Where Did I Go?

I keep asking myself where I went.  It sounds strange but it is a nagging question that I have.  I was once happy, loved change and adventure and appreciated what people did for me.  I used to always make time for my hobbies and even just time to myself.  That has all changed.  Over the years I have become someone that I do not recognize.  I find that I am constantly complaining and that there is very little in my life that brings me joy.  My child is essentially the one bright spot that I have and I even find that I get very short tempered and aggravated with him.  I know that the issues in my marriage are not just because of my husband's ADHD.  I believe that it plays a very large part but I have allowed myself to disappear.  When we got married he became my life, it wasn't a conscious choice but it happened almost out of necessity.  I had to try to keep some things in order, he was hyper-focused on me so we did everything together and I was the stable breadwinner since he kept going from job to job.  I look around now and I have no friends, I have given up my hobbies, I have home, child, work and nothing more.  I even look around my home and see very little of me anywhere.  I see plenty of my husbands things and lots of my child's things but really nothing that shows that I live and thrive there.  I try to play Stepford wife and smile and appear happy (my mantra is Everything is fine) but I am getting tired of that role.  Hubby tries to do things to make me happy.  He, of course, doesn't plan things well but did take me somewhere new for dinner recently and, though I appreciated it, I was also pretty apathetic about it.  Which, in turn, I'm sure makes him not want to try anymore and it starts a vicious cycle yet again.  

I am just trying to figure out how to get back to me.  The real me.  How do I do that and still cope with the chaos, the uncertainty, being the parent to both hubby and our child and trying to get our marriage back on the right track while not letting the balls in the air fall?      

lostbutinlove RE: Where Did I Go?

Where did I go also,I had lots of friends,was very happy, and now I am the stock up woman who vents at home "only" with no social life and the social life of only with DH, and then things aren't so social if there's liquor involve, and the nights lost love ends up in a "BIG"fight over a passers by"hot chick" or something stupid after that.The truth is, it is ADHD affecting "us" and maybe we are afraid to face the truth and come out and just say it.I have been reading your post lately and I can tell that you love your spouse, and the same with me but where do we go from here? when is enough going to be really enough,I am trying sooo hard to please him the best way I can, then I end up forgetting my own self.I have been doing "everything" possible you could think about,keeping in touch with him while he's in work via phone,telling him how much I love him via text messages,when I go to the grocery I don't forget him,I prepare meals for him to take home on evenings,I do his laundry,and on and on and still he is this cruel,insensitive human being,tell me what else?,I even lost myself to him.All I want is my life back,,, but I know for a fact is that if we don't claim it back they sure won't help us get it back,so while hubby is having a good time making me miserable, I am going to cut him down with an axe, and he won't even see it coming "MEANING" I am going to be myself regardless to what he does,that's his lost.

Where did I go?

Here is how I see it.  We start the fun 3-legged race tied together in marital bliss.  I had dreams and expectations to work together, make plans together and share in life's ups and downs. That is the deal, right?  Then the race (marriage) started and I started toward our dreams sure of a win because I was so committed and clever and talented.  The starting gun went off and I tripped as I saw he started playing a  game in the grass, saying things like "I deserve a break, don't I?".  When I said,"The race is on, we are losing time!" he said, Just a minute, til my game is done", when I said "Are you in this race with me or not?"  He said, "of course Hon, just stop nagging and I will be there in a minute".  When I said, "but you are not doing it, you are just doing your own thing and not doing what we (I) planned!", He said, "GET OFF MY BACK, STOP NAGGING!"  When I said, "I see you don't want to race, let's get out of the race." he said, "What do you mean, I want to be in the race.  I love my kids. How dare you threaten me! You are just asking me to do it IN THE WRONG PLACE, IN THE WRONG VOICE, JUST LET ME BE WHO I AM! YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.  BE HAPPY LIKE ME!"  Yes, I could see he had a point.  I was becoming an unhappy harpy with no direction other than giving in to his excuses and diversions and trying to be a patient, loving race partner who needed to compromise to survive.  I began to crawl to the finish line by myself, trying to drag him with me.  I didn't like that image of me at all so I pretended we were just happily taking our time and not "really" in the race/marriage.

I stopped looking at the goal ribbon even though we WERE in the race (marriage), I stopped trying to go forward, I stopped knowing if I knew what or where I wanted to go. What game are we playing, anyhow? Or is this just a crazy dream in which I work toward an impossible goal? My only goal was to keep my foot tied and not trip and play by the rules.  Some times he was not even in his body that was attached to my leg.  He was out skipping around with other people's legs and would come home and say, "Hon, what's got you pissed off THIS time?"

I was once a committed, clever, talented woman.  Now I just need to be committed. What kept me from untying the knot and running in a different race?  I was in love with the package of love/family/romance/pride/honor/marriage in which he was a vital and necessary part.  I can't have what I want without him in the package. There is sadness and grief of loss as I try to accept that he is only half in this with me, if at all.   I don't get what I want.  I am trying to accept that.  I am furious trying to adjust my expectations.  In other disabilities, there is also that loss of dreams.  We just didn't see it or want to see it and feel duped and confused.  We are not even sure if there is a disability or if we are just malcontents.

As I read this over, I see that some people who read this may be thinking, "Yeah, why doesn't she just relax and enjoy him and laugh and have fun with this childlike creature? Forget about the race/marriage expectations"  Because I DON'T WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO A CHILD! A woman wants a man, a partner, some peace and some pride.  THEN, we can jump happily into bed and feel content and loved and safe.  NOT when we don't know what ball is going to be dropped next.  What bill is going to be forgotten to be paid. What promise is going to be broken. Which lie will we uncover next. (sorry for the rant.  I will read whatever rant any ADD person would like to offer too and understand this is all very frustrating to all of us.)

He seems to be happy that he is "in the game" and "doing such a great job - even better than he even dreamed" as he once told me.  The end of the dream for me was when after all the compromising I have done in 35 years of marriage, he said, "What did you ever do for me?" in anger toward me.  

Wikipedia says:  Many forms of PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE methods attempt to destroy the subject's normal self-image by removing them from any kind of control over their environment, creating a state of learned helplessness, psychological regression and depersonalization. This is also how we train an animal to do what WE want them to do.  Offering a rare treat of attention and then ignoring them for much of the time while they obey our commands out of necessity.

​He seems OK with our situation while I am miserable.  Why don't I just leave?  Because I don't exist anymore to either one of us. 

Where Did I Go?

Rosered, I read your other threads.  We have ADHD spouses who are not trying and they seem OK with it that way. We seem to be in the same place in our relationships at the same time.

you can get yourself back

Jennalemon, I have been reading your posts. I am so sorry to hear that you are in this place. You said this so eloquently, and I understand so much of it. I am just not me any more, either. Being in a difficult marriage with a partner who breaks your heart over and over again, is like torture. I don't even know how I have any tears left--my heart should be made of scar tissue by now, lol. 

I don't know what it could take, but you can get yourself back. It is never too late. I hope this doesn't sound hollow, and I am saying it for myself as well: you can start a new race, find friends and other loved ones to be with you, find something that makes you feel like yourself and takes you out of this current world of pain and heartache. Just start with a small thing. You can't control his behavior, but you can control what you do. Don't give up, don't lose yourself. Do it in love, for yourself. 

I am going to go try to do the same thing. 

Best to you. 

Where Did I Go?

I am glad to hear that I am not the only one that feels like she see a distorted image when she looks in the mirror.  And I, too believe that you can find yourself again.  I have been trying.  The issue is that as I start to see pieces of me emerge, he starts to fight against them.  This is when his low self esteem kicked in and he started to be more possessive and pouting (a lot).  Using the "you just don't love me anymore" tactics trying to keep me the person he has gotten used to over the last 10+ years.  But then again, he talks about me doing things to make myself happy.  It's head spinning.  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.  I realize that he doesn't do this on purpose (at least I hope not).  He is genuinely terrified of losing me and our life together.  What he doesn't realize is that in his process of trying to keep things together, he is pushing me further and further out the door.   

I hear you

I hear you, lostbutinlove. My DH took my breath away today, by telling me he did something..."see how much I love you?" I haven't heard those words in so long. Yet, a few hours later, he blurted out, out of nowhere, that I was always mad at him (I didn't say anything!) and that he didn't care about something I said. I tried to keep to myself, and he came looking for me, all day, to ask inane questions that he is perfectly smart enough to answer ("how cold is it outside?") I am trying to be calm, and respectful, and independent. It is so hard. I wish I could go on a vacation for 6 months. 

Losing yourself then finding yourself again

AT one point, my husband and I had a conversation that went something like this:  Me:  "I don't like myself anymore...and I don't like you, either."  Him:  "Hmm.  I don't like you, much, either...and come to think of it, I don't like myself much these days..."

We lose ourselves when we become WAY too invested in what our partners are up to.  This is CLASSIC in ADHD-affected relationships.  The non-ADHD partner adjusts and adjusts and adjusts - changes her (or his) dreams to try to accommodate the ADHD, picks up extra responsibilities, starts to be angry and nagging and frustrated.  He or she becomes co-dependent with the ADHD partner.  What most non-ADHD partners don't see is that many ADHD partners do the same (which could have been a revelation to me when my husband told me his feelings, had I been more open to it.  Instead I was unhappy to hear that the guy who seemed to be running my life wasn't that happy, either.)  My husband had been dealing with my frustration, not understanding the ADHD symptom contribution, bending (i.e. not responding to me, not reaching out any more, not getting enough sex, etc) - entwined in my anger just as much as I was entwined in his ADHD symptoms.

There IS a way out of this.  You need to set up boundaries that are for YOU.  This means taking a look at yourself and asking the very important question "Who do I want to be?"  This isn't "who do I want to be so my partner loves me more?"  This is "who do I want to be so I am happy with myself?"  Forget about your husband.  Forget about your relationship.  Just answer that one question.  Then, when you have the answer, set some rules that allow you to live as that person.  When I reflected on that, I realized that at my core I was someone who was (had been/wanted to be) empathetic, flexible, respectful, optimistic.  So I set up some rules so I could live that way again, such as "I will treat others with respect."  "I will listen and consider the opinions of others" etc.  Notice the "I" in these statements - you are doing this completely outside of any relationship you have with your partner - it's just for you and it is really freeing.

I talk more about this in my book, in the chapter on setting boundaries.

The three-legged race description below is apt... the poster has realized she DOESN'T have control over her partner (very important first step).  The next step is to realize that she DOES have control over herself and that taking that control will allow her to find herself again.

When I finally realized that one of my core values was about respect, I stopped nagging and bullying.  Cold turkey.   It was disrespectful, and I wasn't going to be that person anymore.  The change and empowerment that brought to me was amazing.  (This, after perhaps a decade of nagging and being belittling and verbally abusive as I so-called "handled" my frustration.)  Suddenly, I was myself again!!!  YAY!!!  You can do this, too.

Good luck with it.  We are there to support you on your journey.

Where Did I Go?

Thank you Melissa, for responding.  Thank you for this site and for writing your book which I am reading right now along with a stack of other books about ADHD.  I  lived my married life feeling something was wrong but not knowing what. Thinking I just didn't like him much but if I worked extra hard and gave 150% I could accomplish anything. Confusion and frustration usually sent me to try to fix myself and wonder what was wrong with me and always angry. It has only been this past month that I am accepting DH has ADD.   As I am reading more, I am realizing my grown son may have it too.  I MUST educate myself for me, for my children and grandchildren and for my husband too.