When I got to acceptance

1. Denial and Isolation

I have realized that I spent hours, days, weeks, months and years, keeping myself alone in my own life's reality.  I, ME, had to change.  I, ME, had to be making some big mistakes.  I, ME, was not good enough to get marriage right.  I, ME, was so ashamed I could not hold it all together.  I, ME, spent so much energy putting out all the emotional fires that were started, I was driving myself crazy.  There has to be SOMETHING I can do.  There has to be SOMETHING I haven't tried.  I CAN make this better.  I CAN fix this marriage.  I CAN prove to the world that my marriage is WONDERFUL, HEALTHY, HAPPY.  I CAN put up a good front and show the world MARRIAGE IS FOREVER.

2. Anger

My anger has been directed at many people and many things.  1. At my ADHD spouse.  Hey, our son has learned to live with his ADHD wired brain, why are you being so stubborn?  2. At my church.  Why cannot you help ME when I ask?  My spouse does not want help, but I DO?  What do you mean, you can't help unless us he wants help?    3.  At marriage counselors.  Why can't you just tell him to man up, take responsibility, and acknowledge how the negative ADHD symptoms are causing unbearable stress for me in our marriage? 4.  At my family and friends who attended our wedding 29 years ago.  Why are you not telling him that he is not holding up his end of the marriage vows?  (LOL.  How funny is that one?  Most haven't a clue how stressful things are because I have put up a great facade.)  5.  At my children.  WHY do you not tell your Dad your frustrations?  I cannot stand in the middle all the time and smooth out all the rough spots, and then accept being  accused of being "mean"  to Daddy.   6.  God. I am begging and pleading and praying, and it is not working?  7.  At myself.  Why, oh why, can you not get your act together?

3. Bargaining  

1.  With my spouse.  Hey, I am very organized and love administration, why can't you just let me - or better yet ASK ME - to help you?  Cannot you HEAR my heart crying?  Let's try this.  Let's try that.  Maybe I can try this.  Maybe I can try that.  2. With God.  God, you really cannot mean this is how my marriage should be?  3. With my family and friends.  Can't someone help me?  Back to my spouse.  Let's just TRY ONE MORE book.  Let's just try ONE MORE COUNSELOR. Back to God.   If only I CAN BE A BETTER WIFE - or person - or partner - or helper - or support.  If only I can cheer longer, and better, and with undying energy.  I feel so helpless.  I fell like such a failure.  Let me show the world how I CAN DO THIS.  I CANNOT fail.  I will not fail.  

4. Depression

I have spun myself in circles for quite a long time.  I cannot do it.  I am dragging.  I can no longer "fake it till I make it."   I cannot do it all.  I feel alone.  I feel helpless.  I feel abandoned.  I feel like the proverbial "meanie."  I feel overwhelmed.  My house is a mess - I can't do it all.  My yard is a mess - I can't keep up.  The pool is a green swamp - who will help keep it clean especially since I don't even like to get wet?!?!  All my financial planning is worthless - I can't make the money work out all alone.  I cannot be the only one who says enough is enough.  I cannot be the only one to deny myself things.  I cannot be the only "adult mind" in our planning.  Not all the time.  Not all alone.  I want to just not give a hoot for a while.  I do not want to be manipulated by angry words thrown at me like: "Don't worry.  I am not in mortal danger." Gosh that scared the pants right off of me.  I do not want to wonder what will he do.  Is he too depressed?  Last week I had an out and out panic attack when I was going to put the dog out to go potty.  Where is the rope to tie out the dog?  Where is it?  Where is my spouse?  Oh Lord, is he that depressed?  Would he do something that drastic?  He would not do that to his daughter. . . . .   Oh, thank the Lord, the rope is on the counter.  That was the moment I realized how crazy this is.  I CANNOT be responsible for him.  I love him.  He has to love himself     It is my turn.  Isn't it?

5. Acceptance

So what I know today, is my spouse has great pain.  Great sadness.  Great ability to be in denial.  And I want him to get better.  I want him to find his joy.  I want him to be happy.  I can live with the notion my children may blame me.  Why wouldn't they?  It was I who taught them that a wife should be all-understanding, all-helpful, all accepting, all-loving,  

Marriage takes two.  It takes me being me.  Him being him.  And then US.  I cannot make US.  I hope he wants there to be an US.  As far as my marriage goes, I am willing to hope and pray that he will say, "I want our marriage to work.  What can WE do?  What do YOU NEED?"  If not, I can accept that I really, truly, honestly read as much as I could read, tried as many counselors as I could find, prayed as hard as I could, and have to make the hard choices that just do not line up with the facade that I put forth for a long, long time.  Who my spouse is - that is a fine man.  What he is doing - well, it is not conducive to the marriage I know we could have.   

So this thing called ADHD.  It is.  It just is.  It has positives.  It has negatives.  And just like any other thing it life, it all depends on the choices you choose to make.

I will be the eternal optimist.  I will be counting on the fact that my husband is who I believe he is.  He CAN do it.  I will steer clear and let him!