My husband and I have been together for 7 years, and married for almost 4 years. We are both 43 years old and have a large blended family. He and I were both previously married to other spouses once before, and we both have children from those marriages. It's a "yours, mine, and ours" situation... I had 4 children from my first marriage, he had 3 children from his first marriage, and together we have 1 child. So we now have a total of 8 children. Our blended family life is very busy with the dynamics of all our kids and their activities, and it is a challenge for my husband and I to stay connected as a couple in our marriage.
At the beginning of our relationship, my husband was very kind, loving, affectionate, attentive, and interested in spending time together. However, after we moved in together I began to suspect that my husband may have ADHD (although he has never been diagnosed, or treated, or taken any medication). From what I've read on the subject, I believe he has several of the symptoms. My husband seems scattered and forgetful at times, he is impulsive with hurtful words and actions, he has a quick temper, lacks empathy, and has a very strong need to always be right. His behavior also reminds me of the Energizer bunny... he just keeps on going and going with endless amounts of energy. My father-in-law and stepson also exhibit similar behavior to my husband. My father-in-law has a high level of energy, acts impulsive, is very abrasive and blunt with negative comments, claims to never be wrong, and has very little patience. My husband has said to me before that his Dad doesn't like to wait in lines because he can't stand still. My stepson is 13 years old now, and has gotten in trouble in school over the last few years because of being forgetful and impulsive. A couple years ago, I went along with my husband to my stepson's parent teacher conference at school and his teacher told us that my stepson was easily distracted, so she decided to move his desk to the front of the room beside hers. His teacher also suggested ADHD (in a round about way) being a possible reason for my stepson's behavior in class. The teacher said he was fidgety, played with objects a lot, and often rushed through his work. Although previous teachers of my stepson have made similar observations in their reports, and even a phone call home from another teacher about my stepson's impulsive behavior, my husband has dismissed the possibility of his son having ADHD. My husband has become very angry whenever I have mentioned the possibility, and has called me crazy and "off my rocker" for wondering such a thing. So I've been dealing with denial of whatever it is that they have for a long time. If it's not ADHD, what else could it be?
Communication is a huge problem in our marriage. My husband frequently forgets to tell me things, or he waits until the last minute to relay information to me. Lately we've been arguing a lot. No matter what the conflict between us is about, the pattern is always the same... He'll say or do something that offends me, I'll react and express that my feelings were hurt, then he'll react to my reaction and he becomes angry and defensive. When my husband gets angry he lashes out and becomes verbally abusive. He also throws objects. For instance, just yesterday he threw some toy matchbox cars at me across a table where I was sitting and the cars landed in my lap, one day he threw his wedding ring across the room, another time he dropped his wedding ring in my cereal which I was eating with milk, and he also threw my purse across the room. In addition to throwing things when he is mad, he also sticks his middle fingers up at me with both of his hands as he verbally states the expletive that matches his hand gesturing. After he gets angry and lashes out, the avoidance sets in and the stonewalling begins. My husband retreats, shuts down, withdraws, and avoids me for many days. He refuses to talk to me even if I try to talk to him in a kind way. He ignores me and acts like I don't exist. I feel so invisible when he behaves that way. The stonewalling from him usually lasts about a week at a time, and the pattern keeps repeatedly happening. It is exhausting and emotionally draining. The anger and frustration has led to bitterness and resentment in our relationship.
My husband complains that I "nag" him, and he says that he "feels attacked by me", and that he "doesn't like conflict" so that is why he avoids me. I am obviously triggering defensiveness in him. It is not my intention to do that at all. I want to be able to express my feelings without being dismissed, but my husband has no interest in listening to me talk about feelings or communicate his feelings to me. The only emotion he expresses lately is anger. After several days of avoiding me, my husband announced to me last night that he, "doesn't care if he's married to me or not", "doesn't want to talk to me", "doesn't want to be around me", and stated that if I don't like the way he acts, then I "can leave." I asked him how long he was going to behave this way, and his response to me was, "until he's done." So in other words, he's eluding to divorce. He also frequently threatens to call his divorce attorney... just last week he showed me her number on his contact list on his cell phone. I am not ready to give up on our marriage yet, but I don't know what to do to resolve this. We have already gone to couples marriage counseling for over two years with a psychologist, but stopped going almost a year ago. SInce then things have gotten progressively worse between us. I want to try going to another therapist, but my husband refuses to go see anyone again. I feel like I'm alone on an island. No one deserves to be treated as if they are invisible. What can I do to stop this vicious cycle? My current approach is obviously not effective at all. Please help. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.