Fixing the ADHD vs. getting things done

 I guess I don't understand why we "non's" of ADHD'ers are told we are trying to "fix" our spouses ADHD. Most of the time we are trying to help things run smoother instead of having so much CHAOS all the time. The stress of trying to have as "normal" a life as possible, but always finding ourselves in extremely difficult situations, is a frustrating thing. Those of us who have had multiple years of undiagnosed adhd have lived a life of such confusion, that it's hard to understand the differences between "fixing" and "being able to get things accomplished with the least amount of stress". Could someone please explain the difference. THANKS.

Maybe you're just not there

Maybe you're just not there yet, lol. My controlling behavior spawned partly from my innate take-charge personality and need for stabilty (and further perpetuated by my low self esteem- I needed some control on MY life to protect myself, or so I felt). But it really jumped along when my unmedicated DH demonstrated the inabilty to plan and follow through with anything, and his low self esteem (hidden by lots of bravado) made it easy and more secure for him to just let me/expect me to TAKE OVER. In short, it was not fair to him OR me...-and we both chugged along in denial for many, many years. I would do all the finances,orchestrate all the kids' needs, plan the vacations (every aspect), the grocery list.. The everything lists!! It became overwhelming as the kids needs developed, and my low selfesteem furthered along. His behavior made me very confused and upset, especially his rollercoaster anger and irritability. So that made me feel the need to even more, I think, maintain control on the aspects of life I could for my DH his low self esteem and adhd personal trauma fluorished as well. And so it went. But something "changed" for the worse (and now maybe the better) and since the adhd diagnosis things at least feel more honest and out in the open. Things at least have SOME sense (the not knowing why he did the things typically associated with adhd made me crazy!)And despite the continued Hell, I know that the old dynamic is GONE. Neither of us want that any more...just not sure which direction we are going from here...

Each relationship is

Each relationship is different, so there really isn't a hard fast rule about when to let go or how much to let go.  It continues to be an experiment for me.  I really take it one day at a time.  My husband has a friend's place to sleep at and he does go there sometimes.  But he visits daily.  I used to get excited for the visits and spending time with him, until I would always be let down when he would leave or say something hurtful.  So I changed my reaction to him.  You can't control anyone but yourself.  So when he visits, I keep busy and seem indifferent. I am friendly, but distant.  The more I do this, the more he seems to be concerned and attentive.  It really threw him for a loop the other night when I had already eaten dinner before he arrived.  That is not like me but it was a tiny adjustment that he noticed.  After a few nights of that, he arrived yesterday afternoon, wanting to go to dinner with me.  He played it cool and tried not to act excited about it but we had a nice time.  Then, instead of sleeping at his friend's house, or in our spare bedroom..he came to our bed.  Again, I backed off and didn't make a big deal about it.  But I know that all of these actions on his part are out of fear that I my really be done.  He needs me but he hasn't quite admitted it to himself, and certainly not to me.  Trust me, the more you take control of the situation, the better it is.  I am such a "doer."  I feel useless and helpless if I am not actively working to solve a problem. So this has been tough and it took me a long time to come to this new perspective.  You know your spouse more than anyone.  Trust in that and it will guide you.

What's wrong with this picture?

Our dynamics have been somewhat different. My husband has always worked very hard at his job, provides financially for us, and does a limited amount of things around the house. I have never been able to work a job that pays a significant enough salary, due to a chronic pain condition. (car accident with subsequent surgeries) My husband SAYS he has never resented the fact that I don't "bring in more money", but he REALLY stresses over money and bills. He DOES waste a lot of money buying things for himself, or a lot of junk food, and usually resented me buying needed things for the house or clothes, etc.

   I didn't do the "nagging thing" when it came to chores, etc. I told him when I needed him to do things (which he usually didn't do) and I ended up doing them. He would complain when the house was dirty, but most of that came from HIS "leaving everything where he dropped it". You can only step over stuff "so much", before SOMEONE has to pick it up. Anyway, most of the time I didn't mind doing more around the house/yard, because he WAS the major wage earner, and I figured it "pretty much evens out in the end". Am I wrong about that?

   I did let  my husband take more control over the bills and expenses, which now I believe was not a wise thing to do. We have declared bankruptcy once, and will probably have to do it again.  This is where it gets "weird" for us: My HUSBAND is the one with the 'CONTROL ISSUES. He wants to be in control of almost EVERYTHING, and feels threatened when he is not. Is THIS also ADHD? In the beginning of our marriage, he WANTED me to "take control" over everything, which I wouldn't do. I told him I wasn't going to be his mother. His mother was his bookkeeper, cook, and everything else. He really resented that. Was I wrong in doing that? But, what I read here, is that most of you BECAME like  your husband's mother due to the circumstances. But, even though I didn't DO THAT, it still turned out messed up ANYWAY. I don't understand.

  All I really wanted from my husband was more affection, love, hugs, kisses. etc. (doesn't sound like much now does it?) Which he gave me BEFORE the marriage, but not after. But, now, I have stopped asking ANYTHING from him at all. He seems fine with that, and is treating me much better. I smile, I laugh with him, I act like I'm ok, and he's good with that, but I am DYING INSIDE. To me, all it is doing is just keeping everything in DENIAL. He WON'T read any of this stuff, and WON'T discuss anything about our relationship. Where do you go from there? I feel trapped and sad and LOST. And HE'S the one who ends up in a 3 year affair with a much younger woman, when I'm the one starving for attention and affection. What's wrong with this picture?

   My husband has ADHD, as well as being the one with major control issues. Since he won't tell me what happened to him when he was younger, I don't have a clue as to what he went through BEFORE we knew each other. I don't want to repeat any hurtful things that might have been done to him, and I don't want to repeat things that I've done to hurt him. But, I DON'T HAVE A CLUE as to WHAT to do, because he gives me NO INPUT. When I bring any issue up, no matter how kind, or gentle or in genuine care, he just shuts down or thinks that I am being confrontational. In the regular ADHD way, he gets defensive, walks away, and/or gets angry.

   Many of us nons give up so much, don't get much in return, and feel like we are living a life that we never dreamed we would EVER be living. I AM THANKFUL FOR ALL THE LITTLE THINGS HE DOES; like when he buys me flowers, or draws me a bath. Those things are very nice, and it's what keeps me hopeful and hanging in there. But, is it horrible of me to say that is just doesn't seem like enough? What do I do?

   I read many other posts here on this site, and one wife wished her husband would have shown her some remorse for all the hurtful things he caused her. (many of which were choice as well as ADHD) That is something I would like as well. I've never seen any remorse for the affair, or remorse because I've been hurt or because something is missing in our lives. There is NO true emotion shown except for anger. It's easier to forgive someone when you know they are sorry for hurting you, but when they're not sorry, it's damn hard. I don't think that forgiveness is a one time act. To me, forgiveness is an ongoing process, because hurts can get triggered by different things at times, so then another conscious act of forgiveness must be done. My husband has been  proud of keeping his "emotions in check", and not discussing anything about how he really feels or what he is thinking.

   Should I just STOP trying? I really don't know. Does it sound like I am still trying to "control" the marriage or his adhd?

Thanks for letting me ramble.



Your relationship sounds

Your relationship sounds pretty much like mine.  All of your questions are valid and I find myself asking the same ones over and over.  In my case, I believe I have finally just given up and am taking steps to proceed into the future, on my own, as it is still very apparent that my husband is not interested in helping himself with his disorder. 

The ADD is and always will be there...

I was undiagnosed for 43 years and had to figure out ways to cope with my many symptoms. After I figured out the Adderall regiment and have read and read and posted here, I feel like progress is being made. Electronic reminders became available to me and probably gave me the organizational improvement to save the household sanity. I cannot tell you how many little things I was asked to do, only to later forget. How many arguments where I would say "Do you think I forget on purpose because your wrath my forgetting something is SO fun?" What an emotional moment... Guilt for forgetting something, Again, Anger for getting attacked for something I did not do on purpose, Self Worthlessness for this repeating brain function feeling so stupid, yet having to try and defend myself at the same time. Lists are everything to me and my sanity. I took over paying the bills 7 years ago because I saw how it was the thing that was pushing my wife over the edge. I hate not knowing the mechanics of an issue. How can it be corrected if it is not understood. I was really the organized one in the relationship because my failure is guaranteed without it. So after my diagnosis I found out a lot of the why I was who I am and continue to work on things. I still feel the ADD inside me, but the Adderall and Exercise (I walk quite a bit) help me quite a bit. The direction from here is still under development.





Dear YYZ,

    Thanks for your input, and I'd like to ask you some questions if it's okay.

Did you always feel bad about yourself (adhd symptoms)?

Did the things your wife said emphasize the hurt, or did you dismiss what she said? and

Did you specifically point out the things that were hurtful? or were you on the adhd merry-go-round like the rest of us? (where not-KNOWING about the ADHD caused a whole bunch of actions vs. re-actions)

Thank you for ALL the posts you've written. I have read several and cried, and wished my husband would/could read these posts and learn what is happening to both of us. I know it would certainly help our relationship. Thank you for all your insight. It's great to hear the adhd point of view.


Answers to questions...

The ADHD symptoms were not known to me until I was 43 years old. I thought I was just forgetful, lazy because I couldn't remember to do something unless it was important to me, oblivious to things around me until they blew-up in my face. I did not understand why I would struggle to stay awake in meetings or in class. I generally felt guilty, stupid and mad when my wife would point things out in her not so understanding angry way. We had no idea I had ADD through 14 years of marriage. I don't think were were really on the Roller Coaster until the year it was discovered. I had my flaws, but was a pretty high functioning ADDer and was pretty consistent over all. There were a string of unrelated events that really got me out of sorts and overwhelmed and I began to spiral into an anxiety ridden phase which lead to the diagnosis. I knew there was something wrong. I did not really point out hurtful things as I buried them inside like I had since I was a kid. I hope some of this makes some sense. Thanks for the kind words...