What is this?

I am reeling this morning, I just do not know how to cope with this anymore.

The last few days I have been ill with Tonsillitis, really very ill. I have been laid up since Monday. My husband really shone in this time, he cleaned the kitchen, he put me to bed, he rubbed my legs when I had a fever. However, as I got better, his behavior seemed to deteriorate, almost as if, when I was totally dependent on him, it brought out something nurturing. Of course the worm had to turn.

The last two mornings have been the worst (mornings are always thorny in our household - which I hate) yesterday we had a row from nowhere when he demanded that I may the nursery bill from my housekeeping money (all our money goes into a joint account except for the money for housekeeping which I keep, essentially so I know people will still be able to eat) I contribute over £1400 to our "joint account" every month, which is to cover nursery and joint bills and savings (which is also more than he makes in an entire month) I am immediately suspicious - what's happening with the money in the account then hun? He goes off his rocker and says, what does it matter which money we use? Eventually he concedes that he will go and pay the nursery fee's not before kicking over a chair in front of our daughter and flouncing out of the house. He doesn't even touch the breakfast that I lovingly made for him in appreciation of how nice he had been over the previous two days. I follow him out to the car, as he is dropping our Daughter at Nursery (we only have one car and I was off work due to being ill) I put the baby in the car (wracked with nerves that he is going to drive like a madman) and tell him calmly - don't ever kick a chair over in front of Alara again, that is out of order. - he tells me to F off and reverses down the drive.

He comes home in the evening, acting like everything is fine - like nothing happened in the day, but he know's I am pissed off, so he creeps around me, trying to goof off to make me laugh.I make dinner and then I sit reading Melissa's book while he studies his electrical engineering book, eventually I go up to bed, and he follows about 2 hours later.

fast forward to this morning and he gets up late, comes down to Eggs on toast, he asks me to go and pick up he thyroxine prescription from the doctors which is about 2 miles away, I say "sure hun, so if I come with you to work, I can take the car and pick you up later" he glares at me and says NO, you cant have the car today. Why do you want the car. I need the car. YOU dont need the car (even though he had asked me to run an errand not 60 seconds earlier) I say but hun, you are just going to work, where the car will sit all day until you come home, so why cant I use it. He says he needs it for lunch (which he doesn't) I ask him why, he says he just needs it, and why do I need it (again) I say to pick up his meds, he then says forget it, he can do it. I am to stay at home today. WTF??? He then flounces out to the car AGAIN. I follow him out, to get the pram from the boot (so I am NOT trapped in the house with a toddler all day) and he glares at me. I say again, you need to get this under control - he then punches the window and again tells me to F off.

I text him and say  his behavior is unacceptable. It is not healthy and Alara is starting to be affected by it (she was very clingy afterwards)

He text's back "You push me to do it - that's your plan" I mean seriously? What does that even mean?

Has anyone else experienced what I consider to be serious controlling and manipulative behavior in this way? I am considering that this is something more insidious than ADHD all together. Lately, he is obsessed with saving money and makes my life very difficult if I spend anything which is not preapproved (yet he can spend what he likes on whatever he likes - total double standards) when he is challenged about this, he gets aggressive, uses shock and awe or occasionally will claim that he is trying to build a future which includes hair brained business schemes and a 5 series BMW (which would couldn't afford to drive because of the cost of petrol and insurance) He gets moody and angry if I go anywhere, even to the shop alone - yet he can go anywhere.

Any time he "acts out" it's my fault, the crappy, naggy wife. I PUSH him to do lots of things, things that he choses to do.

I just wish that he would take responsibility for his actions. I am starting to really feel hopeless and the only way to resolve this, to get some of my sanity and self esteem back is to end it for once and for all. The more it happens, the closer I get to the edge.

I don't have a huge support network, which he knows and likes I think, because then there is no one to tell me that his behavior is intolerable. So he gets to maintain his position.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I have been reading melissa's book and although I agree with most of the principles, I feel like I am way beyond any of it at the moment.

something's going on


In my experience (and I'm old so I get to claim my experience is actually useful ;)  )  everyone (not just ADDers) is subject to the concept of cognitive dissonance, which is that your brain has great difficulty holding two opposite ideas or truths at the same time.  For example, when faced with an ethical question, a person will either stand against what they think is wrong, or change their mind about whether it is wrong.  When a person does something, and a part of them believes it is wrong, they will either confess and face the consequences, or convince themselves they were not wrong.  The "changing our mind" part is accomplished by saying one of three things:  it's not wrong (distort), I didn't do it (deny) or you made me do it or you do it too (deflect).  I call distort, deny and deflect the Three Stooges.  So let's start with the idea that everyone does this.  Me included.  Most people use these techniques only when the consequences are perceived to be pretty severe.  For example, someone might readily admit they lost something, but deny they stole something.  In my experience with my ADD guy, he uses the Three Stooges much more often than I do.  I would say "dang, I forgot to put out the garbage."  He would say "I forgot to put out the garbage because you went to bed early and messed me up."  I would say "I'm sorry, that was harsh.  Forgive me  for snapping at you."  He would say "I didn't say it to hurt your feelings" or "You're too sensitive."   From my reading here and in books, I think I understand this comes from a lifetime of feeling a sense of failure, and these "crappy coping mechanisms" are developed to protect themselves from that.  If I were someone who repeatedly failed to follow through on promises I desperately wanted to keep, and didn't understand why I couldn't follow through, no matter how hard I tried, from childhood onward, I'm pretty positive I, too, would develop methods to keep from hating myself.  I've always said I can very easily live with my husband's particular struggles with ADHD -- inattention to me, hyper-focus on computers and video games, procrastination (for years on some things), thoughtless comments, total imbalance in housework and maintenance and financial irresponsibility -- my greatest pain has come from his refusal to acknowledge and find aids to these issues, his attempts to deflect them onto me, and his refusal to acknowledge how these behaviors affect us both.  It's not the ADHD, it's the Three Stooges.  That I've been married 36 years is probably due mostly to the fact that he never shouts or swears at me, he never storms around or threatens me with physical anger, and he keeps a job. I recognized many couples have more "serious" issues than we do.

Question:  is the chair-kicking and cursing unusual for him?  I ask because my guy and I are very low-key in our argument style.  We both curse on occasion, but have never cursed at each other.  We get angry, but we say we are angry and can talk it out (even if we never agree) without shouting, leaving or kicking furniture.  But I know many couples have a more volatile style, they either inherited or are naturally inclined to, personality-wise.  So I don't say that shouting or kicking furniture is wrong, per se (boy that was hard to say) but is it usual for you?  

My suspicion from your description is that he is spending or has spent money he shouldn't have and is looking to you to make up the shortfall, and telling you it's for "saving".  He is feeling great stress about the "wrong" he has done, and is trying to shift it away from himself.  He is in a bind of some sort and can't see a way out.  In general, I believe women experience fear and it shows up as anxiety, sadness, vulnerability.  When men experience fear, it manifests as anger or withdrawal.  He is angry because he is afraid of something.  He has done something (or more than one thing) that he wishes he hadn't done, and needs to make it your fault.  Whether he has a problem at work, a problem over money, or has betrayed you in some other way, I have no idea.  But if this type of anger isn't normal for him, there's something more going on.  That would be my guess, whether the person in question had ADHD or not.  All people do crazy things when they are trying to hide something, and I think some folks with ADHD have fewer ways to cope.  

Take this for what's worth.  Your story jumped out at me because I'm dealing with an employee issue at work, and I can see the escalating pattern of "I didn't do it -- You do it, too" and "You made me do it" growing more and more desperate.    Your comment about him not liking it if you went anywhere, yet he goes everywhere reminded me of my employee - if I walk by his desk, I'm spying on him.  If I leave the office, I'm in a secret meeting about him.  Did he need the car, but for a reason he didn't want to tell you?  Does your going out alone make him worry you are doing something "to him"?  Who knows.  But people who are fearful or hiding something have to be suspicious of everyone else, in order to feel like they've got everything "covered".  I may be way off base, but again, if this is new behavior for him, then something "new" is going on.

P.S. my ADHD guy is also not his best in early morning, or late at night.  I keep things light and easy then or keep my distance.  I don't talk about the $500 we're going to spend on a plumbing repair as he's eating breakfast.  I don't ask him if I look fabulous today.  Just not gonna work.  :)  Best wishes.

I couldn't have put it better...

I would have drawn those very same parallels if I was reading someone else's story.

I know something is happening here, because nothing adds up which is why I am slowly getting to the end of my rope. I am tired of crying with frustration, I am tired of being consumed with second guessing his every move. I can only imagine what it must be like to live with this for 20 plus years. I can barely manage 3.

He has got a history of being totally blinkered, and will focus on only what is important to him at that time (which will change in a nano second)

If I look at it at face value this is how it seems to me.

My husband has chronic low self esteem, to compensate, he goes overboard to seem self confident he does and says things that are grandiose, in order for him to feel important, he demands respect from others and he doesn't like it when it isn't offered. He perceives that he can create an illusion for people, and that illusion is that he "deserves respect" I think this is where we are at, he wants to be seen with the trappings of a successful man. It doesn't matter that we are living like church mice at home. It's the outside that matters (you know like chocolate boxes filled with rocks in the war era inside shop windows)

He is obsessed with buying a BMW 5 series - to bolster his self esteem, his image and to be "taken seriously" and probably to impress some ladies somewhere which links in with his chronic insecurity/arrogance issues.

Saving money - the more money the better (his area of hyper focus currently) means that he can buy it quicker (he is impatient) AND have cash to flash, I mean of course RICH people with money in the bank get respected don't you know... He can't get credit here because he has no citizenship, and I REFUSE to bank roll him on this one.

He thinks that as I earn more than him, I should pay for everything, and the money in our joint account (the bill money) should be his own private hedge fund. He doesn't recognize that most of that money is there, because I put it there. So by default I am already paying for the lion's share.

He is going back to Turkey next week, and I am fairly certain this is what he is doing......I bet  he is planning on doing some business while he is there, but he knows I would object on the grounds that import/export and selling ottoman lamps in a time of recession is a BAD idea. Try getting into black market headache tablets I would advise. Of course he cant take advice from his wife, because that makes him a "weak" man....Oh look, we are back at his horrible self esteem issues again.

So while you say it sounds like something is going on - I believe it is....at this point I am hoping it's him back chasing other women again so I can free myself from this carnival of horrors, but honestly it's more likely to do with his belief that he can buy 1000 ottoman lamps, rub one and a genie will pop out and bring a BMW with it.

I know this sounds horribly shabby and like I don't care about him, I do, deeply. I care about the man I married, but this is a part of him that I never met fully before that fateful day. I didn't expect him to be a lodger in my house. I didn't expect him to take root.

To answer your questions; I never swear, I detest the use of bad language in all but the most extreme scenario's where no other word will do. He on the other hand will regularly use expletives when ranting at me. I have never heard him swear at anyone else directly.

the acts of aggression; I have in the past thrown things at him (cushions and a beanbag to be exact) when I last had a total mental blackout. I lost control of myself after an argument where his lack of response and demands of divorce were enough to make me collapse. BUT I do not condone my actions, I would certainly say that the volatility is a new thing. He has slammed doors before, that sort of thing, but he looked me in the eye with seething rage and kicked the chair, it was similar with the window.

the suspicion; he said to me just this last week - I am everywhere he goes...I asked him how he imagined that - he said YOU just ARE...when I pointed out that he spent most of the week at work, and we were only around each other at night or weekends, he went on to say, you are always watching me, looking for my mistakes, checking my things - flabbergasted. I just didn't know how to respond to that. He doesn't want me to go out, but doesn't want me around. Confused anyone?

When I asked him why he made a big deal of me going to the store alone - he said I could be out calling "someone" or meeting someone at the store. So he doesn't want me, but no one else is allowed near? Sorry teenage checkout boy, you were not my type anyway. Seriously though, I think he knows his own tricks best on this one.

I am really trying to let go of my anger. I do it daily. I am meditating, I am working on myself (or trying to) but my thoughts are perpetually corroded with what he is doing/thinking/feeling - why is he so totally different?

I get that mornings are not the best time for people - usually by the time he is up, I have been up for 3 hours. So I have had to temper myself to not talk to him like he has been awake too, BUT HE instigated the conflict, that is what I cant get my head around. Why did he ask me to pick up his meds and then make a huge deal of me using the car. Why yesterday did he demand that I pay nursery only having agreed our joint finances for the 9 millionth time a week earlier? Why does he change the goal posts perpetually and expect me to play "where are they now" and go through the agony of purposeless argument.

I think that he needs help, help that I can't offer. All I do is exacerbate his anger and make the situation worse.



sounds like you see

It sounds like you see pretty clearly what is occurring.  The "cognitive dissonance" you are feeling is the contrast between his behavior and this:  I do, deeply. I care about the man I married.  You are struggling with knowing your experiences are real but they are in direct opposition to your deep caring.  You start to ask yourself, how on earth can I still love someone who treats me this badly?  What is wrong with me?  Arrrrrrg.  I'm so happy to hear you are meditating.  You'd probably have a lot less clarity without it.

This is PROJECTION:  he said I could be out calling "someone" or meeting someone at the store.   What we point to in others is what we don't like about ourselves.  

This is a GUILTY CONSCIENCE:  you are always watching me, looking for my mistakes, checking my things.  When we have done wrong, we become obsessed with hiding it, so assume others are as obsessed as we are.

I'm assuming, since you're here looking for help and to improve the relationship, that you are not "out calling someone" or "always watching" him.  But generally, ADHDers can struggle with accurate perceptions of situations more than most.  It sounds like infidelity would be a deal-breaker for you.  If he is not diagnosed, getting treated, or actively working on living well with ADHD, you will be continually pushed to add one or more "deal-breakers" to your list, or you will have to learn to "get used to" more and more behavior, just in order to resolve your dissonance problem.  It will be solved eventually.  Things get better or things get worse, but they don't stay the same.  So far, I've been able to go on "getting used to it" because even though my guy does not acknowledge his ADHD, he's never "broken our deal" and he --just often enough-- shows me he's open to change and taking responsibility.  

Your last statement is a clear rejection of co-dependency and hurray for you!  We can love, support, cheerlead, etc., but we can't "fix" our spouses.  Not and stay healthy.

There is so much going on for

There is so much going on for you, and though you sound so strong I know that being around someone so consistently negative towards you has the effect of bleeding even the strongest of self esteems. And truth be told, no matter what the source of his negative coping mechanism, you need to find a point where you can "survive" and not only that, but "flourish". Please read the book, "the verbally abusive relationship" by Patricia Evans. She notes many of the things you describe Nd things felt clearer after reading it. Cultural influences, adhd, infidelity, mid life crises, whatever it is: he is being abusive. Part of that abuse is in being very controlling over you (uniquely). Read this book, and let me know what you think....

If it looks like a elephant and sounds like an Elephant

It must be an Elephant Right?

Of course this is abuse - at the very least an abuse of trust, of love, of my good nature, of our relationship and of the vows we made to each other. This pushing and pulling dynamic, if I look at it from a birds eye view without any of my own spiraling emotions and thoughts, is the end result of someone who is OUT OF CONTROL.

This is where the dissonance comes in. I used to say that I would leave anyone who acted in the way my Husband has been acting, I am not selfless enough to take this level of outrageous behavior lying down. That said, my core moral belief is that you don't get married on a whim. You marry for life. I was SURE he and I were soul mates, seems pretty silly now, since I know that was just the hyper focus. He may even have spent night after night on Google researching my interests for all I know. This is really where I am at now, I feel like I married someone else, and in many ways I did. Not only that but this imposter that I live with, is also bringing out someone else within me. The way I relate to him, the way I feel when I am around him, is smaller than myself, needier, unhappy, crazy and well.... a little bit unhinged and scary.

It is like he wants me to be the one to take all the responsibility (read: BLAME) for ending our relationship. Pushing me to the absolute edge of sanity. Gardener, you are right. Infidelity would be a deal breaker, he has been down that path before. I am still working on the forgiveness for that episode (It was when we separated initially but carried on when we reconciled). He know's and I know, that if he let it happen again - it would be beyond all reason. Our relationship would have to end.

When it comes down to brass tacks. I know I am continuing on because we are married and have a semblance of a family, but I don't even know if I can justify the negative impact on the children anymore. Our Daughter loves him dearly, but does she really need to grow up thinking it's ok for a man to treat his family in this way? After all I think this is where I got my blueprint from! My own father is clearly ADD type, a creative, sociable (to anyone outside of his home life) happy-go-lucky man, an active funny man who has magnetic charm and eccentricity - AT home....a different man all together, all the classic symptoms and behaviors are there - the chaos, the infidelity, the bills hidden under the stairs, the dirty clothes, the sloppiness - my mum a burned out, harassed housewife.

I sometimes see it in his eyes, he know's the pain and anguish that this is causing  us both. It's like he is powerless to stop it and so am I.....how can I not get angry when he says hurtful and vile things, or kicks over the chair, or goes out drinking until 5am.... and his response to my crying or anger is always a very cold "we need to get a divorce" like a divorce is a magic bullet which will fix everything. Only, my experience is that if he cant cope communicating inside of our relationship, then outside of it will probably be a very dark and negative place for him, where he will warp everything to such an extent that it will probably end up extremely acrimonious.

I honestly feel that this has to stop, but I cant make him see himself in the mirror. I cant make his stop reflecting his actions back onto me. I guess I need to work on how I can deflect them in a way which says - take back yourself Mr.

I am so glad I found Marissa's book and this forum...It helps to create a certain amount of order in your thoughts, and thank you for recommending a new book for me.