Okay, I have read all these accommodations we (the non ADD spouse) can make in trying to be sympathetic to our ADD spouses. I try real hard to "pick my battles" and determine what is tolerable, let it go and what is not. So my husband is really forgetful, I try to be helpful with gentle reminders to a point but the things that don't really affect me I just let go, like the fact that he hasn't had his teeth cleaned in over two years or he forgets to mail a birthday card or call for his mom, dad, sister, ect. However, there are some things I just cannot accept as tolerable. Like his horrible temper/verbal abuse that has gotten better but I still carry the deep wounds as he has never fully realized/understood the true damage he has done, that his actions/in-actions have natural consequences (like me not being able to trust him) and he has never apologized in a way that I felt he had true remorse. He says he is sorry, that he knows the damage he has caused but I find his apology very hard to believe as #1 he would apologize then a week later blow up again, this happened on avg. at least 2-3 times a month for 4 1/2 years. Blow up, apology, him expecting me to get over it immediately after his apology, blow up apology, him expecting me to get over it immediately after his apology, so on and so on for 4 1/2 of our 5 years of marriage. Then he wonders why I do not trust him, he actually believes that he deserves my trust and deeply resents me for not trusting him. This leaves me utterly baffled. He has done better with controlling his temper, still has blow ups, still throws verbal punches "below the belt" but not as many in the last 2/3 months and he thinks he deserves so much credit, a pat on the back for behaving in a way that is expected of the rest of us responsible adults. #2 His apologies do not have a sincere tone and are always followed with "but I have issues with you, you have fault in this too, it took two of us to get here." and "We have to work together to make this work." How do I believe he is sincere, that he will do his part, that things will get better when I feel that it has always been me doing 99% of the "work?" I am emotionally and mentally exhausted. I have done ridiculous amounts of research, extending trust to him time and time again, against my better judgment only to be let down again and again, and criticized for not trusting him.
My husband cannot see past his own perspective, he cannot distinguish when it is time to set his feelings aside to help me even when it is clear that I am in much more desperate need. For example, my doctor has been having me try all these different anti-depressants for "situational depression" due to the stress of my marriage. None of them have worked for me, in fact they have made me more depressed, uncontrollable weeping, fatigue, horrible nightmares to the point where I was barely able to take care of myself let alone do anything else. I have even called in sick to work because of this and I never miss work, my boss has even asked me if I am okay because this is so out of character for me. Instead of Rick feeling sympathy for me or holding me and telling me that it is all going to be okay he gets irritated and says "it is difficult to be around you right now" and "I just want my wife back." Wow, really? I say, "imagine what it feels like to be me right now, hard for you?? You are the reason I am having to take these drugs in the first place." Then he takes our daughter and goes out to dinner with his parents leaving me home to deal with this on my own.
I went to the 4th therapist in our 5 year marriage for the first time yesterday. Our 3rd therapist said we were at an "impasse" and that she thought that Rick and I need to see separate counselors every week for 2 months, then meet back with her together afterward. So she referred me to one for my "emotional support and help to deal with the stress of my marriage" and Rick to another who is both a counselor and an ADD coach. These are therapists within the same practice and they would all conference on our situation. So, in my first session yesterday my new therapist tells me that our issues do not stem from ADD, that in fact I am a victim of his abuse and that she is going to teach me how to set strong boundaries with Rick and take better care of myself. This hit me pretty hard because I am not the "victim" type. I have a healthy self-esteem, learned how to be strong, independent (completely self-sufficient at 17 years old) and have learned that I am responsible for my own happiness. In the past I have had some very healthy relationships but in a few relationships, if I felt I was not treated right I always left but I was never married to any of them. I think I have tolerated alot more and put alot more effort into my relationship with Rick because we are married and we have a daughter. I have come to the conclusion that it is either his ADD symptoms (that hopefully he could overcome) or just plain old abuse that is alot harder if even possible to overcome but now I am wondering if he may have Aspergers.
I went to my doctor after my counseling appt. and I told him that I do not want to take the anti-depressants anymore, I felt I did better without them. He agreed that I could try to go without them and I have gone cold turkey. Then I called our very first therapist to see him in hopes of getting some clarity, he counseled us the longest but we quit seeing him because he wanted Rick to quit drinking and me too "in support of Rick." Not because he felt that Rick was an alcoholic but as he put it "some people are just more sensitive to alcohol, even one drink can cause them to be more reactive and exhibit poor judgment." Well, Rick didn't subscribe to this way of thinking at all, and frankly, I rarely drink but I do like to have the option if the occasion calls for it and why should I give up one more thing in support of Rick when he has done very little in support of me? Even if it guaranteed some improvement in the marriage Rick and his family would resent and blame me for it (strong Irish background) and there would still be so much more to work on.
My husband doesn't seem to "get it" and these last two counselors warned me that he may never "get it" that "some people's brains are just wired that way." "Like your narcissistic mother" is how they put it (our first counselor asked me if I saw similarities between my husband and my mother too). My husband can be very similar to my mother, self-centered, selfish, seeing things from only his perspective, and sensitive only to his own emotional needs, most of the time seemingly not having the tools to recognize or take care of my emotional needs, even when I tell him exactly what I need, like him to hold me and sympathize with me. He still just sits there across the living room continuing his conversation. In fact, he often adds insult to injury as when I ask for emotional support from him he usually responds in a way that makes me feel like he thinks I am wrong or stupid for feeling the way I do and he dismisses my pleas for comfort from him because he feels he knows better what to do to than I to make things better in our relationship. My happiness and security do not seem to matter to him until I get to the point where I am threatening divorce, then I get all these promises of change, that he will do anything I ask, that never last.
I came across some info on the net about Aspergers. I have to say that alot of the symptoms/behaviors seem to fit Rick. He has said that he generally dislikes people, feels socially awkward/anxious, I have to really work to get him to go to social events with friends, he has very few friends that he never plans events with and rarely talks to. In fact, his two "best friends" live out of state. I have alot of friends and try to encourage Rick to get to know them and their husbands but he just is not interested saying he has his friends (the ones that live out of state that he never talks to) and he doesn't need anymore. Also, I rarely see Rick express happiness, joy or excitement, most of the time it seems that he only knows how to express anger or sadness. We have no intimate connection because he refuses to "let me in." He admits that he has a hard time sharing his thoughts and feelings with anyone. His own family, whom he says he so close to have admitted that they do not really know him. No one really knows Rick. I probably know him best but only because I live with him and I work every day to try to get to know and understand him better and I can only make assumptions for the most part as he will never confirm anything for me. We are married and should be connected, we should be partners and best friends. Another source of great pain for me is that my husband does not know me. His perception of me is so far off the mark it is baffling. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I am an open book, very sensitive to others needs, that I posses a strong sense of fairness and live by a very strict moral code of treating everyone with respect and compassion. Much like that of a child of an alcoholic who chooses to stay as far away as possible from alcohol, I am a child of a narcissist mother who makes it a priority to be as honest and forthright as possible, constantly checking my motives to make sure that I am nothing like my mother. Once in a while, Rick has these "awakening" type moments where he does seem to know me. He has told me that I am the best, most honest and compassionate person he has ever known. That he loves me for always doing what is right, even when it is the hardest thing to do and that he couldn't imagine a better mother for our daughter... but when that moment is over I go back to being labeled as "manipulative," "untrustworthy", "treating him like a second class citizen," "selfish" and "uncompromising," though he cannot give an example of anything I have ever done to earn these labels.
So please, is there anyone out there that can give me some clarity here? My head is swimming and I have a 15 mo. old daughter to think about. Please help me!!