ADHD wife done with husband's lack of understanding

I am a 26 year old active duty,wife, and mother with ADHD. We have been married two years, and I have been actively seeking therapy and making tremendous progress. Unfortunately, my husband has no real "desire" to learn about this disorders symptoms. He says that he understands, but that is a crock of sh!t. He intentionaly plays with my compulsive nature and uses it against me later. I am frequently verbally abused and he even cheated on me. I have been trying so hard to "understand" his needs as a man, but I do not get the same thing in return. After fights, he leaves knowing that drives me absolutely insane! (I need to resolve the issue) I am so sick of him telling me how emotionally unstable I am because when I get that stressed out/ innate rage I have to abruptly leave the room to maintain composure; or else I will go on a crazed tyrant. He sees this as me being weak, but only if he knew the capabilities of an ADHD in the peak of rage. ( you know what I I guess I want to know if there are any other ADHD/ADD spouses out the experiencing the same problem, and how are you handling it? For the non ADHD/ADD spouses reading this, feel free to tell your side.


I was diagnosed with ADD about two years ago. It was a shock, to say the least. I don't know your situation, but I do understand that as and ADDer my traits were affecting our lives for a long time and I knew it was going to take a while before new behaviors on my part would be perceived as the new normal and not a temporary hyper-focus or just using ADD as my newest excuse for things that I have done or still do. I understand that the NonADDErs don't want to let their shields down so quickly, but it is frustrating when you are trying hard to improve things and still get hit with the old reactions.

Keep working on yourself, that is in your control, and your spouse will either eventually notice the improvement. Verbal abuse is not acceptable, but ADD symptoms are easy to blame for all that is wrong in a relationship. I assure you two people are involved in the marriage and it's health. I think my DW still has only really noticed me Not being addicted to food and losing a ton of weight. Sure... that is the obvious change, but I know how much better I feel so I keep working.

Hang in there...



That's all I can do....keep working on me. Good luck to you too!



seek counseling....

Hi, your story resonated with me, I am an 28 yr old ADHD wife, mom of two with plenty of trouble ADHD with symptoms. (I used to be in the military;). My husband (7 yrs.) and I have plenty of trouble (why I'm on this site). It is my belief that two people in a relationship have to both have interest in improving. I know that with ADHD, ADD... whatever we feel, we feel so passionately, that if someone we are with doesn't appear to be tryin;, it can be a never-ending battle, (just like everything right?)...Your ADHD, or anything else you do, (or have done BTW) is never a justification to verbally abuse you OR cheat on you! Those are serious problems (esp. the cheating), maybe other things are coming into play, maybe he needs good counseling with as well. You can probably get counseling for free on whatever post or base you are stationed at. Also, the verbal abuse thing goes both ways...just a hunch, but, you may not be so sweet when you are angry with him either. I only suspect, b/c I know how I am with my husband when I get angry...he isn't the type to ever really "act out" in anger. (he IS the type that always withdraws and disconnects (this being a huge problem for us)). But, when I have been angry/hurt (it seems they go together quite often)...I have said horrible things to him, swore at him etc. And I always feel badly, however, I get very upset if he ever (and rarely has) says anything even remotely hurtful to me. I guess what I'm trying to say is, beware of the double standard. I only speak from experience. What I try to do, (when I am back from turning into the incredible hulk) is I imagine if he had said the things to me that I did him. And ask myself how I would feel. It usually puts it in perspective for me. It is never ok to verbally abuse someone, no matter who does it. Also, if you get angry around the kids...just walk away, go into another room until you calm down ( it seems that you are already doing this). I don't want my kids to grow up and be angry people, ADHD or no ADHD. My mom was a very angry person and I wonder if I would have had such anger issues if hers wouldn't have gone so unchecked (BTW  I suspect she has ADHD). I don't want to pass that burden onto my kids! I already see one son reacting w/ anger to frustrating situations:( We have a responsibility to break the chain of anger. Everyone needs someone to help them and to talk/vent to. Go get help, thats what I am trying to do. Encourage your husband to read books to attempt to gain the books by the authors of this site. They are great. Also, don't beat yourself up for getting angry...just try to be better everyday and always apologize...I force myself to if I was inappropriate with my anger, even when I feel wronged. Also, it soothes my anger and guilt somewhat...good luck!!!! We need it! lol

Congradulation - be proud of your self!

I am the non-ADD spouse in a relationship where my husband refuses to admit that his ADD has any affect on our relationship. (oh fyi I'm wife no. 5 but the others left because they cheated on him so I bought the story). We now have 2 kids who are also ADD so it was only then that he started thinking medication might help. He refuses professional advice.  You are NOT emotionally unstable! You have learned a very good coping skill to deal with his behaviour. My husband to leaves the room and refuses to talk which I do have to say drives me mental but when he stays we just screem at each other. I too want to resolve the issues in civilized manor. My husband refuses to see a seek help because he doesn't have time, which is also a crock. Be very proud of what you are doing for yourself and for your child. Our 2 kids are also ADD. I'm trying deperately to understand and don't and they'd love it if their dad would get help as it would show them that getting help is okay. We have a family friend that is phycologist and his thoughts are that it takes an extremely strong and smart person to seek help on their own. Smart because they go to school for a large number of years to learn how to help and you know that so you seek out their wisdon and be proud that you are strong enough to know you need help. I hope that he eventually he sees the light and if he doesn't you can't control that and that is another issue. You need to VERY PROUD of yourself. 

right with ya

I feel you!  I'm 26 as well, and my BF of three years just can't get it into his head that: the mistakes I make are not because the task is not important... not because HE is not important... not because living my life is not important!  He doesn't get that all these times, I can't just tell myself to do it - probably because every now and then he sees me in a strong-motivation phase and SEES me going and "just doing it."  And he doesn't get that I can't do that all the time.  So we have arguments all the time that revolve around him being disappointed in my ADD behavior - but any time I say, "Listen, it's a classic ADD symptom, please let me go on this one" he thinks it's an excuse and a justification rather than me saying, "I really can't help this."  Some part of him still thinks I am able to control these things and I think it's because once in a while, I CAN control them, like 3 times out of 10.  

My BF says he's read my ADD books (don't have too many, just the two Hallowell/Ratey Distraction ones), but I don't believe he has applied any of the "understanding" he may have gotten from those books to my actual real-time behavior.  He doesn't get that I "never learn my lesson" on procrastinating things.  He still gets the rug pulled out from under him EVERY time I don't do an errand on time that has a deadline.  This morning he emailed me to ask me to buy a car charger for our phones, and my only chance to go buy things is the weekend.  I realized this and thought about it when I read the email, but then promptly forgot and I didn't end up acting on it today.  He didn't say "You should look for it today," but rather "can you look for that" and the next thing I knew, it was 5:45 before I thought of it again - and here in Ghana, stuff closes early on Sundays.  I told him this evening I hadn't remembered on time to look for it, and he started to get really agitated.  That's the 50,000th time I've something done that.  Can't he realize he can't depend on me for these things?!?  

And then I feel really inadequate because I know how little effort it would have taken to go and look for the d^mn thing and how any other day, depending on the phase of the moon and the retrograde position of Mercury in the ocean and the day of my cycle and the speed of the wind... I might have just said "Okay, time to go and do it!" but today I didn't.  I let his emotions get me really, really down.  Like I'm less worthy every time I let him down.  It's bad and my self-esteem is really hanging by a thread around him because he's such a "perfectionist" and he holds me to "high standards" because he "knows" I can uphold them.  Not under pressure from him, I can't.  Because I'm so worried of letting him down, I end up letting him down all the time.  Just to see if this time he'll react differently.  If he reacts the same as always, why should I be expected NOT to do something the same as always?


As for fights, he's the one who needs to resolve things all the way through to the end, but I'm the one who has the instinct to walk out before things get bad.  He never lets me, though, because that agitates him more and because I might get caught up in something more interesting than going back to resolve the fight while I'm out of the room calming down.  Which may very well be true - but I get really hurt by staying in the room when he needs me to but I need to get out of there.  The only progress that gets made after that point is that I'll start crying within 15-20 minutes of that get-out-now point because I can't take it any more, I haven't said what he needs to hear to calm him down, and I start to feel personally responsible for his happiness and his calmness.  Then he has to switch gears and tell me it's fine and it's not a big problem - great, if it's not a big problem why have we just spent an hour and a half "talking" about it?  Once I start crying, he calms down, but it takes me another half hour to calm myself down because I'm feeling so inadequate.  Yes, I messed up again.  and again, and again, and again.  No, I can't apologize for acting the way I always have.  And no, I don't want to go through and talk about what I "should have" done so you wouldn't have gotten upset.  That is painful and condescending to me, acting as if I have control over the past and as if I'll remember this conversation when a similar situation comes up in the future.  And I'll stand there and go, "Oh, wait, this sounds like the setup from the time BF got upset because of XYZ!  I'd better do it differently this time!"  


He's just recently managed to get me to realize that when he's upset it's not necessarily AT ME, but at LIFE.  And yet I still take it really, really personally.  Because sometimes he's just upset at LIFE, except he's upset because of something he asked me to do.  And he never seems to get this upset about anything else, like work.


Why can't he just be like, "okay, we'll figure out another way" from the get-go instead of first being all "WHY DID YOU DO/NOT DO THAT?!?!?!?!" and "I'm really disappointed in that."  His way of working through things is killing me.  I can't tell you how many times lately I've thought about getting out of the relationship, but then I think about all the things we have in common, how we do get along great as long as he's not "let down" by me and we're not stressed, or hungry, or tired.  And although my parents have offered to support me, I don't want to do anything until I'm financially independent (but am slated to start a new job with my first full-time salary EVER next month).  Also, I feel a bit bound together because hey, we just moved to Ghana together six months ago.  Let's let this thing settle in, y'know, and take this opportunity to travel together and be an awesome expat grown-up couple.


*SIGH*  I know I hijacked your thread.  What it boils down to is, discussions when a mixed-ADD couple is angry are frigging hard!  And I have no solution, only sympathy!