Drip, drip, drip

I'm having huge struggles staying in the right frame of mind today.  This story is not about abuse, abandonment, joblessness, over-spending, etc., but it's like torture in that there have been thousands of these little stories in my long marriage and they just keep piling up (on?).  I just can't sweep them away fast enough to keep a loving frame of mind.

I've been out of bed for 10 minutes, he's 5 minutes from leaving for work. Him: "I wish I had a shirt that wasn't wrinkled."  Me:  Wear a different one.  Him:  I couldn't find any.  (Since I do all the laundry, I immediately leap to a bad place and start wondering what happened... I'm pretty sure I did laundry 6 days ago, and I'm pretty sure he has at least a dozen shirts suitable to the occasion, and I'm pretty sure at least half of them were hung up unwrinkled.  But for some strange reason I trust him, and don't look in the closet!)  Me:  When do you have to leave.  Him:  About a minute?  (why is this a question -- doesn't he know?).  Me:  It definitely needs to be ironed.  Him:  (unbuttoning) Could you iron it for me while I take stuff out to the car?  Me:  Okay.  (I'm still wondering where the hell all the clean shirts went.  Did he wear them and change at work?  I once found 3 pairs of pants, 4 shirts, a suit coat and two pairs of shoes in his vehicle.)  So I'm ironing, I hear doors banging, he turns up just as the shirt is finished.  He puts it on, hugs me, says thanks (we're still fine at this point, except I'm mystified about the missing wardrobe.)  Then... then.... why? why? why? he says to me, standing there in my jammies and early morning dishelvedness, "Your hair could really use some work this morning."  Boom.  Is this Stooge #2 -- Deflect?  Did he feel bad that he left finding something to wear to the last minute?  Does he know the fact that he has no clean, unwrinkled shirt might somehow be his responsibility?  Does he feel bad that I helped him out by willingly ironing his shirt?  So he has to zing me, somehow, some way? 

As I said, this is not a tale of abuse, abandonment, joblessness, overspending........ and reciting it sounds like just so much whining.  Poor me.  It's just more drip, drip, drip.  Guess I better go get started on the laundry.  And I found five good shirts in the closet.  Now who's the idiot.

I am Alice and this is Wonderland

My guy just called and asked me to come to the work event he has scheduled today.  He said it would be a good chance for us to spend some "time together".  This is a public event, and my presence there would be unremarkable, but to describe it as time together when he will be working in a public setting is just absurd.  It certainly falls into the category of "same building, same moment" togetherness, but that's not my brand of it.  I told him I had made other plans, and he sounded very disappointed.  I kind of believe his "invitation" was an apology for earlier today.  Weird, huh?

summerwine's picture

Or maybe he just wanted you

Or maybe he just wanted you to be there? Is there something wrong with that?



I did not have the time nor

I did not have the time nor energy to do laundry this week...I had a research paper due. Two actually. My husband went to work wearing the same city shirt two days in a row. I didn't care. 

I lived for several years (been married 14...I know, nothing compared to you) having that 'sick feeling in the pit of my stomach' when he would open the closet door and ask "do I not have any clean _____" or worse, when I would wake up in the middle of the night and realize I hadn't washed _____ and that he'd be a grouch about it the next morning. Last minute snowboarding trips and him scrambling to find his clean gear...only to find it stuffed somewhere dirty and me somehow feeling responsible. I don't get the feeling you feel as responsible as I once did...but I have lived with the clothes in the car (what the hell???!!), not seeming to be able to find clean clothes that are right in front of his face, and waiting until the latest possible minute to tell me he needs something cleaned. 

I know the 'zing' all too well too...this morning I made breakfast. Eggs, grits, bacon, biscuits. For all of our married life, he has eaten his eggs over medium. I scramble everyone else's, and make his separate. I put them on a plate for him and told him breakfast was ready. I said "your eggs are on a plate somewhere over there" he says "you didn't scramble them?...I want some scrambled eggs". No, i didn't scramble them because he has NEVER preferred scrambled over fried. If that was the case, fine, but why say "you didn't scramble them?" Like I did something wrong. He is like his mother in that aspect...no filter...says the first thing that comes to mind...and if he wanted something different or would have done something different then he voices that without thinking FIRST about how it sounds. My daughter, who I truly believe has ADHD more and more each day, said the biscuits (homemade) were "not very good" I said "can you not just say 'they were good'... you ate two of them" she said "no, why would I lie..they weren't very good". Sigh. Why did I bother to get up and spend 45 minutes cooking breakfast? 9 times out of 10 he will apologize after I say "gee, that was sweet" or give him 'the look' ... I have just realized it isn't worth getting upset over. Screw it. 

Just curious...do you ever say "that was really rude" or "if you don't have something nice to say just don't say anything at all"? or just something to him to draw attention to the fact that his comment was rude and uncalled for? I really cannot just say nothing...I am just not made that way. :-/


You mentioned I didn't seem as though I felt "responsible" for the shirt business... No, I have almost no housework guilt.  Probably because I do all of it, and it's usually up to date.  That's how I feel best, living day to day.  I was mostly baffled why there was a shirt issue, because it was so odd.  BTW, a big armful of "missing" clothing came in from his vehicle this afternoon.  I haven't checked to see what's in it.    

And do I ever say "that was rude" etc in response to the comments that hurt me?  I have tried variations of that, some just calm statements, some flip remarks, with mixed success.  Mixed as in whether I remember to use them, and mixed in how he responds.  He's sorta got them matched up with the Three Stooges.  I tried "ow" for a while.  He'd say he was just joking (deny).  "That hurt my feelings" got "you're too sensitive" (deflect).  Lastly, I tried "I'm not sure what to do with that information."  That response was "I'm just trying to help" (distort).  He's much better at this than I am. ;)  Too frequently, though, I don't have that quick moment between the remark and the awful feelings, to slip in the reasonable response.  Got to practice more, I think.

My personal "laundry" story

I've shared my problems dealing with clothes issues as our laundry room is not safe for me and I always struggle to get him to do it. We also have a very small house, with almost no closets. So last spring I got my husband to put all our winter sweaters in the attic. In the fall, I started wanting our warm clothes, and sent him up there. He insisted they were not up there and it had been last year when we did that, and he's gotten them down since. So now, we have no winter clothes. And our house is not heated (I can't afford to pay the back balance to the gas company.) So I'm going around in T-shirts because all my winter clothes, according to him, are gone.

I can't get up the ladder to the attic and I can't afford to buy new clothes and I can't afford to pay anyone else to go up in the attic and find our clothes, so I don't know what to do.

Sometimes you just have to

Sometimes you just have to stand your ground...tell him to get off his ass and get up the f'in ladder and find your damned clothes. That's insane. Even if he cussed me out all the way up the ladder, he would get up there and get my clothes. I have gotten in the attic for similar reasons...my DH swearing something was not up there when I knew it was...but I am able to do so, even if not as easily as him. I would just say "humor me and look and see if they are up there...and I would appreciate it if you did it NOW"

Just to clarify, not feeling

Just to clarify, not feeling responsible is a good thing...I did for many years even though I tried to keep it all together myself. I, too, do everything...so if I screw something up occasionally, so be it. I used to stress about it, but not anymore. I've seen him wear the same pants 2-3 days in a row when he HAS clean ones..so why the hell should I care? I used to be embarrassed when he would go to work wrinkled..or with a day old shirt on. Not anymore. I don't mean to give the impression he's a jerk about it...he really isn't most of the time. 

Even if I don't get the response of "I'm sorry" from him, I always point out his ugly comments. If he tries the 3 stooges, so be it. At least I let him know that TO ME his comment was rude. It is such a long term issue around here that now he does it just to pick on me...such as on Thanksgiving day when I told him I think I overcooked the turkey (just said in casual conversation...I really couldn't give a shit less if I did or not) he said "well, if you would have come and got me I could have shown you how to do it" and when I looked at him he just died laughing and hugged me saying "you know I'm just kidding." That shows how much attention I have drawn to his comments over the years. 



Yeah, I did understand what you were saying about responsibility.  When I choose not to do something household, it's totally my choice, and I feel fine about it. 

The turkey comment, OMG.  We do have to remind ourselves that ADHDers can truly enjoy stirring things up -- the stimulation is fun!  My guy and I would get along "better" if I remembered that, but like my momma used to say .... "don't encourage him!"  If I occasionally say you sure love giving me crap, don't you?  He grins and says "but it's so much fun!"  But it makes me mad, I say.  "I know!" he says.  "You're so cute when you're mad."  I say "How cute will you be with a dent in your forehead?"  Him:  inaudible due to hysterical laughter. 

These guys...

Sometimes I cannot believe what I read here. I might have not seen the ironed shirt starring me in the face for sure, but insult my wife? I'm smarter than that :) I learned a long time ago that this was not productive. Why would it be??? Common sense... I admit I don't handle hardly any of the laundry, but I do a lot of other household chores. One house, two adults with two full time jobs, so each should do their fair share. Again, common sense... What's the matter with so many of my fellow ADDers? 

I just had to chime in... Don't take this from us. Call them out and if they are like me, they will feel stupid and not do it again.

Thank the maker

For enlightened ADD men like you, at least there is one less frustrated spouse being put through the laundry "wringer".

My husband is unfortunately squarely in "the blame game" No socks because they are all rolled up into balls and magically under the bed - my fault. No clean work clothes because they are BEHIND the laundry basket - you guessed it...my fault. Of course we both work full time, and although he knows where the machine and detergent is, he knows how to use it, will he wash so much as a towel? Will he heck as like. I can feel the frustration as I type these words.

Gardener - every day is a new experience, your post to me when I first joined was so helpful, and you mentioned about meditation, then I read your gratitude post (I regularly use donna eden's energy medicine for women BTW) I think that it is so easy to find yourself in the whirlwind of unmet needs and expectations on both parts, of overwhelming snipes, of deflected anxieties. In the end, we need to try and focus on the good things, no matter how few. I truly believe that what you focus on grows. It's hard to be thankful and not mad as hell that the person you love, the person you married and chose to give your life to (in the marital sense) annoys the living daylights out of you with their petty nuances, it IS HARD....but, you can choose to let it go. Joyfully. That's what I am focusing on now. Letting go of the anger, the pain, the emotional and gutwrenching guilt trip that I am regularly a captive passenger on.

Will my marriage make it? The truth is, I don't know. But I am over trying to control the outcome of that question, it burns me out and it makes me live in a dark, dark, confusing and scary place, where I am a shell of a person, with just enough executive function to get by. I don't want to be like that anymore, so - in the mantra of the non's out there. It's got to be about working on me.

You are doing so well by all accounts, you are living your way - so this drip-drip-drip dry laundry issue, leave it where it is, refuse to take on his anxieties by firmly and lovingly saying "I am happy to help when it is appreciated"...there has to be conditions, because unconditional love has no boundaries, no sanctions and from what I am reading ADD'ers need to have these to thrive (no matter how much they resist).

Keep smiling.



Thanks, all.  I have a little better humor about it today.  YYZ, when you said call him out, I'm picturing me in a Regency romance novel, slapping him with my glove, saying "You, sir, have offended my honor.  We have an appointment at dawn."  LOL.  He'd be late and forget his dueling pistol. 

Yes, what you focus on does increase, which is a danger we fall into on this forum when we cease looking for solutions.  

Duel = Easy Win (For the Non's ;)

Not only would we forget to show, but we would forget the gun we forgot to put the bullet in. Even if we set our reminders and showed up, we would forget which one of the 10 paces we were on ;)

I'll tell you my most anxiety ridden days are those where my wife has to work and we have tons to do, like get Christmas Installed yesterday, and we sat down and discussed our goals and how to go about them. Still, some of my items were no brainers that I've got Zero possibilities to fail at, other than not doing them, Re-arrange the living room and install a new Xmas tree (Not too hard), while others like doing a new outdoor light scheme (MASSIVE Chaos to me) because neither of us have this design/vision (Once I start it usually starts making sense like any of my projects, but this takes time to get through the chaos phase) and finally just get the "Good Stuff" from the attic (Above the 2nd floor) for our somewhat scaled down decorating plan. (WHAT is "Good" stuff??? She gave some example items and we have a General Label on the tubs of stuff) 

All this on a day when she works all day and we have a winter/rainy front rolling in... And I see the normal things in the house stacking up, I had to go and replace a failing cell phone (Which I did when rain halted my outdoor installation in the middle of my work of course) I needed to pickup my DD#2 at grandma's house and my DD#1 wanted to go to a hockey game (Last minute of course). I tried to make the most of the situation and called my DW to see what she thought about the game. I would take both girls, which would give my DF time to get home and work on the tree decorating, without being interrupted with all the "I'm bored/hungry/whatever requests". I also like hockey and have done a lot during the day. Of course DD#2 did not want to go to the game, so I called my DW and asked again about the items needed from the attic, did my best to get what she requested all the way down to the 1st floor so she would not have to deal with carrying anything down stairs. Then before we left I tried to straighten up as much as possible so she would not walk into "Chaos-land", which is hard during the  Xmas Construction Project.

I cannot tell you how stressful these days are to me. Many times my efforts have disappointed, so even though I communicate better, get more done, and so on, the anxiety builds as the day runs out of time, especially now that I notice all the other things that still need to be done. I think I'm a Freak ADDer... Worried about my work output and hindered by ADD symptoms.

Is it a mystery why I have a hard time enjoying the holidays? 

And I cannot find the box in the attic with my dueling pistol ;)



You are much more ambitious than we are... we gave up outdoor lighting when we both realized that what ought to be a labor of love or not done at all... was not going to be done at all.  No mistake, we both loved the idea of having outdoor lights, but neither of us enjoyed doing outdoor lights.  Anger, frustration, not happy with results (all him).  Ladders (me).   Now, neither of us likes to pay the bills, but we dislike the consequences of not doing that even more, so we do it (well, actually, I do it.)  But when the results don't compensate for the anguish, we choose not to do.  Of course, anyone's marriage has conflict when one partner wants and the other partner has to do.  Then the "doer" can either reframe it as a gift to the other, or ask the "wanter" to do.  You sound a bit like you feel constantly on trial to accomplish.  I wouldn't wish that on anyone.  Where does your "worried about my work output" come from?  My ADHD guy gets a TON accomplished -- it's just rarely the things I wish he would do.  If he could get a little more balance, so that his life includes things that are important to both of us, not just him, I'd be... well, I'd be delighted.  But I'm not looking for him to do much at all that only "I" want done.  If I sent him alone into the attic for the Christmas things, I'd deserve what I'd get.  Our method is "Honey, can I use your strong back for 15 minutes?"  Him (puffing up) Okay!  I pick out the boxes and totes, and he takes them down.  Yes, we're both very busy.  One year this didn't get done until Dec 20!  But by then he was so worried it wouldn't happen, he even helped set out decorations!  ;)  

The rest of this is not directed specifically to you, YYZ, but is my little rant for the holiday season.

How to Enjoy The Holidays:  Do (and enjoy) what you are doing while you are doing it.    Eliminate items that you cannot enjoy doing, unless they are a gift to someone else.  Then enjoy giving your gift. 

DO NOT: Do things the neighbors, coworkers, brothers-in-law, etc. think you should do to "enjoy" the holidays. Let them do those things. DO NOT: Do everything your children think is required to "enjoy" the holidays.  A few events, a few gifts, fully savored, are worthy to celebrate the season.  TOO MUCH is too much.  When I hear myself say "I've got to make fudge to take to work," (this is usually so people will think I'm a fabulous person for doing so... UG!)  I am a fool if I don't stop and say "Either I want to or I don't want to.  I don't have to.  Do it with a generous heart, or put it down."  

Do you think you have a good grasp of much can actually fit in a day?  Do you think you have a good grasp of whether things are taking you longer than they could because of distraction?  My ADD guy's time estimates are usually way off.  He thinks he doesn't want to do something because he thinks it will take longer than it actually will, so he doesn't start.  This is when I do the thing "with him" and say, just give it 30 minutes, and if we don't finish, oh well.  Or he thinks he can do A, B, C, D & E, when actually, with trips to the hardware store, a nap (it is the weekend after all), a little break for XBox and two meals, he only has time for A, B, and a start on C.  I don't make "honey do" lists... he told me years ago he thought they were insulting.  Just ask for me help, he said.  So I do, but at the exact moment I need it.  The hours-long or days-long projects we both want done are identified at monthly "meetings" and yes-- many of the same items have been there for years.  So what.  I'm just trying to get him to pick up his socks.  Life, at the end, if it is lived well, will still have a long list of things "to do".  

I'm going to go light a fire, have a glass of red wine, and put up the tree.  If I can find it.  

summerwine's picture

I just let the kids decorate

I just let the kids decorate even if it means having reindeer and Santa in weird places or crooked on the walls. Whatever I don't care. . Last year I paid the guy next door to put up our lights and i never took them down. I plugged them in again yesterday. They still work! Mission accomplished.

Thanks :)

I am sure I still drive her crazy in other ways, that's why I'm here. Reading, reading and reading way...

summerwine's picture

Because the kids in the

Because the kids in the family are ADHD or AS we have to try to teach them to not blurt stuff out. Wow it's hard. I say all kinds of things that people take the wrong way. I was just thinking out loud I don't mean anything by it. So I'm a bad example. But what we are supposed to do with the kids is say "That comment might not have been meant to be rude or hurtful or mean but it feels that way" then they have to say "Sorry I didn't mean it like that"  I don't know if you can train a husband that way ...

summerwine's picture

I"m glad that I don't live

I"m glad that I don't live with you! My sister in law expects us to lie and say something is good when it's not too. I never understood why its less rude to lie.


I'm not asking him to lie.  I'm asking him to be kind.  If I had asked him how I looked, his comment about my hair would have been truthful, certainly.  But I had just helped him out of a jam, and his comment came out of nowhere.  I understand that he thinks thoughts and then says them.  I get it.  If saying nothing when I look like I just got out of bed, when in fact I just got out of bed, is lying, then yes, I think it is less rude to lie.  

summerwine's picture

Oh that was a response to

Oh that was a response to Sherri who was saying she wished her daughter said the biscuitss were when they weren't.

Or how about forgiving? When

Or how about forgiving? When one loves someone, the little idiosyncracies and "indiscretions" can and should be lovable if seen through loving eyes not critical ones. Its the spirit with which things are said and offered that should be brought to the attention of each other at calmer moments- particularly when they feel hurtful to either person (and to give the "offender" a chance to apologize).