i'm at crossroads..

Hi everybody. It's been a while since I came to this site. As I have said in previous posts my husband has ADD but not accepting it hence not taking meds. After reading some posts here and especially after taking to heart Melissa's advice, I stopped being so angry and tried to embrace all the good things in our marriage. And for a while that really seemed to work. But soon ADD started to show it's ugly head again and slowly but surely I was back where I started. Lately we fight more and more, always for the most stupid things. That then escalates because he adds insult to injury which gives the fight a whole other dimension. Whatever happens he tries to turn the tables so that he's off the hook. He never takes responsibility for his actions because, according to him, everything he says or does is a direct consequence of my behavior. What saddens me the most is that he really believes his own lies and excuses. He has created this perfect mental image of himself so whenever I say or do something that doesn't ring with what he likes to hear things get ugly. I know I am too confronting for him, I'm actually the first person that has ever stood up to him so it's new to him and during fights i become public enemy nr 1. He is scared as hell to look at himself.When we're not fighting or when I compliment him or sweettalk him he becomes the nicest person in the world because I then give him the impression that he is the man he desperately wants to be. Eventhough I have tried to weigh my words and stay calm, I too have my own personality and temper.

In conclusion, he is not willing to accept his ADD so no cure possible. I'm not able to be myself anymore and I constantly walk on eggshells. It's all about HIM...what about ME? I have thought about leaving but I'm afraid, as stupid as this might sound to you i'm just being completely honest, that he will find someone else rather quick that will somehow know the magic formula. Someone who will know exactly how to handle him and therefor have the perfect relationship with him. I think that's what scares me the most, finding out someday that he's happy with someone else, someone who can push his buttons in a good way, the way I never could.

Is this ridiculous? If so, can somebody talk me out of this fear?

At this point any advice is welcome

crossroads........

 Hello,  Sorry to here about your troubles.    After ten years of what i thought  was a good marriage my wife at the time said    "I'm not sure I want to be married any more.   Five months later we were divorced with children.   I never knew.   Would I take the meds and start seeing a therapist now?   Yes!  I would do anything to have my family back.   If she had left me three years ago I would probably still be married.  I am sure of this because I would have made the changes that someone with AADD should be willing to do to keep the one they love.   Sometimes you need to shine a light in a persons eyes to get their attention.  Hope all turns out well for you. 

Fear He Might Succeed

If he's not good with you, it's irrelevant that he might be good with someone else.  The only issue there is that perhaps you are afraid that if he actually can be good with someone else then you are the one who failed?  You can't think of it that way.  Every relationship is unique because it is a merging of two personalities.  Your relationship with him can't be reproduced elsewhere.  Could he be better with someone else?  Sure.  Could he be worse?  Sure.  Could you be better?  Sure.  Could you be worse?  Sure.  No guarantees in any direction.

SO, what are you going to do about it?  If you genuinely think that there is a fair chance he could be better with someone else, then if it were me I would take that as an indication that hope still remains somewhere inside about your own relationship.  Otherwise, what you would be saying is "this guy is a loser...he'll never make it with anyone."

What you are describing...things getting better for a while because you changed your perspective...is something my husband and I went through, too.  The issue is that the underlying problems also have to be addressed.  You are resentful now - probably more resentful than you were before - because even though you bent over backwards, he didn't address his own issues.  This doesn't work over the long term.  BOTH spouses have to move toward the middle to then be able to rise up and have things be great.

I'll give you the best advice I can for this situation.  First, read "You Don't Have to Take It Anymore" by Steven Stosny about walking on eggshells.  Some of his advice is hokey, but much of it is really, really useful.  Second, stop focusing on whether or not your spouse is taking meds.  Focus instead on the underlying problems you are having...and let him work with you to figure out the solutions.  If he isn't capable of having a conversation around this idea, then you need some professional help - find a marriage counsellor who is very familiar with ADD, and who feels it is their job to advocate for your marriage and your future (not diagnose your husband, which will put him on the defensive and derail your counselling).  Again, you don't care HOW he solves the issues you are having, only that he start working to do so.  You will never get him to work with you as long as you are pointing to his ADD as the problem.  Right now I guarantee you that he thinks that you think HE is the problem (personally) and that you don't think he's good enough for you, when in fact what you want him to understand is that it is his SYMPTOMS, not him, that create the problems.  He can stay the same person he is, with the wonderful traits you married him for, while getting rid of some of the symptoms (which will also positively impact other areas of his life, though he may not see that now).

HOW to focus on the underlying issues?  Try to find the roots of your problems.  For example, let's look at being messy.  It doesn't really matter if he's messy, what matters is that by being messy he may be communicating to you that he doesn't really care about YOU (and taking care of the place in which you live).  Bet he does, though.  And how about your pent up anger that he's on the computer all the time, or always watching a football game?  (I"m making these up as common examples.)  What's really going on is that you are lonely...and you are lonely because you love him and want to spend happy time with him.  You worry that his interest in these other things means he's not so interested in you as he once was.  If you talk with him about being lonely, versus not liking him watching the football games all weekend long, the conversation is completely different.  In one, he perceives you are trying to control his life.  In the other, he sees that you love him and miss him.  You can guess which conversation gets better results.  It also happens to be the one that is more accurate...

See if you can have some of these "root" conversations to get him to start thinking of the issues you are having in your relationship in a new way, then work with him to try to address the issues (without mentioning meds).  Perhaps you'll decide marriage counselling is a good idea, or that you need to schedule some special time together, or that you need to pay bills rather than him (whatever addresses your specific issues).  Maybe you'll start playing some sports together.  When you start working together again as a couple, you will be more likely to also start to get to the root of the ADHD issues, as well.

Afraid of the upcoming holidays

 

Like so many others before me I wanna start by thanking everyone who takes the time to post/reply and of course especially Melissa. For many of us this is the only place we feel safe and understood. Really it feels so comforting knowing that we're not alone with our problems.

I am really curious about that book Melissa, I will order it asap.

In theory all I've heard and read here sounds so good...and on a very ambitous day I try to keep all these pointers in mind before I talk to him. It's hard because lately i've been struggling   with my own feelings. I have grown to dislike him, I second guess everything he says or does ....I just don't feel good around him anymore and I haven't been able to shake that feeling. Deep down I do wanna work on it and I am not willing to give up on my marriage but there is soooo much wrong with it and I lack the energy to start working on it.

My biggest fear right now are the holidays. He will be off from work and I should embrace this opportunity to spend quality time together instead i'm scared. Why? Christmas eve will be in company of my family. He tends to talk constantly and mostly about himself and demands everyone's attention. He says certain things that are really embarressing and instead of being proud of my husband i feel ashamed and pray for him to shut up. When we're at my mother's house we (my mom and I) are able to moderate his drinking but when we're in public and it's all access to alcohol my fear becomes realtiy. That's where newyear's eve comes in...we go out he starts drinking and doesn't stop. The biggest trigger is the mixing drinks...that's where things go wrong. He knows that but time after time the same things happens again. If I point out that he needs to slow down he gets angry but if I don't say anything he ends up drunk out of his mind, verbally agressive and as you can guess the whole night goes down the drain. Happened on Newyear's eve, on our wedding day, .... This is a big problem because I can never relax when we go out. I'm always monitoring his drinking and that keeps me on my toes. I can't risk to drink myself because I can't on him to bring me home safely. On my wedding day he got so drunk that he forgot his own name, I had to drive the car...in my weddingdress!! When we got to the car he noticed that he didn't have his wallet and got very angry even after we found it there was no way i could calm him down. He yelled and said to drive straight home...I said, calmly, that we were spending the night at the hotel in a honeymoonsuite but he screamed and shouted and told me that i had to drive to the house, Added that this was the worst day of his life, that he never should've married me and ALL this because he had to search for his wallet for 2 min. My wedding night ended with me calling the hotel to cancel the honeymoonsuite, me taking our suitcases back into the house while he just got out of the car, layed down on our bed and fell asleep. I stood there in my wedding dress and cried. Anyway...don't know why I told the whole story, I guess I haven't digested it yet.
What can I do to avoid this drinking abuse when we go out? How can I tell him about these concerns when I know he gets mad when I even mention it? 

 

Problem Drinking

This isn't social drinking, this is escape drinking...and it not only makes you miserable, it potentially puts you at risk.  You know enough to not let him drive you when he has been drinking and to stay sober yourself...good!  But, is there a reason that you need to subject yourself to it in the first place?  How about planning something different than drinking for New Years this year?  I can't tell if you get anything positive out of it - such as seeing special friends - or if you are just going along because you think that's what you should be doing.  Maybe you have some friends who would like to join you for something silly and different from what you normally do (bowling??  that's social, but if you don't know what you are doing can be hilarious, too... an amusement park if you live in the south, a low-key get together?)

This is the kind of thing that is best discussed when everyone is calm.  I suspect you've already done this, but if not, it's time to tell him how much distress his drinking brings you and how badly you feel when he gets drunk. You simply don't want to be with him when he is drunk and "not himself".  Toward that end, you would like his input for ideas of things the two of you can concoct for the New Year parties that don't involve heavy drinking.  You also should let him know that you reserve the right to leave any party at which you think he is so drunk that you no longer wish to be with him - including family parties.  Make it clear that you are not trying to control him or punish him - if he wants to overdrink that is his business - but that he can expect that you will no longer be silently endorsing it by sticking around.  He can also expect that you will take the car with you, rather than leave it for him, but that you are sure that if he needs to he can call a cab or find someone else to drive him.  I would start to enforce this policy at any time that you think he is getting too drunk...

It's important that you communicate that you are not trying to control him.  While you would prefer that he seek help to overcome this problem, it is HIS problem to take care of.  You are simply unwilling to go along with it anymore and subject yourself to the consequences of his drinking.  You can be supportive of him - this is not an issue of trying to get distance from him...rather, it is an issue of you wishing to be safe and happy.  You are taking responsibility for yourself here, not him.

I would try hard to make sure he can't drive himself home (dangerous for both him and whomever else is on the road) - even enlisting some of his other friends who are with him to make sure he doesn't have any car keys after you leave - that's about the extent of "assistance" I would provide him.

It's likely he won't like this conversation very much, and if he gets angry try to remain calm and reinforce your position that you are doing this for you and are not trying to change him, just to live with him more happily.  One thing I would also think about is whether or not you think that he will become so angry while he is drunk that he might wish to physically hurt you.  If you think that there is any chance that this will happen, then you might wish to make plans to spend that night at a friend's house after you have finished your own night out.

As for your week off...holidays can be stressful for many people for lots of reasons.  See the Dec '08 Hallowell newsletter for some tips about de-stressing the holidays.  You say that your husband embarasses you in front of your family - but have you ever talked with one or both of your parents about how you feel?  You might find that while you are very sensitive to your husband's behavior they, in fact, are not so sensitive to it.  If this is the case, perhaps knowing it would help you feel less uneasy.  If you are close enough to your mother, perhaps she would be a good sounding board for discussing some of your fears?  This is very personal stuff, and you might not want to go there...but on the other hand, there can be a good deal of accumulated wisdom that can be mined if you have the right kind of relationship (you'll know this - don't get your parents involved unless you feel really comfortable with talking about it AND with getting advice...which you surely will).

People with ADD often don't read the emotional cues around them - so this means that they can be saying something that makes other uncomfortable and not realize it.  Drinking makes this problem worse.  There was a period of time when my husband would get too much into party mode (to clarify, he never had a drinking problem like your husband...just once in a while would get so embroiled in the spirit of a party that he lost sensitivity to those around him) and he would start to say things that were particularly sarcastic or biting - things that would make others clearly uncomfortable.  We finally talked about this and developed a cue - if I read that people were becoming uncomfortable, or if I was, I would give him this cue and he would know that he was starting to step over the bounds...and pull back.  Setting this system up takes better communication than you currently have, but might be possible in your future.

To close, I would remind you that you simply cannot control your husband's behavior and you seem to see this.  But you CAN step out of the pattern that you have developed with him around his drinking.  Stop supporting his drinking habit by accompanying him when he is drunk, even though it makes you miserable.  Stop compensating for him by moderating his drinking at family parties.  Let him fall on his face if need be.  Let him suffer the consequences of the decisions he is making (if he pukes all over your brother, for example, then someone else gets to tell him his drinking is not cool).  Encourage him to seek help (AA can also help with responding to some ADD symptoms) and be open with him about how his drinking makes you feel (awful) and negative impact it's having on your feelings towards him.  I would try, if possible, to let the marriage debacle go.  There is nothing you can do about it now, even though you are rightfully angry about his behavior on your wedding day.  But bringing it up now complicates things rather than helps.  What you are dealing with is TODAY and tomorrow.  You aren't trying to punish him for his past behavior and hurts.  The goal is to respond to whatever he does today and tomorrow in a way that helps you respect yourself and protects you from his bad behavior.

While you are standing up for yourself in this matter, see if there is any way that you can do some fun, non-alcoholic activities when he is off.  Follow some hobby that you like, go to a concert, whatever you think might be FUN.  You sound as if you deserve a bit of fun, and it will help your relationsihp if you can have some of that fun with him.

Hope this helps...keep us updated if you would like.

Melissa

when enough is enough

I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking all this time to share your advice and experience with me. It does help..ME more than our marriage maybe. But at this point, after having tried almost everything, I need to focus more on myself.

I might have given you the impression in my previous post that this "drinking too much" problem occurs often. It only and always happens at parties or get togethers where usually there is alcohol involved ( cocktail, wine, etc...) When we go out alone let's say to a restaurant or something he drinks but is able to control it. We drink our wine during dinner and it stops there. On special occasions that's not the case. He then wants to have fun and can't stop drinking. This year it will be just me and him for newyear's eve, he has no real friends and my friends have their own plans (either on holiday or spending the holidays with family). It's supposed to be a dinner and dancing night at a hotel so if worse comes to worse he will just have to spend the night there.

With that being said, I feel that you have given me enough 'ammunition' to get through the holidays with a bit more self-confidence because you are right it is HIS problem and the consequences should only be for HIM not for me. I will keep everything that you said in mind. I need to crawl out of this "victim-mode" and work on MY happiness...if OURS follows along those lines then great but this time I won't set any expectations.

I have learned so much from being on this site...from you, Melissa, and so many other people who have shared their story. I have taken so much out of what i've read here and I am starting to see small differences in my way of acting, thinking and feeling.  It has started to change my mindset because I have gained so much insight not only on ADD but relationships in general. I now feel secure enough to confront all our demons...and i'm confident enough to know that even if things don't work out for me and him, eventually I'LL BE FINE.