View Full Version : How do I talk with My Undiagnosed Husband About His ADHD Symptoms & Self Medication?


girlthroughtime
05-05-17, 05:29 PM
We are both 36 and have a toddler. we've been together more than a decade, married for half of that. I always knew he had interesting quirks, but for the most part I was accepting. I didn't need him to go to my family functions or hang out with other couples or my friends. I was fine going to movies without him and making any and all vacation plans. He rarely hung out with his own friends, so I figured that's just his introverted preference. Things would come up like misunderstandings or mis-remembering events and can nveraatuons or losing his temper, and I just figured maybe it's a guy thing... I have always felt that to some extent he has never fully understood me as a person, and I chalked it up to a sort of Self-absorbed attitude.
He's overall a sweet and gentle and sensitive type, but he displays the hallmark symptoms of ADHD: distractability, inattentive, lack of empathy, needing to often leave/wander off, difficulty discussing things if little interest to him such as others feelings or emotions, forgetful, terrible sleeper, quick temper, hypersensitive, blaming others if things go wrong, a need to exercise control, and self medicating with nicotine, marijuana and alcohol. I could go on.. Actually when he stopped nicotine I noticed he was a different person. Much calmer, and not as irritable. And significantly sweeter. When he started marijuana he was more happy/jolly. Still not necessarily willing to socialize or have complex/deep convos but the mood uplift was really nice.
Anyway - since he Is hypersensitive I don't know how to approach him about the fact that he's obviously self medicating and that perhaps it's time to get tested and figure this out instead of blaming everyone else for "annoying" or "irritating" him.
I'm honestly looking to help him because yes, as I see that he must be suffering, his family actively suffers too. His mom has made it. Lear that she feels like his attitude clearly shows he doesn't love her. But his angry outbursts I know are ADHD. Even if I tell him how she feels he will misunderstand where those feelings come from - citing petty and shallow events instead of looking at the overall pattern of years of interaction or lack thereof.
Anyone else gone through something similar with their spouse? How did you approach them considering how long it's gone undiagnosed - and how hypersensitive to criticism.

sarahsweets
05-06-17, 05:26 AM
I dont think you have to be so concerned with his sensitivity when it comes to self medication. People with adhd are at an increased risk for substance abuse issues and your husband could end up with a problem. Does it bother you that he self medicates?

dvdnvwls
05-06-17, 06:15 AM
I have never noticed (or even heard of) lack of empathy having anything to do with ADHD. On this forum, people who seem much too empathetic are quite common.

There is one certain type of empathy that autistic people tend to lack (but not usually those with ADHD), and that one essentially boils down to lack of awareness of what might hurt someone. The result is often that the very sensitive and caring autistic person is horrified that they've hurt you again without knowing why or even how. (Contrast that with the narcissist, who knows exactly what will hurt others, and who schemingly uses that knowledge as a weapon.)

girlthroughtime
05-07-17, 02:27 AM
I dont think you have to be so concerned with his sensitivity when it comes to self medication. People with adhd are at an increased risk for substance abuse issues and your husband could end up with a problem. Does it bother you that he self medicates?

I'm only bothered in how the substances seem to change him as a person. I notice how he is now, he is smoking nicotine again, is similar to how he was in the past when he'd smoke nicotine. And it is different from when he is not influenced by nictotine, significantly different. Then there's him with marijuana and no nicotine. Marijuana leaf vs marijuana oil... and there's alcohil too.

Personally I don't understand substances - I like runnig or working out, I don't drink or smoke etc. so I just don't understand how things can shift a persons mood so dramatically. It bothers me to think I'm uncertain of who he is. I especially dislike nicotine. Alcohol I could give or take. Marijuana is fine but it really seems like a strong dependency. And I guess I just do t know if it's a problem or a crutch or what to think :-/

girlthroughtime
05-07-17, 02:36 AM
I have never noticed (or even heard of) lack of empathy having anything to do with ADHD. On this forum, people who seem much too empathetic are quite common.

There is one certain type of empathy that autistic people tend to lack (but not usually those with ADHD), and that one essentially boils down to lack of awareness of what might hurt someone. The result is often that the very sensitive and caring autistic person is horrified that they've hurt you again without knowing why or even how. (Contrast that with the narcissist, who knows exactly what will hurt others, and who schemingly uses that knowledge as a weapon.)

I feel wrong when I say "lack of empathy." He seems overly sensitive like he doesn't want to talk about something that activates strong feelings. But when I talk about something bothering me he gives me a canned response of "I'm sorry that happened to you." Or "It's okay I love you/I'll take care of you." There is no digging deep into a complex conversation where I feel like he truly understands me. It's not to say he doesn't care, or can't have sympathy. I know he can empathize in some instances - but he can't talk to me about other instances or commiserate. It leaves me confused and alone because I feel like he cares and loves me yet it would help me more if he just had a conversation with me that really displayed that he understands what I'm going through.
And there are some ther instances too that I've witnessed firsthand with family members wher an altercation happens. They get incredibly upset at him about his attitude or him blowing up. And then later he'll act if it was no big deal and they blew things out of proportion and he'll truly not understand why they are still upset or why they might feel he does t live and respect them. He'll completely misremember or just misinterpret how things happened. Like holes in an event he tries to fill. Or trivializing their feelings..

TKforever
05-08-17, 11:16 AM
I have never noticed (or even heard of) lack of empathy having anything to do with ADHD. On this forum, people who seem much too empathetic are quite common.

There is one certain type of empathy that autistic people tend to lack (but not usually those with ADHD), and that one essentially boils down to lack of awareness of what might hurt someone. The result is often that the very sensitive and caring autistic person is horrified that they've hurt you again without knowing why or even how. (Contrast that with the narcissist, who knows exactly what will hurt others, and who schemingly uses that knowledge as a weapon.)

I'd have to correct you on the lack of empathy in ADHD adults. It is common on both sides to either be very empathetic or lack empathy. My wife of 13 years is not so empathetic. It causes me all sorts of anxiety and it goes right along with the inattentive nature. Sexuality is another issue that is either over the top or non existent. ADHD people tend to dislike being touched or touched in certain places or certain manners. It further adds distance to the relationship. If all of these things present themselves in the negative ways it creates the perfect storm and can ultimately destroy the marriage or relationship unless they seek professional help from a sex counselor.

The best approach in my opinion is the direct approach. I sent my wife videos on YouTube that are informative and were 100% related to her symptoms and our situation. They were presented by folks that have been diagnosed with ADHD. They talk about how it affected their relationships and how it undermines them. I simply asked to her to watch three videos which she did while we were separated. I asked her if she saw herself described in them and she had to say yes. I asked her to go see her counselor to get an initial diagnosis and then we followed with a clinical diagnosis to get her medications to help. The biggest issue with all of this is that they may not feel they need to get medicated, or that they are fine with the way they are and don't need counseling. At that point there is a descision you need to make, can you live with it or does it interfere with your marriage. My wife continues to go back and forth. She finally told me as we separated for a third time that she isn't going to do meds anymore because she was only doing them for me. That doesn't work. They have to want to do all of this for themselves. And for the record, Defiant Disorder is part of the ADHD family. They say things and do things just to lash out. For now, I am out, leasing a room from a friend as this get's worked out. It's the hardest thing to do, I miss my kids because we share custody and my days without really mess me up. But we need to take care of ourselves first and staying in something that isn't working will damage our hearts and souls. ADHD can not be cured and they have to want to get help. Be direct but also understand that they may not see it the way we do. I know I just can't understand why anyone who is married and wants their relationship to work wouldn't go to every counselor in the world to keep their partners happy, but we are not all wired the same way and in my case, my wife just isn't interested in doing something that she's not comfortable with.

dvdnvwls
05-08-17, 02:57 PM
Sometimes when I'm emotionally overloaded (which is too often), I have great difficulty processing anyone else's emotions.

Maybe because of ADHD I do empathy differently - I don't know what empathy is like for other people ;) - but maybe I tend to need to experience the other person's emotions for myself. I don't know if that's accurate - I'm speculating. If it's true, then I can be like an overloaded assembly line - I might not have time or energy to process your emotions until my own emotions stabilize.

girlthroughtime
05-15-17, 12:11 AM
I'd have to correct you on the lack of empathy in ADHD adults. It is common on both sides to either be very empathetic or lack empathy. My wife of 13 years is not so empathetic. It causes me all sorts of anxiety and it goes right along with the inattentive nature. Sexuality is another issue that is either over the top or non existent. ADHD people tend to dislike being touched or touched in certain places or certain manners. It further adds distance to the relationship. If all of these things present themselves in the negative ways it creates the perfect storm and can ultimately destroy the marriage or relationship unless they seek professional help from a sex counselor.


Thanks for your response. Sometimes I feel like he can pick up on cues and other times not. Sometimes it's as if he only picks up on cues once I have a more "obvious" emotional response, like a snarky laugh or eyeroll. He definitely doesn't like being touched - he hates handshakes and hugs etc. from strangers. But that's not the case with me - though lately it seems like he's not caring for physical touch. Again, this is all stuff that started when he started up nicotine. I've encouraged him to smoke marijuana leaf again, because he is so much more pleasant and tolerable and "normal" on it. He's definitely never liked holding hands in public.
I don't think he would watch a video or read an article. I am not sure how to approach him yet. I started to talk about how my mom said she had adhd, and that I wondered if I had symptoms - just to see if I could get a conversation going.. But no dice.
I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I am sure it is incredibly difficult. Sometimes it helps to remind yourself of why you feel in love, and ask yourself if what you are working through can just be a small forgettable bump in the road or will it turn over the car. I keep adapting. I started doing more for myself and hanging out with my girlfriends. I find though that he sometimes vocalizes a dislike for some of these things. He might say something like "I told you I didn't want you to do xyz, but you did it anyway." Now mind you, this isn't like I'm going bar hopping or hanging it out with guy friends. This might be an outdoor excursion for example. It's like - if it's something he doesn't like/wouldn't do, he expects that I shouldn't do it either. Like I'm a part of him, an appendage almost - that must do as his mind thinks. It's upsetting to see him think that me being independent or doing something that I enjoy would upset him, as if I had stabbed him. And of course creates feelings in me that doesn't seem right ... This is what I hate dealing with. I adapt, but then he throws out something new/different/challenging ..

girlthroughtime
05-15-17, 12:15 AM
Sometimes when I'm emotionally overloaded (which is too often), I have great difficulty processing anyone else's emotions.

Maybe because of ADHD I do empathy differently - I don't know what empathy is like for other people ;) - but maybe I tend to need to experience the other person's emotions for myself. I don't know if that's accurate - I'm speculating. If it's true, then I can be like an overloaded assembly line - I might not have time or energy to process your emotions until my own emotions stabilize.

This definitely makes sense. I mean, I can understand that empathy isn't actually "easy." Sometimes someone can tell you a story, it's sad, heart-wrenching, and you "feel" for the person - but that feeling perhaps is more along the lines of sympathy, because you've never experienced anything similar. And perhaps anything you can "equal" it to really pales in comparison. Empathy is not easy - especially when feelings and situations are particularly complex.. But i wish he'd try. Sit down, listen, and try. Make an effort just by repeating ".. I hear what you're saying, you said :repeat what I said:" but not even that. Sometimes he'll say, don't worry, I'll take care of you. And that's it. And I think - he must not know or have heard me at all - because the conclusion of what I said would be "I'm scared of losing who I am and my individuality and relying on others or being a burden."
Perhaps ADHD really prevents him from listening and absorbing ..

sarahsweets
05-16-17, 06:20 AM
I'd have to correct you on the lack of empathy in ADHD adults. It is common on both sides to either be very empathetic or lack empathy. My wife of 13 years is not so empathetic. It causes me all sorts of anxiety and it goes right along with the inattentive nature. Sexuality is another issue that is either over the top or non existent. ADHD people tend to dislike being touched or touched in certain places or certain manners. It further adds distance to the relationship. If all of these things present themselves in the negative ways it creates the perfect storm and can ultimately destroy the marriage or relationship unless they seek professional help from a sex counselor.
You say you needed to correct something? Is what dvd said wrong and do you have some sources to explain where you are coming from? As far as not wanting to be touched and adhd, I would personally think that the not touching thing is very much akin to someone with a sensory issue. I still believe that more empathy rather than less is the case with adhd due to emotional regulation issues.
I also do not know if I agree that a sex counselor is where you would look to for help. Intimacy is the issue in most cases, not sex.


The best approach in my opinion is the direct approach. I sent my wife videos on YouTube that are informative and were 100% related to her symptoms and our situation. They were presented by folks that have been diagnosed with ADHD. They talk about how it affected their relationships and how it undermines them. I simply asked to her to watch three videos which she did while we were separated. I asked her if she saw herself described in them and she had to say yes. I asked her to go see her counselor to get an initial diagnosis and then we followed with a clinical diagnosis to get her medications to help.

I would have been so hurt that you had armchair diagnosed me and expected me to get treatment that I wouldnt have been able to see the merit in your points.


And for the record, Defiant Disorder is part of the ADHD family. They say things and do things just to lash out.
Do you mean ODD? I have never heard of defiant disorder. As far as I know, odd is a diagnosis you get as a child-not sure if it changes as you get older. Vindictiveness can be a symptom of odd but to "just lash out" I think downplays its real life impairments.

RextheDog
05-16-17, 11:58 AM
IMHO, cigarettes and weed are not proper medical treatments for any kind of mental issues. That said, I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice.
The way my wife did it with me ( also a bit hyper-sensitive) was to tell me of someone she knew that was taking something for their ADHD and that maybe I had it. Maybe I should look online and check it out.

THe rest, as they say - is history.

dvdnvwls
05-16-17, 04:22 PM
This definitely makes sense. I mean, I can understand that empathy isn't actually "easy." Sometimes someone can tell you a story, it's sad, heart-wrenching, and you "feel" for the person - but that feeling perhaps is more along the lines of sympathy, because you've never experienced anything similar. And perhaps anything you can "equal" it to really pales in comparison. Empathy is not easy - especially when feelings and situations are particularly complex.. But i wish he'd try. Sit down, listen, and try. Make an effort just by repeating ".. I hear what you're saying, you said :repeat what I said:" but not even that. Sometimes he'll say, don't worry, I'll take care of you. And that's it. And I think - he must not know or have heard me at all - because the conclusion of what I said would be "I'm scared of losing who I am and my individuality and relying on others or being a burden."
Perhaps ADHD really prevents him from listening and absorbing ..
It's very common for a non-ADHD spouse to say "I wish he'd try". This happens when non-ADHD people forget (or don't know yet) that people with ADHD really are different.

There are things you would rightly expect a normal person to know, and there are situations where you can be sure how a normal person would be feeling. Getting used to the fact that I am not a normal person, that I don't think the way you think and I don't feel what you would feel, can be extremely disconcerting, especially if you have the kind of personality or experience that emphasizes everyone being normal and insists on expectations being met.

I think of it like this:
Some people have a quite long and detailed list in mind, of what it means to them to be human - or, more accurately I guess, what they think it takes for someone else to be human.

I am human, and at the same time I am not compatible with that list.

There are many people, including many non-ADHDers in confusing relationships, faced with the uncomfortable dilemma "Do I throw out my list of expectations, or do I throw out my spouse?"

It can perhaps be difficult to realize that the situation is that stark, but sometimes it is.

Love is not love if it is focused on transforming the other person.

sarahsweets
05-18-17, 02:12 AM
I'm only bothered in how the substances seem to change him as a person. I notice how he is now, he is smoking nicotine again, is similar to how he was in the past when he'd smoke nicotine. And it is different from when he is not influenced by nictotine, significantly different. Then there's him with marijuana and no nicotine. Marijuana leaf vs marijuana oil... and there's alcohil too.
Maybe I am missing something but it sounds like there is a mood change or personality change when he is under the influence of stuff and it sounds like you dont like it. Does he do things that are dangerous, mean, impulsive, etc?
Or is he just annoying?

Personally I don't understand substances - I like runnig or working out, I don't drink or smoke etc. so I just don't understand how things can shift a persons mood so dramatically.
Some substances are intoxicating. Some people who use them are using them because of that reason, to mood alter.

It bothers me to think I'm uncertain of who he is. I especially dislike nicotine. Alcohol I could give or take. Marijuana is fine but it really seems like a strong dependency. And I guess I just do t know if it's a problem or a crutch or what to think :-/
I find that a lot of people seem to excuse weed when they are listing the stuff that bothers them about people who use or abuse substances. I am not against weed assuming its legal and all that, but if the pattern of behavior is for someone to seek weed out along with or like they seek out other drugs or substances, then I wonder if there is something to be concerned about.
I am not sure If I believe weed is addicting or as addicting as say, smoking, alcohol or other drugs. I do believe if it is sought out in the sense your husband seems to seek it out, it can be habit forming psychologically.
Does he notice any changes when he uses the substances you mention? Does he care that it bothers you?

girlthroughtime
06-07-17, 12:43 PM
Maybe I am missing something but it sounds like there is a mood change or personality change when he is under the influence of stuff and it sounds like you dont like it. Does he do things that are dangerous, mean, impulsive, etc?
Or is he just annoying?


Some substances are intoxicating. Some people who use them are using them because of that reason, to mood alter.


I find that a lot of people seem to excuse weed when they are listing the stuff that bothers them about people who use or abuse substances. I am not against weed assuming its legal and all that, but if the pattern of behavior is for someone to seek weed out along with or like they seek out other drugs or substances, then I wonder if there is something to be concerned about.
I am not sure If I believe weed is addicting or as addicting as say, smoking, alcohol or other drugs. I do believe if it is sought out in the sense your husband seems to seek it out, it can be habit forming psychologically.
Does he notice any changes when he uses the substances you mention? Does he care that it bothers you?

I thought I minded the weed, only to realize that I actually prefer him on it. It's when he uses nicotine, I hate that. When we met he smoked, and I remember always thinking he seemed distant, not open .. Then he quit - and he was awful for a while, lol - I thought, dear god just smoke a cigarette already! Then all of a sudden - he was a different more pleasant and likable person. Still introverted, but as if there was more of a range of emotions, so he seemed like a fuller person. Weed, seems to heighten that and makes him relaxed, and just happy. During the holidays he had to quit weed because of a sore throat - I didn't realize the connection. All of a sudden there was a shift in attitude. Then I realized later he picked up the e-cig .. obviously to sub for not having weed. Anyway .. he's having a hard time giving up the nicotine. Picked up weed again. But I think with nicotine IN his system - he's different. It's as if nicotine lessens emotions - makes it easier to not feel more? Probably easier to concentrate on work - he texts far less. He use to always send sweet texts - then it just dropped off. Hard to describe...

Anyway - people never notice that they have an attitude change. Accusing just puts someone on the defense, and they will choose to blame you and say things like "You're being too needy."

sarahsweets
06-08-17, 04:40 AM
I thought I minded the weed, only to realize that I actually prefer him on it. It's when he uses nicotine, I hate that. When we met he smoked, and I remember always thinking he seemed distant, not open .. Then he quit - and he was awful for a while, lol - I thought, dear god just smoke a cigarette already! Then all of a sudden - he was a different more pleasant and likable person. Still introverted, but as if there was more of a range of emotions, so he seemed like a fuller person. Weed, seems to heighten that and makes him relaxed, and just happy. During the holidays he had to quit weed because of a sore throat - I didn't realize the connection.

I understand what you mean but think about it for a minute...
Suppose he cant get weed anymore? Lets say he gets caught and has to do drug court, or has to obstain for work or just cant find any? lets say his contact for weed falls through? Are you supposed to only like him and feel safe, loved and comfortable with him when he can get high? It sounds like a less than desired spot to be in. I would never want my husband to be just "tolerable". I wouldnt want him to have to be under the influence of certain things just for me to feel like I had my husband's best parts. If the nictoine bothers you I think it merits a conversation, no matter how defensive he gets or how he makes you seem unreasonable. I also think a conversation about the weed needs to happen as well. He needs to realize that you are saying he is much better when he is high. He needs to hear that. He needs to understand that the woman he supposedly loves, and who loves him would rather that he be smoking weed then sober. I think thats a major red flag.
All of a sudden there was a shift in attitude. Then I realized later he picked up the e-cig .. obviously to sub for not having weed. Anyway .. he's having a hard time giving up the nicotine. Picked up weed again. But I think with nicotine IN his system - he's different. It's as if nicotine lessens emotions - makes it easier to not feel more? Probably easier to concentrate on work - he texts far less. He use to always send sweet texts - then it just dropped off. Hard to describe...

Anyway - people never notice that they have an attitude change. Accusing just puts someone on the defense, and they will choose to blame you and say things like "You're being too needy."[/QUOTE]

girlthroughtime
06-14-17, 12:58 PM
It's very common for a non-ADHD spouse to say "I wish he'd try". This happens when non-ADHD people forget (or don't know yet) that people with ADHD really are different.

There are things you would rightly expect a normal person to know, and there are situations where you can be sure how a normal person would be feeling. Getting used to the fact that I am not a normal person, that I don't think the way you think and I don't feel what you would feel, can be extremely disconcerting, especially if you have the kind of personality or experience that emphasizes everyone being normal and insists on expectations being met.

I think of it like this:
Some people have a quite long and detailed list in mind, of what it means to them to be human - or, more accurately I guess, what they think it takes for someone else to be human.

I am human, and at the same time I am not compatible with that list.

There are many people, including many non-ADHDers in confusing relationships, faced with the uncomfortable dilemma "Do I throw out my list of expectations, or do I throw out my spouse?"

It can perhaps be difficult to realize that the situation is that stark, but sometimes it is.

Love is not love if it is focused on transforming the other person.

I totally agree and understand. And I have been - for more than 11 years - very accepting. I mean, I do not make him go to family dinners, I don't make him go hang out with other couples, etc - normal things most people do that are just a given. We don't even go out to dinner or the movies. Of course he doesn't think he has a substance problem - I confronted him the other night and he said "No." And I was like really, and listed off caffeine from sodas, coffee, etc. He said he was trying to cut those out. And is weaning off the nicotine - decreasing the amount in the e-cigs. And admitted that perhaps marijuana was an issue. The thing is - I don't have a problem with having a drink, or having a smoke. It's that these things, seem to me, are coping mechanisms. I don't know how to get him to acknowledge that.

And truthfully, if he were the same "person," - telling me he loved me frequently and texting me like he use to when at work, letting me know he was thinking of me, I probably wouldn't much care. Like I said, there are many other things that I just accepted, because I think it's best to accept.

But right now, as a work at home mom, my only interaction with a person is him. I do rely on him as my source of "happiness" - I'm an extrovert so I enjoy conversation and activity. Now if you say, oh, well why don't you find something for yourself. I have TRIED. Everytime I say, maybe I should get a job outside of the house, he brushes it off, and says that's silly, why would you want a job. You have a great job at home, you don't want to work for someone else, blahblahblah. I tried having certain activities, one of which he was so adamantly against, practically told me I can't ever do it again. There's a sort of control thing happening. If I vocalize some sort of unhappiness, he takes great offense.

So yes - I'm confused. I saw a therapist for a while trying to decide if it was me. She made it clear that I seemed like a responsible and insightful person. I decided, it's not me, because I'm capable of going about my day and trying new things and finding happiness etc. My husband makes me uncomfortable. I guess.. I am constantly doubting his "feelings" for me. I feel confused about what I mean to him and what my role is. Of course, he feels that what he gives is "not enough." I don't want him to feel that. But I also don't understand this shift in attitude/personality. As he's weaning off the nicotine, I feel like maybe he seems "better." But it's so hard to tell.

girlthroughtime
06-14-17, 02:24 PM
I understand what you mean but think about it for a minute...
Suppose he cant get weed anymore? Lets say he gets caught and has to do drug court, or has to obstain for work or just cant find any? lets say his contact for weed falls through? Are you supposed to only like him and feel safe, loved and comfortable with him when he can get high? It sounds like a less than desired spot to be in. I would never want my husband to be just "tolerable". I wouldnt want him to have to be under the influence of certain things just for me to feel like I had my husband's best parts. If the nictoine bothers you I think it merits a conversation, no matter how defensive he gets or how he makes you seem unreasonable. I also think a conversation about the weed needs to happen as well. He needs to realize that you are saying he is much better when he is high. He needs to hear that. He needs to understand that the woman he supposedly loves, and who loves him would rather that he be smoking weed then sober. I think thats a major red flag.

Yes - I understand this. I don't even know what the effects of marijuana has on a person over time. I mean - I read this article about "overuse" of marijuana can damage the reward system: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/07/hardcore-pot-smoking-could-damage-brains-pleasure-center

I don't know - obviously he thinks he controls his substances. Not that they control him.. This is a difficult conversation to have with him without him feeling hurt. And he blows my words out of proportion, saying I'm accusing him of being an alcoholic. I'm not even sure where that comes from! Like, how does someone come to that from "I think you have a substance abuse problem, from caffeine, to nicotine to alcohol and marijuana.. why do you feel you need these substances?" How do you make someone face a truth they can't/don't want to see?

sarahsweets
06-14-17, 03:09 PM
I totally agree and understand. And I have been - for more than 11 years - very accepting. I mean, I do not make him go to family dinners, I don't make him go hang out with other couples, etc - normal things most people do that are just a given. We don't even go out to dinner or the movies. Of course he doesn't think he has a substance problem - I confronted him the other night and he said "No." And I was like really, and listed off caffeine from sodas, coffee, etc. He said he was trying to cut those out. And is weaning off the nicotine - decreasing the amount in the e-cigs. And admitted that perhaps marijuana was an issue. The thing is - I don't have a problem with having a drink, or having a smoke. It's that these things, seem to me, are coping mechanisms. I don't know how to get him to acknowledge that.

Coping mechanisms help a person to cope but he doesnt seem to be coping with these substances or coping in a healthy way. IMO the idea of substances being coping mechanisms is usually a rocky path to walk.


And truthfully, if he were the same "person," - telling me he loved me frequently and texting me like he use to when at work, letting me know he was thinking of me, I probably wouldn't much care. Like I said, there are many other things that I just accepted, because I think it's best to accept.
Yes, it seems like he is pretty selfish.

But right now, as a work at home mom, my only interaction with a person is him. I do rely on him as my source of "happiness" - I'm an extrovert so I enjoy conversation and activity. Now if you say, oh, well why don't you find something for yourself. I have TRIED. Everytime I say, maybe I should get a job outside of the house, he brushes it off, and says that's silly, why would you want a job. You have a great job at home, you don't want to work for someone else, blahblahblah. I tried having certain activities, one of which he was so adamantly against, practically told me I can't ever do it again.
Does he chain you to the house? You absolutely have the right to do whatever it was you were trying to do. What was it that you were doing that made him adamently against it?
And you are not his child and you do not have to accept being told you cant do something. You need to build up your self esteem and confidence and you cant do that if all you have is him and no time for yourself or interactions with like-minded adults.

There's a sort of control thing happening. If I vocalize some sort of unhappiness, he takes great offense.

He has NO RIGHT to try and control you. He cant control his substance use or apparently, how he treats you. He cant make demands and not meet any of yours.

So yes - I'm confused. I saw a therapist for a while trying to decide if it was me. She made it clear that I seemed like a responsible and insightful person. I decided, it's not me, because I'm capable of going about my day and trying new things and finding happiness etc. My husband makes me uncomfortable.
Was this couple's counseling? And I think its a huge red flag that your husband makes you uncomfortable. How healthy is that?


I guess.. I am constantly doubting his "feelings" for me. I feel confused about what I mean to him and what my role is. Of course, he feels that what he gives is "not enough."
Well, its not enough plain and simple. You deserve more from the man you married who supposedly loves you. And if he feels bad or defensive about what you say then so what? He is making you do all this work thinking and planning how to deal with him. He definitely gets the best end of the deal.



I don't want him to feel that. But I also don't understand this shift in attitude/personality. As he's weaning off the nicotine, I feel like maybe he seems "better." But it's so hard to tell.

Stop worrying about what he is or is not taking or using substance wise. Look at it this way:n (pretend Im you speaking)
" why is the man that love and am married to so uninterested in me? Am I so much work for him? Am I not worth it? Why would someone who loves me find me so useless and would rather get high then deal with me and our lives as partners?"

girlthroughtime
06-14-17, 05:32 PM
Coping mechanisms help a person to cope but he doesnt seem to be coping with these substances or coping in a healthy way. IMO the idea of substances being coping mechanisms is usually a rocky path to walk.



Yes, it seems like he is pretty selfish.


Does he chain you to the house? You absolutely have the right to do whatever it was you were trying to do. What was it that you were doing that made him adamently against it?
And you are not his child and you do not have to accept being told you cant do something. You need to build up your self esteem and confidence and you cant do that if all you have is him and no time for yourself or interactions with like-minded adults.


He has NO RIGHT to try and control you. He cant control his substance use or apparently, how he treats you. He cant make demands and not meet any of yours.


Was this couple's counseling? And I think its a huge red flag that your husband makes you uncomfortable. How healthy is that?



Well, its not enough plain and simple. You deserve more from the man you married who supposedly loves you. And if he feels bad or defensive about what you say then so what? He is making you do all this work thinking and planning how to deal with him. He definitely gets the best end of the deal.





Stop worrying about what he is or is not taking or using substance wise. Look at it this way:n (pretend Im you speaking)
" why is the man that love and am married to so uninterested in me? Am I so much work for him? Am I not worth it? Why would someone who loves me find me so useless and would rather get high then deal with me and our lives as partners?"

I go out of the house, I take my daughter to play dates - I run errands. Beyond that, not much else. Which is my point, for sure, I feel like I am doing things for my daughter/family, but nothing for myself. He probably feels the same way for him.. I am sure he thinks I have the best end of the deal, I get to stay at home and play with our daughter. I tried going rock climbing - he said he did not feel like it was safe, but I went anyway. He was very upset and didn't want me to do it again, said I was doing it for a thrill - which if anyone who knows rock climbing, it's got quite a bit of safety involved and is incredibly slow paced. It's not thrilling, lol. Just, satisfying.

Yes, I crave feeling needed, and useful, I'm a doer, so I love feeling like I am doing a good job. He can be thankful, says "Thank you" often when I do things for him or the family.. I don't want to make it seem like there aren't any positives. It's that I still feel like I am talking to someone who truly doesn't believe they've changed, and that the change has made me uncomfortable. I figure I'll just wait out and see what he's like after getting off nicotine. But truthfully, it's like, ok, now what. Even his family doesn't understand why he doesn't want to spend time with them. And I'm just over here saying, "Trust me, I don't understand.." I mean I can understand introversion, but he seems so secluded, and then there'd be times when he'd spend time with his family (begrudginly) and he would just lose his patience, and become angry, and snap at them and say things that I would consider verbally abusive. I told him, do you think that's normal? And he would just try to reinforce why he felt the way he felt, but had no answer as to why he couldn't have expressed it calmly and respectfully. And that's the big difference - everyone is entitled to an opinion, it's how you choose to express it. Definitely can only assume the irritability is connected with nicotine...

aeon
06-14-17, 09:55 PM
From all that you have said, I get the impression that he is not comfortable discussing feelings, and that is because somewhere in his past, he experienced some kind of trauma. This informs his social withdrawal, and emotional liability when in the presence of his family. Substance abuse may be an attempt at coping, but it may also be a way to escape distressing internal states that are a consequence of his unresolved trauma.

He also seems ambivalent about relationships, and I wonder if this is because of issues with creating, maintaining, and negotiating boundaries.

Of course, all of this is overlaid with the deficits which are part of ADHD.

---

I'm freewheel speculating here, and if you are at all bothered by what I have said, I offer my apology in advance.

I usually never do this sort of thing, because it usually ends up being a misstep and a trespass.

That said, you provided so much detail in your posts that in my mind they became clues and so I started to build a framework.


Well Wishes,
Ian

girlthroughtime
06-15-17, 10:06 AM
From all that you have said, I get the impression that he is not comfortable discussing feelings, and that is because somewhere in his past, he experienced some kind of trauma. This informs his social withdrawal, and emotional liability when in the presence of his family. Substance abuse may be an attempt at coping, but it may also be a way to escape distressing internal states that are a consequence of his unresolved trauma.

He also seems ambivalent about relationships, and I wonder if this is because of issues with creating, maintaining, and negotiating boundaries.

Of course, all of this is overlaid with the deficits which are part of ADHD.

---

I'm freewheel speculating here, and if you are at all bothered by what I have said, I offer my apology in advance.

I usually never do this sort of thing, because it usually ends up being a misstep and a trespass.

That said, you provided so much detail in your posts that in my mind they became clues and so I started to build a framework.


Well Wishes,
Ian

I appreciate your insight. I don't know what sort of trauma - but I do know that he has very strong feelings towards his mother. She has really formed a very set idea of women. She is very successful and worked a lot and was never home - his grandmother took care of him. I suspect this is part of why he wants me to be home with our toddler. But I also believe that he believes all women are manipulative and use crying and emotions as tool for manipulation, so that is also why there is rarely a successful conversation about "feelings" or any discussion where I could possible resolve concerns. I don't want to imply that he's never shared any vulnerability, of course he has; he has expressed his deep love for me, and that I am his soulmate, etc. But it's that he seems so distracted - sometimes just leaving after watching a show and I might have to say how bout a hug and kiss goodnight, and then I say I love you. It's just weird to me to walk away - doesn't matter that there are things on his mind, I guess I just think it's strange.

I suppose I've always found him a bit odd - in that sometimes I think he doesn't know how to continue a conversation, or an aversion with eye contact. He can seem socially awkward. I think a comfortable social interaction for him would just be filled with jokes, or perhaps discussion of politics (usually with his family). I remember a time when we hung out with a guy friend who tried to talk to him about relationship stuff, and I could sense his friend seemed serious, but my husband brushed it off by making jokes. I was really kinda flabergasted.

I did see a therapist for a while, when I was thinking I had perhaps not been getting the support I needed and should see someone I could talk to. She said it really sounded like he was treating me the way he would want to treat his mother, because he has issues with her. I'm sure that sounds like a typical therapist thing to say, lol - but my Dad had said the same thing. It's as if all the pressures and obligations she put on him through life, he can't move past and realize that I'm not that same person.

sarahsweets
06-15-17, 11:36 AM
I think couples counseling would help and if he refuses, then he is unwilling to work on the marriage and you have a whole 'nother issue to think about.

girlthroughtime
06-16-17, 01:14 PM
I think couples counseling would help and if he refuses, then he is unwilling to work on the marriage and you have a whole 'nother issue to think about.

Yea, that's not happening. He is incredibly stubborn. Basically he doesn't think anything is wrong - that I'm too emotional or needy or dramatic. That I just need to control my emotions, and everything is ok. Obviously when you live as a person for all of your life, you don't think "something's wrong with me." He doesn't realize he's different, and he doesn't believe me when I say he is. I tried to point to an article about adhd, that showed how non-adhd partners feel - I said, that's how I feel. Of course, he thinks I'm trying to diagnose him - but I said, "No, I only came up with that possibility because you told me, you felt like you should try ritalin because you felt like you always have difficulty concentrating." This was a couple years back, and I had brushed it off because everyone has trouble and he never gave details beyond that statement. I only connected that with his recent attitude shift after reading so many articles that aligned with how I felt and how he acted - the substance addictions, the distractability, the difficulty sleeping, etc. At this point - I feel like I've exhausted what I can say, without pushing too much. If he doesn't feel like anything is wrong, what can I do.

dvdnvwls
06-16-17, 01:23 PM
If he honestly doesn't feel like anything is wrong, but in your opinion something is definitely wrong, then there are three real options:

- He becomes truly convinced that something is wrong

- You become truly convinced that things are already OK

- Both of you adjust toward the middle, i.e. something really is wrong but not as bad as you thought.

One of those three has to happen - otherwise it's endless discord.

But how? I think the important thing is that no one who changes their mind feels pressured to do so. When people change their mind under pressure from others, they almost always return to their original opinions afterward.

ginniebean
06-16-17, 01:27 PM
Talking g can often be useless. A person with ADHD can often be too defensive to hear you. Write an email. This allows for processing time. Don't be around for several hours so it can sunk in.

dvdnvwls
06-16-17, 01:54 PM
I agree with the email idea.

I want to add something I think is important to remember: Despite appearances, he is extremely sensitive and he's terrified. He has not been able to see this coming, even though to you it's been obvious for some time. So the gentler you are, and the more you can soften your approach, the better the chances are.

sarahsweets
06-16-17, 02:18 PM
Yea, that's not happening. He is incredibly stubborn. Basically he doesn't think anything is wrong - that I'm too emotional or needy or dramatic. That I just need to control my emotions, and everything is ok.
This concerns me. Everything else aside, if you said you wanted couples counseling even if its just for you, he should be willing to try it. It doesnt matter if he thinks things are just fine, you have told him things with you are not just fine. Its a small sacrifice to go to therapy with you if it will help you feel better. Even if you say you want it for just you and tell him its not because of him, he should be willing. Lack of willingness to help your partner is a red flag and a preview of life as it will be.

Obviously when you live as a person for all of your life, you don't think "something's wrong with me." He doesn't realize he's different, and he doesn't believe me when I say he is. I tried to point to an article about adhd, that showed how non-adhd partners feel - I said, that's how I feel. Of course, he thinks I'm trying to diagnose him - but I said, "No, I only came up with that possibility because you told me, you felt like you should try ritalin because you felt like you always have difficulty concentrating." This was a couple years back, and I had brushed it off because everyone has trouble and he never gave details beyond that statement. I only connected that with his recent attitude shift after reading so many articles that aligned with how I felt and how he acted - the substance addictions, the distractability, the difficulty sleeping, etc. At this point - I feel like I've exhausted what I can say, without pushing too much. If he doesn't feel like anything is wrong, what can I do.

well you can take action for your own sake. Tell him you need couple's counseling to help you. Dont even tell him it has anything to do with him. If he cares about you he should agree to go.

dvdnvwls
06-16-17, 02:58 PM
If he cares about you he should agree to go.
I get what you're saying Sarah, but in reality that statement is false. There are all kinds of reasons to refuse couples counselling that have nothing to do with caring or not caring. The first that comes to my mind, due to my own experience, is the problem of attending a counsellor who isn't intimately familiar with ADHD, and the ensuing mistreatment that bordered on gaslighting, with the counsellor's implicit approval.

girlthroughtime
06-16-17, 07:18 PM
If he honestly doesn't feel like anything is wrong, but in your opinion something is definitely wrong, then there are three real options:

- He becomes truly convinced that something is wrong

- You become truly convinced that things are already OK

- Both of you adjust toward the middle, i.e. something really is wrong but not as bad as you thought.

One of those three has to happen - otherwise it's endless discord.

But how? I think the important thing is that no one who changes their mind feels pressured to do so. When people change their mind under pressure from others, they almost always return to their original opinions afterward.
I see this as logical. I think I will have to believe him when he says "nothing is wrong," and accept that the effort he does apply has to be enough. Even if there are often times I feel uncomfortable when he leaves the room without the courtesy of a "Good night, I love you."

girlthroughtime
06-16-17, 07:20 PM
I agree with the email idea.

I want to add something I think is important to remember: Despite appearances, he is extremely sensitive and he's terrified. He has not been able to see this coming, even though to you it's been obvious for some time. So the gentler you are, and the more you can soften your approach, the better the chances are.

I agree with this too. I've seen it in his face or reaction, when I talk and say I feel like something is wrong - he looks genuinely hurt and I can sense he feels very sensitive. The way he tells me he feels like I'm just blaming him and accusing him of being a bad husband - which I have never ever once said those words "bad husband." He feels like when I say the things I say, it translates to me feeling like he's not doing enough and therefore is a bad husband. Where really I am only looking for empathy and understanding.

girlthroughtime
06-16-17, 07:24 PM
This concerns me. Everything else aside, if you said you wanted couples counseling even if its just for you, he should be willing to try it. It doesnt matter if he thinks things are just fine, you have told him things with you are not just fine. Its a small sacrifice to go to therapy with you if it will help you feel better. Even if you say you want it for just you and tell him its not because of him, he should be willing. Lack of willingness to help your partner is a red flag and a preview of life as it will be.



well you can take action for your own sake. Tell him you need couple's counseling to help you. Dont even tell him it has anything to do with him. If he cares about you he should agree to go.

He's actually a very paranoid person - he didn't even want me to go because of me sharing "our problems." In fact when I told him I wanted to see a therapist I thought he was going to cry. Either that or intense anger. He said "Nothing's wrong! Just be quiet!" I was pretty deflated at that point. I decided to see a therapist without telling him so I could at least sort out my thoughts and feelings.

I know that he does care - but he won't show it by indulging this. Truthfully part of his personality is the statement "You just want to get your way. You cry til you get your way. You'll guilt me til you get your way." This is a problem of his - I do believe it stems from his relationship with his mother. I'm not like her, btw, but it has developed a very general idea of what all women embody. Unfortunately pushing to "get my way" will make things worse.

I think I've done what I can. I've pointed out my concern. Either he reads about ADHD and relates or he doesn't. I can only hope that he at least stops nicotine - that has always made a very obvious affect on personality, though I don't understand why it's such a negative effect.

dvdnvwls
06-16-17, 09:51 PM
Sometimes when you look for empathy and understanding, the other person might be genuinely unable to identify with you or to understand how you feel.

In the past, I've been asked to be emotionally supportive. I genuinely have no clue what that means, or what's wanted when someone says that.

girlthroughtime
06-16-17, 10:01 PM
Sometimes when you look for empathy and understanding, the other person might be genuinely unable to identify with you or to understand how you feel.

In the past, I've been asked to be emotionally supportive. I genuinely have no clue what that means, or what's wanted when someone says that.

I guess it's kinda weird to me because I would be the type that cares too much. Perhaps to a fault. Like if you said to me you got some kind of disease, I'd probably do a bunch of research and share it with you to show that I am thinking of you and care.

My husband is the sort that might say something rude, but honest. I actually can be the same way, but only in a constructive sense. Whereas he might be that way and just revel in the "I told you so." part of honesty. If you try to talk to him about something you want sympathy for, it just doesn't happen. Except with our toddler. This is probably the most confusing thing - there are concepts he understands enough to show our toddler the right sort of reaction, and yet, doesn't practice it himself.

aeon
06-16-17, 10:53 PM
In the past, I've been asked to be emotionally supportive. I genuinely have no clue what that means, or what's wanted when someone says that.

Interesting. I tried to imagine that as an internal reality and I couldn't. It made no sense to me whatsoever. Different strokes and all that... :)

Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication describes methods of engagement that are foundational to offering and giving such support. That's but one example.


Cheers,
Ian

dvdnvwls
06-16-17, 11:11 PM
I care way way too much.

That doesn't automatically make me understand certain terms for things.

Alexithymia means I often don't even know how I feel, let alone always knowing how someone else feels. Though usually I'm slightly less bad at identifying with others than with myself.

Little Missy
06-17-17, 09:11 AM
I never noticed that nicotine showed any undesirable personality effects.

daveddd
06-18-17, 04:19 AM
wow, for a minute i thought you were my wife, then i remembered i dont have a toddle

the introversion, lack of empathy(not in a psycopath way, but due to an avoidance of feelings, poor eye contact, cant stand hugs except my wife


i drink beer, smoke, and the other to take the edge off

she wants couple therapy due to my extreme avoidance and shame of talking about feelings and intimacy , the thought of it terrifies me

learning about adhd did help, i encourage er to go wit friends for an emotional outlet

this is a common combo (adhd/introversion/social anxiety/possibly alexthymia)

not going for a diagnosing thing , its pointless, but avoidant personality paints a perfect picture of this in literature , up to 40% of people with ADHD meet the criteria (brown)

adhd involves strong emotions and trouble regulating them, and some point he (me, maybe ) starts avoiding them completely , then we dont know how to turn back

emotions are reduced to a visceral state to be avoided at all costs

I'm sad reading this because i make my wife feel like this, when really im very sensitive and caring, i just have a hard time showing it, it creates an empty void in her, do you feel that way

I'm sorry for that, he may be too, but these things are ingrained very deep

I wish i had better advice, i dont

but its hard for you, I'm sorry

girlthroughtime
06-18-17, 01:38 PM
wow, for a minute i thought you were my wife, then i remembered i dont have a toddle

the introversion, lack of empathy(not in a psycopath way, but due to an avoidance of feelings, poor eye contact, cant stand hugs except my wife


i drink beer, smoke, and the other to take the edge off

she wants couple therapy due to my extreme avoidance and shame of talking about feelings and intimacy , the thought of it terrifies me

learning about adhd did help, i encourage er to go wit friends for an emotional outlet

this is a common combo (adhd/introversion/social anxiety/possibly alexthymia)

not going for a diagnosing thing , its pointless, but avoidant personality paints a perfect picture of this in literature , up to 40% of people with ADHD meet the criteria (brown)

adhd involves strong emotions and trouble regulating them, and some point he (me, maybe ) starts avoiding them completely , then we dont know how to turn back

emotions are reduced to a visceral state to be avoided at all costs

I'm sad reading this because i make my wife feel like this, when really im very sensitive and caring, i just have a hard time showing it, it creates an empty void in her, do you feel that way

I'm sorry for that, he may be too, but these things are ingrained very deep

I wish i had better advice, i dont

but its hard for you, I'm sorry

I'll try to frame it - I've been with him for 11.5 years, married for about half that. I always felt like he seemed like a "different person from what I was use to" - my b/f before him was very openly sensitive, a musician, talked and listened, and had no problem crying in front of me. I've never seen my husband cry, but I have seen him express deep sensitivity and concern and caring. I KNOW that he is those things. I like it more when he's able to express a fuller spectrum of emotion. An example would be, he use to rarely text during work - I accepted that. So the rare messages I'd get were a pleasant and happy surprise. To me it was the same as saying he didn't like public displays of affection, but that didn't mean he was never affectionate. This was before we were married. After our toddler, and after he quit nicotine for the umpteenth time, and was smoking leaf more regularly, he was surprisingly affectionate. Telling me how beautiful I am, mouthing "I love you" and texting almost regularly every day from work how he missed us and loved us. Then one day that started to drop off texts and he came home, like a different person. He seemed angrier, told me he just needed quiet, said I was annoying. I was just shocked.

Sometimes I see that same affectionate person, but only briefly - and it is SO SURREAL when it happens. It'll be instantaenous - where he'll say something sweet and romantic, only to almost clam up immediately after as if taken over by some irritating feeling. Like an itch you can't scratch. Sometimes it'll be around longer, usually if he's smoked some leaf.

I have watched how he treated his family members, it wasn't always my favorite, to watch him snap at them and criticize. Sometimes I can see he can't take a joke, can't laugh at himself. Almost as if he feels as if people scrutinize/judge/criticize him and that if laughing at himself makes it true. Takes his job very seriously - he is loyal. Even though he tells me "Jobs are all the same. You don't want a job." (this is in response to me saying, I feel like I rely on you to much as my outlet for socializing/happiness/self esteem, perhaps if I get a job out of the house, that would relieve pressure on you) I've gotten use to a double-standard attitude. I never thought the way he treated his family would turn to me too.

But I remember when we first dated, how much he smoked nicotine, and when he first quit. He was like a different person - I was surprised. I constantly questioned my feelings for him when he smoked because I always felt he was "hidden/hiding/secretive," then when he quit, he was more of the person I loved. I mean sure, still antisocial and introverted, but so much more open to experiences as well, and more expressive of emotion.

Honestly - it is NOT about how I feel - or how he is making me feel. It's about how scared/worried I am about how I make HIM feel. I don't want to make someone feel "annoyed/irritated" - I want to be the wife you want to come home to, take a walk with, chat with and watch a show with. Who wants to be the person that is like a burr under your skin? I cook dinner, we have a housekeeper, I run 2 businesses and I take care of our toddler. I buy myself the things I want, I'm not superficial asking for flowers or jewelry. I take care of myself. It's to the point that I just feel entirely independent.. I take our toddler to birthdays, and outings, and I pretty much look like a single mom. I miss having a companion - and a partner.

I know I could keep up the bulk of responsibility if I just heard "You're a wonderful wife, and I love you dearly." once a day, and was texted "I'm thinking of you and miss you." once a day. Kind words can keep anything going. Bet you could do the same for your wife, and she'd be floored, lol.

girlthroughtime
06-18-17, 03:00 PM
An example for today - I made a book for Father's Day, he said thank you to both our daughter and I. He seemed happy to receive it. Later on I catch him looking at it again, he's spending time with your daughter, he tells her thank you so much for my book, I love it. Of course she didn't make it, and she's three - so as nice as it is for him to thank her, I don't think it's registering with her. Now, it may seem slightly petty, but I would have appreciated it if he hugged me, thanked me and gave me a kiss. It also would have been a nice example for our daughter for him to recognize his wife and her mother for the gesture and thought. As this is the example she looks to for when she looks for a relationship when she grows up. This situation has become the prime example of how life has been for me lately. I do things for him that are thoughtful - he thanks her - ok, sometimes me, but mostly her - in an exaggerated way. Thanks for picking up dinner, thanks for picking me up dessert - mostly directed towards her. What is this?! Is he only capable of directing emotion to a single person? This is what is confusing me - I might as well be camouflage! It makes me want to disappear. I don't feel appreciated in the way I should be - and he's setting up such a terrible example for what a relationship/family should be like when she has one of her own.

dvdnvwls
06-18-17, 04:27 PM
Wanting to feel appreciated is asking him to be responsible for your feelings - for creating them, even.

Is it safe, or sane, to hand over control of your feelings to someone else?

And if you still hand over that control, and the person doesn't do what you wanted them to do, are they to blame?

How can anyone be expected to control your feelings in just the way you want? (Other than yourself, of course.)

What you gave him wasn't a gift, if you had expectations of him in return.


Those words "the way I should be" near the end of your post indicate the weight of expectations you're placing on him. Wasn't he the one saying he's a bad husband, and didn't you protest you never told him that? Well, yes you did.

dvdnvwls
06-18-17, 04:44 PM
I'm not saying he's without blame, or always right, or any ridiculous stuff like that. Obviously that's not the way things are.

Just... Often, the most poisonous expectations are the ones we never knew we had - the ones we falsely consider to be the bedrock of our existence.

girlthroughtime
06-18-17, 06:03 PM
Wanting to feel appreciated is asking him to be responsible for your feelings - for creating them, even.

Is it safe, or sane, to hand over control of your feelings to someone else?

And if you still hand over that control, and the person doesn't do what you wanted them to do, are they to blame?

How can anyone be expected to control your feelings in just the way you want? (Other than yourself, of course.)

What you gave him wasn't a gift, if you had expectations of him in return.


Those words "the way I should be" near the end of your post indicate the weight of expectations you're placing on him. Wasn't he the one saying he's a bad husband, and didn't you protest you never told him that? Well, yes you did.

Oh no - I agree with you. Trust me - I have no expectations when it comes to gift giving. 11.5 years of gift giving, I can tell that he is uncomfortable with gifts, and the more "thoughtful" or "sentimental" a gift, the more uncomfortable he is. Until our toddler - then these things seemed to mean more. The interesting thing is he can be thoughtful and sentimental with gift giving towards me - though he is mostly practical. I in fact am the same, uncomfortable with receiving gifts. He probably has perfected the "thank you" better than I. My point with the example though, is that he seems to put on an over the top show with our toddler, which I don't understand where that comes from. AND the example he sets for her, by accident, when he doesn't acknowledge me. That's where my upset begins.
I have known him long enough - the only time expectations entered the picture was when we started a family; and that we now have an audience. He actually is generally very thankful and grateful, whether I did laundry, cooked, or did the dishes, and pick up food.
I don't entirely understand the over top attitude he has with our toddler. The exaggeration he has with her, or acknowledging her for things she didn't actually do. I think this actually can be detrimental for development, since it might be something she would end up expecting in a school/group situation for instance.

dvdnvwls
06-19-17, 04:01 AM
I'm sorry, but you've so directly and definitively contradicted yourself that I can't make sense of what you're saying. You did indeed express strong disappointment or even indignation that you were not properly recognized or thanked for the father's day gift, and that does show that you expected ego strokes in return for the gift (which at that point ceased to be a gift and became a vehicle for blame and indignation). Expecting thanks and praise is no different from expecting a reciprocal gift, or even money for that matter.

girlthroughtime
06-19-17, 12:01 PM
I'm sorry, but you've so directly and definitively contradicted yourself that I can't make sense of what you're saying. You did indeed express strong disappointment or even indignation that you were not properly recognized or thanked for the father's day gift, and that does show that you expected ego strokes in return for the gift (which at that point ceased to be a gift and became a vehicle for blame and indignation). Expecting thanks and praise is no different from expecting a reciprocal gift, or even money for that matter.

I think I've made it very clear. He expresses gratitude, that's great. And that for 11.5 years, gift giving has been the same. I don't have expectations. Would it be nice if ____? Sure. But my issue isn't with gratitude and appreciation, it's the degree of expression. Which only becomes apparent because of the inclusion of our daughter. The overt the top praise and recognition is like the same as you would show for a puppy going potty outside, or a your baby taking their first steps.

Like - what is that? It's not about the gift - ignore the gift, it was an example from the moment. It's like, coming home with dinner, and being thanked, but then throwing a parade for our daughter. Like - what is that? Literally? That's what I'm wondering - what is this swing in expression of emotion?

Also - I literally come here for support, so that I can better understand. So I'm not looking to be criticized for my needs. If I wanted criticism, I can just talk to my husband - ;)

dvdnvwls
06-19-17, 12:26 PM
If people help you in your effort to maintain your assumptions and expectations just as they were, cheering you on for making old mistakes instead of trying to help you find new and better ways, then they're not really supporting you, and nothing will get better either.

Improvement equals change. Real improvement in a two-person relationship equals real change by both people.

I can't show your husband things he could change because he's not here. The only changes anyone can make are changes to themselves. Changes to the other person are his business.

dvdnvwls
06-19-17, 01:44 PM
I guess - to put it in a nutshell -

"How do I talk with my undiagnosed husband about his ADHD symptoms and self-medication?"

"Differently."

If things stay the same, then things will stay the same. It's normal to want - and to need - better results, and at the same time to forget that better results always involve significant and perhaps uncomfortable changes.

daveddd
06-19-17, 03:19 PM
I think I've made it very clear. He expresses gratitude, that's great. And that for 11.5 years, gift giving has been the same. I don't have expectations. Would it be nice if ____? Sure. But my issue isn't with gratitude and appreciation, it's the degree of expression. Which only becomes apparent because of the inclusion of our daughter. The overt the top praise and recognition is like the same as you would show for a puppy going potty outside, or a your baby taking their first steps.

Like - what is that? It's not about the gift - ignore the gift, it was an example from the moment. It's like, coming home with dinner, and being thanked, but then throwing a parade for our daughter. Like - what is that? Literally? That's what I'm wondering - what is this swing in expression of emotion?

Also - I literally come here for support, so that I can better understand. So I'm not looking to be criticized for my needs. If I wanted criticism, I can just talk to my husband - ;)



Hey girltt. You have every right to feel the way you do. Reasonable or not

In ur case it seems very reasonable

Hey as someone with some similarities to ur husband. Let me take a stab. The type and degree of intimacy between you and your daughter with hubby is obviously very different. A. Very different comfort zone as well maybe?

A question. Sometimes. Some of us can go a while without verbalizing our thoughts and feelings. A long while. So long we maybe think you or others can read our minds and don't think verbalizing is needed. ( read our minds in a theory of mind way. Not voodoo)

Silly question. Have you tried saying. Hey hubby I'd really like you to verbalized your appreciation for me more often. It would mean the world to me?

I'm guessing that was a really dumb question. Sorry

girlthroughtime
06-19-17, 04:41 PM
Hey girltt. You have every right to feel the way you do. Reasonable or not

In ur case it seems very reasonable

Hey as someone with some similarities to ur husband. Let me take a stab. The type and degree of intimacy between you and your daughter with hubby is obviously very different. A. Very different comfort zone as well maybe?

A question. Sometimes. Some of us can go a while without verbalizing our thoughts and feelings. A long while. So long we maybe think you or others can read our minds and don't think verbalizing is needed. ( read our minds in a theory of mind way. Not voodoo)

Silly question. Have you tried saying. Hey hubby I'd really like you to verbalized your appreciation for me more often. It would mean the world to me?

I'm guessing that was a really dumb question. Sorry

I have. And here's the thing - I am always playful about it so i make sure my request is not a demand, nor does it come off as a criticism. So there were times where he would explode and say, it's never enough for you - or you just like drama. And then there are times when it'll be like, oh I didn't count how many times I said I love you, then he'll say it a bunch of times and give me a hug. I mean - these are two different responses on the spectrum of emotions. it makes it really difficult for ME to decide how to act or be because I can't anticipate what response will be.

It makes me feel like I need to be guarded, or very aware. And most of the times I feel like I can't be myself. I'm just a carefree, laugh-y type of person.

Sometimes he'll say something that is an obvious criticism, and he'll say it in a really mean or demeaning sort of way. If I try to defend myself, he'll quip back with, Oh you can't take criticism. Other times, he can accept the explanation. And move on with out a nuclear war. This is essentially where my confusion lies - I feel like I don't know who I'm dealing with and why he can swing such dramatic directions. It use to be more predictable - give him some isolated time to himself, let him have a lot of leaf time, and he'll be lovable and amenable. I'd rather lovable and lazy - I can deal with lazy, because I have no problem taking on responsibilities. It's the gamut of emotion interpsersed with awful irritability and anger that I don't get.

dvdnvwls
06-19-17, 07:18 PM
Do you think he may have a lot more unresolved (or unresolvable) stress than he used to? That can make a huge change in him.

girlthroughtime
06-19-17, 08:08 PM
Do you think he may have a lot more unresolved (or unresolvable) stress than he used to? That can make a huge change in him.

Uh yes - this definitely all started before the holidays, where work got very stressful, where we discovered I have an autoimmune disease (treatable, but requires emotional support and lots of dr visits for me), and then just holiday time generally makes him stressed. I know he quit leaf and I think because of that resorted to using nicotine again (even though he had quit) - and I am sure that's where the visible shift came in. I just feel like he hasn't been able to "come back..."He seems mildly "better," but still not the same.. He is making an effort to quit nicotine at least. But I guess overall I feel like there are just clues that he is coping/self medicating. And I don't know how to help. I am of the sort that believes you can only best help yourself, others can only help you if you want it. I don't think he thinks he has a "problem" though I wonder how long it will take to realize that starting/quitting/starting/quitting nicotine for over 20 years should hint that there's a reason there's a dependency. :-/ I can't begin to understand as I don't even like taking advil or a benadryl, and I don't drink..

dvdnvwls
06-19-17, 08:20 PM
Nicotine is one of the closest things there is (legally) to ADHD meds. It has many of the same effects, for a lot of people.

girlthroughtime
06-19-17, 09:06 PM
Nicotine is one of the closest things there is (legally) to ADHD meds. It has many of the same effects, for a lot of people.

Do you think it modulates emotions and/or possibly makes you emotionally flat? That's how I feel he is when in nicotine. Not very emotionally expressive. Though seems to tolerate time spent outside of the home much better.

Thanks for chatting. Something new I just enjoy adult conversation with no consequence of hurt feelings or broken relationships.

dvdnvwls
06-19-17, 09:34 PM
I've never tried nicotine so I can't really give any useful answers.

dvdnvwls
06-19-17, 09:43 PM
I've been drowning in stress and serious difficulties before. One of the worst feelings is encountering people who say they want to help but who have preconceived notions of what they think has to be the right kind of help for me. Often those preconceived notions have to do with an attitude of "Well, you got yourself into this mess by your irresponsible behaviour, so the only help I'll offer is to improve your moral character and reconnect you to your responsibilities."

Which backfires intensely, because none of the assumptions they made were true.

Unfortunately, if anybody anywhere is treating him like that, he's likely to come home and take it out on you.

aeon
06-19-17, 09:45 PM
A little vaporized nicotine is mildly stimulating, a good amount is calming, and much more than that is vomiting.

But I've never experienced a change in emotional state or expression from it.


Cheers,
Ian

girlthroughtime
06-19-17, 09:51 PM
I've been drowning in stress and serious difficulties before. One of the worst feelings is encountering people who say they want to help but who have preconceived notions of what they think has to be the right kind of help for me. Often those preconceived notions have to do with an attitude of "Well, you got yourself into this mess by your irresponsible behaviour, so the only help I'll offer is to improve your moral character and reconnect you to your responsibilities."

Which backfires intensely, because none of the assumptions they made were true.

Honestly, I don't even know what "help" means in this situation. I want him to be happy, I want him to feel content. But I especially want him to be happy and content with me. Sometimes I feel like the thing he needs from me the most is space - quiet - alone time. I give those things, trust me. He has his own physical space where he spends time by himself doing whatever he likes. I rarely ask anything from him, and all I really want is just company and a chat. Watch a show, cuddle on the couch. I'm not asking for date nights or help with the laundry. I guess it hurts to not feel needed. Basically I am an accessory that goes unnoticed. This feeling makes me think, why am I around if all he needs from me is to "not be around?"

That's why I am unsure what help means. For friends or family, I can be company or an ear to lend. For him - I don't know. He rarely vocalizes much and when he does I have doubt and question - "You're my soulmate." but - what does that mean to him? I'm the person who understands his need for solitude? And am there when he needs more?

dvdnvwls
06-19-17, 11:22 PM
I've been in his situation, and my ex-wife has been in your situation. One of the difficulties in that case was that I was constantly afraid of not measuring up to her expectations. She sometimes protested that she had none, but what she meant was that she had set aside all those expectations that she considered special ones, and had done her best to cut back her expectations to bare-bones level. It's the everyday NORMAL expectations, the simple bare-bones ones that are "of course just part of life, suck it up" that I can't live up to. It's not so much the great job and the fancy house that feel out of reach, as do waking up and brushing my teeth and not being late or forgetting my lunch. I'm not proud to say "Forget the every competent adult expectations, it's the every competent nine-year-old expectations I'm stuck on" - but unfortunately that's essentially the case.

So I would hide incessantly, trying to avoid judgment. As I felt her resentment building up (all ADHDers are oversensitive), I hid longer and longer every day. I became intensely defensive, preventing her from coming into my safe little basement room.

I became very emotional and very lonely. I felt trapped.

It's not easy for me to untangle so I'll stop there for now.

dvdnvwls
06-19-17, 11:56 PM
Another aspect was that as this went on I realized that her expectations were not fair to be applied to me - I was as yet undiagnosed and clueless, but nevertheless I could see it wasn't right to expect these things of me. (Even though it could be judged reasonable, still, not right.)

So I became more and more testy, then gradually angry.

I got "the silent treatment" from time to time from my ex, and when she did that I was pretty hurt by it, thinking she was a real btch to have done that. In the last desperate days before she took off, I decided to give her a taste of her own medicine - but apparently when I give the silent treatment, I don't modulate it very well. It seems she thought I had completely lost it, and that my angry glances must mean I was hiding an ax under the bed or something. She has not spoken to me since, without a mediator present.


Don't get to that stage, OK?

dvdnvwls
06-20-17, 12:39 AM
For me, what "help" means is usually "please take on some of the things that are stressing me the worst, and please just trust me when I tell you what those are, because if you try to make me explain... Just trust me, OK?".

Because I have ADHD, I do not make sense to you. I do make a little sense to myself, enough that I know what is likely to help me. If you try to interpret, if you try to wrangle my request into something more sensible that you think will help better, - don't. Please.

girlthroughtime
06-20-17, 12:59 AM
For me, what "help" means is usually "please take on some of the things that are stressing me the worst, and please just trust me when I tell you what those are, because if you try to make me explain... Just trust me, OK?".

Because I have ADHD, I do not make sense to you. I do make a little sense to myself, enough that I know what is likely to help me. If you try to interpret, if you try to wrangle my request into something more sensible that you think will help better, - don't. Please.

But what would that be? Like - I don't nag. If you think, oh wives nag about trash or bills, blahblah. I pay a lot of the bills, lol. When the trash is full, I don't wait for him, I just take it out. I see no point in letting it stink up the place only to stand there and say "Can you talk out the trash?" I've offered helping with other things, like yardwork, but that is actually his hobby, so I think he doesn't really like/need me to help with that, because he organizes how he wants to do things in the yard. It would probably feel the same if he tried to do the laundry.

I let him sleep in, I often take our toddler out so he can relax or work on things quietly at his leisure.

I have appreciated this thread though. Yesterday and today I've woke up determined to just accept that only I control myself and my feelings. "I love you" is more genuine if it comes out willingly. A hug and kiss feels nicer out of the blue - a pleasant surprise - rather then when it is made routine.

I can't help if I don't know what to help with. I can't even assume to know what he feels.

dvdnvwls
06-20-17, 12:07 PM
Absolutely. You can't be expected to be a mind reader.

And sometimes, often the worst times, what would really help me is something that no one could legitimately help with anyway - such as "do my job for me".

girlthroughtime
06-20-17, 12:33 PM
A little vaporized nicotine is mildly stimulating, a good amount is calming, and much more than that is vomiting.

But I've never experienced a change in emotional state or expression from it.


Cheers,
Ian

Yea, he's been vaping - but he says he's been decreasing the amount of nicotine. He certainly claims it's not the nicotine. But I have always noticed a difference in him - I can't put my finger on exactly what it is - but I have always found him more likeable when he isn't on it.

Johnny Slick
06-20-17, 05:46 PM
I feel like nicotine is a way that he's self-medicating. My dad was a chain smoker and, well, nicotine is a stimulant so it makes some sense. All that being said, chances are that Ritalin or Adderall would help a lot more, and on top of *that* a p-doc really needs to make that diagnosis rather than family or friends. I mean, I had the reverse experience - I thought I had some kind of anxiety disorder but it wound up being ADHD - and I think you just never really know what's going on unless you talk to a professional about it.

That being said, if your husband doesn't even want to do couples' therapy with you - and I do think that it's him more than you who needs to speak to a therapist, so even this is at best a less than ideal situation - I just don't know what you can do. It doesn't sound like you want to leave him and an ultimatum without teeth is not really much of anything. He's got to want the help and, what's more important I think, accept that he needs it and is worth having good mental health. It's just... as much as this sucks, especially with someone you're close with, you can't make someone else think something that they don't.

I do think that pulling instead of pushing, which it kind of sounds like what you're doing, is a good idea. It sounds like you're trying, and as much as this sucks, whether this winds up working out or not is ultimately not on you.

dvdnvwls
06-20-17, 06:29 PM
I agree that an ultimatum without teeth is not helpful.

But I also believe that an ultimatum WITH teeth is almost always a bad idea too. Ultimatums always work, if you don't back down - but usually you end up with a Pyrrhic victory - so many casualties that the win is worthless.

girlthroughtime
06-20-17, 06:50 PM
I feel like nicotine is a way that he's self-medicating. My dad was a chain smoker and, well, nicotine is a stimulant so it makes some sense. All that being said, chances are that Ritalin or Adderall would help a lot more, and on top of *that* a p-doc really needs to make that diagnosis rather than family or friends. I mean, I had the reverse experience - I thought I had some kind of anxiety disorder but it wound up being ADHD - and I think you just never really know what's going on unless you talk to a professional about it.

That being said, if your husband doesn't even want to do couples' therapy with you - and I do think that it's him more than you who needs to speak to a therapist, so even this is at best a less than ideal situation - I just don't know what you can do. It doesn't sound like you want to leave him and an ultimatum without teeth is not really much of anything. He's got to want the help and, what's more important I think, accept that he needs it and is worth having good mental health. It's just... as much as this sucks, especially with someone you're close with, you can't make someone else think something that they don't.

I do think that pulling instead of pushing, which it kind of sounds like what you're doing, is a good idea. It sounds like you're trying, and as much as this sucks, whether this winds up working out or not is ultimately not on you.
Yea I'm not an ultimatum sort of person. MIL is though, lol - haha. She seems to think I should do that with some subjects.. Knowing this - leads me to believe that would be the wrong thing. But as of now there doesn't some to be an answer. He doesn't like seeing doctors, even for health checkups. And he hates making appts to begin with - I've always made appts for him. Perhaps that's an ADHD thing .. lol.
I feel a bit sad - I don't think there's much I can do. He obviously has to decide that there is something he needs to work on. What I think sucks is he is constantly working on quitting drinking soda, quitting smoking, quitting sugar ... And it's as if none of that registers as a problem. That he doesn't see he has a substance addiction issue that he uses to cope for _____?

ToneTone
06-21-17, 12:38 PM
Ultimatums, in my experience, work for the person issuing the ultimatum.

So if literally, you cannot stay in situation x or job x unless there is a change, then you can issue an ultimatum ... but you want to issue it only when you know you can and will leave!

And you want to prepare for such an ultimatum .... like moving plans, financial plans and so on ...

When I have really readied myself to take action if X didn't happen, it's like people read my body language and I don't need to issue the ultimatum. Also as crazy as it sounds ... gentle ultimatums or loving ultimatums can be powerful. "I really want to be with you. I love you ... But I really can't live like this. I'm sorry. I need to leave."

An old girlfriend of mine issued an ultimatum to me ... while in tears ... telling me how much she loved me ... I was touched ... and dumped ... smartly so because I wasn't all that mature, looking back. But I never forgot how powerful the ultimatum was ... she was in tears ... not yelling ... speaking with sadness and loss. I knew she was gonna act on her ultimatum ... and because she explained so clearly why she couldn't stay (she didn't just lash out at me) ... I actually got what she was saying.

I can't remember through the earlier threads ... but are you in therapy for this? You need to be at your best ... and under the stress you're facing, it's really hard to think creatively and clearly ... Under stress, all of buttons get pushed and pressed ... so just when we need to think in the best way ... our thinking narrows ... and we don't see any options. ... I've been in relationships where I felt horribly GUILTY standing up for myself even though I was the one who was being treated like dirt. I needed therapy to untangle the knot to help me get clear on whether I was being reasonable or not.

Tone

Johnny Slick
06-21-17, 01:20 PM
I feel like I also only said half of what I wanted to say, my bad (although the second half is harder). girlthroughtime, I think you need to accept that your SO is not going to change. I'm not saying that people don't change, because I think that they can, it just... takes an awful lot of work and it doesn't sound as though your husband is willing to do that.

It sucks but I really do think that you have to take a good, long look at the person across from you in this relationship and decide whether or not *that* person, meaning them in their current form, with the angry outbursts and the excuses for everything and the undiagnosed ADHD, whether or not *they* are someone you can spend the rest of your life with. Please note that I am *not* trying to push you into making that decision one way or another - the guy frankly sounds like a major jerk to me, but you know him better than any of us do and for all any of us know he does things to/with you that overcome all of that.

If you decide that this isn't something you can continue to do, then tell him. Note that this is *not* an ultimatum. This is you accepting that you can't work with this anymore and saying so. If at that point your husband agrees to get help, by all means be supportive but don't forget about the decision that you made. Again, this isn't a case of "you do this or I leave", it's "I can't live with the X anymore, so goodbye". Maybe you agree to"take a break" for 6 months or whatever and check in from time to time to see if he's doing any better, maybe you can do the "live together but separately" thing that I know a lot of married couples do (harder to do when you have a kid, but still), maybe finally get into marriage counseling to figure out how to separate "properly". I don't know, that's up to you. It's entirely possible that the shock of you leaving or getting ready to leave will cause your husband to seek the help that *he* needs and deserves. But it's also entirely possible that even that won't lead him to help and I think you've got to go in accepting that as a potential reality.

If on the other hand you do decide to stay, then at that point, as much as it sucks, you've got to understand that it's *you* who is going to need to change. I would recommend seeing a therapist to get your own **** together, no matter what your husband says. The stuff you've described, I have to admit I don't think I'd want in a relationship, like, at all, but there are couples who *do* make limited affectional interactions work, and if that's something you want to be okay with, then all I can say is to try and take steps to see if you can make it OK. I could go into specifics but that's just the thing... you've talked a bit about what it is you want out of your relationship, what you're not getting, and what you're getting that you don't want, but I feel like you need to get together with someone who actually, like, knows what they're doing with this stuff, running through your entire life with them, and really and truly figuring out this stuff.

Finally, just a last note on medication: my own experience with Ritalin is that I'm not emotionally deadened at *all*. I have a friend who was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a kid and it did have that effect on him so YMMV but it totally doesn't have to be that way. Since you don't suffer from it I'll try to explain what ADHD feels like. You know how sometimes you might be in a conversation with someone and they say something that makes you momentarily really angry and you just want to bite their head off, but then you think "no, I probably shouldn't say that" and you don't? We don't have that filter that allows us to hold the thought in, at least not naturally. Some of us learn to create a kind of conscious facsimile of that (usually, I think, by applying big servings of guilt, doubt, and self-hate) and sometimes that works *kind* of OK, but it's not the same thing.

My experience on Ritalin is that... that filter's just there. It's just... not something I have to worry into existence anymore. It exists. I don't have to hate myself into not saying stupid crap or having a sudden emotional outburst that I'm going to regret later because that filter is just *there* and doing that work for me. Over time - a pretty short period of time for me I guess but everyone goes at their own speed - you get confident that these filters are always going to be there (at least as long as you're on your meds) and you can just emote and relate to people normally. I think this has led to me being, if anything, *more* emotionally expressive to people around me, not less.

girlthroughtime
06-21-17, 04:01 PM
Ultimatums, in my experience, work for the person issuing the ultimatum.

So if literally, you cannot stay in situation x or job x unless there is a change, then you can issue an ultimatum ... but you want to issue it only when you know you can and will leave!

And you want to prepare for such an ultimatum .... like moving plans, financial plans and so on ...

When I have really readied myself to take action if X didn't happen, it's like people read my body language and I don't need to issue the ultimatum. Also as crazy as it sounds ... gentle ultimatums or loving ultimatums can be powerful. "I really want to be with you. I love you ... But I really can't live like this. I'm sorry. I need to leave."

An old girlfriend of mine issued an ultimatum to me ... while in tears ... telling me how much she loved me ... I was touched ... and dumped ... smartly so because I wasn't all that mature, looking back. But I never forgot how powerful the ultimatum was ... she was in tears ... not yelling ... speaking with sadness and loss. I knew she was gonna act on her ultimatum ... and because she explained so clearly why she couldn't stay (she didn't just lash out at me) ... I actually got what she was saying.

I can't remember through the earlier threads ... but are you in therapy for this? You need to be at your best ... and under the stress you're facing, it's really hard to think creatively and clearly ... Under stress, all of buttons get pushed and pressed ... so just when we need to think in the best way ... our thinking narrows ... and we don't see any options. ... I've been in relationships where I felt horribly GUILTY standing up for myself even though I was the one who was being treated like dirt. I needed therapy to untangle the knot to help me get clear on whether I was being reasonable or not.

Tone

Nah, tears do not work. Tears will make him explode lol. He literally believes crying is how I get my way - a woman's form of manipulation. Probably due to his mom. But also I think anything that makes him feel guilty, he can't stand the emotion or feeling. To him all discussions are a ploy for me to get my way. Yes, unreasonable, I know.

I was seeing a therapist. I stopped once I came to the conclusion there was nothing wrong with me. She recommended I read some books, I talked with her. She said I seemed like a very smart and insightful person, and capable. I think that to her the question was do I stay or go. She was not versed in ADHD though, she was a relationship therapist.

girlthroughtime
06-21-17, 04:14 PM
I feel like I also only said half of what I wanted to say, my bad (although the second half is harder). girlthroughtime, I think you need to accept that your SO is not going to change. I'm not saying that people don't change, because I think that they can, it just... takes an awful lot of work and it doesn't sound as though your husband is willing to do that.

It sucks but I really do think that you have to take a good, long look at the person across from you in this relationship and decide whether or not *that* person, meaning them in their current form, with the angry outbursts and the excuses for everything and the undiagnosed ADHD, whether or not *they* are someone you can spend the rest of your life with. Please note that I am *not* trying to push you into making that decision one way or another - the guy frankly sounds like a major jerk to me, but you know him better than any of us do and for all any of us know he does things to/with you that overcome all of that.

If you decide that this isn't something you can continue to do, then tell him. Note that this is *not* an ultimatum. This is you accepting that you can't work with this anymore and saying so. If at that point your husband agrees to get help, by all means be supportive but don't forget about the decision that you made. Again, this isn't a case of "you do this or I leave", it's "I can't live with the X anymore, so goodbye". Maybe you agree to"take a break" for 6 months or whatever and check in from time to time to see if he's doing any better, maybe you can do the "live together but separately" thing that I know a lot of married couples do (harder to do when you have a kid, but still), maybe finally get into marriage counseling to figure out how to separate "properly". I don't know, that's up to you. It's entirely possible that the shock of you leaving or getting ready to leave will cause your husband to seek the help that *he* needs and deserves. But it's also entirely possible that even that won't lead him to help and I think you've got to go in accepting that as a potential reality.

If on the other hand you do decide to stay, then at that point, as much as it sucks, you've got to understand that it's *you* who is going to need to change. I would recommend seeing a therapist to get your own **** together, no matter what your husband says. The stuff you've described, I have to admit I don't think I'd want in a relationship, like, at all, but there are couples who *do* make limited affectional interactions work, and if that's something you want to be okay with, then all I can say is to try and take steps to see if you can make it OK. I could go into specifics but that's just the thing... you've talked a bit about what it is you want out of your relationship, what you're not getting, and what you're getting that you don't want, but I feel like you need to get together with someone who actually, like, knows what they're doing with this stuff, running through your entire life with them, and really and truly figuring out this stuff.

Finally, just a last note on medication: my own experience with Ritalin is that I'm not emotionally deadened at *all*. I have a friend who was diagnosed with ADHD when he was a kid and it did have that effect on him so YMMV but it totally doesn't have to be that way. Since you don't suffer from it I'll try to explain what ADHD feels like. You know how sometimes you might be in a conversation with someone and they say something that makes you momentarily really angry and you just want to bite their head off, but then you think "no, I probably shouldn't say that" and you don't? We don't have that filter that allows us to hold the thought in, at least not naturally. Some of us learn to create a kind of conscious facsimile of that (usually, I think, by applying big servings of guilt, doubt, and self-hate) and sometimes that works *kind* of OK, but it's not the same thing.

My experience on Ritalin is that... that filter's just there. It's just... not something I have to worry into existence anymore. It exists. I don't have to hate myself into not saying stupid crap or having a sudden emotional outburst that I'm going to regret later because that filter is just *there* and doing that work for me. Over time - a pretty short period of time for me I guess but everyone goes at their own speed - you get confident that these filters are always going to be there (at least as long as you're on your meds) and you can just emote and relate to people normally. I think this has led to me being, if anything, *more* emotionally expressive to people around me, not less.

I know that he is good, kind and sensitive. If anything, probably hypersensitive. I have never understood why he is not capable of discussions where he can "see the other person's side of the story." I always wondered about it but now I think it's ADHD and some whatever it is that doesn't allow him to fully empathize. Here's an example
1- we went on a trip to a foreign country, this was a few years into our dating. we didn't speak the language but lots of english signs so no problem. he was encouraging me to get this dessert, even though i was full, he said he'd share. it had ice cream on it, which he can't eat, but i had no way of telling her not to put it on there. he got so mad, claiming i was inconsiderate even though i explained to him we just scrape it off it wasn't a big deal. and then he got even madder that i forgot his pills. to me this was such an awful position, firstly he didn't want to order, he made me do it, then blamed me for getting it wrong. i figured he needed a drag, i thought, anxiety and all the people were just getting to him.
2- the other day we were going some place for dessert, i couldn't eat at. we all get out of the car, and he walks away before i can say, i'm going over to this store for myself i'll meet back with you. i just watched him walk away. then when i meet up with him and the kiddo he asks why i just walked away. i said, firstly, you walked away as i was starting to say something, not me. so don't accuse me, and perhaps you should say sorry. he said, you should say sorry! i was like, i'm not the one that walked away. he said, fine, i'm sorry. and that was that.
Literally these are instances that happen where I think, something is wrong with how he is processing a situation. Like, he doesn't have or remember all the facts/misremembers facts, or doesn't let me explain my side, and when I do, doesn't "BELIEVE" my side.
He's good, he's kind, I know he is loving - but weird things happen, missteps, misunderstandings, and at the end if I can't even hold a conversation where I can trust that he is even hearing me, I don't know what to think. For a while, yes, I thought I was going crazy - til I saw the therapist, so I was able to confirm, no, I'm not crazy.
Does that seem like ADHD?

Little Missy
06-21-17, 04:19 PM
Weather changes. People do not change unless they experience a profound desire to change themselves in some way.

What IS the answer you are desirous of?

To answer the question of the title of this thread is to talk to him. Period. If you do not love him the way he is, perhaps you should move on.

girlthroughtime
06-21-17, 04:45 PM
Weather changes. People do not change unless they experience a profound desire to change themselves in some way.

What IS the answer you are desirous of?

To answer the question of the title of this thread is to talk to him. Period. If you do not love him the way he is, perhaps you should move on.

That's silly. Obviously I love him the way he is or I wouldn't be here trying to figure out HOW to approach him about a sensitive subject. No one wants to feel criticized or accused by a loved one of having some sort of shortcoming especially something that comes via armchair diagnosis. I don't want him to feel attacked! I've tried to talk to him and he gets irritable and angry and seems a typical response to what I've read of other couples in relationship with undiagnosed ADHD partner. I can't even know for sure but all symptoms point to it - and he had briefly mentioned feeling like he had it which is the only reason why I thought about it as a possibility. There's no doubt that I love the man - I just can't deal with a Jekyl and Hyde scenario. It's making me confused and obviously also affects my general psychological wellbeing to constantly question why is he so freaking moody, and why can't he just quit substances.

Johnny Slick
06-21-17, 05:50 PM
I know that he is good, kind and sensitive. If anything, probably hypersensitive. I have never understood why he is not capable of discussions where he can "see the other person's side of the story." I always wondered about it but now I think it's ADHD and some whatever it is that doesn't allow him to fully empathize. Here's an example
1- we went on a trip to a foreign country, this was a few years into our dating. we didn't speak the language but lots of english signs so no problem. he was encouraging me to get this dessert, even though i was full, he said he'd share. it had ice cream on it, which he can't eat, but i had no way of telling her not to put it on there. he got so mad, claiming i was inconsiderate even though i explained to him we just scrape it off it wasn't a big deal. and then he got even madder that i forgot his pills. to me this was such an awful position, firstly he didn't want to order, he made me do it, then blamed me for getting it wrong. i figured he needed a drag, i thought, anxiety and all the people were just getting to him.
2- the other day we were going some place for dessert, i couldn't eat at. we all get out of the car, and he walks away before i can say, i'm going over to this store for myself i'll meet back with you. i just watched him walk away. then when i meet up with him and the kiddo he asks why i just walked away. i said, firstly, you walked away as i was starting to say something, not me. so don't accuse me, and perhaps you should say sorry. he said, you should say sorry! i was like, i'm not the one that walked away. he said, fine, i'm sorry. and that was that.
Literally these are instances that happen where I think, something is wrong with how he is processing a situation. Like, he doesn't have or remember all the facts/misremembers facts, or doesn't let me explain my side, and when I do, doesn't "BELIEVE" my side.
He's good, he's kind, I know he is loving - but weird things happen, missteps, misunderstandings, and at the end if I can't even hold a conversation where I can trust that he is even hearing me, I don't know what to think. For a while, yes, I thought I was going crazy - til I saw the therapist, so I was able to confirm, no, I'm not crazy.
Does that seem like ADHD?Maybe? Being impatient is kind of a hallmark of the condition as well so I could see all of that. Or it could be something else entirely. As far as empathy goes, I don't think that ADHD keeps you from emphasizing, necessarily. Spectrum disorder does, and people with spectrum disorder basically always have ADHD too, but it's not *quite* the same thing. Personally, I do have empathy when I'm on my meds or off of them. When I'm off of them and in a huff it can be hard to be empathetic but I think that's just, like, common to the human condition more than a particular "feature" of the condition. I should note that people on the spectrum, especially the milder end of it, are not necessarily unkind or insensitive. They may just lack the ability to recognize the subtle shifts in body language that indicate mood and so on subconsciously and have to pay conscious attention to see it. I should stop here because I *really* don't know a great deal about ASD except that those who have it can be wonderful and caring people who love their spouses very, very much.

Here's an article that goes into ASD and its symptoms in some depth. It's primarily aimed at parents diagnosing issues with children but the symptoms in adults are the same, if made more subtle by years of coping:

https://www.additudemag.com/autism-aspergers-adhd-symptoms-in-children/

Anyway, I guess to an extent it probably doesn't really matter what I think because I'm not a p-doc. If he has mental issues that are causing him trouble or grief, he should see a psychiatrist about them. It may be that he has ADHD and all it takes to counteract the inability to concentrate, short temper, etc. is medication (he should still continue to see a therapist even if it works out that easily - meds are kind of like having a new brain and you need to learn how to use it). Maybe he has something that's comorbid with it, like the aforementioned ASD. It may be that he suffers from something entirely different, like an anxiety disorder. The bottom line is, neither you, me, nor anybody else on this forum is really qualified to be able to tell for sure, let alone what course of treatment will be the best for him.

ToneTone
06-21-17, 07:56 PM
To get all Tina-Turner, I'm going to say, What's Love Got to Do With It?

The feeling of "love" simply cannot answer the question about whether it is wise and healthy to remain in a relationship or marriage. People can still love spouses who become drug addicted or who gamble away the family's finances ... Doesn't mean they should stay married to the person.

I recently saw a tv series featuring interviews with adult children of serial killers. To a person, the children reported that they still loved their serial-killing parents, who typically were also violent at home with the children.

And right aside all that love, all the children were quite pleased that their serial-killing parent was behind bars, the longer the better. And several felt at peace that their parent had been executed.

Spouses are clearly different from parents ... but I think some of the same logic applies. Instead of love, I'd go with question: do you like the person as they are now? Or ...Is this relationship good for me? Can I thrive and grow and enjoy life in this relationship?

BTW: I think it violates your basic right to your own emotions and feelings for your spouse to object to your tears. That's way out of bounds. I'm not saying he has to agree with you because you're in tears ... but to say that you can't cry in front of him ... because he would object ... He's completely disrespecting your boundaries. That's like telling someone, "I don't like the way you breathe."

Tone

girlthroughtime
06-22-17, 12:09 AM
To get all Tina-Turner, I'm going to say, What's Love Got to Do With It?

The feeling of "love" simply cannot answer the question about whether it is wise and healthy to remain in a relationship or marriage. People can still love spouses who become drug addicted or who gamble away the family's finances ... Doesn't mean they should stay married to the person.

I recently saw a tv series featuring interviews with adult children of serial killers. To a person, the children reported that they still loved their serial-killing parents, who typically were also violent at home with the children.

And right aside all that love, all the children were quite pleased that their serial-killing parent was behind bars, the longer the better. And several felt at peace that their parent had been executed.

Spouses are clearly different from parents ... but I think some of the same logic applies. Instead of love, I'd go with question: do you like the person as they are now? Or ...Is this relationship good for me? Can I thrive and grow and enjoy life in this relationship?

BTW: I think it violates your basic right to your own emotions and feelings for your spouse to object to your tears. That's way out of bounds. I'm not saying he has to agree with you because you're in tears ... but to say that you can't cry in front of him ... because he would object ... He's completely disrespecting your boundaries. That's like telling someone, "I don't like the way you breathe."

Tone

Well I do agree with you. Logic doesn't make it easier to abandon someone who just needs help and support. Yea - he's an *******. And he admits it, but doesn't seem to grasp why.. No - so far I don't feel like I can thrive. I'm hoping if he can quit nicotine again it'll get better. I always notice he's worse on it.
What I notice is his difficulty to perceive time and how his actions or inactions affect others. I see that he doesn't understand why getting irrationally angry and calling people names is a big deal. He thinks that just cause he has a reason for his anger the outburst is okay. I see that these are definitely ADHD related. And I don't like how it's making me the "serious" one or the more "responsible" one or the one that's capable of all the decisions. It doesn't feel like a partnership. But I have to try and help him somehow. I just don't know HOW. I wish he could just see that he's having trouble and ask himself why...

dvdnvwls
06-22-17, 12:57 AM
"Spectrum disorder" is not particularly good as a word to stand for autism. Many disorders including ADHD are spectrum disorders, and there are some who consider autism to be not a disorder at all.

So... Is he autistic? It seems to be not impossible.

girlthroughtime
06-22-17, 02:17 PM
"Spectrum disorder" is not particularly good as a word to stand for autism. Many disorders including ADHD are spectrum disorders, and there are some who consider autism to be not a disorder at all.

So... Is he autistic? It seems to be not impossible.

I don't disagree with the possibility as it's been brought up multiple times. Also even in discussion with a friend of his mothers', which was very out of the blue - I can only assume his mother was talking to her about his personality..

I am determined to maintain my sanity and loyalty. I appreciate this forum for being here to vocalize my thoughts safely.

dvdnvwls
06-22-17, 05:49 PM
I have a pretty strong negative opinion of loyalty through extended periods of unacceptable treatment. I think loyalty encourages bad decisions.

girlthroughtime
06-22-17, 08:08 PM
Oh yea, absolutely - loyalty is often misplaced. I don't doubt that it can create a blindness that keeps people from seeing right and wrong.