Can people with ADHD ask for help?

My husband has a hard time asking for help.  I don't know if he is afraid to ask for help, very proud of his unwillingness to do so, or both.  

I'm frustrated by this, because it has contributed, I think, to the imbalance in our relationship.  Despite the fact that my husband claims to have no needs and despite the fact that he rarely asks for help, I do most of the work around the house and I often anticipate his needs and those of other family members and do things without being asked.  I am willing to ask for help, and it seems that this pegs me as "needy."  My husband often does not help me with things I ask for help with; do you think this is why he doesn't want to ask me, because he thinks he'll get the same response from me (refusal, inability) as I get from him?

So, I'm working on changing this pattern of behavior.  I will still ask for help if I need it, but I will not do things for  my husband unless he asks for help.  First test is coming up rapidly; he's out of town and due at the airport, in a city about 90 minutes away, tomorrow evening.  I've asked him a couple times to let me know how he will be getting home from the airport.  I've said that if he wants a ride from me, he needs to ask.  

Please let me know what you

Please let me know what you think about this topic.  My husband just communicated to me that he plans to stay at the airport overnight and take the first bus tomorrow morning.  This is OK, but I was really hoping that he'd be willing to ask for a ride.  

So, is asking your spouse for help a sign of weakness?  Does it equate to begging?  I thought it was OK for me to ask my husband for help sometimes, but the experiences I'm having with him suggest he thinks it's not OK for spouses to do so.  Or is it only not OK for him to do so, because he's a man?  

I think it is a male thing.

I think it is a male thing. My husband (not Adhd/add) prefers to drive around for hours rather than asking someone for directions. When confronted he admits that asking for help is "showing weakness"...

Pbartender's picture

It's more of a stubborn pride thing.

His reason -- it shows weakness -- might be a typically male reason, but the inability to ask for help when needed is most definitely not.

I've seen my wife, my daughter, and all of my sisters fall into it for different reasons.  I've seen several female co-workers do it on the job; most of will admit that they're trying to prove that they can do on their own anything the men can, even if it means turning down useful, friendly advice and assistance.

Like Aspen said, they get stuck in that 5 year old "I CAN DO IT MYSELF" attitude, trying to prove something.  It's usually just stubborn pride.

I'm usually not too bad about asking for help, but I'll admit, I've been stuck there myself now and again.



Been debating this in my brain

Naturally I feel like asking your mate for something is fine.  I ask my husband for things freely, and it seems to make him pretty happy to participate most of the time.

When it comes to him asking for things (and he is the ADD one) it is more hit or miss.  He will ask but he definitely gets into spots where the best things to do would be to ask for help and he seems unwilling to do so for no reason I can see other than I don't know...stubborness?

He would never stay at the airport verses ask for a ride home........I mean that is ridiculous and btw won't he still need to ask for a ride home the next day anyway? 

I think he has a healthy view of obvious requests like picking someone up at the airport (either of us), but in general if someone is going to be doing the helping of the other, I think he genuinely would prefer the helper to be him. 

Over the years we have discussed this several times and he seems to be getting better and better.  I told him how it makes me feel when he wants to do things on his own that we'd both be better off if I were to help with.  He says his intent was to never make me feel like he didn't need or want help, but that he feels like I already have to do so much extra because of him that anything he can do on his own, he wants to do it.  Many many conversations later I think he gets that while I do WANT him to take care his responsibilities in our family, I also think being part of a family is openly helping each other when needed or even just wanted.  Often things I ask for help with, I could do alone, but I just prefer to do with him. 

I want him to feel the same way.  I think he is getting there.  I guess I think that having ADD tends to make someone feel like a burden.....a bit?  And there were times I felt like my contribution to mitigating his symptoms did feel a little burdensome, so probably in our case I have contributed somewhat, but I do feel at least my husband has a helping of the 5 year old "I CAN DO IT MYSELF" attitude......trying to prove something maybe?

* Edit:  Sorry just saw he is taking the bus...I think that is idiotic, but I think somehow he prides himself on never asking for help.  The only way to make him aware of how much you help him (cause he seems to have convinced himself that you do not) is to continue being available if he asks and not to jump in and do it without a request.  I don't know though if that isn't unheathy in its own way.

Pbartender's picture

I don't think this is an ADHD

I don't think this is an ADHD thing specifically...

In my experience, there are two main reasons why certain people seem unable to ask for help when they need it:

They are trying to prove their independence.  This is sort of where my wife falls in...  She will refuse to ask for help, simply because she wants to know herself and to show others that she doesn't need someone else to do it for her.  It's important to her, because she feels she's been let down by other people so many times...  Not just by me and my undiagnosed ADHD while we were married, but also by her mother and her absentee father from when she was young.  She feels she can't trust others to do get things done for her, so she tries to do everything all by herself, even when she could really use some help.

They are trying to prove their competence.  This where most ADHDers who can't ask for help would fall in.  They've failed so many times, that it becomes a compulsion to prove to themselves and others that they can succeed.  They refuse help because asking for or accepting help, in their eyes, would be an admission that they aren't competent enough to complete the task on their own.

So, anyone who's had a tough time with trust or failure can fall into this behavior.  And in both cases, being able to succeed without help gives them self-assurance and self-confidence by way of the fact that they know they don't need to rely on anyone but themselves.

Oddly enough, you'll also see it a lot with kids and teenagers, who are still learning, and are continually testing the boundaries of their knowledge, skills and independence.