Childhood influence on current adhd behaviour

My husband has untreated adhd. He was tested two years ago as a make up gesture after yet another big fight. Despite of the diagnose he refused to accept it. Whenever I brought it up he got really upset so about a year and a half ago I decided to change my strategy. I no longer talked about his adhd but I made sure he got all the information he needed on the subject. I made up stories about how my son's friend's dad found out he had adhd when his own kid was diagnosed with it, I lied about a show I saw on tv where they talked about adhd....whatever I could come up with...

He should've seen what I was trying to do, and maybe he was, but somehow he accepted this type of dialogue without feeling "attacked".

Little by little he started to mention his own when he felt really down or angry. Especially (and this I believe was key) if I stayed calm and collected eventhough he was acting up. His perception of my understanding softened him I think and changed the environment from hostile to caring. I tried not to jump in right away when he talked about something being "wrong" with him and just let him vent.

His family lives in another country so he doesn't see them a lot. Whenever he talked about them he described them as very loving and caring. Last weekend I met them for the first time. Indeed friendly people but some things just didn't sit with me.
They didn't  seem interested in what he said, never asked him one single question about his life here (let's remember that he only sees them once a year so I figured they would have lots to say to each other), no hugs, ..... I realized that, especially his mom, showed her affection through her cooking/baking but never listened when he had something to say. His father, so I learned, was always at work and never at home when he was growing up. I started to understand why he so desperately needs love and affection in his relationship.

The thing that upset me the most is that one night while we were having dinner he told them that he was having problems dealing with certain stuff and that thanks to me he was starting to see what it was that he was suffering from. OMG I couldn't believe it, that was an adhd intro! He turned to me and I asked them if they knew what adhd was. None of them knew. I told them what adhd was and added that I would love to hear about his childhood to get a better understanding but his mother didn't seem interested and started clearing the table. His sis who was sitting at the table turned her attention to her daughter. My husband looked at me, took my hand and said out loud " my wife knows me better than any of you do". Even that didn't catch anyone's attention and the subject was closed. I was so pissed, this was a giant step for him. He was looking for support and they just didn't reach out to him. Maybe I should've tapped into it, maybe I should've confronted them with their lack of interest but I saw the hurt in his eyes and it numbed me.

If nothing else this trip has brought us closer together and took me to the core of the "bottomless pitt" problem. 

It's still untreated adhd but at least he's aware of what he has. Yes, he is taking baby steps but that's what he needs and that's his way of dealing with it so I can't help but feel grateful that we're at least this far in our journey.....and might I add, against all odds, still together.

I hope this story can be a source of hope for other people especially those who struggle with the denial of their adhd spouses.


Wow this could have been my husband's family interaction!! What a blessing it is for your husband that he has YOU! Move forward with him as a team. I feel like I was put into my hsuband's life to "show him how it should be" as one friend put it . Same goes for you! Best wishes to you both

ARRRGH!  Yes! Yes! That

ARRRGH!  Yes! Yes! That doesn't describe my husband's family's interaction exactly, but the same themes are there!  I've been trying to get my husband to put it under some sort of analysis for years to no avail, because he wants to swear up and down that he's from a good loving family. (Whereas, I am not. Really, I'm not.) I've kept telling him that I agree that he is from a loving family and that his parents are, IMO, very good people (and I mean it.).  But still, there are issues there that I can see clearly as harming him - especially if he has ADHD.

Everything. in my husband's family centers around his father's never-ending need for attention and control.  Everything.  When it came to selecting where her attention would go, my mother-in-law would choose my father-in-law every time.  She left the raising and care of my husband to her mother even when she was home from work. After that, it was running around like a chicken without a head seeking to fix yet another thing my father-in-law found a problem with, spending all of her mental energy on my father-in-law's incessant arguments with everything and about everything.

And imagine what "joy" it must have been to be a child with ADHD and have a father who knows no other way of communicating except through criticism and complaint. Imagine being that kid who already has a hard time staying on point like everyone else of the same age group, and living in a home of Mr. Bottomless Pit of compalints about everyone else's inadequacy. 

I want to pull my hair out everytime I'm with my father-in-law.  These days, I just shoot down his complaints and criticism with sharp words and he crawls away, but unfortunately, my mother-in-law still pays the price because then he goes and makes more demands on her.

In any event, it's obvious to me that precious little time or dedication went to my husband because his father's demands came first, and nearly only.  Now, I can see that my mother-in-law feels badly and has a ton of regret about it all.   She's been in therapy for the past year and a lot of insight has come to her through it.  But now, she lives with the pain in herself when she sees me choose my son over my husband's chaos.  Once again, my husband is the loser in the attention wars.

I saw this pattern a while ago and tried to find a balance by making my husband PART of the center of my focus through getting him to find it in shared care of our son.  For every "Dad-deeeeee!" he hears now, he can find the validation he did not have at home.

I've taken to helping my husband by doing the same kinds of hard work I'll do for a special occasion for my son - albeit age appropriate. But it's hard when my husband doesn't HAVE varied interests (ADHD afflicted) and never delays any gratification in his areas of interest (ADHD again).  I can never seem to catch AS much as my husband would like as I can obviously totally control for my son. (age 2).

So, I supplement by telling him how I've noticed changes in his behavior. How I feel better after our talks these days, because he's validating me too now.

And, I cannot stress this enough, therapy. Therapy has helped him a GREAT deal in a very short time.



I absoutely believe that the

I absoutely believe that the environment my fiance grew up in was the most detrimental thing to his ADHD. He too was undiagnosed until after my suspicions. His family talks about NOTHING important...and when they slighty touch on something that has anything to do with the life my fiance is living, it is an absolute excuss fest. For example, my fiance when he was a junior, maybe senior, in high school, dropped out (got his GED on his own also). His parents never quesitoned it nor informed him that his decision was unacceptable. A decade later, he would now like to go to college. When he brought it up to his parents his dad said in so many words, "good luck but you never did that well in school...but your friends really were bad influence so maybe now things will be different." I was in shock. This came from the people that never went to parent-teacher confrences, asked his progress on homework, nothing. I mean come on, it's hard to never realize your child has ADHD.

In addition to this, my finace was a compulsive buyer. If it looked cool, he wanted it no matter the circumstane. So he bought it. This lead to an accumulation of 3 cars that all needed to be worked on, over 30 bikes he wanted to re-build...the list goes on. His parents never once held him accountable to finishing a project. Just let him accumulate becuase it is what made him "happy". Now that we are trying to get our lives organized for each other so we can start our own family, I am increadibly amazed at how much work it took to get rid of all the stuff at his parents. Literally months and months of going up there twice a week.

The worst part about all this though is that sometimes when he goes up there he does sit with his parents and talk. He would like them to be more involved in our life so he will bring semi-important things up. They usually respond with an excuss and he falls back into his old excuss habit. When he gets home, weeks of ADHD progress literally disappears and I start getting the "Well I meant to do it but...". It suck because he does so good and tries so hard. But when he goes to his parents, something there triggers his brain to go ADHD crazy.