Sorry, this is long as hell. But I'm just at a loss as to what to do. Maybe someone can help.
I am the ADHD spouse. My husband and I have been together for 13 years and married for 10. We have a 4 year old son who is our whole world. We have gone through marriage counseling on three separate occasions: early in our marriage for a few sessions, but husband wasn't in to it, midway through our marriage after I had an emotional affair he wanted to save the marriage, then again last year after my alcoholism got out of control and I got blackout drunk and slept with an acquaintance who I'd known for about 2 weeks. Again, it was he who really wanted to save the marriage. At that time, however, I was the one who was not really in to marriage counseling. I wanted to put my focus into working a recovery program. And honestly, I was a real confused mess right then and there and I just couldn't take in what was happening.
That awful incident a year and a half ago was the last time I drank. I have been sober and actively working a program of recovery ever since. In the last several months especially I feel that I have made immense strides towards becoming a better wife, mother and human being. I know I was awful for about 2 or 3 years leading up to that last drunk. My mother died in 2010, and after she died I began to really hold back from love. Then soon after my mother's death my grandmother, who I was extremely close to, also died. It pushed me over the edge, and I numbed out and pulled away from my marriage, afraid to ever feel the pain of loss again. I didn't take care of my child like I should. I was gone a lot. When I was home, I was drunk. My hangovers were a weekly occurrence. My husband really did have to take over so much when I was this way.
Once I got sober, he began to read books like Melissa Orlov's wonderful book, and "Is it You, Me or Adult ADHD." He thought the ADHD was playing a huge role in a lot of our problems. I got more serious about treating my ADHD and had my psychiatrist adjust my meds so that I'd have some medication "coverage" at home instead of just in the morning at work. It definitely helped. About 4 or 5 months ago, I was at the end of my rope, and he asked me to read Melissa Orlov's book for myself, which I did and I did gain a lot from reading it. But here I am, 4 or 5 months later, at the end of my rope again.
The biggest problem in our marriage is the parent/child dynamic. We both acknowledge this. I feel disrespected overall. He gets little "digs" at me in, like this morning when I said our 4 year old reminded me of me in that he is shy, and he said, "and he can't listen, and he's always distracted." This morning we got in a huge fight (our second huge fight this week, yay!) because I took 5 minutes longer doing meditation than I said I would. He didn't immediately say why he was even mad. Of course, I'm thinking, "Oh, well we're not even late, great! I rock." He stewed for a good half hour before telling me why he was mad. I apologized and said that since I am new to meditating (I'm on day 4) that I was just trying to get into a groove. I don't know what else I could have said. I said I was sorry. He was mad because I hadn't realized immediately that I did something wrong and that I "never take responsibility for anything" and that it's always "his fault" when he's a jerk. I got very angry, I tried not to, but he just pushes me like no one else. Right before we departed for our respective jobs, I said something really nasty and made a b-line for the elevator.
So this morning pretty much fits the pattern of what usually happens. He gets mad because I do something, I get mad because he's mean about it, he gets even more mad because now I'm supposedly blaming him, I start to feel intense shame and start to feel horrible about myself, almost suicidal, and usually I walk away (which really makes him mad, but it's better than saying something I regret), cry or lash out.
In no other relationship I have ever been in has it been this intensely negative. I promise, anyone you would ask who knows me would say I am a really positive, upbeat person. But he brings out this really ugly side of me. Sadly enough, my son has even seen this ugly side. My marriage makes me feel horrible about myself. It makes me feel like if I get a divorce, I should probably just get an apartment and a few more cats and never torment someone with my disorder like I've tormented him. But another part of me knows that I'm not a worthless piece of crap and that maybe he's the one who needs to do some work. How much work can I even do? I'm in recovery, I am starting and sticking with a meditation program, I'm in a 6 week "love yourself and accept everything" art journaling course. I am actively working towards self-improvement. What else can I, personally, do? Meanwhile, what's he done? He went to one Al-Anon meeting and was like, "meh." I asked him to join me in the art journaling course, he said yes but then never did it. I asked him last night, maybe each night before bed we can say one thing we are grateful for and one thing we appreciate about each other. He said no. He went to therapy for awhile but he says they told him there was nothing they could do for him because nothing was wrong with him. And yet I see a very negative, frustrated, borderline abusive person who is in desperate need of some serenity. Even his own mother thinks he is mean to me. And she's thought that since before I even started getting wasted all the time. He once went through a period about 7 years ago where he didn't want to say "I love you" to me anymore because he said "I should just know." Sometimes I'm scared that he's messing with my head and trying to make me think I'm crazy. I want serenity and joy for him, when I pray I pray for it and when I "make wishes" on stars or wishing wells or whatever it's always that he be happy. But how much more abuse can I take? To hear him say it, I am the one causing all of his problems. I have no idea why the hell he wants this marriage to work so badly, but he does. He says he loves me, and I believe that, but he certainly doesn't like me.. I think he's more worried about the financial implications of a divorce and what it would do to our child, and probably what people would think of him if his marriage failed.
Ugh, I don't know what else I can say. Maybe someone has been in my position before, or his position before, and can help? I want a divorce, I really do. I just want to be happy and not have to feel horrible about myself for something so stupid as being 5 minutes later than I said I'd be. I feel hopeless and sad, and I feel bad for my son, who has to listen to him put me down, and who I have lashed out at verbally when my husband has put me down and I'm in that place of deep shame and anger. I don't want to go back to marriage counseling really. It's expensive and it requires us to find child care and why would the fourth time work? I'm not sure this marriage was made to last. We fought our entire honeymoon, for crying out loud! We don't have anything in common and we really never have.
If you made it through to the end, thank you for reading.