Reply To: ADD and denial?

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That’s sad, NonADD. I hope that eventually you’ll find a way out, whatever that means. Part of the problem with being in a bad relationship for so long is we do tend to blame ourselves. Since we’re the ones who are being honest and trying to find a fix, we are often harder on ourselves than the person who is causing most of the trouble. Of course, we do and say things that contribute to the problem. I doubt that it’s ever completely one-sided. And then there’s the guilt and fear that really keep us from moving forward.

This is my THIRD marriage! I was in my early 20s and I was in love. He could be nice (and that’s what kept me hanging in there), but he was also very psychologically abusive. I kept thinking he’d change somehow, but of course, he didn’t. And when the person you care about keeps telling you that you’re the problem, after awhile you believe it. Then I met a man who swept me off my feet. He seemed to be everything my husband wasn’t. Unfortunately, he turned out to be an alcoholic. It was plain as day, and I still married him!!! I hung in there out of guilt because I didn’t want to fail again. What a waste of time, but it taught me something. I finally reached a point where I was no longer willing to be unhappy and being alone was better than being in a bad relationship.

I found a job and an apartment in the city, and that’s where I met my real husband. Has it been smooth sailing all the time? Of course not. However, it makes a huge difference when BOTH people want things to work and BOTH people make the effort. Things have only gotten better because we’ve learned how to get along, and we genuinely like and respect each other. I feel extremely fortunate, but even if he hadn’t come into my life, I would have been okay.

I have a friend who has been unhappy with her marriage forever. I met her almost 30 years ago, and she was unhappy then! She gets upset and then feels guilty, but she’s miserable. He’s not a horrible person, but I’m sure he’s not happy either. They have nothing in common other than their two grown children (who are messed up in their own ways now). She has talked about leaving him, and even her therapist asked her why she stays. I think people reach a point where they would rather live in the misery they know than take a chance on the happiness they aren’t certain is possible. I think people get worn down and lose their sense of self. They no longer feel lovable because if their partner hardly cares for them, why would anyone else?

If you can’t get yourself to leave, can you find other interests? Can you get involved with a group, volunteer, do something that gives you some self satisfaction? You sound like you’ve lost touch with who you are and why others do like you. I know you don’t feel like anyone is available to help, but you have to reach out (like you are here). I know it can be difficult to find therapy because it’s hard for me just getting help with ADD. Sometimes being around others who enjoy our company makes us realize there’s more to life than an unhappy marriage. Sometimes we connect with a friend who gives us some support and helps us see our potential.

When you think about it, it’s such a waste to live an unhappy life. I don’t know if you have children, but you don’t mention any, so I’m guessing not. But if you did/do, would you want your daughter living the way you are? I’m betting not. Of course, I know you must be depressed, and that makes everything difficult. I wish I could help you, but you have to figure out how to help yourself. Try to find something else you can focus on, even if it’s just for a short time. Can you get away for a few days? Stay at a hotel and get out to do some sightseeing? Try to find a way to break the pattern and give yourself some room to really think things through. Talk to your regular doctor or maybe a minister. Find a support group. I would do anything to get my life back if I was in your situation. I believe you can do it, but you have to believe it, too.

I wish you the best! Anne