ADHD wife and possible (probable?!?!) Narcissistically Personality Disordered husband - HELP!!!!

Hi all,

I am desperate to know if anybody else has had a similar experience to me?? I did post briefly about this new understanding of my situation under another subject stream and received a very positive and validating response from another member which was much appreciated but not from a position of having experienced anything similar from what I could gather. So I would so much like to know whether or not Im alone in what Ive been through. My story below. Sorry it is so long but it is just so hard to explain & express in simple terms and of course I am still emotionally & psychologically still reeling! Even if you dont relate but you feel moved to respond I would so appreciate it. If nobody can relate it is OK because I do have specialised support related to the issues Im dealing with elsewhere. But I think my shame about my ADHD counted against me in this situation (perhaps contributed towards my being a sitting duck in other words!) which may be something some of us may have experience of and all need to bear in mind!?! OK so here tis:

I have been married for 14/15 years to my husband and was diagnosed a few years ago with predominantly inattentive type ADHD when my undiagnosed symptoms worsened after aggressive chemotherapy for breast cancer and premature menopause. Our daughter was diagnosed with ADHD a few years before I was. There have been lots of increasing difficulties in the relationship and my husband has not been at at all open to seeing his part in any of our problems, educating himself re ADHD and the ADHD relationship dynamic, to come to therapy and basically has consistently blamed everything on me. My mental health has deteriorated over the years and I started realizing (as have a couple of close friends) that he has been progressively (covertly to begin) emotionally and mentally abusing me for quite some years. He was using my ADHD and everything, anything & nothing else (very bewildering - I couldn't win!!) about me against me, constantly criticizes me about everything and anything, nothing I ever do is right or good enough, he ignores me, doesnt listen to me, doesnt communicate with me, doesnt tell me anything that he is doing or that is going on for him, withholds, shows no care or consideration, and has started exploding in rage and anger out of the blue (although I started sensing the signs of a build up to it) over nothing or over the tiniest things. etc etc etc.

He recently left thank god but not before lining up another relationship which I sensed and asked him about but his response was to self righteously deny this and be extremely indignant about the fact I would suggest this let alone even think it!! He said this proved what a crazy, vindictive, paranoid , neurotic I was! I confess that I got into his email account and indeed discovered he was lying about the affair, about a whole lot of other things over the years and was saying the most horrible cruel hurtful contemptuous insulting things about me to this new girl and to one or 2 of his only friends.

I had sensed his dislike hated of me for quite some time but when I had ever asked him about this he had always denied it telling me he loved me madly but that I just drove him crazy sometimes but then I realise now continue to mistreat and lie to me. I had many times asked if we could go to therapy together even if just to learn how to better deal with my ADHD together or to get help to decide if we do need to separate and how to do that the best way, Always he would say no and just tell me I was the one with the problems that needs to sort myself out and that he didnt have much hope that would happen. So I would then say if that is the case then why do you stay? I even suggested to him once or twice (out of love!) that if he is so unhappy with the me then he should leave and find his happiness elsewhere because I just cant be what he wants me to be. But again he would say no I love you. Sometimes when we would get into arguments or he would go into one of his rages he would threaten to leave but then back down on this. When I found out all that had really been going on it was utterly traumatic BUT it also made so much sense of all the crazymaking undermining stuff I felt had been going on that I couldnt pinpoint, articulate or make sense of!! Really in retrospect he had just about fully brainwashed me into believing I was really the main problem, that I was loosing my mind and was all these horrible things he had been consistently telling me I was that I knew I wasnt but was becoming less and less sure about!  (I now see this as mostly all projection on his part and his twisting all my weaknesses and vulnerabilities back against me!). The ADHD is certainly not a non issue but I realise now that it was just one of so many things he used against me. It as well as depression and anxiety had just been getting worse and worse over the years as was my self confidence, sense of reality and hope. When he left everything improved significantly almost overnight for first time in years!!! I still have a way to go because it had got so very bad but the difference was startling!!

When I confronted him about all his lying and cheating, backstabbing and mistreatment of me over the years his response was (once yet again) to coldly and self righteously list out ALL the reasons I was to blame for all of this over the years, ask me "So what did you expect? Derrrr!" and to state with great certainty that he did not owe me any explanations beyond that and certainly did not owe me any apologies whatsover and in future will have no communication with me whatsover except in regards ro our daughter!!! apologies (Havent heard one  for many years anyway - I was the one apologizing all the time in the end!), no sympathy, empathy, compassion or remorse (again something I realise havent seen or felt from him for many years). I was so utterly, utterly utterly gobsmacked ......I had this sudden clear as a bell realization that I was not dealing with a normal human being at all!!!!

I was so traumatised but what I found out (and had been enduring fro years as I realise) and particularly to find out really the last so many years (at least 9 or so) had been a lie!!!! I have never ever ever experienced anything like this before! I have been a mess, totally bewildered, disoriented, dissociated even ...but have a couple of good friends who have been great and a therapist who is supporting me. I was so bewildered by his behaviour and what I found out about him that I did a whole lot more research online about emotional abuse of this kind which led me to information about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (particularly a more covert variety) which I wasnt expecting and almost dismissed. But I stopped to read through the information and was utterly shocked to recognise everything about him, the relationship I had been experiencing with him and the psychological, mental and emotional (even physical!) impact on me of being in this relationship with  him!!!! rhe more info I read the more the pieces fell into place - click click click and the more convinced I became at same time as flip flopping between this increasing certainty and denial becuase it just seemed so crazy and unbelievable that I would actually end up with someone like this let alone stay in a relationship with them for 15 YEARS and not realise there was something seriously wrong with him!!! But the more I read the more I understood that this is not unusual because these types are often extremely clever and pretending to be something they are not (even to themselves!) and can be incredibly covert, subtle and insidious with their abuse and brainwashing! And apparently even the most insightful, self aware, intelligent, well balanced of people can be totally blindsided sometimes for decades! Whixh was some small compensation because boy am I feeling like the biggest sucker in the universe right now!!! :(

I found private closed support group for people like me and I cannot begin to tell you what a life saver it has been in so many ways. ive learnt quickly that few people can understand this stuff let alone believe that he has done this to me or that this sort of abuse exists let alone understand how damaging it can be. my therapist also gets it as does my ADHD psychiatrist who informed me that unfortunately a lot of people turn up to therapy in the same state as me wondering what the hell is wrong with them and  it turns out that they are in relationships with narcissists (or sociopaths/psychopaths who share some common features with narcissists). As you might imagine I had little to know chance of being able to best manage my ADHD (or anything else for that matter) under these circumstances no matter how hard I tried because he would keep undermining me in everyway and then blaming me for not taking responsibility for it or for anything else! Arggg - seriously towards the end I was contemplating suicide quite regularly because I felt so hopeless, helpless, useless and as if I was increasingly no good to anyone (especially my daughter) - and this was SO UNLIKE ME!!!! Fortunately, I told my friend, psychiatrist and could never think of a good enough way to kill myself that would not totally destroy my daughter!!! And since he has left I have had none of these suicidal thoughts or feelings at all! I do feel an awful lot of shame however.

Im just wondering if ANY other ADHDers have had any experiences similar to this or have had to deal with being in relationship with a personality disordered partner (whether they knew it at time or not)??? Please I would be so grateful if you could let me know, or even if you dont know but this sounds familiar, or for any other advice or feedback from anyone. Please know that I have spent years taking on far too much blame and responsibility for things in the relationship and within the family and it has to stop now. I have searched my soul for years in this relationship turning myself inside out trying to work out what is going wrong, what Im doing wrong, worrying that I am going crazy and going to therapist after therapist, taking meds, researching, trying hard to help myself and my daughter manage our ADHD without any real support from him....I am pretty convinced that what Im describing here goes way beyond ADHD denial and avoidance of responsibility. And this is firmly backed up by my friends, therapist and the  support group I mentioned. In fact my friends have been trying to tell me this for years!!

If you have read through all is, I am so very grateful for your patience and interest. I hope that somebody in some way identifies with this experience but if not I still really welcome your feedback, responses, thoughts reactions. Please I only ask that even if you think it is a load of bull and that Im just making excuses for the effects of not taking the best responsibility for managing my ADHD in my marriage.

 I have not come to these conclusions easily or willingly and it is very hard to talk about it still as some people just cant comprehend what Im describing (possibly I might have been the same once upon a time!). And therefore please be gentle and respectful in your communication with me (which doesn't mean you cant be honest about any scepticism, disbelief or other perspectives). If you dont feel that you can respect this then I ask that you refrain from responding at all. Thankyou :) 

Wow...sounds too familiar!


I created an account just to respond to you.  I read your other thread "am I being emotionally/psychologically abused" and was going to suggest NPD.  Then I got to your last post where you mention it.  I just went through something very similar with my husband of 21 years.  Of course, there were plenty of red flags over the years, some of them were in neon and flashing, but I dismissed the seriousness of them.  Early on I recognized my husband was very passive-aggressive, but I didn't realize just how abusive that was.  However, over the last 4 years his abusiveness had become more overt and I couldn't deny it was abuse.  I couldn't understand how he seemed to have no insight into his behavior.  Earlier this year he had an affair and left.  I started reading about emotional abuse and passive-aggressiveness.  It didn't take me long to start getting hits to sites about NPD.  I was stunned.  I never thought anyone else would have an inkling about what I had just been though.  Yet there was story after story from others who endured years of abuse and confusion from someone they loved.  I knew I had been idolized, devalued and discarded by a narcissist!

I also have ADHD and had many of the same problems with my husband as you described.  The worse abuse, what I've come to call "overt" abuse, started after I had been on ADHD meds for a while and was doing well.  I think my improvement really threatened my narcissistic husband.  He managed to completely derail me.  I started drinking and likely would have just drank myself to death if he hadn't left.  How could anyone say they love someone and treat me the way my husband did?  Well, learning about NPD helped me put the pieces together and provided a framework to understand the bizarre stuff I had been through.  I didn't come to those conclusions easily either.  In fact, I thought he must have a brain tumor or some other organic brain abnormality!  I had been witness to many of his narcissistic rages and couldn't understand how anyone could then act like that sort of behavior was OK.  After all, I could recognize that I had an issue and got help to address it.  However, he wouldn't admit it even when I confronted him about it.  Instead, more than once, he got down on his knees and gave me the most nasty, sarcastic and mocking apology I've ever heard.  Later, he'd act like nothing was wrong, that he did nothing wrong and tell me he loved me, wanted to be married to me, etc. 

So, I completely identify with much of what you said! 

I completely identify!!

Oh wow!!! Sounds extremely familiar indeed KatzMeow!! The bit about getting your act together with your ADHD only to have him derail you is very familiar indeed!!! :( Wow! Its only been since May and Im feeling a bit better. Ive been using Closed Online support Group for Narcissistic Abuse Victims which have been an absolute godsend and Ive learnt so much and feel so not alone and crazy!! My ADHD psych although he cant officially diagnoses my ex has said it sounds very much as if he may well be NPD and has referred we to specialist psychotherapist to help me through and to undo some of the psychological mess!! :( My daughter is getting counselling now we are doing OK. He is "behaving" himself at the moment & Ive learnt how to better deal with him but I remain cautious!! Oh Im SO relieved to hear from you KatzMeow!!! :) I hope you are doing OK even though he's causing trouble??? You've made my day although Im sorry to know you have had such an experience too!! :( <3 Thank you!!!! :) 

Im on the right path...

I saw the therapist my psychiatrist referred me to for the first time. She is very experienced at working with victims of Personality Disordered people and a lovely compassionate soul. She, like my psychiatrist, cannot give an official diagnoses for my ex but after listening to my descriptions & asking strategic questions about my experience of him, our relationship & my deteriorating well being over the years, she looked me in the eye and stated that he pretty much sounds like a full blown Narcissistic Personality Disordered individual. And she described to me the mechanisms and the destructive impact of his probable effect upon me and my sense of self and well being over the years....and it was everything I had come to realise and understand. It is utterly utterly devastating beyond belief ...he has destroyed a large part of my life....but I am also so very very relieved to have found the information and the support I may be a long road out of the pit but Im pretty sure Im on the right path.......i am so very very very sad......especially because he is the father of my child and I will have to continue dealing with him very very cautiously for many years to come.....



I've been there too!


Not just NPD!!


I wish I had seen this months ago. In all reality the possibility of your husband having true NPD is very small, but it can manifest in other ways.  Reading your post I see lots of red flags for Sex Addiction.  Gas lighting (him making you feel like the crazy one), affairs (the fact that you know about one makes me think there are a heck of a lot more), blaming you for the issues in the marriage,  manipulation, the explosions of rage (this happens a lot when they have fallen so far down the rabbit hole of their addiction), blaming you for his cheating (classic), narcissist tendencies and the constant lying!! 

I am quite educated in this area,  because two years ago I found out my husband had never been faithful to me in our 7 years of marriage.  Porn, chat rooms, dating sites, hook up sites, craigslist, massage parlors, hookers, one night stand, affairs...oh my!  For years he was gaslighting me, blaming me and my ADD for our marriage issues, manipulating me into isolation, with holding sex and affection, the works.  These are all forms of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. 

Pick up and read "Your Sexually Addicted Spouse" by Marsha Means and Barbara Steffens.  See what clicks for you.  I'd love to chat more.  I'm so passionate about this subject that I'm getting my coaching certification to specifically work with spouses of sex addicts.  We Spouses do not have the support that we need. 



Hi Kim, Thanks for your

Hi Kim,

Thanks for your feedback. I'm sorry you went through that with your ex! My understanding is that many narcissists have addictions including sex addictions. I'm pretty sure mine is full blown NPD (& Im not the only one) ..every day that goes by confirms every interaction....he is f**king around with my daughters head now...& lying to & being evasive with my dad whom he owes quite a bit of money to...the sex stuff (whatever was going on or not going on) was just one small part of a much larger picture. Ive educated myself about it and can read him like a book now. I've read up a lot on sex & love addiction in past (before I ever met him) but certainly will check out the book you suggest! Good luck with your training & it sounds like really valuable work you will do. I feel the same way about victims of Narcissistic abuse....or sociopathic/psychopathic abuse for that matter (as they all share some very similar qualities)... Very little is understood about the impact of this abuse.....a kind of slow, deliberate, insidious, malignant soul murder.... This guy has no I empathy, compassion, remorse or insight... He is a pathological liar even from the start... 


me too

Hi Kim,

I've been there too. Would love to chat with you. 





Hey P,

Welcome to the boards.  What's on your mind?



I just joined this site about

I just joined this site about 30 minutes ago. I read your post and I see that it was about 6 months ago.  I TOTALLY HAVE BEEN THERE TOO!

I think we can be of help to each other. Please read what I posted earlier.

I hope to hear from you.


Totally been there too!

hi ya! 

Its a relief when you come across somebody else who's been through something similar isn't it!!! sometimes it's even a lifesaver!!! 

What do you most identify with from this Post? The possibility of Narcissitic Abuse or sex addiction or both (they often, not always, can go hand in hand)?  It's a tangled, toxic and very painful web they weave either way...with a lot of similar components.... :( 

Hope you are doing ok?