View Full Version : Help for a newbie


JennEats
08-27-17, 08:26 PM
Today is one of those bad days for me.
I told my husband with ADHD that if our troubles continue in 6months to a year (pick a date together) it's time to think about separating. That was threatening and hurtful. He stood up and said pick a date.
We've been married 18 years, together for nine before that, and I miss the days when I believed in "us" above all things.
He was diagnosed with depression about 2 years ago and takes meds, and ADHD one year ago, and takes meds. My labels are PTSD and anxiety, and I take meds.
My most pressing (at the moment) concerns are the following:
I feel unsafe.
He says talking to my therapist and friends is one sided and implies it works against our marriage. He feels my reading ADHD AND MARRIAGE, websites, is one sided and joining forums is a way to make him feel bad.
Please know that I talk about my own wounds with a therapist, and my research is to make things work.
When we talk, sometimes, I get flooded and he gets angry. I cry and that makes him feel shut down again. If I am not on my game things go sideways and today I am not on my game.
My husband feels that I am cruel and criticize him. I've worked hard on voicing my wishes/complaints as loving as possible, and yet, sometimes, he feels the same (old wounds maybe).for example, please don't talk to me in a hostile tone in front of the kids. He agrees, then wants me to say I won't criticize him again. If I don't apologize he tells me I don't take responsibility, I treat others better than him, I don't do what he does for me. And he will list those things he's done, which tbh hurts.
Sometimes I think he sees me as someone awful, someone I cannot admit to being, even for the sake of us. Sometimes I feel so alone.
I don't want to lose this relationship, and I need help finding connection again. I can't have him bringing up old fights or saying he's really not sorry for something he apologized for months ago. What I can have is honesty, balance, and trust, all of which have been lost somewhere. I'm going to work harder on my tone, my empathy, and my curiosity. Words of encouragement welcome right now.

ToneTone
08-27-17, 10:14 PM
Sorry to hear of your distress. Really, being at point that you describe in a marriage is really one of the most miserable things.

You might think I'm jumping way ahead, but I'm gonna cut to an immediate red flag. That issue of him being jealous or resentful or scared that you are in individual therapy. RED FLAG.

You have the right to go to therapy and the right to discuss him while there. (A married person almost always has to discuss a spouse in individual therapy!) And he has that same right to go to therapy and talk about you. Criticizing someone going to therapy is about the same as criticizing someone for having a friend.

The way you describe his blocking moves when you try to bring up an issue reminds me of my ex.

Me: in a gentle voice, no sarcasm: Hey, I thought you were gonna go to the store today?

Her: (and i do not exaggerate). Why do you hate me?!

Me: brain completely frozen, stuck, confused, speechless, in private hell.

The RED FLAG in this behavior is that the spouse isn't just disagreeing with a complaint or question or issue brought up by a partner. Couples are always gonna have some disagreements. The problem is that the partner is immediately blocking the other partner's attempt to problem solve.

Really he would do well to get to therapy himself and deal with his own defensiveness and fears and insecurities and lingering resentments.

You don't say. Are their children involved here?

Tone

JennEats
08-28-17, 12:11 AM
Hi Tone, thank you so much for connecting with me. Still pretty low.

Yes, we have two amazing, talented daughters. One is a spitfire who loves people and suffers pretty severe anxiety, the other is more introverted.

Tonight we talked more. I made the mistake of saying I think he has a hatred for women, or more specifically me. He was calm and explained that he feels betrayed when I talk to or take advice from people (friends, therapists, anyone)who know nothing about him. He was honest in telling me he has deep anger and resentments toward me. He listed my pregnancies,girls' dance competitions, my performances, my bouts with anxiety and all he's given to me over the years. How he quit drinking for me, changed his life. (He has 20 years sober). Of course I cried, because deep down I know he has this anger for me (I feel it)but I want someone who wants to be there for those important (and unimportant) things.

I've done him wrong and I am stuck in a shame circle at the moment. Given time I'll get my fire back. I am sorry I've hurt him so much, or that he sees it that way. He won't be happy I'm writing here, and yet it's worth the fight because I really need to connect. How does this happen? How did I let this happen again.

JennEats
08-28-17, 12:13 AM
After admitting his deep anger, he asked me to commit to one hour a day with him so he can work through it. I responded that I can't help him with that, but I agreed to the hour.

sarahsweets
08-28-17, 04:04 AM
Today is one of those bad days for me.
I told my husband with ADHD that if our troubles continue in 6months to a year (pick a date together) it's time to think about separating. That was threatening and hurtful. He stood up and said pick a date.
We've been married 18 years, together for nine before that, and I miss the days when I believed in "us" above all things.
He was diagnosed with depression about 2 years ago and takes meds, and ADHD one year ago, and takes meds. My labels are PTSD and anxiety, and I take meds.
My most pressing (at the moment) concerns are the following:
I feel unsafe.
If you feel unsafe, thats a dangerous feeling. We have to learn to listen to our gut as women and your gut is trying to tell you something.


He says talking to my therapist and friends is one sided and implies it works against our marriage. He feels my reading ADHD AND MARRIAGE, websites, is one sided and joining forums is a way to make him feel bad.
Please know that I talk about my own wounds with a therapist, and my research is to make things work.
When we talk, sometimes, I get flooded and he gets angry. I cry and that makes him feel shut down again. If I am not on my game things go sideways and today I am not on my game.
My husband feels that I am cruel and criticize him. I've worked hard on voicing my wishes/complaints as loving as possible, and yet, sometimes, he feels the same (old wounds maybe).for example, please don't talk to me in a hostile tone in front of the kids. He agrees, then wants me to say I won't criticize him again. If I don't apologize he tells me I don't take responsibility, I treat others better than him, I don't do what he does for me. And he will list those things he's done, which tbh hurts.
Any kind of demand or threat like this is dangerous. You are trying to make things better and he is demanding you stop feeling your feelings and make him feel better about how you are hurting. This is not a good sign. Have you told anyone at all about how he makes you feel? Someone in your real life needs to know what is going on. The reason I say this is because if anything were to happen, someone needs to know where you are at in the relaionship.

sarahsweets
08-28-17, 04:09 AM
Hi Tone, thank you so much for connecting with me. Still pretty low.

Yes, we have two amazing, talented daughters. One is a spitfire who loves people and suffers pretty severe anxiety, the other is more introverted.

Tonight we talked more. I made the mistake of saying I think he has a hatred for women, or more specifically me. He was calm and explained that he feels betrayed when I talk to or take advice from people (friends, therapists, anyone)who know nothing about him. He was honest in telling me he has deep anger and resentments toward me. He listed my pregnancies,girls' dance competitions, my performances, my bouts with anxiety and all he's given to me over the years. How he quit drinking for me, changed his life. (He has 20 years sober). Of course I cried, because deep down I know he has this anger for me (I feel it)but I want someone who wants to be there for those important (and unimportant) things.
Like Tone-tone said these are huge red flags. The fact that he blames you for pregnancies and for him quitting drinking is serious. You cant quit something when its a problem and then throw that into the face of your spouse. Especially if its your problem and obvious that you need to make that problem better.
He may not want to be "there" for important things because they are not important to him and thats a problem.

I've done him wrong and I am stuck in a shame circle at the moment. Given time I'll get my fire back. I am sorry I've hurt him so much, or that he sees it that way. He won't be happy I'm writing here, and yet it's worth the fight because I really need to connect. How does this happen? How did I let this happen again.
You have not done him wrong. How have you done him wrong? By having babies? By expecting respect? By trying to work on yourself? Has he ever gotten violent or made threats against you? What about stuff in front of the kids?

kilted_scotsman
08-28-17, 11:36 AM
As toneTone says.... there are a few red flags in your posts.

To me it sounds as if your partner could be a controlling person, who doesn't want you to have input from others that might threaten his position.

Sarahsweets is right in saying that everyone has the right to go to a therapist and talk uninhibitedly about how they feel. Having others to confide in is an essential part of being human. To have this need stifled by only being able to talk to people one's partner deems suitable indicates serious issues in a relationship.

If you feel unsafe..... trust your instincts and be prepared to leave at short notice.

Be aware that ADHD isn't something that just happens.... it's likely to have created all sorts of secondary psychological issues over the years... which often cause more pain than the ADD itself. The longer he believes you have to change your behaviour significantly more than he has to change his, the longer the underlying issues will remain unresolved.

JennEats
08-28-17, 12:14 PM
As toneTone says.... there are a few red flags in your posts.

To me it sounds as if your partner could be a controlling person, who doesn't want you to have input from others that might threaten his position.

Sarahsweets is right in saying that everyone has the right to go to a therapist and talk uninhibitedly about how they feel. Having others to confide in is an essential part of being human. To have this need stifled by only being able to talk to people one's partner deems suitable indicates serious issues in a relationship.

If you feel unsafe..... trust your instincts and be prepared to leave at short notice.

Be aware that ADHD isn't something that just happens.... it's likely to have created all sorts of secondary psychological issues over the years... which often cause more pain than the ADD itself. The longer he believes you have to change your behaviour significantly more than he has to change his, the longer the underlying issues will remain unresolved.

Thank you. Where can I learn more about the secondary issues? And how to cope? Any insight much appreciated.

ToneTone
08-28-17, 02:29 PM
He quit drinking for you?

I've been in recovery for multiple addictions and compulsions and I have never heard anyone say, "I did this for my wife." Yes, people might have started on the path because of another person or some crisis, but in recovery people quickly realize that they are the ones who benefit the most from sobriety. He's acting like you're his mother and he eats his vegetables 'cause of you. People in recovery become grateful that a wife or friend "forced" them to seek help.

He was calm and explained that he feels betrayed when I talk to or take advice from people (friends, therapists, anyone)who know nothing about him.

Sharing about relationships is a fundamental element of friendship—this applies to elementary schoolers (I got a crush on Sue--you think she likes me?) … all the way to people who have been married for decades (Well, something happened between him and his father. I've learned not to ask about it anymore.) ... Probably one of the reasons our ancestors invented talk was to let loose and share about the ups and downs of relationships.

He listed my pregnancies, girls' dance competitions, my performances, my bouts with anxiety and all he's given to me over the years. Lingering resentments over pregnancy?

Sounds like both of you were under-assertive over many years and quietly held on to grievances.. The problem with not asserting yourself--not being honest about what you like and dislike--is that the anger goes underground (or semi-underground) ... and by the time you attend to it, it has grown into raging, out-of-control monster.

You can google ADHD and relationships ... or ADHD and depression and anxiety ... if you want to find out more. But ideally, he would be the one googling this stuff ... so he could work on strategies to limit the problems that ADHD causes in relationships. So he could develop his own confidence and esteem.

Have you guys talked about couples counseling?

Tone

JennEats
08-28-17, 05:28 PM
Yes, we've been to couples counselling theee times over our 27 years. I'd be willing to try again; we need someone versed in ADHD (actually believed it exists).

kilted_scotsman
08-28-17, 06:48 PM
You are not going to change him..... you can learn about the secondary stuff, but knowing it won't help you change him, only help you understand where he's coming from and from there make a more informed decision about how to handle particular situations.

If you have long term anxiety and PTSD you have enough on your plate learning about where your own issues come from and their secondary effects.

If you go down the route of learning about yourself, you will inevitably understand other people better, including him...... so the route is to do what he doesn't want you to do...... empower yourself, and overcome your own stuff. I have found this is best done through learning about therapy, doing some of the training to be a therapist..... not the full on college stuff.... just going to workshops, courses and groups, hanging about with counsellors, doing yoga, dance, and "process groups". Going to actual therapy has been useful, but mainly as a place to explore what arises in other situations.... I use it more like a one to one tutorial about how to apply the techniques I've read about to myself....

The issue is, that in doing so you will inevitably be doing what he most fears empowering yourself.......and challenging him to do the same.... it would call him out on his own inability to change himself..... possibly precipitating further issues in your relationship.

People who have ADHD are often highly intelligent and sensitive..... but are trapped inside a shell they constructed early in life and don't know how to break through. Part of the grief associated with ADHD is the existential knowledge that one COULD have done something different "if only xxxxx"..... this means that to do something now, means one could have done it then..... a realisation many people will do anything to avoid.

Remember too..... that the situation you are in is one you have BOTH created.... looking at why it lasted so long might be an interesting thing to explore with your therapist .....because in there will be the stuff you don't want to face about loneliness, separation anxiety, "needing" someone and also your "Drama Triangle" behaviour..... you being on here, not him is a strong indicator of you having a "Rescuer" dynamic, though there will undoubtably be a bit of "Victim" and "Persecutor" in there. Learning how to get off the Drama Triangle (Karpman) onto the "Winners Triangle" (Choi) is often a significant step.

Little Missy
08-28-17, 08:13 PM
The weather changes. People do not change unless something profound within themselves makes that change.

JennEats
08-28-17, 09:34 PM
You are not going to change him..... you can learn about the secondary stuff, but knowing it won't help you change him, only help you understand where he's coming from and from there make a more informed decision about how to handle particular situations.

If you have long term anxiety and PTSD you have enough on your plate learning about where your own issues come from and their secondary effects.
Truth. Thank you.

If you go down the route of learning about yourself, you will inevitably understand other people better, including him...... so the route is to do what he doesn't want you to do...... empower yourself, and overcome your own stuff. I have found this is best done through learning about therapy, doing some of the training to be a therapist..... not the full on college stuff.... just going to workshops, courses and groups, hanging about with counsellors, doing yoga, dance, and "process groups". Going to actual therapy has been useful, but mainly as a place to explore what arises in other situations.... I use it more like a one to one tutorial about how to apply the techniques I've read about to myself....
Yes yes yes.
I personally have to meditate once a day, attend body talk sessions, dance, and write in a journal, and paint just to continue to love myself and be whole. So healing. . I take a few minutes each morning for quiet affirmations (basically stopping the brain from taking off and reminding myself I am worthy and awesome). I am so grateful for all my lessons and am eager to grow more.

The issue is, that in doing so you will inevitably be doing what he most fears empowering yourself.......and challenging him to do the same.... it would call him out on his own inability to change himself..... possibly precipitating further issues in your relationship.
Truth ❤️
I don't think it will challenge him, nor can I do so.
I needdd this post. Thank you.

People who have ADHD are often highly intelligent and sensitive..... but are trapped inside a shell they constructed early in life and don't know how to break through. Part of the grief associated with ADHD is the existential knowledge that one COULD have done something different "if only xxxxx"..... this means that to do something now, means one could have done it then..... a realisation many people will do anything to avoid.

Remember too..... that the situation you are in is one you have BOTH created.... looking at why it lasted so long might be an interesting thing to explore with your therapist .....because in there will be the stuff you don't want to face about loneliness, separation anxiety, "needing" someone and also your "Drama Triangle" behaviour..... you being on here, not him is a strong indicator of you having a "Rescuer" dynamic, though there will undoubtably be a bit of "Victim" and "Persecutor" in there. Learning how to get off the Drama Triangle (Karpman) onto the "Winners Triangle" (Choi) is often a significant step.

Yes. Love.
When I started by saying "one of those days", I meant slipping in to the drama triangle. Reacting, rescuing, searching for what I did (when it's what we did). My enabling (as opposed to confronting), my passive aggressiveness (as opposed to assertiveness), my TOOLS disappeared. This happens sometimes, and I am
Not proud.

Again, thanks for the reminder that I can be well by working on my stuff.

He hates forums - too many people who don't understand him, too many voices. I've always, always been a "poller" - consult the literature, consult the masssz, ask the universe, and take what I am ready to process. There's no "right" way.

ToneTone
08-28-17, 09:58 PM
Totally agree with Kilted Scotsman,

Reading about ADHD is not gonna resolve the problems of the relationship. Because your job at this point is to get as healthy as you can. Do that and you've done an enormous thing.

And yes, part of getting healthy is investigating why you put up with this kind of behavior for years and years. That's not self-blame ... you investigate your own role so that you can improve your relationship with him and others, even with coworkers and friends.

After my disastrous experience with my ex, I had to dig deep into why I was willing to work so hard to put up with $$ty treatment from my ex (and from others, as it turned out). I didn't just accept bad treatment. I worked hard to accept it. So funny: over time, I learned that both of my brothers did this. So there was a deeper family issue and family trauma I had to get at ... or else ... I'll repeat the pattern!

Oh ... and here's the painful irony: accepting bad treatment NEVER wins gratitude or love from the other partner.

So be careful: don't use learning about ADHD as a way to talk yourself into accepting bad treatment.

You both can choose individually (and with each other) to go on a journey. You can NOT pull him into going on the journey.

Good luck.

Tone

JennEats
08-29-17, 01:50 AM
I'm so grateful for the responses here.
For people who understand.
And yes, I'm aware that I could focus too much on the ADHD and less on healing myself. I've done it. It's like scrambling to understand and not take in the anger when the truth is...he's angry. May we be free of suffering, and the roots of suffering.

sarahsweets
08-29-17, 06:28 AM
He quit drinking for you?

I've been in recovery for multiple addictions and compulsions and I have never heard anyone say, "I did this for my wife." Yes, people might have started on the path because of another person or some crisis, but in recovery people quickly realize that they are the ones who benefit the most from sobriety. He's acting like you're his mother and he eats his vegetables 'cause of you. People in recovery become grateful that a wife or friend "forced" them to seek help. Good points! Grateful but not obligated.

sarahsweets
08-29-17, 06:29 AM
Yes, we've been to couples counselling theee times over our 27 years. I'd be willing to try again; we need someone versed in ADHD (actually believed it exists).

I think its more important for YOU to get counseling on your own. You need to learn to be in charge of your own feelings before you can worry about his.