Spouses abandoning their families and obligations

My husband provides care for his aging parents.  They are quite dependent on him.  My father-in-law is, admittedly, bossy and hard to get along with.  My husband said yesterday that his father has expressed fear of my husband leaving, and my husband said he had actually told his sister that he would walk out if his dad gets too bossy. 

This morning, I'm wondering if my husband bragged to anyone when he withdrew from me and stopped providing me with emotional and financial support. I feel bereft.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

The perplexing specifics

Hi Rosered.

Probably one of the most perplexing things I try to understand about ADHD is:  how the same issue means something totally different if a person is on the ADHD side of the fence and receiving - or on the other side of the fence and receiving the ADHD behavior.

I totally understand part of it is human nature, like - the pot calling the kettle black -or-  do what I say not what I do -or- you can dish it out but can't take it.

My ADHD spouse was bemoaning the fact that if we split up and have to sell our house, he will have to get a bunch of dumpsters to clean up all the junk.  I asked why not consider getting a bunch of dumpsters and cleaning up the junk in an effort to salvage the marriage.  In response, he glared and told me it was not the same thing.

I guess all I can do is come here to this forum, read, and know I am not alone.  

I asked why not

.... <do x> to salvage the marriage..

Lead, follow, or get out of the way. This is his situation:

1/ Lead - "DW, I own that I have screwed up big time, have screwed up in the past, will in the future, but I am going to do my utmost to own the problem and take control of the issues"

2/ Follow - "DW, I screwed up, I don't know what to do, I trust your judgement and will work with utmost good faith, to implement your plans for saving us" (BTW this is not once and for all time, ie servitude forever, since we all 'normally' take turns leading and following - so few of us are perfect at everything).

3/ Get out of the way - "DW, I don't know, I won't hinder you in what you decide"

But this is a sledgehammer blow right into the weakest point of his ADHD - malfunctioning executive processing.  Judging, prioritizing and deciding.  Can. Not. Do.  Result = anger, frustration, snarky backbiting, victimhood, milking sympathy where it's easiest, sulking sadness, and - most unfortunately - no decision, no action, no movement. And he probably doesn't even understand his own thinking nor have the capacity on his own to begin to analyze it.

Just speculating.

I&#039;m So Exhausted's picture

I am not following your thought pattern


Can you elaborate on your comment.  I am not understanding your point.  

He doesn't understand because he can't

He knows that The Porn Event is a crisis.  He does know that. He doesn't really understand your reaction but he knows it is A Crisis.   A neurotypical response to this, for a person who knows they screwed up and wants to save the marriage, requires them to decide how to proceed: Lead (I did it, I am owning it and working on it, I am "leading in fixing my problem"); Follow (I did it, I trust you to know how we should proceed, "I will follow your lead because you know what we must do and I don't"); Get out of the way ("I'm clueless, I defer and will not obstruct whatever you do").  But this - the very kind of reasoning, processing, analyzing that would allow him to know that this is his situation and to begin thinking of how to proceed - is EXACTLY where his abilities are way below "normal" (cognitive deficit), being severely impacted by the fact of ADHD.   He senses, but cannot analyze, that he is unable to respond in a way that satisfies you but he doesn't know why.  Again. (He has had a whole lifetime of not understanding what it is that other people are expecting from him and how he is not giving it to them).

I am speculating and the bases of the speculation are (a) that he is not being malicious (b) that he has pretty bad ADHD.  Given those, then what would explain his behavior and response. There is an explanation, it's not magic.  So I am speculating what might explain it. Could be wrong.  But it's only perplexing until the explanation is found.