Hi, this is my first time posting although I've been reading a lot of the posts. My husband of 7 years was diagnosed with severe combined type ADHD in 2020 (after a 5/6 year long wait for an assessment, UK). I was also diagnosed autistic in 2022 after long expecting it)
Quick backstory - whirlwind 'hyperfocus' romance, it was beautiful, everything I've ever wanted in a relationship and I'd never felt so close to another human being. He was my best friend, my favourite person, he was kind and thoughtful and fun and accepting. We very quickly got pregnant and as soon as our baby was born things just didn't feel right. He made dangerous mistakes with the baby, over and over no matter how I tried to teach him. He said he didn't love the baby and was constantly trying to get away from us. I was frightened at the change, had terrible PPA and an ever growing sense of something not being right here. I took full responsibility of the baby and did any and all parenting. I began reading and found adult ADHD which was like a light bulb! I asked him about his younger years and was really shocked to find out a number of risky impulsive 'incidents' that seemed to have all been laughed off by his family. So he really had no sense that the way he lived his life seemed quite crazy to others at all. Running up thousands in debt, spending £7K on the game candy crush, a new expensive hobby every week that never lasted. Cars he couldn't afford, everything on credit, nothing paid back. All while still living with his parents. He had 'started a business' and I think they assumed the money was coming from that. However, the business didn't make money, it was never run properly and in fact he was committing VAT fraud while playing computer games all day long. (I didn't know this until after we had the baby). I was also deceived into thinking his income was coming from his 'successful' business, which we built an office for in my house.
So I've noticed him becoming really quite 'selfish' and uninterested in me or the baby. There were a few fights about this, I was deeply hurt that he obviously wasn't going to be the dad I thought he would or the husband I thought he would. We discussed this and he said he was just frightened and it would get better. Then comes a surprise pregnancy when first baby had only just turned 1. We (or I, as he didn't pay much attention to him, had realised there was something developmentally going on with first baby). It was scary times, I felt overwhelmed having another baby and then the real kicker....... at 9 weeks pregnant he burst into the room and told me about the VAT fraud and that he thinks he's been caught!!! This was the first I knew of it, I thought he'd been sitting in the office we built working hard for his family, but really he had been writing websites, making pod casts, binge eating etc etc. So obviously my world is rocked. Special needs 1yr old and 9 weeks pregnant and just discovered that my husband had been lying to face about something huge, over and over and over. The betrayal and my devastation was so huge I don't even have the words for it. So while he's off researching how to fight in prison (helpful). I had to do hours and hours of research to find what possible options we had. I found something that would at least keep him out of prison. At this point I'm searching abortion clinics because I was so frightened of the future I didn't think it was a good idea to bring another baby into it. But he begged and promised that it would all be different and he would step up this time and it definitely wouldn't be like last time blah blah blah. So I believed him. Had the second baby when the first baby was 21m.
Of course, absolutely nothing was different at all and I spent the hardest year of my life raising an autistic toddler who didn't sleep and baby (who we now know is autistic and has ADHD) who also didn't sleep. I had so little sleep that my hair was falling out and I don't really remember much of that year at all. And I did it all on my own. He was in the house, he just couldn't bring himself to do anything helpful or useful. I started to think of him as a passive observer to my struggling life. Obviously their were lots of fights.... well me trying to communicate my needs and him arguing at me and gaslighting me. So after a while I just shut down. I still did everything for him, overfunctioned and was basically his mother, while getting on with what my boys needed and diagnosis and school choices and Sen clubs and all those things. I wasn't having any of my needs met and I also couldn't voice them as it would start the gaslighting and being argued at about how I was wrong to feel that way.
He got a full time job which he loved and became his hyperfocus and was very successful. His life now consisted of leaving for work 3 hours earlier than he needed to be there (to miss the morning routine of children) staying until around the childrens bedtime and then he would sit on the PlayStation for 8 hours a night, go to bed, repeat. He had zero other responsibilities, I'd long since given up trying to get him to empty the bin. I did the shopping, cooked all his meals, packed his lunches, did all the budgeting/paying bills, the washing, the cleaning, the childcare.... basically anything and everything involved in running a home
Life sort of bumbled along. Not what I expected of a partnership and I felt lonely and sad but ok in general, if you know what I mean, peaceful. Well peaceful as long as I didn't ask him for anything or voice any of my needs. When youngest was 4 I found out I was going into premature ovarian failure and we discussed trying to have one more (on the basis that we already lived as though the children were MINE, he didn't have to do anything or help in anyway) so really the baby was for me..... comfort for me and me finally getting a need met. I was over the moon. We now have a 4 month old boy who is just amazing and an absolute joy for me. My bit of happiness and I'm so used to doing it on my own that I really don't mind it anymore.
So husband got diagnosed (I think he was shocked as he thought all his previous behaviour and actions were perfectly normal) then there was a bit of a wait for meds. He started meds about 8 months ago. At first they seemed amazing! He was actually talking to the kids! Playing minecraft with them! He was talking to me, in our conversations he began to take a step back and I got my first actual genuine apology from him! I had so much hope. So the first 3/4 months were amazing. We started to become friends again and were able to actually speak.
But then something happened. He became moody, irritated, didn't want to be around the children at all. Constantly starting horrid arguments with me if I ever expressed that I felt hurt by something he did. He was full of rage. The gaslighting has reached new heights, it's unbearable now. The rewriting history, the saying things then seconds later denying he ever said it and how dare I say he did. Every single communication was met with deflecting/denial/anger/ gaslighting and eventually blame. It was all my fault. He started punching holes in walls and punching door frames etc. screaming at the children. His mood swings were crazy.
This was all weeks before the 3rd baby was born. I insisted on counselling, found him an apparent specialist in ADHD. Well, this seems to have only made it all worse! I'm pretty sure he's sitting in there telling his 'denial' version of his life.
Then my mother died, it was complicated, I have a lot of childhood trauma and I was struggling for a bit. This was not good news because whenever I need something from him (in this case a bit of emotional support, to talk about it, a bit of thoughtfulness) he becomes really cold and nasty. I told him I needed support and he said I've got nothing to give you.
Things started to get so crazy I had to sit him down calmly and say we are worried about you I don't thing every thing is ok with you. I think you need to seek some help with what's going on here. He said he felt his meds were working fine his adhd was under control so there is no point. So I pushed a bit further and gave him descriptions of how he was acting and the impact it was having on all of us. So he said if I'm this awful monster then I will leave. And he left.
I didn't know where he was, he was ignoring my calls and messages, I didn't know what to tell the children. After a few days his Dad suggested I wait out side his work to force him to speak with me. Anyway, that didn't go down well. He point blank refused to tell me where he was staying. I was crying and said is it with another woman? He said no but still wouldn't tell me to put my mind at rest. I told him I love him, all I wanted was for him to get some help. He said he can't be a husband or a father anymore. He said he apparently had this big epiphany where he saw how he was treating us and couldn't be the person to come back and hurt us anymore. But really this was said with anger and felt like 'how dare you tell me I'm not perfect' and the whole thing felt like a punishment really. He didn't even ask about the children and wasn't in the slightest concerned about me. It was all poor me poor me poor me. When I got home I realised I could do the find my iPhone thing to see where he was. So I knew but I didn't know who's flat it was or anything.
Anyway, after a few weeks I said will you at least speak to me and if so we can both bring things to the discussion that we feel are important. He said yes he would come over after the boys were in bed next week. I then didn't have any more communication from him until he turned up.
We each had a list, mine were things like spend 15 minutes a day playing with the children. Give me one night a week to spend time with me. Address these mood swings. His list was I want more money to spend on myself and things I want. A large chunk of the budget that I would have to scrape from somewhere else! Any way, he then said he had taken out a £7.5k loan in the weeks we were apart. This frightened me, I expressed that, he got angry. Then he said he never actually got the money (I think probably a lie) so I said can we leave it here for tonight please. I'd reached my limit of trying to suppress all my own emotions so I wouldn't set him off. He said yes but didn't make a move to get up. I repeated myself. He said what??? You're expecting me to leave?? I said we'll yes, we arranged to have a chat and see if we could get anywhere, that was all. Well, he'd just assumed he was coming home and not even bothered to tell me and was now livid with me that I wasn't aware of his inner thoughts, as like I say, I hadn't heard from him since it was arranged. I tried to explain that I had no way of knowing that information. But he just went off at me. I was so confused by the end I questioned should I somehow have know? I ended up apologising for not knowing. It was 4am by this point and I just needed it all to stop.
So that was it, he had come home. But his attitude and demeanour was screaming he didn't want to be here! He said the children are too overwhelming. He can see himself ignoring them and that makes him feel guilty so he can't be in the same room as them. So he ended up spending the entire weekend in bed, until I had got them all to bed at which point he got up to play PlayStation all night.
On the Sunday night I was quite frustrated as this is not what we agreed on. I said can we have a talk please. Well, I'm sure you all imagine how that went. I was the awful one for not being supportive of him and his new found issue of not being able to stand being in the same room as the children. At this point I'm thinking why is he here? He clearly doesn't want to be!
Anyway, a few days later he sent me a message 'oh forgot to say, I've got an incredible amount of work to do here so I'll stay on late tonight'. Ok, fair enough. It gets to 10pm and I message, no answer. I ring,no answer. I did the check my iPhone thing and it was showing as being at the flat he was staying in when he left at 5.20pm that day! I'm confused, ringing him more, no answer. Went to his work, no car there. I'm starting to really panic. Has he left again and just not said anything? Has he killed himself?! Or is that flat a woman's and I was right all along. Anyway, seconds away from calling the police he messages me saying I'm driving, bit extreme, I told you I had a meeting.
Well, no he did not tell me that, he specifically said he was staying late at work because he had so much to do. What work meetings take place at 11pm at night?! When he got back I was in a bit of a state. I told him I saw the phone was at the flat. He went crazy that I knew the address, crazy angry. Said he can't explain why because he was somewhere else in a meeting. Apparently a 5h30m long meeting that he had no email proof of, nothing to show he'd been there at all apart from something written on his phone calendar (which he could have just put in there on his way home. No tangible proof at all. And im supposed to just believe this? Im now the crazy lady questioning her husband and he's the huffing puffing put upon man who doesn't have the patience or desire to listen to her. So the outcome is he's leaving again.
However, my question is, how do you communicate with someone like this?? It's like beating my head against a brick wall. Every conversation, especially if it's about my needs or me feeling hurt, will contain a combination of the following -
refusing to answer my question on the grounds of him not understanding why I would need the answer
looking at the wall and literally pretending that I don't exist,completely ignoring me.
a lot of put upon sighing and holding head in hands
twisting things round / blaming me
flip flopping between answers, giving me 4 different answers and then shouting at me when I ask which one it is
He will contradict himself so many times in one short conversation that I actually feel dizzy
nothing can ever be resolved or explored or spoken about AT ALL it's just this never ending cycle of hell
All conducted while he's giving off the attitude of speaking to me is the worst chore in the world. Like my feelings are SO uninteresting to him. He won't hear my hurt or pain or distress. He just refuses. Sits there with his eyes closed ignoring me.
what the hell is this??? Is this more than ADHD? How on Earth can you have a meaningful conversation in order to resolve issues and promote greater understanding??