Dr. Phil Looking For ADHD Couples to Film Show with Dr. H

For info on the Dr Phil Show, please see the more recent March 30 post.  I didn't erase this spot because people had posted attachments to it which would have disappeared had I eliminated the post all together.


Tired Spouse in a ADHD Household

I am so glad I found this website. I have been married to my husband 4 1/2 years and it has been a disaster for me. We are a blended family which was an undertaking of its own but little did I realize what I was I was getting into. My step son has adhd, and I new that before we were married. In trying to underatand my step sons condition, I stumble accross adult adahd and almost fell over because what I was reading seemed to be my husbands resume. In the very beginning of our marriage ,I being a very patient person was very frustated at how my husband was dealing with issues, it was almost like he was a child instead of an adult. I would get very upset with his parenting skills, which he has none and he would yell and scream at me accusing me if not liking his children when all I am doing is trying to protect them. These scenes, which were many, has taken a toll on me. I couldn't for the life of me understand why hedid not want to try and help his son succeed. I felt my step son had NO parent; no one to guide him what so ever. It was like he has been on his own sice he was 12, he is now 17. He was failing school which he never brought any homework home; he would tell his dad when asked that he was doing fine in school and it was like his father believed everything and still does. My husband would lie for him and lie to me about him. It was nuts!! HELLO< I THINK I MARRIED A 12 YEAR OLD IN A 50 YEAR OLD BODY!A nd my step son new his dad would lie for him. My step son will tell you what ever you want to hear and so does my husband. One of my husbands favorite sayings is that he thinks outside the box! he is waaay outside the box! Please understand that I do love my husband and fell in love with him because all the good qualities of adhd. the endless energy great imagination, humor, spontaneity, great passion for interests, creative thinking; but the other concerns which have taken a toll on me are difficulty in comminication, problems managing money, forgetfulness, problems keeping track of belongings, consistenly being late, difficulty with his work and the perception he has of himself. With all of this, I have become a person that is not me. Anger, frustration, tired, just plain tired, have lost any desires (just don't care) I tried to get my husband to read a little about adhd in adults but says he is not adhd. We have tried counseling several times with same same result, bring up something negitive about him and he is done. On top of dealing with two adah in the household, a 1 1/2 after we were married my son who was 25 at the time developed a rare disease in which we wre told he may not live through (Goodpaster syndrome) He was blessed and live through it but lost both of his kidneys and was on dialysis. He was put on the list for a transplant. My husband (the step father) tested and was a perfect match, so in addition to everything else, my husband give one of his kidneys to my son. That was a miracle! So you see, there isa reason god put us together! I would be a real bad person, if I left him. I just feel that MY health is falling because of adhd. I recently went and spent a month at my parents house to just get away. I felt so good there and it seemed to bring me back to life, feeling I could take on the world again or at least deal with home life. I have been back for two weeks and I'm already toast, fried; what ever you want to call it. There is no piece in your life when you are dealing with adhd. I seriously doubt that my husband would be on the Dr. Phil show, but our relationship is failing and my husband doesn't even get it! He thinks life is grand and doesn't take my feeling seriously, I feel he is disrespectful and in his own slick way, controling. He has a wonderful gift for turning things around and coming out smelling like roses, I used to question my self, thinking that this was all me, but I have done some research and found that this is a common feeling other spouses have. Actually, I have written Dr. Phil before on his website on my tired moments. Writing all this down is somewhat therapy for me, so if no one even reads this, I have at least been able to rid some of my frustrations!


Joanne, I have read this and I truly understand what you deal with everyday.  Its very similar to my marriage.  Today I came to the conclusion that maybe my husband is just a jerk and its not all his ADD symptoms that is ruining our relationship.    I am just so incredibly sad right now and he has no idea, not in the slightest bit.  I am ready to leave.  Its not what I want, but I think its what I need.

Best wishes to you.


Steph, I truly understand the

Steph, I truly understand the saddness you feel. My husband can be a jerk as well but it is only to me, most don't see it except the people who really know him. I do believe my husband is adhd, I have read so many articles that I could have been written about him. I have tried so many ways to cope with this and find myself at a point of giving up. The only thing that keeps me here are the kids, I feel like I am the only stability they have in there life. We have four between us and we are down to one. Here's the thing that bothers me most, my husband saved my sons life a year ago by giving him one of his kidneys, I do feel we were brought together for a reason and you would think that having something so amazing happen that nothing else mattered and that I should be very greatful, and I am. I have a very gilty concious that I feel I am at the breaking point in our relationship and that I have felt this way pretty much from the beginning. I felt this way when they told us that he was a match. I have finially told my husband that I need to take breaks from him and I did this past month, felt really great again and came home and within a couples of days I was back to the sadness. My latest crazy thought was how do I convince him that we need to live in separate homes...see how my imagination goes! My husband has been out of town since Monday and due to return Thursday, which is tomorrow and my stomach is already in knots. Thinking about it makes me very tired. I think what bothers me most is that, he has NO clue how I feel and what damage is being done to me. I feel like he is on cloud nine all the time and I am six feet under! I pray you find the answers you need and the happiness your heart deserves. I keep telling myself we were put together for a reason and do believe that, but what is missing are the instructions on how to handle it! Ha Take Care! Joanne

Joanne, please don't let

Joanne, please don't let guilt keep you someplace where you aren't truly happy and thriving.  I do firmly believe that things happen for a reason and that relationships, no matter how inconsequential, are for a specific purpose.  The tough thing is understanding that sometimes those relationships are only for a certain period of time , and when a goal is accomplished (set by someone above??)  its time to move on in your journey.  Think, if you will, of people in your life that have passed away...their purpose is done...they have completed their mission...they move on.  Its really a beautiful gift once you think that way about it.  Its taken me a long time and a rather tough spiritual journey to think along those lines.  I do accept certain relationship endings with more peace now and well, maybe this way of thinking will give you some much needed peace in your life??? 

I wish you the best and look forward to hearing how things unfold for you


"...I think what bothers me

"...I think what bothers me most is that, he has NO clue how I feel and what damage is being done to me" Thats it, in a nutshell. He doesn't really understand and is NOT AWARE of how close you are to leaving. Yes, he would be devastated as he doesn't see it coming. I'd say to you and all the other wives ( and non-add husbands ) on here that it is imperative that your spouses are brought to the ugly, unpleasant reality that is before them. They are going to have to stand over the brink and look down at the abyss before their internal alarms go off. Thats the way it was in my case. I really didn't realize ( should have? Yes ) how miserable my wife was with our life, how vulnerable she was until it was there. I had ( and your spouses have ) taken things for granted and have a kind of Peter Pan syndrome of sorts. When I really began to come to my senses in respects to what was happening with us, I developed this kind of odd way to 'fast-forward the movie' and was able to see what the consequences were and what they would be. If you've ever seen the film 'A Christmas Carol' with George C Scott...that is a very good analogy to how it was. Mind you, it doesn't 'fix itself' majically, after that. But that is the first and necessary step - realising that much of their programming is off and then begin to seek treatment. ============================================================ Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't. - Erica Jong

Husband Doesn't Know

David's point is a good one - your husband does need to know the extent of the misery you feel, and how close you are to walking out.  (And, by the way, some people do live in two homes - bi-coastal couples, for example.)  But I also know just how hard it is to get a person with ADD to come out of the clouds and really internalize the information you are giving them about how much pain they are causing you.  This happened with my husband and I - I kept telling him how unhappy I was, and even that I would be better off without him because I was so incredibly lonely - yet unable to do anything about it because I was married.  Even after I did do something about it (by having an affair) he still didn't really "get it" and change his direction (though he was mighty unhappy about the affair).

For us, the turning point came from within me, not him.  I don't know if this would be the case for you or not.  But our turning point came when I decided that I needed to be true to myself.  Set the boundaries that I needed in order to be the kind of (good) person I wanted to be.  This changed my behavior rather dramatically.  Among other things, since I was focused on me it meant I left him completely responsible for his own behavior (didn't try to change him any more).  This was a huge relief to him, since much of our conflict was over my trying to get him to do things differently.  In a bizarre twist, once I stopped trying to force him to change he actually changed on his own.  The other thing that finally turned things around for us was that I disconnected myself from the outcome of our marriage struggles.  I accepted that my marriage might well be over...so the next job was to get myself into a better place, behave in a way that I felt was ethically right and how I wanted to be as a person - a sort of going back to my roots (back in my 20s type of "way of being".)  This meant that I expected a certain level of respect from my hubby...if I didn't get it then I didn't interact with him.  But by demanding respect in a calm, ethical, good, respectful way, I got it.  (If I had yelled at him to respect me - i.e. not respected him while demanding respect for me - I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten it.)

To some degree this is what David is saying, too.  His wife finally got to the point where she demanded that he respect her feelings and deal with them in a realistic way.  He doesn't mention how (separation?  different behavior?  new boundaries?)

Anyway, I don't think escape is the reason to leave...rather that you've thought out who you are and it feels right.  Maybe that's too subtle a distinction, but it's food for thought.

Re: Husband Doesn't Know

Whereas your husband didn't 'get it' after you started doing something about it, I did 'get it' !! The timing of it must have been Providential, because just prior to that, I was experiencing, what John Lennon described once as 'death of the ego' , after which I could see things very, very clearly for a time. Painfully clear. One of the results being, realising that I wasn't 'necessary' in the scheme of things. If it had not been for that 'death of ego' - don't know how else to term it - I'd probably not been able to see that my wife was already emotionally disconnected from me and was not just unhappy about certain things or events ( 'oh, she'll get over it' ) but lived in a state of unhappiness - 'quite desperation' as they say. Those of us with ADD ( and many who don't have ADD ) because we have an unhealthy, child's ego or whatever it is, don't understand how perilous the situation is. Anyway, there were several catalysts - the very real likelihood of loosing a very good, decent woman who'd given so much - one that I'd never find again, worrying about what would happen to the children ( finally, he starts thinking like a father instead of a child ), other things. "His wife finally got to the point where she demanded that he respect her feelings and deal with them in a realistic way. He doesn't mention how (separation? different behavior? new boundaries?)" She didn't have to at that point. I was so TUNED IN to her. She didn't have to say a word. I didn't read her mind, I read her internal colours, if that makes sense. I could ask her a question and by the slight rise in pitch on certain words, or just a hint of something in the eyes, I could know, not just what she was going to do, but how she was going to feel later. It was uncanny. She's a very pragmatic, practical asian woman, but it would give her chill bumps. I owe the guy a favour, to tell the truth, LOL. I'm sure your husband doesn't feel that way ( and I didn't exactly say that to the fellow when I spoke with him the last time ), but in retrospect, it was probably the best thing that could have happened. ==============================================================Men have always detested women's gossip because they suspect the truth: their measurements are being taken and compared. - Erica Jong

Husband Doesn't Know

I am currently working on setting my boundries in which I feel has certainly been lost. I think it is helping me with my anger issue I struggle with inside. I didn't realize how to do that and discovered that when my internal alarms goes off in a particular situation, that is when to set the boundry's. In other words when a situation comes up that I don't think is the "right thing to do" so to speak, I am saying no, and when asked why; I say that it doesn't make sense to me and that is something I would not do. I won't argue with him so he can make his point, I simply say no. So I want to thank both you and David for some good advice. Even in doing this for such a short time has really help stop quite a few situations that would have left me feeling angry or even disrespected which always draws out other emotions. I have noticed that I have been doing something for quite a while that seems "not healthy" and wondered if you had any good advice for that. For a long time now, probably a year, I have not really communicated with my husband. I guess I started doing this to protect my emotions so to speak and avoid a conversation that I know will not go anywhere. Its like he is having a conversation with me and if I don't say or think the way he does he shuts me out or totally goes into some other topics that has nothing to do with what we are talking about. I am not a yeller or screamer and have alway's tried to compliment on a particular subject but sometimes give him my thoughts, not to be critical but just as input. This could be on a simple matter to an important one, it doesn't matter I just doesn't work. I do strugle hardest with what I think a realionship should be or maybe its what I thought I had. I think of a "soulmate" as someone who understands you inside and out, and I commend David for seeing that with his wife! It seems that with everything I read that it may not be possible with adhd, especially if they are not willing to do their part in at least learning about it and the effects it can have on realationships. And in the state I am in now that say's "I really don't care". I do realize that is not my husbands intentions but that is just how you feel, when you are doing it alone. For now I am focused on healing myself and learning coping skills to help me in dealing with my husband. I think if I can get to a better place with my emotions and back to the way I used to be, maybe I will be better equipped to make decisions that are right for me. Thanks Melissa and David!

Re: Husband Doesn't Know

"I think of a "soulmate" as someone who understands you inside and out... seems that with everything I read that it may not be possible with adhd,..."

It is possible, I think. I have ADD - my wife defines it as severe. I'm not any different than your ( or anyone else here ) husband; maybe worse. Its only by coming through horriffic places that we catch a glimpse of how things are and are able to effect changes.


Even Agent Smith Gets the Blues

                                   - Eugene Donohoe, Dublin City

I'm tired too...

I totally understand what you are feeling.  Sometimes I feel like I need to get away too.  I feel like life is already hard as it is without my spouse stirring the pot further.  It's like he's an accident waiting to happen and everyone with him gets driven into the same ditch!! It is a very helpless feeling.  After several rounds of counseling nothing penetrates, he is oblivious and says it's just me.  Of course, it's just me - he's walking around with his head in the clouds.  I don't understand how people live like that.  I know I can't go on with this much longer.  It's tiring, frusterating and just plain destructive to my and my health ( I have MS ).  Sometimes I think love just isn't enough to keep people together.  It takes work on each part and you can't make people do what they don't see.  I'd give anything for a month away from it all.  I am tapped.

Marriage and ADHD

I married my husband 25 years ago and it's been a roller coaster ride to say the least. His one-man show about his experience being diagnosed at the age of 49 opens in L.A. on May 1. After many years as a successful TV writer, he has written his finest piece of work ever. Please go see PAY ATTENTION - ADHD in Hollywood on the Rocks with a Twist. This was my way of challenging him to put his experiences down on paper. It opened to rave reviews in Honolulu (where we now live) in October. You can find more info on Frank's website at http://www.franksouth.net.

My ADHD is affecting my marriage

My husband and I have been married for eight years. We have 2 children ages 4 and 1. My husband has just told me that he has not been happy in the marriage since the birth of our second child. I was oblivious to this. I was completely unaware of his unhappiness. The main problem that branches out to other issues is pin pointed to a symptom of my ADHD. I have always had trouble with it and I dont know how to control it. I was diagnosed as an adult and currently taking a medication for ADHD.My marriage is in a whirl wind. I love my husband and giving up is not an option for me. He said that wants to work it out as well. I need help to find out how to control this symptom in order to save my marriage to the man of my dreams. I have been married to since I was 19, he is a wonderful man, father and husband and I am not willing to let that go.

To Dana

Hi Dana - I am so sorry that things seem to be so bad for your marriage right now.  Have you tried going to counseling together?   I can see that you feel strongly about saving your marriage so consider that a place to start.  Hopefully you can find a good counselor that will help you both work together to solve some of the problems you are experiencing.  Maybe some good strategies to help with your ADHD, maybe some better communication skills...it can only help! 

I will keep your family in my prayers...


re:My ADHD is affecting my marriage

You're actually one of the lucky ones. The fact that you've caught it this early in your life ( as an adult - relative to a lot of us, you're still a kid ) and you are obviously serious about doing something about it, AND your husband seems to want to work things out; all add up to a good prognosis.

Finding out one's spouse has been unhappy in the marriage for a period of time and having  been oblivious to that is very common, regardless of any ADD. Counseling and treatment for the ADHD as well as marriage counseling ( do yourselves a big favour and find a good marriage counselor, bad or mediocre ones can be worse than none ) for the both of you should be top priorities.

Remeber too that in both cases ( the ADHD and marriage reconcilliation ) expect at least one step back for every two or three steps forward for some time. These kinds of things are not clean, black and white - open and shut affairs that lend themselves to neat, crisp fixes. They take time to resolve and the remedies don't always present themselves with clarity.



Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
                                                                 - John Lennon