Why won't she see...?

I am so frustrated right now because my wife left 2 weeks ago & insists that she needs to be away for at least 1 year. She says that she still loves me but I need to show her that I can be accountable & responsible, 2 characteristics that are rare in people with ADHD. We have 4 girls ranging in age from 3 - 12. She said that she must do this to not only get me to realize what a disappointment I have been, but she feels that she lost herself a long time ago & needs to find herself again. My biggest problem is that the internal conflict that I have about all of this. I have been on Adderall for just about a year & even had my dosage bumped up a little. I started to seek out additional help about a month ago & had been moving forward with staying on track with being more active & putting together a schedule. Heck, she even helped me with the schedule & even put it on paper for me. Then, just when I am starting off on this unfamiliar road, she said she had to go. I am so hurt & so missing her that my heart is constantly aching. It doesn't even feel like it's there. I am having the most trouble with getting her to accept the fact that my mental issues played a majorly significant role in this constant disappointment that I have given her.

I wrote an analogy in a blog about how I have been feeling lately. Here is what I wrote.

For the people around you, the ones that see you each and every day just floundering, failing, appearing unmotivated, breaking promises, constantly disappointing, making them crazy, appearing as if you just don't care, showing no signs of improvement, giving them every reason to avoid you, not paying them back, not being able to depend on you, creating a bigger pile of chaos & debt, creating more stress for them, with your head always in the clouds & waiting for that big "whatever" to come along, etc...they won't fully understand what's going on in YOUR HEAD. It's difficult for clear thinking people to realize what an enormous impact ADD/ADHD has on a person. It very easily can be looked at as an excuse or just another line of bull, that isn't valid enough or have enough weight to be the REAL reason for most if not all of the troubles that they have. But can you blame them? I wouldn't think that anyone would want live with all the issues that I mentioned & even many more that I didn't, and still want to be with that person. Unfortunately, there's no reset button, or red pill that you can take to see both sides. The person that has been constantly hurt, will continue to feel as though they probably won't be able to ever count on the other, and will have doubts that there is a possibility for a positive change. The person with ADD/ADHD is looking at climbing Mt. Everest with no experience for mountain climbing & no one by their side to keep telling them that they can do it. They just have to suck it up & accept the fact that they put them self at the base of that mountain. Even though they have no idea how they got there. I guess they could google "how to climb Mt. Everest", or maybe "Climbing Mt. Everest for Dummies", but really, that is a very big hill to climb by yourself with just some internet advice to go by. Think of the person standing at the base of the mountain by himself, but wasn't expecting that he would be there alone. You see, he and his partner head out on a lifelong journey of hills and valleys and one day hope to get to "Happy Town", or whatever. On the way they got a flat tire, they ran out of food, they ran out of gas, they ran out of money, they went the wrong way, they had to go back home because he forgot something, they ran out of gas again, they needed new tires, the inspection was overdue & they had to go the long way to avoid the po pos, they argued about who's job it was to make sure they had enough of whatever they needed for the journey, but when they found themselves at the base of Mt. Everest the partner said, "I can't do this anymore. I need to go now. I still love you & I'll be on the other side if you get there, but I just got to go." That is a hurt that is hard to describe. Sure it seems pretty obvious as to why the person left at the mountain would be hurt, but to know that the reason they're there is because of his directions, his advice, his fogged up brain, his insisting that he knows the way to Happy Town & he thinks there's a shortcut, but keeps getting them lost & still looks for another shortcut, until he cuts himself short, and finds himself alone. There is no way to put into words, that pain. It can only be felt. You can't make someone understand why or how you got to that mountain, if they don't truly want to understand & are just sick of listening to excuses..

I don't know what I can possibly do to get her to see what's really going on. I just miss my wife & I am already on track to making a better life for my family and me. I have even given her a book call "Is it You, is it Me or Adult ADD". She hasn't read any of it. She has said to me that she is cheering for me & kisses me & hasn't completely separated herself from me, but I know that WE could get through this more effectively than me doing it on my own. Plus, did I mention that I miss her very much?

I would appreciate any directed help that anyone is willing to offer. I am grateful for this site & all of the people here that share their stories & advice. Thanks, God Bless - MRADHD

Continue to work on yourself

I'm new to this site & I can see that you are really hurting. Maybe you will or maybe you won't get back together, but you have to remember that your wife is still cheering you on. She has to work on herself before she can help you. Let her get stronger & refueled. Remember, we can't help others if we can't help ourselves. I have a feeling she has lost her sense of self & is trying to find it again. Make yourself stronger & give her space. Making her feel guilty over this won't help anything. Best of luck to you!

mradhd's picture

Guilt is not the objective

If it seems as though I am looking to get her to feel guilty, I apologize. The feelings that I write about are genuine & not intended to place guilt on anyone. I can't point a finger at anyone, because I don't feel it would be fair to either of us. The question that I keep having is what can I do to get her to see the full story, if she has her mind made up that ADD is not the biggest problem. She realizes that the ADD was a factor, but has said that I can't blame everything on it. I told her that without ADD in our lives, our relationship would be entirely different. I never said that it would be perfect. I just know in my heart that we would be enjoying much more fruitful lives. I think she's concerned that I'm just going to hang my hat on ADD & not be accountable for my past deficiencies. I know me, somewhat, and I know that I refuse to be here ever again. I only pray that she can remember the real me & give me a chance to prove that I am changing, each and every day.

My husband and I are

My husband and I are seperated right now. He has Adhd/depression and is an alcoholic. I do see how bad he suffers in his mind. You ask how can you get her to see the full story? give her time to me thats what it sounds like she needs. For me time spent away from my husband is really helping me. You see when someone tells you they need a break then thats healthy. I didn't do that this past summer and had an emotional breakdown that landed me in the hospital for 4 days. I did learn alot about my feelings and learned a lot about boundries. I'am sorry that you are hurting so bad it is hard when seperation occurs. I too have 4 children and we decided for them and ourselves that seperation was the best thing for all of us. I do believe if my husband didn't have Adhd and his depression things would be different. It is a difficult thing to live with and the answers aren't always easy. keep working on yourself and don't try to get her to see so hard. Just show her and be supportive of her feelings and of course pray. You may be amazed at the outcome. I also would suggest of course theraphy, my husband and I are now seeing a crisis counselor and it has been helpful.
I hope that you both will be on top of the mountain some day..best regards

mradhd's picture

I too am optomistic

First, let me thank you for your kind words, and say that without the input from people like you I don't know if I would have the understanding of how ADHD effects couples. Also, I am always amazed at the outcomes that my prayers bring. Jesus is my Lord & Savior & I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be in my life.  That alone is what's allowing me to stay positive & confident that no matter what the end result, God knows what he's doing & he loves me. I think of it the same way we, as parents think when we discipline our children. We all know how bad it feels to get punished. We were all kids once. I still am, a little. But as parents, we understand that the suffering that we give them through punishment, is for their own good. The objective is for them to learn from their mistakes. I see that happening here. I have become more compassionate for what other's needs are, especially my wife's. I realize that I haven't shown her any real expressions of love, whether they be physical or emotional, in a very long time. I can only say this because I am where I am. I can only speak for my own ADHD riddled mind when I say that I feel that I realize what she has been through. I know that that realization doesn't happen if we just have another one of those "sit down, we need to talk" conversations. You know the ones that always end up with the non-ADHD spouse giving one more chance & the person with the ADHD sweating bullets because he knows he's slacking BIG TIME & really, truly feels that he can beat this thing that's keeping him down. I can't express enough how the biggest part of my pain comes from knowing that I have caused the 1 and only 1 person that has ALWAYS been there for me, without fail, such incredible disappointment  & grief. I see all these things now, and I finally know what it means to truly love someone. Not because of how I feel for her, but because I finally see how she has felt for me for all these years.

The View From the Spouse's Side of the Room

Mr. ADHD - I read your post and I have to tell you that for a moment, I wondered if you were my own husband writing under a pseudonym. The only difference is we have 3 kids, not 4. I too have told my husband that I need space, and he too cannot understand why I need that. With great respect to you - because it does seem that you are focused on working to repair the situation - I have to say I understand exactly what you have heard from your wife. I too think my husband is working on things with his medications, therapist, and coach. Still - I need a break. I can respect your situation as the one with ADHD and the challenges it has brought to you. But the ADHD has hurt another person too - your wife. I've noticed in my own husband the inability to see the culmulative effects of years of the same destructive actions over and over again. I understand that those actions were largely due to ADHD and I now understand that this inability to see the cumulative and to self-evaluate is part of the ADHD and not a direct consequence of my husband's lack of caring or concern. Nonetheless, the cumulative effects of years of the same destructive actions over and over again have left me exhausted, demoralized, depressed, anxious, and stressed. In trying to avoid financial, parenting, household, career, and relationship disasters that were caused largely by undiagnosed ADHD, I have somehow become absorbed into the craziness and have long since lost my own individuality. My life became a constant process of trying to cover for my ADHD husband's shortfalls, arguments over the same darn things over and over and over again, and a bitterness and resentment that made me someone I no longer recognized or cared to be around. I now lived my life waiting for the other shoe to drop. Me and my wants, needs, hopes, and dreams fell to the wayside. That is not to say that is entirely my husband's fault - I realize now that I had a big part to play in that too. Regardless, the damage was done and needs to be repaired. For me, and I suspect for your wife too, she just desperately needs a finite period of calm in which to collect herself and marshall her forces. Shortly after Christmas, I asked my husband to leave the house for a few days so I could think. He did not want to do this at all. But I have to tell you that the quiet that I had for those three days was WONDERFUL. I was able to calmly think and take stock - and I didn't have to worry about what potential disasters or arguments waited around the next corner for me. I came to certain concrete conclusions in my mind that were long overdue and I now have a plan for moving forward. I have to be honest that I have not ruled out a legal separation from my husband; however, I have decided to wait to make that decision until I graduate from school over the summer, take my certification exam, and find a job. In the meantime, I have started the process of rebuilding myself. I go to therapy, joined an ADHD spouses group, rediscovered several old hobbies that I enjoyed but allowed to fall to the wayside, and have also staked my claim to one night a week as Mom's Sanity Night Out. I have chosen to distance myself from my husband on some levels, much like it sounds like your wife has. I too support my husband's effort to learn new behaviors and manage his ADHD - I just choose now to do so from a safer distance where I do not get pulled in and hurt by it when those efforts aren't successful. I use to go to his ADHD coach with him, but I found that I was getting very tied up in the success or failure of the whole thing - if he didn't come through on what he committed to that week, it ruined me. Not to mention that was just more time of my life being taken away from me and my needs and given to my husband's - another source of resentment. I made the decision to take a break - I still know what he is working on, he is still welcome to talk with me; however, I don't need to be enmeshed in his life. I have also stopped having so many arguments with him - if what he is doing only impacts him and I can see it will likely have disastrous results, I stand back and let him go - I use to try to persuade him why what he was planning did not make sense. No more - he will discover that on his own and it saves me stress. If what he is doing does impact me and/or my kids, then I calmly set up boundaries that meet our needs - I don't argue with him anymore, I just make sure me and my kids' needs are met. He has noticed this and seems, like you, a litle panicky about it. I guess that is because it is new and he is used to certain dramas playing out between us. I just don't want those dramas anymore. He needs to work on himself and I need to work on myself. There may be a time in the future when we can come together and work together - but that time is not yet here IMHO. I hope this helps you see her position a little better. It truly wasn't meant to sound judgemental or critical. I just thought perhaps you needed a little insight into how the view looks from the spouse's side of the room. I applaud your efforts to help yourself and your marriage.
mradhd's picture

I do understand the need for her...

Thanks so much for your insight on the spouse's side. I am grateful for all of the input that I receive here. I too have to look at some comments made from the spouses writing in, because it seems like the stories are all the same, only the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Haha. I don't know if it's just me, or I just happen to be one of the few, so it seems, that get it. I see why she needs space. I even agree with it...to a point. She is planning on signing a 1 yr. lease for an apartment, today. A year is a very long time. Now I know that 15 years is obviously much longer, that she has put up with my insanity. So I can appreciate this much needed separation. I know that she needs to heal. She needs to find herself, which can be scary for me because, she is very beautiful, both inside and out. She just stands out when she is out in public. She has already had guys asking her out ("now that she's single" - something that this guy said to her). I fear that finding herself will mean that she may come to feel that the pain that I have caused is reason enough to notice another man that doesn't appear to be so OUT OF HIS MIND! Sorry, didn't mean to yell. But the healing is necessary for both of us. I want her to be in love with me, and I know that doesn't happen without being able to forgive, forget & look ahead. I know that she needs to see progress, not just hear about it. I also know that I very much needed this to happen. I am now truly seeing what the responsibilities  are for us in this house. I have been thrown into the lake, and have been given the choice to Sink or Swim. I am actually happy that I have been given these challenges. To me, they are exactly that - CHALLENGES. I accept them, welcome them, and look forward to completing them. I can see that it just doesn't ever happen, if nothing changes. I read in another comment, one of my favorite quotes, "If nothing changes, then nothing changes". My other one, that is similar, is the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over & over again, expecting a different result. How crazy does someone have to be to think that anything could possibly change, if there are no changes ever made? I GET IT, BELIEVE ME. I GET IT! (not yelling, just exclaiming)

I have allowed her to enable me for so long, which is in her nature - she's is a nurse, that I never really knew what it meant to be accountible to others & myself. I know now that if I don't pay a bill, something will be shut off. If I don't give the kids a bath, they will smell. I know that if I don't keep up on the laundry, then we all will be wearing dirty underwear. Now, I'm not saying that I didn't realize these very obvious tasks were needed to be done, consistently. I even did what I thought was my part to contribute. The problem is, when I did actually "do" some of these tasks, I either made a big deal out of it, didn't finish it, did it "wrong", had to think of a better way, took too long, etc. She would end up doing whatever it was, herself. She didn't want to wait for me anymore, and stopped expecting me to do anything, and understandibly so. I can only imagine her frustration on a daily basis.

What I don't get is how can all the signs point to a very obvious & consistent mental issue & it not be an epiphany for her.  Epiphany: (1): a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2): an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3): an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b: a revealing scene or moment

I would think there would be a huge sense of relief to be able to put her finger on what's really happened here. To be able to say, "Hey, maybe he really does love me, but he just doesn't know what the heck he's doing half the time", would lead me to believe that there is something new to focus on & to give her hope. Unfortunately, I may be getting too anxious with her understanding more about ADHD & marriage. She has asked me to stop "Hammering" her with all of this stuff. She feels that there is some validity to this problem, but I believe the pain has taken away the ability to search out other options & say anything but, "it's all your fault!" She keeps telling me how ALL of her friends and relatives are mad at me & say that she should just move out & move on, yet they certainly have their own issues to deal with. Well, I'm still praying & I have HOPE. As long as I have that & the Lord's guidance, I'll always be o.k.  God Bless.

Just a thought... Having read

Just a thought... Having read through several of your posts in other threads on this forum... another of those pesky ADD symptoms is impatience... You obviously love your wife very much, and are in a lot of pain from her choice to leave. Remember, though. that she is hurting and in pain too. Trust her to come back when she's ready and give her the gift she needs most - time. In the meantime, learning to address your ADD symptoms and change your behavior will make a bigger impact on her than merely telling her you found the problem repeatedly."What I don't get is how can all the signs point to a very obvious & consistent mental issue & it not be an epiphany for her."It may well be an epiphany for her... but that doesn't negate the fact that she may still need some "recovery time." Knowing the reason is great and important, but it's only half the battle. She may also feel that she needs some time to recharge the mental and emotional batteries, so to speak, before she is ready to help you on your journey. When my daughter was diagnosed, it was certainly an epiphany... finally having a name for what was going on was a relief. But even though she is a sweet and wonderful child (now teenager) whom we love more than anything, she can still be exhausting to be around, both physically and emotionally, and all the love and understanding in the world doesn't change that. My husband is also ADHD/bipolar/depression... our situation sounds very similar to yours and I have been desperate enough lately to consider getting my own place, not because I don't love him anymore or because I don't "get it" (we've been married 8 years, since the diagnosis) but just out of sheer exhaustion and a certain amount of mental self-preservation.