Like clockwork...

Every year, right after the holidays, my husband gets the itch to leave.  The holidays are a stressful time for a lot of people, and between all the family obligations, spending money on gifts, and having vacation time but not being able to do anything because of said family obligations and no money leftover for a trip, I can tell he once again feels bored in the relationship and puts the blame squarely on me.

I first visited this site and posted my experience almost exactly 2 years ago (I believe you can see my posts in my profile).  Back then, I was thinking about leaving him, but that wasn't until after he had left a few days and came back.  At first he blamed me for being boring and not having enough common interest with him.  Then he came back after he realized that there's more to the relationship than just common interests.  But at that time, I was thinking to myself that i deserve better.  I deserve someone who gives me the attention that I need and deserve.  That's when I discovered this site and learned about being in a relationship with someone with ADHD.  That gave me more of an understanding of what was going on and I felt I could learn to deal with it.

Last year, something similar happened around the same time... Husband wanted to leave again, but we again I agreed to change myself to fit in with what he wants.  Kept this website in mind, thought about it, learned from it, and tried to move forward with it.

This year, I braced myself, and sure enough, he complained about the same thing yet again, despite all the efforts I've put in.  But everything is my fault.  Guess what?  This time, I'm done.  There's no turning back.  I've given so much to him and if he doesn't see how damn lucky he is to have me, and to have someone give him all this love despite all his bullshit, then he doesn't deserve me.

I will say this though... My therapist told me ADHD people can be fickle.  And boy is he!  Up until a few weeks ago, he told me he loved me so much, that the relationship is stronger than ever.  How do you go from that to "I want to leave" in a matter of weeks?  I don't know.  But I do know I'm not going to put up with this anymore!  It's time to put myself first because Lord knows he doesn't!  

Negative Hyperfocus on spouse

been a little over a year since my husband was diagnosed -- he has always known that he has ADHD, but he's never wanted to know what that actually means, other than casually associating it to explain his messy & forgetful tendencies. Recently, i have heard him admit to viewing it (as this from a man who naturally analyzes everything to the deepest of depths) He started on meds to improve his work (he is a very prestigious professor) and so began the worst year of my life as EVERY aspect of my world as i had known it with him for 14+ yrs, completely spiraled out of control. 

i spent the most part of this last year believing my very brilliant & convincing husband, that our deepest troubles stem from me & my emotional issues.  i just about committed suicide - NOT an option when you have 3 beautiful children, hated myself to the core, freaked out w more emotional & physical anger than i ever thought possible (multiple times) , almost jumped into the deepest fjord in Norway, felt completely insane regularly, believed him that i had a disorder myself (borderline personality) to the point that i sat my young children down to tell them that i was going to check myself into a hospital to get the help that Daddy said i needed, spent like a week pretty much locked in my toilet room w severe depression, talked about divorce on a weekly basis, chained myself in my own bedroom in attempt to get some space from my husband & his obsession w fixing me, went back to college after years of him pushing on the issue when i wasn't ready (my youngest was 3 & i had wanted to wait until she started elementary school, plus college was extremely intimidating to me, not to mention hard to juggle w 3 young kids and ALL the housework) .....and finally started to clearly see that i AM worthwhile. As i began to make changes for my OWN self growth and NOT because of things that my husband was blaming me for or ways that HE thought i should change,  

My husband's similar too.  He

My husband's similar too.  He wants to convince me of my emotional and psychological issues, and how they affect him.  Actually, he goes around telling everyone what's wrong with them and what they need to do, often psycho-analyzing them.  Everyone has issues except him.  But what he doesn't think about is how his issues affect ME!  He acknowledges he has ADHD, no problem.  But just because you acknowledge it doesn't mean it's being managed, or that it doesn't affect people around you.  And if I brought up how his issues affect me, oh boy, that comes right back to me.  I'm needy, I'm controlling, why do I need this and that from him, why can't I just be ok with what he gives me.  If you talk to him that he's hyperfocusing on things, he'll tell you no he's not.  If you tell him he's procrastinating, he'll tell you no he's not.  He'll admit he has ADHD like he's so great and enlightened to admit it freely, yet he doesn't want to deal with any of the symptoms.  Instead he focuses on what's wrong with other people.  Maybe it's a coping mechanism?


Sometimes what they accuse you of is more about them than it is about you.

Seems pretty common for some people (I'm not sure just ADHDers) to project onto others some trait they reject within themselves. Maybe they are more sensitive to the trait if they see even a hint of it in others because they have it?

Deny, defend, deflect.....


DEFINITELY! And it is extremely painful :(

Projective Identification rings very, very true for my situation.

what can I do??


It is very painful. It almost drove me crazy (really) because I would try to deal with and resolve what he would say about me, when there was really nothing to deal with. And the counselors would sometimes gravitate toward "helping" me find a solution for my behavior because I was the only one who would try to examine whether it was true or not and what I should do, and he would just deny his part or become silent about himself. This is what normal people do -- if they are told they have a problem, they look within to see if there is any truth to the suggestion and try to work out a solution.

This projecting behavior shows up so often in spouses who accuse their partners of cheating, only to find out that THEY were really the ones cheating. I think they know they are doing it and are trying to control you, since they can't/won't/don't control their own behavior. Notice they usually get very loud and overwhelming when they are accusing you -- not approaching quietly, discreetly, and thoughtfully as a normal person would do if they wanted to resolve an actual problem between them.

I also tried "reflecting" his behavior back to him in hopes that he would see what he was doing --- that sure doesn't work. Just made it look like I really was the problem. Gave him just the ammunition he needed to make me look like a crazy person.

The only advice I can give is to get lots of outside support. You may have to just expect less and lower your standards for him, knowing that there really is something in his disorder that contributes to the behavior since you can see on this site that it is so common. Seems they will  admit wrongdoing only if the pressure on them is very low and they feel very secure and accepted. But this was very hard for me to do.

I've found that when it comes to values and morals, it is hard to hold someone to a standard without God in their lives. He can always rebel against "your" standards if he wants to, but it's harder to rebel against God's standards in the Bible. Having a common value system can give you some backup on your expectations and a good frame of reference.

I feel for you. It's tempting to think that if you can just get the right "combination" to the lock on his brain, everything will open up and fall into place. However, your best chance of getting along may be to just accept him as he is, and find friends/family that will back you up and give you support. You really have to  look at his behavior honestly,  resist accepting (internally) the blame, and formulate a plan from there. And you will need mentally sound people around you to assure you that you are not going crazy.

I hadn't finished my last

I hadn't finished my last post (or even edited it!)and it went public on me...UGH There is soooo much more for me to say, just about this last year since he started meds (vyvenese), plus our 14 yrs together before. Sorry about your situation. Good to know that we're not alone.

Do you suppose your dh needs

Do you suppose your dh needs to re-visit his medication with his dr? What you describe seems like his personality has changed? How is he in his professional life? Ask yourself if the vyvanse is not working, maybe you should consider the medication is causing most if not all the worst of the recent problems?

I hear you on what you're both saying -- I've been on medication mostly to deal with HIS adhd because I was extremely depressed and feel invisible a lot of the times. We have a child who is autistic and I will tell you now that the adhd is worse than the autism to deal with. My child is coming from a totally primally innocent place while the ADHD is coming from a lifetime of re-working patterns and defense mechanisms to get around things, around people, around life, and white lies that have a life of its own. I feel the adhd is more insidious because you have a fully functional individual with a set of poorly functioning skills. My child is poorly functioning in all areas, the difference is, he's not using it up against anyone to get by in life.

With my meds, I now know the times when it's the ADHD that's at play, and not me. This year, ever since he agreed to go see a dr (still anticipating, since there were a few postponements), he started to turn the tables on me, saying I had a personality disorder, every time the ADHD flares up and I'm trying to work it through with/for him i.e. brainstorming ways to improve the missteps, miscommunications, lack of awareness. Instead of being open to it, he attacks. Because I opened up with my personal issues from the past, he is using it as ammunition against me. So whether I'm justified in feeling it or not, I feel there is some mental abuse against me. Maybe what he feels is that I am abusing him too perhaps by bringing up the ADHD. But he knows he's struggling.


there is NO question in my mind that he needs to re-visit w a doctor and he needs to get off the VERY strong medication. YES, his personality has changed -COMPLETELY-, every aspect of our entire life has changed, COMPLETELY - he has a million different reasons why, NONE of them having anything to do with ADHD or MEDS, but instead, everything to do w me (i have heard it all...funny thing is, i am the same person as i have been for the 15 + yrs that he has known me, if anything, i have gotten better about controling my own emotions and keeping up w the chores & kids without his help) . Recently, i have begun to reach out for help and tell family, my kids teachers, cops, anyone that will listen.   i went in to his dr's office to let him know what is REALLY going on in our family's life ( i have never been there before and my husband tells him that everything is 'fine') husband purposely sought out this doctor b/c he doesn't press for any real therapy and just hands out whatever medicine my husband wants (especially since my husband has a fancy job & is very convincing) ---he is on the strongest dose of Vyvanse (70 mg), plus 10 mg of Amphetamine Salts (adderall) for his ADHD.  He has been taking it daily for a little more than a year and has not tried any other medicine or therapy. He has also been on pain meds (Oxycondone & Oxycotin) for 4 years now, again, without any other kind of therapy, just meds. I can deal with the typical symptoms that i've gotten so accustomed to after all of these years..........things like taking care of everything as far as housework (and i mean EVERYTHING), cleaning up after him, no follow through on all of his 'promises', ignored & lonely, etc., etc..these things seems like paradise compared to what he has been like since he began to 'treat' his ADHD.  What i can NOT deal with anymore is his new life style changes ( NO sleep, no work, no limits, no food, LOTS of coffee and extreme hyperfocus on 'fixing' me-----books & books & research on personality disorders, emotional reasoning, cognitive distortions, meta-cognition, psycho-analyzing, self-regulation----ALL ABOUT ME!  I can NOT stand the extreme negativity on me that he 'sees so clearly'.  i have reapeatedly asked him to stop sharing his insights on me, to stop trying to convince me of his perspective & 'reality'.  i strongly believe that a person can only truely self-reflect about oneself and that no one can change another person, we can only change ourselves.  i do not judge, critisize or blame him for anything----he is much too defensive and sensitive to blame & fault, that i couldn't, even if i did, i try very hard to only speak about myself and how things impact me, he also only speaks about myself.

there is sooo much more to say and i sooooooooo desperately want any and all help that i can possibly get for me, for my husband, for my 3 children.

i have my very first therapy appointment in a few minutes and don't want to be late............

Yep, i open up like crazy

Yep, i open up like crazy too, always have and he totaly uses it and my emotional break downs against me. He's even admitted that i am an easy target. So, no matter what starts it, as long as i freak out & cry, that's what is remembered, and i, of course, need the help, not him. It does feel like abuse, mental, emotional, psychological. I feel for our children, who don't understand and what can i really say to them? You make good points about ADHD and the need they feel to get around the things that they have been missing their entire lives.i feel for you with your child, it must be so challenging. What meds do you take....i need some!

Put a lid on it

You need to quit making yourself so vulnerable. It sounds to me like he plays by different rules than you do, and you are giving him ways to manipulate you if you uncontrollably "let it all hang out."

Also, please be aware that couples therapy may not be helpful to you personally. A therapist will probably not pin him down on all of his behaviors if he doesn't admit to them because (as my therapist told me), if he doesn't see it (admit something to himself), he will just quit coming. Additional individual therapy for yourself with someone who isn't trying to please both of you could be very helpful -- even if it is only monthly.

An example of therapy gone wrong: one couples therapist focused on my "anxiety" problem and tried to formulate a plan with my X on how to work around this problem I had! As if living with someone who had punched you in the face, screamed at you, pounded tables and broke things, and threatened to kill you wouldn't make any normal woman a bit "anxious." And gee, he noted that maybe I just "couldn't forgive" because I wanted to talk about these behaviors. His personal therapist once said I was attacking his character. Ya think??? (Sorry for the deviation from the subject....)

You sound very wise.  I am

You sound very wise.  I am definitely way too vulnerable and i just keep falling into it....ugh!  i have however, made huge progress within myself! after trying many different approaches to his behaviors and seeing no difference (if anything, only worse behaviors from him), i have finally started to put the puzzle pieces together and it's sooo refreshing to see that I am NOT crazy!  Melissa's book and knowledge about ADHD and the meds that he is taking, have really, really helped me in my own self growth.  the biggest question now, is how to get him the help he needs and get off the wrong meds......very challenging!  I love him dearly, he has been my whole world for almost half of my life.  I don't want to give up yet, esp not when it is all becoming so clear as to what the real issues are between us, but, really not sure how much more i can withstand and what's best for my 3 young children.  I need a good therapist who really understands ADHD.....anyone know anybody in the Jacksonville, FL area?

feeling very down

hating life, hating myself.  really down & out tonight.  i'm a big failure and can't seem to get my strength and do what my mother-in-law ( in the pysch field) told me....which is that i need to be strong and put my children as the top priority.  i'm mommy and their life as people, forever, depends on me and what i can give them.  luckily, they are in bed while i contemplate how miserable my life is.  i wish i could just die, just end it for good.  guess i'll go to sleep instead.  no stress, but 3 little people are counting on me.  my husband tells me what a failure i am continuously, i guess i must be.  so hurt that even tears won't fall. how pathetic am i?  to even dare to think that the meds my husband started have anything to do with my misery.  it's all me.  must be. i give up.

someone hears you--hang in there!


I hear you. Please, keep seeing your therapist and share all of this! I am concerned for you and hope you are ok. I lived through a very similar situation--my STBX was very smart, very manipulative, had a doctor give him just about anything he wanted in terms of meds and didn't try any behavior modification or therapy. And he just about sent me around the twist with the assertions that it was all me. He turned into someone who was very unhealthy for me and I am still convinced that at least some of it was attributable to the high doses of medication that he was taking each day and the way he went on and off it. He said that I was crazy, anxious, had depression, issues, I was a horrible, selfish person and he was the "good" name it. I literally almost lost my mind trying to get him to "see" and to defend myself. Our entire relationship started to revolve around what was "wrong" with me. Well, crap, after years of that, anyone would have been anxious and depressed!

I think it is incredibly courageous that you are keeping going.  I hear you and I know you know that your children need you. Here is what I ask you: you have mentioned wanting it to die or for it to end several times in your posts. I am very worried about your state of mind (and don't blame you--again, I think it is very courageous for you to write what you are writing). It is tough to function when you are in this place. It is entirely believable that your spouse and your relationship with him in his current state are really driving you to this point. 

Can you take a break? Can you confide in someone close to you? Please don't let it go on or give up. Can you call or talk to a family member or friend soon and let them know how you are feeling? Because sure, your mother in law told you to put your children first, and be strong, and you are! But I think you may be so worn down and depressed that you are going to need some help. I have been there. I was a shell. I know that it is possible to go on like this for a very long time, and if nothing else, your children are living around this and it is not healthy. And you deserve better! I found an amazing psychologist and it saved me. Once I admitted how bad it was, it was like the sun came out again. I just said out loud, "I do not want to do this any more." And then I didn't. Please reach out. I am out here and I hear you. 

thank you, very much

Changed my info, had to. thank you so much for your post. I was extremely down last night. I'm just so stressed! Everytime that i have thought this must be the bottom and now we'll have to start to go up, it always does manage to get worse. My parents came to my house this past weekend, to babysit us, to try to talk to my husband and b/c they are terrified for me. I have reached out to just about everyone in my family, plus his (which he absolutely hates), doctors (plus his), police (which landed me in jail for a night after the 2nd time i called them) one can help me (or us). I have a new therapy apptointment this week with a dr that supposedly knows about!ADHD, i'll see what she has to tell me....the dr last week told me to go to a shelter w my kids & was obviously overwhelmed w my situation. what did you do about your situation? Did you leave him? Did you have kids together? I would leave, but everyone (including my kids) thinks divorce is so bad....ugh. i'm so stuck & it is definitley very unhealthy & destructive for me and my kids. thanks for listening. You seem like a great person

You can do it

Dear nohelp,

It sounds like you are in a situation which has surpassed "working on problems" and simple ADHD, and into one in which your family and therapist are extremely worried for you. I know, it is scary to think of leaving and worrying about money and what is going to happen.

Why did you end up in jail for calling the police--what were you calling about? 

Yes, I left my STBX. He was being violent and had been verbally and emotionally so for years. I gave him every chance to get help, and when he refused, I took the kids and left. I should have done it years ago and it was affecting my children. You won't believe how strong you can be. Why would you choose to stay in this situation? Can your parents help you? 

It sounds to me like you need to get out of there, period. Divorce is bad, but you know what is worse? Kids growing up in a scary, violent, abusive environment with the police being called and their mother falling apart, right? Take it one day at a time. Ask your therapist for resources and if she/he can't help, find a better one. Hang in there. Let me know how it goes!
Hugs to you. 


I need to stop on this

I need to stop on this chainb/c it goes to home computer. Not sure how to cancel my old account?

info about emails from the site

You get emails from this site in a few different ways, but only as and if you request them.  When you post a comment or forum post, there is a checkbox to request being emailed for subsequent responses ("Notify me when new comments are posted").  You can subsequently control and change that setting using the link at the bottom of each email you get.  Click there and follow the instructions.

You can also control this for all posts and comments in the "edit" tab or "my accounts".  See the "Comment follow-up notification settings" section.

You can delete you account in the same spot, at the very bottom.  But please don't do that just to stop emails from notifying you of posts.  Use the two methods above, or just change your email address, again in the "edit" section of "my accounts".


I can relate

I definitely relate to this scenario. I don't know if you can make sense of it. At least I could never make sense of this kind of behavior in my own EX. I mentioned before that she would sit down with me one week and tell me she wanted marriage and kids, and then the next week she would say "we're just not working out". Fickle doesn't even describe it.  This itch would come over my EX and the next thing you know, she's dumped her job, career, friends, and even, sometimes, me. 

Finally, I had to walk away from it. It's the first time I walked away from her (instead of the other way around) in the five years we were together. I gave her what she always claimed to have wanted. It's only been a month, so I'm not sure if the reality of the situation has really sunk in for her yet. Time will tell. The one thing that I do know, is that being in that kind of cycle is unhealthy. You are completely correct to take a stand. The natural consequence of this kind of behavior is that  he will lose all the support you given him. That's his lose. 

Hey Eli, Thanks for your nice

Hey Eli,

Thanks for your nice words.  Sorry to hear about your painful predicament.  Given my 15 yrs of experience (and i'm only 34!) being in a relationship w a person who suffers from (& denies, defends and deflects very strongly) ADHD, i would highly advise you to stay out, especially before that will no longer be an option for you, as is my case w three young kiddos. It is a terrible experience to share a life with someone who shows little to no empathy, has awful mood swings, creates a world of extra burden on you and refuses to get any real treatment to manage their disorder. It's even a worse hell when they take the wrong kind of meds (counter productive) and you watch your whole world spiral out of control, while they blame you for literally everything under the sun.  I'm a freaking mess.....don't end up like me!

Where in Florida do you reside?  I live in Florida as well.  Best of luck with your PhD (yet another reason not to stay w someone who themselves are not stable and will cause much inconsistency in your own pursuits).

Take Care,