Finding Ways to Cope

So, a few days ago, I had (what I think is) a great idea. My main way of coping with my husband and his ADHD is by ranting. Unfortunately, my friends and family, who don't really understand ADHD at -all-, tend to start disliking my husband because of the things I complain about. They think he's really inconsiderate and rude, etc. So instead of ranting to them, I started an online blog today so that I could share my husband's antics with other ADHD spouses and maybe get a little feedback and/or understanding without the condemnation to my husband.

Not sure if this will work out, but I'm thinking it probably won't hurt. Do any of you try to keep a blog/journal/diary?

I have journals

Many, many journals from my 26 years with an ADD husband. He so often denied doing/saying things that I thought I was losing my mind. I started carrying my journal around and writing down everything he did and said so I'd have proof that I wasn't just imagining it all. I wrote it down immediately so I could get it as exact as possible. He HATED my journals.

LilacRed's picture

Journals

That's BRILLIANT!!!

I keep my journals as a

I keep my journals as a reminder. I'm currently dating my ex-husband again. He seems to have changed, so I don't know if keeping all the journals is good or not. Is it not letting go of the past, or reminding myself of how bad it can be?

LilacRed's picture

I keep my journals as a......

Forgiveness is a virtue, forgetting is heroism. Unless you plan on rehashing incidents you felt you weren't validated for, you may not want to keep it. You are free, now. You no longer need to record everyday life to prove to him and yourself you're not making it up. Be careful when you say he's changed........improved? Maybe....Is he hyperfocusing on you? Maybe not.... Just be careful. You know better than I do.. But sooner or later, they relapse. I try to see my husband as two: My husband....and Mr. ADHD. My husband is an awesome human being. Mr. ADHD? Not so awesome. Sometimes it gets really hard, but his great qualities far out weigh the bad, so I do my best to cope. That's my motivation.. What's yours?

You will never forget the

You will never forget the past, but my opinion is that it is a way to 'stay' in the past to hold onto things like this. I had a private forum site that only had me and 6 other members during much of the horrible years in my marriage. It was devastating (and like re-living it all over again) for me to go back and read it all. I had sworn to make positive changes in my life and felt that I would never be the person I wanted to be if I held onto those posts and being able to read and remember everything that way. I gave my marriage/husband a clean slate 16 months ago and that included deleting the entire site. The past is good for giving us a reference point, but for me I knew I would never be able to truly purge my heart of the hurt and forgive him if I had all of that information as a reference. I seem to be alone in this way of thinking, that it is best for ME to let go of the past and focus on the now, but that is just what has worked for me and brought about changes in my marriage that I never dreamed possible. So, no one can say it doesn't work or that it has no validity..or can't be done.

Someone made a very good

Someone made a very good point to me the other day...if we don't ever stop expecting them to eventually disappoint us, and in my case making it clear that the fear is always there, then we are never truly letting them stand on their own accord and own the responsibility of keeping it from happening again. Letting them know "hey, I believe in you and I believe in your changes that I see and I am proud of who you are now" puts the burden of not disappointing us on them and ups the ante for them to always be on guard for situations where they could disappoint us.

So hard to do...

I'm dating my ADD ex-husband, and I thought I'd approached it that way; he has shown lots of signs of having changed. I waited for a long time before I started getting close to him again, and could honestly say that I was impressed by his improvements. But now I find that everytime he does even the slightest rude or thoughtless thing, I over-react. I DON'T over-react in front of him, but I do it internally. His 'slips' are getting more frequent and more blatant. Once in a while, he's almost as bad as he used to be. I can feel the resentment building up; eventually I will explode and he won't even know what he's done wrong. I DON'T want that to happen. But I also hate having to sit him down and talk to him like he's 7 years old and I'm his mother. When I have to explain that it's rude for him to cough in my face or say insulting things to other people, I completely lose respect for him. I don't know how to handle it.

So hard to do by Lynnw

While I am thrilled for your reconnection with your ex, seeing the many signs of change and improvement on various levels.  Could he be getting back into somewhat of a comfort zone?  You know, relaxing his effort to continue his changes and improvements!  I don't know but this would surely be a red flag to me.  I don't think you want to deal with building resentment again. 

give credit where its due

When an adult  ADHD first gets diagnosed there are many emotional upheavals to deal with as well as improvements to everyday life and communication. We have a lot on our plates. It is not an easy task and it wont occur over night. I suggest you read SherriW's posts regarding her experiences with her spouse. I will add that you may want to try positive and affirming dialogue to communicate and pick things that are really important to discuss;don't be niggly and judgmental about things that are best left until later. Its a pick your battles kind of scenario. If things are difficult, and you haven't learned cues for frustration or overload, ask him " Do you feel up to talking about x" and then if you get affirmative say something like " I am so happy that you have done x, or seen to x, or you are making progress in x, I really care about us and want to improve our communication, I feel like x when you say/do x". If negative say" can you let me know a good time to talk?" What I am saying is lead with a positive, make him feel like his work is worth something. Many of us ADHDs need more encouragement than others and because of past experiences , many normals want to give us less. Blame and resentment and fear does not lead to good work.

We were together for 26

We were together for 26 years. I spent the first 15-20 years trying to build up his ego. It was AFTER diagnosis (about 11 years ago) that he got really bad. He was on all different kinds of medications (anti-depressants, ADD meds, etc). They mostly just made him worse. He blew off 5 or 6 therapists...as soon as they started asking difficult questions, he'd quit. Now he's not on any medication or therapy.

We've been apart for 6 years. I've seen great improvements in him, and we started dating again about 6 months ago. He was great for the first few months, but recently the rudeness and selfishness is back. I see us falling into the same pattern we were in at the end of our marriage.

Back in his comfort zone

Yup. I think that's what it is. He's getting comfortable. I hate to have to shake things up just to keep him behaving.

I have to ask...I've been with him since I was 19 years old (I'm 55 now). He's the only man I've ever loved or been seriously involved with. I don't even know what a normal relationship looks like. I know you have to keep working at relationships, but is it normal to have to keep alert for red flags and 'straighten out' your partner all the time? If I relax (or let him relax) he drifts off into ADD land again, all rude and lazy and self-centered. I was his 'keeper' for too many years and I DON'T want to be in that role again. But I also won't accept bad behavior. Can we ever just settle down and enjoy each other? Is it too late to hope he will ever be able to monitor his own behavior?

and

You have absolutely no part in failing to make things work? You are a completely innocent victim? And yes, relationships with ADHD individuals can take lots more work and be very rewarding as a payoff. If your not willing to do the work, get out of the relationship so the man can move on. Why give him false hopes?

I bent over backwards and

I bent over backwards and accepted a lot more irresponsibility and bad behavior from him than I ever should have. Perhaps not having the patience of a saint is a character flaw, but I have absolutely no doubt that I did everything I could to save that marriage. He refused to do ANY work to save it, so I divorced him 6 years ago. No false hope there; I made it abundantly clear where I stood, and he chose not to do the hard work.

I'm seeing him again now, and I entered into it with an open mind, but I now know what I will and won't accept, and so does he. I won't hesitate to stop seeing him if he isn't working on/not making any progress in changing himself.  I no longer feel guilty for not accepting him as he is, if "as he is" is impossible to live with. If he wants changes from me, he has to ask for them.

You have far more control

You have far more control than you think. Use it.

You don't live with him, he doesn't live with you, and if you need a little 'break' from the weekend visits, just tell him you need a little space. It will only go back to the way it was if you both let it. He's got ADHD, that did not change. He made some changes in his living situation and shifted some responsibilities but other than that, he's still untreated and you really are going to have to just accept that he will always have things about him that you consider 'rude' and make you uncomfortable. Just say "it makes me very uncomfortable with you make rude comments to people in my presence..please don't do that or we won't be able to spend time together". You've made it this far without him, why be afraid to draw some boundaries for him now? You've come too far to let things go back to the way they were. You also have to find ways to accept things that are 'just him' as well. Learning to compromise and learning to love the person and not hate the disorder is key. You cannot hold it against him for still being him...especially since you're aware he's not being treated. Reality is, he's probably coming down off of hyperfocus and you're getting dangerously close to slipping back into the mothering role. Don't. Don't 'sit him down' and talk to him, point things out as they happen and tell him how it makes you feel and then let it go. Draw some clear boundaries and don't let him cross them...and either learn to love some of his 'stuff' or don't, that is up to you...but many things will always be a part of who they are.

Sherrie; good points. I keep

Sherrie; good points. I keep thinking that being with him is 'settling' for less than I want. I know that's not fair to him that I feel that way, and I've talked to him about it (without putting it quite that bluntly). He knows that I have ambivalent feelings about him, and that I still have a lot of resentment. It doesn't seem to phase him; it's as if he'll settle for any level of attention I'll give him. It's so hard for me not to be a parent when he acts like a bratty little kid. Maybe we need counseling together, but that always turned into a disaster in the past.

It's hard to 'not' see him; he lives far away and has every weekend visitation with the kids. His idea of visitation is to come and stay at my house and let me deal with the kids while he 'relaxes'. For a while, when we first divorced, I made him take the kids and go away for the weekend, but he would take the kids and stay at my mother's house (2 miles away). She was old and not in the best of health; she'd call me all weekend, complaining about the mess and the noise they all made (she had problems saying 'no'). She'd say "Please come and get your family". I felt really badly for her. When she had a stroke and got a live-in home health nurse, there was no bedroom available for 'my family', so my ex didn't come to see the kids for a few weeks, until I let him stay here. I sometimes wonder if it would be better if he just faded out of all of our lives.

very good point

Boy, how true this is.  This is what I did, let go of all of the disappointments that had swallowed me whole.  I was tired of living disappointment to disappointment, prayed to GOD to help me let them go and turned everything over to GOD.  I have learned, if you don't expect anything then disappointment will not follow.

To not expect anything

To not expect anything works...your life with the ADDer certainly is less traumatic for both of you. I did it for a while, but I got tired of waiting for the little crumbs of help or support or affection he might voluntarily throw my way. He thought everything was peachy because I stopped nagging him; he could finally relax and do nothing and not get nagged about it...the life he always wanted. I was doing all the work, and didn't even have the outlet of nagging, so my resentment soared. I couldn't live like that, so I divorced him.

I have a small handful of

I have a small handful of friends that are fair and listen to me, although they cannot fully understand, and they keep me in line when need be, but give me support when I need it as well. I also have this site. That's about it. My family love us both...so I try not to discuss a lot of it with them anymore. They do understand, as much as possible and want what is best for him. I did keep a journal of sorts (online, private) for a while...before our separation. It got so painful reading the years when things went so horribly wrong and then the months leading up to our separation that I deleted it. It kept me in the past too much...and I had to let go and move forward..for me.

journals

I keep journals for a a few reasons, but never, ever to keep a record of wrongs. In this context, I find them useful to discover any cyclical patterns in my own behavior and thinking. I know I bring my own junk to this relationship, so I want to know how that affects us, especially if it might be an enabling pattern for my DHs ADHD. I also use them to try to summarize what the overall problems might be, since often my journalling tends to note day to day symptoms. I can look back and see what was going on with us when I was feeling the most frustrated, sad or whatever. Also, since I journal on good days as well as bad days, I can be reminded of what I was thinking on good days and that can encourage me today. Yes there are very, very sad feelings expressed in them, but I can say that these days I am not quite so sad, and that is a good reminder that I am moving forward from my darkest moments. I also go back and reread after I've made a new realization about myself or ADHD and see how it plays out in our lives. For me, keeping a record of where I've been doesn't mean I still live there in the past. They are reminders I'm not there anymore but it's still available in detail to learn from.