From the ADDer Learning new things

So I have been learning new things every day.  Today I learned that I really have to change not just saying it actually do it.  My wife has been telling me the problems she has been facing with our marriage I have always took the blame and said I would change but two days later back to doing the same thing over and over to the point now that we have found out that I have ADHD and know that I was not doing those things on purpose.  Having ADHD is not a excess though it may be the reason why but you cannot live life using ADHD as a excuse to ignore you wife or treat your marriage as a normal everyday thing.  A marriage needs work everyday especially if you have ADHD.  You have lost the trust from your spouse,  You spouse maybe at the brink and had enough and now you feel that you have to do everything to fix it.  So you push for the instant fix, which is doing nothing but pushing your spouse more and more away.  The hardest thing you will ever have to do is take a good look at yourself and ask do you like who you are?  Yes the ADHD is affecting you life and meds will help slow your thought process down but now you must learn how to behave and how to reconnect with your spouse.  So what I have learned is that my wife needs space I have been dumping all my thoughts on her and you can imagine being ADHD thats is alot.  In a ADHD brain we complain about a problem and then it goes away we don't think about it again for awhile but for someone who is not ADHD they see it as a real problem.  So dumping all of your thoughts on your non-ADHD spouse is very overwhelming for them.  So you have to have self discipline,  I am lucky to be deployed right now because it gives us the chance to give each other the space that is needed to fix ourselves and become stronger as a whole.  My wife was so miserable living with me and ADHD symptoms. We did not understand what was going on but we both knew something was not right.  She became depressed and I did not know what to do so I just left it alone,  she became someone she did not like,  always nagging and just now a happy go lucky person which is who she really is.  She loves life and loves peace and harmony,  the ADHD symptoms was effecting her, so when I deployed she had the opportunity to go back home where her friends and family was and regain her life.  The point I am tying to make is if you have ADHD or think you might, you have to be the one to change before the spouse will,  they have to know you are serious and are going to make the effort to never go back to that life again.  Just saying what the problems are and saying you will change will do nothing, you have to really change without telling them,  trust me they will see it.  Give up fear of your spouse leaving you and leave that in the hands of god.  Work on yourself,  write down your goals and start with the things that you want to fix,  and always put you spouse needs above your own.  They have been living in a world of hurt, lonely, and confusion.  Now is time for you to let them have some peace, let them have happiness and peace for a little bit and you go though the hurt,  you get a respect of what they have been going though.  It is going to be hard as hell trust me I am going though it right now and the best thing that is helping me is seeing a therapist, taking meds and the biggest is my faith.  I have learned that getting closer to god is helping me deal with my inner fears.  I have stop worrying what my spouse is doing all the time and put it in the hands of the lord. Honesty you cannot control anything your spouse does and you have to give up that control and let them live.  Worry about yourself and make the changes in your life that you know need change.  Read books and educate yourself on as much as your can,  especially the book ADHD effect and the five love languages.  I hope this helps someone out there and gives some light on ADHD and marriage.

The little choices we must make,  Will chart the course of life we take,  We either choose the path of light,  Or wonder off in darkest night 

Dead on!

So what I have learned is that my wife needs space I have been dumping all my thoughts on her and you can imagine being ADHD thats is alot. In a ADHD brain we complain about a problem and then it goes away we don't think about it again for awhile but for someone who is not ADHD they see it as a real problem. So dumping all of your thoughts on your non-ADHD spouse is very overwhelming for them. So you have to have self discipline

That is so dead on. There have been many times where my husband will discuss things with me that just seem like, to me, it is the end of the world...I feel like he is literally unraveling before my eyes...and 5 minutes later he is fine and I'm still reeling. You guys get over it a lot quicker than we do. It is difficult when you want to be there for them, but you take everything so literally that it makes life overwhelming...as if it weren't already overwhelming enough. Your internal chaos coming out occasionally is very scary for us. VERY.

I am so hopeful for you, your post seems wise and makes me feel like you're really on the path to understanding your ADHD, it's effect on your marriage, and what you need to work on. I hope your wife is doing the same for you.

thats the hard part

That is what really is the hard part is not knowing what you wife thinks or feels at any givin point,  as ADHD is told in the ADHD effect are since of time is way off.  I am deployed and one min I be totally fine and knowing everything is ok and then BAM my ADHD brain kicks in to high gear and I start thinking way to much and sometimes it get to emotional for me to handle.  I think of all kinds of stupid and crazy stuff because I have no filter to get it out.  Sometimes I wish my brain would just stop and take a dang break. lol

I second that

My wife has commented over the years that I don't hold a grudge.  That is so true.  I guess it has something to do with having ADHD.

I also don't worry.  Being a man of faith, the bible tells me not too but even before becoming a Christian I didn't worry.  Yet another symptom of having ADHD, I guess.

The hardest part seems to be whether this is just my "idea of the month" or if I'm really changing.

I did have a discussion with my wife that when I listen to her it may seem kind of weird because I'm going to look right at her with intense concentration.  She said she had noticed it and it was okay.  Hopefully I won't have to continue to do that.

I third this. I have ADD and

I third this. I have ADD and I never hold a grudge. Not because I'm forgiving and understanding, just because I get bored and forget.

I also have a hard time with "is this a new obsession or is this something that will stick?". Since life costs money it's hard not to know..

Lucky me, I am married to an

Lucky me, I am married to an ADHDer that does not forget anything! If it hurt him, and I did it, he remembers. He has supposedly even started keeping a 'journal' of all of the times I criticize him or whatever it is that he feels I am doing wrong. Found this out in counseling. Instead of just addressing each issue as it arises, he has apparently decided to keep score. It really is ironic that once I decided to live in the present and let the past go (even recent past, as long as we're working together and moving forward), he decides to start keeping score. To me marriage isn't about keeping score.. it isn't a game...it is just simply about love and acceptance. I hope that since he's stopped the meds for now, and the anger and irritability seem to be fading, that maybe he'll rethink things.

All I can say

All I can say is if you are married to a ADHDer or you are the ADHDEr you really need to get the book the ADHD effect from this site it explain every thing that you are posting about and tells you how to deal with it

He has ADHD, I don't. I do

He has ADHD, I don't. I do have the book...I have been reading but he hasn't. We've made TONS of progress in the past 14 months, but he went on medications and (since October of last year) we've been at somewhat of a stand still. The meds made him deny his ADHD was an issue, made him blame me for everything (AGAIN!!), and made him extremely angry and irritable. When I tried to approach him about it he got angry and defensive and denied it...saying I just wanted to control him. A week ago we had a HORRIBLE counseling session and he refused to hear me so we were pretty much at an impasse and I was done. This was devastating since things were absolutely wonderful between us again, after 6 long years of fighting and destruction of our marriage, before he started meds.

Long story short, he came to me and wanted to stop the meds to see if it would help. It has been a week now...and I am cautiously optimistic. I can see a HUGE difference in him..almost overnigt his sense of humor came back and he isn't angry and irritable all of the time, but I'm a little gun shy since he was unpredictable on the meds I'm just not able to relax just yet. When he was on the meds, 'fixing' our marriage took a back seat for him, and me fixing ME was all he was concerned about. I'm hopeful this will change now that he's off of the meds. Giving him some time...and praying.

In the meantime I am working on ME and trying to continue my evolution into the woman, wife, and mother I know I can be and want to be.

Hope for the best

If you both have read the book it can give you strategies for helping with your marriage but if the meds are making him that way try another kind.  See not all meds work the same and because ADHD is different for each person you have to try different kinds. Also make sure you are talking to a ADHD specialist rather then a regular therapist.  Hope it works out

This was his second

This was his second medication, the first one was the same way. I don't know whether or not he'll try another medication, it will be up to him. I have decided to let that decision be between him and God. I wouldn't mind if he tried 20 of them, to find one that doesn't make him angry and irritable, but the problem is that once he is ON the medication, he denies what it is doing. It's a very difficult situation, but I am very thankful (have been thanking God all week) that he obviously loves me enough to try...even if he puts me through hell getting to the point that he is willing to stop them. I didn't want him to take meds, and at first he didn't want to take meds, but when I had a friend have such a positive reaction to them (adderall) he wanted to try. He has taken Concerta and Vyvanse.

Our counselor does specialize in ADHD. She is our 4th counselor in as many years and immediately recognized the ADHD. She worked in Florida for years doing group therapy with ADHDers and their spouses. She is wonderful...but when my husband is on the meds, there is just no getting through to him. No matter how much of an expert she is, if someone sits and says "NO" when they are asked "do you think you could work on your reactions?" then there is really nothing she can do. Again, now that he's off of the meds, I'm hopeful things will be different. He has always been 100% willing to go to counseling. Cautiously optimistic.

Thank you

I'll repost my background from another thread:

"I am a 37 y/o man and I believe that I may have an undiagnosed case of ADD going on. My wife and I are currently separated, but working toward reconciliation, pending my behavioral changes. Just a touch of background. I don't know if there is any correlation, but I had epilepsy from the ages of 4-16. I also had behavioral issues in school such as being too fidgety, daydreamy, and unfocused. Yet some times I was really, really focused. At age 12, I sat down in one week of my summer vacation and read the entire World Book Encyclopedia from A-Z. As an adult, I have been extremely selfish towards my wife, leaving all major responsibilities on her. I had difficulty sticking with a job early on. She has considered me "just another one of her children" for a long time. I have long known I had some kind of problem, but diagnoses of PTSD, Depression, and BiPolar Disorder all turned out to be dead ends.

The biggest issues in our marriage have been my seeming inability to listen and understand her, my lack of stability and responsibility, and my very short fuse and low threshold for frustration. Very fortunately, the separation has given me the opportunity the see objectively my own behavior and realize what she has been through for the past 15 years. I don't want to make excuses. I just want to find the problem and fix it. My therapist suggested that ADHD may be an issue here, and I am seeing an MD next month for possible treatment. I have read up on it, and I do see many symptoms that fit."

In reading your post, I found a lot of myself.  I too flood my wife with every little whim and emotion I come across as my brain just races.  We have been separated for 8 months.  I have made an effort to get a better grip on my impulses, listen to her, and give her space.  She told me today that she wasn't pushing me away, but was holding me at arms length to see what progress I can make.  She is terrified of being neglected and hurt again, and I can't blame her.  She obviously wants this to work.  If not, I know her well enough to know she would have already moved on.  But I don't want to let her down again.  I don't want to use ADHD as an excuse for my behavior.  I just want to know what I'm up against, then find a way to manage it so that the one person I love like no other, and the mother of our four children can have a happy life with me.  Your words gave me hope.  Thank you.

sullygrl's picture

Wow! You've really done the hard soul-searching

The fact that you have done this honest self-appraisal and soul-searching shows that you are on your way to owning your part of your marriage.  As the wife of someone with ADHD I can tell you it is overwhelming to have every little thought spit out at you. After a while it feels almost like a physical weight being dumped on you, and then dumped some more.  And then when you add in the fact that the spouse with ADHD doesn't seem to be paying attention, can't retain the smallest thing you have said, you can see where it would start to feel completely one-sided.

And you can make all the promises in the world to change, but if you don't actually get to the root of the problem, you are setting yourself up for failure.  You've spent all your life with this and it can't just "go away" at the snap of your fingers. You are doing the right things, getting help, taking needed medications, and finding comfort in your faith. I hope these things bring you the marriage you and your wife will truly be happy in, as partners. People tend to find their opposites, because when that kind of relationship works, you can make a terrific team. I think a lot of ADHD people are drawn to the quieter, more "zen" types because they want that calm themselves. I like a lot of us quieter "zen" types are drawn to the person with ADHD because they want that kind of energy. It's when it gets unbalanced between the two or compromises can't be found that the relationship starts to feel one-sided.

Thank you

For a update and some advice for the commenters.  I have a very awsome wife when I found this site I had no idea the impact it would make.  First let me say that if you are ADHD or think you may be.  Get the ADHD effect book for you and your wife, it is a great book that gives the ADHD spouse and the non ADHD spouse a look at what each other has been going though.  Me and my wife have both been reading it and she now tells me that she understands that I was not doing those things on perpose.  She has a understanding of how my mind works and I got a understanding of what she has been though and felt so ashamed.  But here is the kicker you can be down about it, hate yourself for treating the one you love like crap, but that is not going to solve anything.  You have to make the choice to change and as a individual change for youself.  Somethings you can get your spouse to help you but somethings you need to man up and fix yourself.  You dont have to tell you spouse every little thing your doing, they will see it trust me women are very smart.  But to give you some advice on how to start you first need to read the book ADHD effect and then you need to identify what and how ADHD effects you then come up with things that will help you prevent them.  Like I forget things alot and procrastanate so now i carry a note pad on me and write everything down no matter what and that has seem to help.  Also get on meds they will help in the process,  see a therapist that is trained in ADHD seeing someone who is not will mess you up even worse because they are giving you advice that you do not understand and somethings you just cant do at this point in your life.  And finally talk to you spouse about ADHD but dont beat it with dead stick.  The best conversation I had with my wife was when we talk about ADHD and how it has effected our life.  But let her do the talking dont interupt you will find that this is a major part of communication and as ADHDer we think to fast and always  talk to much.  So sit back and let her talk wait for her to ask you for your opinion and really LISTEN to her dont let anything distract you.  Just because you have ADHD does not mean you life is over, you just have to learn how to deal with them.   thanks for your reply I look forward to more.

Wonderful post

Soldier, what a great post you wrote. I would love it if my ADHD husband would say and do some of the things that you are working on. He was diagnosed 4 years ago, is on Concerta and is doing better, but he is still blaming me for a lot of things, and refuses to talk about any "real" issues. He read about ADHD in the beginning, but stopped, and told me he doesn't want me reading any more books, etc., because he says it is making things worse. He doesn't like having to DEAL with hard issues, THAT is the problem. He prided himself this morning because he "holds things inside instead of saying it". I was sad because he won't let me talk. (which made me cry more)   I think it takes a STRONG MAN to admit to things and try hard to work on behavior issues, and a man feels weaker to me when he hides things and won't talk. (it just feels stubborn)

It is a slow process

Well I am not saying I have the answers and know what I am doing I just have a lot of love for my wife and want to be together but it is not just that I think that I want to live a better life for me as well.  I have learned that the person I was living is not the person I see myself as being or want to be.  So I am just taking things one at a time and trying to do my best,  if I could give you any advice I would say find out what he wants and get down to the knitty gritti.  Also I would say read as much as you can about ADHD and marriages it has help my train of thought to understand how my action have effected my wife and trying to be understanding on here feelings.  Best of luck to you both.

MTC's picture

Talk 2 much, procrastinate, obsess, etc...

Great post and fantastic advice. EVERYTHING you mentioned will help anyone with ADHD. Remember -- it doesn't matter if you believe something will help you, you'll never know if you thumb your nose at it and say "that's not for me", or I tried that and it didn't help. Trying something for a short time (hours, days, weeks -- all short times) doesn't qualify it for a fail. Failing at a suggestion doesn't mean it won't help -- it just means you failed at it, which for us ADHD'rs happens a lot - that's why you should try again.

I'm trying every one of your suggestions Soldier101! I have been since Dec-2010. I am not stellar at them, but I keep using them. I started reading Orlov's book mentioned, but didn't finish it. Reading is still very hard even on my meds, but I can hear the words, and I can tell when I'm off the beam and turn a page back and start over... sigh.

The last few sentences you say to really listen, don't get distracted, don't interrupt... yeah! God - it takes us ADHD people super human effort to achieve these, but practice it and above all just shut the hell up and listen. When you get off the beam politely ask her to restate the last few things and be patient. Good luck.

Reading help

Thank you for your words, as far as for reading I have found that you can self medicate yourself by reading,  I found this to be quite stimulation for the ADHDer lol.  First find a subject that will get your attention,  go to a quite place but relaxing, like out side on a nice day, in a clean put together room, or in a car is where I found best for me and then just start.  The point is to eliminate distractions from your reading.  I used to be just like you read a page then read it again.  Now that I have found a way to focus on what I am reading,  I have already completed two book in a month,  which is more than the past 5 years all together lol.  Another book that was pretty good and is important to a marriage is 5 love languages.  It does not deal with ADHD at all but has great info.  I do need some advice though how to get my wife to open up is a hard,  I am in iraq and she is home.  Do I wait till I get home or is there something I can do over here to help the communication in my marriage.

MTC's picture

Long distance -- you mean it!

I haven't completed reading a whole book in years, many years. I mean from start to finish, with out the two steps forward, one step back approach. That is tedious and I usually give up. I am going to read the whole book. Thanks for the hint on the 5 languages book, googling it now.

I'm not qualified to tell you what to do while you are over there -- with the current state of my relationship, wife moving out temporarily -- there will be a distance between us to. So give me a week or so, I may know more (or not ;-)

In the last few weeks, I thought that my wife was opening up. But it wasn't what I thought it was, and this has left me very confused. So -- anyone else have any help I hope the chime in. Good luck and get home soon!