Baby, Marriage and ADHD

I have a very ADHD spouse of 13 years who was diagnosed 5 years ago and is extremely successful despite a lifetime of family and social discouragement. He is a funny, smart (gifted), supportive, driven, creative, and a reflective person. He is an ENTP and I am an INFJ and by and large we complement each other and have similar values. Since his diagnoses and sessions with his therapist he has taken a lot better control of his life and has created clearer rules about how people can treat him, to the extent that if we get into a full blown argument he makes it clear that I can leave anytime. These threats cut deep and usually result in me spiraling into a crying fit which he doesn't understand and makes it impossible for me to communicate - I just seal up and we never finish the "conversation." We typically argue over his participation in the home, family, and my childish behaviour... but have never resolved anything.

Convenience and "what he wants" is everything to him as he does not tolerate inconvenience and can rarely accommodate my wants and needs. And I don't think he appreciates my struggle to meet his expectations.

Now to complicate things we recently had a baby (3 months ago) and I feel every time that I ask him to watch the baby for a few minutes so I can do chores (of which I do ALL) it's an inconvenience, he always has either a headache, work to do, or both. Then when I don't get these things done, he tells me that "I have to figure out a way to get stuff done." - which includes a hot supper for him when he gets home. I use to think he was just trying to make me a better, stronger person... now he's just pissing me off, and this is coming through in my attitude to him.

Last night we had another blow up fight b/c I left the house for an hour to get my hair cut. I left a bottle of milk in the fridge, feed, and changed the baby before I left. When I got home I was criticized b/c baby was fussy, he had a headache, and he was unable to eat even though food was prepared for him. I had ruined his whole night. I got mad in return and suggested that he had to learn to cope better with a fussing baby (in other words "man up"), which he responded with - "The past year living with you has sucked. I'm moving out!"

Now I know these are just angry words and he's not going anywhere, but it hurts and I feel myself detaching from him... I've called his therapist to get a marriage counsellor recommendation, but I'm sad that it's looking like he thinks our relationship is disposable and that our baby is going to be raised in a broken home.

I don't know what to do or say to him between now and the time we get into therapy, if we even do go.

Hang in there.

I often get the "you've ruined my whole day/evening/night" response whenever things don't go perfectly for my boyfriend.  Usually because he did something really insensitive and I dared to say something about it.  It sounds to me like he's used to being "mothered" by you, since you do everything and cook him hot meals too.  It usually takes couples therapy so that he can see another individual supporting and validating YOUR perspective for an ADHD person to really get what's going on and what's hurtful about their behavior.  Please go to therapy if not for you then for your child!  ADHD people often blame others for things that are really out of anyone's control (fussy baby) and need to be made aware that life isn't always perfect and it's not anyone's fault necessarily when things don't go "as expected".  They also say very hurtful things that they don't actually mean.  I doubt he is really considering moving out....who would do all his housework and cook for him?!  I also don't think he actually really feels that the relationship is disposable, but what he said is typical of the lash out, say anything hurtful response to being agitated.  A new baby can be stressful for a non-adhd person (as I'm sure you're WELL aware), so he must be feeling very stressed out and unable to cope appropriately because of the ADHD.  Seeing a therapist is extremely important when children are involved and I think will really help you both navigate the situation.  My heart goes out to you!

I seems like he is a bit old

I seems like he is a bit old school in his approximation of marriage. The whole "man earns, woman keeps house/kids".  Did he give you any indication of this before you were married or had the baby? It's hard to get a man out of that's possible. My husband came from a family like that...his dad was the bread winner and his mom stayed at home. He expected to do the finances, though he consistently late in paying his bills. We clashed about in consistently. Now he's backed off and is content to let me handle most things. I don't know if it's because I am the main breadwinner or if he "saw the light". Who knows.

In any case, it could be that a new baby brings new stress. A marriage counselor is a very good idea.

Having a baby and dealing

Having a baby and dealing with ADHD dh is a hard transition. I feel for you... You're tired and your ADHD dh is probably not transitioning too well if he already has a stressful job... I hear you, you still need to take care of yourself. Don't allow what he says to you to keep you at home or surrendering your identity.

When my ADHD dh goes off on a rant, he does not get when I use phrases like "Please try to" or "I'd like you to", things that most neurotypical individuals say to one another. Even couched in the niceties of conversation, my ADHD doesn't feel it. In fact, it confuses him because to him, what I'm saying is neither here nor there, so I *must* be accusing him of something!

Basically, I have to say what I mean (no accusation): "You are a responsible adult. You are also a father. Fathers take responsibility for their babies." I don't know if it will get through, but it is succinct and there's no misunderstanding...


"Sweetie, would it help you to have a checklist when I leave you with the baby? You can go over the list when you need to. It's not set in stone."

my dh has done well when I wrote up a recipe for our child's meal and pinned it next to the stove. He had been unable to follow a recipe when I showed him and would get irritated every single time (our child is already 10 years old). After I wrote it, he has made several meals for our youngest child (the same recipe of course but that's ok). I've done other types of "write ups" but I usually ask nicely if he'd appreciate me making checklists, or putting instructions just taped in obvious spots but not bringing huge attention to it.. And somehow he feels reassured I'm looking after him and he obliges.

I'm still new to this... a lot of it has to do with my own willingness to move away from my anger and frustrations -- not change my identity, but change the way I think and approach challenging situations. It's almost like my ADHD dh requires a firm mommy approach -- it's their first female model, and probably the only one they choose to go by for life. So I have to show I'm tender, while staying clear and firm. Above all, love thyself and continue acting in a mature manner. I had been disintegrating into tears and anger for years and I absolutely hate when it comes to that. I was no longer myself and have stooped to that level of desperation! I have to stand taller than that.


By the way, I am also INFJ and I'm quite positive my dh is an ENTP as well!!





Not looking forward to what it is going to be like in 2 months

I am about to have a baby and my husband is just starting to come to terms with his illness.  Marriage is already hard for us and adding a baby to it is going to be even harder.  We have a typical ADHD + other medical complications home.  I am the major bread winner, and he has marginal jobs and talks about doing all of this "Work" that earns him little to no money.  He is going to have to be the one to take care of our son because he is at home most to the time and I am not going to pay for childcare when he is sitting at home doing nothing.  I have had a difficult pregnancy, so he has to do the housework.  I can't do it. 

Your husband needs to understand that he is the father of that baby no matter how much his head hurts.  He has the same responsibility to him as you do.  You are both his parents.  You should not be made to feel less than because you left the house for a hour and the baby was fussy.  Is that not his baby too? 

Sometimes I just feel like people use the disease and an excuse the do really cold and callus things to their partners. 

Maybe its just the pregnancy hormones.....