on at life's pace, and then I'm in trouble for something else I didn't see coming.
I hate this cycle so much that a part of me simply hates people. People meddling with me and pushing me from one event to the next. Yell at me all morning about how I didn't respond to a fight properly, and how easy and obvious it all is. Tell me how you're so right, and you've got the books to prove it! Then when I begin to sort it out, just as I begin to get it down, come in and yell at me because I didn't feed the kids and you need chips and salsa for some friend who is dropping by. Act nice while the friend is here. Wander around a bit afterward, numb. Then its bedtime routine for the kids. Act nice again. Then I go to bed and ponder it all. Then get up, most likely optimistic. Remain happy until another dead fish flies in a random window and nails me right in the mouth.
I feel like I am the end of a long road. That this is the relationship that makes or breaks me. If it succeeds (and I am vested in trying to make it succeed), then I will be happy in it. If it doesn't work, then I am going to learn how to live by myself, which is to say that I'm going to learn how to live with myself.