I am a new poster to this forum, this will be long, but I want to explain my background, my joy in the validation that I have felt from finding these books and forums, and my outstanding anger and resentment over what has gone down.
I am that Type-A, driven, efficient, organized, planning focused, female that dated a string of assholes, before I found my husband (and experienced his loving attention that I now know was the hyper-focused courtship of an ADHD minded man). I was swept off my feet, I had never experienced such love and devotion; he was charming, exciting, interesting, thoughtful, and caring. We got married and talked at length about our desires for a family life. We bought a house and finally started trying ... we are now at about 2-3 years into our relationship, after the fact, I have learned that this rocky time probably coincided with his dopamine levels now dropping back to pre-courtship levels. We experienced some trouble getting pregnant which I attributed as the root of these rocky times - but then the magical moment finally happened - we were going to have a child! All was right again.
Cut to the first few months post-partum. My husband wasn't the man that I married. We couldn't talk about anything. We fought horribly. Tons of circular fights where it was like we talked past each other. I never felt like he heard or empathized with me. He slept for 9-12 hrs a day, when I was up every two hours nursing. He complained to me constantly about how tired he was, even though he was getting plenty of rest. He complained about how messy our house was, how we can't go out anymore, he (loudly) vocalized all the negatives of this new life. I also had PPD, and was struggling, and feeling completely unsupported. I tried to mitigate these feelings by lowering my standards while the baby was young, understanding that this was a temporary time, and the house will be clean again later. But he chided me for leaving dishes out, for "being too negative" when I complained I had to go nurse again at 1am, 3am, 5am, etc. I started to really spiral, what did I do, who did I marry, did i just ruin my life?
Then I find out, he had chosen our child's birth as the time to go off his ADHD medication for the first time in our relationship. I still don't understand why he thought THAT would be a good time for it, when our lives had become more demanding than ever before, but he has since expressed to me that he has a desire to not be medicated, and I am trying to respect that.
I took several months to work on myself, and my PPD (support groups, therapy, books etc), and once that cleared - I turned my focus to our damaged marriage, and his challenging new attitude. I have been telling him for months, "it's not that I don't think you love me, it's that I don't feel like you even LIKE me anymore." He is very depressed, and hates his job, but is also working more hours than he ever has. He has no boundaries with work, I tell him all the time to put in his 8-9hrs and just come home - that there is no "getting ahead" it is just going to lead to more work. He misses our child's bedtime 2-3x a week because he gets caught up in work and forgets. When we do have time to hang out, he is always on his phone checking work emails. He is very negative about life now (he said his meds also worked as anti-depressants) and it seeps into his actions and our marriage. We are struggling with communication. I am doing all the work with this child (I work outside the home too), and majority of the household work as well, and am starting to feel resentful. I started to think of him as a roommate, and myself as a single parent, and expect nothing from him. While that helps me survive the day to day, it makes me immensely depressed because we choose to make a life together, not alone. I have never been an angry person, until now. I have so much anger. I read so many "self help" books on marriage and communication to try and help, and he can't even skim them when I asked him to. I am putting in so much work to try and help our marriage - and it's like he doesn't even see something is wrong.
Then I stumbled onto The ADHD Affect, and it's like my eyes have been opened. I feel so heard and validated. This isn't the man that I married, I married a medicated man in the height of his hyper courtship. It's helped me to step back, and look at him with more compassion and empathy. But I would be lying if i said there isn't still resentment there that I have to lower my expectations, that I have to adapt to him. Sometimes I feel like I have had the bait and switch. This isn't the man I married and choose. I am angry because I knew he had ADHD, but he was medicated and I wasn't well versed. I also have resentment that he choose to go off his medication, without telling me, when I had PPD and needed his love and support most. Right now, I am able to hold these thoughts and emotions without it impacting how I talk to him and respond to him (personally, I am working a lot on separating thoughts and emotions right now).
In this last month since I have found Orlov and this site, our relationship is much improved. He is still depressed and negative and hates his job - i just don't take that on - and i am noticing he gives me more love and affection now. I am working on seeing his distraction as what it is - distraction - and not that he doesn't love me as much. I notice times I want to respond in a passive aggressive or nagging manner (because it's something he slipped up on, or forgot, etc) but I correct my words, to be more loving and understanding. It has really helped. I am trying to put an effort in understanding his brain - so that we can find the most efficient ways - as partners - to adapt our lives to living with his ADHD.
I guess my big issues are:
I want to approach him about Melissa Orlov and the ADHD Affect, but I know he will be defensive and unreceptive - and hear "you are the problem" instead of hearing - "it's a problem for OUR marriage and how can WE solve it". I am struggling with how to approach the topic with him.
He is very sensitive to anything having to do with him having ADHD. So he has forbidden me to tell even my closest confidants he went off his meds. But this is a very fundamental explanation of why we are having these challenges. I have broken this trust and talked to my best friend about this fact, and Melissa Orlov's work, and I feel guilty of that and unsure if I should tell him I spoke on this, or if that would be admitting to a major break of his trust (I fear his rath, not abusive, but the man gets angry and I have panic attacks when male figures in my life do things like that - this compounds our communication issues). But I needed a confidant. I need someone to talk to about this, I feel our marriage is falling apart and I am scared and lost. I guess this forum can be my new confidant :)
He wants to be unmedicated, which I can respect, but then he needs to seek therapy or non-medical intervention (diet, exercise, reduce work stress etc) but he isn't. I feel resentful that he thinks he can just go off meds, inflict more symptoms into our marriage, and expect to face no consequences for it. He says he's receptive to therapy - in theory - but never takes initiative. I want to just set it all up for him, but I feel therapy works best when the person going is intrinsicly motivated instead of forced to go.
Having (multiple) children was something we always discussed - now that we have one, and he is struggling off medication - he is firm that he doesn't want more. I feel like not only did i not marry that man i thought - i was firm that I didn't want an only child and now that is my only option. The fact that he is now saying he wants an only child, makes me feel even more "unheard" and like him and his wants and needs are driving this relationship instead of him realizing this is a major major major life impact for me as well.
I am not sure what exactly is the point of my post, other than to get it off my chest and vocalize it to other who can truly understand. I appreciate this forum, and you posters so much. I am not alone. This isn't something unique to me, my husband, or our marriage - it helps me feel like, if he takes this as seriously as i am, we can still have the life together we planned on having.
Your post is heartbreaking.
Submitted by AdeleS6845 on
Your post is heartbreaking.
A counselor/therapist could help you sort through everything. You definitely shouldn't think about having any more children at this time, given your current situation.
I went through severe postpartum depression after the birth of my first child and I know what that's like. I know what it's like to go through that and not have support from your spouse.
I don't think you should feel bad about talking to your best friend about your situation. You need somebody to talk to it's not healthy to hold all that in and I can say that from experience. I also don't think you should say anything to your husband it's only going exacerbate things. I do think you need to get a therapist or counselor though. They are an impartial third party and you're paying them to listen to you.
And as much as the temptation is there to set things up for him and get him counseling and therapy etcetera you can't do that because he has to be willing to go.
Thank you for your response,
Submitted by OpenToChange on
Thank you for your response, Adele.
I do have a therapist, but I haven't been seeing her for a while now. I have some trauma from my childhood that left me battling depression and anxiety for the better part of my teens and twenties. I have learned a ton of coping strategies and came a long way. I was actually a fiercely independent and self-sufficent person before meeting my husband (one of the things he liked about me). I was at the top of my game, emotionally and mentally. It's weird to say, but sometimes i feel like his love made me go soft. He took care of me, he doted on me, i felt so loved. I got weak ... if that makes sense? It was like co-dependence. I put my happiness in his hands. He made me feel so happy and so loved. So then, when this last year or two of our marriage happened and I felt so lonely and rejected, I was very focused on "if only he paid more attention to me," "if only he wasn't so angry," "if only he did ...." - i was unhappy and looking for him to change to make me happy again.
In all honesty, finding out about this site, and how much what I am feeling is a result of my responses to his (now unmedicated) ADHD symptoms has kinda lit a fire under my butt to return back to me. It was almost like a diagnosis that lets me separate the ADHD-symptom related problems from the core of our marriage and why i married him in the first place. I am back finding and doing what makes ME happy. I am not sure I am going to start with my therapist again, per-say, but i have been much stronger at actively using my coping skills, setting boundaries, and claiming back my time for things that make me happy. That, in connection with my reflection on my word choices when I am frustrated with my husbands symptoms has made a large impact on my mood the last few weeks.
As for him, he did tell me in one of our more intimate and open conversations about his depression (when he wasnt being defensive or in denial) that he would be open to a therapist, but he might need me to "nudge" him. I have a plan to write up a letter (I am not good at explaining my feelings on the spot) to read to him and provide him with three therapist near his work that are under our insurance. And hopefully he will take the next steps.
I am using this time to reflect and to figure out my issues now (ie realizing i hold resentment about the PPD and him going off his medication at the same time) so that, once he hopefully is open to hearing - without getting defensive - that his symptoms have a negative impact on me, I want to tell him this. That I was really hurt during that time post-partum. I need to tell him i was hurt, so that I don't hold on to that anger, but I also can't tell him that now until he is ready to hear it. I have a plan, and now I need to be patient (which is hard for me), but in reality we have a whole lifetime together ... what's a few weeks/months?
I feel a renewed sense of capableness in taking on my own happiness. It won't change overnight, but I am hoping to see baby steps towards improvement.
I think you are on the right track w/ your focus....
Submitted by c ur self on
When you have a spouse who's mental wiring cause's them to think, feel and behave in ways that removes them from the active role of relational life, you have to accept that...Or you will never find order in your own life....Many things can be all consuming (overwhelming) of a person's mind, which gets their time also....High levels of add/adhd is one of those....
In my own 12 year marriage relationship, (clinical level add wife) the biggest cause of mental and emotional pain for me, has been my own nonacceptance of her actual abilities on a day to day basis....If you and I place expectations on them to mange their life in some kind of consistent and organized way, we will suffer much disappointment and usually stress and anxiety....(I sure did)
Just my opinion here, but, for you and I (many here) to have a manageable life, (be at peace) we must believe what we see w/ our spouses, and accept it....And not set expectations out of anger, and frustrations and our thoughts of what we feel we deserve from them, or worse, was promised from them going into the marriage...It's not intentional deception for the most part....It's ability driven...People who suffer w/ an inability to organize thoughts, will always suffer w/ time schedules, and all the fallout from that....This inability causes numerous problems for them, (as most here see's lived out daily) and anyone who attempts to trust them to do different....
It's not about love or commitment in many cases....It's about ability....Many of us are married to a person who's mind's ability is one that produces a life style that is all consuming...There efforts in life may work pretty well, as long as they only have to concern themselves w/ themselves....So for those of us who are married to this type individual, and plan to stay, we must place boundaries on ourselves, to ask what is possible based on observation, never what we want....We can love, but we just can't trust their minds to be any different than they show us daily...
This kind of acceptance of reality is freeing, but, very difficult to obtain....I'm still seeking it.....One great step I have been learning to enact (boundary I've been working on) over the past couple of years, has been to stop pointing out dysfunctional living to her...It only makes her feel beat down and more depressed...(it's who she is, our actions are who we all are)
It's better for both of us if I leave, if I can't find a peaceful way to mange my life as her husband.....
Blessings Open to change...
I will pray for you...