J.D.: "Well, if you don't mind me sayin so, he sounds like a real asshole."
THELMA: "It's okay. He is an asshole. Most of the time I just let it slide."
So, the time has come. After a long, painful, dysfunctional relationship with my spouse of 12 years, I realized clearly and calmly that a) his ADHD has significantly affected his life and our relationship and he will not treat it or accept responsibility for it, even though he is going to lose his family b) he has something else going on besides ADHD, including anger management issues, a defensiveness that is almost pathological, he is a master of manipulation, has a violent temper, exhibits emotional and verbally abusive behavior, and has what appears to be a narcissistic personality disorder c) I am so very deeply miserable down to my soul that I have lost myself and I am not the mother or person I could be if I were not with him, and I have been hiding this from EVERYONE except on these boards and d) I am not interested in living like this or wasting one more moment of my life. When I say abusive behavior, I mean saying such gems as tearing up a gift I had just hand made for him, and when angry, telling me "I hope you die of breast cancer" and in a rage, threatening to come to my workplace and embarrass me, and making fun of and criticizing some hobby I had taken up with my friends, telling me that I was selfish and that he didn't understand me wanting to go to the movies by myself, leaving mean, nasty messages on my voicemail, calling me names (bad ones), swearing at me at a rest stop in front of people (including our children). I recently took a quiz, "Are you in an abusive relationship?" and scored 14 out of 20 affirmative. It is not just ADHD. He is an asshole.
Seriously, though, I write this for all of us co-dependent folks out there. I just couldn't accept it--always coming back for an outcome that would be different, agonizing in fresh pain when the same thing would happen, over and over again. And then one morning, I just woke up. The only thing I regret is that I am a smart person who is pretty successful in all other areas of my life and that I put up with this ridiculous crap and acted like a kleenex, for waaay too long. I seemed to get the brunt of it: although he has always had a persecution complex with others, he is usually nice as pie and charming to most people but horrible to me (which is a sign, I have learned, of an abusive person). My kids, fortunately, are pretty great and I continue to hope that they haven't been too adversely affected by this, as I have them in counseling and feel like I have been like a single parent for years, anyway. I like my job and am good at it. And I am happy that I am walking into an attorney's office tomorrow at 1 p.m., and filing for the fastest, easiest, most final way I can amputate this person from my life. I will be poor, but I will be free. I feel like a 10,000 pound weight has been lifted off my back.
I spent so much time trying to understand ADHD, and feeling so wounded and alone when he wouldn't try to understand me or himself any better so that we may work on our relationship, and wondering what had happened after that initial first two years. That he wouldn't "see" what his behavior was like. He kept telling me that if I would "just be nice," everything would be fine. I spent YEARS like this.
Best of luck to everyone and thank you for all of your thoughtful words, time, and advice. I will continue to visit the site to see how everyone is doing and to remind myself of the way I was allowing myself to live. This is not a condemnation at all of those with ADHD--I am so impressed by anyone who has acknowledged that they have any kind of issue that is affecting their life, and takes steps to address it. I just didn't happen to be married to someone who was equipped to do so. Peace out.