A few months ago, my wife decided that I have ADHD. After some reading on the subject, I've come to agree. It seems to explain a lot of the last 20 years we've been together. I'm still having a hard time figuring out what's "me-me" and what's "ADHD-me," and hoping I can get things under control better than I have in the past.
In the meantime, my wife seems to have checked out. She told me this weekend that she's convinced she has no problems, that all the problems in our marriage are solely mine. She has decided (she says) that she's put up with my bad behavior for 20 years, and she's not putting up with it any more. So I feel that just as I finally begin understand what I might need to know to get better, she has kicked my legs out from underneath me, and joined with ADHD to kick me when I'm down.
I've tried to appeal to her on a pragmatic basis: "How do you see what you're doing leading anywhere but the divorce you claim you don't want?" I've tried to appeal to her on every basis I can imagine. I've tried to point out how odd it seems that after 20 years of not knowing any of this, 20 years of being able to legitimately think I was maybe just a jerk, NOW we find out I have real trouble controlling parts of my brain, and suddenly NOW she wants to blame me -- at the moment we find out I'm not *solely* to blame, she blames me solely.
I'm not trying to make her responsible for my problems; I'd be happy if she would just stop adding to them!
I first tried asking for her help, but lately I've just been asking if she can stop cruelly adding to my problems by pushing me (and I don't mean ADHD-style "you're pushing me because you asked twice in one day, I mean literally standing over me and repeating a mis-quote over and over until I acknowledge that yes, the words came out of my mouth (e.g. Me: "Yes, I said you immediately did X, but I shouldn't have included the word 'immediately,' because it was actually an hour later" Her: "Did you say immediately?" Me: "Yes. I take it back." Her: "But did you say immediately?" Me: "Yes, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it." Her: "Did you say it? Was it true?" Me: "Yes, I did. No, it wasn't." Her: "But you said it." and so on), and then saying that's the sort of crap she doesn't want to hear. Earlier today I tried to have a reasonable and calm discussion with her, but I made the mistake of implying (not stating directly) that she had made an error earlier in the day. She told me I was having an ADHD moment, but when I asked her how ADHD was affecting my behavior or statements at all, she first said "everything you say is affected," and then said, "Nothing, never mind. I was wrong," but in a way that implies she's just saying that to shut me up, and clearly believes I'm not in my right mind. I was feeling calm; I think she just thew the label at me to make me feel bad, and maybe distract me from any possible suggestion that she had made an error. (And oh yes, I didn't apologize for the error I'd made yesterday (I'd printed something incorrectly, and so needed to edit and reprint it), so after waiting about ten minutes for me to apologize, she pointed that out and suggested it was, again, what she expected after 20 years.)
I have explained to my wife for years that I've never felt like she was on my side. That whatever problems she might face in life, she was facing them with me, but whatever problems I was facing in life, I was facing those problems and also my wife. I reminded her of this again this weekend, and she first said she didn't care, that she was tired of being on my side (not that I can ever remember her really being so), and then after a bit of time, brought up a recent lunchtime conversation with friends where she had expected me to "take her side" and felt that I had instead taken the side of a friend (and the truth, incidentally, but I could definitely have been more circumspect when she asked me point-blank at lunch, apparently expecting me to lie for her). That made it her against me *and* our friend, and so apparently justified her joining with ADHD to kick me in the head.
She appears to have completely given up on me. I read the posts here and I think: Hey, we have no financial troubles, even though I manage the finances. I've pushed for us to have the discipline to be debt-free. She pushes the more serious parenting questions to me. I know I've made life hard for her, there's no question about that, but I've actually spent years and years coming up with coping mechanisms that actually work well (she would acknowledge I'm a dramatically better person than I used to be until the day she decided I had ADHD, after which point I'm just as bad as I ever was, clearly untrue).
Now that I have ADHD, see, there's no question but that when we remember things differently, the problem is me. On the rare occasions I've produced witness that supported my version of events, she changes the subject to another fault of mine rather than acknowledge her error. In her mind, her memory is perfect, and mine is always wrong. Always, without exception. Which is amazing, because I have an excellent memory; I'm a software developer well known for my good memory when managing projects and code.
Anyway, I'm frustrated because since she informed me that I have ADHD and that living with someone with ADHD is hell on earth, she's turned it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'm trying harder than ever to walk on eggshells and behave perfectly, but every single mistake I make is met with a complete lack of grace, a huge stack of judgment, and she'll say at 10am that she needs at least the rest of the day, and maybe the next, of me staying away from her, because I dismissed something she said, or didn't apologize adequately for something I said. And that's it. Once she's decided to be offended, which is literally every possible time I give her even a fraction of an inch to be offended, she takes it, and holds onto it for days.
Oh yes, one more thing: we both work from home. It was an arrangement that worked beautifully for 2.5 years, until she decided I have ADHD. Now it's terrible, because she says we shouldn't spend any time together at all.
I'm working harder than ever, and I think we'd be fine -- better than fine -- if she would just choose to stop being my enemy. I know she's got 20 years of reasons to be upset, so I don't know what to do!
Man, that was more than I intended to write. Feeling raw.