Getting better, but.....

My AD/ADHD husband is a musician and songwriter. After a couple of years urging him to get to play out, he finally got an opportunity to do a benefit performance at the local VA (he is a Vietnam vet who also suffers from PTSD, but that's another story....). After scrambling for hours before the performance that same evening to find everything he needed and get his gear in order, he admitted that he should never be so unprepared again and next time will be ready at least 2 days ahead of time. Over the past couple of days he's cleaned up his workroom (our second bedroom) which has crept into our living room and small office area and the hall and the dining room), fulfilling a promise he made to me some weeks ago. So far so good. He still gets very angry when he is looking for something I have moved (in a very organized fashion with everything in a specific box set aside) to get out of the way so we can have some clear space SOMEWHERE without tripping over something. "DON'T MOVE MY THINGS; JUST ASK ME TO MOVE IT!!," or "WHERE DID YOU PUT THAT??" (when it is just where HE put it). This is a familiar refrain to most wives, I'm sure, but as you all know, to the nth degree with ADD people. Last week, after one of his tirades in which he said "It shouldn't take an hour to find everything," I reminded him that if his special brand of "organization" wasn't working for him, than there has to be a change. A side issue that is somewhat related is the fact that he forgets things he's told me (or not told me as the case may be) and we argue about THAT. I'll have to admit that I DO forget things sometimes myself...I have BP disorder and that's one of the common symptoms. I'm tempted to either tape record us both, or have something written down with our initials on it to verify what is said or agreed upon!! I half jokingly suggested this one time, and he did not like it one bit. 

Did I tell you...?

Hehe I tell my partner that if he starts a sentence with. "I'm not sure if I told you or not..." to just assume he hasn't told me.  He often thinks he's told me something when he hasn't and he will swear he told me but I can't remember it.  I don't think my memory is that bad!  He doesn't get angry about it though... just shakes his head at himself.

As a person with ADD I can

As a person with ADD I can admit to doing this from time to time (even with the treatments I am doing).  The only insight I can provide into why or how this happens is to convey what goes through my mind:

1) When I am processing information that I want to tell someone about I actually play the sentence in my head (not all the time mind you this is just times when I am flagging information to convey later).  How am I going to word and phrase it, (example - I need to tell xxx that the doctor called and we need to reschedule the kids teeth cleaning appointment.)  I think it almost exactly how I am going to actually verbalize it.

2) If this happens during a high stress moment or when getting hit by many things at once it instantly gets purged from my mind.

3) If I didn't stop and set myself a toodledo.com reminder (on my iPhone) to remind me.

You have the recipes for what you are referring to above.  In a conversation down the road if this becomes a topic because I think about it so close to how I am going to verbalize it I can confuse it with having a said it.

I am sure there are other examples but this is main circumstance for me that causes these moments to happen.  Second most common reason is I verbalize it to one person and then move on and never tell the second person.  Yet, in my mind the conversation happened.

My husband used to be

My husband used to be horrible about waiting until the last minute to tell me anything..swearing he'd told me already. It would inevitably end up in a fight because my reaction was anger and then he would get defensive. However, there were times that he would claim that he intentionally didn't tell me sooner because he just KNEW I was going to get mad. Just like he would claim he lied to me about stupid things because he just knew I would be mad if he told the truth. I never could figure how he KNEW this for sure, other than just the simple fact that I was always angry. I DID get mad when he'd tell me..last minute. I DID get mad when I would find out he'd lied to me about something stupid, never being able to convince him that if he'd just be honest I would have far less reason to be angry and far less damage would be done to my trust in him.

We are both a lot better now..him about telling me ahead of time...and me not being angry all the time.

Thanks for the insight as to why this happens...I think it can apply to many areas of my marriage...and helps me understand why his ADHD can make ME feel like the crazy one sometimes.

Any insight as to why, during conversations about 'heavy' topics, he seems to interpret things I say in such odd ways? EX: we recently had a (stupid) discussion about how things were in the past, in our marriage..when we were stuck in the 'it's all his fault/it's all her fault' vicious cycle. I wanted him to stop running around with his friends, spending money we didn't have, and drinking. All he claimed he wanted was attention. I intentionally withheld it from him..I didn't feel like giving it to him no more than he felt like staying home...because our homelife SUCKED. He said "I would behave for 4 or 5 days and nothing would change" to which I replied (admittedly with shock) "you don't fix a broken marriage in 4 or 5 days..it has taken us 10 months to make the progress we have made..surely you can see that now" He immediately got defensive and said "see, when you say that you make me think that all of our progress is just fake" No matter how I try, I cannot figure how he gets this...but I believe he believes it...and it worries me that it'll negatively affect his willingness to put forth the effort. I admit, I am really starting to feel like I'm drowning in little things like this..concerning his ADHD..and don't have the strength (he cheated when he 'gave up' last Fall) to just blow it off as 'his problem'. Our counselor tells me that is the ONLY way to handle it, but it isn't so easy.

That happened to me also

Dear SherriW13,

The situation you described had been the "typical" discussion my husband and I used to had.

One of the first things I noticed once the hyperfocus of the wedding planning ended, was his absence around the house tasks (that he used to do a lot, since before moving together, he lived alone). He started to see a therapist 8 months after the wedding and after a few sessions with her he stated he was better; nevertheless, it was obvious that the main issues still were present. But when we discussed, he always said that I was unable to see the change for example that he was getting the garbage out -upon my request-, then he stopped doing that since after 5 days I had been unable to notice his change and the words were the same as yours said "when you say that (or since you did not say "hey what a change") you make me think that all my progress is just fake then I do not think changing will worth".

We are now separated, with him willing to divorce and being negative to have a diagnosis; however, I have been reading and getting informed and assessed about ADHD and this is his diagnosis. After obtaining so much information, I can relate this behavior to the lack of motivation on maintaining things, but he hide himself saying he stopped getting the garbage out because I did not think that was a great change.

After obtaining so much advise and having so many information about ADHD, I can understand so many things that were incomprehensible before; but accepting being diagnosed is his choice and even with me doing EVERYTHING AND MORE in order he realized this would help our marriage, he has not gone for an assessment yet.

My best wishes for you both!

Kindly,

Pumpkin