I hope I can gain some insight or advice from some of you. My husband is convinced I have ADHD, and I certainly do exhibit many of the symptoms.... I'm thirty years old, and I haven't been diagnosed, although I have a scheduled evaluation in about 2 1/2 weeks. In my childhood, I excelled at school, but was socially awkward, "spazzy," talked too much, got angry easily, and knew that I just never "fit in." I was okay and comfortable with that part. I still talk to much, interrupt, get anxious when not "doing" something, etc.
I never had a boyfriend until I met my husband in college.We dated while I completed my B.A., during a time when I was holding a full-time job (at which I received executive training, and (after college) a promotion; the only executive under the age of 30. I was 22.) AND I was going to school full time. I lived in my own apartment for a year, and never missed a rent payment, paid my bills, and managed my grocery shopping so I could eat... sometimes with only $20 a week on groceries (I was naive and didn't think to apply for aid or the food bank... I ate a lot of lean cuisine and yogurt in those days.)
Anyway, I felt like I was managing fine.
Fast-forward to 30. I do not work anymore BY CHOICE, because I homeschool our two young children. Our eldest is recently diagnosed with ADHD and/or High-functioning Autism. My husband says he sees all my behaviors in our son. He has spent the last few years (before ADHD was a known possible factor) trying to "help" me and "teach" me how to do things the right way. He regularly calls me naive, stupid, tells me there's "something wrong" with me, and that my brain is "f-ked up."
My husband is significantly older than me. It makes the parent/child dynamic worse. He always tells me how to do things, because he knows that I know I'll "f-ck up."
He has told me he hates me, that I bring nothing to our marriage, and hates that I gave "whatever I have" to our son. He's recently began to grab me, pinch me, physically direct me to "gain my attention" because "nothing else' (i.e. yelling, name-calling, discussing, etc.) works. He says it's not violent - it's just a strategy. He feels no violence for me, he says.
Surprise! It's not working. I can remember him pinching my arm last night, but I can't remember what he said! It hurt and distracted me.
I left him a year ago at the encouragement of other women who agreed I was being verbally abused by him. I was gone for only 2 1/2 days before I returned, because I realized his anger/verbal abuse was a reaction to a symptom that I had... and I wanted to make it better. I stopped being so stubborn and argumentative. I tried to validate him more. I read "The Surrendered Wife." For awhile, everything was good. Better than it had been. But then it got bad again... this past week's been the worst in a long time.
I know I forget things we talk about (short-term memory problems? ADHD.) I know I don't do things efficiently. (ADHD). I know I have trouble expressing empathy. (Distracability? ADHD.) But I've never ruined our finances, I've never put the kids in danger, and I manage nearly all household duties while teaching two children! I know I was raised my unsympathetic, simple people (my family is another issue), and I know I don't do things his way... but it hurts that I have no validation for what I do accomplish. He gets angry when I get defensive, but of course I am at this point!
I know he feels invalidated, emasculated, lonely. I do too. I take medication for anxiety, and I think he has PTSD for some horrible stuff that's happened to him. He is depressed, and talks about "turning off." He hates his job, and has no real friends/colleagues there. I sympathize, and want him to feel all the love the kids and I have for him. But I am worn out by his anger towards me and my symptoms, and by feeling every day that nothing I do is right. I don't even want to speak to him any more, because anything I say will be proof that I "don't get it," that I have no empathy or poetry, that I'm naive, stupid, unreliable, untrustworthy.
I want to seek help for my ADHD. According to my husband, he "diagnosed" me years ago, and he's angry I took so long to do something about it, but when you tell your wife you think she has ADHD in the same angry conversation where you tell her "there's something wrong with you," it's hard for her to feel motivated to seek professional help! But I'm seeking it now, but get mixed messages from him. Therapy is something we "can't afford to do" (financially, and we have no familial/friendly support to watch the kids), and I'm "sure as hell" not going to see someone by myself.
I love him, and I want our children to feel secure in our family. They love both of us, and I'd hate to separate any of us from each other.
I'm reading the ADHD Effect on Marriage, but I don't know how to approach him! I tried to foster empathy (step 1), but my letter that I wrote to him was "pointless, because [he] already knew all that." I don't know how to get a real conversation started in a way that he'll be a partner in discussing obstacle emotions (step 2). He has to forgive the past for what it was: ADHD. He's not good at forgiving the past.
Any suggestions on how I can approach him on this? Thanks