Hi. I'm new.
My husband is the ADHD spouse, but I don't get to call myself the "NT spouse."
Nope-- I'm the spouse with Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder.
We've been together since 98, married since 01. Fourteen years next month.
Four kids. Daughter 13, thriving and presumed to be NT (suspected "Broader Autism Phenotype," but I'm not pursuing anything if it's not causing her problems). Son 7, diagnosed ADHD, currently not struggling enough to warrant medication. Daughter 5, suspected ADHD, but not going to pursue a diagnosis unless it causes problems at school. Daughter 2 years 8 months, too young to suspect anything but I'm starting to wonder. She moves and climbs and fidgets constantly. She CAN speak but strongly prefers not to.
Fourteen years of assuming it was all my problem, that all the problems were my fault, that every issue was because of my disorder and therefore my responsibility to fix.
He's a good man; he does a good job. He's been consistently employed ever since he got out of college. Bills get paid and groceries get bought before he spends any money impulsively. He is not an alcoholic, or a compulsive gambler. He does love his "retail therapy," but like I said, bills get paid and groceries get bought first, and we don't keep credit cards, so it's done on a cash basis. I got no complaints.
He even contributes to housework if it's necessary. Not that it's strictly necessary-- I get to be a SAH. If I have to do 99.7% of the housework, that's called carrying my weight.
Still, I'm mentally and emotionally exhausted and FED UP.
Mostly I'm tired of every disagreement, every conflict, and every expression of negative emotion (whether it relates to and/or involves him or not) erupting into an argument.
I've tried everything. For the first five years, we fought it out. That got old. For the next three years, I tried talking to other people about any negative feelings or "off" opinions I might have. That was emotional adultery. For the next five years, I tried doing the submissive wife thing. That blew up in a huge way-- I resented the submission, he resented the responsibility, checks and balances disappeared, and communication died. Since then, we're back to fighting it out. It wore on me in our early 20s-- now approaching 40 and a complete nervous breakdown later, I CAN'T HANDLE FIGHTING IT OUT ANY MORE.
It saps my energy, makes me hate myself, and stresses me out so badly that I shake constantly and can't think straight.
I'm not asking him to change. He's not even aware of what he's doing. He suffered constant low-level emotional abuse from both parents all through childhood and his self-image is too fragile to sustain self-awareness.
Short of finding a cure for the condition formerly known as Asperger's (outside my control-- I can try to control it, but I can't make it go away any more than he can make ADHD disappear or any more than either of us can magically become left-handed), what do *I* need to change to bring peace back to our domicile????
What forum does this belong in??