For Sherri

Sherri, I hope I don’t step on your toes here but I’ve been reading quite a number of your posts and have a few thoughts.  They’re a jumble in there so I’m just going to ramble.

I haven’t been dealing with the ADHD thing as long or maybe in as difficult a scenario has many of the others here.  I have dealt with the blame game, the checking out, the inappropriate behaviours with other women, the lack of meaningful communication, not returning calls, the frustration etc., etc.,  and can honestly say we’re  in a really good spot right now. 

A couple of things keep popping out at me from your posts and these are not necessarily ADHD specific. 

If I focussed on our “relationship” as much as you do my BF simply couldn’t take it.  He would either shut down or crawl out of his own skin.   A very close male friend who is non-add once said to me he, “would rather drive spikes in his eyes than talk about this stuff”.  I asked him why and he said he didn’t know, he just f..ing hated it. 

It feels to me like you are living and breathing adhd and though I understand how you came to be there…just stop.  In it’s own way its controlling, critical and, at this point, self propagating leaving no room just to enjoy life.  It is exhausting to both of you.  Just stop.  It doesn’t have to be fixed today. 

You are biting your nose to spite your face.  You’ve been doing the same thing for so long and it’s not working.   Just stop.   Try something else…like silence.

Get off this site for a little while.  Go about your day as if you were single.  Do exactly what you want to do.  Do what makes you feel happy inside.  Exercise, go for walks, decompress and let your own brain chemicals level out again.  You’ve been stressed for so long they have to be out of wack.   MAKE YOURSELF HAPPY.  But, do not say one word to your husband about your relationship, your needs your disappointments or a single thing you want him to do, discuss or be.  In fact, unless it’s for a compliment don’t say one thing to him.  I don’t mean be unfriendly or nasty…just quiet.  Don’t answer to him, don’t wait around for his attention and don’t acknowledge any unpleasant behaviour on his part.   Be your own woman.  Decorate your own garden.   It sounds to me like he’s running but it may just be because you’re chasing him so damn hard.  If he tanks again so be it.  Don’t try to fix it.  It doesn’t work when you do anyway.  The line I use in my head when I know I’m going to start fixing something is, “he got to 49 years old without my help”.

I’m not religious but it sounds like you are.  Start going...alone.  Stop trying to make him go with you!  It only creates more angst and diminishes your own experience.  Whether he chooses to embrace it should be exactly that …his choice.

Start learning to enjoy your own company more.  
 
Our ADHD partners are not the only ones who might describe a bait ‘n switch.

It’s seems to me you know how you want to feel but don’t know how to get it.  Much like your husband.  The more you push the farther you are from getting it.   He may trust you as little as you trust him albeit for different reasons.  I’d imagine he perceives you as a bit of a “hot stove” right now.  Whether you are justified or not doesn’t change the fact.

If I were a betting person I would wager the more you address the betrayal issue the greater the odds it will happen again.  I know you want it acknowledged in a way that makes you feel like he understands how much it scarred you individually and as a couple.   You want reassurance it will never happen again.   I suspect that everything that can be said has been said.  Neither of you is deaf.  All the words were heard but for right now, it’s not going to happen.  Accept that one day it might and maybe not in a way you expected, but today is not that day.

I don’t normally condone or encourage manipulative behaviour but I do think I’ve gotten more out of understanding how my bf’s mind works as an end to meeting my needs than by demanding it.   I keep biting my tongue because I feel in your posts that as much as you are trying to address control issues they are still very much there.  You want him to fix himself and you want him to do it the way you think will work.  Quite obviously he does not agree.  I don’t intend that you should clam up and accept bad behaviour but I do believe there is more than one way to skin a cat.  When you ask him what would bring out the best in him what does he say?  When you ask him what can you do to make his life happier what does he say?  Someone has to lead the train and I have found the happier my guy is the more he knocks himself out to make sure I am.

I did go silent for three months.  I did learn to feel truly happy in my own company again.  I did decide to never bring up a betrayal again.  The funny thing is that the more I kept quiet about the past the more he turned himself inside out to be transparent and make me feel secure and loved.  The whole dynamic has taken on a life of it’s own.  One of the most important things I think I did was ask him what he needed and really listened to his answer.  He said over and over, patience, be nicer and less controlling.  He openly admitted some of the things he did were based around digging his heels in and taking jabs at me. 

This is going to sound gross to a lot of people but I equated re-training our relationship to training a dog.  Positive re-enforcement makes them WANT to please you.  Yelling, nattering or hitting gets them to suffer you in the moment but does little for the next time; just makes them sneaky. 

I know you extended yourself way and beyond trying to understand and fix your relationship.  I’m just saying maybe it’s time to stop trying so hard and just be for a while; for your sake and his.  You might be surprised at what a little rest can do for you.

The only way I can think of doing it when you’re in the same household is to detach inside your own head and keep saying to yourself it doesn’t need to be fixed today.  Try living in an adhd mindset… more in the moment, more procrastination and way more fun.

I really don’t know how to say this gently, but have you considered that maybe your husband, adhd or not, really doesn’t want the marriage to survive and no amount of work you do will change that?

He who cares the least controls the most”


I’m sure I’ve probably pissed a few people off  but jmo and I don’t see the point of talking if not honestly.   This is not an attack Sherri, I get how much you’ve given of yourself… just a different perspective.

P.S. to Lululove  - treat em mean, keep em keen.  Sounds to me like your guy is baiting/messing with you…just because he can…brat. 

Two days ago out of the blue my bf said to me, “I love that you get my my quirks but don’t take shit off me”.

 

WOW

I know you meant this post for Sherri, but it just hit home for me.  I'm not sure how to get to where you are, but it is where I need and want to be.  Just wanted to say Thank You!

Honest is good...

I don't believe the regulars here will jump you for offering a different angle in dealing with ADD. I've even said in a post a while back that if my wife did more research or read some of these posts things could be worse for our relationship. I had been a little frustrated that I had been working real hard to understand a correct my behaviors after 43 years of undiagnosed ADD. I was upset that she did not really think of ADD as a real medical condition and only focused on my gaining control of my weight because of ADD's Magic Pills. We had both had this common struggle and now suddenly I didn't.

Sherri's situation is one that I'm quite familiar with and I know all to well about the Over-Whelm feelings an ADDer has, obviously, but you have to Own your problems and try to correct things. Having knowledge of what had influenced so many of my behaviors gave me answers, gave me an opponent to fight and blame, and now if my ADD influences a bad choice it is on me. I cannot fix what I've done, but I am working to form New Expectations of my predictable behaviors. It takes a long time to change what people expect me to do in a given situation. I wish Sherri's husband could see/believe that you can save yourself and your marriage, but everyone has to come to the "Light Bulb Moment" of how their actions contribute to where they are today.

Thanks for your post.


 

YYZ

Some things have to be addressed right away

Honestly, I understand what the original poster is saying. The constant barrage of "we have to fix this" must be emotionally exhausting to the ADDer.

But what about things that have to be addressed right away? Example: Our washer conked out. My husband insists that we should store all clean clothes in front of the washer in laundry baskets. He insists we CAN NOT put the clothes away. I asked him to move the baskets so the washer-repair guy could get to the machine. He lied and told me he had done it. What he actually did was just move one basket so there were a couple of inches of space. I believe that is why the guy said he couldn't fix the washer. So we bought a new one and it's being delivered tomorrow. He has to ACTUALLY move the baskets. If I don't speak to him, he won't know I expect him to do that. I am handicapped, so I can't do it. Or should I expect to go 3 months without doing laundry until he decides to do the work?

During the 3 months you didn't speak to him, did he do ANYTHING in the house, or did you do all the cooking, cleaning, appointment-making, laundry, etc? My experience is that guys never do anything unless you ask, and probably not them. So how did this work for you on the nuts and bolts level?

right away

Thank you to needsalifeline and yyz.  I understand this is a charged topic for people at such a high frustration level so I am leery of speaking my mind.

Sueann, it was easier for me, I do not have a handicap, I don’t have children and I am financially secure in my own right.    If I wanted something done I either did it myself or asked for assistance from friends.  Could you have asked a neighbour to move the baskets?

I’m not sure this will make sense but for me asking him to do things I was capable of  doing myself was actually a measure of me gaining control.  Getting him to do something I wanted was kind of like telling the dog to heel.  Naturally in a healthy relationship workload is shared.  But if I’m honest with myself that is not why I was asking him to do things.  A lot of times I was really saying, “do it my way, when I want, or how I want”.  Tasks were a passive aggressive contest and not a healthy one. 

I don’t know what your handicap is but if your DH was to get hit by a bus tomorrow what would you do?  If you were to get hit by a bus tomorrow what would he do?  The answer won’t be wear the same clothes for the next 50 years or starve.

My BF is not lazy.  He just does things a whole lot different than me and is comfortable with shrugging his shoulders at more.   He will do dishes but won’t use the dishwasher = two chores; putting them in, taking them out.  Seems crazy to me but works for him (see an early post.  We don’t often share tasks)  He will cut the lawn but it will be down to dirt so he doesn’t have to cut it again any time soon.  Do I like that look, nope.  Is it worth fighting about, nope.  Am I prepared to do it myself so it’s done my way, nope. 

If you are hungry make something to eat.  If he joins you great.  If not enjoy it anyway.  If he makes it be grateful even if it’s a hot dog and undercooked.  I know for me thanking him so much for making it will guarantee another effort.  Mentioning it’s cold will guarantee there won’t be.

NB:  If I was handicapped and a repair guy didn’t do his job because of a couple of baskets I’d be making a phone call and/or finding another repair guy!


Think independent.  Be resourceful.
 

 

My husband does that with his hair!

The last time he got his hair cut, he got "scalped." Honestly, he looked like a cancer survivor or a member of the military. That was so he wouldn't have to go to the barber shop any time soon.

I don't see the point of being married if you aren't going to depend on each other. I actually was hit by a car (not a bus, thankfully) and walking is difficult for me. I am also a stroke survivor. I never dreamed that the man who had been so loving and helpful while we were dating would turn around and and expect me to turn into a 50s housewife who also had 2 jobs and supported him while he sat home and played computer solitaire.

I would have had to PAY someone to come in and move the laundry baskets. I am working and he is not, so that seems unfair. As far as chores go, it seems like you give your boyfriend a free pass. I understand it isn't healthy that I am dependent on a person who refuses to work, but, that is the circumstances of my life. My alimony gave me some independence but of course that stopped when I married him.

I gave up expecting my husband to love me a long time ago. He probably just married me to have another woman besides his mother to take care of him. He made a poor choice. If you want a housekeeper would you hire one who walks with difficulty? I made a poor choice because I mistook hyperfocus for love. Now I'm just trying to find a way to survive with this "roommate." That's why most of my posts are about how to get him to work, or carry his share of the housework load or something like that.

 

I could sit here for the next

I could sit here for the next 24 hours typing about how many ways this post effected me...but I will try and sum it up this way. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my broken, weeping, wounded heart. I am religious..and believe that God sat you down and spoke to me through your words. I sobbed (am sobbing) so hard I keep having to get up and gather myself to even be able to think...dry my eyes so I can see to type...blow my nose so I can breathe. *returns from nose blow #3* I am speechless. I am printing this out somehow (probably have to wait until I go to school Tuesday) and keeping it with me in my purse. I have felt for a few months something brewing inside of me that culminated today when reading this post. It isn't that it's hurtful...it's that it's TRUE. 1000%. Every.single.word. Not only that, it is exactly where I want to be, what I want to do, and exactly where I plan to go with my life from this day forward.

Before I sat down at the computer today I was writing in a little notebook I'm trying to create a habit of keeping with me some inspirational things, some changes I want to make. They mirror this post perfectly. Coming from someone else though, it really...it just blew my world wide open and broke me down to an exposed broken woman...of my own making. I let this happen and only I can fix it.

I spent the last few days in a complete state of panic thinking my marriage was over. I decided I was either going to lose everything...or start doing things differently. I decided it yesterday...but I had really not put together a plan in my mind. Your post is my plan. Your post is where I will start. Hell, I may even write it all out just so I can have it to refer to NOW.

Thank you. I never want to be the kind of person to shy away from good, ass kicking advice. I know you're trying to save me from myself...as are YYZ, lululove, DF, Melissa and many others here. I know good advice when I see it...no matter how hard it is to swallow.

To answer your question...I think my husband is just as sick of the chaos and fighting and me unraveling as I am of him doing the same. I can't stand to be around me half of the time. Our love prevails, in spite of everything we somehow still share an amazing love for one another we have just simply lost our way and I feel that you are 100% right in that this train wreck will turn around if I start with ME.

Thank you. So much. You changed a life today. Mine.

Update

I wanted to take a minute to let you know how things are going.

Me: I cannot take credit for the changes I feel and the peace I feel. It came directly from the good Lord. Through this post, through e-mails and yahoo chats with friends, through long breakfasts that went well into lunch with friends, conversations with family, sermons in church, and a lot of very anxious moments and quiet time with myself where I knew something had to change I have reached a level of peace and joy that I thought was lost forever. I do not know where my marriage is headed, however I have fully accepted that if I end up alone that is where I am meant to be. I do not have anymore stability (financial or emotional) from my external environment (DH) but I have managed to find peace regardless. It hasn't always been easy, the devil still throws his jabs, still has a hold of my husband's mind and actions, but I am determined to come out on top of all of this. Like my counselor told me "you are motivated to change your life, that is half the battle" and I am. My home is cleaner than it has been in years. I simply have a lot more energy to expend doing other things since my mind isn't constantly overwhelmed and filled with worry and reactions to the chaos around me. One would have to be a concrete statue to completely avoid being affected by it, but it does not rule me anymore. I have never mentioned anything about this to my DH, I just assume he does not want to know because he has not asked. Or maybe he isn't sure what to think. Either way, I am happier. I was walking the other day (feel this helps a lot too) and as corny as it sounds, I looked around as the breeze was blowing in my face and the neighborhood was quiet and I truly felt as though the breeze was a hug from God. I was so overwhelmed with how lucky I am to be alive to experience my blessing and the 'small' stuff such as a warm, fall breeze that I started to cry as I walked. I thank God I know what it feels like to be ALIVE for the first time in my life. Life is too short to spend it the way I did for so long. Things have improved with my daughter and myself too. I have been tested (will post about this in a minute) and am so proud of myself to have quickly come back to my center, been able to recognize the feelings I was experiencing, process them, pray about them, and continue to move forward. Even if sometimes it feels like I am walking forward in a wind storm, I am STILL going forward. I cannot put into words, any better than this, what a change has taken place in my life.

DH: From the beginning he responded to my changes by living in the 'now' and being kind and receptive. That hasn't changed. We haven't fought in well over a month now. I cannot tell you how truly miraculous that is. I'm not in denial, I'm not sweeping things under the rug, I still see the ADHD 100%. The difference is that now I am letting him carry the burden of any consequences of it...and changes within himself...if they are forthcoming. As you recall, he had gone back on meds which was a scary prospect to me because they made him very hostile and very much in denial of any fault he had in our marriage previously. Not only that, when he stopped them cold turkey he unraveled. He had been on meds for a few weeks prior to my epiphany and I saw the same hostility and anger as before. However, when I turned myself around, it all went away...and, as I said, he responded in a positive way. (attitude wise). This gives me a bit more information about what was possibly bringing on the anger initially, with the meds. ME reacting and being overly sensitive to his moods=him getting defensive and feeling he couldn't win. He wanted to take the meds...and once again, he was being told by me to stop taking them. I see where the dynamics of our marriage at the time were contributing to his reactions. Also, at the time of my epiphany he was finally back at the office (not sure how he kept his job from Feb-June when he barely worked a few days a week...by the Grace of God, I suspect) and was working 12-14 hour days, sometimes not coming home at all. I have no idea what has happened, although he gives me bits and pieces, I really have no clear picture (I don't feel he's being honest about it, bottom line) but he is unraveling again. He claims to have been given a dosage increase at his last visit to the psychiatrist, and that it was too much for him and he stopped taking them. He was supposed to call and get back on the lower dosage over a week ago, but still hasn't...and is most likely on the verge of losing his job. He has worked 1/2 a day (at the office) this entire week. He is self-medicating again...and he has no clue I know. He has himself convinced that everything is cool, but I truly believe he isn't seeing things in a very realistic way right now. I do know that he now seems to be emotionally falling apart.  I have absolutely no desire to guide him or hold his hand or anything else. I pray for him often. I hate to see him take such a horrible turn for the worse when I would love nothing better than for him to join me 'over here'. I don't even have to remind myself anymore that there is nothing I can do to help him...the desire and urge to rescue him is gone. I am showing him that I love him, I am showing him that I am here and want a marriage and family with him, and if that ultimately ends up not being enough then I will at least know I did the right thing by letting him make his own path. My only struggle is with the fear that he will lose his job. I am able to let pretty much everything else fall where it may, but that one is so vital to our survival and I do feel helpless in stopping it. I can't control what he does, and I know this. So I pray.

In spite of it all, I remain much more at peace and my heart is still filled with joy. I finally see what I DO have to be thankful for in life instead of always focusing on what I don't have. Just took me 43 years to get here.

I FOUND IT!

Everyone should read this. This post came at a time when I was right on the edge of completely losing my mind. I had gone to church that morning and the sermon was about enduring suffering. I came home, read this, and literally SOBBED.  I printed it out and carried it with me (in my school backpack) for a long time. I am sure it is still in my backpack to this day. I copied it and saved it so I can read and re-read it. It applies even now. I've had three steps forward and two steps back times over the course of the three years since this was posted...but for the most part I still needed this and I am glad I was able to find it. It changed my life.