We can't get blood from a turnip

Today I am sitting with my own life's reality.  Reading the posts here on this forum, knowing I am not the only one who has done what I did to keep my marriage.

What I have been fighting for close to 10 years is that inner voice that says, "I want out.  I want out out.  I want Out.  Get out.  Get out.  Get out.  My marriage is dead.  My marriage is dead.  My marriage is dead."

My car broke on Tuesday.  My son is a mechanic.  My husband can fix cars.  We have a total of 5 vehicles.  Mine is broke.  The company service van is standard shift, old and a mess.  My daughter lives 30 miles away, works, goes to school and is using one car.  My son  has one of the pick-up trucks, and has an important medical appointment, so he needs to use it.  My brother-in-law asked my spouse to help him today - so my spouse commandeered the other pick-up truck.  I had college classes today.  My spouse said, "I gotta have the pick-up truck today." The first words out of my mouth were, "I guess I'll just miss classes."  

Now I am sitting here kicking myself.  Why did I volunteer to put myself at the bottom of the pile?  It is what I have always done.  How do I get out?  I gotta take care of myself.  My spouse's attitude was one of not offering to help me out - he was hyper-focused on the fact he had volunteered to help my brother-in-law.  So, why, oh why, did I not insist he cancel helping so I could have the vehicle for classes?

We are crazy women, us ladies here on the forum.  We hope and dream for that day when we will be appreciated or acknowledged or honored or respected - by someone who is unable to do that very thing.  We can't get blood from a turnip - because a turnip has no blood to give. We can't get the emotional support from our spouse, because without the proper counseling/coaching, they don't have any to give.  Or, they don't know how to get at it.

The trick for me is to figure out how to get out of the Compassion Fatigue mode, and keep the focus on me.  I AM worn out, MY spark is gone, and that light at the end of the tunnel is fading fast. 

There is another side to the coin

Wow, you have captured in a relatively short post and story an essential nugget of what's essential in a successful marriage (or other relationship perhaps).  Let's set aside ADHD for a moment, because mixed in with how ADHD affects my marriage, lots of other stuff, such as personality, character, family of origin, copying mechanisms for those things AND copying mechanisms for ADHD also affect my marriage.

I read once that people tend to give the love they wish to receive.  Unfortunately, my partner also tends to give the love he wishes to receive.  Ideally, most of the time I would be showing him my love in a way which is meaningful for him.  And he would do the same.  This is extremely difficult for people to do.  I suspect some marriages that seem "easy" to us may be a couple who have similar styles of how they feel most loved.  There are books who say these styles are based on gender... while there may be tendencies toward one style or another being more common among males or females, I have lived too long and seen to much to think those boxes have firm walls.  So.   If I can determine how I wish to be loved by looking at how I show love, I can assume I like to offer to help people, to solve their problems (often without being asked), ... I take "care" of people.  If I do this with a loving, generous spirit, and don't feel resentment if it isn't appreciated, I should continue to do this.  It would be better to find out how the individual prefers it, but if I at least do it with generosity, that's not very harmful.  However, if I constantly offer to help someone (and I do) and also feel put upon (I do) overburdened (I do), unappreciated (I do) want to be "taken care of" in return (I do) and no one ever does the same for me!! (I do) then clearly I am not loving in this way as a generous spirit, I am doing it because I think if I do, I will be loved the same way in return, and when I don't get it I am hurt, angry, lonely, etc., I experience these feelings WAY to often to be happy with myself.  This description is my definition of a martyr.  I am frequently a martyr.  And I am constantly working against the tendency and the resulting awful feelings.  Now take my desire to be loved by "being taken care of" to a man who values independence, self-reliance (his personality and character) with my little tendency, and you can see the problems.  I am loving him in a way which really has no value to him.  And, as a result, it would never occur to him to offer love in that way.  He loves me by believing I am strong, can take care of myself, would prefer to solve my own problems, and not be "helped."  Ugh. 

NOW add in his ADHD tendency to not notice when what he is doing isn't working, or when what he is doing is causing hurt and pain, BIG TROUBLE.  This is what your "blood from a turnip" analogy made me think of.  And I have to ask myself, why I am repeatedly asking, demanding, hoping, praying to get a certain kind of love from my husband, when he either doesn't think that is a demonstration of love at all, and/or can't notice what I need?  That's what I thought of when you said we are a bunch of crazy women, on this board, to expect that.  So I have started to rely on intention when I do things like you described above, offering something that will help another.  And I try to be brutally honest about that intention... am I truly helping another and feeling good about it?  Or am I offering it in the unacknowledged hope I will get similar treatment in the future?  I'm pretty ashamed to say, my motives are rarely pure anymore.  I think that's why helping a stranger can be the most satisfying:  donating blood, tutoring someone else's child, serving soup to the homeless, donating clothes or food to a pantry.  It feels good because the act includes no possibility that the person helped can help you back, and the intention to help has no strings attached.  I have been attaching strings to the love I give to my husband my whole life, and it is one of my greatest struggles.  But ultimately I have to decide without blaming whether the love he has to offer is enough, or it isn't.  That is my choice, my "standard" and if he does not measure up, asking/forcing/expecting him to change is pointless if not unethical.  Yes, I can ask for what I need, and then he can decide if he can do it or wants to do it.  But then if he can't or won't, and I can't accept it, it is then up to me to stop blaming, and make my decision and stay or go.   I admit I have not been completely honest with my husband in this regard, and that's probably a large part of why I am still her. 

I do not mean to imply in any way that this is the mechanism at work in your life.  I merely offer it as how I have come to understand the many similar stories to the one above, and how they have played out in my life.  Best wishes.   

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Took time to contemplate what you said.

Hello Gardener447.  I took some time to mull over your post.  Lots of wisdom in it!

I read about the 'love tank' idea in the book, "the Five Love Languages," by Gary Chapman.  I kept trying to keep my spouse's tank full.  My did not get recharged.  

I know my own love tank is dry, dry dry.  I keep reading  and posting my thoughts here in an attempt to figure-out my own self - I am non-adhd, and think, 1.  I am crazy to still be married, 2. I am not stuck, 3. Why I don't just walk away,  4.  I do not want to be divorced. 5.  My kids - ages 21 and 24 love their Dad!!!

I may be spurned on by guilt.  I was this man's dream come true.  I could not believe anyone would ever love me.  I was amazed when he did.  I so loved that someone would love me.  I believed everything he said.  I believed all our problems were all my fault.  I bent. I yielded.  I kept the peace.  I did what ever he wanted. I took over all the chores.  I took over the finances.  I put up with his poor behavior.   I gave in to his anger, every stinkin' time.  So basically I created a spoiled little kid.  He threw a temper tantrum, he got his own way.  There's that Mother/child dynamic Melissa talks about in her book. 

Then 2 years ago, in the words of Popeye,  I had all I could stands, and I could stands no more. So I began to be firm in what I wanted.  I said no when I meant no.  I quite yielding, and bending and playing the peace at all costs game.  I feel it was not very nice to him for me to up and change the well established rules of our relationship.   Talk about yanking the rug out from under someone!

It is hard to think of walking away from something in which I invested almost 29 years of my life .  

Hard headed?  Maybe.  Stubborn?  For sure.  Looking for guidance and hope?  You betcha'!

I completely and utterly hear

I completely and utterly hear and understand down to the core what you are experiencing! Don't despair.... we still have each other here, there are those who post, those who read from the sidelines, and those who just want to know that they are not completely alone. We're like a bunch of survivors clinging to a raft - at least we have the solace of kindred spirits here when we come up for a breath :)

After a week of not being approved for his meds, dh was livid. He have been literally spinning on an axis for an entire week with no resolution in sight. I finally read the med card the doctor had given him. He was supposed to hand the med card over to the pharmacy and read the brochure as directed by the doctor. It took me 30 seconds to figure it out. I had tried to help earlier but he was spinning off early in the week saying he had it under control. Guess what - he did not read the brochure. He did not hand the med card over to the pharm. No med card, no approval. No med. He has been ranting and setting off a million other things in motion (yelling at pharmacy assistants, insurance reps etc). He simply. did. not. do. what. the. doctor. told. him. to. do. Tomorrow he will go back and hand them the med card. Let's see.

It's sad, this whole afternoon had been mired in my dh's whirling dervish. I feel wasted on this exposure to impulsive, irrational, absolutely unfocussed behavior. I have to deal with 3 individuals in the household that have varying degrees of ADD. And gosh forbid I blow up or crack, everyone (who is not living in this household) will come down on me for being selfish. I'm so busy worrying about everyone, making sure everything is done so I don't have to clean up messes. There is no more time for me. Is it not normal for one to *want* to self-preserve?

I did do one thing today, which I'm proud of. I was able to get myself out of the micro-managed mode of staying stuck under a rock. It was a long shot, but I managed to get "gratis" tickets to an event that dh has refused to discuss with me either because of his lack of focus or his fear of spending money on tickets. Now, of course dh is thrilled to be going. And is acting loving towards me on that account. But before today, it had been months of bringing it up to him and months of him putting me on hold.

I don't care to feel anger anymore. Still feel frustration and sometimes hatred towards my dh (dh's adhd) tho. There is a fine line with the hatred of what it's done to the family and my anger and I'm aware not to become angered inside myself. I don't even know if I've been robbed of my own spark and senses, or conditioned to this point, or I'm letting go of ego, anger, etc. I simply don't know.





llc's picture

My heart hurts for you. I am

My heart hurts for you. I am new, both to the forum and the ADHD diagnosis. I am staggered that so many people with ADHD do not feel remorse for the pain, hurt, and frustration they cause to Spouse and family. I am tormented constantly by my failures and constantly try my best and tell my husband how sorry I am and how much  love and appreciate him.

If your husband wont do his best to treat his ADHD, you are under no obligation to stay in an awful situation. You deserve better and I am so sorry you havent Gotten this in your marriage. God bless. Xo