Hi everyone, I'm never posted on any online forum before, but I need help so much and I don't know where else to turn. I've been with my partner for 14 years now, and he was diagnosed with ADHD last year. I did some research on the topic, and I realized that so much of his behaviours, good and bad, stem from his ADHD. It's really helped me understand him better, and our doctor recommended Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which he agreed to try. We couldn't afford CBT, so he tried going to a regular psychologist instead, and the experiences were so bad, that he's sworn against trying any kind of therapy again.
The reason he was even willing to try therapy in the first place was because the stress he undergoes in a very dysfunctional workplace exacerbated his ADHD so much that he's been on extended sick leave twice in the past two years. He doesn't feel that he can leave this job, and he doesn't like it when I bring up his ADHD at all when we argue or have communication problems, or talk about his problems with authority at work, because he feels like doing so is "an excuse". He is angry all the time -- whenever he drives, when he plays hockey, when he watches TV, when he plays video games, it doesn't matter, he judges everything and everyone so much. He says that the world is screwed up, and that if only people "made sense" (which means if they did things they way he thinks they should be done), then he wouldn't get so frustrated. He says he thinks people at work are out to get him, and the only thing he can do is defend himself, loudly and constantly, so that they know not to mess with him. I'm afraid he'll get suspended, or fired.
As his partner, I'm afraid that if he goes on sick leave again - and he likely will, since all the stress is making him behave in a volatile, explosive manner, so that he attacks me if I do or say anything he interprets as "disrespecful" to him - that I won't be able to handle it again. I nearly left him the second time, he was so mean and angry with me all the time. And I couldn't talk to him about it without taking the blame for his outbursts - because I caused him to get angry you see. When I try to tell him how what he says and does hurts me, he gets very defensive, and says that now isn't the time for me to start telling him how "horrible a person he is" -- all I'm telling him is how I feel, but he doesn't see it that way -- he says it's code for blaming him for my oversensitivity. Even though it's his behavior that starts it! I start by speaking calmly, but he hurls insults and jibes, he uses sarcasm, says that he's tired of people like me and his terrible boss who just take advantage of him, who don't speak in words that make sense. Then he tries to convince me -- and he is a very, very, very good debater -- that me feeling hurt is wrong, because there isn't a bonafide reason for it. So instead of me trying to talk about my feelings, it turns into how I'm the one who's wrong, and I should feel guilty for bringing this up, because there's no good reason for me to blame him for any of it.
I'm so confused - at this point, my only other option is to just take it and say nothing. I already admit blame more than is due me, just to get him to calm down and maybe talk and listen to me without shouting and insults. How do I bring up issues I have with his behavior in a way that will make him listen -- not agree, but listen, without getting so defensive? Sometimes he even throws things, breaks things, and then tells me to shut up because he can't take it anymore. Basically, he doesn't believe that any of the problems in his life -- his work problems, my problems with his behaviour -- are related to him at all. He says he doesn't understand what I'm saying, that I "don't make sense". Please, please help me -- how do you talk to an ADHD spouse about behaviours you don't like without them turning on you? I can't put up with his behaviour anymore, sometimes I just swallow the anger and apologize, like it's my fault, when I know it's not, just to avoid a fight. Sometimes I think he wants to fight. When's he's angry, it's always for a good reason, he believes. And we talk about it like it's a real issue, because I care about what he feels. When I get angry, he says I'm just crazy, and it's not a real issue because he doesn't think it is. I don't want to be a doormat anymore. Is is possible to have this kind of conversation with an ADHD spouse?