My husband and I just had a huge argument. He's left to blow off some steam and I'm sitting here getting ready for bed and crying. Here's the backstory:
We're coming up on our second wedding anniversary, fourth "being together" anniversary. As I'm learning about ADD, it's becoming a lot easier to talk to him and find solutions for various problems. It's trial and error but it's going pretty well overall.
The big thing is that he's been out of work for ages. He was lucky enough to get on unemployment so we're surviving, but we're down to the last three months. Meanwhile, his friend's wedding is Feb 19th and Tim will have to fly up to Washington to be there. Originally, they were going to have the ceremony in Feb and the reception in April. So I'd talked Tim into waiting until April. Even with airline miles and such, we'll be spending $110 to get him there, plus the cost of a rental car. At least TIm's parents live in the area, so he can stay with them. Still, we're looking at $300-400, easy. And we're trying to get OUT of debt. And my contract work is probably ending in June. So there's a bit of a deadline.
Anyway, today we found out everything is happening in Feb now. So if Tim doesn't want to miss his best friend's wedding, he has to go then. I told him that it would be okay -- so long as he tried to get some form of work for the next three weeks. That would extend his unemployment benefits. Otherwise, he'll come back and have just 8 weeks to find a job.
I pointed out to him that no regular job is going to hire him if he has to leave so soon... for 5 days. I guess we could make it less, but he has friends up there he'll want to see too.
So I was suggesting he consider this Craigslist ad for flyers. You put out a bunch of them a day and on average you get 3-6 people per week calling in based on the flyer. You get paid based on people signing up. Tim was saying, "Okay but there's no guarantee that I'd get the credit for it." My basic point was, "Well, really, what the hell is the big deal?" I mean, he hasn't worked in ages. And I know he has a work ethic. But it's scary for him to go back to work because he had so many health problems up in Washington thanks to the humidity up there. (He has REALLY severe eczema -- as in, can't put clothes on when it's bad.) He has such a spotty work history because his skin would start to act up, he'd miss too many days and get fired. So I understand -- and have tried to be understanding about -- the slight procrastination taht has been going on.
But c'mon! If he works for 30-40 hours for a week and sees no results, what has he lost really? He got annoyed because he felt like I was pushing him to take it. My point was mostly that he was already starting to shut it down. I think his exact phrasing was, "I'll check it out; but if it turns out the way I think it will, I won't be comfortable with it."
I am guessing my guy isn't the only ADDer who paints his own paradigm. If he has optimism, he tends to miss all the glaring, blaring warning signs and detractions. And if he's even remotely pessimistic about something, 9 times out of 10, he'll only see the bad. So I kept trying to tell him that I was just worried that he was shutting it down before it even began. He argued that he had just said he'd check it out and what more did I want? I replied that I wanted him not to go in with too pessimistic an attitude because it would color his perception and pretty much guarantee it didn't work out.
And, while he's the one who has to actually do the work, I really don't see the big deal in his "wasting" a week or two and potentially not seeing any results. Because there's also the possibility that he will. And if nothing comes of it, he can still claim unemployment. So as I see it, it's (kind of) win-win. At least, it's a draw.
I suppose I was pushing a little hard, but only because there really aren't all that many jobs he could go out and get for only 3 weeks. It's pretty much this or Labor Ready. So I told him it scared me to see him more or less dismissing one of our two very crappy choices right now. I told him to go ahead and try for a week to find something else. But I just didn't want him to just give up on the job before even checking it out. Does anyone else know an ADDer who more or less paints his own picture and realigns reality to fit with it? (I know we all do to some extent but...)
Anyway, it lead to a bigger argument because then he did the utter surrender thing which drives me crazy. The "Okay fine, I'll do whatever you want." I know that should technically be a good thing. I think he means it to be a good thing. But as I've explained in countless iterations, I don't want him to just give up completely. I want compromise. I don't want him to always see things as his way or my way. In this case, I probably should have just accepted the turnaround. But I was frustrated and scared and he'd raised his voice so I was pissed.
And then. He pulled a card he had no right to. I asked him to tell me what other choices he thought we had. If a job wouldn't take him when he was going to miss days so early on, what was his solution? "I dunno," he said, throwing up his hands and slouching back on the couch. "Blow my brains out?"
This wouldn't be acceptable in anyone, of course. But he's actually been suicidal before -- years before we met -- and I've been suicidal during our marriage. I have severe depression and my medications weren't working well enough. So this was beyond... anything. I started yelling at him that he can never, ever pull that, uh, well let's just say "crap" lest I offend anyone. That if he really felt that way, I'd take him to a hospital right now, lack of insurance be damned. But if he didn't, then he had NO right to say it or use it.
Later, when he was getting ready to leave to blow off some steam, he explained that he felt like I was once again backing him into a corner. I kept trying to explain that I didn't think I was. Or at least, I hadn't meant to. But that it just scared me to hear him already deciding how things were going to go. He protested, but then he doesn't really see how his optimism/pessimism change his reality. He kept insisting he had promised to check it out. And I kept trying to explain that it was the way he said it that made me think he'll dimiss it out of hand. And we don't have the luxury of that right now.
In the end, he said he'll just get a job for the next few weeks and then quit afterward, but that's hardly the option I want either. I wanted him to find part-time work so he could ease himself back into having a job. It's just so ridiculous because I guess we both feel trapped. Him by trying to find a yes/no answer to a question that can't be answered that way. When I get angry, he just wants to calm me down. Problem is, I wasn't angry until we started arguing about him being dismissive. And his 180-degree turn to "Okay fine, whatever you want" feels pretty dismissive too.
But I feel trapped, too. No matter what I say or do, I feel like I'm putting pressure on him. Well, I am. But I've kept the pressure low for a year and a half now. And over the past couple of months, I've mentioned that I want him to get more serious about finding something part-time. But I'm on the computer a lot for my work and unless I remind him, he tends to forget to look around. So I feel like I'm doing all of the compromising. I don't want to get $400 deeper in debt. And I'm pretty sure it'll be more than that, in the end. He'll try his best but impulsivity can rear its head even in the best of times. And there is just so much unknown right now about our future. But I feel like I'm the only one really takign it seriously. Like he just shuts it out of his mind because it's too scary and too nebulous for him to deal with.
And most of all, I'm pissed at the emotional blackmail he pulled with the suicide thing. It feels like a betrayal, given my problems in the past couple of years. And I've already gotten on his case about emotional blackmail before. He has that fun attitude of "Well, if you're accusing me of it, I may as well do it." (Is this an ADD thing or just a snotty guy attitude?) I keep telling him that's essentially telling me that I have to have perfect feelings about everything or he'll use it as an excuse to do something. I don't even accuse him of that much. Generally, it's because I couldn't trust his smoking habits, because he had lied a few times when he would start up again. And I was trying to explain that those actions shook my trust in him. Because how do I know what else he might lie about? And what's his argument there? Well if you're going to accuse me of it, I might as well do it. That way, it's worth going through the hassle of your accusations.
Okay, this is an epic post. I am distraught and a fast typist and it's not a good combination. There are just so many aspects to this particular situation that I don't really know what to do.