I'm 34 and my partner of 3 years and I have decided to separate. She is 31 and has recently been diagnosed with combined ADHD. 99% of the time,I have never met a more lovely, kind, caring, beautiful girl in my life. It's the 1% that was the end. Pre diagnosis was a rollercoaster of arguments, power plays, impulsivity, depression, drug taking on nights out, Hyperfocus/ me being ignored, crying/breakdowns, her mind racing, anxiety and generally living her life at 1000 mph.
I wanted to reach out here because I feel like there may be people in the same boat as me that could help.
I have tried and tried to do everything in my power to make this work and I feel like I've failed.
We've been to couples counseling (pre-diagnosis, so that wasn't helpful), I'm doing my own therapy, she's on medication and now has a behavioral coach. She developed loads of helpful hacks to combat her symptoms such as multiple reminder alarms and writing notes (there are notes everywhere and piles of them). Our arguments became less and less as we both have been learning about ADHD.
I worked on my anxious thoughts and feelings and she worked on her. The issue is that we haven't been able to solve this one problem.
When her symptoms get too much for me (excessive talking all the time, fast actions, spilling and breaking something by accident, mood swings, tears etc), I shut her down.It can be something like stopping her midway through a sentence and saying 'I don't mean to be rude but I'm doing something'. This leads to a nuclear explosion of anger like I've never experienced. Like going from 0 to F.U in seconds.
This then makes me angry and we have explosive arguments about ridiculous things. She ends up in tears ( pouring tears like someone has died), in bed with anxiety, and then it ends with her saying she can't believe I would upset her. How she doesn't have time for me to be rude, dismissive, unsupportive, and if she feels rejected or shut down, I will always get verbal abuse. No compromise. If she feels attacked because I'm in a mood and I've had a go about something that may not actually be her fault (but I've maybe had a bad day and not in a great mood) forget it... it goes to nuclear anger.
She's now started telling me I'm gaslighting her and it's emotional abuse. She says it's about 3/10 and that I may not know I'm doing it. I think I use my words in arguments to get my point across in an argument in a way that confuses her - I tend to talk about multiple things to use as examples of how I feel. and talk around the point instead of addressing the point. Perhaps to use as ammo to get my point across. She says her working memory isn't great so when I ask for examples she can't give me any. So all this makes me feel like a horrible person and all I've ever tried to do is try my hardest to make us work as a couple. Same for her.
So now it's got to us going to 0-10 in anger any time she feels rejected or shut down. Even if we haven't had an argument, it seems that the smallest thing can get in her head and tip her over the edge. She gets so sad at night, if not medicated. And I mean tears and depressed, then in the morning, she tells me I'm the best thing to ever happen in her life and gives me loads of lovely compliments.
All our arguments have been from me shutting her down, not listening and being unsupportive. I feel so bad that her symptoms trigger me as I really try. But it seems to just build and build, until I say something and the anger and tears are back. I could go on about the 6 hours it takes to pack her suitcase to go on holiday, the verbal emotional outbursts, the PTSD she has when she was beaten up by an abusive guy at a wedding who beat up his gf (she jumped in to help and tried to fight him after calling for help), she thinks her mum and sister don't like her because of the way she was to them when she was younger etc etc... No matter how much I try and justify it, us ending still feels like I've failed and I'm deeply sad.
It seems we're just incompatible and I'm relieved I don't have to deal with this anymore, I feel tired and beaten by the whole thing but I wanted to reach out to find out if perhaps I have done something here that I shouldn't have.
Thanks for your time.x