No hope left

 Hi, This is the first time I have ever posted anything in my life. I am typically an insanely private person, but I’m at such a low point in my life I can’t help but reach out. I’ve been on an off of this website for a few years now and have gained some great insight, but haven’t activity participated in any of the discussions. I have certainly related with so many of the postings. I have been married for 13 years to an unbelievably loving and devoted man, who is a phenomenal father and all around wonderful person.  The only problem is I feel like I’m married to a child, and feel so alone in my marriage. My husband suffers greatly from ADD, and social anxiety (undiagnosed for first 9 years of our marriage). There were signs early on in our relationship for sure. I noticed that he would let me take the lead on EVERYTHING, and basically shy away if I asked him to manage something. It bothered me a bit, but not enough for me to really take a greater look into why he did it. We started dating when I was in my late twenties and he was in his early 30.  When we got married I owned my own home and he had lived with a roommate. He had a pretty decent job and was an infamous saver. He paid cash for everything and seemed unbelievably responsible and grounded. I had a great job and was living independently for a few years, and was in a good place. At first things were great.  We suffered from the traditional get to know your foibles that most married people deal with in the beginning. So he wasn’t the most organized person..... Had problems remembering simple requests, or following through with things. I just chalked it up at first to him living the bachelor life for so long.  There were ups and downs. Arguments, promises made, but in the end i would hold my tongue. The thing is my husband is the sweetest man around. He would do anything for me or anyone else for that matter. I would always feel like I was kicking a wounded puppy. He would be so apologetic, so devastated that he upset or disappointed me that I would end up feeling like the worst sort of person.  How can I question a husband who was a saint? Who loved me unconditionally. The guilt was so overwhelming. Just because my husband couldn’t make a decision, or finish anything he started, or remember things he had promised to do. He was incapable of managing the bills, or making decisions. Our talking about things that made him uncomfortable. Including our sex life didn’t make him a bad person. It must be me.  My expectations must be to high??? So it became my fault.  Which meant it was hard for me to be mad at him for long.

My husband issues seemed to get worse as our lives became busier. He is an EXTREMELY intelligent man, but had worked at a lower paying job since he had gotten out of college. He didn’t seem to have any ambition to advance, and I felt that as long as he was happy and making decent money than who was I to push him. The only problem was he would complain constantly about the IDIOTS he worked for how he did this or he did that, but the problem is he didn’t want the responsibility. Again I just let him moan and complain.  I would try and encourage. Suggest he go back to school for a degree in education. He is a history nut, but he would always say it wasn’t for him.   It was a really confusing time for me.   I had been engaged in my early twenties to a very controlling man, and at first loved the idea that my husband let me take control of everything.  At times I would feel empowered, and then feel scared that I had no sounding board when making decision.  This went on for a few years, than we had our first child. Our lives became busy managing being new parents and navigating this stage of our life.  Our son brought so much joy to our lives, and for a while things were good. I took on the role of CEO of our family, Along with continuing to care for every aspect of our life, I took on the care of everything that involved our son. Don’t  get me wrong my husband was a 100% engaged father. Changed diapers, got up for feeding. Most of my friends were envious that I had such a great support system.  Again, I felt guilty that I would be thinking negatively of our life because I had to handle the day to day running of things. However, I was stressed to the gills working full time and managing our life and home.  I made the decision that since my husband was a wonderful father, that I decided to suck up my feelings and just manage our lives.  Again this worked for a while, until I got pregnant with twins. I don’t need to say our lives were turned upside down, and inside out. I had a two year old and a set of twins, worked full time and managed our lives. Insanity wasn’t the word for it. Unfortunately, two weeks after having my twins I suffered a major health complication and almost died.  I remember laying in my bed in the ICU unit thinking, how can I leave my children?  Who will take care of them?   thought that haunts me with guilt even 11 years later. My husband was naturally devastated and panicked with my illness. I just kept thinking I cannot die. I can’t leave them. I did recover, but I remember thinking the whole time that I had to get better, I had to get our lives back to normal because my husband couldn’t handle the stress. He was a mess. I understand almost losing your wife, and being left with 3 babies at 39 is horrifying. I don’t begrudge him his fears or feelings, but again I had to hold in my fears so he could function. I came home two weeks later and he wanted us to leave the whole mess behind us. It scared him to talk about it. Hello!! I was 31 years old and almost died. I think I was entitled to my tears, but again I pushed things away and got back to our crazy life.  We went on with this same pattern. I held my feelings in, or when I couldn’t anymore he’d make every promise in the book, only to revert back to his old ways within two weeks. There were times when I felt resentment that I was doing it all. I had full responsibility of the five of us . So to make an already longer story shorter we lived this complacent life for many years. It’s hard to realize how miserable you really are when you are crazy busy bringing up children, working, managing our lives.  Then four years ago my husband was laid off from the job he had been at for 22 years.  To say he was devastated was an understatement.   I had always been the main bread winner of the family, but with his salary we lived a very comfortable life.  He immediately went into a deep depression and I tried everything to help him through. I told him to take some time off to get his bearings before jumping back into the working world. & For a time he seemed to really enjoy being home and being basically a stay at home Dad.  I was ok with this because in my mind it was temporary.  All three of my children were in school and I figured he’d be bored out of his mind by the 3rd month, and start looking for something. I was very wrong. He decided he LOVED this new life.  No responsibility at all.  Again I tried to gently suggest he go back to school.  ;Have a do over. Reinvent himself. If anything he went deeper into depression.  He basically hid in the house.  We stopped having sex (not that we had it very often before), however now we weren’t having it because he couldn’t perform. After 6 months, I was starting feel the pressures of being the sole provider for our family. He had collected unemployment for a time after his severance ran out, but now I was the one solely paying for our life. The thought was frightening. Knowing I had sole responsibility for everything was staggering.  Again I didn’t want to push because I knew how devastated he was.  We spent that whole year tip toeing around the elephant in the room. He had no plans of looking for a job. He was hiding from his life inside of our chaotic life.   I finally told him after a year that he had to find something. That is was not healthy for him not to be engaged in life and I wanted him to find a job.  He made half assed attempts, and avoided talking about it.  Finally I was so sick and tired of him sitting at home that I signed him up to volunteer in the kids classrooms a couple days a week.  Low and behold it was like an epiphany to him.  He LOVED it. He loved working with the children and specifically gravitated to the special need children.  He spent that whole year  volunteering  almost every day and was loving life. In the mean time I was worrying daily about our dwindling savings, and having to manage paying for everything and taking care of our life.  At the same time my older son started exhibiting attention issues, and was diagnosed with ADD and NVLD.  After going through all the tests and meeting with teachers my husband confessed to me that he is the adult version of my son. HALLELUJAH!! I wanted to weep with happiness. Finally he was seeing what I had seen our whole marriage.  With my suggestion he went and was tested and it came back with severe ADD and social anxiety.  He decided to go on medicine and I saw more improvement in his emotional state than his attention issues. However, I felt some positive change was better than nothing.  I thought we were heading in the right direction. FINALLY.  He started seeing a therapist, and things were looking good, and then the rug was pulled out from under me.  He used his new diagnosis for ADD as a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD. I’m sorry became his mantra. Sorry, it’s hard because of my ADD, sorry you know i have ADD.  So now I’m dealing with my son and my husband and two very rambunctious twins.  I wanted to run away screaming.  He decided the next school year that he would sub.  He did that consistently and was happier than I had ever seen him. He had the best of both worlds. He could work (bringing home peanuts) doing what he loved (which I will say he is FANTASTIC with the children), and be at home with our kids playing SUPER DAD. In the meantime I’m so stressed my body is starting to falter. My doctor tells me I have to reduce my stress or I’m  going to kill myself.  I explain to my husband how his actions are hurting me. That I’m managing our life alone, with no partner, no support and it’s killing me slowly. Again the I’m sorry, I’ll try harder and the endless promises were given. I tell him he needs to find a full time job, that our life was designed on two pays and even though I make decent money it’s not fair of him to let me shoulder everything. His solution was applying (when I say him applying really means, I drafted his resume, letter of intent ect) for a permanent position as a Paraprofessional in the Sped Dept. in our town. Such a noble job, but it only paid 1/3 of what he had been making. I told him I wanted to support him and I was thrilled he found this passion and was so good at his job, but if he was to take this job he needed to either find a part time job to back fill the kids extracurricular fees, or make the commitment to get his master in ED and I would support him during that time.  He worked the first year fulfilling neither of his promises.  I again laid myself bare and told him how his action hurt me and how desperate I was feeling. That he had to step up or I wanted him to leave. That his actions were making me hate him. That him watching me suffer day in and day out and not helping was destroying anything I felt for him. I don’t want to destroy my family, but am I supposed to live this way for rest of my life ? I am alone in this marriage. If you can even call it a marriage anymore. He cannot have sex with me. Every time he tries he loses his erection.  He tells me it’s him, but I have caught him in the past using porn (a few times) , but he admitted he can masturbate with no issue. The issue is with us.  He sees a therapist every other week, and there is never any growth from it. We went for a short time but it was more of a YOU NEED TO GET OVER YOUR ANGER, ACCEPT HIS ADD.  I had to be accountable but he didn’t because his brain works differently than mine.  Were now on year two of working at  with no second job, or applying for school.  I tasked him with being in charge of the kids homework   this year because I couldn’t do it anymore, plus he’s home with the kids after school. The kids grades have plummeted due to missing work, lost papers, uncheck assignments. I had to take that role back over.  I just don’t
think I can do it anymore. I’m so damn tired, so damn lonely, and so damn defeated. Thanks for listening to my befuddled rant. I know I left out3/4 of all the issues that would make these rambling make more sense. I’m just so scared. I don’t know how to pull myself up anymore. My husband is not a bad man.  He is loving, and compassionate, but he’s just not capable of managing a grown up life and that’s so sad to me.
 

Very sorry

I'm very sorry you are dealing with this. It is a terrible spot to find yourself in. It is fantastic that your husband realizes there is a problem and is willing to take meds and go to therapy. Of course that's little consolation when behavior doesn't change. It sounds to me like he could benefit from an ADHD coach who will keep him accountable. He might also benefit from tweaking meds. Homework time probably coincides with waning drug effectiveness. My dh has become more productive in the afternoon/evening since adding a half dose of vyvanse at noon. 

It is really important for him to stop trying harder and instead try differently. Work with his strengths rather than against them. Find a path that gets the same things done but in a way that works with his brain. A coach should have ideas on this. You could also ask him to have more goal oriented therapy sessions, my DH didn't benefit from it until he did. Therapy can easily get off track. 

My dh also lost a good career, due to disability, and still isn't working for a paycheck 10 years later. He went back to school but that was an ADHD disaster. Then his job was supposed to be finishing our home renovations. A management disaster. He is only now learning that he needs to try a new path to getting us walls. But it takes a while to break bad habits and learn good ones. You can try accountability tracking of some sort if he buys into it. You can also identify the things that must change for you, and set a deadline like 6 months, so that he has specifics to work on. Important that they be measurable and that you check in periodically on progress so he doesn't forget. It's also really important that you do genuinely let go of the anger and resentment in order for the relationship to be rebuilt. It's hard but important. And reduces your stress. Best wishes.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

I believe it is good to get things written down. . .

Hello Need to Breath 2013.

I can surely relate to your struggles, as many of us here can.

I am a firm believer in writing stuff down - as you did in your post.  It gets things off your chest, and allows you to get feedback from others who are walking in your shoes.  Another benefit is you now have an anchor point that you can use when you feel as though nothing is ever changing.  What posting here has done for me is made a tangible diary of my struggles.

I am changing - and my spouse is trying harder - but is doing the exact same things - so the only thing I see change is the degree of his anger.

My husband is not a bad man either.  His negative ADHD behaviors sure make for a chaotic place to cohabitant.  His time blindness, disorganization, forgetfulness . . . yes, those things make it difficult to partner with him in anything.  That is what I am longing for.  That is what causes me the most pain.  

Yesterday is gone, so he doesn't want to take responsibility for anything he neglected to do - on the other hand - he will rehash/disect/stew on a lifetime of hurts that he sees other have inflicted upon him.  Very, very odd.

I hope you find some answers or direction on this forum.