Is gullible an ADHD trait?

     Gullible?  Easily deceived?  Taken advantage of?  Cheated?         


I would say no from my experience.  I am the gullible one.  dh, the ADDer, is the manipulator.  Gullible comes from trusting too much.  I trusted too much.

But I am interested in what you might be getting at.  Is your spouse/partner saying he has been cheated or used by others?

I would also say no.  I think

I would also say no.  I think that my ADHD spouse is, if anything, too prone to questioning other people's judgment, including judgment based on their experience in fields in which he has no experience.  

I'm So Exhausted's picture

A new best friend every 6 months

Well, sort of. . . . . it appears he tends to make quick decision about how wonderful someone is.  He'll believe stuff without checking its veracity.  

Maybe his "it's my way or the highway" stance causes poor social interactions.  There are not 2 sides to every story - there is the 'right' side and the 'wrong' side.  His is always the right side.  There is no differences of opinions, there is just someone who did him wrong.  There is never the possibility that he misunderstood  or didn't hear.  

hyperfocus and collecting friendships

That part goes with dh too.  He has a way of speaking where people go along with him if he is focused on something --- usually drinking and joking. He is so assured of his opinions.  I followed his bad advice many times because he would make it seem easy and fun with him.  I tried it his way was very often a wrong way and bad for us but I fell for it over and over. He wants to get his way but his way is not planned out for future success....just for his personal moment's high.  He was a salesman in his day and would take every sale he lost personally as though he should have been able to close the deal and talk the client into buying something even though they didn't need it.  He has a very strong will and assumes that things will go his way even before the conversation begins....part of the reason I got pregnant the first time.  He is very persuasive when he is focused on something he wants.  Many times it is not something he wants but his ego must be satisfied in that he WINS a war of wills. I think it is part of the hyperfocus on challenging new things that enthuses him to put the effort out into GETTING people to like him.  Then there is no maintenance of the freindship...after the conquest of a friendship, there is no more energy put into time spent with that person.  Someone holding on to a long term friendship is like a pesky insect to him unless it serves his purposes of stroking his ego or a way of defining himself of the moment's usefullness. He does not respect someone who tries to maintain an old friendship, like they become needy to him and he will run from that.  He must be entertained and keep it light and never plan ahead, never wanting to negotiate or think of consequences.  There is only the moment's conquest....doesn't matter the quality or value or appropriateness of the conquest. He likes to play games where he can think of himself as "smarter than".  He spends hours on daily crosswords and word games.

I have always known that there was something weird about his ego. I thought I could help him build his "suffering" (my misguided interpretation) ego, making him feel assured and supported.  Now, he does not remember or appreciate anything I did. I am that pesky insect with needs of my own and he turns his back on me in times of my need. He MUST be LIKED and paid attention to by EVERYONE.  If someone does not give him his due attention in the correct way, he must PERSECUTE that person and make him the enemy.... and the enemy must pay - divide and conquer. The games he plays in his head seem to me to be pointless and ill-fated...they serve no purpose other than to stroke his takes away from the energy he COULD have spent making a living, providing for his family, growing relationships and intellect.  And he is always playing the humble, bumbling idiot to get people to like him.... very sad and crazy-making to a spouse.

dh uses the words "They did me wrong" to manipulate sympathy....but his words are not reality, they are used in his mind to compensate for his failures and manipulate the moment where he does not want to carry any blame, shame or guilt.

My part

I will reply to my own comment. I did not cause dh to be the way he is.  He did not cause me to be the way I am. I cannot change or control him.  It is time for me to stop letting his ADD change or control me. I cannot cure his ADD or his drinking. If he wants to change, he can only do it himself. He is how he is (the scorpion and the frog). I can change my outlook, strength and actions by taking responsibility for my life and my own needs. I can STOP being gullible and STOP trusting everyone but myself.

How do I contribute to our marriage delimna? I let myself be the victim while playing the part of loving, longsuffering martyr.  I have let myself be the needy insect. In trying to be the "good girl" like I was trained to be, I went along with things that I knew were not smart....being the "obedient, understanding wife".  My challenge is to grow up and stop being the girl who got along as a child by listening to parental admonitions about what a "bad person" does not do. I must trust my own opinions, passions, feelings and ACT on them.  It is time I participate in Life. I am detaching myself from the insecurity and "nothingness" of ADD. I am finding acutal supportive community outside of coupledom. I am expressing myself more. I am objecting more. I am letting myself have good feelings and passion and learning that I am not a person at all if I only react and cry and complain wanting something to be something it is not.  I am not just a pesky insect.  I am a woman with real needs that need to be met for healthy, sane living.  Boy, this is taking a long time.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Ah yes, the 12 Steps


I hear ya!  I understand.  I agree wholeheartedly.  

I have been working on seeing what I am.  

I have yet to get/make a clear, contented, positive decision on what I should do.  I do believe I need to earn my way out of my marriage (if divorce is to be the end result.)  That word saddens me.  I was raised, and raised my children,  with the belief that our marriage did not even acknowledge the word divorce.  We would stick it out.  Side by side through thick and thin. 

The wind has shifted in my fairy tale, and 32 months into a frozen, dead marriage is a wake-up call to me.  32 months.  How?  Why?  Why I am I powerless? 

So boundary work is where I am at - focusing on MY responses to the world revolving around me.  I WILL NOT participate in shouting matches.  I WILL NOT stand in the presence of someone who is yelling at me.  I will continue to remove items that are left lying around the house - and I will place them in the bucket in the basement.  "Check the green tote bucket in the basement," is my pat answer to "Do you know where my (_____) is?"   

My ADHD spouse did say he will take on the floors as his job.  Sweeping, washing, vacuuming.  I see progress.  I know he IS trying. I try to remember it IS a step, rather than 'it is such a teeny tiny babystep."   I see progress in myself - if the floors are not done, it does not annoy me like it did when the dishes were piled high around the sink.  

The financial mess is where I struggle the hardest.  Yes, we did get to this point with my participation.  My own paradigm is I was bullied into making choices I knew were poor economical choices.  Yet, I did make them.  How to unravel this mess, and yet not take on the whole responsibility as "fixer" is - - well honestly it is agonizing for me.  Truly a stumbling block.  A place I am stuck.  

I am so dissatisfied with  his non-approval.  I do not feel honored, respected - - and most importantly VALUED.  Except when it comes to our non-existant romance.  I hear often enough that our lack of intimacy is "my punishing."  Saddly, it is just dead.  Dried up.  Zilch.  Nada.  


You might be interested in reading a book called The Sociopath Next Door.

Read it.  Yes, there is a

Read it.  Yes, there is a percentage of sociopaths in the world that no one knows are the way they are.  Thinking different than the normal mind. Lots of doing things just for appearances of normalcy.  Many extremely successful people are sociopaths of a sort. I know a few of people who show signs in various degrees.  It is good to be aware that some people have no guilt, shame or regret.  It does not pay to talk to them the same as you might talk to others.  Or to rely on them for anything emotional.  dh has degrees of sociopathy, I'm sure. 

Put the absence of guilt, shame and regret along with the tendency to live in the now...not with lessons of the past or the planning for the future...and you have a very frustrated partnering situation. Add to that the habit of lying and the ability to re-write/misremember history and you have a crazy-making partner situation.

For me... Yes... And now, no.

As a kid- I was constantly taken advantage of because of my trusting nature and my generosity and aversion to conflict. It kind of hardened me up though and now I am not taken in too easily... I still am one to trust people inherently until and unless they give me reason to question that... But I am also very logical and if something doesn't seem reasonable, I question it.

barneyarff's picture

No nagging, no expectations,

No nagging, no expectations, no enabling, 

patient,   use "I" statements to show my needs,  use lots of praise even for baby steps, continue to have a fabulous sexual life, take care of dietary needs.


Bet there are lots more that I as a spouse of an ADDer am supposed to do.

Here is the problem with this.  Sounds like every ADDer's dream life.  My husband at least would see this as being "off the hook" for anything and skip down denial lane with glee.

He would never again clean a dish, put away a sock or talk to me (except to grab my nipples and giggle while making lewd suggestions)

Here is the part I have NEVER EVER seen in any of the books I've read.

"If the ADDer will not work on the issue even after the non has done all of that for (insert a certain amount of time) the ADDer has no intent to change and needs to leave.  The non should feel no guilt because she has done everything possible"

NEVER have I read that there is a time limit to this before the ADDer has to do something or get out.   It has always looked to me as though I HAD to do all of these things forever in order to be a good wife and a supporter of my poor poor husband who has (sniff) ADD.

In my opinion part of accountability is time.  

With the help of a friend of mine (who has ADD) I have decided to do all the things the books say I have to do to be a "good wife"  (how 1950's is that?).  But by the end of Oct (when I go to a conference) if there is not enough change, I'm done.




Hello. I think it was the book Loving Someone With ADD that does say set a time limit to get what you need. But it might have been Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder. It's absolutely true if you do what you can and the relationship still isn't working for you, then you need not feel guilty. You have done what you can. Takes two to make a marriage work. Your post doesn't make it clear, is your husband aware of your deadline? And what he needs to work on? It's important that the spouse have a clue there is a crisis. Of course that might even help him focus for a while, which might mask temporary change as real change, but that would be something to build off of.

barneyarff's picture

Thank you once again for

Thank you once again for kindly responding to me.


I'm glad to hear that somewhere someone wrote that time has to be a factor in the equation.  Frankly, if time is not a factor I see no way there is any leverage.


As to telling DH about  my decision....  I have not told him for various reasons.

1)  I'm pretty sure he has a touch of ODD and telling him will set that off

2) If his ODD does not get in the way, I have a concern that he will "change" because he is afraid of the changes that will happen if he doesn't step up to the plate.  That isn't growth or change in any real fashion.  That's just reacting to fear.

3) These days, I'm not sure what he would have to do.  I have been patient (39 years).  I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel and it IS a train.  For the 20 -30 years I have left I would like to drive my own adventure instead of being constantly hobbled by someone screaming "WAIT! WAIT!" and sabotaging my every move.


I certainly get your point of view. No one sane likes to poke the beast. Just be aware that the probability of true change happening without a reason is about the same as any miracle.  Sure he might only make changes because of threatened consequence, but if those changes become habits, then it is real change.  Any change that arises from your behavioral changes are likely a mirroring or response effect, arguably no more real than crisis driven.  What do you want your life to look like come October that would make staying appealing, if anything?

IO's picture


I don't know, I think my ADHD husband gets taken advantage of. One of his ADHD books or materials he got from group said something about how ADHD people get a lot of satisfaction from doing things for others (but not for themselves) and my observation has been that my husband will help other people at the expense of our things getting done. He will say "Well, the person I helped will help me in return". The problem is that: a) it doesn't always happen; b) even when it does happen, he usually spends a lot more time helping the other person than they do him and; c) he will often help someone by doing a skilled task for them free of charge so that they don't need to hire someone else in his field to do it, and it saves them money, but the person he is helping never has a skill that is valuable to us in return.

Besides that, he seems to succumb to peer pressure really easily (which I think is because he - and many other ADHD people - have low self worth.) On top of being pressured into doing things, he often will pay for other people - or everyone there - which I think is also because it makes him feel "more valuable", but he has spent tons of money that way, I don't really think it is reciprocated equally, either.

In the past, he has had checks and things stolen from him, probably because ADHD makes him disorganized, forgetful (where'd those checks go now?) or just plain unobservant (off in his own little world.)

I haven't read anything specifically stating that ADHD people have the traits you specified, BUT the traits they do have could certainly add up to the things you are talking about.