In the summer of 2019 my now 14 year old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD. After we had her start seeing a therapist and getting her symptoms under control, my wife of 19 years also started to see a separate therapist. This therapist, without having met me, and through the descriptions my wife gave was convinced that I was a narcissistic emotional abuser.
My wife had told me that she was constantly upset, and that she no longer liked who she was when she was with me. I cannot deny her feelings. I was angry a lot, I was drinking too much, and I was providing no help with my daughter's ADHD because she didn't seem that different than me.
And then the pandemic started. We relied on each other by force, but were no longer living as a married couple. She was convinced I was abusive. I was convinced that she should lighten up. In the spring of 2020 I lost my Dad to Parkinson’s, but couldn’t have a proper funeral because of Covid.
In the fall I finally was ready to seek out marriage counseling and felt comfortable with the pandemic. I thought things were going well, so over celebrated on Halloween night, and said some terrible things under the influence. I tend to get emotional when I drink too much. 2 days later she asked for a divorce during our therapy session.
I immediately went into a regroup obsession mode. I found books about anger management, sought help to significantly reduce drinking with a therapist. Read everything I could about saving my marriage “even alone”, and about being an emotional abuser. The problem is even my therapist agreed that I didn’t fit as a narcissist. I was too self aware and exhibited no desire to control or knowingly manipulate. It just didn’t fit.
For all of 2021 we have still lived separately in the same house with our kids. Still with this specter of Divorce over my head. After Christmas I asked her what she wants to do and she still says she wants out but doesn’t want to subject our ADHD daughter to the pain. She “doesn’t trust that I won’t revert back, and she doesn’t want to live in fear”. So I went back through all of my learnings, and was still feeling like the root cause is missing. I was listening to a podcast on Additude Magazine about sleep for my daughter when I found an old interview with Melissa Orlov.
It has been said before, but it is like she had a microphone in our house. Every aspect fits for both me and my wife. Whirlwind romance, had kids and everything ground to a halt and I stopped heavy exercise because of the kids (rugby was too dangerous). She started to nag, and I started to recede. We moved states to be closer to her parents, but nothing I do is enough.
I have my final evaluation for undiagnosed ADHD on Wednesday. I am all in on starting treatment. Meds, exercise, therapy, whatever it takes. I hope I’m strong enough to stick to it alone.
So my problem is, how do I get my non ADHD wife to come along? Most of the posts are from non AdHd side where the ADHD won’t try. She won’t even look at the book. I know I will have to demonstrate a change. And since she has not been in a rush until now I still have patience but…. Have others been here? How do I get her to believe that I’m not abusive, just distracted? I NEVER MEANT TO CAUSE HER PAIN.