everyone is blaming me

I finally got my husband to agree to seeing a psychiatrist. We live in France and I went through so many hoops to get us there - translating letters from French to English you name it. It has been truly awful. Despite a history of ADD-like problems at school, work and in previous relationships my husband managed to convince the psychiatrist that I'm the problem. My nagging and constant monitoring apparently puts him under so much stress that he forgets stuff and gets distracted etc. The psychiatrist called his family - who based on my husbands' reports - confirmed his view that the problem is me. So we came away with no diagnosis no treatment and a final conclusion that this is all 'marital stress'. You bet it is.

I have never felt so isolated. I understand how this has happened - but I can't bear it anymore. I've had three years of of being told any mishap is because of me - and I just cannot bear it anymore. My heart is broken. I don;t know how to get out of this now. I;m stuck in a French farmhouse with dry rot and I've lost my life.

I have read the book. It describes my life to a T. I know I'm supposed to show compassion and now and praise the positives and god knows what else. But I don;t know if I have anything left.

How do you get out of the hole?


The wrong therapist is worse than none

I am so sorry the psychiatrist didn't recognize ADHD for what it is. That is a terrible blow. Is it possible for you to go see him alone and go over what your concerns are? A problem with the first visit can be that the patient is fully engaged because it is stimulating, so the doctor doesn't see the real picture.  I just read Driven to Distraction and it seems dr Hallowell always took several sessions to come to a diagnosis. 

You are in a really tough spot since your husband now has validation that it isn't his behavior that's the problem. All you can really do is control what you can control. You can try not nagging or monitoring and forcing your husband to face the consequences of his misses, but that is hard to do when you are also impacted. You can ask for what you need and set deadlines.  Try to treat him how you want to be treated.  And ask to be treated how you want to be treated. 

I wish you the very best in these difficult time.


I am sorry--I am sure you must be tired a dejected--don't give up! Can you give a copy of Melissa's book to the doctor? It does a nice job of explaining how both parties are affected and the work they must do. Or find another doctor that lets you both meet with him or her to start, or something? 

Hang in there. 


Thank you and to Shelley. It

Thank you and to Shelley. It does help to know that other people understand my position. It can be a lonely place.

I think my husband is nearly there. Sometimes he understands - but when it gets really close to making an admission the shutters come down again and it is foisted back on to me.

But his parents are going to love this outcome - they are trying to persuade him to leave me - making sure he gets half the house first of course! Half the house he's just taken apart and now can't put back together again.

I've decide to step away from it and just keep my head down. All the time I'm holding this ADD thing - and I seem to be the only one that does - everyone can hold me responsible. So I'm letting go and putting my hands behind my back so it can't be given to me again. My husband doesn't own his problem. I do. So the way I see it - he can pick this up and hold it and do something with it - or he can drop it too. In which case it's all over - because I no longer want to pick up the pieces.

Am doing my best to look after myself in the interim. As I might have to get myself out of this mess in the very near future.

Thanks for your support


The French Connection

I also live in France and I also am living in a building site, 4 years after it was due to be completed, and there is still no end in sight. The "project" was supposed to be for the benefit of my husband, so he felt some purpose in his life and gave him a fulfilling occupation after he took early retirement from an office based job. This was 7 years ago when I gave him an ultimatum - either do something or I am leaving. At the time, I felt he was suffering from depression, although he would not accept that. A year ago, I learned about ADHD and it was my "light bulb" moment. I have spent a great deal of time since researching the condition. My husband is in complete denial, although I think that deep down he knows that he is different to most other people. He is also completely opposed to taking any type of medication (including a headache pill), so I decided that there was no point in bothering to get a professional diagnosis if he would never agree to medication. However, I feel I am coping better with the procrastination/lack of progress/indecision/poor timekeeping/mood swings/bad prioritising etc etc, because I can now at least understand the logic behind it all. That doesn't mean that I don't still lose the plot, lose my temper and occasionally my mind. But the ratio of good days to bad is slowly swinging in my favour.  Living in a foreign country can add additional stress to day to day life when you don't understand the language or the culture and everything takes so long because you are not sure how to go about it. And despite technology, contact with friends is also reducing, so that I don't feel able to just ring someone up and have a good moan, like I could when we were in more regular contact. Am happy to share my techniques for reducing the argments with you if you want to send a private message.  Bon courage!

The French Connection

Hello Endeavour,

Thank you for your post - there is another dimension to all of this living in a foreign country - so I'd be very glad to talk to you some more and find out how to avoid arguments!

Which bit of France are you in - I'm in Finistere, Brittany - wonder if we're neighbours?

I am new to this forum so I have no idea how to send a private message - but would like to continue our conversation...

I'll try and work it out!


private msg

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A lonely place

Such an apt statement:  "It can be a lonely place."

I feel exactly the same way.  Everyone outside our home thinks my husband is so wonderful and exceedingly charming, that any complaints I have about him are quickly dismissed as "normal husband stuff", and I am interpreted as being an uptight, intolerant person.  No one understands the frequency, or the degree to which his symptoms affect our home life, or the crushing responsibility I bear for our house, our finances, and our children - constantly on edge, picking up the pieces, filling in the blanks.  And I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't: getting yelled at for trying to lead him in the right direction, or accused of having no faith in him - but yelled at anyway if I don't offer that bit of guidance and everything falls apart.  

On our way to part 1 of his 3 part ADHD assessment the other day, he told me he had the address, but I printed out the email I'd received from the clinic anyway (having learned from past experience).  During the 1+ hr drive, I weighed the consequences of checking that he had the correct address, realizing I would get yelled at for not having faith that he was able to record an address, so made the decision not to check with him.  When he was unable to locate the building, he asked me for the street number, and I read out a completely different address in a nearby town.  Then he said angrily, "You'd better call the doctor and tell him we'll be late", so I pulled out my phone, and saw that we still had 15 minutes - enough time to get there.  I told him, "We're not late."  He said, "Isn't our appointment at 10:30?"  And I said, "No, I told you it's at 10:45".  How congruous....