Dr Sarah

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  • in reply to: Marriage Heading into Separation before Diagnosed with ADHD #183491
    Dr Sarah
    Participant

    I’m married to someone who treated me badly for years because of underlying issues that did make life more difficult for him, although in his case the problem was not ADHD. I’m going to give you my perspective. I have no idea whether what I’m going to say applies to you as well, but I ask you to think honestly about whether it does. If you truly feel that it doesn’t then, of course, disregard.

    When I tried to tell or persuade my husband not to treat me in the ways he was treating me, he would invariably have an excuse and explanation as to why he was angry and hence had acted that way. Over and over and over. Here’s what he never understood: No matter how good his reasons were for being angry, it was still not OK for him to act in the way he was acting. If his underlying problems really made it impossible for him to avoid treating me badly, then he ought to be addressing that in some way that acknowledged that this wasn’t OK. Whether that way was getting therapy, or learning to walk away from a situation instead of losing his temper, or the two of us separating, or whatever… that was what should have been happening. Hell, even if he just sincerely apologised each time it happened then that would have gone a long way.

    But instead, what he did was explain and excuse. (That was on the good days, BTW; on the less good days, he’d lose his temper at me for even bringing up that I had a problem.) Do you know what message that sent me? It sent me the message that he believed that if he had a good enough reason to be angry then it was OK for him to treat me any way he liked.

    So if, after years of that, he had come to me with a whole new explanation of why he acted the way he did, then my response would not have been ‘Well, in that case everything’s OK, I forgive you for treating me the way you did for all these years, and I’m happy to stick around for years more of it.’ It would have been ‘F*** this. Same old same old. Yes, it’s a new excuse, but he is still making excuses and thinking that makes things OK when it doesn’t.’

    So, when I see you say that you’re trying to explain to your wife how you think differently or get her to understand… I’m concerned you might be making the same basic mistake. I’m concerned that you might be focusing on this ‘But look, I had a perfectly good explanation for this all along!’ and not on the ways in which your actions, however understandable in retrospect, have hurt her.

    Right now, I don’t think you should be focusing on getting your wife to understand you. I think you need to be focusing on understanding your wife. Make sure that you’re really acknowledging what the past years have been like from *her* perspective, and how you understand that you *do* have to change. It feels great to know that there’s a reason for how you acted, but don’t let that blind you to the fact that she needs your understanding for what your ADHD has put her through, as well as an active action plan for what’s going to be different now.

    in reply to: Empath wife ADHD husband #136773
    Dr Sarah
    Participant

    Hopeless Me, what do you think would hurt your kids about you taking his money? Are you worried about what he’d do?

    in reply to: Empath wife ADHD husband #136716
    Dr Sarah
    Participant

    Hopeless Me:

    1. Don’t make any further attempts to discuss this with him. You’ve tried everything you can, and learned it only makes things worse. From now on, your goal has to be simply to survive this situation in as good a shape as possible plus supporting your children as much as you can.

    2. You say that, legally, you won’t be able to see your children again if you leave. You’ve probably done this already, but, if not… do do whatever you can to get legal and practical advice to confirm this is the case and to check whether there is any support available, wherever you live or can move to, that would let you take the children and support them without being on the streets. (Although, obviously, you’ll have to get this advice in a way your husband doesn’t find out about.) Is there any support available – emotional and/or practical – for abuse victims where you live?

    3. If the above does confirm that leaving with the children really isn’t an option at all, think ahead to their adulthood. If you leave once they’re legally of age, will he have any way of stopping them from staying in contact with you? At least, if you plan for that, you’ll have some hope and some light at the end of the tunnel.

    4. Read everything you can about patterns of abuse and also about how to deal with a parent who tries to turn the children against you in a divorce or abusive relationship (as there is a high risk he’ll do that and you need to be forearmed). Even if you can’t leave at this point, reading more and confirming for yourself that it isn’t your fault will be helpful.

    5. You mentioned you don’t work. Is this due to his wishes, your health problems, or both? If the former, what would happen if you simply went and got a job anyway? (Obviously the first answer to that would be that he’d be furious, but this is one situation where it would probably be worth dealing with more rages for the sake of the money and independence it would bring you.)

    in reply to: Empath wife ADHD husband #136714
    Dr Sarah
    Participant

    While I agree that staying for the sake of the children is not a good idea, the OP has said above that, if she goes, she won’t get to see her children again, as she isn’t American. I’m not sure whether this means that she lives in a country where the father gets custody and all the rights, or whether she lives in the US but will be deported if divorced, but either way it suggests the situation is more complicated than making a happy life away from him; it would mean leaving her children with this man.

    Dr Sarah
    Participant

    Whatever his reasons, sounds as though switching psychologists would be an excellent option if you have it.

    Also, you sound as though you’ve done awesomely with your life. Hoping you find someone better equipped to help you with your ADHD.

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