ADHD and apparent selfishness


I guess my frustration is this:  it seems I do so much for my husband cook, clean, organize, pay all bills, take care of car, work, etc.  and my husband doesn't do anything to demonstrate his feelings such as a piece of jewelry, flowers, or back rubs (they are work 2 him), helping me extra around the house, or anything.  I guess my question is are people with ADHD selfish or is it part of the disorder?  I only see supposed depth of caring or feelings if I try to leave, then he cries, declares he will do anything for me, tells me he cant live without me, etc.  Says hes not good at showing his feelings, but to me its even his caring that hes not good at showing.  Is this part of ADD?

Apparent selfishness

Some of what you mention are a definite and annoyingly frustrating part of the disorder.  I am ADHD-Combined Type as well as CAPD, so I have some unique issues compared to your husband, but I can definitely identify with him.  It could be that he thinks that he does express his feelings and is frustrated that you don't notice.  That is perception only, and making him understand that something deeper is needed can be an arduous task.  For my part, any time that I express my feelings, through labor, gifts, words, and the like, it is a VERY conscious effort.  Believe it or not, I leave myself notes in my blackberry or on my computer to do nice things for her, because I would lose myself in the constant roar of my thoughts otherwise.  It has been a work in process for a long time(We have been married 6 years) and I still fail occasionally.  Suggestion for you, and I say this from your husband's perspective, if it is possible, you should separate emotion from discussions about showing love.  If you can turn it into a project, you might be able to tap into the hyperfocus part of the ADHD mind.  Get him to solve his own communication issues.  if he loves you, and I do not doubt that he does based on your description of his response to your leaving, he will take your comments to heart and work on the problems.  If he perceives the comments or requests as nagging or complaining(As I did during the middle 4 years of my marriage.)he will shut down and separate mentally from the situation.  I did discover my wife's true feelings and intent and immediately set about changing myself, but it took time.

  Thanks, M. Williams.


Thanks, M. Williams.  Well, I was wondering if this lack of vocalization and actions is also a part of the ADHD and it seems like it might be.  I know he has told me before, like even in conversation, he goes to listen to me then it's like something, even trivial pops into his head, and the rest of his brain will shut off.  I know before hes told me that to give a message is "work" for him, and I know anything intentional like house cleaning takes a lot of mental effort for him.  You know I think he has ADHD so severe  because he can't even concentrate long enough to shut cupboard doors after opening them.  When I go in the kitchen after him its like a whirlwind hit it.  The other day he just started driving and left the car in drive then shut it off...I mean, I think his ADHD is severe.  Anyways, Im glad we are starting counseling for this stuff and he is open to getting help.  Lord help us both!  :) thanks for your sharing.

Oh boy.... the cupboards....

My husband went nuts for years when I would leave the cupboards open!  I also had a habit of leaving the dresser drawer open when putting away clean laundry.  One night he threw a huge fit about it.  He was so angry I was shaking.... all because i'd left the drawer open.  He then listed all the careless stuff i did/forgot/broke and said it was because I didn't respect/love him.  I was shocked.  I thought, "well heck, the drawer is open because I washed and folded your clothes and put them away.  The cupboards are open either because I cooked your dinner or i was putting away clean dishes (that i washed) - how could this be seen as disrespect???"  but...  it made him nuts and I didn't see the chaos.

And the jewelry and gifts?  My husband does not have ADD, but he does not buy me gifts or flowers or jewelry either.  Flowers die, so they are a waste of money.  I am not HIS mother, so I do not need a gift from him on Mother's day.  Valentines day is a made up holiday.  Christmas?  well, that's for children.  Anniversary?  When is that again?

The cupboards, definitely ADD.  The gifts/jewelry?  Maybe just a Mars/Venus thing.

I guess you could say that

I guess you could say that the 'apparent' selfishness is one of my biggest struggles these days. Maybe the key is to not take it personally. I try not to take THAT personally, the appearance that he doesn't care about anyone else's feelings but his own, but I do take it personally when he refuses help and/or to do anything (or even acknowledge) about his ADHD. I have to draw the line in the sand somewhere...and for me that line is drawn at the insistence from him that he can 'deal with it' on his own. After 13 years of living with it, I know that's not true. Hanging on, by a thread, hoping for a miracle turn around of his belief that he can make this all go away with sheer will. Praying it's not too late when he does. Absolutely heart breaking to be at this point again. I am trying hard not to join the "they will never change" club...still here, still trying to understand, still seeking insight.

At the end of the day the best we can do is get help with communication (if they're willing) and try and hope they are able to see the pain that their 'inactions' cause.


Apologies sueann,

CAPD is Central Auditory Processing Disorder.  Basically, it means that, although I have perfect hearing, I can not distinguish between different sound levels and tones.  I have a hard time distinguishing between different conversations, different tones of voice, and background noise.  On a lighter note, it has presented me with the opportunity to learn to read lips.


My ADD husband hears things that were never said. For example, we heard a story on the radio about people growing more acres of corn, and he thought they said "porn." (No, he does not have a dirty mind.) Maybe that is his problem.

Thanks for the explanation. I frequently see abbreviations used on this forum that I do not know.


Hahahahhaahaha. Sueann you could post that on a "lighter side of ADHD" forum. That's funny. How do you farm that anyway?!


Wow, Sueann, what you said about your husband hearing things that were never said, is exactly what happens with my husband. He is being treated for his ADD, but not CAPD. As he is ageing, the problem is getting much worse. I have tried to find a solution other than the obvious of shutting the TV off when talking, etc., but I can't seem to come up with a solution. What it does, is make me feel not heard. All of the time. If anyone has a real solution, I would love to know.


That is truly funny and so true !! I have a huge problem with my ADHD guy. He needs the TV on constantly and at times I am almost deaf from it it is so loud !!  So loud that I can't possible hear what he's saying, let alone what I'm saying. And I had no idea what was meant by the term CAPD either. Thank you so much !! At least he will turn t down if I ask him to. But I  know it bothers him to do so. His diagnosis is only about 3 or 4 years going now. But his therapy has had a big break time in it and he has gone bonkers in between that time. His ADHD is at a point where it's almost unhandleable now. It's killing me !!!n And him.