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Husband in total denial about ADHD

I know this is similar to other posts but I would still love some feedback from wiser married women who have found more success in managing their lives with ADHD

My husband and I just "celebrated" our 3rd anniversary. I put celebrated in quotations because is was basically a joyless event. We've been having major marital difficulties for at least 2 years, with things culminating in hiim moving out a week ago. As if that isn't stressful enough I am 4 1/2 months pregnant. I've been aware of my ADHD for a few years but have not done well in managing a treatment regimen. I'm on my third job in the last year and we just moved into a new house. There's a lot going on and I feel completely isolated.

The biggest frustration for me right now is that my husband doesn't recognize that all my struggles and issues could be caused by ADHD. He just says that I need to get my act together and that it's all a matter of will power. He has no interest in attending couples therapy, although he doesn't mind if I seek counseling. Basically he expects me to "fix" myself on my own, and if I don't he has told me he sees no reason to stay in the relationship. He also gets frustrated when I share any research I find because he feels that I waste my time "studying" instead of just "doing what it takes."  

How do I do this on my own? I know that having a strong support network can be helpful but my relationship with my family is also very strained for other various reasons. My husband is a VERY private person and is uncomfortable with me sharing any of our struggles with my girlfriends. For example, a significant reason our relationship is so rocky right now is because he found out that I confided in a family member about our problems and he felt betrayed.

I love my husband so much and really truly want to make things work. How can I help him see that I am really truly trying to find help and repair our ragged relationship?

Comments

I am the spouse of a man with

I am the spouse of a man with ADHD.  First, I commend you for coming here and asking for help.  Here are my thoughts:  You're right, you can't just "fix" yourself.  But your husband is right, too, about tIhe value of you seeing a counselor or a coach.  The right person would support you a lot.  The right person would help you stick with a treatment regimen.  I think there can be value in couples therapy but I personally don't think it will be enough if you're not also getting assistance, just for you, with dealing with the ADHD.

It's good that you're reading about ADHD.  But reading about it and actually making behavioral changes are two different things.  You need to do both.

 I definitely don't think you should be doing things just because your husband wants you to.  But there might be some value in asking him what behaviors he is bothered by and then deciding, yourself, whether you can work on those and change them.  If you think you can, tell your husband that you're going to work on them and then show him that you are doing so.

Good luck.

teeny addendum to Rosered's comment

I think the following details are the make-or-break for us AD(H)Ders to plan, notice, & stick to improvements.


"tell your husband that you're going to work on them"

- set quantifiable benchmarks along the way.  Break it down into doable & encouraging goals.  Set a concrete plan for you to reach them, that BOTH of you can see -

"and then show him"

- and yourself, by using the benchmarks -

"that you are doing so."

By creating a concrete plan with steps, you can break down your improvement goals into tangible plans with non-overwhelming pieces.  By checking in with your goals, you can show yourself that you are making improvements.  No goal is too small.  By making him aware of these pieces, you show him:

a. you are committed to something real, more than just a hazy "I won't XYZ any more" or "from now on, I will ABC."
b. (saying this twice) tiny pieces of progress that neither of you might notice otherwise.  Doing ABC or not doing XYZ 3 times out of every 5, instead of once out of every 5.  You'll be able to see you've gotten better, more than you realize, and THAT will encourage you to keep at it.

Plus, if you don't make it, you have a goal set up that you can aim for again.  And give yourself a reward when you hit it.  A bath or 20 minutes of TV or a piece of chocolate or whatever.  No goal is too small.  We ADDers do goals better with rewards.

 

Hmm.  I should do this for myself.  :=)  In fact I've just taken 10 minutes to set out a plan.  Let me know if you want details.

my friend, your husband doesn't get it.

The first of his problems is: He is stuck in the mindset that you can make yourself "do what it takes" with more willpower.  Sounds like he's not yet ready to understand you can't "just do it," not in the same ways he can.  Which sucks, because if he would just read some of the stuff you've looked up, it would all tell him you can't "just do it" with more willpower.  

It also sounds like he is very focused on progress.  It's sucky because when we do make progress, others can see it that we are finally behaving normally.  Personal example: Lately I have been trying very hard to be ready to go in the morning before my DH is ready, so we can walk out the door together (we work in the same office).  And I think I've been getting better at it.  That's a huge success for me!!!  But he doesn't notice, because he would expect that in a normal situation, with any other person.  So he doesn't realize that I have been working on it or getting better at it.

I suspect your DH would also not find anything special about small victories like that.  Maybe a coach or counselor could help you find a way to frame them which would show your husband you are making progress - and work on bigger victories as well?

Also, if your husband is that private, I think that borders a bit on hyper-controlling.  You need to be able to talk to someone about your problems!!!  At the very least with a counselor, or maybe you can start building a support network here on the forum.  I am also looking to do that.  

I just moved to a new city (in my DH's home country), have an internship in a foreign language which I am moderately comfortable speaking, but feel so overwhelmed and I know that people on the forum here will understand.  Am trying a new medicine (the only one which is covered by insurance for adults), have a very understanding specialist doctor, but of course until I get the dosage sorted out I feel like I am just underachieving at my new internship.  So I am looking for support, self-esteem boosting, and strategies for my big problems which other people like me have successfully used.  

Hope you can find some help on the forum and off.  We're with ya!

My thoughts

I agree with Frank. We that have ADHD have just as many "struggles" as those without ADHD. Who is to say who is "right", and who is "wrong". I have learned a lot in the last 9 months, not only about myself, but about my relationship with my soon-to-be ex. He said I used my ADHD as an "excuse". I told that to my psychologist........he made a valid point: ADHD is not an excuse, it's a EXPLANATION!!When he said that, it was like a lightbulb went on. It's a chemical IMBALANCE in the neurotransmitters in the brain. BIOLOGY, not the persons attitude. With that said, I am on meds, and I feel like I am doing better. I am who I am, but I want to be better.....for me. I try to listen more effectively (not to interrupt), think about what I say before I say it (filtering I guess, so things don't come out mean and hurtful), and other small steps. So, I agree about seeing a professional, and getting the right kind of treatment, and that may include talk and behavior therapy. I don't know what to say to make your husband understand, mine still doesn't, and I don't think he ever will. That is why I chose to leave, he can't accept me for who I am, and I get it. Keep your head up, it's hard, but who said life was easy. Life and relationships are work, period, for ALL involved, including your husband. Work on you for now, you are the only one that can change you, but only if you want to change. Not who you are, but your behaviors, and who you can become.  :). Good luck, and yes, we are here for you, and each other.

"B"

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