Why did I not see this sooner?

Why, oh why, oh why did I not see how disrespectful my ADHD spouse is towards me?  

Why did I take all his crap as being in some place of wise authority over me?  

I am literally, physically ill over this realization.

Now to figure out how I need to respond/react to it. 


I'm So Exhausted's picture

Who washes the garsh darn dishes around here?!!?!?!

We did Melissa Orlov's ADHD and Marriage Couples Seminar  in January of 2012.  Last September, my ADHD spouse decided he would be responsible for the dishes at our house, as that is what Melissa's spouse did.  He didn't ask me what I would appreciate help with - but I took what I could get.  My paradigm - based on his own words is: "I will do the dishes and we will then have sex."  That has been his whole focus for the past 10 months.  His anger has gotten so intense, that he can no longer hide it.  His exterior is cracking, and the anger is oozing out all over.  My family is shocked.  

About three weeks ago, he stopped doing the dishes.  Didn't say anything.  Just didn't do them.  And hasn't.

I won't play the power-and-control game.  Yesterday I said to him that assuming the dishes as his responsibility isn't working, as he doesn't and hasn't done them.  Well, he said he did them for months and it didn't do any good, so he ain't gpnna do them no more.  This is a 56 year old man.  Sheesh, talk about a childlike temper tantrum

This is old, old, same old behavior.  Happened many times over the past 29 years.  He would agree to do a chore.  Do it once, maybe twice, maybe three times.  Then just stop.  When I would ask him about it he would yell, "I was forced into doing it.  I never wanted to do it anyway."

I see this so clearly now.  Why did I not see this any sooner?

I am so cross at myself.  How could I have been so ignorant all these years. . . . . .ALL THESE YEARS.  Boo.

 I am at a peaceful joyful place with most of my life - except my relationship with my spouse.

Several months ago he said he wanted to leave.  He was tired of hurting me.  So, OK.  That comment got my attention.  Was it a glimmer of hope?   I asked him how we would finance two households, when we cannot afford just one?  

After the dishes discussion, I told him I was sorry I had talked him into staying.  I said if he really wants to go, then I will not stand in his way.  Hmmm.  His attitude changed.  I thnk it was a tool he used to try to manipulate me, as now he isn't leaving.

I gotta get some assertiveness here and make some decisions based on my own self preservation.  Here is the hard part:  I don't want to lose my house.  I don't want to lose my marriage. 

I don't want to have to admit I failed.



My life is unmanageable

This is exactly what I am going through.  After so many years so many bad habits have taken root.  And I am angry at myself.  I am embarrassed of myself for allowing him to be the way he was.

We did our parts of being compassionate, understanding, compromising, supportive wives.  Now, we find that the advice we were given for women in marriage did not work for us.  In this type of marriage, we needed to fight for equality, hold a tight line on our boundaries, and keep ourselves detached to guard our sanity.  This is totally not how I was taught to view a loving relationship or marriage.  

Where we expected love and care, there is hatred and neglect.

Our marriages ARE more like mother and errant son, whether we are loving and giving or if we hold the strong line.  We have no control over our spouses.  They are like children.

"I don't want to lose my house.  I don't want to lose my marriage. I don't want to have to admit I failed."  

That is me too.  That is why we are still holding on to this site and not making work of leaving. We have not failed.  We have used all the tools of coping, survival, graciousness that DO mean we are strong women.  Now, that we know better and realize we have been duped by "hyperfocus" so long ago, how do we use those tools to find a life to be able to cope, survive, and be the people we want to be?

Instead of finding solutions, they distract themselves from their problems. So their problems become our problems and we obsess over what they are doing because what they do/don't do affects our lives.

The first step in healing for a SPOUSE of a person with a drinking problem is to admit we were powerless over them and admit that our lives have become unmanageable.

The second step is to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Glass Half Empty

if you made a partnership with someone to combine your resources to build a business, one of you puts in all he has to make the business work and notices that the other person was not contributing much and is keeping to himself.  The contributing partner sees the glass half EMPTY because he is waiting for the partner to put in the other half to make the business as successful as it could be.  The errant partner sees the glass as half FULL because there is lots in there to be grateful for....more than he thought he would ever have by himself....so he is just enjoying what is in the glass?  He is also proud of what is in the glass as it is his because that is what the partnership is all about. So he goes about enjoying his pride of having a glass half full.  What does the partner who has contributed in trust do now that the glass belongs equally to both and the business is failing?  Of course the errant partner does not see the failing and expects the contributing partner to take care of things...because he knows more about it as it was all his doing. 



This sounds so familiar. 

You have not failed.  Whether you stay or go is up to you.  He may not feel like he has a choice, right now, because he has no alternative.  But that is because he has a roof over his head, a decent person to care about him who (MAY STILL) be willing to put up with him (for awhile) if he makes the right gestures (for awhile).

If he finds someone else to support him (or, thinks he has) he will be even more willing to ignore you.  That is why I think that behavior modification technique is the way to go. You have been trying that, already. Maybe find some more areas in which he can feel rewarded/can contribute to his self-esteem?  (I guess that the self-esteem of most partners is, somehow, enhanced by being able to take care of spouse.)

This is hard.  When do you just withdraw from somebody who you love more than your life, when that would hurt so much?  Moving forward in the relationship would seem to demand it, but when your spouse is always after what is more convenient---

Who can compete with that? Especially when s/he shows up, with fresh eyes to absorb a potential partner's baggage?