Hi, I'm new to this forum. I actually read here for several months many years ago, and I want to say first of all that I am really grateful this forum exists. I came from an abusive background, my SO and I got together when I was pretty young, and he did a lot of gaslighting. This forum helped me to see that my needs and desires were reasonable and to stand up for myself. I felt a lot less alone. Unfortunately, almost nothing has improved and many things have become worse.
This is a long post because 15 years is a LOT of time and there are a lot of problems. When we first got together he was kind, generous, a thinker, cheerful, somewhat immature and disorganized. The kindness, generosity, cheerfulness and thoughtfulness are gone. Although my SO did eventually get an ADHD diagnosis and takes medication, he refuses to get any therapy or coaching (he has gone to therapy briefly, but he always quits and lies about it.) I have come to understand that he has several other psychological problems, and they go untreated. Sometimes a new medication will help temporarily, but then things go right back to problematic. I moved out for a few years and during that time the situation improved somewhat. So he convinced me to move back in, and since I've been back things have gone right downhill. I have returned to therapy for myself, and my therapist believes that my SO has a personality disorder. He has symptoms which overlap various disorders.
One problem is habitual lying. He lies constantly. He lies about topics which include infidelity, taking his medication, and whether or not he has completed or will complete certain tasks. He is very avoidant and so is his whole family. His lies are often connected to his avoidance- "Yeah, I will do X task tomorrow" and 3 years later, he still hasn't done X task. When I point out that telling me he will do this task without intending to do so is lying, he becomes enraged.
When he is in a situation wherein he is uncomfortable or doesn't want to deal with something, he lashes out at me. We are involved in leadership positions in a service organization. When someone in the organization, or in his family, behaves badly, he lashes out at me. Typically this involves fabricating something to accuse me of- he will find a reason that the situation is my fault, even when it's something that had nothing to do with me (example: one of our members has a history of getting into fist fights with other members. I suggested that he should speak to the member, explain that this behavior is not acceptable, and set a boundary, because our other members deserve to be able to come to events in safety. SO's response was to say that I am to blame for the fights because "You cause conflict!" I was completely uninvolved, I actually had never even met the guy who starts fights at that point.) I used to be very bewildered by this and I would ask him to explain what, in his eyes, I had "done", try to make sense of it. Now I know he's just gaslighting me to try to distract me from the real problem. It used to work, it doesn't anymore, but it is still very upsetting. When he wants to avoid conflict or stress with other people, he aims his anger at me. This hurts me and as much as I don't want to admit this, I think he's emotionally abusing me when he does it.
When I try to discuss problems with him, he immediately gets angry. He will try lashing out and derailing, but if I refuse to be derailed and the discussion comes to a point where it is clear that he is "in the wrong", he will say "I'm not talking about this anymore," and stomp out of the room. He also gives me the silent treatment, sometimes for days.
He spends impulsively and refuses to keep a budget, track expenses, or plan for expenses. As a result his finances are in very poor shape and there is always a crisis. For several years I was sick and unable to work; during that time he blamed our financial situation on me. However, my friends who knew his income would say "I make the same amount and pay a mortgage and have 2 kids, there is no reason he should be so broke." For the past several years I've had an income and our finances are separated, but his finances are still very bad. I said to him "You used to say that it was because of me that your finances were so bad. But for 4 years now you have not been supporting me, and your finances are still bad. So how can it be my fault?" His response: "I'm broke because I have a mortgage and it's your fault because if it weren't for you, I wouldn't have bought such a big house." I am absolutely shocked by this for these reasons: one, he was the one who wanted to buy a house, and two, I am not the one who chose this house. In fact I was opposed to buying this house, he is the one who chose it because he said he loved it. Three, his mortgage is actually really low, right now the mortgage is less than it would cost him to rent an apartment. 4, because he bought this house and it has an extra room, we have always had a housemate paying rent and therefore easing the financial burden on him. Right now the housemate and I cover the entire monthly payment of the house. SO magically always has money for vacations he wants to take and things he wants to buy. Basically, he spends until suddenly there is a crisis, then he blames me for the crisis.
His hygiene is very poor. He will not keep his own body or his rooms clean. This extends to such things as not throwing garbage away. He throws it on the floor or hides it. He has begun having frequent skin infections due to his poor hygiene. Like a lot of people with ADHD he is very unclean and cluttered. This has been a constant battle. He will not do chores without me standing over him. I feel like a parent. Although there has been some slight progress, there has not been 15 years worth of progress. He constantly says it's unfair for me to want more progress because he made some, but my expectation is that the progress should continue, not go backwards. There have been many times that I could barely walk across the floor of the house because he made such messes. I have spent years embarrassed to have people over, and making excuses for him so people would not think poorly of him. But when HE wanted to have people over, he expected me to drop everything I am doing to clean up his mess, sometimes working around the clock. If I did not he would have a meltdown or also become enraged.
This same pattern is in other parts of life, too- he neglects planning or does a deliberately poor job of something, then when things go wrong or time is short he expects me to make his lack of planning an emergency, foregoing my own plans, job, and responsibilities to work on fixing his problem. I used to enable him- I would make his lack of care my emergency because I loved him and wanted to help him, and I wanted him to succeed. When I realized this was enabling, I stopped doing it. He still neglects planning, or does a half-assed job, or etc, but when things go wrong he gets angry at me for not making it my emergency the way I used to. He has in some cases tried to gaslight me on this- for example, one day he had weekend plans and I told him that I would not be available that weekend to help with them (because I had important plans of my own.) The week after he was very harsh, rude, and angry at me and he said so. "I expected you to be here to help me on Sunday." This is before I realized he was gaslighting me, so I responded with the desire to find out where communication went wrong and fix that. So I asked him "Why did you expect me to be here to help? I told you explicitly that I would not be here to help you. How did you get the idea that I would be here?" and he backtracked and said "Well, let me correct that. I didn't expect you to be here. But that's what I wanted. I wanted you to be here to help me." He was still angry with me, though, and did not think he was at all unreasonable. That was five years ago and he has still not accepted that his failure to plan is not my emergency. He still springs things on me last minute and half-assed and gets angry when I don't enable him.
After we had been together for a few years, he began to exhibit controlling behaviors I had not seen before. He has attempted to limit my autonomy and social activities many times, in many ways. He wants to be the center of my attention. Like many people with ADD, he lacks introspection. When I have asked him *why* he chooses to lie or why he won't do simple tasks that will make his own life happier (like bathing) he always says "I don't know." He is unable or unwilling to connect actions to consequences, either before or after the action takes place. He acts like he has zero consideration for anyone else's feelings, needs, safety, etc, and I think these are connected.
Lately, he has been having a symptom that honestly scares me. I can only describe it as delusional. This happened a very few times many years ago, before he was medicated for ADD, but now it happens often. He "remembers" things that never happened. Sometimes these "memories" are minor, but sometimes they are not, and either way they are very disturbing. The other day he said "For years you've been saying (complaint X)," and he launched into an explanation of how to solve complaint X. The problem is that this isn't a complaint I've ever had. He continues to insist that I've been complaining about this thing for years, while our closest friends confirm that this isn't something I've ever complained about. It was, though, something I had mentioned to him, in passing, that a friend of ours had mentioned to me that day. This happened a few weeks before he decided I had been expressing this complaint for years.
For years he has engaged in compulsive/addictive behaviors like compulsive shopping, compulsive eating, sexual compulsion/infidelity, problems with drugs/alcohol.
I'm just at the end of my rope. I feel like I've tried everything to help him and to be loyal while he helps himself. But he is the #1 stress in my life and it is affecting my health. I've stuck around for years based on the idea that this was a mental health problem and he could beat it, but he's not even trying to beat it anymore. I am really worried though that if I leave he will deteriorate even faster, he won't take care of his health and he might end up one of those people who dies under a heap of trash in his house.