View Full Version : New here with a few questions


Listening
05-25-15, 10:52 AM
Hi, I'm new here. Have been reading and getting as much info as I can as I believe my wife is ADD. At the point the thought of discussing it with her actually scares me. I certainly see the symptoms as I read posts on here and commiserate with some of the same things. Menial or boring tasks do not interest her, if I ask her to do such things she will then pout for a while afterwards. She is very lethargic and uninterested in doing things unless something exciting to her pops up and boom she is full of energy. Completely unobservant of things.

The other day she was out doing something and I cleaned the entire house which was filthy in my mind including her bathtub which was just gross. She comes home and doesn't notice anything. I say, "do you notice anything different" she looks around and says you know I'm not good at these things. I show here the bathtub that has gone from dingy and dirty to sparkling white. She sees nothing. I tell her what has been done and she is like oh, I see. Then she says yeah I was feeling like I was getting dirtier when I took a bath. I don't use the tub by the way, it's just hers.

Anyway, enough ranting, I do love my wife. i don't enjoy the times when I am not even noticeable to her. I love the times when she is loving and attentive and I am her focus. There is nothing like it. I work very hard to assure the house is clean and things are in there place. I do not complain about that at all. I am not vindictive in any way when she does not do things. I always do what I do and show her love and go out of my way to consistently be loving to her everyday.

Anyway, my question is this. I appreciate this forum because I like the insight from ADHD people as I get a lot of understanding from that. What I am not understanding about it is how the ADD person can be so normal and loving for such a long time. In our case 9 months from when we started dating until we were married. She rarely looked at her phone, we watched one television show in that entire time, we talked for hours, would go on walks, cooked and cleaned together. Her house was clean. All seemed normal. Obviously this person know how to be normal and do normal things.

Why does that immediately, I mean immediately, change to constant face in the phone while the tv is on and it never gets turned off. She ends conversations immediately and is back to the phone. Never cleans or even notices filth, Either she or I will cook and I clean. I was the best cook ever and she loved me making things for her. Now she only eats her specific things for a few weeks and then hates it and changes to something else that she love. There is no compromise. Her compromise is to remove herself from the situation so she can do what she wants.

I read all that and it sounds horrible. It does not seem that bad. Most of the time things are pretty good. Then there will be a few days were I don't seem to exist to her unless she wants something. She asks for a lot, and rarely says thank you. I don't even think she realizes that. I have gotten used to it.

I love her and want to give her everything I can to help her though life and be a support for her. Just looking for suggestions on how to proceed. Even if she were diagnosed, I do not think she would take anything. She refuses to take common medicines for headaches or sleeping which is always a problem. She does not want to be dependent on anything.

Unmanagable
05-25-15, 11:42 AM
My brain isn't able to form a complete thought at the moment to properly respond, but I want to say welcome to addf, and thank you for making time to seek more knowledge.

Lunamoth
05-26-15, 01:37 AM
Hi Listening, I'm the non-ADHD partner in my marriage also.

From my understanding, the complete change in them once you marry is because the hyperfocus drops off. Where before the relationship gave them a huge dopamine rush, they suddenly and dramatically switch onto something else to find their "fix". I'm sure someone else will come along who will be able to explain it far better. If you don't realise that it's unintentional, it's pretty awful to be on the receiving end as you have no idea that they really do still love you just as much. The problem is that they don't get to choose what they focus on, so they can't switch back to being that person.

I'm sorry but unless you go down the path of diagnosis and medication, your relationship will stay pretty much as it is now. Unless of course you add children, which we did, and my husband's symptoms became worse with each child due to the increased responsibility, pressure and general chaos that children bring. If you are quite content with how things are, then by all means continue as you are but understand that you cannot resent her for her symptoms.

Diagnosis and medication made a dramatic difference to our marriage and also to my husband's work life. He also hated taking any kind of medication prior to this, but when faced with the alternative of an unhappy marriage or no marriage at all he found it an easy choice. Now that he sees how much easier his life can be, he would not go back to being unmedicated. I don't mean to sound awful at all, I love my husband an incredible amount and I think he's wonderful, but it was becoming an unhealthy environment for our children to be raised in.

Don't get me wrong, medication doesn't solve all the issues, but it goes a really long way to taking the "edge" off the symptoms. My husband was only diagnosed 18 months ago, and there are plenty of days and long evenings where I still feel like I don't exist to him. It's so far been a slow process with a lot of hard work from both sides to get to a point where we both feel a bit more on top of things. I am lucky in that he is the type of person who extremely driven to change and improve, and I fully understand that he is possibly a little unique in that way.

sarahsweets
05-26-15, 04:27 AM
Be careful trying to diagnose your wife. There are many things that mimic adhd.

Listening
05-26-15, 12:27 PM
Thanks for the responses. Yes I am trying to be very careful in any diagnosis. This is just one that seems to make a lot of sense as I read other posts knowing I see and feel the same things. Her son that lives with us is diagnosed and its uncanny how their behavior mimics each other. Her daughter who seems somewhat different gets quite frustrated with the way they both behave and interact. She does not require her son to take his meds on weekends so that gets very stressful at times.

New children is no issue. We already have five between us. That is an obvious stressor at times. However, we do get every other weekend to ourselves and those are usually really good times. Our youngest is 13.

ToneTone
05-26-15, 12:46 PM
I worry that you're skipping important steps and racing down the road to "diagnosis" of a condition.

First of all, your job is (as I see it) to stand up for yourself in the relationship! Stand up in a manner that matches the level of pain or disappointment you are feeling. By standing up, I mean talking to her about what is painful for you in the relationship. (I'm not talking about name calling or putting down the other person but rather expressing your feelings honestly.)

Let's take a page from the ER doctors: if your relationship satisfaction level is 3/10 (where 0 is the lowest), then she needs to know that. Unless you make it clear how miserable you are, she is likely to think you are at a 7/10 or 8/10 in satisfaction.

Being passive in a relationship NEVER works. So time to talk to her and to yourself about what is bothering you. That's your job before you get to diagnosis. Just tell them what you are feeling. A really responsive partner will want to hear what you are feeling ... And a responsive partner will take what you say into consideration.

Basically you can't force a person to get treated for a condition. You can throw out an idea ... but you need to first make clear your own feelings and disappointments without being a jerk.

Note: for a lot of brain and mental health treatments to work, the patient has to want it to work and to accept the treatment.

I dated someone who had a horrible disorder and, I went to the internet to look for a condition and for ways to treat her condition. She un-enthusiastically got treatment for her condition, but NO TREATMENT is miraculous. So you end up at the same point anyway: can I live with this person and their limits?

Here's the bottom line: I had a right and indeed A DUTY to express my feelings and thoughts NO MATTER THE REASON! This is the most important step, to get your agenda and feelings on the table. There is no getting around this step, though lots of people try to imagine that "treatment" will allow them to get what they want without standing up for themselves. Not true. You have to stand up clearly for what you think and feel ... It's the only way the other person can know what you want.

So how much have you talked to her about your pain in the relationship?

Good luck.

Tone

Listening
05-26-15, 04:11 PM
Thanks Tone,

I have tried to talk to her and she basically gets either angry or nonresponsive or both. However, when she does get that way, I do tell her how things she does make me feel even though there is no response on her part. I do believe she does listen as things do change afterwards for a period of time. However, actually discussing and getting feedback from her and any sort of verbal admission of a problem with some sort of commitment towards a solution will not happen.

I work to be very kind and understanding with all I say to her. We have been married about 1.5 years now. There was a pretty big struggle for us at about the 1 year mark where we were both pretty frustrated. At that point, I believe we both backed off a little and have not had too many stressful confrontations and have learned to quickly back away if things are not too big a deal.

I understand what you are saying about being too passive. I struggle with that because I know that the more I push the more she pushes back. I do not believe she has a good grasp of who she really is. I have a good relationship with her mother who seems to be very similar. However, she is very quick to admit her shortcomings. She can do or say something off the wall and I or she can point it out and just both just laugh about it. With my wife if I get a chuckle out of something like that when she forgets or does something a little odd. She gets offended and denies she ever said or did what just took place in front of my eyes and goes on a rant to prove she is right. At which point I can argue what I know to be true to no avail or just agree and move on down the road because it is usually something minor that should just be shrugged off.

I have read a lot of what you have written Tone and value your insight very much. I honestly do not think treatment is a real possibility. I am just looking for insight, tips, tricks or anything that will help me along the way. To get through the rough patches so I can enjoy the good times with her.

I love her so much and am doing all I can to make things as smooth and happy as possible. It's a struggle at times. But we keep moving forward. I sure know that I have plenty to work on with myself to be a better person and spouse for her.

Lunamoth
05-26-15, 11:09 PM
Hi Listening,

I'm working with the assumption that your wife does have ADD. If you are confident that she will not agree to a diagnosis and medication, then there's little you can do to change her or her behaviour. Like you said, after a discussion she will change for a little while and then revert back, which is very typical of unmedicated ADHD behaviour. The only thing you can control and change is your own behaviour.

The first thing I would say is to completely alter your expectations. If you had expected your marriage to be the "typical" marriage with both of you performing the traditional gender roles, then you need to throw that out the window. Understand that the housework and any menial tasks she doesn't enjoy will be very difficult for her, and that you will need to help out with her share of work or outsource those tasks if you can afford to. You probably have a fair idea by now of which tasks she can and cannot cope with. She is not being lazy or shirking responsibility; accept those tasks are just really hard for her. You will need to compensate for her disability. If she is coping with a new marriage and 5 kids then in my book she's doing pretty damn well.

I found a lot of our "rough" patches were where I had taken my husband's behaviour personally, when really what I was looking at were ADHD symptoms eg "ignoring" me, not listening, not making me a priority etc. I reacted, he reacted back, so on and so forth. This may or may not be the same for you. Learn to identify her behaviour that is driven by ADHD and learn not to take it personally. Obviously any kind of verbal or physical abuse is unacceptable regardless of ADHD.

On the days and nights when she is acting like you don't exist, find something else to do. Hang out with friends, get a hobby etc. Have technology-free nights, schedule in dates, go out and about together so she is forced to look up from her phone.

I know that you love her, but am worried that in your initial post you wrote that she knows how to be "normal". Normal is very subjective and you will need to come to terms with your relationship as it is, and realise that it will most likely stay this way if she remains undiagnosed. Take your time to research the condition and come to terms with it. Inside she is still that person you dated and fell in love with, but she has a disability and you need to accept that is part of who she is and you need to accommodate it.

You mentioned that your weekends without the kids are usually really good, so cherish those, and keep them in your mind during the bad times.

sarahsweets
05-27-15, 04:38 AM
If your wife never changed and was always going to be this way, could you stay with her? Sometimes thats what we have to ask ourselves because not everyone is willing to change or thinks they should.

VeryTired
05-27-15, 09:04 AM
Hi, Listening--

Welcome to ADDF. I hope you find this resource as helpful as I have done for the past couple years. There is so much to learn here! (I am also the partner of someone who has ADHD, by the way.)

I agree with all of what's already been said--but I would put the emphasis in different places.

It's true that you can't diagnose your wife and it's dangerous to try--but it's also true that many partners of people who have ADHD are the ones who realize that their partners have ADHD first. So the questions are: how can you raise this possibility with your wife, is she willing to explore it by speaking with a doctor, and if she is not, will you be OK with that over time? Those three different, huge questions.

First of all, but yourself a copy of Gina Pera's book "Is It You, Me or ADult ADD?" That's an essential starting point for the partner of someone with ADHD. Then, read backwards in history on the non-add partner support board. I read every post single here when I first discovered ADDF. It took a while, but was very helpful to me. If you find that you are recognizing familiar issues, experiences, problems and feelings here over and over, that may tell you something. Once you have learned more about ADHD and decided whether you think your wife may have it, you could possibly recommend a book or web site to her, so she can find out more. It can be scary and difficult for a person to come to terms with the possibility of having ADHD, so it's not surprising if she is reluctant to consider this.

It is 100% true that it's your wife's right to explore the possibility of an ADHD diagnosis and treatment or not as she chooses. But you should be very clear that many marriages have died because untreated ADHD made life unbearable for well-meaning couples. It can be devastating. I believe that in some ways, it can even be harder to live with someone else's disability than to have a disability yourself--there is so much less ability to make choices, so much less clarity about circumstance when your life is affected by what's happening inside another person. And another very important thing to understand is that problems that don't go away can come to seem harder and worse over time--you can wear out or burn out in a difficult situation that doesn't improve over time. You need to be mindful of your own needs, as well as your wife's in this situation.

I would completely support the right of any person with ADHD to chose not to be treated for it. Of course. But I also would not even consider living with my partner if he were not taking his medication and working hard in therapy to find ways of handling the challenges of ADHD. And I think that is a completely reasonable choice and decision for me, as a non-ADHD partner. As it happens my partner agrees. He wouldn't want to live without his meds and therapy anyway, because they help him so much with the things he cares most about in life, but he also understands that I couldn't be with him in the absence of his meds and his work in therapy.

Your initial post here makes you sound kind of scared of talking to your wife about her possible ADHD--as though you only felt able to confront her when you were sure you were in the right, because you had done all that house-cleaning. I can understand how that might be, but it's not productive to approach the problem this way. The issue isn't the bathtub, it's her dramatic transformation from the person you used to know, and her present apparent inability to attend to you in ways you need. Those are real, legitimate concerns for you. You need to be able to voice them, and she should be able to hear and respond to them.

Since you seem sure your wife isn't open to exploring the possibility of a diagnosis, and you seem concerned about that, I would suggest that possibly a good plan for now is to see a therapist yourself. That way you can safely explore your feelings and concerns, and clarify what's really about you and your needs, as well as what's about your wife and her issues. That may give you the support you need to make choices about approaching these difficult questions with your wife.

Lastly, re: the bewildering and horrible experience of having beloved partners seem to turn into a different person and withdraw all their most engaged and engaging qualities, and stop directing their intense attention to us, well, I think that is the strangest and most difficult part of being in a relationship with someone who has ADHD. I hate it and it has taken me years to understand that it is really true--and also that it's not a choice by my partner, it really is a symptom of his disorder. That's shocking to me, but I see that it is true. Nothing makes it easier or better for me as I try to live with this. But reading other people's experiences definitely helps. I have previously written a lot about this problem here, and so did a woman named Kylief8, who no longer participates in ADDF, but wrote some very intense posts about this a couple years ago. You could do a search on her name if you want to read more.

Wishing you all the best--wishing your wife all the best--hoping you'll keep us posted about how things go for you both--

Listening
05-27-15, 01:10 PM
Thanks guys for all the responses. I have been reading this board for some time and I have read Gina Pera's book which helped me a lot in the beginning and everyday. One of my plans was to leave it out where she would see it to possible introduce the subject. It has gone unnoticed, sitting there all the time at times within inches of her head. Oh well that plan did not work.

I understand that she is not going to change from what she is now. I sometimes feel I am trying to hold off a downwarding spiral. At current level. I am quite happy with things. Obviously annoyed at things sometimes but I am learning how to talk to her and what works and what sets her off.

I'm currently working on just opening some lines of communication about some simple everyday things that I sense are bothering her about me. As it seems her assumptions are not correct. I believe we will slowly get into talking about my thoughts on the ADD. I do believe I can live with how she is now. I have been and continue to be changing my expectations. It is all a process. We certainly have plenty of time.

As far as the kids go, Two are grown and out of the house. We only have two full time in the house and one additional every other weekend. One starts college in the fall so full time it will just be Me, her and her son with my daughter every other weekend. I expect some interesting times at that point as the daughter that is going to college provides some level of sanity in the bad times.

All info and advice is appreciated. I'm trying to listen and learn as much as possible. I'm and engineer so my thing is having everything in its place and some sense of a plan. Does not mesh with her at all. I'm adjusting and accepting and learning to live in a new way. It's different, not necessarily bad. She does comment that I make her feel like she is on a vacation as I take care of everything and remember things she ordinarily would forgets when we do things and go places.

ToneTone
05-27-15, 01:30 PM
Listening,

I don't think there is anything more crushing than to wake up shortly after getting married and to realize the person in front of you is far different than the person you dated and thought you were marrying. Keep in mind this scenario plays out with lots of marriages ... Woman marries guy who talks to his mom a bit much ... .Woman assumed mom would disappear from picture after marriage, but mom did no such thing. Woman falls into despair as she suddenly realizes she's married to guy who is under control of his mom. There are a million variations of this scenario.

There are no easy answers to dealing with your wife ... But there are paths you can take, paths that may or may not get you to the place you want to get to in the marriage ... One path someone mentioned is to radically change your expectations ... The challenge with doing that, however, is that it is very easy to PRETEND to change expectations while in fact holding onto a lot of bitterness and resentment at your partner. So I think it's much more helpful to change expectations while working with a therapist.

This may be the time for you to come fully into yourself. Time to explore what you want out of your life beyond your marriage. It's OK in the best marriages for partners to pursue widely different interests. Someone mentioned finding good hobbies ... Time to give yourself full permission to do a lot more of what simply pleases you ...

You can NOT let your wife's reactions or defensiveness to force you to back down or stop talking when you want to speak. Each time you back off, you are in effect endorsing her strategy: [IWhen my husband brings up a subject I don't like, just throw a tantrum and he backs off. [/I]

My personal view is that we can NOT have a good relationship with someone we are afraid of approaching on pretty much any topic ... and certainly someone we are afraid to approach on the topic of our relationship.

I'm assuming that you do NOT reject her views when she talks. I assume she's not afraid of talking to you about touchy issues ... If so, the relationship is FUNDAMENTALLY unbalanced ... and on a bad path. And you are on the low side of the balance.

I'm not counseling despair. But it's going to take a lot of work on your part to find some balance of happiness in here. Finally, I would say do NOT avoid a therapist or avoid being honest for fear that you would be endangering the marriage. Lots of people retreat for fear that a therapist will tell them to leave a marriage. Most therapists will not urge such a thing, not unless the client is already there and committed to such a move.

Finally, a person in your position has a LOT OF ROOM you explore your own self interest and their own feelings before you threaten the marriage. The fear people in your situation have is that if they allow themselves to pursue their own well being, they will destroy the marriage. That's not true but unfortunately people waste time thinking along these lines and the relationship worsens during that period.

Good luck.

Tone

VeryTired
05-27-15, 02:32 PM
Hi, Listening--

You just learned something, I think: leaving a book out to attract the attention of someone who has a problem with attention is not a strategy likely to work!

Once, when I was frustrated with my partner leaving dirty glasses all over the house after many reminders, I tried picking up every scattered one I found and putting it on his bedside table. No reaction to that at all--until finally there were no clean ones left in the kitchen cupboard, whereupon he complained that I must have used them all. He clearly does not have the ability to see things that are out of place.

Anyway, I think Tone just gave you some enormously good advice--he is often extremely wise.

Lunamoth
05-27-15, 06:07 PM
...it is very easy to PRETEND to change expectations while in fact holding onto a lot of bitterness and resentment at your partner.

I know it's not related, but Tone mentioned "bitterness and resentment", and sadly I think those are two things a non-ADHD partner has to really battle with. Quite a few members of my husband's family don't realise they have ADHD in their marriages, and the common theme for them is a huge amount of unresolved anger and resentment on behalf of the non-ADHD partner. It is obvious in the way they speak, the way they act, and their dissatisfaction in their marriage. It is scary. My husband's grandfather had undiagnosed ADHD and, even 20 years after his death, his wife's memories of their marriage were filled with disappointment and resentment. It was because of her bitterness that I pushed for my husband to get diagnosed as I was terrified of becoming like her.

I'm not saying you will follow that same path, because you already have the knowledge that there is ADHD in your marriage which is a big advantage. But living with ADHD can have subtle effects too, like I have noticed the way I now speak far more directly and succinctly because my husband's attention was so fleeting that I had to get my point across quickly before the opportunity was gone. I think you can spot that one from my forum posts as I am subtle as a brick! My self esteem and confidence are lower, I am constantly exhausted, and I feel like I have lost a lot of myself and sacrificed some of my dreams and qualities to make our marriage work. I know this is my experience and not yours, but these were changes that happened so slowly that I didn't notice they were happening. There will without a doubt be an impact on you, and it's important that you look after yourself and prioritise your own wellbeing.

Don't be scared to prioritise your needs in the marriage by bringing up the topic with your wife. You have an equal right to a happy and fulfilling life. If you can share your concerns with her, then you can share responsibility for managing her symptoms. But, if you keep the knowledge to yourself and quietly pick up the slack in the background, then I believe you're making a conscious decision to put her needs above your own and at the same time preventing her from having the opportunity to remedy your concerns and to make a choice re treatment. I truly believe that in the long run it will hurt both of you. If she refuses any diagnosis, then that is her choice. But if you do not try, you might find that the resentment of carrying the burden alone creeps up on you and erodes your marriage.

I hope that whatever path you choose will lead to a long and happy marriage. You sound a very decent person, and I wish you all the best.

rickymooston
05-27-15, 09:14 PM
It doesn't sound like ADHD to me, actually, at least ADHD isn't the only thing going on here.

Why am I claiming this?

You said at the beginning of your relationship, her house was clean. Assuming she didn't get help from somebody else, it sounds like she changed.

Some things you mention sound ADHD but I'm wondering if something else is involved? Depression? Dementia? ...?

She definitely has ADHD like symptoms:
1) inattentive
2) sucks at menial tasks
3) great when she's interested
4) used to talk with you for hours
...

But from your description, she wasn't always like this.

If you know somebody who knew her when she was younger and heard stories about signs of inattention, my view would change.

Listening
05-28-15, 09:12 AM
Thanks Tone, you said a lot, especially the last paragraph which said a lot.

Interesting though Ricky. What you bring up about the house is part of my first question. Yes when we first met, and the first time I went in her house the main area I saw was clean. Just the first time or two. After that it all went away. Then there were pile of dishes in the sink, wading through dirty laundry in places. It all went away quickly. If she is having people over now, she will do some cleaning and picking up. I keep the house pretty clean so there is usually not much to do but I suspect that she would do more to make the house look good for company. If I am out of town for a few days, she will clean up a little just before I get home. Otherwise, she does very little. She does do the laundry which I appreciate greatly. I have enough underwear to last me about 3 weeks. I usually run out and laundry piles are huge before she gets to it. Sorting socks does not happen. They all go into a big basket and every morning we have to dig through to find a matching pair to wear. That's not too bad, I kind of treat it as a game. Hers usually don't match.

As far as previous experience. The first time I was with her kids alone (they were 12 and 16 at the time), they actually laid it out for me. Told me how she is nothing like she had been acting around me. Told me how things would be. I did not believe them assuming things were different because of me. Ha ha. I missed that one didn't I. Funny thing is that as I look back on that, the youngest one who is diagnosed ADHD had her pegged to a T. I would have thought he would not be so observant.

I have been reading and learning a lot. I agree, Tone, that we are not at all on equal footing and I am not sure how that can change. I hear the talk of having some resentment and understand what you are saying. I do have some of that but am working to overcome it by understanding the whole thing more. The engineer in me can be content if it all makes some sense.

I know she has other issues besides what I believe to be ADD. Some of which appear to me to be coping mechanisms. Sorting those out and learning to properly respond to them is something I am working on.

Little Missy
05-28-15, 09:29 AM
Understanding your spouse's capabilities and limitations and compensating for each other will work.

mbrandon
05-28-15, 02:28 PM
Hello and good of you.

I don't know how many times I've told my girlfriend, "I am paying attention to you. I pay better attention when I'm doing something else than if I stop what im doing and stare at you". Or something like that.

I can only speak for myself, but if I'm looking at you while you're talking, I'm not listening, I'm pretending to listen. Medication has changed this a lot but not completely.

I'll go out on a limb and say that if you were more challenging to her, she might focus on you again. I've been with the same girl (woman) for four years... She is challenging enough for me to be interested. I only really see her on the weekends. I believe that if I saw her everyday I would get bored with her.

I tell you this only because if she does have ADD, you're likely dealing with these problems. If she didn't love you she wouldn't be with you.

To some people showing affection is the same as being in the same room or house... like a dog. Do you think your dog doesn't love you or care about you just because its not constantly licking your face? Why should you expect more?

ToneTone
05-28-15, 03:56 PM
Hang in there Listening!

WE ALL miss key information about people we date and marry. Some of us get very lucky and miss only incidental things ... But as someone who has dated and become close friends with some low-functioning folks, I can say that my desire to be a rescuer and hero got in the way of noticing and facing up to the traits/behaviors I didn't like.

I have a close friend who realized a few years ago--30 years into her marriage--that she had married a clinically defined narcissist. This woman is as kind and open and beautiful as can be. After her children were grown, she considered leaving him but she decided instead to stay in the marriage and to start doing the things she wanted to do. Previously, she sat home because her husband didn't want to go out to plays, concerts, dinners, etc. Now she goes out with friends or with herself. And she is having a blast.

Understanding your partner can be very helpful. But I'll be honest: I'm not sure I was ever helped by people who worked hard to understand my disorganization and procrastination. I was helped by people who easily saw past my limitations and focused on my strengths. Those were friends and some partners. On the other hand, I was helped, as difficult as it was, by people/bosses/supervisors/friends who set serious boundaries and deadlines and expectations and held me to them.

There is a personality type that gets involved with low-functioning people. And this type of person often repeats this pattern in friendships and in office relationships. It's very subtle: but it is a habit and instinct that occurs in micro-seconds. It's the instinct to think of another person and what they want before you think of yourself and what you want.

Growing up, I learned to numb out, put on a smile, "hold my breath" in the face of situations I didn't like. My mother is a hero of my mine, but for much of her life (and there are reasons for this--she was abused as a young person) she was more a complainer & distancer when unhappy than a negotiator.

Fast forward and I'm a teacher now, and I encourage my students to NOT hold their breaths, to not numb out if they are in pain or uncomfortable in my class. A few weeks back, at the start of class, one of my students looked like she was in enormous pain. I had this student in two previous classes, so I know her body language reasonably well. I said something to her about how out of sorts she seemed, and she told me she hadn't had her coffee for the morning and that it had been a bad night. About ten minutes into the class, while students were gathered in groups, I tapped her on the shoulder and told her she could get coffee. She was shocked. Later I gave her an "official reason" to make her feel better. I said, "you weren't feeling well, and so you needed to step out of the class for a few minutes."

The irony is she was gone at most for two minutes, and her attitude and engagement for the rest of the class was eons better than it had been before she got her coffee. So she enjoyed the class, got more out of the class ... and she didn't get stuck practicing the numbing behavior that sets us up for staying silent and passive in the face of situations we don't like.

Hang in there brother! There is a ton of insight and a lot of growth possibilities ahead based on your struggles.

Listening
05-29-15, 09:18 AM
Great info Tone. I really appreciate your insight. I am pretty sure I know what you mean by this rescuer personality. I probably fall into that category. I also fall into a category of being fascinated by observing human behavior and how people work. Being a manager of over 75 people I tend to use that every day. Trying to assure that people are working in positions that suit them best.

Thanks for the info mbrandon. That is the stuff I need. I have learned that I do need to make myself a distraction or more exciting for her at times. She does not outwardly plan. So if I ask her if she would like to do something on an upcoming weekend she will typically say, no, lets just hang out at home and watch some movies. That at times can be like Chinese water torture to me. I like to get out and do things. Not lay in bed all weekend. I have found the best approach is to tell her ahead of time to keep a certain weekend open and not tell her what we are doing. Then I plan something and we do it. She loves it and has a great time as do I. However, she never would agree to it if I ask her ahead of time.

So coming up with being challenging and a distraction on a daily basis when you live with someone daily is a little tough. I believe I'm pretty smart so I will work on that. I would love to hear more good ideas on that front.

MrsNewton
06-01-15, 12:00 AM
Some things you mention sound ADHD but I'm wondering if something else is involved? Depression? Dementia? ...?
.

I just have to ask.....WHERE did you come up with dementia? :umm1:

MrsNewton
06-01-15, 12:11 AM
Hi Listening,

I don't have it in me to read all the previous replies, but I wanted to say a couple things.

You asked why at the beginning of your relationship she was different, and I really think I can help explain that, if indeed she has ADHD.

You see, YOU were shiny and new then. She was likely fascinated by you and clearly she fell in love with you because you guys got married. You were in what is known as the "honeymoon" stage of a relationship, and now things are comfortable and she is content. Her brain needs to be busy all the time, so out comes the phone or the TV or both.... So much more to it than that, but there's a quick analysis. Mind you, I'm not always right. (Don't tell my husband that, though) ;-)

I also wanted to mention that around 76% of people with ADHD have a parent with it, so it's definitely possible that she could have it. You're going to have to hang in there until she is ready to get diagnosed, though.

best wishes.

rickymooston
06-07-15, 11:27 PM
I just have to ask.....WHERE did you come up with dementia? :umm1:

Keep in mind that I'm a computer scientist and not a doctor.

You mentioned your age and some symptoms of that could probably seem like adhd; e.g, losing stuff.

Don't take it as more than the suggestion that other possibilites exist. I am not one to know what those are. A compentent doctor should know.

Listening
06-16-15, 08:40 AM
After a bad evening yesterday because I asked my wife why she was being short with me, we had the normal argument about how she was not being short with me and I don't know what I am talking about and so on and so on. Of course she gets mad and won't speak to me for a while. I am getting somewhat used to that. I try not to go to the point of just not bringing such things up because I feel like she needs to know how certain things make me feel. I was reading the sections in Gina Pera's book about Anosognosia and found a lot of interesting things but of course gives me questions.

So it is possible that she has no idea about how she is being or how her actions come off to other people or to me. I find myself in that conundrum quite often. Where, I know exactly what was said and how she acted yet she does not see that she has done anything.

I feel I am hopelessly working on trying to get to a point where if we have an argument we could work towards a solutions while she withdraws and knows she does not have to solve anything. A part in Gina's book about how counselors use a technique of couples using a Tango in working through solutions can not work with ADD because one partner does not even know a dance is going on, really hit home to me. I feel that way constantly. I can do something expecting some sort of reaction, yet she does not even recognize I did anything.

Anyway, a thought rang true with me yesterday. It was this. How would I (and her) feel if our marriage did not work out and I never even brought up that I thought ADD was part of the problem. I am not comfortable with that thought. I am quite convicted that it would be wrong on my part to be that way. I have, to this point, assumed I would do whatever to make everything work out so it would never be an issue. I will do such to a point but I have to feel like we are working towards some sort of solution.

I'll be looking for a good time and place to bring it up. It obviously has to happen, I just want to frame it in the best way possible. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Good news in my mind is that a very good friend, pastor and somewhat of a mentor of mine had moved away and is moving back to town. I look forward to spending time with him as he is someone I trust and know that I can share some of these things with. He is diagnosed with ADHD and I believe that he will be a wealth of information in the future.

sarahsweets
06-17-15, 03:25 AM
What you just mentioned was something I thought of: If she never changed could you be happy? Was she always like this. The thing about expectations is, it takes a mind reader to know what someone expects and to live up to them.

Listening
06-17-15, 11:03 AM
That is a very good and thought provoking question, Sarah. It may take me a while to be able to have a confident answer to the question. I am still learning about her and how things are. One thing I got from the book is to not always be looking for a motive because there may not be one.

It sure looks like there is a motive as I observe how she goes about things. But I see the possibility that there is no motive other than what is making her comfortable in the moment with no plan for where that leads.

My planner/engineer/big picture mentality does not jive with her in the moment thinking. It has helped me to relax on planning and letting things go as they will. Sometimes things do just work out ok without following a plan.

Last summer we had a week to spend together and at her request we were going to get in the car with our stuff and just go wherever with no plans. That sounded very fun to me so I said lets go with it. As we are pulling out of the driveway she tells me that she has talked to her son in Colorado and some relatives in California and she basically had the whole trip planned. So it seems to me the motive was not discuss where we are going with me and plan the whole trip and make it seem like it was spontaneous. Those type of things happen on a smaller scale all the time. I simply try to enjoy the time with her and not dwell on the strangeness of how it all worked out.

We had a good time because it turns out cell service sucked for about four days of the trip she did not have the phone to zone out with. Once we got to a good signal, things deteriorated, but overall it went well.

sarahsweets
06-18-15, 04:42 AM
I can see how that might seem to you. I know that I can be an in the moment girl all the time. Many times I have had the plan of just winging it but my adhd mind also had some sort of basic ideas that flowed in an out of my thought process and it could have seemed that I ultimately had a plan after all. One thing that can make my husband crazy is agreeing to a plan and then changing it. This is only with small stuff. For example, last weekend I said I wanted to get the garden weeded. I hate yard work and he agreed to do it with me. Well, I started hyperfocusing on some other stuff and forgot I said that we would do that. We had to shift this very basic plan because I changed it up and he was a little uncomfortable because he likes plans to stay the same. Thankfully because we both have adhd and it does affect us both differently, we were able to adjust things. Thats not always the case though, sometimes deviating from the plan makes him extremely uncomfortable.

Listening
06-18-15, 09:00 AM
At this point I believe it would be nice to have some acknowledgement that there may be an issue. At this point her defense mechanisms are so entrenched that she takes no responsibility for anything that may go wrong.

She complains that I argue with her but does not acknowledge that she is involved in the argument. Sometimes I agree with her on something yet she argues anyway about it because I should not agree with her. I feel like I am constantly trying to avoid arguments yet keep get drawn into them and then blamed for arguing.

Another issue I have noticed lately is how she covers for her 13yo son who is diagnosed ADHD. I believe she works hard to make him feel like he is normal and no different than any one else. So she attempts to clean up his messes and she will lie to cover up things he has done. Ironically, the only room in the house where she tries to clean is his and it is by far the filthiest room in the house. I try not to go in there. It is disgusting. It just seems to me that if he should be learning better coping mechanisms to deal with his issues other than a mom that takes care of everything for him. She does get on him at times and very harshly but it appears to be only times when he is stepping on her toes or giving her an attitude.

I feel like I ramble on here. It is somewhat thereputic for me to type some of this stuff out. Getting insight from others on here is very very helpful.

She was out of town one night this week which rarely happens. It was so nice to get a good nights sleep without her tossing and turning and constantly waking me up all night. I was wondering if it was me, but with her gone I went to sleep with no TV on and woke up to my alarm in the exact same position. Never happens with her in bed. She is so restless.

sarahsweets
06-18-15, 11:26 AM
*yikes* the lying thing is so not cool. A totally different issue with some underlying stuff.

Listening
06-18-15, 04:26 PM
Yes, the lying concerns me the most. Strange thing is there is no reason for it. It just seems to come naturally as a defense mechanism. Like she can't be wrong about anything so she just says what she needs to say to end the conversation or get out of the situation.

In her son's last meeting in family counseling she went in with the counselor after her son was done. Her son and I could hear her screaming at the counselor for a long time. She came out, we left. Later I ask her what was said, and she said he said everything was fine and he did not need to go back. I am quite certain that was a lie. I told her it sounded a lot worse than that, she said that must have just been her using her teachers voice, but all was good.

ToneTone
06-19-15, 02:54 PM
I don't know if I would call this "lying" exactly. But I think I know what you mean.

My ex (on her borderline personality issues) was defensive like your wife is on her and her son's possible ADHD issues. I came to see my ex's behavior as not necessarily lying but more like pathological defensiveness and insecurity. I got the sense that if my ex admitted to one mistake/flaw, then her entire life and her entire worth would tumble down in her own mind. So she HAD to be defensive. Her survival was at stake.

Like your wife, my ex would get angrily defensive even if a peripheral issue came up, because to admit a problem on a "peripheral" matter would lead to her having to admit a problem about herself ... Your wife is likely protecting and covering for her son because if she were to conclude that he has a problem or you were to think he has a problem or the world were to think he has a problem, then it would obvious that she has a similar problem. And in her mind unfortunately, that would mean she was bad, defective, unworthy and on and on.

That was the stunning part to me: how my ex would draw the protective/defensive line way way way out on the perimeter ... And her strategy was successful: I knew that raising any issue remotely connected to her condition would draw a fierce and nasty response, so I backed off ... until I finally decided that to protect my basic sanity, I was not going to back off.

It was only after I said I couldn't live as we had been living (the divorce threat was clear) that my ex began to take some serious action on her condition. I had to bring out the nuclear option to get her to EVEN CONSIDER moving an inch. Unfortunately by this point, I was exhausted and embittered ... and of course, she still only wanted to move an inch.

Bottom line: I'm not disagreeing with you that your wife is misleading in her statements. But this kind of refusal to look at reality, with all the anger involved (my ex had this anger as well), signals a deeper problem--unfortunately a deep emotional problem.

This kind of behavior is maddening, self-destructive and inconsiderate of others. She's actually hurting her son's long-term well being. You're in a tough spot, brother. Hang in there.

Tone

Listening
06-19-15, 03:38 PM
Thanks Tone,

You are 100% correct. I have, up until recently, thought that deep down she knows the issues, but from what I am reading and observing in her is that she honestly has no clue. I understand what you mean by the giant circle that she must draw. I think it inhibits communication between us also. As I bring up her statements that contradict each other since her mood and/or opinion change so often things she was insistent on in the past are now completely different to her now. The goalposts keep moving.

I believe my first wife of 18 years had borderline personality issues and I see a lot of that in my wife. However, adding in what appears to me to be ADD has brought in a whole new dynamic that I have not dealt with. I believe my first wife was intentional and knew exactly what she was doing. My current wife, not so much.

The other circle she seems to draw is one of not ever making a decision or committing to anything. I assume to avoid responsibility for decisions. I'll ask if she wants to do something and if she does she says yes. If not, she will come up with tons of excuses as to why we can't do that. I find myself constantly saying, "just say yes or no" yet she still will not do so as she goes into, I don't know what I want to do mode. Then later on she is doing something with a child or someone else that she obviously had planned prior to our discussion. That's one example, there are many many many others.

I will hang in there. I fear she could be getting depressed. I know that her daughter calls her on some of the issues and gets a tremendous backlash, I am in that same boat. Her Mother calls her on some things and does not get the backlash. Her Mother and her are very very similar. Only difference is that her Mother will acknowledge her problems and does so all the time.

My latest thought is that if I could even get her to go for a diagnosis and she were diagnosed. I am almost certain that she would lie to me about the diagnosis.

Can I live with her and be happy the way it is now. Probably.
If it continues to spiral down. Not likely. I feel like our relationship is on the fence right now. I would like to get it turned towards the positive.

I have not brought out the nuclear option. Some of our arguments I do ask her if she even wants to be married in response to her refusal to try to come to a happy medium. She claims that is me using the Divorce card. I guess it is in a way. I guess I need to find a better way to say that.

ToneTone
06-19-15, 07:24 PM
Now remember "hanging in there" can also mean YOU getting help YOU as you relate to your wife. It was not an accident that I ended up with my ex and her borderline issues. Borderline personality issues are extreme ... I mean really extreme. People with borderline personality are one of the few groups that can fool the police because they can report an event convincingly from their skewed point of view. Yes, they can lie convincingly.

What I am saying is that I had a tendency to get involved with low-functioning people with major problems. And I was terrible at standing up for myself.

You are going to have to bring your very best game to the table to constructively connect with your wife. A merely good game or the same game won't cut it. You gotta bring your absolute best and even then there's no guarantee that the marriage will survive. The more you simply endure unacceptable behavior, the more you will incur a cost that will negatively affect your relationships at work and with friends ... and ultimately your relationship with yourself.

Have you thought about going to counseling for yourself to better figure out your options? To get some help in how to negotiate with her, or even if that is a possibility ... Your situation sounds like urgent, even past urgent.

Tone

sarahsweets
06-20-15, 04:50 AM
I agree with Tonetone: Maybe admitting her son has issues would be like looking in the mirror.

mbrandon
06-20-15, 03:50 PM
Well now, this thread took an interesting turn...

Listening, I wish you the best and do agree that she seems to have some ADD behaviors. It also seems like something else is going on. I suggest you schedule some time with a professional counselor or psychiatrist and see them by yourself first to discuss your wife.

AshT
06-21-15, 04:48 PM
It doesn't sound like ADHD to me, actually, at least ADHD isn't the only thing going on here.

Why am I claiming this?

You said at the beginning of your relationship, her house was clean. Assuming she didn't get help from somebody else, it sounds like she changed.

Some things you mention sound ADHD but I'm wondering if something else is involved? Depression? Dementia? ...?

She definitely has ADHD like symptoms:
1) inattentive
2) sucks at menial tasks
3) great when she's interested
4) used to talk with you for hours
...

But from your description, she wasn't always like this.

If you know somebody who knew her when she was younger and heard stories about signs of inattention, my view would change.

Man, I think it's bold jump to conclusions when you only have a few paragraphs on a page to go on :).

I can think of reasons for this:


We try very hard to hide ourselves. I will make sure before my boyfriend comes round, I tidy the house, she may have been doing the same.
She's grown more relaxed and can be more of herself
Her environment has grown less stimulating and "new". When this happens to me I revert to using my phone way too much, it's my brains way of getting some sort of baseline stimulus, and dopamine because my environment is so dull. I found I revert to these patterns in a house about a month after moving a new move and it's one of my identified negative cycle patterns i'm getting better at spotting. It's one of the most negative for me because I can't seem to get away from phone/internet etc even though it's soo ******* boring and i'm not even really interested in what's on it.

AshT
06-21-15, 05:05 PM
Yes, the lying concerns me the most. Strange thing is there is no reason for it. It just seems to come naturally as a defense mechanism. Like she can't be wrong about anything so she just says what she needs to say to end the conversation or get out of the situation.

In her son's last meeting in family counseling she went in with the counselor after her son was done. Her son and I could hear her screaming at the counselor for a long time. She came out, we left. Later I ask her what was said, and she said he said everything was fine and he did not need to go back. I am quite certain that was a lie. I told her it sounded a lot worse than that, she said that must have just been her using her teachers voice, but all was good.

I've seen lying and ADHD come around quite a bit, and when i've seen it in ADHD, it's always been excessive. In all instances the person had a really, really, really low self-esteem and had grown up being hounded and put down my parents.

My conclusion thus far is that it is a defensive mechanism as you say. And for us it's harder to break too because we're so impulsive. Additionally, I found that the lyes ran so deep for some people, it was acted on SO IMPULSIVELY that the brain doesn't have time to consider what actually happened, what was real. I.e I genuinely believe they believe their lies. This is where it is even more difficult because if a person can distort reality to never take responsibility, I feel they can never learn from their actions, they can never adapt and improve as a person.

Counselling for yourself sounds like it would be great for you :).

It might be that she will never change. In which case you have two options really: accept her whole heartedly the way she is and the pain that comes with the relationship. Or, leave :).

Have you considered couples counselling btw?

Listening
06-22-15, 08:43 AM
I see counseling for me as a necessary first option.

Her son has been at his dad's for the last 3 weeks and was home with us this weekend. I found out that they don't make him take his medication at all in the summer. Wow, he is quite a handful at this time. It amazes me that he is allowed to be this way. I don't see how it benefits him or anyone. He is a good kid and fun to be around but man, the hyperactivity is off the chart.

Her phone broke so we had a weekend without her phone. Made things pretty good for me. She was constantly complaining about not having it though and borrowing mine. She breaks hers regularly so I don't like her having mine too much as I would prefer it stay in tact.

Thanks for joining in on the conversation AshT. You mentioned the phone being boring. She tells me that all the time. I ask her what is so interesting on her phone just to start a conversation. Her response is usually, I'm bored or I'm trying to calm down and ease my mind. I don't see it easing her mind. She sometimes says she is looking at it to help her fall asleep yet I have never ever seen her fall asleep looking at her phone. I pointed that out to her and she says she does it all the time. Not true, I have never seen that. When she is ready to sleep she puts it down and lets the TV pet her to sleep.

At times I feel like I am living with two different people. She will go through a few days of being so affectionate and loving. Always touching and hugging and kissing constantly. Whenever we pass in the house she stops and gives me a genuine hug and a kiss. Sleeps on top of me. Calls me Baby and Honey. Is fun to be around with a great sense of humor. Then there will be a span of a few days where I am like an aquaintance when we pass in the house and I stop for a hug she looks like she is wondering what I am doing it is awkward for her. She leans in for kisses and no hugs just a quick peck when I instigate it. Calls me by my first name. Sleeps with two large body pillows between us. Takes everything literal with no sense of humor. She is very difficult to talk to. Says huh or what all the time even before you get the words out of your mouth of sometimes when I don't say anything. I have asked her in the bad phase if she thinks she is always the same to me, she says that she is. When I ask in the good times she gets frustrated and says she can not be the same all the time no one can.

I have never dealt with the above. The super incredible highs and the super incredible lows. I sometimes think it would be nice to ride more in the middle but I do like the thrill of the highs. Not too fond of the lows.

My question is, what is she thinking through these phases. She will sometimes say that I am acting weird or that I am moody. I now always check myself to assure that I am being positive and saying the same things in either phase, but I am getting completely different feedback.

AshT
06-22-15, 01:04 PM
I see counseling for me as a necessary first option.

Her son has been at his dad's for the last 3 weeks and was home with us this weekend. I found out that they don't make him take his medication at all in the summer. Wow, he is quite a handful at this time. It amazes me that he is allowed to be this way. I don't see how it benefits him or anyone. He is a good kid and fun to be around but man, the hyperactivity is off the chart.

Her phone broke so we had a weekend without her phone. Made things pretty good for me. She was constantly complaining about not having it though and borrowing mine. She breaks hers regularly so I don't like her having mine too much as I would prefer it stay in tact.

Thanks for joining in on the conversation AshT. You mentioned the phone being boring. She tells me that all the time. I ask her what is so interesting on her phone just to start a conversation. Her response is usually, I'm bored or I'm trying to calm down and ease my mind. I don't see it easing her mind. She sometimes says she is looking at it to help her fall asleep yet I have never ever seen her fall asleep looking at her phone. I pointed that out to her and she says she does it all the time. Not true, I have never seen that. When she is ready to sleep she puts it down and lets the TV pet her to sleep.

At times I feel like I am living with two different people. She will go through a few days of being so affectionate and loving. Always touching and hugging and kissing constantly. Whenever we pass in the house she stops and gives me a genuine hug and a kiss. Sleeps on top of me. Calls me Baby and Honey. Is fun to be around with a great sense of humor. Then there will be a span of a few days where I am like an aquaintance when we pass in the house and I stop for a hug she looks like she is wondering what I am doing it is awkward for her. She leans in for kisses and no hugs just a quick peck when I instigate it. Calls me by my first name. Sleeps with two large body pillows between us. Takes everything literal with no sense of humor. She is very difficult to talk to. Says huh or what all the time even before you get the words out of your mouth of sometimes when I don't say anything. I have asked her in the bad phase if she thinks she is always the same to me, she says that she is. When I ask in the good times she gets frustrated and says she can not be the same all the time no one can.

I have never dealt with the above. The super incredible highs and the super incredible lows. I sometimes think it would be nice to ride more in the middle but I do like the thrill of the highs. Not too fond of the lows.

My question is, what is she thinking through these phases. She will sometimes say that I am acting weird or that I am moody. I now always check myself to assure that I am being positive and saying the same things in either phase, but I am getting completely different feedback.

My question is, what is she thinking through these phases. She will sometimes say that I am acting weird or that I am moody. I now always check myself to assure that I am being positive and saying the same things in either phase, but I am getting completely different feedback
Have you tried asking her these questions?
In a non-reactive way. So if she snaps, just react very calmly "I was asking if something was wrong because I care, but if you don't want to speak about it, that's ok.".
Sometimes we ADHDers are so bad at knowing what's going on in our own brain. I really found people asking me questions really, really helpful. Slowly I started asking myself these questions and it put me in a better position to deal with issues myself.
"Hey, why did I just act like that?"
"Was it because of X...Nope don't think so...Y? Yes ok maybe". Slowly I started to become more aware of my actions, and paid more attention to them.

So, perhaps asking her questions? And if she says she doesn't know, offering suggestions as to why?
You may find you learn more than you ever thought possible, that deep down her behavior is not a solid representation of who she is. So often people can feel we come across as selfish, but if anyone EVER needed help we'd drop everything we own and be there in a second. Or emotions and moods go haywire and it takes learning to even start identifying them.

What if her change in mood is because she's had a super bad day and can't stop thinking about it? Hence you've become invisible. These are just examples, I don't know your wife, but there could be something underling the switch in temperament :).

Keeping positive is really good. We're really distractable so that can work in both ours and your favour :P. I.e OK the phone broke, what about doing something ridiculously more fun over the weekend instead? That way the phone breaking isn't a negative, it becomes positive because you did something even better :). And it might distract her from the complaining which will mean you feel less drained by it (if you do). But you could continue to do this even if it's fixed - find really more fun things to do than the phone, positive distractions and you may start to see her become far more happier.

Listening
06-22-15, 03:18 PM
Thanks for the tips on asking questions.

I work on finding things to do. I have found that she typically won't do much if I ask her what she wants to do. If it is a special occasion she will do something or if I can get her to go to a surprise location. Her first response is usually I don't know or maybe we can do that later. Historically those are both no answers, she just will not be direct. I can eventually convince her to do stuff. But if it is not something she want's to do she will be bored and nonresponsive the whole time. Usually on our kid free weekends which are every other weekend. We go out to eat and then back home to watch TV as she stares at her phone. She could do that for the entire weekend and not move. I get restless and find stuff to do around the house. Then she may get up and do something or go somewhere. She lets me drive her lots of places because she does not like to drive. I let her drive once. Enough said.

Listening
06-22-15, 04:37 PM
I have brought up couples counseling. But usually during an argument. she has said ok to it. But it was more of an ok to avoid talking any more about anything. It never comes up beyond that.

She will typically do what she knows she has to do to outwardly look like she is doing the right thing. I do get tons of eye rolls and sighs on things because she wants me to know she is doing something she does not want to do.

She has told me that the biggest issue that bothers her about herself is that she has been married 3 times. She does not think that looks good or fits in with her persona. I sometimes feel that that is the only card I have to play with her. Nothing else seems to make any sort of difference to her.

Anyway, I am trying to focus on the positive and also focus on my own needs. I will look into finding a counselor to discuss these things with as well as my own issues.

VeryTired
06-23-15, 01:16 PM
Listening--

As this thread has unfolded, you have painted a picture of a very challenging relationship. And you have shown real goodwill and wish to learn and to make it work. I think you are a good guy! And I think your wife is struggling with a lot of hard problems that expand outwards become yours, and the whole family's problems as well. That's hard for everyone.

But here's the thing. It doesn't sound to me as though all the troublesome stuff you mention are problems you are likely to be OK with over a lifetime. You may find that as time goes by, you become less able to take things that don't seem disastrous at the beginning. You may get worn out. That's what's happened to me.

I recognize a lot of what you say about your wife in my partner. For the first few years we were together, I was struggling to understand, trying to see why weird stuff was happening, wondering why a loving person was sometimes distant or impossible to deal with ... after a while, my partner was diagnosed with ADHD and we both learned a lot about what that means. That was a great relief--at first.

He takes meds, he is in therapy, we have both learned a lot about how to live with the reality of the situation. But I am utterly exhausted after some very rough ups and downs, and I am coming to see that many important things that I need from a relationship are not going to be possible in this relationship. In the beginning, it was maybe easier to tolerate some of this, but over time, some things just become more and more discouraging and uncomfortable. If I had understood that some of these problems weren't going away, I wouldn't have gotten so deeply involved--now, years later, I find myself living in ways that I can't really accept.

You can encourage your wife to explore diagnosis and treatment, but that decision is up to her. Maybe she will, maybe she won't. But do you really want to live like this indefinitely? I suggest you see a therapist to get some insight into your own situation and needs, to get some support for living with what you find challenging. If you get some good help that way, it may even help her to feel comfortable with the idea of doing the same.

Wishing you both all the best--

Listening
06-23-15, 04:17 PM
Thanks so much VeryTired. I very much understand what you are saying. I am one that looks into the future and I know that if you go down the wrong roads it could all end in disaster.

I can not control her actions. I feel like I am in a phase where I am coming to grips with the fact that she can never again be what she was in the first year of our relationship. That is a sad and on some level disturbing realization for me.

I am learning to be a distraction in a positive way so that she can recognize my needs. I am starting to set boundaries on thing that I deem unacceptable and putting those to her more in a manner of you would not treat someone else this way so why me. One boundary I am working on now is that if I say anything about something she is doing or not doing her first and immediate response is you do the same thing. I am having to line out the quantitative aspect of things. She stares at her phone for hours on end. She has blisters on her hand from holding it. I look at mine for 2 minutes and put it away as there is not that much on there that interests me. I have to make that quantitative distinction.

I honestly do not have a whole lot of hope right now for the long term chances of our relationship. I do want to give it everything I have. If things continue to deteriorate where not much is given in return, I am very independent. I would love to have someone to share life with, but I am not going to be miserable in that. I would love to help her as I would love for her to help me. To me as I watch how she operates in life. So many problems she creates could be so easily solved. Yet she is going to move stubbornly in her own way.

I know for a fact, I was a very different person in my younger years. I came to some realizations about myself that changed a whole lot about me. Hopefully, some transformations can come about and I would love to be there to help. But it is 100% her decision.

sarahsweets
06-24-15, 06:44 AM
Im glad you mentioned boundaries. Just because she gets defensive and doesnt want to do stuff doesnt mean you cant go ahead and do what you need to do. I suggest personal therapy for you . You need someone to bounce stuff off of.