I've recently started to look beyond these repetitive situations that keep reappearing and looking for the patterns in them. The conversations that come from them are fairly worthless in that my wife (suspected of having ADHD) appears to have no perspective and no memory of the last time she reacts (the same each time) to the same thing. As if it had never happened before. (repeatedly)
What she says each time may vary slightly....but the meta conversation that appeared not to be taking place...... is not that it hasn't been said or established at some time in the past. Something was not getting through, even with the acknowledgments and seeming....resolution....each time we moved past these situations each time?
Coming back to revisit this again.....this pattern was pointing to something???? But what was this behavior? It seemed to be a combination of things:
-Initial over reaction to an event (could be extremely minor and had nothing to do with me or precipitated by me actually .....or..... it could be something even bigger or had some legitimate merit on her behalf where...... "I failed to do something"..... on my part....... and/or "I was either to blame/partly to blame" but keeping in mind. As an adult and living in a world knowing.....that "shit happens" all the time and things don't always go the way we like them to go.
Any one of these "things" ..."even if"...... chronically annoying to my wife...."should be" able to be put into their proper context and perspective and talked about even if you are becoming upset or it's frustrating to you directly, in connection to the original event that triggered her over reaction. Saying. These isolated events...."even if" they add up and her becoming angry or upset over them...."should still" get the same response to the same thing happening with the same connection to the problem and why she is so upset each time they happen. She "could" say....."I'm getting really fed up with you doing this "thing" each time and I am losing my patience." but also identifying this "thing" each time directly connected to her anger and why she is so upset.
This "should be" the pattern (a normal pattern for a secure person) if something else isn't coming into play here? These are just "things" that happen. What's the big deal? (for now assuming...these are not things that are causing any direct catastrophe or problem like getting hit with large money penalties or causing you to lose your house and home type stuff. This is the little stuff that adds up...and that can lead to a bigger overall disharmony for sure.....but for now....I have to look past that because that is not what I am seeing where this problem we are running into is coming from)
The consistent here is involving "disappointment"....and a seeming, inability to process that emotion?
Which then follows with "disapproval overtly" said in many ways (either very hurtful and punishing..or...with silent indifference and pouting/punishment)
This clearly appears to me as the dismissive pattern of attachment in terms of attachment theory ie: "the infant not getting consistent nurturing from mother. Mother leaves the infant....the infant becomes upset. Mother returns from leave of absence....the infant remains upset and angry at mothers absence and does not get over the abandonment it felt while she was away. Instead of getting over this perceived abandonment and moving on....the infant remains angry even when the mother returns and acts out against the mother in a form of punishment or retaliation for this perceived threat or fear of being abandoned and the fear and pain the infant feels each time the mother leaves."
As "if".....she is "always gone", "always leaves"...."and never really ever returned in the first place each time." It's an "all" or "nothing" kind of experience this establishes so the infant....."always" feels left and abandoned. "always" feels "disappointed" and "always" acts as if the mother is leaving the infant and feels this chronic feeling like the mother is "never" going to return even when the mother is there and returns each time.
"Disappointment" is an emotion that my wife seemingly, has no ability to control or keep in it's proper perspective. This is the Meta-Issue here in terms of the pattern I find ourselves in and the one that have had to gain my own perspective on since, within this pattern....I am not going to get anywhere very fast. If I am fighting against something....this is what I have been fighting against which is a waste of time and energy but more importantly....disrupting both our abilities maintain calm and happiness together. Knowing this part at least...is really helpful to see this as it is and work directly to the source of what my wife's emotions are and knowing why she is feeling them. It is an irrational response no doubt. No need to dwell there anymore. Getting to her "heart" and finding a way to soothe her fears is what is really the source of my own anxiety and frustration and or course....being able to look past some of the things she says which are usually directed at me no matter how insignificant or even indirectly related to anything I did on my end. What I did is not so much the issue we have in relationship to this pattern
As it appears..........
-she's not really listening or not really hearing me
-locked in stubbornly with one idea or concept and blocking everything else out
-actually thinking one thing....but saying another: saying anything to stop the conversation, capitulate, withdraw, agree, disagree, etc. Just to stop the conversation from going any further
-strange or even bizarre out of context accusations that weren't happening ie: defense mechanisms coming into play back to the pattern
-insecure pattern activation ie: dissmissive/fearful avoidant pattern of statements emerging which are really the most hurtful and unproductive of all aimed as punishment or retaliation against me specifically
Okay then. What is the meta conversation? Can't really have this one with any good results but I have tried to bring this up since this is exactly what our therapist told us both but with limited success.
And of course....yesterday it happened again. This is no surprise or shock to me so nothing new....moving on forward. Stating the meta issue first.
I told my wife..."look, this is your pattern. (point blank) I have mine and I'm not going to start in with mine and join you" (stop)
I said (in context you will understand) "I'm not sticking a dagger in your heart when I make a mistake. These are "just mistake" on my part...that's all they are. Every time I make an "error"..."mistake"...or forget something that you want...you over react with this same pattern and you know why I do. There is no elephant in the room here.....You know I have ADHD.....You know why I do these things sometimes.....You know they are going to happen again even if I'm trying and working hard at improving and I can't be "perfect"....as in......"never" going to "disappoint you" in some way "ever." These little mistakes or errors are all they are. They mean nothing in the big scheme of things and they prove nothing in terms of why you get upset with me."
Moving on to the next part, I said " What you want from me....I can't give you right NOW. Don't you understand that?"
"You just can't wait.......as it appears for me, for me to improve and get to doing these things in a more consistent way. All it seems you can see is how upset and disappointed you are and cannot see the problem for what it is. And this need to punish me for making a simple mistake is getting out of hand and is just plain rediculous."
So I went back (again for the umpteenth time) to restate what I was seeing as the problem for me on my end and what it appears to be a problem on my wife's end in not understanding or getting through in her head.
Restating the (apparent) meta conversation again (now in context)
"I did not grow up in the same household situation you did. Our house "rules" I'm sure were different than the ones you knew as a kid"
We ended up having a meaningful conversation about the differences in our child hood experiences and I (again...repeated the same things) I've said before but the conversation now continued (past any point) it had been before and she was listening and responding without conflict on either one or our parts.
Without going into all the boring details of the conversation....I established "ONE" fact with my wife even though I had tried many times before to do this.
The "fact".....I have never had to (not once in my entire lifetime ) had to "maintain a standard of living" as far as the environment I lived in ( I repeat...MAINTAIN)....to the point of "constant hyper vigilance" and doing this in a continuous on going basis like my wife does. What I mean as a "constant" here....is a "maintenance level" that exceeds any experience I've had (even in my own home but that would get into the details which we talked successfully over) or skill in trying to maintain this standard to a degree that it is causing a disruption in my life. So much...that the anxiety and failure rate over just attempting to do it with this same "over reactive"...... "disappointment/punishment" response from her was putting me six feet under and no air to breathe.
Even knowing this....the things that emerged only recently were "contempt and hatred" directed at me for any perceived failure in terms of "errors" and "mistakes". And I told her this straight up as part of our conversation. I told her again...if this is so horrible to life with and I am really that bad as you say.....then why are you here with me and why are you punishing me and yourself over these "things" that I cannot control or would even want to try?
"I don't have a dagger in my hand....and I'm not stabbing you in the heart!!!"
If you go back and plug that right back into the pattern....this all makes perfect sense.
What I'm now really wondering in terms of myself and my wife now in the ADHD context has to do with emotional lability and going all the way back to the beginning. All the way back to the infant child mother relationship that caused this pattern and why it exists?
I have not read word one on this at all or heard this said directly in relationship to any discussions about ADHD and the higher percentage of people with ADHD who experience problems associated with "insecure attachment" and the theory itself ......but I have my own theory on this even though I can't prove it...but I going with my feeling again because I feel that I am right and I would lay money on it just from my own personal feelings about this.
If you can't remember the experiences that caused this pattern of insecure attachment that you experienced as an infant...and you born with ADHD and have emotional processing limitations right from the get go....normally perceived...normally incurred variation in nurturing and mothering are going to be established or perceived as "not normal to you" or "out or scale." These over emotional reactions as the infant...are going to be perceived the same way....as "always"...."nothing"....."never"....and "disappointment" will be perceived in terms of "absolutes."
Absolute thinking could also be termed as being stubborn. Putting in bluntly. As my T pointed out to me recently..."persistence gone bad."
As I stop and consider all of this...and reflect on myself...I have no problem saying that my own "persistence gone bad" is a problem for me if I don't pay attention to it when I doing my everyday duties in life....but in terms of someone in denial of having ADHD...I'm now wondering if this isn't exactly what I'm seeing with my wife as well?
It does seem to make sense and the pieces of this puzzle seem to fit together nicely? Again....I'm no trained physiologist or expert...but I do have one who gave me the pieces and some of them in direct relationship to my wife but without saying so directly to me?
Does this sound familiar to anyone if you stand back and look at this puzzle in it's entirety and apply it to what you are seeing with your ADHD spouse?
The part on my own about the emotional infant processing ability applied here was just thrown in there because I personally think it may be true.... but I can't hold that into this as meaning anything more than just an "exacerbating component" not the cause.....but none the less....I think it's there and possibly a real reason for why this happens more often for people with ADHD without any proof to say otherwise? Just a thought?