I can't do everything. I feel like I have to do everything. I'm here after years of therapy, trying new tactics, and holding out hope. Maybe typing this all out will help, maybe it won't. I have a young son who is too young to tell if he is affected with ADHD, too, and regardless I have to try. My husband has ADHD and I have not come to realize the full extent of what that means until recently. I am not faultless. I'm here in this situation by my own doings and my own ignorance. To be fair, I have to admit I am a child of a severe narcissistic parent paired with an angry and abusive one, I have codependent issues and I recognize narcissism and anger in myself that I am still trying to work against. It seems I'm not alone in this pattern with having physical difficulties, as well. Which is part of where I tend to feel that anyone who has patience for me or shows me care is someone to be thankful of and to accept unconditionally. I've not had many positive relationships in my life and I tend to doubt myself before even the most ridiculous of others. Even though I can point to why this has taken so long and come so far before I realized what it is I still feel like an idiot and a fool. I wish I had understood sooner. I wish I had been through better therapy and known that lines have to be drawn differently when a partner has ADHD. I have been successfully independent many times in the past. Instead, I am here having given up a fair paying job with health benefits to stay at home (which I AM so thankful to be (have been?) at home to raise my son to this point), large sums of money in debt, and recently aware of the complete destruction of my son's college fund. I allowed the responsibility to be transferred in good faith working with our therapist to help us trust build after deciding to try and move forward after infidelity. But I also allowed him to be evasive and get away with lying about our finances for 3 years. Therapy also ended based on allowing scheduling to be his asked for and agreed upon responsibility. And the kicker is I know I will never know just how conscious any of it was. The constant lies that have plagued our relationship and define much of his daily behavior make it impossible to ever know a "truth" more than a momentary or convenient one that "feels true" to him. And the more I read about loving detachment the more I just keep crying over a lost idea of a healthily attached relationship. Objectively, I can understand and have empathy. I can picture it working. But as soon as the subjective reality hits me again and again I just don't know. The dead stare, the lies, having to constantly feel like a parent needing to detective out reality, the constant avoidance of unpleasant moments, the obliviousness, the selfishness, devaluing and rejecting my emotional states, wastefulness, the constant worry of what's going to go horribly wrong next, the feeling that the only way to survive is to shut down, the utter and absolute loneliness...
The reality is that only part of this can be about me. And even that, I now feel, is limited to providing the best healthy model I can for my child. But what that means I just don't know in all of this right now and that kills me. My husband has known about his ADHD most of his life. He is currently medicated and arguably trying at least sometimes. He has both neglect and abuse in his past which, of course, complicates matters for him. And I know that ADHD is not his fault and is an unfair handicap he has to deal with every day of his life. It's not fair, but that's true. But it also doesn't change the objective reality that he has responsibilities and the same expectations and consequences apply to him as everyone else, unfair as it may be. And I am terrified for my child on so many fronts at this point. Will he face these difficulties? Will he be as scarred as his parents from yet another cycle of damaged people failing him? Will he feel as unloved and uncared for as I do by his father? Will he struggle to either stay interested or keep his father interested or both? Is he safe alone with his father? Will he grow up to think that a woman is a servant, enabler, anything but a strong and equal partner? Can I be even close to enough to give him the best chance at a healthy future for himself?
I am in such a state of distress and emergency reaction that I know none of this is clear right now. But even as I've been working on typing this out I've had friends (some of the scant few I have left these days) notify me of things he's been doing and chose not to share. Public arena sorts of things that I, honestly, would have been interested and supportive of, but instead it all just feels like deception and power plays that he must have a life outside and separate from me and his son that he guards in idiotic secrecy. This is the exact sort of thing, if we had real trust, I would never even think twice about. I'd just be happy for him. But instead I feel like a prisoner. He's always got to be hiding something. Inane or devastating... it's always something. And it always has been from the moment I met him if I am honest in looking back at it all. Why is it that the ADHD partner values everything higher than the other partner until the relationship is in crisis and potentially about to be lost? Why try to possess and keep a relationship you can never be fulfilled by and will always become bored and shackled with it? Is it just the security of a parent figure? The fallback plan? Is it even something understandable?
I am ashamed of what I have allowed to happen and that I am in this situation. Completely and utterly ashamed. I have cut myself off from so much of the world and even more so in the wake of this discovery. I am too embarrassed and ashamed to talk with my friends about what has happened with our finances and my son's college money and I would never dream at this point of talking with my family and exposing my son any further than necessary to their influence. I am bawling and broken down just typing this. I feel so completely alone and helpless but also like I am the only hope for me and my son. And that I don't even know how or where to start but I have to. And I haven't even addressed if the relationship has any hope or future. And if it wouldn't just be a farce of dependency and surrogate parenthood. I always wanted better than that but have obviously failed to provide it for myself. And am learning the hard way what that means for my child. And I am pathetically lost on how to do what is best for him.
How far do you allow the money issue to go? Even if the non-partner has control of the finances should they maintain their own source of income? My ADHD husband is offering rashly to get a 2nd job to pay back the college fund but so obviously doesn't get what that actually means or will look like. Right now we are completely dependent on his income. He keeps pushing the actual decision of whether or not he does it onto me. And I can't tell the future. Will he lose one of the jobs as it sets in how hard it is to carry multiple jobs? Will he cheat with someone new since he is so unappreciated for what he's doing after he forgets why he's there in the first place? Will he make a stupid and rash decision that hurts all of us and then hide it again? There are too many factors to even anticipate especially with shattered trust. Half of me wants him gone more and wants him to pay for what he's done and have to do the hard work to make it back but the other half is terrified he simply can't actually do it and we'll end up worse off than before. To reach even the same amount the college fund was at before he began to spend it will take years of extra work. He seems to think it will be months to one year at the very most. I want what is best for my child and I can't even identify what that is in this situation to actually provide security and a future. And I know further counseling is needed on every front but we are so out of money there is no real hope for that for some time. Is it fair to think of the ADHD mind as mentally ill or compromised?
I am also so disappointed in myself for just how far and awful I feel like behaving. I want to be mean and to hurt him. I am fighting that ingrained reaction to hurt with all I have but am not succeeding wholly. When he is not here and I have space and can be thoughtful my anger fades a little and I can see it's not his fault and there might be a way to work things out. I can remember what his positive attributes are. How hard he has and does work to try and overcome many of the difficulties that ADHD presents. How he has and does succeed at many things. That he is very kind and thoughtful in many ways and in many things. Even in the midst of my anger I would describe him as a good natured guy. And, overall, a good dad although there are some gaping holes. I don't know if he can work to fix those or if they are just his insurmountable nature. And I know nobody's perfect. I am sure not. My anger is enough to probably have all healthy people write me off completely. And I can see just what a detrimental mix it can be in this relationship. Maybe that's why we ended up together- both our ups and our downs compliment, or used to. But when he is here, unable or unwilling to confront this issue and talk about much of it productively, I mostly feel hopeless and want to cry right before I get angry at so much hurt and cry even more. I keep hoping that he'll bring it up and want to talk it through and to listen and to come up with a plan together. Instead, he waits for my lead and tries to placate and ends up saying so many ridiculous nonsensical things to just end the conversation and make whatever decisions are required to solve this quickly and move on to something he's interested in the next moment. Will I always have to take the lead and make the decisions for all of us on all the hard work subjects? Will I always have to be the one to understand him and find some sort of common ground and always have my needs unmet without guiding all of them myself? Will the lies ever stop? Will he ever choose to even feign enough interest in me and his son to provide at least some ground work for emotional health for my son? Or does all of that rely heavily on the non ADHD partner? Is there any way to ever feel like you're in a partnership not some responsible parent position? I don't want to teach my child that you discard people with problems but the reality is that sometimes you can't work with people's problems. I want him to be kind, loving and giving just as I want to be these things and to model these behaviors in my own life and for myself. I want him to learn so many of the good wonderful things his father has to offer. But I also don't want him to learn from me that you sacrifice yourself to another person until there is nothing left but pain. Or that a good relationship means one person setting boundaries and asking for all needs for the other to choose around. As much as I crave equal partnership love for myself I want it even more for my child. And all of this is tied together and knotted up where I can't see clearly just what to do to provide the best basis for all of those.
Does anyone have any insight past the devastation and overwhelming pain of loss and hurt? Empathy would be so much to me right now even without advice. Anything really. Thanks.