Can't Handle his ADD anymore! Therapy is Offering Little Hope :(

I didn't mean for this to be so long... sorry!

My husband and I have been together for 17 years but his ADD symptoms seem to be getting worse and worse as the years pass… I am at my rope's end.  Is it normal for the symptoms to accelerate with age? He received diagnosis from our therapist about 6 months ago and made an appointment with our family doctor for follow up but forgot/missed the appointment and has not rescheduled. When I bring it up he gets defensive and the conversation ends. I feel he needs intervention now more than ever; I know that I cannot live this way much longer.

I have considered asking him to move out on his own for a few months -- I fantasize about watching him “crash and burn” as he tries to live on his own in hopes that he’d hit rock bottom and realize how dysfunctional the ADD makes him without me there to coax him along in life. I feel like he’s been this way so long, he’s constructed this façade that he believes fools the world… but he’s only fooling himself.

He does not seem to be concerned or bothered that he is constantly forgetting things, losing items, not finishing projects, etc. I am always the one who has to come to the rescue to fix things (even the car!) and I am so TIRED of having to worry and manage every detail of our lives. Over the years, less complicated chores have fallen to him because he cannot be counted upon to take care of important things. Even then, he takes short cuts on “his” tasks, often to the detriment of our family. When I try to discuss it, he becomes defensive, makes excuses or tries to blame me or the kids. It’s insulting that he thinks he can fool anyone with his excuses. He refuses to admit his role.

This morning was one of his classic ADD moments. He left with the kids for school/work at 7:30am. When I came downstairs at 8:30am to go to work myself, the front door was wide open! I needed to leave, so I grabbed my purse, hit the door lock and closed the door behind me before realizing that my cell phone was still in the house. But when I went to get back into the house, he had removed my house key from my ring without telling me and didn’t put it back on my ring. So now I was locked out with no phone. Things like this happen ALL THE TIME... and I'm on my own to fix it. I'm so SICK of it.

I completely understand why another poster mentioned that her spouse seemed “mildy retarded” because I often feel that way about mine. In my mind, it is not possible that a functional adult could make the same mistakes over and over and over again unless they had some form of retardation going on.

On top of all this, he is incapable of dealing with any critical areas of discussion; each and every time I try to talk about things important things with him, he withdraws. He avoids any conversation that involves dealing with emotions; he’ll chat it up about current events, news articles he’s read, upcoming plans we have, etc. but any topic that may involve our family or feelings… he’s out. He sits there quietly and does not respond. I feel like this is his way of “punishing” me for trying to make him deal with grown up topics and issues. I think he’d prefer that I handle these harder topics on my own without troubling him with them. Yeah… that seems fair, right?

We have been in marriage counseling for several months and the therapist insists that we are in this cycle where the underlying problem is that we just aren’t “connected”. She would like me to ignore all of his screw ups so that we can become “connected” again. But no matter how many times she tries to convince me, I just don’t see how this will solve the problem with the ADD behaviors. I don’t care how “connected” I am to him; I refuse to continue to follow him around with a pooper scooper for the rest of our lives, fixing his screw ups.  I am also very resentful of this therapy approach because I feel like, once again, he gets off easy and I do all the work. I have to step away from my own frustrations to protect HIS delicate sensibilities so he can feel “safe” again and connect with me so I'll be able to overlook the ADHD. I just don't see that happening.

I’d like to know what other approaches are used in ADHD/marriage therapy? Our therapist specializes in ADD but does not ever want to address the impact that his disorder and behaviors have on our marriage. Every time I try to bring it up, we go back to needing to be connected. I just don’t think that’s the answer. Anyone?

Same here.

Hello Coogles,

You have written this so well.  It helps me to read what you write because it makes it more real to me what i am going through.  I have denied and diverted myself to his ADD for so long and many times blamed myself for his deficiencies.  Thanks for writing form your heart and sharing.  This is frustrating, isn't it?

....frustrations to protect HIS delicate sensibilities so he can feel “safe” again and connect with me so I'll be able to overlook the ADHD.

That line in particular speaks to my frustration and resentment.

I think I would get another

I think I would get another counselor. Any counselor that puts the whole of the work on either partner is not a good one. The counselor that my husband and I see is very careful about charging us both with things that need to be done. She's very careful not to point fingers and instead asks pointed questions. Like the other night, I was complaining that I am paying the car insurance for my husband's vehicle plus the motorcycle insurance. He was supposed to take care of both, but he hasn't. When it came up during the session he was like, "She never told me that it was due." The counselor looked at him and said, "But you know you have to pay it every month, so why didn't you ask or follow up?" He couldn't respond to that beyond, "I don't know."

I think in some ways, going to a regular family therapist is best. If yours specializes in ADD, she's probably going to empathize with him more when you guys would probably benefit from someone who is going to distribute the work (and blame) equally. Let him see the ADD therapist on his own.

On a somewhat related note, I got this lecture from my husband this morning. I'm supposed to overlook all the things he does wrong and still support him. I'm still trying to get my head around that one!