advice on illogical arguments

I wasn't sure where to turn for advice, or at least the specific advice I seem to need, and since searching "husband with ADD has illogical arguments" on google seems to bring up weird results, I decided to post here.

I've known my husband for a little over four years, married almost 2, and we have an 11 month old child together. Let me say that compared to day 1 with my husband, today he has made leaps and bounds with his life and is actually acting semi independently unlike when we met. Long story short he has ADD and it wasn't diagnosed until late high school, combine that with parents that did absolutely (and I mean everything and anything) everything for him, and I soon found out after marriage that my husband was very dependent. At first I didn't mind doing all the normal things like cooking, cleaning, organizing, deciding, etc, but I quickly became aware that sometimes I need a shoulder to lean on and it wasn't really (and still isn't) there for me. I am getting resentful of the fact that I have to do it all, be it all, and decide it all. I am a natural leader in that I will take charge of things normally, but sometimes I wish there was more of a team in our marriage.

My husband does a lot of things well, like loving me and our child. He is compassionate to us, and tries hard to support most of our family financial needs. He is a good person and his upbringing has made him naive in some ways, but it's a good thing and I actually enjoy that quality about him. He doesn't ignore me, but does "tune out". He definitely grumbles about doing almost anything I need him to do such as chores, etc, but he does them while dragging his feet and talking like a defiant teenager. He needs a lot of direction which I get, because of ADD. His common sense is not the best either so I end up doing a lot of tasks myself. Lately it just seems like I'm running myself ragged.

I got fired over a year ago when "performance issues" came to a head apparently after having no problems ever in a job for 6 years, but did come up after announcing my pregnancy. That is a different support group all together. My point is that I was able to stay at home for a bit with our child while searching for new employment. I was receiving unemployment benefits during that time but I was killing myself to find another job. My husband who is very successful in his job and works hard for us liked to remind me if we argued that I "stayed home all day", and that he shouldn't have to participate in chores and other household situations because he worked all day and I didn't. As any stay at home mother can tell you, raising a child all day is not a piece of cake. Remember-I have always done everything around the house including taking care of the baby. I'm not sure if it is his upbringing or his ADD or a combination but the man never once has helped me late at night when the baby woke, has never tried learning her requirements at each month as far as food, development is concerned, and basically only helps with changing a diaper once in a while. He does his part of reading to her and helping with things when asked, but complains if I ask god forbid to give her a bath like he is a teenager rebelling against his parents.

I find that when we argue about this stuff he becomes illogical and I'm wondering if that is a symptom or caused by his ADD? Like if he gets angry, does it literally create a situation in his brain (I'm being serious), that makes him not think logical? He will go off on tangents that when we are not angry at each other and talk about, he says he just says that when he is mad and he knows I work hard, etc. So I don't know what side of him to believe? Does he really think the things he says, or should I believe the guy that talks to me when we're both calm?

He'll start saying insane things like if we are arguing over why he doesn't get up with the baby at night ever, it's because he needs his sleep and I "forgot what it was to work'. He blames himself having to work so hard because I came into the marriage with student loans and he "hates them" (which I'm actually paying myself so the argument is futile), and then he'll move onto my family-(who help immensely with baby sitting but not a ton because I'm home most of the time), that they didn't help me enough financially therefore I have the loans (I have 4 siblings and obviously that is a lot of college money for any family to have). He'll then say crazy stuff like he asked all these people if they think I'm the one being selfish if I asked him to wake with the baby knowing he works in the morning, and they all thought I was a jerk. (Who these people are I don't know.) I believe it's his child so he should do things 50/50 no matter what time he wakes up. He'll also attack the fact that I like a clean house and say I'm a "cleanliness fanatic". He didn't really grow up with that so he doesn't get why I work so hard at it. He hates that during arguments about how he does more then me (he always likes a competition) that I tell him I clean the house by myself and take care laundry, cooking, etc, that I don't have to clean, or do those things, I choose to. (We have three animals, a baby, and two adults-trust me I need to vacuum daily!)  He literally argues that I make up all the things I have to do everyday to make it seem like I work harder, and if he asked 10 families that they would say I don't have to do any of it. I try to convince him that normal people vacuum and dust, and sometimes even do dishes. I literally think he believes I make stuff up and he does not understand or can't understand what normal families do. This paragraph can get much bigger but I'll spare you.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I get a part time job (FINALLY), and still do all the above mentioned things, and now we have an argument tonight after our teething baby wakes up over who has to get her AGAIN. Reminding you here that he has NEVER gotten her during the night since birth. He now says, I don't work "as much", and he gets up "an hour earlier" I apparently have an hour extra sleep to play with and be the baby lady all night. It's like you were complaining that I didn't work before, now I do, and you still think you shouldn't have to do anything??? Granted, I work 15 hours a week now which doesn't seem like much- but I work with Special Education children in middle school who are quite a handful. I do enjoy the work but believe me 3 hours a day, everyday, is tiring when you combine it with all that I do.

Bottom line I am sick of being "IT" all the time and having to plead practically with him to participate in real family life! I don't want to argue anymore about why he shouldn't have to participate, or that other families do exactly what I do, or why he thinks he works harder then me and can get out of everything. I certainly am sick of hearing all the illogical reasons he has as to why I should shoulder all the burden of everyday life.

Silver lining-he did see a physician after I begged him for a year, who referred him to a neurologist to get help with ADD. He has never had consistent treatment since he never thought he had a problem until he read up on ADD and it's effects. I'm hoping they can do something for him. He does not respond well to stimulate drugs and stopped taking them a few years ago, and wants to try a newer non-stimulate drug on the market to see if it helps him become more involved-without the unwanted side effects.


PHEW. Thanks for reading, I truly appreciate it.




wow I totally understand my

wow I totally understand my husband has been the same way for years... i can totally relate!  My hubby also says i dont have to do the things i say i have too but that i choose too and that is why i dont get to relax.  I have 3 girls, one year almost two, a three year old and nine year old. he helps more now but not without my constant reminders. its such a struggle i love my girls but there are days when i wonder if i can even tolerate this for another day. No advice just know ill be praying for you and i understand.. dealing with this type of marriage is such a tough walk. Right now hubby is hyperfocused on the pres. Election and its drivng me crazy. Ill write more later on my tablet and hard to type.

hi firedancer!! :)

Hi firedancer!! :) I read your post and totally feel for you!! I wanted to give you a little insight on "illogical thinking" sometimes tantrums I also call them!!! Yes, the way he reacts is definitely a symptom off add!!! Probably one of the worst symptoms for a a healthy happy relationship!!! :/ I know alot about these and the crazy illogical thinking... sometimes he talks in circles so bad, forgetting about what even initiated the original conversation. Turning it into a bad, negative, angry, very confusing time for the non-adder!! Making you sometimes start to doubt your own sanity, because he's so lost about the reality of what's going on, and then blames it on you, like you're the nutty one! Does that sound at all familiar to you?? I am 28 and have had adhd, since i was a kid. I was unfortunately misdiagnosed until Feb./2012. I also have a 24 year old boyfriend who also has severe add/adhd, but has never gone to the doctors, because he believes "he's not that bad"!! lol, Anyways, I understand this crazy, misunderstanding, illogical thought process from 2 perspectives!! Myself and the way I "perceived" life before medication. And also as the non-add partner. What I used to think was a crazy illogical thinking boyfriend, I now know is the best, loving, boyfriend affected by add. I know this, because after 3 months of taking my medicine I was astounded at how blind I had been my entire life to the reality of what was actually going on around me as opposed to how I "perceived " it!! I had responded to things people said to me, or asked of me with extreme illogical thinking . But you see, to me, it wasn't illogical, because having an adhd brain means that my brain is literally wired differently than a non-adhd brain. In return, I literally understand the meaning and purpose of what people are saying to me, differently than they intended. In response to that, I give an answer that makes 110% sense to me, but is totally wrong for the subject at hand, due to my misperception of what is being said. 

Since being on my medicine, it's like "the fog has been lifted" I can see what's "really" going on around me!! It amazes me how I could have been so confused, and wrong!! My brain tricked me!! And I had NO idea!!

So, now being on my meds and "understanding" and my boyfriend not being on medicine. I have now switched roles to the the "non-adder" and it's very, very, frustrating!! My boyfriend reacts, and does things, and says things to me, that would make anyone feel taken advantage of and unappreciated. He then somehow manages to turn it around on me, like I'm the jerk, and I'm the only person he know's who would feel that way. He's says, he asks "everyone" and they tell him "it's me"! Lol, he also says, if he's illogical, then why am I the first to tell him? "I have to be wrong! or just being down right mean!" My answer to that is, "I am obviously the first person to love him enough to hurt his feelings in order to "help him" see what he is not  capable of seeing because of a his disability!! It blocks him from seeing what other people do!! The same as it had done to me for so many years!!

Now, I don't know your husband,he seems besides for the given, a pretty descent man, but for all I know, he may be an ungrateful, inappreciative, one day, regretful man. Or, what I believe the biggest problem is, he may be totally misperceiving, your requests. The number one thing to remember, is just because you say something that you would think a 1st grader would understand, that doesn't mean your husband understands it the same way! I have a habit of repeating myself over and over again what i want, or need, or mean to my add bf.  Expecting it to "click" or make sense to him. What i didn't realize before, but have learned, is just because i repeat it, or say it louder, or put more emotion into, that doesn't mean he will understand it any different than the first time i said it!! So I've learned that if there seems like there is confusion between us, and he sounds like he's crazy off on some tangent, it's because there is!!! We are talking to eachother, but have 2 totally different "main topics" going on!! So I have learned that when he's flipping out, and answering me illogically, that means we have a miscommunication somewhere between us, somethings gotta change if we want to come to an understanding, or agreement. 

I had some more to say, but i've hyper focused for too long and have to go, but real quick...when my family used to ask me to go to dinner with everyone 20 mins away, I never went."I hated myself for telling them no all the time, I knew how much it meant to them, and I really wanted to spend the time with them. The thing is, I never went, because of severe anxiety which I didn't know what was causing it. After finding the right medicine and fixing my chemical imbalance, I started to realize why I have done so many of the things I've done in my life that I'm not proud of. I realized that the thought of that 20 min drive, sitting in a car, felt like never ending time!! I gave myself anxiety from fear of being bored sitting still for a mere 20 min. because ADD makes our conceptions of time totally different than the non-adder!! Also, when I don't have a plan and something is thrown on me all of a sudden, extreme anxiety!! For example, Hypothetically, if I was your husband, and came home from work, and you  said nice as can be " hey babe, will u please put the baby in the tub, I've had a long day!" My response would be confusion, dread, anger,anxiety,.... all because my add mind relies on my schedule!! IF interrupted, I get so confused and flustered, because my "time plans" have changed and I don't know how to rationally realize that a 10 min bath won't put me out!! After confusion, dread from the thought of spending all this time on something I didn't plan. Then anger, because my anxiety has just kicked in and I know the only way to get away from my anxiety is to get out of this unplanned task, at any cost! Even if it means, turning this conversation into a fight with you, so you'll end up doing it!! That's where the anger comes in!! It comes from fear! 

I don't know the details of what's going on, but if I can help you at all, I'd love to!! :) I have done a lot of research on add/adhd, as well as going through a personal, eye opening  transformation after being on the right medicine. I've gained an understanding of myself and how this disability affects someone and everyone around them. As well as living day to day with an ADD boyfriend, and all of our wonderfully confusing symptoms, and still in love. :)  So, I hope something I said will help you at least a little, and if you have any questions, please ask me!! I want to help and inform as many people as I can about ADD/ADHD!!! I don't want anyone to have to go through what ADD/ADHD causes to someone, and their family and friends! The more you know about it, you understand it, you understand why "we" are the way we are, which makes you equipped to help change someone's life for the good!! :)

Love and Peace,




Hi Elizabeth,

I want to thank you for your post, as it definitely has taught me a few things. I hope that in time I can come to terms with the way I have to relate to my husband. Like you said, it's the way he perceives things and maybe I have to just accept that. Maybe I'm not ready to?  Sometimes I get angry that I have to be different then other I see couples on TV or in the store together and the husband is leading the way and making her laugh, or he's alone with his two kids in the store by himself! What a concept! I almost get jealous of their "normalcy". I crave that have him be more "present", "aware", "involved"....just to name a few. I guess it's almost like I have to mourn that I'll never have that easy normal banter with him or be able to totally 100% feel comfortable with him taking our daughter out on his own, or even trusting him to do something I've asked. I appreciate your history with ADD and getting assistance with medication. I only hope that the doctors he'll be seeing can assist him and put him on the right path. The only person I'm really concerned with is our daughter. I hate to think she'll have to grow up in a home where arguing is present a lot and have her think her Mom and Dad don't get along. I came from a broken home and do not want that to be her fate. Please keep in touch...

I Can Totally Relate

I got on the site this morning to post/get some insight into my husbands inability to say what he means and mean what he says.  Which is really hard for an analytical person like myself.  Then I see your post on illogical conversations and was immediately pulled in because I've just recently been dealing with that too.  For some reason, prior to now it's been me getting frustrated and expressing myself.  Now he seems to feel like he should jump on the bandwagon too, but without the logic and "truth?" to back up his grievances.  I'm having a hard time articulating exactly but you did a good job in your post.  We have a lot of those same nonsensical arguments and after the last one I found myself telling him that he was making me feel like I just took crazy pills! 

I hope things get better for you, I can't see the light at the end of my tunnel yet.  It's actually gotten a bit worse lately.




I know what you mean...I almost feel nuts sometimes myself. Read the post above yours as I think it puts a lot in perspective. Whether or not I can accept that my husbands brain will wire information differently is up to me to do I guess. I just hope the doctors can help us.

Firedancer, Elizabeth, --Thank you so very much

Thank you both for your comments and Melissa and Dr. Hallowell for this godsend site. Although I found this site about a year ago, this is the first time I have posted because the combination of your posts on “illogical arguments” really resonated through me like ice water! First, I have to say that my husband has great capacity to be a kind, gentle man and I know that he loves me very much. Yet he is a worrier and insecure which leads him to be sarcastic, selfish, defensive, and vindictive, which I wish I could say was on occasion. We have argued practically since our relationship because my husband “assumes and presumes” just any and everything in general and what I say or don’t say. This often happens because his mind is moving so fast that he’s half listening, not at all, or I haven’t responded fast enough. He just gets anxious and defensive but would rather argue the opposite and blame me than admit to any of this most of the time.

He’s 46 and was diagnosed for the first time w/ADHD off the chart in Jan. of this year and if I last, we’ll be married 7 yrs. this December; 8 yrs. together total. I suggested his getting diagnosed after he relayed a conversation with his ex about my step-son's (he’s 16 yrs., younger brother 14) negative behaviors that were effecting his grades and her household. He said he asked her to describe them, and as she did he said that a checklist of my frustrations with him began going off in his head and maybe he thought he should get checked for ADD/ADHD. He did and the severity was so great that the evaluator psychologist (who only does evaluations), offered to take him on as a client! Since then, he has been in therapy and taking Aderall 2x daily. It’s been tedious to say the least and both parents feel the boys are "brilliant" (though angry and sarcastic), so they haven't been tested and there are no plans for it either.

I have felt that I’ve fallen into a parent/child relationship from the beginning of our living together. As Firedancer noted he acts like “a rebellious teen to his parents.” He will go to work, cook, and go grocery shopping which is a credit and blessing. However, that’s pretty much it.  Six months into our relationship, I had to make him go get a job, which thankfully he’s kept for 7yrs. now as a special needs para for kids, many with ADD/ADHD. Four yrs. into our marriage I was laid off and been killing myself to find work, but was the breadwinner until that time. I provided us with food, clothing, and shelter, working and new cars, gotten him a doctor and dentist, reestablished his credit and got him credit cards, and into college and graduate school. Publicly, he’s always talking about these things I provided in a “what we did” manner, though ask him the process and he looks at me to confirm or to step in and save face for him, then privately is ready to cop an attitude, argue, have tantrums, and attempt to guilt-rid me if and when I don’t!!!

We’re on food stamps now, but he wants to keep the card in his possession and will argue that it was his doing because he signed his name to the paperwork I went and got. He didn’t. Never even saw it and when I try to tell him or show him the copy of it, then he doesn’t want to discuss it, just give him control without the responsibility of making anything happen or the negative results of his actions. He wants luxury living but wouldn’t find a better position even in his own school after getting his BA, though eligible for teacher status. Yet, he wants everything easy, but says I make life hard, while ignoring the negative effects of his behavior on our life. His sister told me that since being with me, it’s the first time he’s actually kept a job this long, plus got his BA and is now in graduate school—it’s their first visible view of any stability in his life. They attribute all of this to me, however they couldn’t BEGIN to have a clue what it’s taken out of me to help him accomplish these things while managing our lives and responsibilities alone.

I was raised by a single mother with 3 older brothers and he, 2 parents very well off, in the suburbs with 3 older siblings. I’ve been on my own since 16, but raised to depend on hard work and effort and accept responsibility for my mess ups to myself and others. In essence, have integrity and I have lived my life by that to the best of my abilities. Although my husband left home for college at 18, and eventually owned a home, he acts very naïve and is lazy about the business of life, maintaining a home, and being married, though was in a tumultuous 10 yr. relationship w/his ex. (No criticism or judgment, however I now see why). He hates that I’m a counselor and will scoff at any knowledge I have by saying that I think I’m better than he is and he can go get a job doing it too because he took one class in psychology at the associate level. I tell him if it was that easy, I wasted a lot of time, money, and experience that he’s been happy to enjoy the fruits of and spend freely. I also let him know that even if I wasn’t a counselor, I’ve been in many a bad relationship w/men that acted just like him—it’s not rocket science—been there, had him! It’s all to deflect his responsibility for any thing in any way. 

When we argue he is a badger, searching how to “one up,” taunting me to prove I know what I’m talking about, or daring me to confirm with family or friends. As Elizabeth put it: “... sometimes he talks in circles so bad, forgetting about what even initiated the original conversation. Turning it into a bad, negative, angry, very confusing time for the non-adder!! Making you sometimes start to doubt your own sanity, because he's so lost about the reality of what's going on, and then blames it on you, like you're the nutty one!”

 This is how I feel and watch others perceive me (his mom and some of my family) as he tells or gives the impression that I’m the one with the problems of anger and resentment and need to take care of that as if he met me this way, my family told him that was my history, or that he has nothing to do with it. None of it true. Early in our relationship, I wondered where this came from and then once during a family visit his sister said, “This was the guy who would argue all day that the sky wasn’t blue while looking at it!” When I said, “Uh-hm…” he immediately said directly to me, “You’re just like that too.” I didn’t take this bait and stayed silent. He’s always projecting or directly stating that I have his behaviors too.

 Another time we were going to his mother’s on the train. A four-person seat became open and we sat next to each other. I’m a juicy woman so I move across from him. He immediately assumed I didn’t want to sit next to him and said so. Before I could say that wasn’t true, that it was too cramped, he threw the tickets at me as the conductor was coming to check them. People were directly across from us and all around and I was in shock that he would do something so humiliating to me in public! I asked him why would he do that and he smirked and said “You know everything, you tell me!” I cut my eyes so hard they hurt, my face turned to stone and I turned and looked out the window, but couldn’t stop the tears streaming down my face. He started saying, “Wow…wow…” like he’d just discovered a basket case! He always counts on my getting it together in public no matter how he acts but after 7 yrs., that time I just couldn’t do it. We had 3 hrs. more to go, and I remained looking out that window. He sat there totally uncomfortable and I could sense scared. Yet, when we got off the train, I went to the booth to ask a question only to have my dear mother-in-law come behind me to ask me not to go home because he’d told her that I was what I was probably doing at the booth. I wasn’t and didn’t, and said to her “That is the problem, your son needs to find out or ask somebody before making it sound as if it’s reality.” When she and I did talk later, about what happened on the train, she said that she wanted to give me a chance to “vent.” Yet her conclusion was based on what he told her was, “Well, he told about it and he didn’t mean it, dear.” Spoiled, BS. 

Two years before his ADHD diagnosis, we went to marriage counseling for 3 months. He would just sit there and say he was tired. My husband is reactionary, so he was always tired until I spoke first, which the counselor accommodated, not challenged. There were times he would sit there and just straight out lie—“I don’t know what’s wrong with her…she hasn’t talked to me for 3 days!” He knew good and well, but would never show the integrity to say his contribution. There were times I just couldn’t believe or take it and walk out of a session in total frustration and hurt. I did this twice and the last time, the counselor said maybe it was time for me to get medication! The counselor even asked me if I felt that I wasn’t carrying my load due to being unemployed! He broke the golden rule of couples counseling—choosing sides.

 I have become a yeller and I hate it and the consistent fighting about petty things. I’ve gained almost 80 lbs. over our marriage, have a heart troubles, and am exhausted with his badgering, table turning, irresponsibility, and expecting me to be his brain in decision-making, so he never has to be accountable. I am tired of finding myself either on the porch to escape, sleeping on the kitchen floor of our small apt. (for 4 yrs. he refused to believe he snored…like I like sleeping on the freaking kitchen floor to make him look bad!?), or for the last 4 yrs. finding myself in a hotel room every December (they know my name and expect me now!) to protect my own health and sanity.

 I’m working on my second masters and he, his first. He’s blown one semester by staying in the computer on a political board as an admin when he’s supposed to or could be getting the coursework done. Although he’s not getting paid for it, he stays on that board for literally up to 8hrs. a day before and after work. Sometimes he’s even late for work because of it! Then he waits until the last week before major coursework is due to even begin! I just found out he’s blown this current semester too! He’ll need an extension and that means he doesn’t get to go to the next residency, get a refund, in jeopardy of being expelled for non-completion, and now will take 3yrs. to get a 2yr. degree! He relayed all this to me as if it was everyone at the college’s fault but his, but because of the extension, no big deal. But I told him that the college had been fair, made a contract and allowance for his ADHD status and he had a responsibility that he didn’t fulfill…he got mad about that! Behind the first incident, I told him then that I was two seconds out of the door because I’ve told him over and over that his admin involvement was interfering too much with his ability to be present in our lives and his coursework. At that time he said I was right, that he was computer playing too much, and thanked me for staying. This time, he acted as if I was a traitor. When he blew out his breath and angrily sighed like I was just on his back and then continued to find blame with the college, I just became inwardly disgusted. If he would discuss the truth of an argument and stop saying “that’s your truth,” when it’s about his behaviors and take responsibility that would be one thing…but that’s rare and getting rarer to null daily unless he truly thinks I’m about out the door.

I’ve basically been quiet and introspective and I AM going to find a job as quick as I can, build some money, and leave this marriage. I made a marriage vow, but he did too. And I am totally tired and though and don’t care any more. He’s already said that he won’t give me a divorce, but I’ve told him, “The devil is a lie…”

Today I turned 48...and this cannot be the life of my 50s and beyond...I will wish him well but just don’t have it to care any more and God put me here for better than this. And unfortunately, I have a feeling he won't get it until I've left.




barneyarff's picture

Control without

Control without responsibility.   Eeek!   That's my life.

And, because I bought into it, DH has gotten most of the control and I have the responsibility.  Even though I have brought this up several times to him, he generally looks at me like I'm nuts.

If he worked half at hard at getting things done as he does avoiding and coercing me into doing his stuff, he'd be done. 

Today, I think what annoys me the most is all the times "experts" and DH told me that I'm in control.  What utter BS.  I allowed myself to be a slave.  But no more....  And, frankly the experts can go suck an egg. 

That control without responsibility crap is over.  Of course he will have exquiste hissy fits.  I will be told I'm nuts, a bitch, etc in order to be put back into my place.   You know what?  This sounds like abuse.  Have I been abused all these years?


Thank you, you gave me an Ah-ah moment here. It seems (and if my husband told it) that I was the one in control, because I handle practically everything, he deposits his pay and I distribute, and he waits for me to tell him what do. Then when we fight, I discover that he resents it all but not enough to take true responsibility with me. But after reading your comment, I can see this differently. He does have more control because I've enabled him in so many ways and times and catered to his negative behaviors to avoid arguing, hurting his feelings while he stomps over mine, or to show patience and understanding to motivate him.

Then when I blow, he gets contrite and tries to be a "good boy," by doing things I've asked for months, sometimes years ago, to appease the situation until he thinks I'm not mad. If he doesn't get the  positive reaction or appreciation he believes he deserves immediately for doing the normal things expected in a marriage and household, then he has a huffing fit or tantrum. If I do seem appeased, he stops doing, and then everything goes back to normal pretty much immediately. It's a manipulative dance that I've allowed him to lead, and I know he knows it. 

Are you being abused, B? You'd be a better judge on that. I know because we yell, my husband accuses both of us being abusive to each other. I believe this is true about yelling, cussing each other, etc.--nothing physical--but the end result of hurt and disrespect is all the same.

barneyarff's picture

What really hit me in your

What really hit me in your post was the part about your DH believes he deserves a positive reaction for doing normal things in the marriage and household.   I bite my tongue all the time because I want to shout "what do you want?  a Medal?"  Ok, I know all the stuff.... a positive response will eventually get you the behaviour you want.  Yelling just makes things worse. Being mad doesn't help, try a different method like having a party and throwing confetti everytime the ADHD person performs a baby step.  Excuse the sarcasm.....

I am not my DH's parent.  Just ask these wonderful experts.  Why should I have a huge positive response to what should be normal adult behaviour,   I mean, if I'm throwing a parade for DH taking a dirty dish from the living room to the kitchen, will he expect it everytime?  And what if he does something really great?  If I've thrown a parade for taking care of a dirty dish, what's left?

Ok, in real life, I say thank you for taking the dish in.  But still, really?  He's not 5.  Here's the deal.  If 100x he leaves a dish in the LR and 25x he takes the dish to the kitchen and ALL 25x I applaud his good behavior, it does not lessen the 100x he leaves the dish in the LR.  I can document if you want.  DH hates it when I document.  <BEG>

So, in my house we all agree that dirty dishes should be in the kitchen.  Even DH agrees.  So, he leaves dirty dishes in the LR often for an extended time if no one picks up after him.  Even to the point that after a few months (!) he will yell "Who left this dirty dish in here".  I will say You did and He will get mad.  Once again, I can document it by putting his name and date on the bottom of the dish and then he'll really blow.  The experts will say my behavior is passive aggressive but um......  what do I do?  If I don't document, he denies everything.  If I don't document, all he does is deny his behavior.  What else am I supposed to do?   Really,,,, an answer please.

I don't see any way around this but leave because he won't fix his behavior.

barneyarff's picture

Ok, so here I am again,

Ok, so here I am again, getting ready to go to the store....  I'm in the bathroom brushing my teeth and I look up and see....once again... the brown mess that got squirted on the wall above the mirror many months ago (sorry didn't document it so I can' say for sure how many months ago.  Since I did NOT document, DH will SWEAR this happened just a few days ago)

Anyway, many months ago, DH used hair dye and somehow it squirted all over the wall and ceiling.  the stuff on the ceiling has been covered up because our handyman has had to patch something. But why on earth did my DH not clean up the mess when it was still wet?  and why hasn't he done anything since?   If I ask him about it, the conversation will go one of 2 ways.    "What mess?   Who made that mess up there?"   OR  "I was going to do it!   It just happened a few days ago and I haven't had time to clean up this mess because the 3 of you keep putting so many demands on me"    And somehow it will be my fault, again.

I can't win.  experts keep telling me all the things I should do differently.  I am not the problem.  yes, I've yelled, so I will stop.  if the experts insist I will throw a parade everytime he  makes a babystep.  When will DH manage his ADHD so it isn"t a constant zoo?  OH! WAIT!  We can't expect a terribly disabled person to manage his disability!  What kind of monsters are we!  We must accomidate and thrill at any positive movement.  And he is trying. I mean after 38 years of marriage, he has managed to take his pills 2 days in a row.  Why am I still bitching?    And that's where he gets me.   I expect too much out of him...   He came from a poor family and mine was "rich".  he's a victim and I'm the overlord.   screw it.  He got a Schwinn and I got a Huffy.   

I hired a cleaning service

I hired a cleaning service last week, to treat myself.  I like having a clean house but I hate to clean.  (Well, I don't mind straightening up but I don't like things like vacuuming, mopping, and scrubbing the toilet and bathtub.)  The cleaners were thorough.  The owner of the service, who helped clean our house (I think that his employee actually did more of the work), said, "We did the best we could in the bathrooms."  One of the bathrooms is used almost solely by my husband.  The rest of us (my daughters when they're home, me all the time) are generally too disgusted to use that bathroom.  My thought was that I was glad they even made an effort.  Also, that bathroom has a pretty big counter, most of which I had cleared before the cleaners came, and they were able to clean the counter and the sink.  By approximately two hours after my husband got home, the counter was totally covered with his junk.    My husband spends a lot of time at his parents, providing "caregiving" services, and I discovered a note that his dad wrote to him, telling him to clean up his crap in their bathroom because it was so gross and his dad is not his maid.  Sad.

The Reason He Wants a Medal

I don't know if anyone else mentioned this because I haven't read the whole thread, but in my husband's reading, he learned that the smallest things that are easy for us are very hard for them.  I know; it feels unfair, but my husband says he also wants the effort acknowledged.  I know it is frustrating.  Grrr.  I have to say, though, that at least knowing I can label such behavior as ADD makes me feel better about both my husband and my ADD daughter who both do the same things.  Her room is a disaster, though she tries in spurts to clean it.  But she will lie in a bed that is covered with crusty bowls, dirty clothes, plastic bottles (16 going on 17)...  I have completely detached from her bedroom, since her mess is there only.  Again, knowing they both have ADD, and seeing how they both have similar habits, makes me at least feel that it isn't that they don't care about me, or consider me the house slave, but they are apparently clueless.

Yeah, I realize that the

Yeah, I realize that the inability to see the stuff and the dirt is probably from ADHD.  I don't take it personally.  I am, however, frustrated by the fact that when I do ask for help with things that I know my husband can do (in our house, it's vacuuming) and he agrees, he'll do it thoroughly once and then stop doing whatever we agreed on (i.e., vacuuming the entire house once a week).  That feels personal.  

barneyarff's picture

Thank you Hardlife.  I

Thank you Hardlife.  I understand that they have trouble focusing on little things.  I've spent many long years picking up.  I will goso  far as to say that I began to feel ashamed about my rant after reading your post.


I'm pooped,  After 30+ years with little or no improvement, trying all kinds of suggestions. I'm played out.

I get that a person wants some acknowledgement for a job well done.  But, OMG!  praise for all those little things??  for 30+ years?  Really?

remember, according to experts even positive reinforcement gets boring after awhile and something new has to be introduced.  Really for 30+ years???????

And they aren't clueless.  My son likes to comment on other people's neat houses and my DH knows how to pick up his crap if anyone is coming to our house.

If their crap remained in their space I might live with it but it flows onto every flat surface. It's like The Blob movie.

If there was some movement to fix this, I might be more patient.  But I see no coping mechanisms being developed.  I'm just a bitch for complaining about something they can't "help".

The other reason I know they aren't helpless, is that when I came back from the hospital (for 4 weeks)  somehow things had gotten done.  They also got done that time I was away on business for 6 weeks.  And now that I'm feeling better, DH's biggest complaint is how I'm not picking up around the house more.     reallY?  seriously?  I[m just refusing to pick up after him anymore and he's mad.


I hear and feel you, B

I've done and felt the same thing about the same things. No problem with the sarcasism...been there too and glad I found this forum and site to vent and gain knowledge, but I'm just trying not to stay there. I understand and often feel the same way about accolades for normality...especially when I'm neither asking for or getting them myself.

My husband has told me 2 different times over the years that he was "embarrassed" about the condition of the house. I almost fell over because the first time he said it was because I had unpacked boxes from our just moving in. We both work all day, but somehow it was my sole responsibility to empty and arrange "our belongings." Another time, which he's brought up repeatedly over the years, was when he went out of town to a friend's and he claims that the "house was trashed." The same dishes that he left in the sink where still there when he returned a week later, but I'd "trashed the house." If it wasn't for me, he wouldn't have had a roof over his head period and I gave him the ticket and spending money to visit his friend!  

I've read some posts saying that the ADHD spouse doesn't have a clue about their messes...I have not found that to be true in my married life. My husband is very aware enough to argue and defend his lack there of AND he is quite capable of cleaning very well when it suits his purpose. I hate living in the mess we're in now and do my best to clean what I can as often as possible. I wasn't raised to live in filth and hadn't lived my single life in it either. He just leaves a trail as if he's got "Hazel" or "Alice" living here...I am very glad however that we didn't buy a house together or I would be in really bad physical shape.

Since I know I will be ending this marriage and his direct opposition and threat of revenge towards divorce (tell any and all anything negative and/or private about me that he can), I'm starting a personal journal for my sanity and evidence if needed of our irreconcilability. It's really sad to me that while he says he loves me so much he's willing to hurt me to prove his point that everything is my fault yet expect me to stay while he does it.