Inaccurate self-observation

I’ve been doing some thinking about inaccurate self-observation and the narratives that people build around it, and I’m curious to hear about other people’s experiences. I find that often when my boyfriend and I disagree about something, he thinks he holds the “truth” for the interpretation of events he is involved in. When it comes to feelings, he has invalidated mine because he thinks they are an inaccurate representation of both his intention and his actions. Ironically, while he thinks that my feelings misconstrue his actions, I think he often has an inaccurate notion of how his actions affect my feelings. We have finally made some progress with this lately and I think he is paying more attention to not only the way things affect me, but also my right to have my feelings. 

That being said, I am more hands-off (or at least trying to be :p) when it comes to issues that don’t directly involve me. He was recently fired from a job and is having a lot of trouble getting another one. It was his first job out of law school, and he didn’t hold it in high esteem because he claimed it was boring and easy. I suspect that issues with inattention to detail, forgetfulness, and lateness had something to do with his being let go, but I haven’t said that to him. (I should mention that he is not currently treating his ADD and hasn’t fully accepted that he has it. He knows what he struggles with, but doesn’t think of it under the ADD umbrella.) He seems to be full of excuses as to why he is better off without the job, how they messed up more than he did, etc. Apparently when he was hired, they told him he could work whenever he wanted because he was hourly. A few weeks later, they told him that he needed to pick a schedule and be consistent with it (something he has trouble doing). He thinks it is their fault that they weren’t clearer with their expectation; I think it is always assumed that an employer doesn’t want you rolling in at 9am one day and 11:30am the next, even if they offer flexibility.  He also seemed unable to put most of his focus into the work and was distracted by long drives to band practices and back to his parents’ house, when he had arranged to stay with relatives that lived closer to the job.

His dad defends my bf and his siblings from any outsider’s criticism through rationalization and joking threats. I have seen my bf do this in defense of his brothers too. His family is very insular and he still lives with them. Just when my bf stopped getting paychecks, his parents wrote him a big check for the money they were going to finish off paying for his college loans because they “wanted the responsibility off [their] chests.” I see this as coddling and enabling; he is unemployed and they just put thousands of dollars in his pocket. My bf is not going to pay off the loans yet because he wants to get a job with a loan forgiveness/repayment plan and pay it off at once with his law school loans, or have them be forgiven. That program takes 10 years to complete, and he has not been hired anywhere yet!

To make a long story short, I know my bf is talented, but I don’t understand the stubborn resistance to self-reflection. I know a fragile ego might be a factor. I am worried that if he carries on this way, I am looking at a future with a partner who might not be able to hold a job. I am financially independent and I feel like whatever is preventing him from growing is also preventing our relationship from growing. I’m wondering how you all have dealt with things like this and what I can do/should look out for. 

My husband, who has ADHD, has

My husband, who has ADHD, has very limited self-reflection skills.  To be more specific, he'll say things such as "I feel responsible for everything that goes wrong" and "I feel guilty about everything I've done wrong," but he does not then proceed to reflect about how he might change things.  At some point, I think, him saying that he feels responsible for everything changes from being a useful moral exercise to a "get-out-of-jail-free card" cop out, because of him not following up on it.

By the way, I don't think he's responsible for everything bad that happens and I've told him that.   

Hi Rosered, I can definitely

Hi Rosered,

I can definitely relate to the cop-out; sometimes my bf takes things to a personal or dramatic level and then "wins" because he feels worse than I do. If I talk too long about something, he gets overwhelmed with feeling like a bad person or a screw-up and makes negative generalizations about himself. He takes something I say and runs with it, and then spins it back to me as if I ever said anything about who he is as a person. Basically makes me the bad guy and shifts the focus of the conversation, and blames me for making him feel bad when I was the one who was originally feeling bad! It's like the opposite of self-reflection. 

I feel adhd in a

I feel adhd in a Couple prevents a couple from forging ahead in life. And more specifically, it keeps the non adhd partner from growing. It seems for every one step they take, something within the relationships causes a 2 steps backwards. I feel the most disadvantaged in spiritual growth, and in matters of a more philosophical or meditative thought process. because my partner lacks this aspect to his character. and his existence usurps mine because it takes energy to be life partner to someone that unaware of their affect on others, including their own welfare.

Your first paragraph (of your

Your first paragraph (of your first post) was written so perfectly!  That is exactly how my husband is.  And the one step, 2 steps back-that is my life.  I always feel he is undoing what I am trying to do.  I don't know the answer to the self-observing problem.  I don't know if medication helps that or meds and counseling.  Your BF's job situations sounds like the perfect example of ADHD to me.  Can't hold a job and it's always someone else's fault.  The first book I read on this was "Is it you, me or the adult ADD"  So very good.  My husband just got diagnosed last year, we have been married for 12 years. He was able to keep a job-but- he is a firefighter (paid), very high adrenaline, flexible schedule, sort of- and by that I mean he does not work M-F 9-5.  I think he just lucked out and found a job that fits his ADHD issues before he even knew he had ADHD.  If your boyfriend is not willing to seek treatment for his ADHD, than I would caution you to really consider your future with him.  As life goes on and more stress shows up, if you have kids and routines are needed for the kids, it will get worse (if not in treatment).  Looking back, my husband got worse after each child (we have 2)  If he can't accept how you feel because it's different from how he feels, he will be the same with your kids-at least that is how my husband is.  He is in treatment, but only takes meds, no counseling even though he is supposed to be in therapy too.  Good luck.

Thanks for your comment. Did

Thanks for your comment. Did your husband seek initial help mostly on his own, or was it a joint effort? I think that is part of why I feel stuck, because I am having trouble imagining the future with my bf. He has told me he has trouble envisioning his own future. I have trouble understanding that because I have a more proactive attitude about my own life. I hadn't really thought of things in relation to an increase in stress level, but the more stress he has, the further inward he retreats. Somehow he thinks it's enough to just apply for jobs without looking into treatment for his issues. He seems to think it would get him down to face his challenges rather than be helpful and make him happier in the long run. 

My husband sought out

My husband sought out treatment after our son's therapist suggested it to him.  I thought he might have ADD about 2 years ago when I saw it on Dr. OZ but he didn't believe me.  Our son has special needs and I brought up to her (the therapist) some of the issues with my husband, because one of the issues she was working on with our son is having a better relationship  with daddy.  She mentioned it and I told her she would have to tell my husband because he won't believe me.  To his credit he did believe her, and me after I read the book Is it you me or adult ADD.  It was slow going getting the diagnosis.  It was hard to find someone knowledgeable with adult ADD, since my husband was never diagnosed as a child.  I had to go with him to the first two appointments so he would remember and be truthful to the doctor.  Which you think people working with patients with ADD would be understanding, but they weren't.  So many "experts" asked me why I had to attend too, and I said he has AD/HD and he won't remember what to tell you, what to tell me after the appt, and he won't be truthful to you because he has poor self reflection skills!