When will I be good enough?

When will I be good enough? I take my meds and I go to counseling, so does my son. I work full time and I pay the bills on time. The house is clean and tidy but not a showcase. My son is doing well enough at school and he is about as well behaved as any kid. I babysit my niece and nephew and they are good for kids with disabilities. I have schedules and reminders and I'm rarely late or behind. I don't lie, cheat or steal. We have sex once or twice a week. I cook good healthy but not fancy meals. For someone with ADHD and an ADHD child I'm doing pretty damned good. So why isn't it good enough for him? It feels like every time I achieve something or do something right it just sets the bar higher. He says that I shouldn't get praise for things I'm supposed to be doing anyway but damn I'd really like a pat on the head now an then. I'll get the kitchen clean after cooking him dinner and get picked at for forgetting to turn the dishwasher on after loading it. Boo hoo this is the end of the world? This warrants a talking to? This cancels out the fact that i came home after working 8 hours to cook him dinner and clean the kitchen? My son with learning disabilities and ADHD does good in school but is certainly not at the top of his class, this is not good enough? He MUST be doing over 80% or its not enough?

When will I be good enough? When do the expectations end? Can't he see how much I struggle just to do what I do now? How can he keep demanding more of me? He knew about ADHD when we got together so why does he want me to be the perfect normal little woman? What do I have to do? Why can't he be happy and proud of me? Why am I not allowed to make mistakes?

You are good enough!

What do I know, though... Your post reads to me like a pretty great ADD success story to me. "He says that I shouldn't get praise for things I'm supposed to be doing anyway" - Really? If my wife cooks dinner, or I cook dinner for that matter, isn't the polite thing to compliment and thank the person for cooking the dinner? Cooking is something we are supposed to do?!? With all the things that need to be done around the house and to keep a marriage going, things are going to be missed. I guarantee they will be missed by ADDer and Non-ADDer alike. Keeping some sort of score on this is flat out wrong. If I sit around all day and don't do anything and my DW is working her a$$ off, then rail on me for what I have not done then. Otherwise, if there is something that is "High Priority", then the subject needs to be brought up as a priority and done. I'm not a mind reader, who is, Right?

How has your DH stepped up his game lately? It sound to me like you are doing very well to me :)

I'll get the kitchen clean

I'll get the kitchen clean after cooking him dinner and get picked at for forgetting to turn the dishwasher on after loading it. Boo hoo this is the end of the world?

 

Hi summerwine,

I understand what you are saying more than you'll ever know.  I feel like my DH's standard or expectations are a moving target, and have been for years.  I've told him to stop saying, "The ONE thing I've asked from you is..."  because somehow, I have managed to remember a good number of items on the "ONE thing" list.  This is the tactic he uses, whether or not he's aware of it, to remind me that I had better not get comfortable with success, because there's plenty of evidence I'm still messing up.  If he could stick to the truly relevant issues, and not be petty, that would be incredibly helpful to me as someone who has a difficult time prioritizing.  But when he goes into hypercritical mode, all I hear is Charlie Brown's teacher, Wahhhhhh, Wahhhhhhh, Wahhhhhh."  It has been hard to take his concerns seriously, to the point I would dismiss them before seeing the Gestalt and at the same time feel hopeless.  Talk about symptom-response-response.  This pattern, and by this, I mean my reaction to his criticism, used to derail my progress on a fairly regular basis.  It's pretty disheartening to feel like all the good you do will be discounted at the first (and, may I say, INEVITABLE) sign of a slip up.  It's basic human psychology to be positive if you want to encourage positive changes to continue.  BASIC!!!!!!  I don't get why he doesn't grasp that.  However, it's on me to plod on, even in the absence of his approval.

You can't change your husband's attitude, but you can make even more progress and feel better about yourself.  Like many worthwhile endeavors, it is easier said than done, but don't let that discourage you.  My therapist told me I needed to do something positive for myself while continuing to focus on my issues.  This combination is helping me not be needy for his approval AND to continue to make progress.  I don't know about you, but when I get down, my effort used to falter for several days or more before I picked it back up, but not before I got into another fight with him.  I'm also starting to get better at advocating for myself, rather than lashing out, being passive, or even passive-aggressive (I've realized my communication style was an unpredictable combination that consisted mostly of the former two) rather than an assertive style.  The Dance of Anger was very illuminating to me to see this pattern and to start to break out of it. 

I've come to realize that my husband's hard-to-please attitude really, is HIS ISSUE.  Like I've said, he DOES have legitimate gripes, but he is quite critical, and this is something HE needs to work on.  I can't do it for him.  I can only continue to work on me, and somehow, this is giving me more peace than I have ever known, even as the 3rd annual divorce/move-out date looms over me.  I can't do anything else, and I can't mold myself into what he wants, nor should I; that's not even healthy.

Hang in there, summerwine.  It's difficult to feel like your spouse doesn't think your efforts, or even the many good outcomes matter.  But, as I am fond of saying, "I agree with YYZ ©."  Yeah, that's right, YYZ, I figured I should copyright it, I've said it so often ;)!

ADHDMomof2

"I agree with ADHDMomof2 "©

It is nice to know that someone does agree with me sometimes.

When I read this in your post "But when he goes into hypercritical mode, all I hear is Charlie Brown's teacher, Wahhhhhh, Wahhhhhhh, Wahhhhhh." it really hit home. I think I may need to read "The Anger Dance", several people have mentioned this book. The thing I get tired of is the pattern of is the "One Thing" wrecks the day. One day last week... I worked from the house, my daughter stayed home sick, I took DD1 to school, made the doc appointment fro DD2, worked, took DD2 to the doctor, handled the RX, picked up DD2 from school, cooked dinner, cleaned the kitchen after dinner, and we were talking to DD1 about something bothering her and when I was commenting my DW assumed the direction of my comment (incorrectly) and interrupted, told me why my unfinished comment was wrong and went on with her comments.

Wow... I thought I did a bunch of things right that day, but the "One Thing" changes the entire outcome of the day. If I were to speak to my DW in this way, you would not imagine her reaction... Her ANGER is not my problem.

I added it to the loss column...   

Hi YYZ, How is it that you

Hi YYZ,

How is it that you and Pb are, unlike most men I hear women I encounter or know complain about, REALLY CONTRIBUTING A LOT, and STILL getting s--- on (I don't have this complaint about my DH, by the way)?

Well, it isn't fair and it stinks, but you are my role model for people who keep on plugging and don't give up. 

I hate when my DH cuts me off because he thinks he is clairvoyant, and then doesn't believe me when I try to explain what I am ACTUALLY thinking.  I wish he knew how low his accuracy rate was.  Then again, I can't say I've never cut him off impulsively because I assumed the direction of a conversation.  I am trying not to do that anymore and am getting better.  I think part of the assumption business is lack of trust secondary to not being connected, at least in my case...

How did you react (externally) when she did that?  How do you keep it together?   What's the secret :)?

ADHDMomof2

Bull Headed

Is one of my many traits ;)

Externally, I am pretty sure I did not let it show that it bothered me, but then again facial expressions are not one of my great skills. I will tell you that I completely dropped from the conversation. On the inside, I just felt defeated... In the old days, I would not have felt comfortable being in the conversation, in real time. My thoughts were clear and I knew where my comments were going, but I was cut-off before I could finish. For me, I have always thought in terms of Total Good / Total Bad. I try to absorb and process a situation before reacting to the moment. 

I don't think I have a secret, really... I am stubborn and just keep going.

Pbartender's picture

Picking Nits...

I see this with my wife a lot, as well...  I get the kids ready for school every morning, cook breakfast and tidy up the kitchen before I leave every morning.  I work my 8-hour day.  I come home, make sure the kids get their homework done, do a load of dishes, do a load of laundry, vacuum if it's needed, cook dinner, maybe get a little exercise or yard work or do some work on a household project.  On the weekends, the kids and I do a whole-house cleaning.

We'll spend an entire Saturday getting the whole house clean, running errands, cooking and completing home-improvement projects, just so that all of us can relax can relax and spend some time together when she gets home from work.  What does she notice?  The towels are folded wrong, the cheese grater got put away in the wrong drawer, I bought the wrong brand of dog food and somebody left a magazine lying on the kitchen table.  Then she gives a speech about how tired she is of no one listening to her and being ignored, and spends the rest of the day sulking in her bedroom.

There's three things that really bother me about it...

  1. She let's herself get so upset over these little details that she gets all mean and snarky about it.  She whines and complains about them in a sarcastic manner, and threatens excessive punishment if it doesn't get fixed to her satisfaction.  She lets it ruin her whole day, and then spreads it around so that it ruins everybody else's day too.
  2. She doesn't just do it to me...  I've started noticing that she does it to the kids, too.  DS is high-functioning autistic (with may be a touch of undetected ADHD, as well?) and I suspect DD might be a touch ADHD as well.  They're both almost as easily distracted, hyperactive, and absent-minded as I am.
  3. Many of the things she complains about, she is just as guilty of doing herself often enough.

The kids and I try so hard to get it right for her.  It seems like she doesn't have the patience to take the time to understand why it happens, and help us a find a better way to fix it.  She just keeps pushing us and complaining.  She doesn't seem to have enough forgiveness to just let these details go as something relatively unimportant.  There's nothing but a focused, disdainful, disrespectful consternation for the few things we get wrong, such that it blinds her to all the things we do get right.

I swear, if my wife spent half as much energy on her family and her home as she does on her job and her co-workers, maybe she wouldn't feel the need to sleep alone in the basement.

*GRUMBLE!*

 

Pb.

The working woman

You and your wife are both me.  I am the one who did/does the household everything other than the lawn.  I am also the one who, when I was working a high stress corporate job 9-12 hours a day, would come home exhausted and judgmental.  I will tell you how it felt and why I probably said things that weren't motherly or wifely or nurturing.  

My heart was thumping from stress. I was getting panic attacks from stress.  I felt ill and like I was going to burst but I knew I could not allow myself to have a breakdown because I had to hold it all together for the family...house, school, finances, bill paying.  I was feeling like screaming.  There were things going on at work like office politics, unfairness, no lunch breaks, driving in snowstorms, missing my child's performances, knowing I didn't have time to get a school supply or needed shoes or clothing because of working hours, wanting to be a good mother but knowing I was too stressed out, wanting to have a good marriage but feeling resentful for DH lack of work and his not seeming to care that he had lack of work, not seeming to care - period, not having time with close friends and family because I worked so many hours during the week and did all the housecleaning and grocery shopping and kids things on Saturdays, trying to rest on Sunday to recharge for M-F. This is the state of many homes where the wife has a long-hour stressful job (aren't all full time jobs somewhat stressful?) The kids are subject to their mother's resentment and stress.  I don't care what they may say.  It does not work for a woman to be a mother of young children and have a full time job.  Because we and our spouses also expect us to be nurturing, patient, with time to listen and make the boo-boos better.  While we ate our dinner, my mind was reeling about some difficulty at work while my sons were not communicating to me probably because I was stressed out.  If I had it to do over again I would say like a woman I know to her husband when he proposed to her, "I don't care how much you make, I will live in a trailer but I will not have your children and then work full time to support them."  She didn't work and her husband had the pride of being the provider and was proud of a wife who made a calm home for him and the well adjusted children.

I don't know what the answer is about women staying home and feeling lonely and unchallenged or having to work full time.  America is going through this transition with old expectations on women and then wondering why we are so angry and resentful.  And then paying us less and not letting us through many glass ceilings.  The new contemporary marriage is different from when I was a kid.  Women expect more from ourselves and expect more from our husbands. Some of us knocked ourselves out trying to be everything to everybody. Through ADD in there and it becomes frustrating for everyone.

I have a friend whose single mother had 4 children with absolutely no financial or physical contact with an ex.  She was amazing and worked hard and the family did with very little.  They did OK because they had to.  No other choice.  When there are two adults and there are children, there is a choice.  Both working equally and communicating about finances and work load, or one doing the financial providing and one making a home and taking care of the people in it.  I am not saying you are not doing your share, PB.  If you are doing more than your share, which it sounds like you are, you are the exceptional man and you have a right to be confused and demand the discussions to what is fair and what you both can handle.  However, if you are like most men, you don't realize how much there is to do in a day and how much is not getting done that a woman would LIKE to be doing for her family and home that she does not have the time or energy to be doing if the husband could be providing completely for the family.  Women like to do the extra stuff that makes a home a home.  Like having it look nice and pretty and comfy and inviting people over and making special meals and planning activities for everyone and having time for lap-sitting, and family crafts, and music lessons and laughing with the children.  Some of us just did not have enough hours in the day to be the wife and mother we wanted to be.  What was I working with, Get home at 7pm, eat dinner and say good night at 9pm and do the dishes and pick up the house.  Yeah, I probably could be angry at any little mess in the house knowing that if I were home there would be none but I had to work.  And I don't think I was any different than most women today.  I am not complaining - I am stating the state of American families.

Thanks for a place to rant.  That one has been inside of me for decades.

Pbartender's picture

Oh, I get it, Jenna.  I know

Oh, I get it, Jenna.  I know exactly where you're coming from.  But...

"However, if you are like most men, you don't realize how much there is to do in a day and how much is not getting done that a woman would LIKE to be doing for her family and home that she does not have the time or energy to be doing..."

For the last few years, my wife worked as an early morning stocker at a popular warehouse store.  She had to get up very early for work, and it was tough, physical labor.  She'd come home worn out and tired.  It didn't bother me at all to do some extra work around the house, so she wouldn't have to...  She worked hard and deserved to rest and relax at the end of the day.  I love her and I care about her and it was one way for me to show her that.

Now, by her own account, does not have a difficult or stressful job since her promotion...  For her, it's a pretty easy job and maybe a little boring, if nothing else.  Most nights, she comes home from work, eats dinner, and spends the whole rest of the evening by herself reading a book, playing a video game or fiddling with her cell phone.  At least once a week, if not two or three times, she'll go out to dinner, or to the bars with one of her friends from work.  Her days off are usually during the week, so she gets the whole day to herself without me or the kids.  As far as I can tell -- from what she tells me when I get home from work and ask her if she did anything exciting on her day off -- she spends most of them the same way...  Playing computer games or texting her friends or reading all day long.  It seems like she's got plenty of time and energy and money to do things for her family and home, if she wanted to.

It wouldn't bother me so much, I think, if she now and then she would at least acknowledge the effort and the work the kids and I put in.

"My heart was thumping from stress. I was getting panic attacks from stress.  I felt ill and like I was going to burst but I knew I could not allow myself to have a breakdown because I had to hold it all together for the family...house, school, finances, bill paying.  I was feeling like screaming.  There were things going on at work like office politics, unfairness, no lunch breaks, driving in snowstorms, missing my child's performances, knowing I didn't have time to get a school supply or needed shoes or clothing because of working hours, wanting to be a good mother but knowing I was too stressed out, wanting to have a good marriage but feeling resentful..."

"...not having time with close friends and family because I worked so many hours during the week and did all the housecleaning and grocery shopping and kids things on Saturdays, trying to rest on Sunday to recharge for M-F..."

"The kids are subject to their mother's resentment and stress."

"Some of us just did not have enough hours in the day to be the wife and mother we wanted to be."

Oof...  Swap father for mother and husband for wife, and this describes me perfectly over the last few years.  What's worse, is that I had all the troubles of undiagnosed ADHD added into it.  There were times, when I simply couldn't contain the anger and frustration and disappointment and shame of trying so hard to be the husband and father I wanted to be but failing over and over again.  I had no way to get rid of all that stress -- one by one I'd given up all my hobbies to make more time and money for my wife and the kids -- and it would boil over.  Those were times I truly felt monstrous.

It's weird to be the husband and father, and to identify so closely with your description of being a "working woman".

Sorry, I need to cut myself off, here.  I'm digressing, and working myself up into a bad mood... 

I need to cheer up a bit.  It's DD's birthday today, and we're all going out for sushi later.

 

Pb.

reverse from my stereotyping assumptions

PB, I read your post and see that you are carrying more than your fair share of the load. When I thought you were a bartender (out late at night) and that she was working a stressful job (because that seems to be what all my friends and I did), you seemed different to me than now that I know SHE is the one at bars at night and you are the one holding things together at home.  Good for you.  Good for your kids that they have you. Sorry you are going through this frustrating relationship.

Pbartender's picture

Thanks, Jenna...  I'm sure

Thanks, Jenna...  I'm sure you can understand how much it means to hear someone say that.

I just wish she that if she's going to stay, she would get her shit together and start working with the rest of the family to make things better.  Or, if she is going to leave, that she would just go and let all of us move on.  I find myself increasingly tempted to give her that ultimatum and force the decision.

What good does her attitude do for anyone?

 

Pb.

PARENT/CHILD!!!

She needs to get out of "domineering parent" role, fast.  It will hurt your relationship, hurt the kids, and be a source of continual frustration to her, as well...reinforcing her crankiness and pickiness.  AGAIN - another reason to get a counselor.  You guys are definitely ready for it.

Pbartender's picture

I won't argue with that...

I agree wholeheartedly, but...   How do I convince her to DO it, in the face of all her objections and denial?

 

Pb.

I hear you sister!

I have this same dynamic with my husband. I love him dearly- but he is picky and critical. Some small thing (like I didn't immediately throw the junk mail into the garbage and instead it's still on the counter when he gets home) will cause him to sigh heavily and roll his eyes and say something like, "Ugh! Why can't you listen? More clutter!"

And then I have to physically restrain myself from throttling him and screaming: "F**k right off! I worked a full day, picked up our child, brought him home, cleaned out his lunch bag, played with him, made him dinner, cleaned up dinner, prepped our dinner.. and I'm 8 months pregnant!"

My husband frequently unpacks our whole pantry and then repacks it and then gives me a tutorial on where everything should go. "This shelf is solely breakfast! Why is there a soup can in here?" This is infuriating since I'm the only one who cooks or goes into the pantry and I'm also the one who does the shopping.

I feel like saying- if you want to take on a task and do it your way- FABUILOUS- but if it's my task and I do it pretty well, stop nitpicking me or I will snap on you HARD... and it won't be pretty.

He is a massive control freak. And I've become less tolerant of it as I've become happier and more accepting of myself.

Hang in there. This is his problem.

 

Hi ADHD wife!

Some small thing (like I didn't immediately throw the junk mail into the garbage and instead it's still on the counter when he gets home) will cause him to sigh heavily and roll his eyes and say something like, "Ugh! Why can't you listen? More clutter!"

Uh, is my husband polygamous and are you his other wife ;)?  Because that is on the short list (of a much longer list) of things that tick him off. 

And then I have to physically restrain myself from throttling him and screaming: "F**k right off! I worked a full day, picked up our child, brought him home, cleaned out his lunch bag, played with him, made him dinner, cleaned up dinner, prepped our dinner.. and I'm 8 months pregnant!"

O.K.  This is funny.  It's empathy laughter, trust me.  I am having flashbacks of being pregnant, unmedicated, and hormonal as hell.  I had what I call "PREGNANCY RAGE" during my 3rd trimester with both kids.  It's like 6 cups of ADHD and 6 cups of hormones.  Pour it in a cauldron set it over a roaring fire!!!  "You wanna f--- with this????  Come on, I dare you... I've got our kid's foot stuck in my ribs, I have to pee every two seconds and my pants keep falling down because I refuse to wear pants with a high-waisted panel.  I am just waiting for a fight!"

My husband frequently unpacks our whole pantry and then repacks it and then gives me a tutorial on where everything should go. "This shelf is solely breakfast! Why is there a soup can in here?" This is infuriating since I'm the only one who cooks or goes into the pantry and I'm also the one who does the shopping."

He doesn't nag me about the pantry because I have adapted to his little idiosyncrasies, but he does get on my case when I try a new recipe and the food takes longer than expected (it must be her time-management issues, not the nature of cooking!).  He has never in his life selected a recipe, has never shopped for all the ingredients, nor has he cooked anything other than on a grill independently.  He will not accept that a recipe's stated cooking times are not always accurate and all the other variables that make it hard to predict until you've made it a number of times..  

I have a new recipe tomorrow.  Going to do the only thing I can and at least make sure I stick it in the crockpot and turn it on low for 8 hours so I can buy myself more time in case things go awry.  That's all I can do!

ADHDMomof2

ADHDmomof2- you crack me up!!

O.K.  This is funny.  It's empathy laughter, trust me.  I am having flashbacks of being pregnant, unmedicated, and hormonal as hell.  I had what I call "PREGNANCY RAGE" during my 3rd trimester with both kids.  It's like 6 cups of ADHD and 6 cups of hormones.  Pour it in a cauldron set it over a roaring fire!!!  "You wanna f--- with this????  Come on, I dare you... I've got our kid's foot stuck in my ribs, I have to pee every two seconds and my pants keep falling down because I refuse to wear pants with a high-waisted panel.  I am just waiting for a fight!"

Holy shit. That was funny. I definitely have a case of this going on. My husband has laid off because he can see he is just outmatched (and outweighed for now).  That's how I know I'm really losing it- when my husband actually lightens up on me... it's like how people can sense they need to be calm around a wild animal. :) Only a few weeks to go now! Ugh! :)

 

Why don't you say it?

So why don't you say something like "look, I understand that you would like the top of the counter cleaned off - and I will certainly get to it before I cook the next meal.  But if you wish to have it done before then, you may certainly do it yourself.  Just make sure not to throw out any of the bills I need to pay.  Thanks!"  Start standing up for yourself against his being controlling.  You need to do this nicely (don't call him names, just point out that there are two adults in this household and that BOTH of them are capable of independent decision making (but again - don't say it like that - say it nicely!)  If it's really important to the other partner, the other partner should take care of it.  You are allowed to have differing priorities and act on those priorities.  It's actually a much stronger partnership when each individual realizes this.

BIG CAVEAT HERE - this works ONLY so long as you are, in fact, carrying your fair share of the HH burden or more (which you are).  It is NOT a good policy if you don't do much and start demanding that your partner do more!

That is a good suggestion...

...And one which I do employ!

It doesn't usually end the issue though. If I say it too nicely, he'll quiz me on why it doesn't make more sense to walk it straight to the garbage can upon entering the kitchen and he'll roll his eyes at anything other than "you're right. I am sorry. I'll try to remember". If I say it too assertively, he'll call me defensive (which i guess i am) and get angry. Sometimes I'm just silent and pretend not to hear him. That almost seems to work the best. :( 

 

if nothing changes, nothing changes

I've read this thread with some interest and reviewed how my BF and I got to the point we're at.  The work had to come from both of us.  I could have easily slipped into the role of PB's wife and your husband but my ADHD boyfriend wouldn't tolerate it.  Sometimes he was calm and explained how my behaviours affected him, sometimes he was funny and sometimes he went on total rants but the point was he was a good person doing his best and it was not okay for me to nit pick.  He was quite clear that as much as his ADHD affected our relationship so did my "controlling" behaviour.

We still work on it daily but "we" work on it.  When I came home yesterday he had food shopped, cleaned the house, did the laundry and had dinner ready. "We" met each other's needs.   I loved that he made the effort because he knew I feel peaceful when everything is in order.  He made a huge effort and for that needed and enjoyed how much I acknowledged it.  So I did, over and over again.   In a past day I might have just said thanks and let it go or corrected a few things he overlooked but he has made me aware of his needs and how they affect our interaction. 

Just because he has the ADHD issue did not excuse or exempt my behaviour regardless of how trying the ADHD could be.  I am still accountable for being a loving, caring and GIVING partner.  He would flat out ask me, "do you not see how much I love you and am trying?" And the truth was I did I was being self indulgent and expected him not to feel stressed by my standard.

PB, I have been reading your posts and am going to be blunt.  You have knocked yourself out trying to learn and grow.  Your marital situation will not change until you change it.  As long as you don't require more she won't give more.  I suspect your fear is that if you stand your ground she will leave.  That may be and only you can decide if you can live with that.  But, if nothing changes, nothing changes and no one respects a doormat. 

 

p.s.  two possibilities occurred to me, one is that she really has moved on emotionally in which case so should you.  Everyone deserves to be loved in the way they need to be.

The other is that you have inadvertantly trained her to be this way.  When she rejects you knock yourself out to improve and it lessens the impact of ADD symptoms she has to deal with.  Treat em mean keep em keen..she gets the best of you as long as she doesn't soften. 

Pbartender's picture

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly...

“But beware... Anger, fear, aggression.... The Dark Side are they. Once you start down the Dark Path, forever will it dominate your destiny."

I'm not afraid that she will leave if I stand my ground...  Don't get me wrong, here.  I love her dearly, and I don't want her to leave.  I want to work together with me to make things better.  I've gotten to the point, though, that I could accept her leaving should it come to that.

What I am afraid of are the things I'd be tempted to do, if I stand my ground and she decides to dig her heels in and continue as she is.

One of the "benefits" of my particular brand of ADHD is the ability to envision a multitude of view points and solutions to any given problem.  On one hand, when it comes to personal relationships, it can makes it easy for me to understand a viewpoint I don't necessarily agree with.  On the other, it supplies me with a wide variety of devious, manipulative, and outright cruel alternatives (all of them exceptionally effective in their way) to get my way.

When I get involved in a confrontation, I have a very hard time striking a middle ground between "Door Mat" and "Macchiavelli's Evil Twin Brother".  If I don't keep myself under tight control, it's far too easy for me to fall into the mindset of "win by any means".  And while it's not something I'm exactly proud of, I can be very good at it.  I discovered long ago that I have inside me the potential to be a truly villainous person, if I ever let myself.  Remembering what I did the few times that side of me started peeking out, is what compels me to keep it under control so tightly.

"one is that she really has moved on emotionally in which case so should you"

This has occurred to me, too, and I agree.  As I said, I'm at the point where I would happy to reconcile with her, or almost equally content to let her go and move on.  But we're stuck in this spot, where we're still living in the same house, but separately, and I keep getting confusing, mixed signals (at least to me) as to whether really wants to leave or stay.  I could deal with it either way, if only she would make up her mind.

"The other is that you have inadvertantly trained her to be this way.  When she rejects you knock yourself out to improve and it lessens the impact of ADD symptoms she has to deal with."

Perhaps, that might be some of it...  It works the other way too, though.  Over long years, she's trained me to believe that all the mistakes and problems in our marriage are my fault.  Even when I was certain it wasn't my fault my bad memory was reason enough for me to take the blame --  maybe I didn't remember what actually happened!

It's a paradigm I've become used to, and I'm trying to unlearn it.  It's not easy.

One of my strongest values is that everyone makes mistakes, and that it's each person's duty to admit their mistakes, to apologize for them to the people who got hurt by them, to fix the messes they cause, and to do their level best not to make the same mistake again.  That, of course, makes me look like a weak push-over who won't stand up for himself.

But, I also can't be a jerk to her, as tempting as it may be.  That's not who I want to be.  I wouldn't be able to respect myself, I let myself act that way.  And if that's what it takes to get her to respect me, then I think that in the end I'd be better off without her, no matter how much I love her.

 

Pb.

PB - get counseling

PB - this is the PERFECT time for the two of you to get professional help.  Look in my resources section to see if there is a couples therapist near you (by any chance - it's a smallish list) who might be able to help you answer these questions:  Can we move ourselves out of the past (bad) and into our present (much better...but should be even better if we acknowledge it and embrace each other) and, more importantly should we stay together?  A good third party can help each of you look at yourselves to make sure you a.) understand each other's point of view and b.) see your own actions and how they affect your partner as clearly as possible.  You've been active on this site quite a while.  Contact me if you want to discuss your options further.

Pbartender's picture

Nothing would please me more, Melissa...

For years -- ever since our troubles first started becoming obvious and long before I was ever diagnosed -- I've been asking her to get marriage counseling with me. I've asked her at least a dozen times. She's said no every time.

She had a rough childhood, and was sent to a series of therapists and counselors throughout. She didn't have very good experiences with them, and believes that they were of no real help.

She says things like, "I already know what's wrong with me. I don't need to see a counselor. You can go by yourself, if you want, but I won't."

I think it would make a big difference for us, as well, but she refuses to even consider it. At this point, I've no idea how I could convince her otherwise.

Pb.