Thank you, Melissa, for describing those three legs so well! The good news is that I seem to have inherently figured that out and can say that I’m being very aggressive on all three legs. In fact, I’m feeling quite good about where I am. I know there’s still work to do, but I’ve made a huge turnaround.
And I have read The ADHD Effect on Marriage. It was the second book my wife gave me, to help me understand where she stood. It certainly did help!
However… at this week’s joint therapy session, my wife kind of laid out a big dump of things prior to her life starting with me that caused both the therapist and me to drop our jaws and pretty much say, “Wow.” It was very revealing and courageous to lay out that out there, and I know it was very hard for her. It wasn’t really that she was holding it back before, she had herself really only pieced it together in her head over the last few weeks.
I contributed to her landing where she is today, but I think it’s pretty much like she had a dark, oogy garage full of super-yucky history that I, in my unaware ADHD state, unknowingly drove her to, dropped her off inside the garage, and left. So at this point what’s really happened is that a lot of past trauma of various kinds have been brought to her surface causing all kinds of terrible emotional distress. Yes, I was the trigger, but she made it clear at the session that I am really not the problem now. I am just the unfortunate beneficiary (as is my wife).
I knew about everything in her past, so these things are not shocking reveals, but just like her, I had never really put it all together the way she laid out at the session, and how deep some of these past events have cut. The therapist was clearly excited to really see what needs to be worked on, so next week’s session should be very interesting. It may even mean that my wife has some sessions on her own, if that’s what she needs. Whatever it takes.
After that, any remaining anxiousness I had over anything totally dissipated. I had already logically figured out that the majority of my anxiety was over losing her, and that was dumb because she was clearly putting in a lot of effort to fix things. My emotional side had mostly caught up and agreed with this logic. Now… Well, now I’m totally good and 100% in control of my emotions. The therapist knew during that session that this dump from my wife was going to help me enormously since now I had an explanation for pretty much all of my wife’s behavior toward me. And the therapist is right. My wife can’t handle touching? Not a problem at all, I understand! My wife seems emotionally withdrawn? Not a problem, I understand and will be here when she’s ready. My wife isn’t up to talking about anything right now? Okey doke, let’s do something else! My wife needs an unspecified amount of time to heal? You’ve got it! All the time you need!
It’s shocking how knowing changes everything. Before, my ADHD brain would think about every possibility and pound on the most negative of them. Now that I know what’s going on, there’s none of that. This allows me to be 100% supportive as the therapist helps her recover. I don’t care how long it takes, I’m going to be here for her and do whatever she needs. I think she’ll eventually come out of this feeling better than she ever has before in her life, because a lot of this was buried in her subconscious even before I dropped her off at the Yuck Garage. In the long run this will give her some peace she’s never had, I am going to put 50 years of unexplained personal ADHD hell behind me, and we should come out of it a very happy, healthy couple. It may take a lot of work and time, but we’re worth it.
- This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by charliebrown.