Today is my birthday. Birthdays are always hard for me, not because they mark me getting older (although I'm not thrilled about that) but because they remind me of how undeserving I feel of attention, not only "my special day" attention but also normal attention.
So, I was like this when I met my husband, and I have been like this for almost the entire 28 years of our marriage. This aspect of my personality has been out in the open longer than has his ADHD. I feel confident in saying that this low self-worth is probably something I was born with. It's probably part of my brain.
Although I have low self-worth, I'm very independent and high-functioning. I pride myself on my self-sufficiency. But I decided at some point, probably approximately 8 or 9 years ago, that I should make an attempt to ask my husband on occasion for help and support. (It seems like something married folk should do, right, be partners with their spouses? And I was helping him a lot....) What happened next might have been a coincidence; my timing isn't perfect, I'll admit. But here is what happened: my husband drifted further away; he became less dependable for matters involving our daughters; he then got fired from his job and hasn't looked for another one; and he said that he didn't need to have health insurance because he could go on welfare to get his health care paid for.
Cue back to me and my self-worth. These things didn't help. When my husband's drifting began, he had not yet been diagnosed with ADHD. He was diagnosed about a year before he was fired. So then he had a reason (he had a disability) for his behavior. And all I had was the voice in my head, much louder now, saying, "Wow, you're not only a worthless person but you're not very smart, either; nor are you nice. You thought you could get help from someone with ADHD. And when you found out you couldn't, you got mad at him, and boy, if that's not a mean thing to do, what is?"
Does every partner of a person with ADHD feel this way? I'm sure not. I hope not. This is just one person's story, a reminder that just as people with ADHD come into this world with certain qualities that are hard to change and that might need to be accommodated, so too does everyone else.