Reply To: I'm about to give up.

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To alexiswilliamsinc and anaddwoman,

Thank you very much for your caring responses. Responses from others like you help very much to validate my concerns and feelings, and I appreciate your time in doing so. Feedback can also point out my thinking errors and offer me different perspectives, and I appreciate those as well. Alexiswilliamsinc, it’s good to read that what I’m thinking is needed is not unrealistic – that means it might be accomplished!

I have taken awhile to get back to this because I experience such a wide array of feelings toward my husband that some days I think I am totally wrong in thinking he did anything on purpose, but also because we have very good times in between the bad and in those times I can forget why I feel so hurt and concerned. If you’re familiar with domestic violence cycles, this very similarly resembles the honeymoon phase and I’d be foolish to not wonder if this is domestic violence. It is my profession to be educated about abuse of all kinds and I recognize several red flags. Anaddwoman, I very much appreciate your concern – I am concerned as well, and it isn’t lost on me that my eldest son left our home due in large part to our family dynamics. It adds to my resentment unfortunately, because I’d rather approach this from a helpful perspective than make husband feel attacked in any way. Though I’m too involved to behave entirely therapeutically, I understand and empathize a lot more than he realizes, judging by the way he interacts with me in general and reacts to any criticism in the heated moments. I’ve tried to relate to the struggle he has expressed he is feeling with his anger, sharing ways to overcome emotional responses and make long term change (things I’ve learned from experience!). I understand that we are different people and I pay attention to not “preach” to him about change, especially considering he may be suffering from conditions he is not in control of. In the not-so-heated moments when I feel like we successfully communicate about our problems he says he appreciates the love I have for him and patience I feel with him, even jokingly thanks me for “putting up with him.” Indeed it’s those seemingly successful times that keep me believing in his efforts and there is almost always a period of time in which real change seems to be happening. But there is only so much that makes sense or is safe for me to “put up” with and I really feel my love for him being replaced by sadness, hurt feelings, resentment, fear, and lost hope. I did divorce my former spouse because the family dynamics became too unhealthy. Realizing the impact it was having on our children, we agreed that separation was the best for all of us and we have one of the most successful divorces of anyone I’ve ever know! That marriage lasted 10 years and I do not intend to let things go for that long this time around. If we cannot make changes within ourselves, we will make them in our environment. I haven’t given up entirely, but as this post is titled, I feel very close.

Despite this loss of hope and the piling up of hurt and resentment, I cannot stop thinking that if only we could address the underlying ADHD part of things that he is not in control of then we could have the relationship we want, the relationship I thought I was getting into years ago. I doubt very much this is what he planned for either. He can be a VERY considerate and tender person, very loving and affectionate with our kids, me, and the rest of our family and friends. In fact that is his reputation. I’m close with his ex wife and we have discussed things like this openly. She did not experience the anger I am experiencing. I can’t help but think I am contributing to it in some way, but I think more likely it is all of the changes since we got together. Our family size doubles for both of us, Brady Bunch style. And if a person is ill equipped to handle stress, change alone can be a real contender. Add to it new financial burdens, personality mixes/conflicts, adolescent issues (as opposed to having younger children in previous relationships), and you know the rest. Then we got pregnant. I felt prepared. He said he did too. Maybe he wasn’t being completely honest with his self or me.

Yes, alexiswilliamsinc, his buy-in is key to realistic change. That’s where I feel most at a loss. I need him to do some serious work on his self. Hell I need him to just face reality and embrace the possibility hat he may need professional help! Your suggestions seem helpful, and I may just ask him to read this thread. There was another blowup this morning before I left for work, and when I get home we will hopefully deal with that in a successful and loving way; maybe it will be a good segue into this conversation.

In the meantime, if anyone else has advice or opinion to offer, I am still receptive to suggestion.