I'm the non-adhd partner in a mixed relationship of more than six years. While we're not married yet, we will talk about it frequently and have for years now, but the timing just hasn't been right. We would've probably married about 2 years ago or so, but something really big and traumatizing happened to the both of us: her father passed away over the course of a year and a half to cerosis of the liver. The whole experience really sent her into anxiety, depression, and brought out symptoms of her adhd that she'd learned to outgrow from her school years (traits and qualities I'd never seen up until this point, even years into our relationship). Throughout the process of not only going back to school, starting her own business, losing her father/coping with grief and her toxic family, she's started to take medication again and see a psychotherapist for her adhd. That's been about a year now, since she started taking meds, and she used to take them when she was younger, but never do anything else about it, and I think that's a part of this issue...
The trauma that the whole death scenario, rediscovering how adhd fights against her often, and many other things like the pandemic and losing friends has left us both hurt. If you've read Melissa's book, I feel like we're 98% of exactly what she describes. We've become two different people, enraged, confused, and separated by our shared trauma. Her's being PTSD, mine being secondary PTSD. Her's being ADHD flares, mine being compassion fatigue. We both established that we need to work our own healing and our healing as a couple, so she's started seeing a therapist for her grief/anxiety, and I've started seeing one for my situational depression/anxiety/resentment. On top of that, we're in the process of finding a therapist for us as a couples session... But by "us" finding a therapist, I mean me taking hours and hours out of my busy days, wherever I can, to find someone who's covered by insurance AND fits her tight standards for someone she's willing to see. So, I took the time, compiled a list of about 10 counselors I could reach out to, and when I asked her if she could spend 5 minutes with me and point out her top three that I could reach out to and schedule us a session with, she said it was too hard of a topic for us to talk about first thing in the morning. Come the evening time and I mention it again, and she's too tired to think critically right now (even though the past few nights she's been up until 1-3am, and when I asked her in the evening it was around 8pm). Well, it's been four days and as you can guess, she still hasn't told me which therapists she prefers me reach out to. I'm trying to take the not-nagging approach, since I feel like I made it clear I have it ready to talk about and that the ball is in her court. But then this happens: innaction. At this point, this is where my old passive aggressive (or just feeling-responsible-for-everything-as-the-non-adhd-partner) self would come in and I would just schedule something for us, but I know if I do, she'd complain I didn't get her input and would most likely close off even more to getting this off the ground.
When she first found out that adhd was holding her back and starting to hinder her life again, I completely opened my mind and have always listened. When things continually got worse and our communication broke down and we started to realize it, she would say that I just need to learn more about adhd to understand her, and not to try and force her to be someone she's not. Well, what happened? I did dive in and I've done countless hours of research and reading over the past few months. Literal DAYS worth of hours just reading books, listening to videos and podcasts, and searching the internet. When I discovered Melissa's book, I immediately listened to it every chance I got because Iw as desperate for answers on why it had gotten so bad and anything I could do to fix it. We share an audible account, so I asked her if she would listen to it too, and she said she would. Now, it's only 8 hours in audiobook form, and I finished it twice in a week. She didn't even start it. Then she went away to Disneyland with her Mom and sister for 4 days, and when she came back, I had listened to Hallowell's 'Delivered From Distraction' twice as well too. I told her about that one too, and that it would be a good start for her and is even way shorter, but since then, she's still not listened to either of them.
That was OVER A MONTH AGO. Am I crazy for feeling like she's not committed to learning about this like I am? She says she is, and when I even try to bring up anything about it, she gets defensive and says I'm just criticizing who she really is, trying to change her, don't understand her, or that I'm trying to control her. If I ever DARE to bring up how her unmanaged symptoms hurt me, she's go full victim mode, and it feels like she denies my pain. Or she'll say she feels hurt how I don't think that she's committed to it if I try and bring up how easy it would be for her to find 3 hours over the course of a month. There was literally a night just last week where she stayed up until 4 am and when she woke up, the FIRST thing she talked about was how much she was loving re-watching her favorite show and binged 4 episodes of it in a row. THAT'S MORE THAN THE TIME OF THE BOOK. I'm sorry, I feel like I've got off the rails and just started ranting... But I think I finally got enough of the story out to ask my real question here:
How can I approach the topic of healing and understanding adhd and it's effects on me without her getting defensive or shutting down? How do you know when to engage again when you've disengaged to give them space to show you they can do something themselves but just WON'T take ANY innitiative, even when there's countless opportunities?
I don't just feel like I'm walking on eggshells... I feel like I'm swimming in a pool of glass shards, and she's STILL denying that I'm hurt or that healing us needs to be priority number one.