Do any of you ever find that your ADD spouse remembers conversations incorrectly, and then becomes upset when things don't work out how they remembered it should? It happens so often in my house that I sometimes feel as though I'm being "gaslighted". The only way I can see to prevent the problem is to record (either digitally or handwritten) every major conversation we have - but then I fear DH becoming defensive ("What do you mean, you've been keeping track?")
Example: on Monday we had family coming over for dinner. DH doesn't work and was home all day working on some projects and making a general mess of the kitchen. When I came home from work there were two piles of newspaper pages on the kitchen table. I started cleaning up in prep for our company, since they were due just minutes after I arrived home and no prep work had been done on cleaning all day. I pointed at a stack predominately made up of newspaper articles: "Are you done with these?" "No, still have to go through those." Then, to the other stack predominately of coupons and coupon inserts to the paper: "How about these?" "Yeah." I thought it was strange, because he's more of a coupon-clipper than an article reader, so to be sure, I pointed again at the coupons and said: "You're done with THESE? The coupons?" "Yes."
And so they were thrown away, and the article stack was put on a buffet table in the kitchen so we could eat at the table. Now here it is on Thursday, I'm at work, and I receive a text from DH: "What did you do with all the coupons from Sunday's paper. I found the rest of the paper sitting on the table in the kitchen." I replied and told him that they were thrown away, and reminded him of our conversation. "That's backwards. I needed the coupons and didn't need the rest of the stack. I said I hadn't gone through the coupons yet." So I told him, "Yes, I thought it was odd, so I remember even asking to clarify a second time about the coupons."
...and, no response. He'll be upset today when I get home from work and make at least two "digs" at me for throwing away his coupons. Yes, I'll admit I am a neat freak (and this is NOT easy when married to an ADD-er) and I have a habit of stashing clutter in strange places (hide it in a cabinet, in a desk drawer, etc) when company is coming over and I'm at a breaking point with clutter all over the house. But I've NEVER thrown away an item of his, and I've never lied to him.
This is not uncommon. If I try to ask him a question while he's doing something (playing a game on his phone, working on a hobby project, looking in the fridge for someone to eat - whatever, really) he'll answer and then not remember it at all the next day. Or, we'll have a conversation and two days later he remembers it completely incorrectly (things said that weren't, weren't said that were, etc.) When we're inevitably fighting about it later, he sticks to his guns so intensely that I find myself doubting my own recollection - which is ridiculous! If I bring up something solid/confirmable to prove I'm right, he shuts down: "Well, whatever."
Have any of you dealt with this? How do you handle it? If I start keeping a log/journal about this, he'll become incredibly defensive, but he clearly doesn't trust my recollection as is.
My husband often does this.
Submitted by PoisonIvy on
My husband often does this. I don't keep track in writing of things he has said, but often, something will stick in my mind (accompanied by the thought "Wow. I can't believe he said that") and then if the topic comes up again, I'll mention what he said, and he'll deny having done so. He knows I have a good memory and so when I say that I specifically remembered his statement, he'll then say, "Oh, you remember every little thing." Yeah, so then it's still my "fault."
Sorry to hear that
Submitted by antihoarder on
I'm sorry to hear that. Mine doesn't trust my memory; instead he argues with me until I "prove" it or give up. And if I prove it, gets defensive over the fact that I have proof. Our situation is similar though in that both our DH's have to feel they're right.
That's exactly how I feel and
Submitted by jade21 on
That's exactly how I feel and have felt. When I mentioned it to our counselor, I was imaging things. In fact I specifically used the term "gaslighting" and they had no idea what that meant! I lived for so long thinking I was over controlling and a nag. No, I was just tired of being told I was crazy! I was tired of being his scapegoat, because he didn't want to deal with problems. He would frequently tell me at the last minute his family was coming and said he told me earlier. But he never did, because he didn't want to deal with anxiety he felt when he told me they were coming. Until recently, his family never saw this because I covered it up for him. I've come to realize, I can't continue to take care of him. If he forgets, it's his problem. I use to send out all the holiday cards and birthday cards. Finally, I said I can't. He needs to be responsible for his own gifts and cards to his family. His family got upset when they didn't receive cards or gifts anymore. They felt unappreciated. I had to explain to them, my husband never sent the gifts or cards, it was me. I said I never get gifts or cards, so join the club. My husband is a very likable and lovable person. That's what everyone else sees. They don't see all the little quirks a spouse of an ADD person has to deal with. I'm glad to know I am not crazy and finally someone understands me! I have no idea how to deal with gaslighting. It's especially difficult when he becomes so defensive and anyone challenging his perception is attacking his self-worth to him. I don't care who is right or wrong. I just want to resolve the issue, so it doesn't continue to happen or cause an argument.
Jade, I'm so surprised to
Submitted by antihoarder on
Jade, I'm so surprised to hear your counselor wasn't a help! We don't go to counseling at the moment (husband is so defensive that bridging that gap is going to take a long, long time) but I had hopes that an independent third party would sort of validate my feelings so I'd know I wasn't crazy. Sorry you had to have all those discussions with your in-laws - that had to be very difficult. How has he responded to his family's disappointment in not getting cards/gifts?
Yep. My ex-BF did this with
Submitted by HurtButHopeful on
Yep. My ex-BF did this with me and with his ex-wives. He would admit he had a bad memory, but if confronted with it, he'd usually get defensive and deny or deflect. His memory issues were a huge strain on our long distance relationship (we only saw each other every 3-6 weeks). I'd send emails to try to plan something and he'd read them and think he replied even when he didn't or he'd say he'd read them later and then never did.
I once told him (9 months after the fact) that I was upset and hurt by how he handled my last birthday. (he basically forgot about it for the most part...didn't make me a cake even though at that time he made himself one every few weeks, etc). When I told him, he said, "wow, if I acted like that, then I'm a jerk." (he meant it). So, I assumed the next birthday (which was only a few months later at that point) would be different, but it really wasn't.
If his behavior hurt me (despite good intentions), then often I was to blame in some subtle way. And yes...during our last big fight that led to him never speaking to me again, he accused me of making him a "check list". I was always conscious of how long between visits, how long since we'd had sex, how long since we'd gone on a date, etc. He hated that. Hated my memory of things, though I never tried to rub his face in it....I was just trying to express my hurt and feelings of neglect.
Birthday party surprises
Submitted by I'm So Exhausted on
Well, HurtButHopeful, I can relate to the birthday or celebration thing. I spent the entire year surrounding my 40th birthday eagerly anticipating how my surprise party would go. Because everyone of the his siblings, including my spouse, got a huge 40th surprise party. . . . . . . On the day of my 41st birthday, I knew it was time to take off the rose-colored-glasses and accept the disappointment. How does a person handle disappointment of this magnitude?
Interestingly enough, my husband was planning a picnic surrounding a huge swing he had made. He was setting it up by a lake so people could swing out, and drop into the lake. It appears he had the great idea, about 2 weeks before, to make it into a surprise party for my 50th birthday. He didn't know my friends addresses, and the few that he could call already had plans. To this day, he always talks about that swing, and the great party he had with it - and never mentions it was a surprise party for me. . . . . . . . . .
It is so weird to sort out the "Were my expectations too high" or "am I ungrateful for what I got" or "why can't I graciously just accept what he had to offer."
Even when we write down agreements, he is certain I erase them or edit them. Ah well, I realized recently I don't need his approval to believe his communication and listening skills are not the best. Oh, what the heck, they stink.
It sure adds to the chaos of time blindness, and forgetfulness, and no routine or schedule. His life schedule is "fly by the seat of his pants". Every morning, he calls his first customer to say he is running behind. He also gets out of bed, rolls over, looks at the clock and yells, "Oh sh*t" because he overslept, because he couldn't shut his brain down the night before and was up until 4 or 5 am working in the yard, or the barn, or the basement, or watching politics on TV.
Submitted by boilergirl on
This happens all the time here. Or he thinks he has told me something, but the words never actually left his brain and came out of his mouth. Then he is all huffy and insists he told me.
Thanks, everyone. It doesn't
Submitted by antihoarder on
Thanks, everyone. It doesn't really solve the problem but it feels good to know I'm not alone on this one, and that I'm not crazy!