Input?

For several weeks (adding up to a month or two) my husband's ADHD really started to spiral out of control (after stopping ADHD meds cold turkey) and he withdrew and started sleeping in the den. During out marriage...off and on..he has taken to sleeping on the couch, in the den, etc. He once spent about 2 years sleeping on the couch. To make a long story short, it really troubled me and when we reconciled with a 'clean slate' approach in Dec 2009 after a brief separation I stressed to him how important the 'marriage bed' was to me. It wasn't something I wanted to just 'accept' about him (sleeping elsewhere) and needed him to promise he wouldn't do that anymore. He agreed...but mid-Feb, after stopping meds, he broke that promise. Ok, fine..I conceded, gave him time to get his head on straight, and then insisted he needed to start respecting some boundaries again. As always, things are up and down, the roller coaster everyone is familiar with, and as a way to hurt me, if he's angry or if I get upset with him about something, he sleeps on the couch. It IS on purpose...it is meant to hurt me...and effectively just puts a wedge between us. It is, 100% HIS decision to sleep down there.

We had an 'up' day yesterday and we watched a movie last night and he slept in the bed. This morning he thanked me for "letting him" sleep in the bed. This really bothers me for a few reasons. A) I never told him he couldn't. B) it makes me feel like he's making himself out to be a victim of HAVING to/being made to sleep in the den and this is very untrue. C) it reinforces, even if only in his mind, that I 'control' him. I thought to myself "does he really feel I LET him sleep in the bed, or not?" NO matter how mad he is at me, I am sleeping in my bed and (thanks to advice from Melissa ;-) ) I do not/would not tell him he couldn't do the same. I think there is a motive/reason behind him 'thanking me' for letting him sleep in our bed, but I cannot figure it out. I want to explain to him why this bothers me...but I am not sure how to approach it..or if it is even worth it.

hmmmm.....

The ONE time I felt compelled to sleep on the couch is when I forgot to close my husband's dresser drawer (for the 23,475th time) while putting away his clothes.  I was in the laundry room, then came into the bedroom to continue packing for an early morning flight.  He pointed out that I'd forgotten to close the dresser and just laid into me about how I'd broken the dresser (there was a piece of wood that came loose inside) and that it was an antique and I should be careful etc. (we paid $40 for it at an auction).  He believed that I was deliberately disrespecting him by leaving it open and that I was doing it on purpose, or i was just being lazy or spiteful somehow.  The tone of his voice startled me and the anger upset me so much that I just could NOT sleep next to him.  I was too stunned & hurt to come back to him with, "I left the drawer open because i washed, folded and was putting away YOUR CLOTHES."  I was really upset because I was going to be gone for a week, but... I just couldn't be near him.

But it doesn't sound like you've been scolding him or anything.  Something's going on with him though and there's probably some raw emotion he feels but can't express.

I'm sorry Sherri.  this sucks.  Is there any way he'd consider going back on meds?

Oh...maybe I didn't

Oh...maybe I didn't clarify...I KNOW why he sleeps in the den. It is when he's mad/we're fighting. No question...he does it to put space between us and to hurt me.

What bothers me is that he 'thanked me' for LETTING (???) him sleep in the bed last night...like I am somehow forcing him not to on other occasions. I have no idea where this comes from and if it is even worth addressing. He said it in a "thank you for letting me sleep in the bed last night..I really enjoyed sleeping with you. I love you very much" as he was leaving for work (no sex was involved). It is 100000000% HIS decision when he doesn't....so why is he making it sound like I am somehow responsible when he 'has' to ???? sleep in the den??

How About Thanking Him Back?

If it's a manipulative measure on his part, just tell him, you know we had a really great evening, and thank you for deciding to sleep in Our bed. I sure miss it when you are not there!, and want you there! Trust me, sleeping in separate beds only creates more distance and hurt feelings. You can't force him, and as we all know screaming and nagging doesn't work! Try praise. Who knows, it just might work! No guarantees of course and may take a few times, but keep praising when he does it, and enjoy the restful sleep when he doesn't.

Crazymaking

He is placing blame on you, making it your responsibility. He is sending mixed signals.  He is making you question your reality.  He is making you CRAZY.  Sorry to be so blunt, but that is what it is, plain and simple.  He wants to set you off balance, to make you question, and to make it seem like it just might be YOUR fault that he sleeps in there. 

He is trying to control you...even though you may not feel like it or think it.  Even though HE may not realize it for what it is, he IS.  Make the reality clear--it is HIS choice to sleep there.  You had nothing to do with that decision. 

Now that I've been out of it for several months, I cannot believe what I "accepted"...it will make you crazy.

 

 

I honestly feel this way

I honestly feel this way too..that it is a form of controlling me. I call it the Jedi Mind Trick. He knows that he sleeps in the den 100% his choice. I know that too. I don't question my reality, or the reality of why he sleeps in the den, I am just really uncomfortable with him 'thanking me' for letting him do something that I never told him he couldn't. The closest I can come to putting it into words as to why it bothers me so much is that it seems like a 'justification' he's made in his own mind to sleep in the den and somehow blames me. When he gets to sleep in the bed, upstairs if I am getting the 'credit' for 'allowing him' then surely he's convinced himself that it is my fault each time he 'has' to sleep in the den. Any of this making sense?

Complete sense

It makes complete sense.  And it bothers you that he can't see/accept the reality of the situation.  It's the vicious cycle--and can be applied to almost any action not just sleeping in the den.  

It keeps status quo in your relationship and keeps him in control.

So much sense

So much sense!  My DH indicates that "I won't let him <fill in the blank>" and sounds resentful of the fact, even when he is the only one who understands it that way.  I never said he couldn't do/buy/anything; he apparently twists what I say into making himself the victim.  I don't think he knows it, and for a long time I didn't know it either.  "Justifying" describes it perfectly.  He didn't have to make the decision because he convinced himself I wouldn't let him, so therefore his frustration about it could be blamed on me.  So complicated, and for me sad. I'm sad that he continues to live his life believing that I, and probably many others, think so little of him.

in the 'What it's worth' department...

....all of this is so familiar to me...  Feeling worthless, feeling watched, feeling like i'm not 'allowed' to do something.  My husband has even jokingly uses the phrase, "you're not allowed" in various situations when the last time i've done something/decided something/bought something ended up being a mistake.

I also know that i've done exactly what your husbands have done ie; twisted things in my head and convinced myself my DH was seething with anger and hating me when all that was happening is he was tired, or busy or something and had no idea what I was feeling.  I can just tell you though that these emotions/paranoia/whatever it is are so strong and so convincing (and scary) that it made me lash out in weird ways that I couldn't understand.  only now am I beginning to see how off-base I have been pretty much ALL MY LIFE about relationships with so many people.  So many burned bridges that didn't have to happen that are irreparable now.  my husband has told me over and over, "STOP HAVING CONVERSATIONS WITH ME IN YOUR HEAD!!  I NEVER SAID THAT!!"

These days, because of the medication and because of the awareness I am just beginning to have, I can 'catch' myself before it spirals out of control.  In the past, if something went wrong with whatever I was pursuing (job/project/whatever) I would tell myself I was a failure and immediately try to find something totally different to replace it.  Now I tell myself, 'ok - that didn't work.  i'll try it again. and again. and again."  Even with day to day stuff.  I caught myself today throwing a pair of jeans on the floor absent mindedly after I'd taken them off to change and actually said out loud, "What the hell'd I do that for???" and put them in the laundry.

The hardest thing for me to accept is that I will always have this.  I'd always thought (all the years I was putting off reading anything about ADHD) that it was just a will-power thing and one day I would wake up and be strong enough to 'snap out of it.'  I just wish I could be in a normal brain just for a day. just to see what it's like and write myself a letter with all the right answers.

CONVERSATIONS WITH ME IN YOUR HEAD

Interesting, Ellamenno... "twisted things in my head and convinced myself my DH was seething with anger and hating me when all that was happening is he was tired, or busy or something and had no idea what I was feeling." The medication and new awareness really are double edged. We realize things that were missed or un-noticed before and now we know and are learning how to react, but learning for sure, sometimes Over-Reacting to these things that we observe. I know I have done this when my DW has had a long or bad day and thought her actions/reactions were meaning something before I even asked why she seemed upset.

I also hate that my ADD is always there, just controlled for the part of the day that my meds are in my system. I guess it is better than the alternative of going back to never having something to help my brain function more normally.

Sherri... I hate to hear that things are so tough for you. It seems like your husband has more to deal with than in my case. The meds help me a lot in my daily functions without the bad temper side-effects you have described. Does your husband think he is choosing the lesser of the the two evils? Like he can be the laid-back guy he used to be with ADD symptoms as opposed to the angrier guy he became on the medications? I agree with you about the bed situation. I always took the opposite stand if we were angry at bedtime. It always seemed like a REALLY bad idea to sleep apart. Even if you are Really mad and don't even touch for the whole night, you have not separated and then a bad habit could begin. lonely times are when my brain comes up with the worst conclusions based on conversations that have not happened. I communicate badly enough face to face, and when I'm isolated it only gets worse.

I hope things improve for you soon. You deserve it for all your hard work and determination.


YYZ