Support for non-add spouse

In seeing a lot of frustration throughout the comments....I thought it might be good to hear some thoughts from people on what they can do as the non-add partner,to help allieviate the frustrations we experience with the ADD partner.There is a lot on certain situations or how to help the ADD person,but how about personal coping mechanisms for peace.Not anything about negatives or positives of ADD,but more of a personal approach in handling the emotional part of it.I realize how easy it is to get caught up in changing/helping/mothering/nagging/preaching,etc,etc towards the ADD person.Along with consistently trying to be patient,understanding,helpful,hopeful,positive,etc,etc.In other words..all the emotions.It gets down right exhausting.A roller coaster of emotions.

To get started,here are some suggestions that have helped me.I hope to hear some others.I find when it all gets too much and you feel like your going crazy...you need to take care of yourself first and foremost.You are of no good to your partner if you aren't happy yourself.My ADD partner has helped me to realize this actually.Everytime I would bring up yet another ADD thing...he would come back at me and say..."Your also not happy either and have your own issues!"Ya know what...he was right.That was a hard comment for me to swallow and for a long time,yet something that being in a relationship with an ADD person will do...is mirror your own issues!!Gauranteed! You certainly are forced to push through your own stuff,whether you want to or not.I think because of all the feelings that go with what we go through day in and day out,you can't not face your own personal struggles.Make sense?I think also as women...we can carry some self esteem issues,control issues,co-dependant issues,etc that contribute to the struggles of the relationship.I may be stepping on toes here or causing upset with my own gender,but I am speaking from personal experience on how I have had to take a look at me too and not always blame them.

First off,in all honesty...sometimes all the focus and push to "educate yourself as much as you can about ADD!" Frankly sometimes it can be all out depressing to do that.I have found when I read these ADD books..I get more mad and depressed.Yes I read the positives about it too...but I need to put a time limit on it and not focus or obsess about ADD.I think as the frustrated partner...you tell yourself all the time..."If it weren't for you having ADD,we wouldn't have these problems,so as soon as your fixed..things will be fine."Truth be told..I think we all think that at some point.Sometimes for the sanity of everyone...it just needs a break.I was always suggesting books,counseling,medication,etc. and it just drove him away.Granted I wasn't using the right approach,but my emotions were in the way!

I started by loosing sleep at night.Everynight...getting only three to four hours of sleep because the wheels just kept turning on how to make my relationship better.In case you haven't figured out by reading...yes I would be called very codependant!This I know.So I started by sleeping in a separate bedroom from him.That helped a lot.Also make sure you do things for yourself and by yourself.It is so easy to pick up the phone and complain to friends and loved ones."Guess what my ADD partner did today!?"At the end of the conversation..you really don't feel all that better about it and maybe even feel bad because you ripped all over him to your friends and then are left feeling guilty anyway.They just get tired of hearing about it and tell you to leave him or find someone else.(Depending on how supportive they are...they may not say that and just listen to you vent.)Unless you deal with your frustrations on a very personal level...you never really deal with the emotions.

It helps to talk to a counselour for yourself.If your a spiritual person...go to church or talk with your pastor.I really like exercise!I am a big hiker in the woods.Walks,ride a bike,walk your dog,ride a horse.I find that when you exercise,some of the things that the ADD partner does...suddenly don't bother you as much anymore because your mentally and physically in a better place.Seriously...it has helped me.Massages,take a bath,go to a hot springs,get a hottub,soft music,watch the birds,read a book not on ADD,visit friends but vow not to talk about your ADD spouse,start a new hobby,make some new friends,volunteer.They say that helping others makes your own troubles not look so bad.

Also I think it is safe to say that we always feel that we have to be kind,patient and understanding of our ADD spouse.You know what...it is OK to allow yourself to be angry about it.Just do it properly.That is why a trusted counselour is soo helpful.We always hear and make ourselves feel that we are not being patient enough..."be more patient of him/her..after all they have ADD!"I tell ya what..I am a nanny of twins and when I come home...my patience card is all wore out.I watch kids all day.I don't want to come home and watch another kid.I know you stay at home mothers and people with kids feel the same way.So allow yourself those real feelings to come out..just not at your partner.

I think just getting grounded sometimes helps you to not loose control.Ever feel like something has just got to give?I do and it can be scary.Be kind to yourself,your dealing with a lot!Not everyone can do this job that god has given us.Sometimes I feel pretty proud of myself that I can deal with it as well as I do.I know a lot of my girlfriends would have been gone a long time ago!So take pride in that you do deal with it.

The stress and anger has to have an outlet.That is why I exercise.The relaxation of mind has to be there so I happen to be a big hottub fan.I am a spiritual person,so go to church and also read self help books,etc.You have to eat right and have a good diet.Take vitamins.I am really finding out you have to be "in shape" in mind and body so to speak to deal with what we deal with on a daily basis.Ever feel like it takes a true counselour to be partners to these people?I do.

If nothing else...you will find it easier to deal with the issues that come up.You will be a better partner in soo many ways.Your ADD partner will respect you more and maybe actually start to want to get help and change themselves if they see the focus isn't all on them.Again...coming from experience.

Once your in a better place and your partner likes you again.Something that helped clean the slate for us was to get back to doing something fun together.Our counselour suggested that each of us write on a piece of paper five to ten things that we could do together,that we had NOT done together before.Think outside the box.It was really fun and really helped bring some new hobbies in our relationship.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the daily grind and cycle that it all just needs to come to a screeching halt.Sadly enough sometimes divorces happen when they may not need to.Relationships may end when they don't have to.At least if you know you took care of yourself throughout it all,you will have still left with yourself and your self esteem.Failed relationships are hard enough,but if you do choose to leave knowing you did all you could in a healthy way...it makes ending the relationship a litlle easier.

So have outlets,get your mind off of ADD and remember that it is OK to feel your own feelings too.Those I believe are the things that will help greatly in clearing the road to see the positives of ADD.You have to work through the negatives to see what the positives even are.They are there,you just can't always see them clearly when your upset...and rightly so.

Good luck and may peace be with us ALL!

love my husband dearly

I love my husband dearly, but sometimes, I am so very resentful of his ADD that it can be difficult for me to try to remember and be sensitive to the challenges is causes for him.  We are expecting our first baby in about 8 weeks and throughout the pregnancy, I have been more needy than usual.  I am a very take charge person and I am the type that can multi-task and get more done in a day than some people do in a week.  While I have been pregnant, I haven't wanted to do as much and have felt overwhelmed by things that normally would be no problem. I am also moving into the nesting phase and starting to get focused on getting everything organized for the baby.  My husband has spent the last two years overwhelmed by a job that required him to work about 70-80 hours a week and that trickled into every aspect of our lives, meaning that we rarely had a day even on vacation that he was not hyperfocused or obsessed with work (even when he was not working).  I have tried my best to support him through this past two years, but have often struggled to be understanding of why he cannot let go of work or set aside time that is focused only on our marriage and on me.  About three weeks ago, my husband was laid off from his job and I was secretly thrilled because I thought that this would be a time for us to reconnect before the baby comes.  I also thought that now he could assume some of the tasks on my plate and relieve me of a few things that are stressing me out....(we are moving in about two weeks and I have a lot of work travel right now).  The past few weeks, the lack of structure in my husband's day to day life has meant that it seems to take forever for him to be motivated to start a task, that he drags out completing things or procrastinates until the last minute and then requires my rescue.  I am aware that his parents rescued him throughout his childhood and now am aware that he probably was attracted to me in some way because I would continue to support him in the way that his ADD sometimes makes it difficult for him to be successful.  

 

Even though I recognize and know the challenges and gifts of ADD, it is still difficult to be loving and tolerant of him and the things that I feel disappointed by....when I am feeling on top of my game, I can be incredibly understanding of him and supportive and even at times thrive on being needed and able to help him.  I recognize that we are a bit co-dependent by this because the same reasons I resent his ADD at times are also the things that at times allow me to save the day and feel very important to him.  I recognize that some of our problems or my disappointment about things can be due to my unrealistic expectations about what he is capable of giving me due to his ADD.  When I get frustrated, I am the first to point out where he is letting me down and not supporting me and this causes him to feel hopeless that he will ever be able to give me what I need.  The other problem we have is that when I start to feel like my load is heavier and that I am stuck with dealing with everything, if he corrects me or is not tolerant of me in some way, I feel that he is being extremely critical and almost as if it is beyond his right to criticize me given everything I am juggling.  While I understand that in some ways this is irrational, it is difficult for me to not read into his criticism (sometimes constructive) and feel like he is not only not supportive of me, but also not tolerant of me at a time that I am being so tolerant of him.  The problem is, typical to ADD, he is unaware most of the time of how his ADD is affecting me and not aware of how tolerant I am being of his inability to complete tasks.

 

Now the rational part of me realizes that it takes two to tango and that neither of us are perfect in this area, but as the spouse without ADD, it is hard to be forgiving of him and the things he can't seem to do to support my needs.  What I am trying to do right now is keep in mind that this is a really stressful time for him.....that losing this job, even though he hated it every day, has affected his self-esteem and has added another failure in his mind to his life.  He is very intelligent, but ADD definitely caused a lot of underperforming and kept him from achieving his full potential and leaving him with a great deal of regret.  I try to be mindful of this and the fact that I cannot relate to this feeling in my life because I was an overachiever who consistently met and exceeded expectations and who does not have a great deal of regret about my achievements.  He finally started taking meds for ADD about 7 months ago and it has made a difference in his ability to stay focused, but I think now it is apparent to him what could have been if he had faced his ADD with meds years ago.  

 

I am not a poster wife for supporting a spouse with ADD....as I often have feelings of resentment and anger that he is incapable at times of meeting my needs.  However, if I had to give advice for how to keep the marriage and love going strong I would say this.....

 

1.  Schedule time to discuss ADD and how it affects your marriage and feelings.  Pick times that you can both focus on the conversation, that you are emotionally engaged and not too tired, exhausted, irrational or overwhelmed to discuss this in a productive and healthy way.  This is not a discussion to be had when we are emotionally charged or angry.

 

2.  Be open and honest about how your spouses behavior affects you and make practical suggestions about how they can better meet your needs.  It may seem silly, but for instance, if remembering to do something nice or romantic is something your ADD spouse forgets to do often, have them agree to put reminders in their calendar so that they remember how important it is to participate in random acts of acknowledging how much they love you and appreciate you.

 

3.  Educate yourself about ADD.....purchase books on the topic and keep them close by....even if you have read them....when you are angry, they can be a great source of talking you down from a ledge and reminding you that some of your spouses behavior is not really a choice.

 

4.  Sleep on it.  I am a big believer in conflict resolution in the moment.....however, sometimes, you need to walk away for a bit, take a break and refocus on what you want to accomplish in resolution and not just the anger you feel you need to express.  Although this is very difficult to do and something that I struggle with every fight we have, I keep hoping that practice will make perfect.  If you both can agree to try to deescalate situations when they seem to bubble up, then you could have at least a few occasions where both parties can focus on what you want and not on the anger.  Although very difficult, this can work with practice...but it means that both of you have to chuck your resentment at the door and engage in healthy discussion focused on solutions and not blaming.

 

5.  Remind yourself of why you married your spouse in the first place.  Although that can be hard when it seems that those reasons aren't reality any more, there are always things to remember or focus on about your spouse that make them a good person.  Both people change as a marriage progresses and that is normal.  Ask yourself how you have changed and how that may be affecting your marriage.  Do you have more resentment and a shorter fuse now?  Has the stress of work and children affected you and your ability to be tolerant of your spouse's ADD behaviors?  What responsibility can you take for the issues that have come up in the marriage and what can you do to minimize the stress?

 

I have been married to my

I have been married to my husband for 18 years. The first 10 years we hopped from therapist to therapist. At some point in the 11th year it occurred to me that he has ADD/H. It took the next 5 years for me to convince him that he indeed has ADD/H, and another year after that to convince him to see a therapist and start taking meds. He has now been on ADD medication for a year, but my marriage does not seem to have undergone any significant change. As an educator and a parent of an ADD child, I have more information about ADD than I know what to do with, and yet every time something occurrs to me about my husband or my marriage that involves ADD, it's like a huge light bulb moment, "Oh, Gee, I never realized that I could attribute this behavior (or lack thereof) to ADD." It is mind boggling and frustrating that I have not put all of the pieces of this puzzle that is my marrige together yet. I really feel like I am at the end of my emotional rope. It seems that we have the same conversation/arguments/pleading sessions over and over and over, and nothing seems to change. Sometimes, it gets better for a short while, but part of his ADD is not being able to sustain lasting change. It just seems hopeless, knowing that the issues in the relationship will never get resolved, and I find that I have given up hope. I do love my husband, but I don't know how to stay in a relationship where there is no hope for change. Any advice?

I wish I had advice for you,

I wish I had advice for you, but all I can do is offer empathy. I felt like I was reading my very own posting as I scanned through yours. I have been married to my husband for 17 years and like you am a parent of two AD/HD children (only time will tell with the third). I also work with AD/HD children in education and am a therapist. I did most of my MA degree in AD/HD. I live it, eat it, breathe it, and finally choked on it. I love my husband dearly but finally asked (ok, demanded) that my husband leave last month. My husband has gone from at least somewhat managing a career as a software architect for many years to unemployed (he's been fired 5 times in the last two years) and completely unmotivated. He would watch me go to work and then come home and do all of the chores including caring for the kids, laundry, etc. along with managing our small ranch. The final straw was how resentful he would get if the kids interrupted him while he was on the computer "looknig for a job" ( this took an average of 14-16 hours a day). He admits he has AD/HD but will not make the appointment to get to the Dr. to get his meds. Inside, my husbad is loving, generous and tender. However, over the last several years he has acted self-centered with a sense of entitlement that just floors me. My heart breaks over this seperation but I have to start taking care of myself so that I can care for my children. In the past month I have been able to get a handle on our financial situation, finish many of the projects he left behind, get our two broken cars up and running and find a better place for the children and I to live. I didn't realize how much his illness was holding our family back. I am not one to advise seperation for anyone....I just knew what I had to do to hold my sanity and that of my children!

Leaving

I wonder if you can give me your perspective on how this will affect your kids. I have been married to an ADHD man for 30 years. I have two kids still at home-16 and 14-and we are contemplating separation. He is the one who wants to leave. He says we are poison for eachother and I know that he is right. He has very low self esteem and mine is pretty good considering the marriage has been so debilitating. We cannot have a conversation about his problem without him reacting and saying I am being critical. It doesn't matter how I say it, he receives it that way. I told him this morning that the two main issues were the adhd and his low self esteem and that they were the biggest factors in the marrriage and he said I was being critical. He said that my saying he had low self esteem was no different than his dad telling him he was never going to amount to anything but poor, white, trash. I was dumbfounded. I am also beginning to realize that he is very self-absorbed. It's always about his feelings and his needs and his work and his world. I wonder if he has not been manipulating me all these years. He was without his dad in his life for the first 8 years and I wonder if he used the pity party routine to manipulate his mother. I find that the predominating emotion I have always had for this man is pity. I care for him very deeply but being "in love" with him is a feeling that has been very rare in our marriage. I am so confused. Thirty years is a long time to give to a marriage and then just call it quits. I worry about my kids. Especially my daughter who is more like her dad--soft hearted, needs quite a bit of confirmation--thank God she has not been subjected to the abuse and neglect that her father grew up with. I would do anything to keep from putting them through this. I am willing to go 4 more years if necessary until they are out of the house, but he is not. We really don't fight and argue a lot. There is no point. We are just sort of cordial to eachother. Anybody have an insight? We have been in and out of counseling all of our marriage. We are in counseling now.

I have grappled with these

I have grappled with these same questions. As a parent you would do anything to protect your children, even spend 30 years of your life in an emotionally draining relationship that makes you forget what normal looks like. I admire you for considering to stay another 4 years in the marriage for the sake of your daughter. You should know though that no matter how old she is, it will still be hard for her to deal with. True, she will be older and more mature, and may even be out on her own living her own life, but it will still be difficult for her. You mentioned that there is no arguing, but do you have an emotional connection to your husband? If you don't are you willing to go 4 more years without feeling that connectedness? I know what you mean about leaving after having been in a marriage for so many years. It's like, even if things are awful, you have so much history together, it's like ripping away a part of yourself and leaving it behind. How do you consciously do that? I'm guessing that the answer is that the alternative of staying is so painful and unacceptable that you have no alternative but to leave. It sounds like staying is not a terrible option to you. If that is the case, then perhaps you should stay. Whatever you do though, don't use your children as an excuse to be in an unhappy place in your life. That just teaches your children to not value their own happiness and their own needs. Let them see you making an active decision to secure your happiness, whether it is staying and finding ways to make your life a happy one, or moving on and finding inner peace.

Shelley

Only you can answer the question about leaving.  There is research that suggests that children of divorce have a harder time making meaningful connections in their lives later on.  There is also research that supports that families in which the parents are fighting leave a scar on their kids, too.  Not sure about parents who cohabitate without connection, though it's hard to imagine a situation where you could be co-habitating neutrally, particularly with your husband suggesting that you are poison for each other.  That doesn't suggest something as benign as "just sort of cordial to each other".  It suggests a whole lot of pain.

I note that your opinion of the factors that are negative in your marriage are aimed at him - in other words you sound as if you are blaming him completely for the direction in which your marriage has gone.  That is always a red flag for me, for it is almost never the case that just one party is responsible (exceptions - abuse, criminal activity, addiction, maybe a couple more).  However, the fact that you are in counseling suggests that you are exploring the contributions you've both made, so it may just be the direction of what you were thinking of when you were writing this time.

If your daughter has characteristics of her father, then that might be a good thing.  After all, you loved him once enough to marry him.  Instead of thinking about what you might lose if you get divorced, perhaps you can think about how you can best support her regardless of whether or not you stay married.  How can you help her gain self-confidence, for example, so she feels less need for confirmation from others?  (One idea here - read Hallowell's book "Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness".)  How can you stay really connected to your daughter, even if you aren't connected to your husband so that she sees herself as a separate entity and not reflected in your disatisfaction with your marriage (I always worry about ADD kids in marriages where the reason for leaving a spouse is their ADD - what goes on in their heads?  Do they say to themselves "My father was unlovable because of his ADD therefore I must be, too!")

I'm also having trouble squaring your picture of your husband being self-absorbed with the fact that you are actually talking about whether or not to separate.  My impression is that a truly self-absorbed person would simply walk out.  Again, this makes me wonder if you are being completely open with yourself about your own role in your troubles (this is not a criticism, by the way.  Not understanding one's role in ADD interactions is completely typical.  It stems, in part, from how completely differently you think and do things and how bad the ADD symptoms can be - an obvious target for resentment etc.)  Also, I would note that my own husband became completely self-absorbed when our marriage was at its worst.  It wasn't because he was a naturally self-absorbed person.  It was his survival mechanism for dealing with the grief, pain and sadness in his marriage.  (And for escaping my anger and accusations of responsibility, which he didn't think he had earned quite as much as I did at the time...he was right in this, by the way, and I was the one who turned out to be wrong.)  Is it possible that his self-absorbtion coincides with a decline in his feelings about your relationship?

What did you do with the white trash comment?  If you could understand WHY he feels this way - and WHY he feels the two of you are a toxic combination, that might help you make up your minds about the next steps.  If you think you are at least interested in having a better understanding of each other before you make that final break, then consider learning the "speaker/listener" discussion technique reviewed in  "Fighting for Your Marriage" and consider finding a really good marriage therapist.  The "speaker/listener" technique helps you discuss things in more depth and come to understand points that your spouse might have that aren't immediately apparent.  The authors suggest putting aside problem solving for a while in order to understand better each other's point of view better...which makes a lot of sense because you can then apply your new understanding to figuring out if you are solving the right problem.

Finally, a technique that helped me when I was considering divorce was stopping thinking about my MARRIAGE and thinking instead about my RELATIONSHIP(s)  (in your case I would say both spousal relationship and with kids).  Just because you've invested in a boat that is sinking doesn't mean you need to stay aboard as it goes under.  On the other hand, you will ALWAYS have a relationship with this man - so it is in your best interests (and your kids) if you can make it a comfortable one at a minimum.  You may find, as I did, that things will get better as you start thinking "friendship" rather than "marriage".  (In my case things changed enough that we are still married...but that shouldn't be your goal - the goal should be to find a way to be friends.)

Please let us know how it is going.

Shelley Follow your own heart

Shelley Follow your own heart and head on this matter. Don't listen to nonsense from anyone else. God gave you the ability to make an informed decision for yourself based on what YOU know and what YOU feel. You know what to do....just listen to inner self speak. Best wishes for a peaceful ending whatever it is that you choose

My heart hurts for you and I

My heart hurts for you and I can't even begin to imagine the range of emotions you must be feeling. What a strong person you are for having the courage to make one of the hardest choices in life. It sounds like you are on your way to a better place in your life. I wish I could find the inner conviction and strength needed to reclaim my life. It can be very frustrating because I talk to my close friends for support but if you are not married to a spouse with ADD you just can't understand the magnitude of what life can be like. It sometimes feels as if I am living in an alternate reality from everyone else, up is down, right is left, and then I start wondering is it me? Maybe I am the one that isn't seeing things clearly. Maybe I'm crazy, or irrational, or unfair, or....and the list is endless. Sure I have my own baggage that I brought to the marriage, and after years in therapy with my husband I have become more self aware and I am very cognizant of what I need to work on personally. The problem is, his issues feed into my insecurities from my past and without security and stability, I don't know how I'm suppossed to complete my own personal growth process. I am working with a great therapist who has been tremendously helpful, but I am at an impasse, because I have finally come to realize (not neccesarily accept) that my husband will not change (or can not change.) I don't know how to make things work if he is who he is and I am who I am. Then, I am left with, 'well, I can change, but he can't so again were does that leave me?'

Not Much Hope

I have been reading all of these treads and am coming to conclusion that there is no hope for peace as long as we are living with someone with ADHD.  I have always been a determined person.  This is my second marriage, my first tossed me for a younger model, this one swept me off of my feet.  He was amazing until immediately after we married.  It was like someone hit a light switch.  I have endured 13yrs of the rollercoaster.  I thought now that we are diagnosed there may be hope but from what I am observing and reading this is not so.  I have been mentally beat down to the point I spend my time in a spare bedroom and many nights with the door locked as he is not happy with me now that he sees I am really fed up and ready to walk.  I am the breadwinner, he refuses to leave but can not make the house payment and I can not make 2 house payments.  The house is cluttered from one of the house to the other with papers, mail, newspapers etc......  He has moved the furniture out to start a project (a week ago) but has not been working on it and just leaves the furniture scattered and all over the place.  You can barely walk through the room.  I am mentally drained and I am thinking it may just be worth it to walk away, not worry about the house payment and let the bank have it rather than play tug of war with him over it.  I am at a loss.  Tomorrow I am getting boxes to at least pack what is left of my sentimental things that he has yet to break with one of his fits and get them into storage as quickly as possible.  He can tell I am not the same.

Im sorry about your current

Im sorry about your current situation... I have one suggestion: before you do anything, SEE a lawyer, a good one. You sound tired and mentally exhausted s dont make any rash moves until you know best how to protect yourself and your assets- whether or not separation/divorce is in your cards (or not), you need to become informed as to what your rights are.

I have met with attorneys

I have met with attorneys twice.  Once I actually filed 8yrs ago and kick myself for not following through but that Prince on a white horse reappeared and sucked me right back into this rollercoaster.  I know I could file a restraining order and have him removed but I also know he will not honor the staying away part.  I have never believed in running away from your life's problems but staying and facing it head on has only worn a very strong woman down.  I have become bitter and yes very angry and I do not like seeing myself this way.  I do not want to fight anymore and I know he will fight to the end of the earth for the material and monetary things as he did in his 1st divorce.  I always believed he was just oh so treated badly by his first wife and I am sure she had her contributions.  I can, though, see why she has so much anger toward him even now after all of these years.  I do not want to be like that.  I am ready to just walk away and start anew in quiet.  I can also see why she has never made a final commitment to her current man in her life of 15yrs.  They both still live at their own homes and keep their own space.  I really relate to her and understand her coldness and distance toward him which, unfortunately, effected their Son.  I don't want to live the rest of my life angry.  I don't want to hate him and I am starting to suspect some of that is building.  My biggest weakness/strength is the inability to hold a grudge against anyone.  Sometimes I wish I could just so I can completely let go of it all.  I am guilty of worrying way too much about the other person's feelings, what they think of me, etc...  He is the type that will angrilly run around and bad mouth me to the world and is very good at turning people against me.  I am litterally looking for the opportunity to transfer my work to another State and live elsewhere in order to peacefully get myself out of here with just my clothes and sentimental items that can not be replaced.  The rest is just material and that is more important to him than anything.

Whoa!  I was totally there a

Whoa!  I was totally there a few months ago. I think all signs are telling you to go.  I do agree with the comment about seeing a lawyer, even just to see what you should do financially.  There are lawyers out there that just focus on the finances of divorce, so you may want to see how to best protect yourself (in lieu of a house default or maybe that is the only option) because the reality is that you don't deserve to have to start over.  Though I think I would be so inclined to just walk away and leave with just my clothes and person items, forget all the other stuff, and just move forward.  The only that has kept me with my husband is that we have a son.  I was afraid what my husband might do to fight for him because he is also very vindictive and has been married before and was horrible during that divorce (I mean he sounds just like your J**k except my husband doesn't have a child with his first wife).  I don't think you worry way too much about the other's person's feelings (i am guessing here).  I think it is just that your spouse considers your feelings so little (or not at all) that it makes you seem like you do so much.  You are probably a normal, caring, and empathetic woman and there is nothing wrong with considering how other people will react when you do something.  That is just not part of most ADHD'rs mindsets.  And clearly your husband has turned really abusive to you as well.  This battle you cannot stay, stick it out, or win.  You are not running away from life's problems by leaving, you will be leaving a very toxic relationship in which you cannot change.  I hope that you do figure out what you need to do to leave and move forward with the happy life you know you are meant to have.  Know this: you probably won't ever be in this type of situation again since you have experience to know what to look out for.