I've restarted reading The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps, this time with focused intent. My wife is diagnosed ADHD, and two of my 3 children have ADHD, the third likely to have ADHD as well. I knew my wife a couple years, before marriage, knowing she has ADHD, yet not really understanding what it is (to this day, I still don't understand a great deal).
I've only gotten through about 1/4 of the book at this time, but have noticed a frequent trend. Much of the symptoms/issues attributed to the ADHD partner directly coorlates to me. The introduction and first few chapters feel like they are a synopsis of our relationship and life. While I'm not self diagnosing, I've noted 7 of the 8 symptoms of ODD I am frequently (several times/week) experiencing.
At this point in our 14.5 year long marriage, I've realized I truly need to take more of an active role in understanding ADHD and its affects on our marriage. I've understood basics, and expressed an understanding, albeit detrimental, that ADHD had affected our life together. I've accepted it as is, and failed to follow through with actually working it into our life...my response tending to be "ADHD issue, let it go and move forward". I've been treating my wife and kids as neural-typical [normal brain activity] and assumed their brain works the same as mine for most of my life, rather than adjusting to a true understanding of what I've been told. Partially, I've done this because I've not wanted to treat them as broken, as I'd not seen them as such, but primarily I'd not tried to fully understand and expected an easy solution.
Unfortunately I did not move forward or let it go, but became resentful and hurtful. Things got bad after a few years of marriage, and we pushed hard through some marriage retreats. They helped, for a while, but I'd not really been able to learn and follow through. Lately, I've retreated back to my peer attitude and my ADHD wife pushed the book into my hands and said read.
I've learned a lot in a few days, and among learning about other issues in my life this past week, I've decided that my passive response to marriage relationship needs to change. Rather than hold onto grudges and issues, I've begun to share them with my wife, so that we may work through them. We're planning marriage counseling to support, rather than say we need it and not follow through.
I'm nervous, anxious, and slightly relieved I'm taking steps to grow. I'm understanding that I too may have conditions beyond my control, and that to properly grow I need to see a professional for help. This is counter to the general way of been raised, see a doctor only when there's an emergency type attitude [realistically this is an emergency]. I'm reaching out a bit, because I'm lost, and sometimes an outside perspective is better than the ones you live with. I know where I'm at in life, and that if I don't step up and improve myself, then I'll lose what matters most to me: my beloved wife and amazing children.