I am married to my spouse with ADHD combined type for almost a decade, together a bit longer than that. We have two young kids, and suspect that the older one may have ADHD as well. This prompted my spouse to get tested at the end of last year and the outcome was confirmation of what she had long suspected (her parent was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult too about 2 decades ago). My wife is trying medication and is on a waitlist for a therapist. With medication she has stated repeatedly that she is unwilling to live with the side effects and has been clear that she sees this as a non-vital element of treatment. She has repeatedly threatened that if the next medication does not work she will give up.
I have my own issues non-ADHD and started working with a therapist recently. I know and see my own issues impact on our relationship and the ways I have responded to her ADHD as a result. However, as I grow and change my patterns of interaction, and express my needs as a person (for the first time in our relationship), she has closed herself off to me, become increasingly defensive to my feedback (something that has always been a thing anyway), and lashed out at my needs with insensitive comments. When I have called her out on these responses, I feel that she uses her ADHD as an excuse and fails to take responsibility for her behaviors and how our relationship has degraded over time (e.g. "I can't take feedback because of my rejection sensitivity"., "i can't remember what you said, you need to tell me what you need", "stop telling me what you need, I just want things to be natural", "stop comparing things to
the early years of our relationship, that was my hyper focus").
It has become clear to me through my own therapeutic process that my wife is unable to handle constructive communivation about our relationship, and has to reject anything negative or positive that is said about her, and negatives especially have to be placed on others.
I feel forced to accept her feedback and truth no matter how inaccurate her perceptions of a situation may be for me (her memory issues really makes it hard to remember things for how they actually occurred, and I recognize that usually the truth lies somewhere in the middle of how we each perceive a situation). If I push back on anything I get stonewalled and more often than not, things are usually all or nothing, or black and white with her. There are times where I have asked for an apology for the very real harm she has caused to me through her impulsive and thoughtful comments, but she refuses to apologize, blaming her RSD and the way she was forced to apologize by others. But fails to see how those dynamics is causing very damaging dynamics in our relationship. It really pains me that I can't trust my spouse to apologize for when her behavior has hurt me. I want to move forward in our relationship and am committed to working on things.
I have let go of saving our marriage on my own, something I thought I had to do, because for the bulk of it, she blamed me and my issues for our conflicts. For most of the relationship I fully believed I did something wrong or deserved to be treated this way because I was not perfect enough to be loved as passionately as I was for those first few years. She blamed me for how I responded to her impulsive and hurtful lashing out, seeing me as the irrational one, without seeing how she triggered me and played a very real role in the dynamic. Now, I see clearly my part but also how she took advantage of my own issues to shift the blame off of herself out of self-protection of her ego. But the thing is she has to work on her part and the very clear role her ADHD has played to slowly destroy our relationship. So far, she keeps telling me to stop pushing her, so I did. I read the ADHD and marriage book for my own sanity and then backed way off. Reserving my efforts only for times where I felt that I was hurt (a boundary that I won't drop) and for times where her behaviors are impacting our kids. It seemed to be helping, kind of.
I am feeling isolated and alone. No one seems to fully understand what it is like to be the non-ADHD spouse dealing with all these symptoms.
I am educating myself, reading books, listening to podcasts etc., and ulimately, still working on my own stuff throughout this. I also need emotional connection and intimacy and hoped that I would have a supportive spouse throughout my own healing.
For example, I recently asked why she has been so nonresponsive to me when I express a need for emotional connection and empathy, and why she seemed able to offer it to others, or in the beginning of the relationship. She told me the empathy she demonstrates to others is because they are novel and she can hyper focus, and the empathetic human I knew the first few years of our relationship was just the hyper focus and can't be called upon now when I need it. This put me in a grief spiral for days.
I would really just like a space to find emotional support and to vent. Any support, insights or wisdom on my story would be appreciated.