I've been married to an ADHD man for 2 years, together for 5. We have a toddler together and my older son from a previous relationship. At first I was too busy working full time, going to school full time, and being a parent to really notice his..odd behavior. When we first moved in together, things were great. We planned to get married. Then I started to see how bad what he called his 'anxiety' was- he constantly rearranged his kitchen cupboards, refrigerator, all of his stuff in the attic and garage and carport. My desk during finals. He refused to allow me to make changes to his home where he has lived for 5 years before meeting me. I lived with dark green walls and ceilings in my home for 2 years before he agreed to let me paint ONE ROOM. He is employed now at a great company (construction) but prior to that he was chronically unemployed. He figured being on the out of work list at the Union hall gave him free reign to hang out at home and play video games all day. When the unemployment ran out, I had to take out more student loans to pay bills, bc he absolutely refused to go get ANY job to pay our bills and our accounts were going to be negative. Like it wasn't even a real problem to him at all. I was dumbfounded.
In addition to flat out ignoring me and my emotional needs on a daily basis, every single 'fun' trip (which I always always plan) we have taken as a family has been a total nightmare full of silent treatment, snapping at me/children,and nasty tirades about nothing or why what I said or did is wrong. He regularly demeans me and my opinions, so every thing in our lives is a battle for him.. I take care of 100% of our children's needs and 90% of my husband's. I do it all while putting up with continued ridiculousness. Only he can turn a discussion about my recently failing health (STRESS!!!) into a tirade about how I make the house a cave in the middle of the day (during my toddler's nap time, while he is usually at work) and that its more logical to keep the windows open. I asked, do you want me to do that just when you're home, or should I keep the blinds open when you are at work too? Everyday? "Well I don't care. I'm just saying!'
I tell my son to take a shower, or go outside, or watch tv, or do homework, and my husband 90% of the time will immediately blurt out that our son doesn't need to or shouldn't. He insults me regularly, in front of people, disrespects my parenting decisions in front of our children, his regular everyday mood is grumpy (unless around friends or his family!), he always has a scowl, and his famous words after going on a rant about whatever- 'well I don't care. I'm just saying.' Really feel like banging my head into a wall when I hear that one! I recently got a disgusted look and a nasty comment when I decided to bring a couple jugs of water on a 6 hour road trip and three day hotel stay with our toddler at his friend's wedding. 'What's all this water for? I don't understand why you brought so much? You didn't think we would have WATER to drink here!?' In front of his friend. Argued and challenged with me at the wedding reception table when I took away a grape-sized piece of greasy sausage that he had given our 16 month old. The kicker is his tantrums and body language. Everything about him just screams this is a miserable angry man. He has a negative energy that follows him around. Comes in the house after work, first thing he does is snap 'Why's he watching tv!? It's nice outside!' Um because I'm and adult and his parent who is responsible for him and I made that decision?!
The tipping point for me was when he got a DUI a couple years back. We had a big fight while I was pregnant, he decided to leave to go get drunk and got pulled over on the way home from the bar. He actually said to me, ' the DUI was YOUR fault!' He is 31 years old. Blaming his pregnant, anxiety ridden wife for his DUI. At this point I began looking for a way out, or at least a magical cure. I knew about his childhood ADHD diagnosis but still thought maybe he just had anxiety, since he as always so restless. I insisted he go get anxiety meds. He gave me excuses for the next year, finally got Prozac, took a dozen pills over a month or so and decided he didn't like them, they didn't work, he was fine. I was the one being the nagging bitch. Why couldn't I just 'calm down?'
We went to counseling, the misery continued. Refused all suggestions of medications. Spent sessions making chore lists and discussing responsibilities and division of labor at home; he did some of his chores, partway, when he felt like it. Bathrooms and kitchen floors went filthy for weeks, dogs neve got walked. Asked him to go on a family camping trip this summer, since we had just got a big tent and we didn't go last year bc the baby was too little. He said he wanted to go to a remote location 4 hours away. I asked if maybe this first trip with the toddler we could go up the hill to a place closer and more familiar. He got angry, completely shut me down, said 'well I'm not going there! It's my place or we aren't going anywhere!', and we never went camping. My 8 year old son recently told me he was sad bc we never went camping and I broke down crying. How have I let this angry, miserable human being run my life into the ground?? My birthday this year was spent crying bc my husband had not only made zero plans for my birthday, but decided to get into a huge fight with me when I asked him to please stop doing laundry because laundry was my chore and he would move loads around and leave clean clothes out and basically just make a huge pain and mess up my work flow. Completely losing it because 'I used a tone' and 'he couldn't do anything right' and so he started to sulk and storm around. Oh and yes he likes to throw furniture and break brooms and punch holes in walls when he is really pissed.. This is all happening just three weeks after I had taken the kids and went to my aunts, declaring I was done. Well having no job, no income, and two children in someone else's house ended up being too stressful and I came back 5 days later. We had talked on the phone and he said he wanted us home, but I couldn't really hear it coming from his heart. Like he just knew his life would fall apart without me to take care of everything. So I came back to more of the same, but worse. Continued counseling. I would throw out rotten food from the fridge, he would open the trash can, retrieve the spoiled food, and insist it was 'fine!'
After the long road trip to the wedding and dealing with his outrageously childish rude behavior towards me all weekend, after a summer of hell, after years of hell, I've finally realized that this isn't just normal marital conflict. I began to read more about ADHD and came across this blog and others, and I cried with relief. I realized that our counselor sensed my husband's incredible stubborn, defensive nature, and has been trying to treat his ADHD the whole time without naming it. Suggestions like fish oil, exercise, etc. I have lost a ton of weight from the stress and am now 15 pounds underweight. I asked if I could buy some new pants since none fit, and my husband snapped at me to not spend a lot of money on them unless I was PLANNING on staying this skinny. Actually no, I plan on getting you out of my life and getting happy and healthy again! I have regular painful headaches and mysterious bruises totally covering my legs. My doctor says its stress.
I finally explained to him last week that I am no longer working on a marriage where he refuses to accept the role his ADHD symptoms have played in the demise of our relationship. Get on meds, get help, or I am getting a job, moving out, taking the children and divorcing him. I'm still young. I don't need to be disrespected and talked down to every day of my life. There's zero happiness, fun, or intimacy between us. We fought about it of course, but the next day I was shocked to learn he had made an appointment to see the psychiatrist . He was prescribed Wellbutrin a few days ago to treat the ADHD but hasn't actually taken a pill yet. I'm hoping for a miracle but trying to stay realistic. He keeps saying he wants to stay together but I'm not sure what his motives are. I told him if we didn't have children I would have been gone a long time ago. Which is very true. I've been trapped for a long time. I'm ready to put my daughter in daycare and go get a job. At least I have a graduate degree and am about to start a good career to support my children on my own. Maybe that scares him too, he knows I don't really 'need' him to survive. He said he would read a book The ADHD Effect with me nightly, which we did tonight for the first time. I cried while reading the experience of the spouse with non-ADHD. I'm not sure how committed he is to change. I feel like he's doing this to shut me up and he still doesn't accept the role ADHD plays in our marriage problems. I can't sleep and have been on the couch every night away from him. He continues to focus on what I have done in this relationship, which I have repeatedly owned up to and promised to work on. Still waiting for him to own up to anything . Not sure what will happen. Part of me is already so done I don't care what kind of help he gets. Another part still loves him deep down. Can this much pain be overcome??