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 adhd....like 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.