ADHD and a Passive Aggressive

Hi. My wife is diagnosed with ADHD with a tendency to impulsivity. That was what her report some 7 years ago said. It certainy told us a lot about her difficult teenage years and lack of confidence and esteem. As our marrige matures and the stresses of life have changed - she has virtually shut down. It is so very sad to see and the helplessness involved. I have asked she possible work, join a healthclub, volunteer her time to a good cause, relax, whatever. She has little responsibility outside our home which has degraded until I brought in professional cleaners to make it livable again. I ask with love, pressure, reminder or any technique I can find to no avail. I ask for her help (economically, why not get a PT job?) and she refuses to give even an answer. She refuses to discipline the kids and hasn't cooked more than 3 family meals in 2 months - and she loves to cook. In research and counciling I have discovered the PAPD (Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder) and it seems to fit her last few years behavior to a tea. I am certainly not qualified to diagnose, nor is it my intent to lable - but the behaviors all fit. Blame shifting, shut down, lack of anger communication, building hidden resentment, attacking, no communication, withdrawl, mind spinning arguments, threats, irresponsibility, etc. And on top of it all my determination to survive in an ADHD marrige has led me into a co-dependency - taking all the responsibility and adding to my stressand the circle just keeps spinning. My questions involve any similiar experiences and positive ideas or suggestions. We are unfortunatly in a bad place. There is no health, fidelity or significant money issues - just a struggle with control and responibility. She says she wants to be a complete contributor - but she sits all day and blames me. She says she wants a job but will not look for one and blames me for it. She says she has no friends and it's because I don't like any shes ever had. Shes resurrecting contacts now from 15-20 years ago but leaves the kids home, while I am working, alone to go socialize, shop or eat out. I am in a situation where I could have impact and support - but that seems to come back to bite me as controlling. I can ignore it and shower her with kindness and patience - but she just sits. Oh what to do. The PAPD and this blog both suggest PAPD can be misdiagnosed in an ADHD adult and I cannot understand that or what that means. I simply want the best strategy for all concerned including our two teenagers. What part of ADHD manafests into the PAPD looking personality and why? She takes Adderall and it impacts her pretty strongly. She hyperfocuses for 1/ day and surfs the internet. She depends on it. She as also recently picked up a low grade anti-depressant and the recommendation of her doctor. She's not a mean person but something somewhere is in termoil and I cannot get a correct strategy to support. I have slept on the couch for 2 months now (at her insistance) and am really looking for a positive plan. Divorce? Awfully easy and terminal. Maybe. But I owe the family a good old shot at doing anything I can. Oviously there are some arguments about the daily stresses and child rearing and we have had some disappoitments - but any expression from me is delt with with hostiliy and rejection. I sleep on the couch because I yelled at her over Memorial day. How do you direct or mentor in an uncontrollable way someone that wants something and refuses to move to it and holds you accountable?. Catch-22. Thanks in advance.

On the Sofa

I'm going to forward this one to Ned Hallowell and see if he has some ideas for you.  You are in a terrible position with this one, and I do not know enough about medical diagnoses to give you responsible counsel.

Melissa Orlov

Similar situation, what advice?

Hi Melissa,

I have been reading the articles here for a while but it was this post that compelled me to comment... and I'm really hoping you could shed some light on a somewhat similar situation I'm facing.

I'm the non-ADHD partner, and the description of the issues faced by the poster is very similar to what I'm seeing with my ADHD partner in terms of passive aggressiveness. Always blaming others for his unhappiness and discontentment with life, shutting down and withdrawing when I try to talk about issues, seemingly not wanting to take much responsibility for his own actions, and always talking about other people trying to "control" him, and him reacting to this perceived notion of "control" by not responding to what others ask/ suggest him to do. When people get upset with his behaviour, he always has an excuse ready, no matter how ridiculous or frivolous it may seem to the receiver. His thinking is that he doesn't like to be told what to do, so the more someone tries to push him to do something, the more he will resist doing the thing, and I've already seen this happen on many occasions.

He also plays the "victim" card; case in point: he doesn't like to ask for help directly, and when I offer him help outright, he will say no, that he doesn't need my help. So I don't help, and then he gets upset that I didn't, and it becomes my fault. I can't talk to him abt my own needs from the r'ship. The times I've tried, the tables were turned on me and I ended up having to apologise for being "needy" and not being understanding of him and his ADHD. It's always my fault if I'm upset with the way he's behaving. I'm not being understanding when he doesn't get his way and it becomes my fault as well. It's my fault for having "demands" on him and expecting him to contribute more to the r'ship. It's my fault for making him feel bad that he "can't" do more.

Before you tell me to be more patient and more understanding, pls let me say that I have read up a lot on ADHD and I've also found the articles on this website helpful in enabling me to let go of a lot of the resentment that was built up before this. I also understand that it is not an easy condition to deal with, and I think I've tried my best to be understanding and let go of a lot of things.

However, I don't think I can deal with the negativity and blame shifting anymore. I can't tell if this is ADHD or passive aggressiveness. He can't seem to show any concern for me, and doesn't seem to care about my feelings. This tendency seems to get worse as time passes... it's like I'm being taken for the fool who will be around no matter what...where does ADHD start, and where does it end?

I would really, really appreciate some advice... thanks.