So this is my first time on this website and forum. My husband was diagnosed with ADHD six years ago, after our son was diagnosed. It was good timing because our marriage was at breaking point at the time, but with this new diagnosis came a new understanding and reasons to forgive. However, whilst my husband is now medicated and we are both more aware over time we have allowed things to slip a little, and I guess whilst we came a long way at the time, we still have further to go.
Over recent months, I have been feeling isolated and frustrated and some of the hurts which I thought had healed from years gone by, have surfaced again in my mind, and I have been feeling the urge to flee. Not saying I was ready to act on it, but I recognise the urge. Wanting my own space, quiet calm. I am blessed that my husband travels away twice a year for 8 - 10 weeks, this is indeed a good valve and an opportunity to recharge and the last couple of years, his time away has been just that, but I missed him and longed for him to come home. But this trip, reminded me more of times gone by, when I longed for him to leave and dreaded his return.
I have contemplated my feelings over these past few weeks, and decided, I had to look back to his ADHD diagnosis to re-examine what is most likely at the root of our problems. So I ordered both of Melissa's books. I have Just read part one of " The ADHD Effect on Marriage". I realise that as a couple we have done a lot of the work in this book ourselves already, I no longer nag and he is way way better at controlling his impulses and shouting or being unkind. However, ADHD has become the elephant in the room. Some of my resentments have crept back in and I realise we haven't really had an adult conversation about how ADHD affects us both in an ongoing way, as I have been reluctant to keep referencing his ADHD (although he can happily discuss our 2 children with this diagnosis and discuss it's effects on them, but again as I write this I feel he almost see's it as their weakness, mirroring his own parenting perhaps). I also, realise that the Psychiatrist that I saw back then advised me NOT to pay his bills for him, and NOT to step in and to let him see the consequences of his own actions, as a means to help him. However, this is I think where we have gone wrong. He still doesn't pay any attention to our finances and I still feel frustrated by that.
My husband has recently asked me to help him with some invoicing, this made me angry, here I was back at square one, he still hadn't got himself organised, etc etc... Because the Psych told me not to intervene, I have resisted it and felt like a failure when he has asked me to and I did, saying "this is the last time", but knowing in my heart that this isn't and never will be.
When he returns from his trip this time, I intend to start a dialogue with him about who does what in our relationship and how to communicate with each other, making very sure I am addressing his ADHD and letting him know that I do not see these issues as a failure on his part, but something we need to navigate much better moving forward.
My biggest resentment is that I feel, I have had to adapt my own life and career because he needs me more than others in his life, and has been less able to pick up the strain if I have been focused on other things, feeling he has been controlling on occassion because he almost seemed to sabotage my efforts to progress myself, rather than help me more in other areas. This will be a big one to get over, because I think it likely is true in part. I want to work more in the area of healing ( Reiki, Reflexology etc...) but need to have quiet space to contemplate and meditate in order to be able to work in this way, which I find almost impossible when he is home due to his energy and need for my focus on him. I have to find a way to help him understand the importance of this for me without making him feel I am judging him or controlling him. He insists on working in the house, even though I have at his behest, created an office space for him in a cottage in the grounds of our home, where he also teaches from. But he feels, he needs to be around people to get the "energy" to focus on his work, so he brings it into the house where it spreads from one corner of the table, to the whole table, to the living room etc... This, as trivial as this may sound is the biggest barrier for me, as I come home from work, to another work environment and I have been unable thus far, to find a way of creating a space in which to contemplate and create for myself.
I am looking forward to reading the next part of the book, and indeed reading "The Couples Guide to Thriving with ADHD", I hope I can find the inspiration in there to foster the communication I feel I need and to help him address his ADHD in a better way, he medicates, but he has also been drinking too much of late, self medicating the anxiety that goes along with his ADHD.
Thanks for the opportunity to share, hope this isn't too much of a ramble. I wanted to ask, have many people had success with Couples Counseling? I am reluctant to try it in case we get someone who doesn't believe in ADHD (which I don't believe my Psychiatrist actually did).
Hopeful, BC Canada.