View Full Version : Dealing with resentment


SLBOCD2017
03-07-17, 02:14 PM
Been married for nearly 35 years, so obviously I've been able to tolerate/live with the ADD (he doesn't so much fit the Hyper personality). But I can't help feeling down and resentful sometimes because of the load I carry. Notice the 'OCD' in my name. People kid me about it, but I know I was a lot more laid back before I married him. (And I don't really fit the OCD spectrum and am not trying to mock anyone who does.) But I do worry more about details than I did before him, because I learned the hard way that he just couldn't handle responsibility - at least for much more than getting to his job and back. Everything else, housework, bill paying, etc. he wouldn't refuse to do but it would be the old procrastinate/get distracted, etc., story that we are all painfully familiar with. So my shoulders got broader and broader, and my stress levels higher and higher.

I KNOW he has a disorder, I KNOW I wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) be made if he had an obvious physical disability so I shouldn't get angry about this. But it's hard sometimes! He is a warm, friendly, sociable person and everyone else thinks he's wonderful. They probably all think I'm a b*****. But for all these years I've felt more like a mom than a partner.

sarahsweets
03-07-17, 03:30 PM
Thank you for your honesty.

Been married for nearly 35 years, so obviously I've been able to tolerate/live with the ADD (he doesn't so much fit the Hyper personality). But I can't help feeling down and resentful sometimes because of the load I carry.
I totally get this but I can tell you that resentments, no matter how justified are poison for you. They fester and who knows if/when/how they erupt but something has to suffer for those intense feelings.

Notice the 'OCD' in my name. People kid me about it, but I know I was a lot more laid back before I married him. (And I don't really fit the OCD spectrum and am not trying to mock anyone who does.)
I get it. Its the soup du jour to toss around the OCD label when people are just particular or detail oriented. It ruffles my feathers.

But I do worry more about details than I did before him, because I learned the hard way that he just couldn't handle responsibility - at least for much more than getting to his job and back. Everything else, housework, bill paying, etc. he wouldn't refuse to do but it would be the old procrastinate/get distracted, etc., story that we are all painfully familiar with. So my shoulders got broader and broader, and my stress levels higher and higher.

Well this makes sense because you are carrying a load that most couples split.

I KNOW he has a disorder, I KNOW I wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) be made if he had an obvious physical disability so I shouldn't get angry about this. But it's hard sometimes!
How much have you read or learned about ADHD?

He is a warm, friendly, sociable person and everyone else thinks he's wonderful. They probably all think I'm a b*****. But for all these years I've felt more like a mom than a partner.
Everyone probably thinks he's wonderful because he IS wonderful. Being wonderful has nothing to do with having a disorder and naturally you bear the brunt of it because you are his partner.
I dont think you are b****. However its very very important to examine feeling like his mother. Just because you have a lot of responsibility, doesnt mean you have to act like a mother. The mother part might be something you have to let go of. Assuming you have a romantic life-that would at least be one thing a mother does not do.
When I talk about resentments you will have to excuse my angle, it comes from a recovery perspective but I will leave out the nonsense that can get people salty.
Resentments are always a onesided thing. Even if someone is blatantly wrong, its how you choose to look at it and deal with that determines your feelings and an outcome.
We teach other people how to treat us. When we allow people to treat us a certain way always, they dont have any other ideas for how to treat us other than what's familiar.
Obviously there are somethings you cant let drag on, like bills. But what about some of the other things? Does he learn from somewhat natural consequences?
Is there anything you can think of that you could step-by-step guide him to do? I know a big issue I used to have was to complain that nobody unloaded the dishwasher- yet complain that it was never done right and nitpick. Who wants to help with that attitude? I decided that ultimately, even though I hate doing dishes, I like the way I load and unload because of how everything gets put away. SO I let it go. I decided not to persecute anyone anymore. I cant very well complain about something, ask for help-then complain even more when its not done the way I like.
When it comes to money, husband and I just started a new system. I was always bad of keeping track of what we had, and saving and his was always bad at planning and spending. So I told him he has to balance, reconcile and keep me updated as to how much and when to expect deposits. And I do what I always do, except I clip the receipts to this cool book we got and he balances it everynight.

The most important thing is:
If he never ever changes-can you be happy? Can you be satisfied with him the way he is? 35 years mean nothing if you are miserable.

acdc01
03-07-17, 04:37 PM
My mom lived with my dad for 35 years too doing everything like you are. Dad only went to work and came back, he didn't even do that in the beginning.

Mom developed anxiety to the point where she now has to take medication. I'm pretty sure she would never have developed anxiety had she not marries my dad and I'm sure all of life's stresses have shortened her life.

I don't really think you are handling it ok despite staying with him for 35 years if he's affecting your mental and/or physical health.

Mom is now separated and is happier than I have ever seen her. I'm not saying that's the right thing for you but you should put what will make you happiest at top priority . Life is short. It doesnt matter whose fault it is or what other people may think, its all about your happiness. Must say, being separated really increases living expenses so just be aware of that.

I'm assuming you guys are around 55 or older. Others may disagree, but I don't think he's going to change much at this point even if he isn't diagnosed yet and hasn't tried meds. You can hire others to take over some of the responsibilities in order to lighten your workload. You can change your environment so there is less work (ie smaller place and less stuff means less cleaning). You can also do stuff to treat yourself so you feel more relaxed like maybe go for a massage every once in a while or something. But beyond that, we'll you guys can try to see if he can do better through professional help but don't have too high expectations for that.

How to not feel that resentment, I personally don't think it's possible unless you yourself are getting what you need which I dont believe you are at this point.

dvdnvwls
03-07-17, 06:45 PM
Just because he is not the problem doesn't mean there's no problem - There are lots of problems, obviously.

If you wait for him to fix those problems, it won't happen.

Your marriage is never ever going to match the expectations you came into it with. Ever. You have a choice to make - throw out your expectations, or throw out your husband.

If you are willing to "do marriage all wrong" in order to make yourself happy, and to let him be happy too, then there's lots of hope. You can both get what you need, by breaking many of the so-called rules.

If you're a person who needs the traditional expectations of marriage and relationships to be strictly followed, then with him it's not going to happen.

kilted_scotsman
03-08-17, 05:01 AM
I'm assuming you guys are around 55 or older. Others may disagree, but I don't think he's going to change much at this point even if he isn't diagnosed yet and hasn't tried meds.

I'm one of the ones to disagree...... it is possible to change, but the older one is the harder it gets.

I'd also say that personal growth is something everyone, NT & ND gains from..... when we stop growing we die, and our relationships die, and those we are connected to die a little too.

acdc01
03-08-17, 06:40 AM
I'm one of the ones to disagree...... it is possible to change, but the older one is the harder it gets.

I'd also say that personal growth is something everyone, NT & ND gains from..... when we stop growing we die, and our relationships die, and those we are connected to die a little too.

Well, I shouldn't say it's not possible. But odds seem poor to me. People rarely change, and I'm talking about a person without a disability. Throw a disability in and that makes it harder. Add age in, harder still. Then I have to ask is he himself truly wanting to improve. Cause if deep down he likes the current status quo and/or he doesn't really want to get treatment, well that makes the probability even worse.

Just being realistic cause you've already given up 35 years. False hopes can just result in more regret and anger. Better in my opinion for you to either accept who he is at this point (and consider improvement as not necessary but lucky if it happens). Or give up and leave if the pain and damage outweighs the love.

unstableAngel
03-08-17, 10:30 AM
Of course other people think he's wonderful! They only see his social side and frankly us ADDers are quite charming to most people. The difference for you is you are living with him. Most people i do not live with find me funny, engaging sponatneous etc. But they dont have to live with me...i truly understand what a huge pain in the butt I can be :( but i am working on it!!

Postulate
03-08-17, 10:59 AM
Been married for nearly 35 years, [...]
He is a warm, friendly, sociable person and everyone else thinks he's wonderful. They probably all think I'm a b*****. But for all these years I've felt more like a mom than a partner.

Can you describe the day of your marriage? How did everyone else feel about you two? Parents, friends, relatives? Were they happy, sad, envious, how did they react to the news and to the ceremony? Did they approve of it?

sarahsweets
03-10-17, 06:02 AM
Of course other people think he's wonderful! They only see his social side and frankly us ADDers are quite charming to most people. The difference for you is you are living with him. Most people i do not live with find me funny, engaging sponatneous etc. But they dont have to live with me...i truly understand what a huge pain in the butt I can be :( but i am working on it!!

As long as you arent the only one working on yourself in the marriage.....sometimes the adhd partner can take those self esteem and bad self image issues and turn it inwards so that they think that they are such a bad addition to the marriage and that they do not deserve the partner that they have. Thats never a good way to feel in a relationship. No matter who has more "problems" everyone is always responsible for their part in a marriage.

dvdnvwls
03-10-17, 01:54 PM
If person A feels like they are giving up a lot for person B, and if person A later feels like person B is not responding appropriately to those acts of generosity, then person A is likely to resent it.

AND, importantly, person B should have known that would happen, and should have done something to prevent it.

Except for one thing, one glaring flaw in that whole argument. That flaw is the underlying assumption of interchangeability of all person A's and all person B's in the world.

Once in a while, two people do get together who (at least for this purpose) do turn out to be interchangeable in that relationship equation. But most of the time, some exceptions have to be made - people in almost all relationships have to cut each other some slack in certain areas. If everyone stuck very strictly to requiring the equation to be fulfilled, then the divorce rate would be 99% instead of whatever it really is.

The particular problem with ADHD in relationships is that our inequality, our non-interchangeability with an average person, is simultaneously very large and quite difficult to notice. An average person entering into a relationship with another average person will find inequalities, but may feel able to write off those inequalities as "just the cost of doing marriage". Not interchangeable, but oh well, close enough. But slip an ADHDer into the same equation, and two things happen. It doesn't work - nobody would say "oh well, close enough" - but at first it looks like it's going to. We seem OK. We don't look stupid. We don't seem like bad people. We have quirks, sure... there are things we do that seem odd or irritating... but (say many naive people) "nothing that can't be fixed".

... And, as we know all too well, "nothing that can't be fixed" are the famous last words of far too many unsuspecting new spouses of people with ADHD. They were expecting someone reasonably interchangeable with themselves, but after some period of time they discover that in terms of interchangeability they might as well have married a squirrel or a fax machine.

That is "the moment of truth". The day the non-ADHD spouse can finally see that interchangeability is a lost cause.

From there, the non-ADHD spouse generally takes one of two routes - either "OK, now what?", or "We're still interchangeable, we're still interchangeable, we're still interchangeable, la la la I can't hear you".

The truth is that almost no two people in the world are even close enough for approximate interchangeability in an equation. In reality, the equation just needs to be rejected, by everyone everywhere, not just by spouses of ADHD partners. But the equation is so convenient, and attractive, and so falsely reassuring...

People want to feel like they're getting a good deal. They want some kind of reassurance that they're not being "had". They don't want to find out that they've been tricked into giving more than their fair share.

In business, in marketing, even in casual friendships where people try to keep score of whose turn it is to buy coffee, that feeling works pretty well. But I don't think it belongs in a marriage - not anyone's marriage, ADHD or not.

hardtoforget
05-20-17, 10:30 PM
I so could have written your letter, word for word, last year. Now, I am a year older and doing my best to get wiser. I joined Co-dependents Anonymous a month ago and it has really helped me a lot. I no longer focus so much of his craziness or on the idea that there is ANYTHING I can do to control the situation. It's sad but there is a lot of good advice and incite in the responses. Good luck.

jchill18
05-28-17, 08:38 PM
I have been married for only 2 but together almost 10 and I am in a similar boat. Just wanted to say that you are not alone. I wish I had a solution. I am about to just explode.

girlthroughtime
06-18-17, 02:51 PM
Just because he is not the problem doesn't mean there's no problem - There are lots of problems, obviously.

If you wait for him to fix those problems, it won't happen.

Your marriage is never ever going to match the expectations you came into it with. Ever. You have a choice to make - throw out your expectations, or throw out your husband.

If you are willing to "do marriage all wrong" in order to make yourself happy, and to let him be happy too, then there's lots of hope. You can both get what you need, by breaking many of the so-called rules.

If you're a person who needs the traditional expectations of marriage and relationships to be strictly followed, then with him it's not going to happen.

I think "expectations" is an excellent point. I had a friend who reminded me once that I had said, "My relationship works, because I have no expectations of him." It's when you have expectations that you start to feel disappointed. I have started to develop expectations, hah.

TLCisaQT
07-27-17, 01:16 AM
I totally get how you are feeling and handling the resentment is difficult especially when it has been building up over time. I feel in my marriage I have lowered my expectations so low how could I even feel resentment; however I think it comes out more when I feel I am running on empty and then I do something (unintentional on my part) that irritates my husband or overwhelms him and he goes off on an angry tirade and I allow myself to be pulled in and it doesn't go well. I think "oh that's rich, I'm doing all this and you're mad at me?!!!?" And his usual is " I can't make you happy, you never see all the changes I am making or I do what you say you want and then you change your mind." I'm not sure we will ever get on the same page and yes, I think for so long I had hoped he could make more lasting changes but I don't think he can and should he? I don't know... we have different ideas on a lot of things ... we both have resentments towards each other that neither of us seem to fully understand - whose are more valid? We can't agree *sigh*

Mittens
09-28-17, 03:57 AM
Can I ask if you have ever had individual counseling?

I. previously went seeking counseling with the very specific goal of learning to let go of resentments that I was conscious of, but also the ones I wasn't. This was a long term commitment and being 100% honest - it was f*!king HARD! Easily one of the most difficult things I have ever done / learned, and holy crap did it take time and work..... however I also truly believe that is the reason my husband and I are still married. As Sarah said, resentment is a poison and absolutely toxic....

A big part of what I learned is that letting go doesn't mean that whatever action or issue that you have resentment from is right or wrong, or that it invalidates any of your feelings- it's not allowing that resentment to destroy you and your marriage. I cannot tell you the world of difference it has made for me to learn this, and it's incredible not just the mental benefits to you, but also the physical benefits you don't even realize are happening. Jaw clenching, tight muscles, sleep problems, immune issues from constantly being stressed, etc etc.... I didn't tell my husband I was doing this, and as I was able to start effectively unraveling the resentment, my husband would make small comments like I carried myself differently, or I looked happier, or I just gave off a totally different vibe and body language. I really thought I had been doing well with differentiating between my husband and the ADD, and I was for quite a while - but after I stopped actively focusing on that (because I thought I had it down pat), resentment snuck on me and I didn't clue in until it hit critical mass and I hit my wits end. It was either deal with all those feelings, or end my marriage because there was no possible way a relationship could be successful with that kind of venomous toxicity constantly lurking in the background and coloring my thoughts and actions. It made me open to seeing the good and positive of him, and our marriage, and remembering/ seeing all the awesome parts of him and reminded me of all the reasons i fell in love with him.

Resentment sucks. It sucks being the person who has it and who it eats away at, day in and day out every day, and it sucks to be on the receiving end and suffering the affects of it.

I'm very sorry you are so frustrated and so at your wits end.
If letting go is something you would want to consider, all I can say is that it can be one of the best (and hardest) tools / skills you ever learn....

Honestly, it's not magic, and if you come home to him leaving his socks under the coffee table, then opening a late bill, then finding the laundry he put in 3 days ago and forgot about, then, then, then - it won't change any of those things, and it will still drive you crazy and frustrate you, BUT, the feelings are *momentary* and they pass, and it strangely helps differentiate between things that are substantial problems you *need* to find some kind of workable solution for, and the things that at the end of the day aren't that big deal when they are not constantly festering in the background of your mind, and those solutions can actually be attainable and so much easier to work through without all the resentment driving them. It truly changes the me vs him, to us figuring out what can work for us together. It's an ongoing effort and it's not something you learn and that's the end of it - it's a constant under the surface rolling around in your head, but the more you practice and the more it becomes second nature / automatic, the easier it does get, and it truly was a game changer for me, my husband, our marriage and our future.

We still have all kinds of crap we deal with and issues, but that crap and those issues are so much more attainable to work on and get through now.

Does any of that make sense?

I apologise if it's kind of all over the place, I'm not stellar at conveying things well.

WhiteOwl
10-05-17, 04:23 PM
I have ADD, buy I strongly believe my husband also has ADHD and other disorders, including a personality disorder. I don't like to talk bad about him to other people, so I'll just say we had the same issues as you describe, and many more, due to what I believe was both of us having multiple undiagnosed disorders. Even though I have ADD, I also played the "mother" role and he played the "child" role. It is extremely toxic and leads to resentment on both sides. We are separated now.

You have to stop parenting him. One thing that helped me, was taking ownership for my choices. He didn't "make" me do anything, I chose to do it. There are some things that you will need to do (but realize that you're doing those things for you, because you want/need them done), but there are also many situations where you can let him act like an adult or suffer the natural consequences. It's not easy having an unreliable spouse, and I see this as only a temporary solution while your husband (hopefully) gets help, but you have to try to step back and out of the role of "mother".

Also, you can't change anyone. I spent so many years trying, before I realized I had no right to do that, it only built up my resentment and just made him feel worthless. I deeply regret it.

Is your husband aware of his issues and getting treatment? I do think that is essential. You can do your part of not parenting him, but he also has to do his part of getting help for himself so you can work together and make long term changes that work for both of you.

There are a couple good books I bought for my husband and I to read together, back when I was trying to save our marriage. Unfortunately, it didn't work for us because he was still so unaware of his own issues and couldn't even acknowledge the pain he had caused me. But they are good books, nonetheless. The first one is called, "Is it You, Me, or Adult ADD?" by Gina Pera. The other ones are, "The ADHD Effect on Marriage" and "The Couple's Guide to Thriving with ADHD", by Melissa Orlov.

Your resentment has to be dealt with somehow. For me, by the time my husband and I separated, I didn't even want him to touch me. Every single one of our interactions had become negative. After it all caused me to have a major anxiety attack that resulted in a medical problem that I almost had to be hospitalized for, I realized it would be better for us to stop hurting each other and get help for our own issues separately (which I am doing and hopefully he will some day, as well).