Broken promises

I am new to this website as my husband and I are just now becoming aware of his ADHD and its impact on our marriage.  We have been married for 20 years and have had our share of problems, leading us to marriage counseling at least 4 times with inconsistent results.  We now understand why.  Our son has been diagnosed with ADHD and as we are learning more about him we are making connections as to why we have many of the problems we have struggled with.  Among many of my issues is what I always called broken promises or him not being a man of his word.  I feel guilty about this now that I realize it is unintentional, but the consequences remain the same.  We have 3 kids, and I am noticing as they get older that they are frustrated with him often because he tells them he will do something for them or with them and then totally forgets about it.  This leads them to see him as unreliable and they get upset that he doesn't remember or just totally disregards what is important to them--keeping his word to them.  I am concerned about the impact this will have on his relationship with them as they get older (two of them are teenagers already) since I can relate to how they feel.  I don't feel like I can rely on him.  Any advice?

Oh, Do I Understand This Issue...

It totally tears down the trust of a child in their parent.

I think it affects boys so badly with their fathers. N yes, the boy has add too. I completely fear what the effect will have on his future with a spouse, in addition to the effects now.

Yesterday apparently my husband had told him he'd be home at 11. It was so many hours later and the boy was flipping out the whole time. I've learned to expect being completely let down by my husband, but when it affects the children, that's where my tolerance ends.

He was running around hollering about how, "My dad is a jerk who doesn't respect his family, he's a liar, he always is, he always does this..."

It beyond sucks that this happened.

I barely mentioned this to my husband as the boy had already tried talking to him and stated the result was negative.

It's so hard as an adult to have a marriage that lacks partnership without the damage it does to children.

The previous episode where my husband exhibited the same behavior was a mere few days ago. When I attempted talking to him about it all I got was the impulsive excuses, followed by: I did not think it was a big deal. All I could say was, "Wow."

Sounds shitty, but was true.

Therein lies the trouble....

Truly, he does not think about us.

Yep, like you say, unintentional and again like you said, the result is exactly the same....

My tolerance drops in a very bad way when our children are affected.

As previously stated, I have already given up on him participating in anything that resembles normal marriage.



MagicSandwich's picture

Children are affected

Describes a great deal of my childhood right there. My father truly did not think about us until somebody got upset and forced him to turn around and see the wide berth of chaos and lateness and messed up stuff in his wake. Heartbreaking.


That's something I feel so guilty about as a mother.

My father had add. Called "minimal brain dysfunction" back then.

I've now repeated history, giving my children the same unpredictable, crappy experience I had as a kid.

Again... talk about guilt!


My ADHD H does the same thing to me and our kids. Will tell them this weekend I'll take you XX, the weekend comes and goes and he spends all day doing his hobbies. I'll remind him the day of the supposed event, you said you would do X with the boys, and he will either say I will after I'm done, or he will say' I never promised that i was just saying Maybe I would'...either way by Sunday night the boys are disappointed that Dad has once again broken his promise. My teenage son no longer respects or trusts his father, partially due to the broken promises and dads inability to control his temper, and of coarse throw ODD in the mix and they both are just constantly arguing.  In order for him to follow thru i need to remind and push him to the point he gets ticked off but if I don't he is just oblivious to the day passing by.  I can't rely on my H to do anything if it requires and planning or pre-thought out organizing, so If I want to do something I plan, schedule, pack, organize and he just needs to come along for the ride. I have tried letting him plan year he promised he would take our son camping for his B'day, I said it was up to him to pick a place and book it as I was not going this was supposed to be a father/son weekend, I kept reminding him that the date was coming came and went, and no trip ever happened. My son was extremely disappointed as he was looking forward to it for months.  To avoid my sons disappointment I now just take any vacations/day trips/etc into my own hands and do everything to make it happen.


It's like the memory of reality changes.

How the hell hell does that happen, I always wondered.

N, yes, it upsets me beyond belief that the boy is losing respect for his father, worse yet, I think the modeled behavior will cause him to do the same thing, or worse, to his future wife.

Once, my mother-in-law- said to me, "He has never been able to understand and see how his behavior affects the future." At the time I felt extremely angry. Later she told me she thought as he was growing up he'd never be able to maintain a relationship that involved being married. In a moment where I broke down completely in front of her, (I friggin' cried like a baby, not normal for me at all, I'm usually strong)she admitted my current marriage problems were exactly the same as his first marriage, only this time she realized that in this case, I truly did love him deeply. Talk about feeling duped.

It gets so complicated when kids are involved.

I would've run a long time ago, if not for that issue.


Pbartender's picture

Changing the reality of memory...

"How the hell hell does that happen, I always wondered."

The same way your brain automatically edits out that extra "hell" in your sentence...  or even adds it back in, had you left the word out of the sentence completely.

An ADHD mind wanders and skips as it's listening to a conversation...  or even as it experiences the world.  So, it misses parts of the whole.  ADHD memory is often like reading a page of a book, but with every fifth word (or sometimes every fifth sentence) blanked out.  The brain notices the empty spaces, and fills them in with something that makes "sense", but doesn't necessarily correspond to what actually happened.

It's something I've noted myself...  If I'm trying to concentrate on a conversation, but not quite succeeding, I will tend to remember it but get details wrong...  As if I heard something completely different.



But what I was saying is he

But what I was saying is he doesn't seem to recall what HE said/promised, sometimes the same day...i think its an excuse because he got involved in something he wanted to do and didn't want to stop and do what he said with the kids.


This is our life too, and it is heartbreaking.  I agree, when it starts to mess with the children, it is out of control.  So sad.

The Anger Outbursts

Just an fyi, until my husband added an antidepressant, nothing controlled it.

He takes Zoloft.

I get extremely concerned that now the boy is having them too.