View Full Version : One Step Forward / Two Steps Back


Listening
01-19-16, 05:02 PM
I have not been on here for a while as things have been going rather well with the occasional setback. Reading things on here and other places has helped me learn how to not get frustrated or impatient with the things my wife does. I have learned a lot.

A few months ago I did finally tell her that I thought that she had ADD and felt it was a problem for our relationship and something we should deal with. She was completely shocked and defensive and believes I am crazy for thinking such things. We had an argument about it and things blew over in a few days and all was better again. We did not discuss it any further.

This past week she was very much ignoring and avoiding me and was very rude to me for several days which came after many great days. That big of a swing had not taken place for quite some time so I finally brought up ADD again to which she blew up on me. She pointed out her Masters degree in Counselling and that I should not diagnose anyone without such a degree. She says she believes a few things about me but she would not be so rude as to bring them up. To which I told her I was very open to discussing those things. She would not bring those things into the light. So I am not sure what they are.

So I have come to the conclusion that discussing the merits of this or any issue is impossible. She just tells me to shut up and that I am wrong. I discussed the biggest issue to me which is her lying about things to which she says she has never lied to me. I pointed out a few lies she has told me and that she has asked me to lie to the kids which makes me very uncomfortable. They are very innocent lies but it just seems to me that the truth would be so much easier. Her Mother has even brought up to me in front of her that she tries to get her to stop lying. I mentioned that and her response was that she would have a talk with her Mom and straighten that out. So I guess her plan is to shut me up and anyone else that points things out about her and all is good.

This all occurred a few days ago and things have somewhat smoothed over. However a notice and sense a difference in her and more of a distance between us. Not sure if it is just her figuring things out or if she is distracted by other things.

I'm still learning and working to make things work well. It gets exhausting at times other times things are great. I have learned that going away and her having to sleep somewhere other than home just does not work. She can not sleep at all and gets extremely irritated trying to sleep. I guess I just need to mark trips off of my list.

I am looking for suggestions on how to break through and have actual discussions about things. Not necessarily ADD either, just anything. I keep working on making things exciting and being more of a distraction other than just the husband that is there all the time. When things are good I have found ways to suggest things and she seems to get the jest of what I am saying and I see some empathy. But all can shortly be completely forgotten like the conversation never happened.

I love her so much and believe I have an understanding of what is going on. I feel blessed that the bad times are shorter now and the good times are longer. Or they have been for a while. I am afraid we are in for a reversal of that for a while. We shall see. One thing I have learned. Things always change.

ToneTone
01-19-16, 06:02 PM
OK, you brought up the possibility of ADHD with your wife.

Question: what behaviors are you unhappy with in your marriage that you think are connected to ADHD?

I tend to think that you skipped a step. The first step is to talk with your wife concretely about the behavior that is troubling you. Lying doesn't really have anything to do with ADHD. Sure undiagnosed people might minimize the extent of their problems in functioning day to day ... But that's not lying. So I don't see the ADHD connection.

Love to hear more.

Tone

dvdnvwls
01-19-16, 11:45 PM
Listening: It's clear that something is not right, but it's far from clear that your wife has ADHD. There are several other things that can look a lot like ADHD - until you dig deeper, and find out that they aren't even related to it.

I have lied because of ADHD, and my lies have always been the same thing: Under situations of intense pressure and hostile judgment, I have told lies to try to hide the ADHD. Things such as "Oh yes, your check is in the mail" and "I'll be finished this job by tomorrow at lunch time".

Listening
01-20-16, 01:27 PM
The ADD part I discussed on here before and yes I know that the lying is not ADD but what I believe she does to cover it up.

The first sign of the ADD to me was the tremendous drop off from before we were married to the day we were married. Things changed drastically in many aspects of our lives. There was no compromise and just an inability to have a discussion. She can be so wonderful and loving and attentive for several days and then it is like another person takes her place. She walks slower, stares into space, loses all sense of humor and says huh or what constantly even before you finish what you are saying. Those things are not there on the good days but very prevalent on the bad. She was very active and we did stuff all the time. I would suggest something and she would jump up and we would do it and have a great time. Since marriage, most weekends she is in bed the whole weekend staring at her phone with the TV on. I suggest things and she says no. If a friend calls to do something she jumps up and gets ready and is out the door. I look forward to those times now as it is the only time I have at home to myself anymore.

While I clean the house do the dishes and whatever else needs to be done. Her one task that she insists on doing is the laundry but it has to reach critical mass before she starts. We wade through piles of clothes going through the closet. Menial tasks like sorting and folding socks do not happen. We just have a laundry basket full of socks that we go through to find two that match. After the laundry is done and put up in closets, the kids in I have to go through each others stuff as everything is mixed up as if things were just randomly hung up in no logical place. I wear shirts with work logos on them. They will end up in the kids closets.

The thing that clued me in was the first time she unloaded the dishwasher and things were put up in the strangest places. It took weeks to find stuff. I would ask her and she would have no clue. We are still missing things. I make sure I take care of that every time now.

My biggest issue is the ups and downs and that's what I have tried to discuss with her. Giving her specific examples of how she is one day and how she is other days. She does not admit to seeing any of that being because of her actions. I am a very regimented and consistent person so I have tried to see what I may be doing to cause certain things. I can not find those things. I do know that when she is in the low mode I do ask her what is wrong and she claims that is annoying. To which I have attempted to stop that once I see she is in that mode. She will now say that I have been asking her for days what is wrong and constantly hounding her. I keep count now how many times I ask her over a period of time. The last time we had that discussion it was over a six day period where I asked her if everything was okay and if I had done something to make her mad twice. She claims I was hounding her with that constantly over that period and I was crazy for thinking it was twice. It does make me feel a little crazy when she says that.

Anyway that is some of what I try to work through. Her son is diagnosed ADHD and their actions and moods are very very similar in many ways.

You guys have been a huge help in this journey. I do truly understand a lot of this now. I do not get as disappointed or frustrated now as I can see that she thinks and does things differently than I do and that is fine with some understanding.

dvdnvwls
01-20-16, 04:10 PM
I have inattentive ADHD. When I get the way you're describing (walks slow, stares into space, mixes everything up), it is due to exhaustion or extreme stress. It is not at all a normal state for me. What do you think is causing your wife extreme stress or exhaustion?

Listening
01-20-16, 05:14 PM
I am not sure. She usually shares very little in those times. She does not sleep well at all. Tosses and turns all night so that could lead to exhaustion. She does not eat well and forgets to eat at times. I help with that as much as possible by bringing her food. She works just down the road from where I work so I drop her off things at times. I am thinking it would be more of the exhaustion. I try to make things easier on her as much as possible. In my opinion the way she goes about things is quite exhausting by leaving everything open ended and not bringing things to a conclusion so things keep popping back up or waiting until the very last second to do something. She has some interaction with ex husbands and dealing with them and the kids that seems to stress her. She won't discuss much at the time it is going on but may bring it up at a later date and tell me what is happening or has happened. She does not seem to want advice on to how to handle a situation unless she is at her wits end. So I can see the exhaustion and/or stress being a big issue.

The only way that I can get her away to relax is to either surprise her or tell her to leave a weekend open and not tell her what we are doing which has to be a special occasion for her to do so. If I were to ask her to do something specific the answer would be no or she would passive aggressively replan the whole trip by the time we leave so that nothing comes together.

I am a planner and take care of all details. She loves that about me. However, it is more difficult now for her to let go and let me take care of things.

Our 2nd anniversary is coming up and I am taking her to a bed and breakfast and for a spa day. Hopefully, that will help her let go and relax.

stef
01-20-16, 05:40 PM
I can become like that at times, it's stress, and exhastion which just leads to more of each while simultaneously,using up energy you dont even have, to try and and pretend and act like you're not feeling like that in the first place, because of feeling ashamed and "weak". she might not want to talk about whatever is wrong because she's terrified you will know she's not ok (thats completely irrational of course).

dvdnvwls
01-20-16, 06:02 PM
At a time when she's not being like that, ask her something like "What's been stressing you lately? I notice sometimes you start to seem far-away and distracted."

ADHD is weird. It never ceases to be weird, even when you know it's there. One of the main reasons it can be so tricky to be in a relationship with a person with ADHD is that ADHD just does not (and can't ever) make sense in the ordinary way. A non-ADHD person living with someone who does have ADHD will hopefully learn a lot about it of course, and by patiently observing will be able to predict the ADHDer's reactions to familiar situations - but with situations that have any new element to them, the ADHDer is likely to act in a new way.

Treating a person with empathy is often based on knowing how you yourself would feel if you were put into the same situation. When the other person has ADHD, that doesn't always work, because we are different enough that given the exact same situations we sometimes do not feel the same way at all.

Part of this is a strange sort of permanent immaturity that people with ADHD can often have.

Another part is that we are just plain different in some ways - different thought patterns, etc.

ToneTone
01-21-16, 12:38 AM
The problem I see is that you cannot apparently talk to your wife about any of this. I see that as the problem, not ADHD.

She has closed herself off, it seems. Now of course, you're thinking it's ADHD.

I believe sometimes couples need to be direct with each other. No name calling. No full-scale rejection. But confrontation is a healthy part of relationships when one partner is miserable or one partner feels put down or rejected. Couples have to be able to have these "arguments" (I don't mean yelling or name-calling) ... in order to survive.

It seems to me that you've got to make it plain that you feel you're doing too much work and that she's not a fully functioning partner, that you feel abandoned, that the woman you loved before you married her has disappeared, that you're lonely, etc. I think you need to confront her on those grounds--forget about diagnosing her.

And if she isn't open to your pain or isn't moved by your expression of your pain, that's a sign that you might want to take more dramatic action. Why be in a relationship with someone who doesn't take your words seriously? Why be in a relationship with someone oblivious to your pain?


Tone

dvdnvwls
01-21-16, 02:33 AM
Why be in a relationship with someone who doesn't take your words seriously?
:goodpost:

Every person on Earth needs to know this, and probably to remind themselves of it from time to time.

Listening
01-22-16, 10:31 AM
I understand what you are saying Tone. That remains in my mind and makes me feel like because it is there we will never be as close as we once seemed. She attempts to reverse situations to imply that the issues are a result of me and I resist that constantly giving true examples of myself without bringing her actions into the conversation. It's a strange way to argue and gets us no where. I realize that I cannot shoulder the blame for all that goes wrong with our relationship and I have told her that.

I am an observer and I watch and can typically predict how she is going to react to things or how she will handle certain situations. We do talk about things when she is in a good place and all seems well. But anything we agree to simply goes out the window sometimes within hours or usually a day or two. She seems to looks at all situations through the lenses of the mood she is in. All was and is great when it is good. All was and is different when things are not so good. I keep my sanity by realizing that things always switch back to the good. I just have this fear that someday it does not switch back.

I agree Tone that so many of the issues are not ADD but I believe they are the result of living with it for so long and they are all coping mechanisms.

I realize I have to take care of myself and my on mental well being now more than ever. One thing that I believe to be true and really confuses me about people in general is that if I walk away from her. She will be with someone else, probably within days, and putting all kinds of effort into that relationship. Where if she would just put a small bit of that same effort into the current one, things could be so much better for both of us.

Unmanagable
01-22-16, 11:11 AM
I understand what you are saying Tone. That remains in my mind and makes me feel like because it is there we will never be as close as we once seemed. She attempts to reverse situations to imply that the issues are a result of me and I resist that constantly giving true examples of myself without bringing her actions into the conversation. It's a strange way to argue and gets us no where. I realize that I cannot shoulder the blame for all that goes wrong with our relationship and I have told her that.

I am an observer and I watch and can typically predict how she is going to react to things or how she will handle certain situations. We do talk about things when she is in a good place and all seems well. But anything we agree to simply goes out the window sometimes within hours or usually a day or two. She seems to looks at all situations through the lenses of the mood she is in. All was and is great when it is good. All was and is different when things are not so good. I keep my sanity by realizing that things always switch back to the good. I just have this fear that someday it does not switch back.

I agree Tone that so many of the issues are not ADD but I believe they are the result of living with it for so long and they are all coping mechanisms.

I realize I have to take care of myself and my on mental well being now more than ever. One thing that I believe to be true and really confuses me about people in general is that if I walk away from her. She will be with someone else, probably within days, and putting all kinds of effort into that relationship. Where if she would just put a small bit of that same effort into the current one, things could be so much better for both of us.

You're right. One day it likely won't switch back. Think about the energy it takes from you within a days time to think of the issues you face and all the fires you're putting out while waiting for that expectation I bolded above, that has been proven many times over to likely not happen.

Then try to flip the script and think of how much energy you'd have to better and more healthily take care of self and heal all the wounds if you didn't have both hands already full of you trying to steer and navigate the heart of another who shows very little interest in a similar outcome, it seems.

How do you truly wish to spend your one and only energy account? Letting go is scary as s***, but sometimes it's the only thing helpful to all involved.

She may eventually appear to be putting more effort into something with another, but it appears to currently be misplaced efforts in trying to make things work.

Not necessarily right or wrong, but misplaced. What appears to be unhealthy within one mate to another, may be a perfect combination with another. Wishing you the best in sorting things out.

ToneTone
01-22-16, 08:07 PM
Hmmmm ....

1. If you think she will be with someone else "within days" of you leaving, then that itself is a problem. A right now problem. How can you relax and settle into a serious relationship of mutual trust if you think the person would move onto someone within days of a breakup? ... I don't see how.

2. About the energy she would put forth if you were to leave, she may muster energy at the courting phase ... but unless she works on herself, she will arrive at the same place with the next person that she has arrived at with you ... and her new partner will ultimately be as miserable and confounded as you are. So no need to go there. The new partner will suffer every bit as much as you have suffered.

She has some major problems, and you don't resolve major problems by switching partners. You resolve major problems with major work on yourself.

Listening, I sense that you are a really "nice" person ... I think of myself as a recovering "nice" person ... Instead of "nice," these days I'm going for "kind" and "authentic" ... I think being "nice" involves putting up with levels of unfairness that are unwarranted, going out of my way to be pleasant and to avoid conflict. I want to be "kind" and "open" but I also want to fiercely stand up for myself. I don't want to spend good energy on people who do not reciprocate that energy. And I don't want to hide how I really feel. Otherwise, I end up spending energy NOT saying how I feel about matters that are important to me.

I have a friend, who is not ADHD in any way, who has an often-miserable marriage. Somehow he got in the habit early on in his marriage of making himself go to events that he doesn't really want to go to but that his wife wants to go to. OK, nothing wrong with that ... In marriage you go the places in deference to your partner AND VICE VERSA! ... But my friend never got the vice versa! ... Why? Because he never told his wife when he did NOT want to go out ... and so he basically got no credit for compromising. It would have been so much better had he admitted "No, I don't really want to do x. But I'll go if you really want to go." Paradoxically by admitting that he didn't really want to do something--and then doing it--he would win major credit from the wife ... But he always hid his feelings out of some misguided attempt at being "nice." So the poor guy gets zero credit for all the things he done--all the places and events he's gone to-- out of love for his wife ... got zero credit for it ... and didn't get the favor reciprocated because his wife never knew he was "sacrificing" for her in the first place.

At some point in relationships like the one you're in, you have to believe in yourself and your view of the reality of what is happening in the relationship. It's your view of the relationship that matters here. At some point you have to trust yourself. She seems like she will never be able to see reality as you do. If you wait for her to acknowledge how bad things are, you will never get there.

Time to trust yourself ... Also have you thought of therapy as a chance to work out how to stand up for yourself while in relationship? Might be a good move for you.

Good luck.

Tone

Listening
01-27-16, 01:31 PM
Good points Tone. I realize whoever she is with will end up in the same place. I guess I have been looking for a way to push those buttons to get some of that effort placed back towards me. I can do that in short term situations by making myself a distraction. The reason I say that she would quickly move on to someone else is because she has never been without someone and on her own. She would be bored immediately. I have read on here from others that being with someone who is very attractive with ADD is a problem because they have been able to live a life where they can act differently for a short term and get all the attention they want. I understand now how that is a real situation. However, she does not seem to be the type to cheat and I do not believe she would or if she were it would be obvious because she does not hide her emotions well at all. That is not really the issue. It is more of just getting that sort of effort in a more regular regulated way. That is probably not possible.

You are right about doing things with her. I get zero reciprocity. The difficult part is that when I do say no or do something on my own, I get what I perceive as non verbal punishment on the other end. I have dealt with that to some extent by pointing it out quickly. She seems to get that. I believe she does actually want me to do things on my own because that is time that she does her own thing. She typically will not say she is going to do something but as soon as I say I am, she is contacting friends trying to come up with something to do. That all works fine until she does not find someone to do something with and I am gone. Then I get the cold shoulder or completely ignored when I return. That is my reciprocity. I deal with it as it is one thing that is very predictable. So if it does not go that way, yeah for me. I have also try to give her as much notice as possible so she can try to plan better. Does not usually work as everything waits until it is an immediate need for her.

She can and still does show me at times wonderful undivided attention and is so loving and enjoyable to be with that it makes things great. It almost feels like a drawing me back in type of reaction. The constant up and down is my struggle.

The first two years we were together she was estranged from her sister and her sister's two children who live very close to us. She and her siblings go back and forth from speaking to each other to not speaking. Anyway, her 12 yo nephew who we have recently started spending some time around keeps telling her how great I am because I am always the same. Whenever he is around me I am always the same person. I found that interesting knowing that the people he spends most of his time around are not that way. My wife did not really understand how he would say that about me and not her.

dvdnvwls
01-27-16, 03:38 PM
Listening: What books on ADHD have you read? (That is, have read in a mostly complete way, not just a small section)

sarahsweets
01-27-16, 06:16 PM
I dont know about anyone else but I see a ton of codependency going on. Like really an issue at least in my opinion. You will never recover your own sense of self if you dont address these issues.

Listening
01-28-16, 12:09 PM
I have read Gina Pera's book and a lot of stuff online.

Explain a little more what you are saying Sarah. I am very curious.

sarahsweets
01-29-16, 04:13 AM
Well it seems like everything you think, do or say is somehow affected by what she thinks, does or says. Its like your own happiness and sense of self is dependent on her mood, and how she wants to handle things. Its like you are your own individual person but rather, emeshed with her, you are like one person. I dont mean two become one like in a love story way, I mean you cant feel or think your own things without first reacting and considering what hers will be.

Listening
01-29-16, 03:08 PM
I see what you are saying. I do feel that way around her. Completely different when she is not around. I feel so much more at ease at home if she is not around, which does not happen very often.

dvdnvwls
01-30-16, 12:32 AM
The original meaning of "codependent" was essentially "Person A's entire life is built around alcohol, and Person B's entire life is built around Person A's alcoholism; therefore Person B is codependent on alcohol".

The word has since expanded to mean "Person A has some serious problems and Person B is addicted to taking care of Person A's problems."