His perception is inaccurate and he accuses me of feeling ways I don't

This is my first post. I'm hopeful to feel support by reaching out like this. 

When my ADHD husband and I communicate, he often inaccurately hears what I say. His perception is so off sometimes. Is that a frontal love communication issue?  He insists he is right, insists I did say it, and even accuses me of feeling ways I don't feel. He won't open his mind to hearing MY truth. Communicating with him is always frustrating. If I say "I don't feel that way", sometimes he'll say "Yes you do" and keep repeating it over and over several times. My anger just escalates. Then he usually just walks out and doesn't speak to me except for cordial "hi" and "bye" and that can go on for days. I feel he uses me as an excuse to stop communicating and is glad he gets to leave and not have to "talk" or communicate. He exhibits a LOT of avoidance. I am left with anger and frustration, no closure. Sometimes I feel communicating is futile because there's another condition operating such as Auditory Processing Disorder. Can anyone relate and what we we do for our marriage if we can't even communicate and he can't even hear, understand and know my feelings?

I hear you.

I am sorry you do not have the husband who you can peacefully and lovingly communicate with. You have articulated exactly the way my dh responds to me when I try to connect with him.   Keep writing here.  I find it helps me keep my sanity to have others read and understand what I write. It helps me to read what I have written in past days.  It is hard to accept that we can't trust their words to mean what they say as they attack us to get out of a conversation and then they forget it. And their words hurt us for a long time.

Hey!!  As you see, I've been

Hey!!  As you see, I've been doing exactly that...writing and having people read it.  I'm on my way RIGHT now to do that exact thing.  Its good but also bad for me right now...I seem to be absolutely obsessed with (our) previous conversations and current circumstance.  ...To a point that I'm loosing sleep...Cant seem to do ANYTHING else...which is a lot of things that NEED to be done right NOW!!  Also...I just keep reading and revising and rewriting and highlighting and adding....AAAHHHHHh!  Well, My hand cramped up and I either got bored with the story that I including in there (characters created and all!) or I'm done with this conversation and I can move on..Forward.!. (That I'm referring you to.)   K.  On my way.  oh!!  PS.  regarding letting 'them' read it....the first time I tried it...I tried:  reading it to 'them'. with the intention they could then keep it for their night relaxation.   hehe.  It worked...but as soon as the topic became of substance and brought up the actual issue...'they' Stopped me.  And said something on the lines of:  I'm listening to what your saying (...his daughter is Bi Polar and Son Schizophrenic) .. but I can tell this is going to get sticky ..so..something...something...something...(OOPS!  - I'm calling myself out there...totally stopped listening) read...something...something..another time.  Soo, emotionally charged and holding it in...I sighed and headed to the door...to leave.  Then he stopped me and said (as is I hadn't heard him)  Leave it here..I want to read...ohhh...yeah..yeah..here.  exchange.  Last time I went to their house (him and his wife)...I saw 'the note' faced down in the kitchen.  Feeling good about it...I took it back...I didn't want them to hold the juew juew...(sp?)....

But then!!  Some more shit happenede!!  Thank god I still had the note!!  I just highlighted and added to it....and so so on...this has been going on for DAYS!!  I need this done w!!  Oh Yeah...

I'm out.

I experience similar things

I experience similar things with my ADD husband.  My husband doesn't do what yours does, insisting I feel a certain way, but he is often incorrect in his perceptions of my feelings, or of things I've said.  If I'm hurt or upset by something he's done, he gets angry at me, which always feels to me like an incongruous response.  He will frequently suggest things that are completely incongruous with who I am, or make plans for me to do something I really would not want to do - as though he doesn't know me at all (we've been together for over 10 years).  It frequently feel as though we speak completely different languages, he sometimes understands so little of what I say, and his recall is so poor or distorted, that I sometimes keep a journal of what's been said, to save from arguing later.

He's always right! Just ask him.

Ok, first of all..I may be way off course in this forum.  But I was googling about people that argue constantly and have to be "right" all of the time...My husband, which Ive been with for over 10 years has been doing this for quite some time now ...I thought it was me at first, because he said " you need help, why are you so sad? , go see someone, something's wrong with you that you can't remember what you did or said a month ago".  Well... I can remember what I did just fine, and I have been with people at the time of said conversation or event who witnessed the conversation that we had been in...and they concur with me, but if he says it was a certain way ...than it was , and that's that!

I had read a comment that someone had written about keeping a journal about these occurences, but cripes! Id need a film crew and 24 hr surveilance for this guy!  It happens all the time.  

He works from home and so do I , therefore ..we see each other wayyyyyy too much.  Neither one of us has friends that we do a lot with , nor socially do we interact with a lot of people.  We both did so before we were together, but not anymore..  So when we do stuff, its always together, and stuff that he enjoys vs what I like. He makes fun of things that I enjoy and if I refuse to go do his things , he becomes whiney.  So I just give in and go,  

He is not ADD ,,he says I am ...just ask him.  I went to a  counselor and he said that I am 100% NOT...I have lots of energy , and am (was) a very sociable person.  I don't have an engineering degree like he does, so as far as he's concerned , Im not up to his IQ level...whatever!  

I have gotten to the point of tears and just plain hating him for this ..I don't know how much a person can take.  Its impossible to argue with him, because he has to win...and I wont put up with that crap ..so I fight with him. But it gets so tiring, the "you said blah blah" you did this , I cannot do it ...im not sure if its ego or insecurity, but its taking a toll on me mentally. I used to be a happy person, always. Now I'm more like ...blehhhhhh..and I can tell I emote anger to others.. I need this to stop and haven't a clue what to say to him. The last time I broke down and just lost it ,,I was so upset I had an anxiety attack ( which I don't get ,nor have anxiety) , he thought he was being "compassionate" enough to say " maybe you should go see someone" ...nothing about him seeing anyone, nope! Because he didnt do anything wrong ..So I went and had an hour per week away from him with another human being..it was nice..just to talk ...but this is not the solution...how do we make them see what they are doing>>>??? Million dollar question.

And also....his brother ( also an engineer) is exactly the same way ...very belittling to his wife and always right and shes a saint ! maybe its a familiy trait.  All hell breaks loose when the two of them get into a conversation...they argue for hours, because they are both always right!

Id rather be happy at xmas ...not this way...Im to the point where I hate going with him anywhere...there is always some kind of disagreement.

Meet the Fockers..........Montana71

I don't know if this is karma or fate or a little of both here Montana....but this evening something happened no so vaguley familiar to me in the same things you are saying with my wife and I?  And as you pointed out here.... Well... I can remember what I did just fine, and I have been with people at the time of said conversation or event who witnessed the conversation that we had been in...and they concur with me, but if he says it was a certain way ...than it was , and that's that! .......It happens all the time..  

  And then you went on to say this: "He makes fun of things that I enjoy and if I refuse to go do his things , he becomes whiney.  So I just give in and go, "Along?"  Is that what you meant to say?  You didn't finish with that last word so I hope you don't mind finishing it for you here?

Welcome to my world Montana.....it's the one I grew up in with a father.....just like "Jack"....Robert DeNiro's character in the movie "Meet the Fockers"?  It just so happens that this event took place while we were watching this movie ( again ) and during or right before a scene that was like watching my own life happen...right in front of my eyes in real time?  Talk about coincidences?( or luck?  or fate? or karma?  LOL )

Any way....you also said this which really rang my bell so to speak...which I thought would be interesting for you to see what I see here?  "He is not ADD ,,he says I am ...just ask him.  I went to a  counselor and he said that I am 100% NOT...I have lots of energy , and am (was) a very sociable person.  I don't have an engineering degree like he does, so as far as he's concerned , Im not up to his IQ level...whatever! " 

Let me explain one thing here before I continue any further....I have lots of energy and am a very sociable person too?  And I also have ADHD but heavy on the H part?  I am also an extrovert meaning...I get charged up or invigorated by being around and with other people?  That's the official definition of an extrovert regardless of the image you have of person who is the center of attention and the life of the party?  That's not it at all in psychological terms?  It is what I just said it is in the simplest way to understand it?  I'm a "people person"...might be a better description in speaking in common everyday language and....."I get along"......mostly...with anyone and everyone and this is no sweat off my brow in order to do so for me?  Another defining indicator of an extrovert in just this strict definition of the word?

And introvert...is the opposite of this?  Being around people for too long takes energy and invigoration....away from them and their batteries get drained rather quickly ...by being around people for too long and need down time and space away from people to recharge their batteries?  They tend not to be very demonstrative either...with affection or being "touched or hugged a lot" since they need lots of space around them to feel comfortable in public especially....and "close quarters" can make them "claustrophobic" in a sense?  In a simple general way again of stickily defining this and not applying anything else to it as a means to understand the difference here only?

So with me....I may be ADHD...but an extrovert with ADHD...is still an extrovert by nature?  I tend to "seek" the company of others and "seek companionship"....

In contrast to an introvert who seeks more solitude and isolation  (and down time alone )....more often that not?  More often that not means ......and applies to both....no one is purely one or the other all the time...and everyone has this the same no matter who you are but people in general seem to fall to one side or the other in varying degrees?  I don't know what you know or don't know so apologize if this sounds condescending?  I needed to include that to apply what you said about yourself being seemingly more extroverted like me in the same way?  It's just a simple means to if you are one or the other by simply applying yourself here to answer which one you tend to be yourself based only on this simple strict rule to apply?  That's really all that is good for...since it really doesn't get into the nuts and bolts as to why?

But not to get off topic here with you......My wife and I were talking about all things ....the weather?  Since it's been snowing here which is not rare but more unusual and I was looking up the forecast right from the source since things are changing rather quickly and I was updating her by reading to her what it said off my phone? 

I said...."well...it looks like the snow will be over by Monday....since the high is going to be 43 degrees...and the low is going to be 40 degrees" 

And my wife's reply was...."that not what my phone says...it not what the forecast I'm using says"

And I asked "Which forecast are you using?  Aren't you using the default one that came included in the apps on your phone since we both have the same carrier?"

And my wife said "yes...but mine is different than yours and it didn't say what your's says"

And since I was holding my phone in my hand...I turned it around and showed her said  "isn't this one on your phone?  How could yours be different?"  It can't by the way....which in this case I was holding the evidence "red handed " you might say?

And she glanced at my phone and reply...."I'm not going to do this with you"  As her reply, but if you take the YOU off the end....it simply states....."I'm not going to do this..."  Simply stated.

So when trying to place this thing that you apparently always have to go along with?  Try on the word "Dictate" or to give direction...and see if that doesn't fit?  If you look at the antonyms and synonyms to the word Dictate.....here's what the dictionary has to say about that?

Synonyms and Antonyms of dictate

a statement of what to do that must be obeyed by those concerned

<a starchily worded dictate from on high concerning the company's dress code>

Synonyms:   behest, charge, commandment, decree, command, direction, directive, do, edict, imperative, injunction, instruction, order, word

Related Words:   demand, requirement; mandate; countermand, counter order; law, precept, prescript, prescription, rule; ordinance, regulation, statute 

Near Antonyms: appeal, entreaty, petition, plea, urging; proposal, recommendation, suggestion

As a noun ( person place or thing )....this is the definition of the person here as in a dictator or someone is the dictator as said?  I am the decider!!! ( as in George W Bush? ha! )

But as a verb to the action of...as "to dictate".......  that is more appropriate and right to the point here.....the antonyms or responses here are what you should look at more closely a follows....

Synonyms and Antonyms of dictate

to request the doing of by virtue of one's authority

<dictated that the terms of surrender be negotiated by his senior staff>

Synonyms: call, decree, command, direct, mandate, ordain, order

Related Words: ask, petition, request; demand, require

Near Antonyms; cancel, countermand, rescind 

Countermand as said: "to revoke (an order)"  as well as to rescind, refuse, decline or dismiss or cancel.....the order?  You might be asking....what order?  I'll show you in a moment...by including what happened in that event at the same time with my wife tonight?

Ironically.....my wife and I were watching the movie "Meet the Fockers" with Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro playing future son and future father "Gaylord Focker"(lol)  the future son in law...is trying to gain acceptance and approval from Jack...the future father in law and is getting no where fast?

Welcome to my world....the world I grew up in with my own father who shared this same remarkable ability in always being "right"...and never losing an argument or saying he was sorry for anything but at the same time....was like living with Torquemada...the famous Spanish Inquisitioner! lol  But the difference with me was....I was his own son and not outside the "Circle of Trust"...which Jack has as his way to determine who's good...and who's bad?  If your in your in..and if you are out your out?  And with me....I was actually in....but out anyway!!! LOL  And I never got his approval ever...not even once which is even more important to mention here?  That didn't mean that I didn't try or want to.....I just had to "give in" however...because there was no winning ever!!

I know the name for at least this type of personality in terms of attachment styles however...and without the 500 page down load explaining what that is.....I'l just show you in this scene...which may sound vaguely familiar to you?  It does later come out in the movie...that Jacks.....circle of trust......actually only has himself in it and he is actually the one not trusting anyone else....but saying it in reverse?  Jack can't I say......I don't trust you......Jack says every thing in reverse to himself...but speaks in the affirmative always as if.......I KNOW.  As the authority figure...inside himself talking out loud?  And Jack....also hears everything in reverse too....and applies the opposite of what was said to it....by including that as his response to anything that is said?

What's even more amazing to the credit of the script writers, is they make Jack.....a "secret agent" for the CIA on top of his characters personality which was a really fine "touch" to his character in the movie I think?

So when I finally just let that go with my wife about the weather but told her...."Well how can that be?"....out comes the countermand, and "refusal of the facts" staring her in the face?"

side note: this reminds me of what I was taught in playing the guitar once by a really good professional musician...as he said...."the notes should pose and question....and then answer the question....which resolves the melody or "lead" as in the guitar part but saying....just one part of the piece since it doesn't not stand alone as for just the "lead guitar part"

Anyway, what I have really come to understand is....this is an automatic response....designed to avoid the consequences of hearing the truth in an effort to avoid it and not resolve it that way....that person can continue to believe what they want to believe....which is in effect....saying....."I don't believe you or better....want to believe or hear anything different than what they want to believe?

This is in essence.....ONE dimensional in the Position it takes as in  the Ruler, Dictator or King? ( or Queen...as in the "Queens We" here.  "We thinks....we are bored with this creature. Off with it's head!!!! " lo )

I am...so therefore....I exist. " I am FUCK......FUCK OF THE MOUNTAIN!!!"....as George Carlin so aptly put it, LOL

And what really rang a bell for me or triggered this with me too...was when you mentioned he was an engineer....with me going "uh oh......I can see that one coming!!!! LOL "  I made mention about dealing with engineers in general in the work I do in designing jewelry...and I could always tell an engineer or Dentist...since you didn't tell them how you were going to do it.....they told you since they already knew how to do it....so I will show you how too? LOL  Which required a great deal more time and frustration...just to get a design on paper and one you could actually makes since...how they thought you should do it many times...was simply impossible and quite Frankly.....'how could they know?"  They weren't custom Jewelers they were freaking engineers who made pipe fittings for buildings ( or what ever? LOL )  I always knew them immediately and they stood out from anyone else...because they would start by pulling out a piece of paper...and start giving you directions on how right out of the hole?  I even mentioned that I use to ask....."Are you an engineer?"  And they would go."Why yes....how did you know?"  They may be smart with a high IQ...but they would make lousy poker players in not showing their hand!!! LOL

So before I conclude here and show the video scene I watched....I will finish saying what happened with my wife and I?  For now...I won't go into the whys here....I just wanted to point this out and see what you think?  So after a few minutes (after she countermanded and refused what she was seeing? )...she kind of quietly looked it up herself...and then handed me what she saw on the weather...even though she saw the temperature prediction I saw too..but then went...."well then why do they show a different one here?  Seemingly...validating she was right and was not wrong in what she saw?"

And I looked the hour to hour forecast...and saw a lower temp as the low...and a higher temp for the high than what she was looking at....but she was looking at the whole range of times hour by hour...from midnight to midnight...and not looking at the temperature....during the DAY ONLY which is what the first reading was saying?  

So I said....."you are looking at the night time temperatures and not the day time averages which is what those temperatures are saying"

And she said ( I laughing here....he said she said!!! LOL )  "Well that's not right!!! ( literally out it came ) and said "it didn't say averages day time temperature..it just high and low? "

And I said ( lol ) "Well....that's just how they do it...they don;t explain that to you every time?  They assume you know that but it is what they do?"

And she said ( LOL ) "I'm not doing this with YOU "   ( again ) in that same imperious dismissive way?  "You" again......always "YOU" instead of "I".  It has to be "YOU"....since it can't be ME !!!( or "I" )  In a very affirmative and authoritative way...in DENIAL of the TRUTH!!!  ALWAYS!!  First that is...until they have a chance to think this over and actually come to a conclusion?  A real one that they don't have yet but it sure sounds like they do.....but actually...they have no idea what they are saying or talking about since all they are doing is denying the truth..and challenging everything you say with the counter part or countermand....to the command as they hear it?  If I say jump....you jump!!!

In a more compassionate way of saying this.....that "if I say jump.....you jump part is the reason for this phenomenon which is really the sing of child abuse and neglect with an overbearing domineering parent who was that voice inside their head making it a demand to jump...so in opposition....to that voice....out comes the countermand but now it;s saying it to you?  That question and answer thing again...like in the "lead guitar solo?  And unfortunately for my wife....I know the source and the "lead voice" inside her head?  She is still answering to that voice in her head.....which was her mother...as if she is still a child?  A disenfranchised neglected child...but none the less.....that's who you become and how your words get heard and interpreted or changed in the intention as to say.....YOU ARE WRONG which meant severe consequences if you were by a parent like this.  That's where it comes from at least...in the beginning to set the stage here?  So to avoid those severe consequences of being wrong.....they avoid being wrong...by making you wrong instead?  You and I get reversed as it comes out.....ass backwards?

So in this video....Gaylord tells Jack...when Jack asks him if he likes cats...and Gaylord says..."I prefer dogs myself"...and "Jack says...."so you don;t like Cats?"...and he tells Jack "no....I like cats too...I just prefer dogs over cats personally"  And Jack says..."Why don't you like Cats?"  Which happened previously already before this scene to set this up?

The reason I mentioned this is for you to watch for this again...but saying....what he's doing is badgering Gaylord which is so ironic and hypocritical both....to what came last when I refused to shut up and let it go this time with the weather...since I had the evidence right in my hand?  And at the end ...my wife goes "it feels like you are badgering me!!! "

Feels LIKE?  I can tell you one thing for sure...my wife really has no idea what she really feels like except never being able to and say the words "I am wrong" and avoids this at all costs. All she does is speak her feelings as she is feeling them..and then tries to blame her feelings on you which is why she literally has no idea what is actually coming out of her mouth at these moments in time?  When she gets triggered like this....someone else inside her is doing the talking and it's not her and she is completely unaware of it which is why it's a waste of time to even TRY and argue with this?  This does appear almost ( if not ) retarded looking for someone is actually very smart in IQ...but very dumb looking sometimes?  But I do keep need to keep in  mind what I said that this comes from abuse and I do have compassion for her and also know how she got that way....but that doesn't do me much good...if I take any of this personally which I know from my own experience...is not with any intention to be this way?  It's no fun not trusting anyone...and living in a world of suspicion and mistrust which is all inside their head and has nothing to do with you.




PS  I had to smile too...when I heard Gaylord Fockers mother's name.....Martha Focker. LOL  At least the script writers had a sense of humor. :)


Montana71- not sure if you

Montana71- not sure if you still follow your post since this was posted last year. But OMG everything you just said just hit the nail on the spot with what I've been dealing with in life with my husband for the last several years. It all came crashing in the hardest about April of this year 2017. He was talking to another woman. And of course as you have felt and heard from your husband it was all my fault. We have seeked counseling and have tried to make things work. But as you said and have felt it seems I'm the only one changing yet all you hear is that he's changed and I still need to change and it's all my fault. It's been so hard and I feel I'm at the point where I just want to be divorced. My mental state is the worst I have ever been in my life. I've never felt anxiety before either. But now I've experienced what it really feels like and I absolutely hate it. But of course now since he's figured out that I have felt that several times he uses that as ammunition as well. Hopefully you still follow your post and can respond back to it and what happened with you in the past year since you posted. It'd be cool to get some advice from another person in the same scenario.

I am amazed that 3 people

I am amazed that 3 people have commented over the last 2 days- I always feel like I am the only one this is happening to.  I have the same problem with my ADHD husband.  We can argue about anything, dumb things like he'll tell me what I said, I'll tell him he's wrong, I never said that, and that will flip him out and he gets sooo mad.  Once he gets mad he repeats the same things over and over because he wants to make sure I understand.  We've been married 14 years, and we are just, over the last 2 years, figuring out that he has ADHD.  We are in marriage counseling, and I tell the counselor, it's like we speak different languages.  We can have the same conversation for an hour and come out of it unsure of what was said.  He has started some medication, but it doesn't help much so far.  I feel like I am mourning my marriage- I didn't want my life to be like this, and I feel like I've ruined it.  How do you handle the loss?  Is there a way to have a fulfilling marriage if your husband has ADHD?  We have 4 children and one on the way, divorce is not an option.  He is a good man, and I love him.  I just don't want to feel so alone.   Should I somehow get used to the isolation and just accept that this is the way my life is?  Are the rest of you able to live fulfilling lives regardless of your spouse?   I am looking for some hope that there is a way to get through to him and for us to eventually understand each other.

Find support

You are in a vulnerable position.  When a woman is in any way vulnerable she needs her family.  I made the mistake of "standing by my man" and "the two become one" and all the romantic notions I had as a young woman for "happy ever after".  I made it all "work" for everybody else. So much that my dh thought quite highly of himself although he was been thoughtless and selfish and argumentative. I would give and understand and forgive.  He would walk away, argue and withhold like a rebellious teenager. Looking back, I should have realized that my parents and siblings were people I COULD have leaned on and their strength and support would have been a source of sanity and joy had I not been too proud to lean on them and include them more.  You need a good support system.  We all do whether our spouses are responsible and cooperative or not.  I would suggest making time and energy to rest in the comfort of family and other groups (church home, support groups, group activities, friends network). If you are feeling unloved and uncared for now, you don't want to keep expecting love and connection to come from Dh when he is unable to give it.  I grieved the loss of marriage after I permitted myself to accept just how little dh was contributing to it.  I denied it for 40 years and now I get to grieve how I gave my self and my heart to someone who didn't want any responsibility.  I am now not only grieving my marriage but I am grieving my life.  Had I forged a tighter bond with my parents and sisters, I could at least claim and know the familial love from them.  Your children will be a great source of love for you.  Know that they are learning how to be and how to live based on your and your dh's words and actions.  Be strong.  Be beautifully strong.  And know that you are not alone if you have faith.


WOW you spoke right to me , my bf is adhd i dealt with so much things i never ever in my life thought i would let a man whom i love with my all take over my life in a horrific ways he insults me all the time well be good for a time span and then hes back to wrecking the relationship and blaming me. he has interfered with my frienships and my family my family doesnt hate him but not fans and now im loosing or have lost alot of close freidns and fam my sis my mom have let me drift off and know stay silent because we break up make up at least 1 a month its bad . i love my family thee most and i kow they love me will always be here but they are just over it , i want to stand up and walk away and say screw you dude i deserve better . he will never understand me or be that guy ever , i dont ask for anything but respect and love . i find myself too thinking man im wasting time trying to get him to love me like i love him or just to stop all this crap im wasting my youth my tears my love my life my time , i dont wana look back and hate him or regret my life with him being stuck and mistreated its onl been 2 years and he hasnt hid anything from me :(


WOW you spoke right to me , my bf is adhd i dealt with so much things i never ever in my life thought i would let a man whom i love with my all take over my life in a horrific ways he insults me all the time well be good for a time span and then hes back to wrecking the relationship and blaming me. he has interfered with my frienships and my family my family doesnt hate him but not fans and now im loosing or have lost alot of close freidns and fam my sis my mom have let me drift off and know stay silent because we break up make up at least 1 a month its bad . i love my family thee most and i kow they love me will always be here but they are just over it , i want to stand up and walk away and say screw you dude i deserve better . he will never understand me or be that guy ever , i dont ask for anything but respect and love . i find myself too thinking man im wasting time trying to get him to love me like i love him or just to stop all this crap im wasting my youth my tears my love my life my time , i dont wana look back and hate him or regret my life with him being stuck and mistreated its onl been 2 years and he hasnt hid anything from me :(


Make that four. Mine only started after I had enough and stepped out of the marriage, emotionally speaking. He would make a mistake and I would say nothing, but he would promptly, angrily put words in my mouth. "You think I'm this" or "You think I'm that". I know these were his own feelings about himself.  He finally asked ME to leave because of my "attitude". 

Not only did and does my husband not remember what I say, but he will remember things he didn't say. I hate ADD:/

I hope things turn around for you. It is possible if you both want it and you both work at it. Mine wouldn't. 



Not only did and does my husband not remember what I say, but he will remember things he didn't say. I hate ADD




So true!   I am sick of H later claiming that he said something that he never did.  Either he said it to someone else or he thought of it later and now believes that it was part of the original conversation 

Things you didn't say...



So true!   I am sick of H later claiming that he said something that he never did.  Either he said it to someone else or he thought of it later and now believes that it was part of the original conversation "


Mine is more subtle with this...what I usually get is the IMPLICATION of what I said. Like if I say that I am trying to apply open communication strategies from our counseling sessions, that means that I am accusing him of NOT communicating well, and therefore I am insulting him and I think he is dishonest and, etc, etc... Just because I am trying to get him to discuss an issue with me. Then it devolves into a semantic argument over what I meant, how I should know what I am implying, how I need to take care with my this, that, or the other. It's impossible to just discuss something as simple as "hey, this made me feel hurt. What can we do to handle things better in the future".

Blue Thighs

"Then it devolves into a semantic argument over what I meant, how I should know what I am implying, how I need to take care with my this, that, or the other. It's impossible to just discuss something as simple as "hey, this made me feel hurt. What can we do to handle things better in the future"

This is our relationship exactly. Any argument which starts to go "my way", for example: it's nighttime. If say the sky is blue and he says that the sky is green, we'll argue until dawn at which point, when the sun comes up and the sky begins to show its true colour, he will switch to a series of repeated phrases just to scrape back a "win". He's so focussed on "winning" (I put it in inverted commas because winning and losing the argument is ultimately futile, but hey, this is where we're at unfortunately) that he'll end up unwittingly embarrassing himself because they're frankly ridiculous. He'll suddenly utter "I don't even know why you're still going on about it" in the middle of his own sentence. Or, when I explained to him that he was thinking about an issue in an unhealthy way, he said "You can talk, look at your diet! You don't eat properly!". 

There are so many intangible things going on when we argue and they always funnel down the same channel (see above). I won't leave him because I'm cursed and in love with him, but things are getting weird for me. When arguments reach this point I've started 1. calmly putting down whatever I'm doing, 2. walking slowly to the bathroom and locking the door, and then 3. PUNCHING MYSELF IN THE THIGHS. As hard as I possibly can. Yesterday I gave both hands such a thump that my little fingers were semi-paralysed for an hour afterward. I am fully aware of how unhealthy this is. In another tab I'm reading an article entitled "The Five Steps to Mindfully Releasing Anger" so it's being addressed. However, figuring out how to release my anger is only a band aid over a much deeper issue, and I am really struggling with it. My partner was diagnosed with ADHD in childhood and we're both aware of the symptoms and how they manifest themselves, but In The Moment, this awareness counts for little. Everything happens at a million miles an hour and suddenly I'm a bumbling idiot and he's an angry maniac and he's WINNING - how in the hell did it suddenly become about winning and how in the hell am I suddenly losing so miserably? He's a smart cookie, I'll give him that. 

So, I fully empthaise with OP and all the others that followed her. Our experiences are so eerily similar that they must truly be exhibitions of ADHD (separate to the person), and in that, we can take comfort in the fact that our partners (separate to ADHD) have a lot of good going for them too. That's the reason they became our partners. 

I apologise for offering little other than my own boring experience, but in the article I'm reading, Step 2 says MOVE YOUR FEELINGS OUT THROUGH WRITING. Here's hoping it helps. 


lonelyspouse's picture

Response to Blue Thighs

I hear you. I have been exactly where you are more times than I can bear to count. I don't physically assault myself like you do, but I have mentally assaulted myself for being suckered into another battle of the wits. My therapist has told me that my husband sets me up for these encounters, and I think he's correct. I should know better than to engage when he starts this crap, but it is a natural response to defend oneself in the face of unfairness, false accusations, and idiot "logic". I am learning to stay quiet and count to 10 when he starts lecturing, and I give him one chance to let me be heard, and if he won't, I walk away. If he tries to re-engage me in the battle, I tell him that I would love to talk to him as soon as he is willing to listen to what I have to say, and show me respect. Of course, that is of no interest to him, so the conversation dies. But at least I feel in control of myself and proud that I did not let him hook me again. I read that about 80% of your brain shuts down when fully angry, and I believe it. That's why they tell people not to make decisions when angry- they are literally incapable of making a good one. I know it's a small victory, but it feels good not to let myself be tempted into no-win conversations. It's not enough to make me happy, but it's a step towards regaining my self-respect.

Timely and Powerful!!

Thank you guys for posting these responses at this time! 

I am 6 months out of of this relationship now, and feeling better and stronger than I have in YEARS. However, last week, after 5 months of vigorously enforcing no-contact, he showed back up in my life, and within 24 hours we were back in bed and talking about trying again. 

I desperately needed this reminder of exactly what is going to happen, and how I am going to feel if I allow myself to be exposed to this relationship again. Nothing has changed on his part, and he still recognizes no need for any change at all. Still blames me and my "anxiety" or "baggage" for every unresolved issue/conflict. 

I can't and won't go back to living my life around fighting for the right to experience my emotions and have them validated by my partner. I can't go back to feeling that my every thought, action, word, and gesture is only interpreted or accepted as it relates to him and impacts his feelings. 

I dated someone for a few weeks during this transition period, and it was a RADICAL experience for me, after years of the emotional battleground of an ADHD relationship. We had a minor conflict over some behavior of his that felt disrespectful to me early on. I was extremely nervous to bring it up, but knew that I had to, in order to move forward. So I decided to be direct, and just say "When you did this, I felt hurt and a bit disrespected. Can we talk about how we might change that in the future?" 

And - you guys. Do you know the response I got?? It was MIND-BLOWING. I got...1. a hug. 2. a full apology 3. an acknowledgement of my feelings and 4. a commitment not to repeat the behavior that upset me. 

I DIDN'T HAVE TO ARGUE ABOUT A THING.  All I had to do was say "This was hurtful". And it was acknowledged, validated, and corrected. Immediately and without equivocation, blame shifting, scapegoating, projection, or role reversal. AMAZING.

So, I understand what you are all going through. Deeply, emphatically, from the bottom of my soul. I have lived in that place. And. I. Won't. Go. Back. 

Sadly, things didn't work out with the man in question. Our lifestyles were too different. But things will work out, with someone who can give me what I need. Someone with whom I don't have to fight tooth and claw, day after day, just for the right to be ME. And if that doesn't happen either, I am STILL so much healthier and happier on my own, just being able to breathe in my own space, rather than having to worry to the point of illness about how every single thing is going to impact him and what the consequences will be. 

I. Will. Not. Go. Back.

Great post

Seeing someone else write out what I am experiencing is helpful to me. Thanks for sharing your experiences

You wrote "......living my life around fighting for the right to experience my emotions"

Yes.  One thing I am working on stopping doing is fighting for or holding on to my own thoughts and feelings.  My thoughts or feelings do not have to be fodder for an argument but rather just that .... a statement of my thoughts or feelings.

Congratulations, I am envious.

I am so happy to hear that you left and had better experience. I am reading this thread and see my current 2 year relationship described by almost every person on here. He is very ADHD and I thought all this turmoil was so many other things. Firstly, mostly my fault. Secondarily, maybe that he was a narcissist, a jerk, unkind, lacking empathy, being controlling, being abusive. And maybe it is all of those things or none of them. It doesn't even matter, it just IS. I hit my limit last week when I was the recipient of profanity-laced screaming while he was sitting in his office at work, at the business he owns. The problem is I can't leave. I was stupid enough to sell my house and move myself and my two young teens across the country to be with him. It was so dumb and I talked myself into it because I was in love. I am not an impulsive person but it was not thought out well enough. Now we are in an area of the country where my sizeable chunk of equity (over 100K) is not enough to buy a house on my own. But my kids are in a fabulous school and they have settled in. They lost their Dad 4 years ago to cancer and I can't screw up their lives. I am envious but not jealous that you are so happy now. If I could say that something hurt me and get back a hug and an apology, that would be incredible. Instead of "you shouldn't feel that way" or a long drawn out argument it would be incredible. At this point, I can't even say I won't do something without a fight. I won't get a dog. I won't drive to and attend your family reunion with the kids by myself. When I pick up your son for school, I won't spend 20 minutes walking through the school to find him". If I didn't have to be told what I thought of him, or what my feelings for him were. That would be amazing. If I could say "You said X" and not have him insist that I made it up. Wow. Be well.

A very familiar scenario

I guess I'm writing today because of what I will describe in a moment, but your comments here are such familiar territory for me and my husband. Now as we are older, I am observing that - although he is an articulate and verbally adept in so many areas - in casual conversations he is very imprecise. Too many pronouns, indefinite nouns, etc for me to always be certain what exactly he is trying to say. And it can be really bad when he misuses (substitutes) the wrong name for whatever he is talking about. Sigh... My experience today was as follows:  we were headed out to meet our 4 yr old grandchildren, whom we both love. He doesn't see them nearly as often as I do, for a specific reason I won't go into. Today was a rare day when we headed off together for a morning with them.  I inadvertently offended him multiple times: by saying, as we approached the toll and he says "I don't have any cash", "Well, I guess I'm paying for this outing". Results in lecture about him always paying for everything and why do I always get angry with him. But you never get angry with anyone else, he says (for about the 10,000 time). Then as we arrive at our designated meeting place, our daughter hasn't arrived yet with the children. In addition, the store wasn't opening until 30 minutes after I told him we were asked to be there. He's notoriously unpunctual and scolds me for trying to trick him into being on time. He also asked did I text our daughter the question about what he wanted her to bring with her. "Did she reply?" he asks. I said she did. But ultimately I had no answer about whether she would be doing what he asked.  It gives me a headache NOW to try to recreate this 40 minute grilling and remonstrating; I was in tears, he's insisting I am utterly disrespectful to him, never considers how my attitude makes him feel,etc etc etc. Thanks for letting me share. It sucked.

4 children as well

You are very fortunate to find out about the ADHD at an earlier stage of your marriage--maybe it doesn't seem that way, but for some of us it's after 30 years of marriage.  Mourning is definitely a part of the process as well as finding the right meds, dealing with children (even adult children)  who may also have ADHD, and getting good counseling.  I will no longer go to counseling after many bad experiences with clinicians who refused to believe that my husband had ADHD.  He now sees a psychiatrist for meds and a psychologist/coach at an attention center that specifically deals with ADHD and all of the issues that go along with it.  We have found that humor has helped after many years of fighting, arguing, and contemplating divorce.  Perhaps we should've divorced, but our four children were our focus and they begged us to stay together.  My husband can actually laugh about his ADHD now which definitely helps after experiencing all of the things that have been mentioned in the posts.  I've also tried to quiet down when he goes off on rants about things he thinks I'm feeling or have said (inaccurately) which seems to give him time to process.  You are not alone, and hopefully you've had a supportive family--I did not.  Find your own interests and friends to help with lonely times--has anyone mentioned how bad sex can be for wives of men with ADHD ? (the pastors don't tell you this in marriage counseling)  

ADHD sex

Yes, I will mention it. It's a horrible, lonely thing to have sex with an ADHD partner. They barely will look at you. Forget about actually kissing you. And they can't wait to run off as soon as THEY are finished. It takes a lot to get the ADHD partner even interested in having sex.  I usually have to initiate it and with a lot of extra stuff to get him "in the mood"? Like allowing him to take the time to watch a lot of porn beforehand. Well, that makes me feel attractive. Ha !!  I don't mind it too much, but I worry that it isn't just porn he's watching. Sometimes I think he's sneaking a few looks back at a woman he cheated on me with. Yes, I said "cheated". More than once. 1st time was when I was hospitalized, so he had a lot of free time to do as he pleased. But I knew something was up cause he didn't spend any time with me in there. He would run out after seeing me for 5 minutes. It was horrible being locked up in there and not having him stay with me like I did for him when it was his turn.

And when I got home & found out accidentally, I didn't have the strength to attack him the way I wanted to.

But anyway....getting back to the sex. It's not real good. Plus he was having men issues that I think were coming from his own guilt..One night, I proved to him that he could actually get an erection and we had real sex. If you want to call it that ? I mean, he actually entered me. But of course, ran right out of the room after. Oh God, I always hated that and never understood why he did that. Since his diagnosis I know now. But Geez...Holy crap !! What a shitty way to live. Must  be nasty for him. A man who always seemed to love sex. I can't believe he faked it so well.

Actually, the sex is the biggest part of our problem as far as I'm concerned. I think I can deal with most of the other problems. Although when he gets over-stressed they're all hard to handle. He's darn good at covering most of it up. He's done it for years. But now that he's stressed out too much, he can't handle any of it well. I'm at a loss as to what to try. But it gets to be such a lonely life. I wonder how I'll make it, loving him as much as I do ? I hope I can. I read & read & read. But so does he. And sometimes I think the reading puts more ideas in his head. I can't stand his face, how he looks so sad all the time. the kissing and he looks away from me. The crappy kissing too. I loved his kisses before, and when he puts some meaning in them. I miss him holding my hand going shopping. Lots of things he used to do for me. Now, I feel like he's only acting as my caretaker & hates it.  Says he's not leaving me, but also says I should leave him. That I don't deserve to be hurt this way. I know that's true. But what can you do when you love them so much ? Maybe if it get worse, in time I'll have to leave ? I still don't know how though.

It's so hard to get through to him these days. I want to so badly. It comes down to writing him emails to read, that sometimes take days and I don't get answers from him. I have to beg for them. Just wish we could talk. But he always says..."Give him a bit". Yeah right...what's a "bit"?  That could turn into days....Or weeks !!  Then he still has to go back and re-read my email before he can answer, which he'll pick the one thing in it that takes him the longest to answer and never get around to the important issues. So I have to ask again and again. And I still don't get those answers. Like about the "cheating" issues I need to know. Won't tell me. Says he doesn't want to hurt more than he has. But I need some answers for me. Not the details. Just the reasons. Like, what is he meaning when he tells me he is "committed" to me ? Well finally got that answer. He said it meant that he was never going to leave me. Like his father left his mother because she was in a wheelchair & they couldn't have real sex. Dammm...and I hoped he'd say because it meant he loved me so much. I don't know if he even does ?

Gosh...sometimes I wish I could get thru. Wish he would tell me what I need to hear. Like, I love you once in awhile again. He used to tell me it several times a day. Bring me flowers & cards for no reason. Lots of sweet things.No more tho. Says it's my fault for complaining. ( and it is really ) I apologized, but not getting any yet. If I had only known he had the ADHD at the time I never would've complained at all. I would be praising him !!  Oh God...the damage I've done. He was so wonderful to me. Now it feels like we only live together and I am his maid. Though he still does some things for me too. I can't totally complain. He just seems to do it half-heartedly now. I blew it. I wonder if any of it will come back or if it's totally lost because of his ADHD ? 

But you ask about the sex life. Yeah...It sucks !!

Could be describing my ex.

I'm a woman with ADD (Inattentive), but I'm pretty much the opposite of what you have described. But, your description fits my experience with my ex very well! He has Asperger's Syndrome (with a fair degree of narcissism thrown in), not ADHD.

not2be4gotten, so sorry

... so sorry, that your marriage has devolved to these lows. Not good for you, nor for him. I'm glad you can at least express your frustrations here.

I have to speak out for accuracy's sake. Your relationship, of course, you know better than anyone. One thing that I know: not wanting sexual intimacy, and disappointing you when you do have moments together, isn't a fact for every ADHD person.

Nor is infidelity. Not true for me, nor for other ADHD people I've known.

Unfortunately, your partner is two things at once: ADHD, and a cheater/excuse-making-poor-kisser. Double sets of difficulties, for you. :(


His perception

This is my first post. Thank you for starting this thread.

I am the one with  ADHD, I always thought communication issues were my ex-husbands fault and those around me I felt I was being attacked... I wasn't.  It made me defensive and I became a bully at work. ADD was very beneficial in my career but not my relationships. I am now in a new relationship with a man that has incredible communication skills and try as I might I sometimes just don't get it. I "come around" when I no longer feel pressured and antagonized but he feels deserted when we are communicating. I find that I honestly do not hear what he is really saying. I feel as if I am being empathetic and not defensive but it turns out after introspection it is just the opposite. I am scared that I cannot find a way to turn off the self loathing thoughts reeling in my head (I'm broken, he's going to end this etc..) to really just hear him. I go straight to apologizing and problem solving to make our situation better when all he is trying to communicate to me is what he felt over my reaction to a problem that we had. It sounds as if your spouses react like me to what is happening in their heads not to what you are saying. I completely rewrite sentences as they are being said to me. I find that I need to repeat over and over why I did one thing or another as if he will understand if I only say it one more time; why is HE not getting it?  Which non-ADHD folks is never the problem it is my lack of empathy to his feelings which I promise you is not what I am trying to express to him.  It is very frustrating for both of us. He always asks me during heated conversations if this is the mountain I want to die on. NO it is not but I again cannot stop myself from repeating over and over the same thing which is it seems to put it back on him or to make the problem go away. Just apologizing doesn't cut it. When he asks me to describe the issue or the solution I find that I can't. If he rolls his eyes due to frustration at me I just shut down. I practice avoidance because my head is cluttered because I am afraid to let him down so no closure until later when I come back and explain logically how I feel.  I have been explained as stubborn and that is so far from the truth.

I want to feel secure in being vulnerable when explaining my frustration as well. It is frightening to me to feel like I am not in control. I do not want ADHD either and neither do your spouses would be my guess. Good luck it is not an easy road for the non ADHD but if he feels I am trying things are better. I hope your spouse gets to where he is open to appreciate your patience.  Trust me I appreciate your frustration and pain.

I do not know if this helps but if he is very clear ridiculously so I respond better. It is for both of us to be present in communicating. I am working on it and find that writing is sometimes a more effective tool for me to communicate.

I hope this post was appropriate and this gives you a glimpse into one ADHD recipients head...

LoriP, your comments did help

LoriP, your comments did help me to possibly understand what he is thinking while our arguments go around and around and around.  I wanted to ask you this: When you find that you repeat over and over so that he will understand what you are saying, is there something that he could say to you so you feel heard?  Why do you feel that he doesn't understand what you are saying?  Or do you think you will have that reaction regardless of what he says to you?  Is there something I can do differently or say so my husband knows I heard him the first time and I understand what he said?  I have tried repeating back to him what he tells me and that doesn't seem to help.  I will also ask him, do you really want to start a fight about this?  Can't you stop please?  You are ruining our whole night over this."  And he just can't turn it off.

I will try to be ridiculously clear with him- if only he could do that also!  He makes a lot of assumptions and can't even see that he is assuming.  But you are right- things go better and I am more patient when I see that he is trying and it helps immensely that we both have ADHD in our vocabulary now and it is not off limits.  For many years he was not open to acknowledging that he had ADHD or that it was causing any problems, he would get very angry that I wouldn't point out there was something going on.  Things are out in the open now, which I consider a tremendous blessing and it takes some of the stifling pressure off.

I appreciate your post, it was very helpful, thank you for sharing.


I wish you the best. If I could give you the key to your husbands ADHD I would.  I find that when the climate stays calm our ability to communicate quadruples. It sounds to me and I have been there that his best defense is an offense. Deflection is another amazing tool. Maybe you could say to him, that you know he is struggling trying to make a point but you need for him to try so that you can better reply to him.  We have a word, when I am talking in circles that he says and it makes me laugh. When he can add levity all frustration dissolves.

Best to you.



I am new to this forum and honestly in a way I feel relieved to read about similar struggles because then I know: I am not crazy! I am married for many years now and we have three children. My husband and me separated a short while ago and it hurts a lot. I do love my husband although he did hurt me often in the past through his impulsive words and anger outbursts. He got diagnosed with ADD a year a go, but it did not help. After he got Ritalin he started to change. Drawn back in himself and always with earphones, obsessed and mood instability. He started to hear things in my voice who were not there and got angry because he thought I mean something mean with a normal question. It was nearly spooky... Now we are seperated. I hate ADD. He wants me to admit doing or saying certain things, but I cannot as they are not true. And then he thinks I do not respect him. It is a nightmare!

He wants me to admit doing or saying certain things, but I canno


He wants me to admit doing or saying certain things, but I cannot as they are not true. And then he thinks I do not respect him. It is a nightmare!



I've been there.   My H has insisted that I admit to saying or doing things that aren't true, and I refuse.  I calmly refuse.  I usually say something like, "I understand that you think I said (or did ) __________, but I didn't.  I will not admit to something that I didn't do.  I wouldn't expect you to do so, either."

I hold my ground.  I refuse to admit to something that I didn't do or say.   My husband filed for divorce TWICE because I refused to admit to something that wasn't true.  


Who initiated the separation?   Was the separation the result of your refusal to admit to something you didn't do?  

admitting to something you did not do

Thanks for your reply! Maybe I am not crazy after all... I did ask my husband to live for right now at his parents house. I just could not handle it anymore. He constantly tried to tell me that nothing is wrong with him and that I am the one who has a problem. He wanted/wants me to admit my part in "our conflicts"as he calls his anger outbursts. I did say something a certain way which made him angry, he said. I am his big frustration it told me once. I do not want to admit to something I did not do!!!! Even if I tell him calmly that I really did not mean it that way and that I just can't remember saying it that way... and even if I would have said it that way, does it give him the right to scream and accuse me and later try to force me to admit to something I just did not do to make it a marriage conflict instead of his anger outburst? 

Now he is putting pressure on me. He says that he is willing to see a psychiatrist, but does not want me to have any part in it. He says it is his private matter. How can it be his private matter when it concerns the whole family?? He says he cannot handle a separation emotional for long and that at one point there will be no return. I do not want him back if that means no ADD treatment and me admitting being the one to blame for his anger outbursts.

My kids love his dad, but how much can you handle till it breaks you? 

Withholding and Trust

Hi Mrs Secret,

I don't want to jump on you at all here....so I will start out by saying that....I believe I have finally arrived at what I think is the problem here.  Saying....it is the same problem that I run into with my wife and I keep reading repeatedly here in this forum.  In my mind....that kind of clued me in that this is one of those issues that is not a personal one but a relationship one ( a pattern or a dynamic) which is caused by something else. 

That something else here involves trust.  What you said here pointed this out to me (again....I'm only pointing to the symptom of this trust issue I'm talking about)

 He says that he is willing to see a psychiatrist, but does not want me to have any part in it. He says it is his private matter. How can it be his private matter when it concerns the whole family?? He says he cannot handle a separation emotional for long and that at one point there will be no return. I do not want him back if that means no ADD treatment and me admitting being the one to blame for his anger outbursts.

This is all misinterpretation on both sides here.  To reinterpret you husband....I will break this down for you.  First....you are not to blame for his anger outbursts but you are a trigger.  Something you are doing is causing him to react to you in the way he does....this is a fact that you already know.  But the reasons why are not so easy to see always even for him....but....he does know he angry that is for sure.

Think of this in terms of your family and your children.  With your children....I'm sure at some time you have lied to them for different reasons and have also withheld things from them at different time to keep them out of harms way.  If you didn't do this when they were really little....it might even be considered abuse by some standards right?  And the reasons you do this are for their sake as well as the sake of your entire family for all good reasons.

If you are with me so far.....what about your husband going to a psychiatrist on his own to get help with the issues he is having.  If he had a broken leg and needed to go to the doctor to get it put in a cast.....why would you need to be there.  What is your role or purpose in going with HIM to get HIS mental issues under control.

If he was your child....this would go without saying.  Of course you would go to be there to communicate with the doctor and be the go between for your child because a child might be scared, confused and without the wherefore all to understand what is going on or to understand the doctors instructions.  You might even leave the room to talk to the doctor privately out of ear shot of your child to get any bad news or information of concern that your child might not be able to deal with in the moment for your child sake and withhold that information from them and only tell them what they need to know.....on a "need to know" basis.  For your child....you do this because they cannot do this for themselves.

A child is also not given any choices in the matter because you already know that you as their mother...."know what's best for them."  And since you know "what's best for them".....you need to know everything that is going on all the time so you can make those decisions for them since they can't do this for themselves.

But your husband is not a child.  He knows what's best for him and what he needs more than you do.  How could you possibly know what another person needs or what is "best for them?"  This is not only impossible, but it is intrusive and disrespectful to think otherwise.  No one has this ability or the right to do this unless they are your own children and "little children" at best.  As your kids get/got older....they start doing some of these things on their own for themselves too unless you as a parent, are not allowing, trusting or giving them the chance to.  The end result of this is resentment on all levels when you feel that someone is trying to do this with you even as an older child.

Now imagine someone doing that to you as an adult.  How are you going to feel about that one?  Resentment?  Hostile?  Disrespected?  Not getting any choices or say in the matter that effects you personally?  And not getting all the information that is being withheld (not being open and honest emotionally or otherwise) due to the lack of trust that person is receiving by having decisions made for you like a child?

I could say this many ways as far as your husband is concerned....a rather rude response that I might use towards anyone who insisted on going to my doctor to get help with something that is not anything that they could personally do anything about or control would be....,"hey, it's none of your business. Butt out!"

Private matter is not a good way to word this.  Personal would be a better choice of words.  In respect to going to the doctor to get your leg put in a cast....the only reason to have someone there is for support emotionally....otherwise....they serve no function what so ever and have no reason to be there in the first place.  They can't do anything to help with that persons leg and the only reason to go to the doctor in the first place is that you can't do that for yourself.  But neither can the person going with them.  If they aren't going there to be supportive....they have no business being there at all.

I'm really not sure what he meant by "he cannot handle a separation emotional for long and that at one point there will be no return."  That does sound rather cryptic indeed.  I would wonder what that person is really trying to say because it really doesn't make any sense?  If someone kept saying these weird cryptic responses to me......I would begin to wonder is they were capable of understanding anything after a while and wouldn't trust their judgment after too long especially combined with their actions which would clearly appear that this person is not getting something?

Maybe I can give your H some help here in telling you what I think he is trying to say but he simply doesn't know how?  I'm saying....I've got a sneaking suspicion from being in this same situation myself so I am using myself here to fill in the blanks for him.  To this day....I am still running into this with my wife but now I am able to narrow HER down to what she is really saying or thinking when she does this kind of thing with me.  When I get to the bottom of it....she always says the same thing.

I don't trust you.

And I don't trust anyone who appears evasive, not forth coming, not emotionally honest and who goes around my back and does things like make decisions for me without asking me first.  It's very easy to tell when someone does this with you.  You find out after the fact....that they made a choice for you and you didn't get the opportunity to dissent or choose between.....yes I want you to do this.....or no I don't want you to do this.  Any time my choice is taken away from me by someone else that involves me personally......I immediately feel disrespected and view that person with suspicion.  What are the hiding from me?  What is their motive in doing so?  What are they up to and why?

If I ask them directly these question and they will not give me a direct and honest answer....they just confirmed my suspicions.  This person now at this point after I've asked.......cannot be trusted.  And I won't trust them until they give me a straight answer.

As an adult.....it never even occurs to me that someone would do this because they don't trust my judgment even though I fully admit that their are a handful of behaviors I have associated with my ADHD that consistently says otherwise but....judgment or the ability to access my situation and make the right decision is completely independent of that ability and it only accounts for those things very few things in those specific areas.  Also.my ADHD has nothing to do with the other 98% of most decisions I make for myself or even for my wife and I if I am asked or if it is required by circumstance....or even....for a stranger for that matter.  I trust myself enough to know when, why, how and what I want at any given time and I feel very strongly in the golden rule to apply this to anyone else....there fore   I am a trusty worthy person by any standards you could name.

But that's not what happens.  Those 2% become the 98%  instead seeing it from the other side and when someone does this with me....it makes me furious!!!

So as I saw what you wrote and know I feel the same way from my side of things.....this tells me that this is a dynamic problem.  And the glaring symptom of "trust" is screaming out in the middle of this as the problem even though it is the only thing within this entire exchange that is NOT getting discussed when it is the root cause and source for the relational dynamic problem you are speaking about in just this one example that you gave.

You need to understand something here on your H's side of things.  He doesn't trust you either for the reasons that are possibly the same as the ones that I just illustrated using myself to fill in the blanks.

On your behalf in all of this....I understand your dilemma.  It's not your fault....but it's not his either.  The fault or cause here is what Melissa Orlov has accurately named the "ADHD effect" on your relationship.  "Trust" is just a symptom of it.  So is the withholding of information, lying, misinterpretation and everything that you said in your comment.  That is the dynamic that I am referring to as well.

In reality?  It is really good that your H is going to seek help for HIMSELF FOR HIMSELF.  This can only be a good thing even if it by himself at first.  It is the first step in getting things to change.  You can only work on yourself and you only have control of yourself.  You cannot control what another person does either through control methods or deceit.  it will only come back and bite you anytime it does because it is a disrespect for another individuals right to have a choice and the ability and opportunity to choose in all things.  The minute you make a decision for someone else because you think you know better.....you are disrespecting them and that is something that comes through in action, word and deed.....and is not very hard to figure out when your choices are slowly being taken away from you.

As my T has said many times.  The one time that anger is the appropriate response to another person....is when you are disrespecting them.  If another person is angry with you and you don't understand why.......it's likely that this is what you did and their response to you is telling you that.

Just because you don't see it that way or feel you haven't doesn't mean you didn't and they don't have the right to respond to you with anger.  How they got angry with you is a different topic entirely....but that doesn't erase the fact that you disrespected them even if their response to you is inappropriate to the situation.  They reaction does not release you from your responsibility for the entire exchange no matter how badly they behaved after being disrespected.

Not being to articulate this and speak to each other in way that you both can understand is only not understanding this any of this and not knowing how.....on both sides:)

That's the part that you two need to go to counseling for together.....not for HIS part.  At least he is willing and actually acting on his part of the equation.  I give him kudos for that much at the very least.  Your part is learning how to trust and changing the misconceptions you have about him and his ADHD.  He can't do that for you any more than you can help him with his ADHD.  That is a personal matter but he should be able to explain this better to you once he learns how.  My sneaking suspicion here is....that he doesn't trust your judgment and what you believe and to that much.....i think he might be right.

In my case with my wife.....her coding, her attitude and even her admissions under duress say exactly the same thing to me.....I don't trust you and I can live without knowing what you are up to.  In my wife's case....she needs to learn how to live with this feeling and I can't help her with that one.

Why would you trust someone who doesn't trust you?  I find this a very hard thing to do myself but I do trust my wife implicitly.  I also don't have any problems living with not knowing what she is doing and a need to follow her around and check up on her to see if she is up to no good.  She doesn't need my permission to do anything and is free to decide for herself what she does and when.  I'm not her father and I am never going to be her father even if I wanted to.  Those two things on my side or things....are not my problem either.

I hope I shed some light on this for you a little more.....I also hope you see that I am not taking sides but rather....looking at both sides objectively and pointing out what I think the problem is.  I have said this to my wife on occasion when I've done this and she gets angry ......"don't shoot the messenger even if the message isn't what you want to hear."  I say this to her because she consistently react badly to bad news about herself.  Another issue I don't currently suffer from:)



Trust vs Truth

I think it has less to do with lack of trust, and more about truth. After all, he's come this far relying on her to handle tasks that he can't or won't attend to. 

It's been documented several times in these forums that when their ADHD partners go to therapy, their spin on versions of events can be exaggerated to completely untruthful. They make themselves look like the victim, and try to get everyone on their bandwagon... and a therapist can't help if they are fed lies and misinformation.

I think the main reason is they can "control" the flow of information to the therapist, and they can report back to their spouse anything they please ("Nope, he said there's nothing wrong with me and confirmed it's all your fault.")

I'm not saying I'm opposed to someone doing individual private therapy. Sometimes they need to be able to admit things privately before they can admit them publicly. I totally understand that. But I would also demand that at some point, within a reasonable timeframe, that you are included in a session or sessions. Maybe every 5 appointments make it a joint meeting. That way there is no opportunity for someone to be deceitful, and a therapist getting both sides of the story will help him have a better understanding of the relationship dynamics and how he or she can help.


Yes Excellent Point

In respect to what you just said.....when I first went to my T years ago with my ex wife shortly before we split up.....he saw us together for a brief time, and then he saw us individually.  We did this as he suggested and this led to my discovering about my ADHD.  My ex quit going to him about anything that had to do with her because she didn't feel like she needed to.  My T whole heartedly disagreed and told me so later once she decided that she wanted a divorce.  As he referred to her as....a person who refuses to take responsibility.  I later asked him what he meant by that.  His answer.  A victim.  Straight up.

My feelings based on this experience alone tells me one thing based on what you just said....

  They make themselves look like the victim, and try to get everyone on their bandwagon... and a therapist can't help if they are fed lies and misinformation.   My guess is.....they aren't making themselves LOOK like a victim.....they are one.  In psychological terms or otherwise of what a "victim" is.....a person who refuses to take responsibility.  End of story.

And there is no way you could pull that one over on my T at least.  He knew exactly what was happening and why probably 10 minutes into hearing my ex and I walk into his office.  A good therapist is not going to buy into someone who is full of victim mentality.  It has it's own language is very easy to spot for a trained professional.

The reason I know this is because I was a victim then too.  Now I'm not and there is no going back.  I can spot it too and I also speak fluent victim and can spot it now too.  That was the net result of going and learning how to spot it.  For myself at first....and now for anyone else having been there myself.  Takes one to know one even if you are reformed. lol

But I totally get what you are saying and this would be the exact course of action I would recommend too.  The reason for this is....now the trust is solely placed on the therapist to know what they are seeing and how to work this between the two people.

And I also get....that there a lot of therapists and so called professionals (because they get paid only) that are not very good at doing what I just said.  Maybe yes...maybe no?  They can't fix what's broken....they can only lead you to the well but they can't make you drink:)

Anyway....a good therapist going together at first and then separate to work on your individual issues with that person alone is a great method that I whole heartedly concur with.  That way....they're the ones who the control and can call BS when they see it and bring this out as needed when it is appropriate in a way that the two people cannot do independently of one another. and can manage the issue on both sides either separately or together.  I think this is a really good strategy.

I have felt this for a while myself when I read the same accounts you have.  Having different doctors and therapist all split up and trying to get a straight answer from the horse that won't drink is a failure in the approach in that it is not an integrated approach from the very start.  I think that is why this approach is doomed for failure........not so much the fault of each individual doctor or therapists who are all acting independently from one another.

It's hard to know exactly what is going on here with Mrs Secrets H and why he isn't being more forth coming but I think it sounds like the trust on both sides has hit rock bottom.  He could really be trying and not wanting the confrontation to get some answers first by himself....but I doubt very much that any therapist who is worth their salt is going to buy in to a lot of denial and misconception just because the person in front of them says so.  Not that this doesn't happen...but in respect to what I said....that would be a case to find a new therapists IMHO.

That's just my two bits for what it is worth;)

Thanks J.

"In psychological terms or otherwise of what a "victim" is.....a person who refuses to take responsibility."

OMG! I never heard it said this way before.  THIS is MY problem....in SO many things.  I am a person who had refused to take responsibility for my own life for my own happiness.  I used to cry and pity myself and try to "fix" our problems by working extra hard, but things were not good with just me only trying to make things work.  To stop being a victim, I MUST choose to do something I am afraid of doing.  Otherwise, I will continue to be a victim of my own fears and my present situation.

J, we all are beneficiaries of your therapies.


Jenna A Good Excersise....The No Blame Game

to try and test yourself.  This is not one my T gave me but one I came up with on my own.  Remembering back to the day my T said that to me...I had a reaction not unlike the one you just had.  I went "OMG.....I'm  victim!!!!"....to myself right then and there.  I was so upset about this prospect....I came home and sat on my couch and just stared at the walls going...."this is no good.  What can I do???"  I was so distraught about seeing myself this way that I compelled to do something to get over how I was feeling.  So I sat there and started recounting every story I had in my head where I felt like someone had wronged me in some way.  It wasn't hard to come up with a handful immediately and I remembered what my T had said about the language part.  So sitting there by myself...I tried to retell the stories out loud as if I was telling someone sitting in the room with me and I couldn't get more than a few sentences out before I started recognizing it myself right there in my own language.  Always blaming something or someone else for why this happened to me.  When I realized this I went...."uh oh.....I can't do it."   Literally....I couldn't even make it past the beginning of each story in which I tried to do this.  Blaming.....that was the key.

So I spent literally two or more hours trying to find ways to tell the same stories but without blaming someone else for anything.  No "you"...or "she"....or "him"...or "them" involved.  I quickly realized how difficult this was to do and I actually exhausted myself trying...to the point that I just passed out (fell asleep) from exhaustion and expending so much mental energy struggling with this.  When I woke up still sitting in the same spot....I felt different.  Really.  True story.  It was like something switched in my head and I began doing the same thing from that moment on.  I started practicing and paying attention to my language and not blaming anyone for anything everywhere I went.  That includes gossiping and making judgmental statements about other people even if they were not around.  I was amazed at how often these things would just fall out of my mouth all the time and it was a sobering experience.  Eventually....I even came up with a name for this little exercise.....

The no blame game.  I stayed with this in the forefront of my thinking for several months and did this everyday or anytime I spoke to anyone.  But mostly....I just did this silently as I first started out doing......  just recalling every story I could think of from my past and retelling it in a different way but adhering to the one simple rule.....blaming is forbidden.  It's actually the only rule to this game.

The end results to this was truly amazing.  By retelling these stories like I did by changing the wording....I found that in order to tell the story at all.....it forced me to find a different way if I couldn't use any blaming.  Literally in the moment when I finally was successful each time I did it.....I felt differently about the story and the people in it and saw how much I was the one to blame for so many things that I always thought were someone elses fault. 

As I found from the very beginning.....each time I got to the place in the story where I would have blamed someone else for doing something to me.....I would get stuck and the words would not come out when I had put it all back onto myself.  Really.  Even when I was by myself with no one around....I had a very difficult time admitting these things to myself in order to do this.  It was like the only thing supporting these stories at all was my ability to blame.  Without that ability....the stories just fell apart in my head and I was left with no where to go except back to me.  Humbling would be an understatement.

And after only a few months of practice....this started to become second nature and I didn't have to remember to do it anymore.  After that long....it was no longer difficult to say things differently and eventually.....my thinking in those terms followed suit shortly after that.

And as I have mentioned before in other ways here on this forum......along with this new skill I had discovered came an unexpected bonus.  Everywhere I went and with nearly all the people in my life (at work, on the news, in magazines or even in public).....I found I was surrounded by victim language and blaming all the time!!!  It was like I couldn't escape it and I started realizing how repulsive it was too me.  This is not a judgment of other people in this case....it was of myself.  I vowed right then and there that this must stop.....and realized that this was not going to change until I stopped thinking of myself in those terms and this was the way to do it.

I also noticed how other people reacted and changed when I did this with them even if they really didn't know what I was doing.  Blaming is so negative and I realized that so much of my own negatively towards myself was coming from this very thing.  All I had to do was not blame anyone for anything no matter what I did....and everything changed from that moment on.

For me....this was the door I was looking for.  It was the way in which I discovered to teach myself to stop being a victim.  I have never heard of this method before...but based on my experience alone....I would highly recommend it to anyone.  I have to warn you however.....it is not easy.   It will bring you to some difficult moments in order to continue but.....if it is to work......you must force yourself to do it anyway to get past that part.  Once you do....it gets easier very quickly as I found out.

You can start doing this anytime and you don't need to go therapy or buy a book to do this.  I would recommend trying this just like I said.  Search your memory for anything that has been plaguing you with hatred and animosity towards someone in your past....and force yourself to retell your own story differently without blaming the person you are so angry with.  I think you will find that you will no longer feel the way you do towards that individual each time you are successful at doing this.

It was amazing to find something that is so simple as this....can make such a difference in your daily life and at the same time.....how difficult this is to do at first.  I challenge anyone to do this and not find the same thing is true for yourself.



The Victim in the Hat playing the NO blame game

So, I told a story to someone yesterday about how I was grouchy and irritable because of the things H has done to always be letting me down, lying and not keeping his promises over and over - like the chair under me is constantly being pulled out from under me and all I can notice is the chair....not the abundance before me on the table - wah, wah.  

OK, The No Blame Game:  I was grouchy.  I was irritable, Just fact. I own it.  I allow myself to have a bad mood without blaming anyone for it.  I own that I am sometimes anxious.  I don't have to have a reason.  The anxiety will pass.  No one is to blame.  H is not to blame for the fact that I have unsettling feelings. If I am responsible for my own well-being, I cannot blame how I feel on someone or something outside of me and I don't have to blame anything INSIDE of me either.  I will just accept that many times, I feel upset.

Ahhhh....there IS a TINY acknowledging iota of acceptance in me that this is true and that if I could do this, that I would be better off.  Yes, and there also is a big part of me that wants to hold on to my usual analytics to find the source and solution to my discomfort - I WANT to blame something so I can identify it and FIX it.  I NEED SOLUTION!  I WANT CLOSURE!   ....  But that process has not been working for me for YEARS.  SO...........

I will!  I will, I say!  I will stop my blaming H TODAY!. I will not blame the dog. I will not blame my self. I will not turn to blaming. I will put it on the shelf! I will not blame the world, I will not blame the cat.  I'll look in the mirror and say, "That is that!!!"  It's not the words he said. It's not the things he did. It's not that I am dumb. Give me a break, will ya, kid? IT'S JUST THE WAY LIFE IS. NO MORE BLAME GAME!!!

I will let you know how it goes.  Thanks for the challenge, J.


One Thing That This Does Jenna

Is.....you will find that there are times when people do things TO you that is not your fault.  It doesn't change the facts as they are.....but it does help you separate rather quickly...... your part or the part you had to play.  The beauty of this is....sometimes....you don't have a part to play and it is all about them and they are the ones who created the situation you are in.  But instead of being defensive and blaming them for it.  You can choose what you want to do about it with a clear head.  It makes your decision making process that much easier with the clarity that comes along with it.

But as you just discovered.....IT IS NOT EASY!!!  Painful might be a better word for it.   Like I said....when I first tried.....I simply couldn't do it.  Blaming is an addiction if you've been an victim all your life!!! lol  It's the same as trying to quit any addiction at first.  VERY DIFFICULT! lol

Good luck and don't quit just because it's hard:)



Blame Game Redux

Just found and read through this great exchange.  Jenna, love your Dr. Seuss version of this :D

Want to address this from you, J:

You will find that there are times when people do things TO you that is not your fault.  It doesn't change the facts as they are.....but it does help you separate rather quickly...... your part or the part you had to play.  The beauty of this is....sometimes....you don't have a part to play and it is all about them and they are the ones who created the situation you are in.

 OK, here I go talking about Ho'oponopono again :)  The thing about this practice is that it is very simple, yet, perhaps precisely because of its simplicity, a bit hard to grasp.  I tussled with it for a couple of years before I "got it."   Anyway, one of the basic concepts of Ho'oponopono is that we are responsible for all of it.   Why?  Things don't happen to us, they happen from us.   We are the creative source of all that is in our experience.    Including incidents where it so clearly seems it is all on the other person(s)!

This isn't just philosophy, it is physics. 


“A fundamental conclusion of the new physics also acknowledges that the observer creates the reality. As observers, we are personally involved with the creation of our own reality. Physicists are being forced to admit that the universe is a “mental” construction. Pioneering physicist Sir James Jeans wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter. Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.”  – R.C. Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University ,  “The Mental Universe” ; Nature 436:29,2005)

Yes, the buck stops here.  "User accepts total responsibility."  This of course makes the "blame game" even more challenging!






By accepting a reality where all things are basically "our fault", regardless of whether someone  DID  something hurtful to us, does this also apply to being severely abused from childhood to adulthood, where little if any tools were taught to show the abused one how to gauge life? But yet the grown child is expected to "be a functioning adult". This seems to be a more than severe expectation of them.

getting out of blame

dedelight, this is a question that commonly comes up in such explorations.

Getting out of the "blame game" also means getting out of blaming the self.   Coming to see that ultimately no one is "at fault."  This can be an uncomfortable place for those who need to find someone to blame. 

We are all creating our reality, yes, including children.  I know this is difficult to accept that an abused child is creating or allowing that experience.  I myself was abused as a child.  I accept all my feelings about this, while understanding that on some level I chose that situation, for my soul growth.   Yes, some of us choose very difficult life circumstances (and I am one of them).   Acceptance of this requires a much broader perspective than most people are accustomed to holding.   But that is what soul growth is about.

This page discourses on that topic, if you care to explore further:



All beneficiaries. Of Liz and C too. 

How do you get them to agree?

I have been asking to join DH in his session. For multiple reasons. Yes, one of the main ones is that I don't think he is telling his therapist everything, he spins for sure. But I don't tell it to him that way.

I have been through some health issues in the last year. Severe enough to keep me off work for a few months. Stress affects it hugely. Over the last 2 years or so his behaviour have been getting worse. I need support, emotionally and physically. He is just not there. He says he is supportive - I am the one who refuses to see it, he says his ADHD is not an issue - I am etc...He told me that I need to go seek help to learn to "deal" and cope. I started to this summer to help me cope with my health issues and the effect on my mental health. I did that through my work's EAP which was mainly to allow me to transition back to work. But she did notice there was more going on with me. I think the crying at every session was a clue.I opened up a bit about what was going on at home (I usually don't. I feel ashamed.  I don't want to burden people - everybody goes through stuff. My family doesn't know. My friends don't know. The closest people to me know about my health issues but not my marriage).  

That therapist suggested that I attend a session with him and his therapist to discuss my perception of things. To bridge the gap. He refused. I have no business in his treatment he says. Even though he had not been to therapy in over 6 months. Because he didn't need it. I Begged, I pleaded. I need help. Do it for me. Nope. 

Previously, I also tried to discuss with him the fact that his behaviour has changed. Early on in his treatment he had said that should I notice changes in his behaviour I should tell him, so he can discuss with his doctor and therapist. It was important he said, that I support him in his treatment. Now he refuses. Because there is nothing wrong with his behaviour. It's all me.

My EAP was only for a limited number of sessions and is not specialized. So I started seeing a therapist at the same ADHD clinic he and our daughter go. A therapist more specialized in family members and couples. She suggested some ways to change how I communicate with him, try to avoid confrontation. His response? I sound like a therapist, I am not his therapist. 

I am worried I said, I love him and I care for his and our family's well being. Well, care less he says. He started therapy again 2 weeks ago. 1 session. It's progress he says. I should see the positive. Yes, he is starting over. Again. So what? He's doing something. I need to let him be.

Meanwhile, Christmas was awful. New year's was awful. I still cry multiple times a week. Took everything out of me to not cry in front of family.

How do you get someone to involve realize the impact of their behaviour, to involve you to move forward positively?

Therapy Crasher

Well since he refuses to allow you to go to a session WITH him... and I am assuming you know who he is seeing... would it be possible for you to book an appointment to see his therapist to give him YOUR side if the story? Yes, he may not be able to tell you anything about what your husband says because of Dr/Patient confidentiality, but I don't see why you can't book a session to talk about HIM and how it's affecting YOU. 

I would also try to bring evidence of behaviors in question, whether it be audio recorded on your phone or text messages... just so that it's less of a he said/she said situation and the therapist can see the truth for himself.

My H lies to his therapist, so he gets very upset when I contact

I've had to call H's therapists in the past because he lies so much to them.  


I would get sick of hearing, "my therapist thinks you're evil" and other crazy stuff.  


One time, when our kids were babies, H told me that his therapist said that it was ok for him to use his 2 week vacation for just himself (like a golf vacation).   I was livid.  I was home with babies, and his vacation is "our vacation".   If he wanted to take a few days, fine, but not the whole 2 weeks! 


I called his T and told him what H had said.  HIs T told me that he never told H that!


I called his last therapist when H came home and said that his T said that I was evil.   The T said she never said anything like that....and in fact, therapists don't like commenting at ALL about spouses who've they've never met because they know that they're only hearing one side of the story.   Exceptions would be extremes....like a spouse drinking a quart of gin each night and falling down drunk or losing 5 jobs in 2 years..  They will likely believe you about things like that.    However, unless a client comes with recordings, pictures, and other proof about various things, they're going to keep an open mind.  


My H wants his T's to believe that he's "the nicest guy in the world," so when they find out that he's thrown away 3/4 of my closet of clothes in anger, or he's thrown my cell phone in the toilet in anger, or he's caused a scene in a restaurant and the manager has ordered HIM (no one else) to leave, then that kind of destroys the "nicest guy
" image.   

That is just unbelievable!!!

That is just unbelievable!!!  It for sure is not easy for either spouse if one (or both) have ADD, but to tell lies like that? Can any honest ADD effected person here on the forum please give us non ADD people some answers here?

My H is telling his side of the story to family members. He is just bending or telling things a bit different so it does sounds like the other person was at fault... It causes a lot of turmoil...

Nothing New...

Hi Mrs...This is nothing new. The slight twists and turns that the truth takes are indicative of the self-focus that characterizes their emotionality. They know THEIR experience, but it's truly almost as though they're incapable of empathizing with yours, because it doesn't mesh with the way they felt/what they experienced at the time.

Example: In a heated argument once, my ADHD partner backed me into a wall, screamed in my face, and threw his keys in my general direction. However, in his version of the story, *I* was actually guilty of domestic violence here, because I pushed his already escalated anger to an explosion point, by pursuing him to finish a heated discussion (not my finest moment, admittedly) and "not allowing" him to walk away".  And further, since his keys didn't hit me, nor did he touch me, I had no reason to feel fear, so even asserting that he was intimidating me was lying. Further, having explained to my brothers that I was afraid of him (in that moment) required me to ask for forgiveness...but he never apologized for or asked for forgiveness for intimidating me.

In any 'normal' relationship, 2 people can come to the table and say "I"m sorry I was upset, I was feeling X", and the other party can say "I'm sorry too, I was feeling Y". And you can both accept that what each of you was feeling and experiencing was different, and also different from what your partner intended for you to feel. But I almost think that with ADHD, they have a need for there to be an agreed upon version of "exactly what happened", down to the last nuance, but their version of events is heavily driven and colored by their feelings from the time of the conflict.

They need for there to ne a narrative, but it has to be a narrative that supports their emotional response. And sometimes the only way to do that is to historically manipulate what you *WERE* doing/saying, but what they actually mean is that THEY were FEELING that way.

I've taken some very good advice from curself and Jjamieson on this forum and learned that if I start with an apology for "how I made him feel", rather than asking him to see his contribution to the conflict right away, I can get a lot further down the road to rationality. I still can't get all the way there, still can't get him to take full responsibility for his actions, and I still feel like I am parenting my partner through any conflict...but it has definitely improved the landscape.

Sounds more like narcissism

Sounds more like narcissism than ADD/ADHD. I never thought that narcissism could co-exist with ADHD, because my experience of growing up with ADD (Inattentive) is that because everything in life, pretty much, has been a struggle for me, and I've lived with constant failure, it would truly make it impossible for me, personally, to ever feel "special" in any positive way (narcissists are addicted to feeling special). But, according to Dr Craig Malkin, a narcissism expert, the two frequently overlap. Perhaps it's more likely when someone is diagnosed at a young age, and parents overcompensate for their child's diagnosis(?). 

The Danger In Drawing Conclusions


I'm all over the place in this thread and I'm now coming back to reread it in it's entirety from start to finish.  Since you have ADD(d) inattentive...and I'm coming from ADHD with the hyperactive...I can see what we share in common which is the part about never feeling special growing up at times.  Not all the time but sometimes.  That's enough I think to start.

While agree with you on some of the things you've said.  I'm starting to form an opinion here... but based on a lot of learning and knowledge I've worked hard to acquire that just wasn't there in my past.  The past can include what I've written her in part.  This has just been a process of learning and understanding myself better and where I go wrong in my own thinking.

Turning the page to now....not then and a few things I've learned so far and including what I said here already.

One of the biggest mistakes I've made are the same ones I see here throughout this thread including statements I've made here and that has mostly to do with dishonesty but without intention.  Dishonesty as a form of defense is just another word for denial which is an all encompassing defensive strategy used by everyone whether it's to protect yourself from what you don't understand...or to attack someone else who is threatening you in some way.

As I am seeing this from a different perspective than I did before....I can say what I've said differently.  What that says is my perceptions have changed.  But they were not wrong before.  The very premise of this entire thread is incorrect in that a persons perceptions cannot be wrong.  This is a fundamental flaw in trying to debate or argue anything.  That is....if the foundation or premise is wrong to begin with....your entire argument or belief will preclude you from seeing things differently.

And so not to attack or discredit Catherine10 for making her statements in the title of this thread....she is not wrong either..;.that is, her perceptions that her husbands perceptions are inaccurate are not wrong.  The only thing wrong...is trying to win the argument:  "needing to be right (to prove the other wrong".....or needing the other person to admit their wrong....or needing to win.  No one is free from blame here including me.  Blame is a big one but that can backfire onto yourself. Within the need we all have to support ourselves and our position....that itself  is where I believe...is the source of so much misunderstanding.

From just what you've said.....my thoughts about narcissism at this time is different than before. NPD is a disorder of an extreme in something that is true in all of us.  It's just a matter of degree and is more extreme than what would be considered normal.  What ever normal is?

But looking at it as a symptom.  It can be symptom of a lot of things and denial is one of them.  As a set of "needs"....denial is one of self protection and is completely self serving.  It can take the form of trying to manipulate someone else for personal gain of some kind and in more overt harmful way with care less disregard for another person.  But it can also be harmful indirectly to others out of our own need to protect ourselves from harm.  A victim of a Narcissist...can be equally damaging to others from their own need to prectect themselves and I fall squarely in that category out of my own self righteousness even though there is no need to do this anymore. 

Having said that.....there was a time I needed to do this and everything I learned in my own thinking out of this is the very thing that has created this problem I have in my own thinking sometimes stemming from it.  If we cannot be honest with ourselves...we can't be honest with another person.  The false perceptions that others see come from this very thing compared to someone who may not be in that same position of having to defend themselves.maybe more accurately said about Narcissism...is it comes out of a "need"....without considering the other persons at the same time only in support of oneself.

Denial itself is a need to protect yourself from shame.  If that need becomes so overwhelming that you are constantly in this state of needing something to protect the status quo  (or your state of mind)....everything said in this tread alone will qualify for that statement on either side of this debate (if there is one to begin with?)  As I'm thinking about this harder....there is no debate unless a false premise or conclusion has been established or made?  The Danger of drawing conclusions without at least considering your could be wrong especially when you have no foundation of factual evidence to support how you feel?

A false premise then requires a false argument to a debate and that's all denial is....arguing or defending a false premise or believe that is not universally true for everyone.  If it can't apply to everyone across the board and be agreed on by everyone (by removing the outlyers in this case and looking just at the mean) then the only means you have to argue or defend is also not going to be true or valid.  The symptom of this is Narcissim and we are all guilty and at fault of this to one degree or another no matter who you are.

So....if your need is to get someone to admit their wrong.  Your going to act in a narcissistic manner.  If you need someone to be right....do things the way you see is right and they appear wrong to you....and you are imposing what you think is right on that person...you are acting like a narcissist yourself by doing that.  If you need to have someone agree with you out of your own needs what ever they are.....you are also acting like a narcissist anytime you don't understand what they need along side of what you need as well.

Ignorance or not understanding (without any intention on your part) doesn't mean you aren't doing this or being a narcissist yourself.  The danger in drawing conclusions is taking a position that you are not wrong or you can't see where your wrong....either way.

It's from this position....where all the things that are being said here in this thread are coming from including my own.  It's all there if you can see it....and I'm just beginning to see it more and more and just how wrong I am in many ways despite how right I am in others.

In what I said...I'm not confused or have doubt in myself in saying.  This is what I believe is true now...until that changes.  It's my perception as it is...but it's neither wrong or right.  It's just what I think but it is what I think right now.  It might change and probably will however and I make no illusions that it will rather than won't in the future.

And so you don't think I'm trying to go against what you said...I agree with you up to one point.  What I recognize in myself...is what I recognize in what you said that is not accurate in how it was stated as a speculation and pointing at a conclusion in itself.  But that's only from an understanding you have that I have that is different which compared to everything else I've said her before that is correct in this debate or thoughts that go counter to what I believe now.  You are not wrong....but neither am I?

As I see it..."special" is code for our ego needing something....and if our ego needs something...we behave and think like a narcissist...znc like I said....if we think it, then we are thinking in narcissistic terms? Needing to be special...is just as narcissistic and the person who is addicted to feeling special speaking in those terms.  As I see it....but I could be wrong?  That is just my opinion for what it's worth?

Is this a crime or something to be ashamed of?  No. It's only a mistake and one made out of ignorance and those false premises and beliefs we have about ourselves  and I qualify for that last statement without reservation.  But so does everyone else as I'm saying it and this is IMHO...a universal statement that is true for everyone.  It's the matter of degree and our own hypocrisy and self arrogance that keeps us from seeing it in ourselves and not considering this as I see it now.

On a web site I just discovered called "Thou Shalt Not Commit Logical Fallacies"....it describes every false arguement and assumption made in this very thread by everyone who made them including myself.  Either the assertions made here themselves...or about the person (spouse they are with who made the same kind of false logical fallacy in there thinking.  It boils right down to what you believe is true...and committing yourself to a conclusion that is not universally true for everyone.

And letting go of the "why" myself now...."why" is not the reason this happens in light of my last statement which I will say....I believe is true.  At least for now at the very minimum:) lol

Turning the page and speaking in the here and now.

link to fallacies of logic:  https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/


Looking Forward to the Upcoming Politcal Debates

I just wanted to add something that I realized that I really want to do right now.  I normally hate political debates and the whole election process since listening to politicians hurts my head normally.

But going against what I just said and going off of an assumption I have about Donald Trump....I can't wait to apply all the things I learned in the "thou shalt not commit fallacies of logic" to Donald Trump now.  He's my favorite Narcissist at the current time and he goes so overboard here in my thinking about this....I'm going to actually enjoy listening to him and see how often her actually says anything valid.  So far....it defies me that he's made it this far!! lol

In fairness....I'm not thinking Hillary Clinton is free here either.  They're politicians for crying out loud...it's what they do.  I just think Donald Trump is worse and more blatant about it.  It should be fun....that's all I'm saying:)


How to Win an Arguement....

With Someone Who Will Never Admit They Are Wrong

I pulled this off the internet and it was in response to this question by a person I personally agree with. I thought it supported my own thoughts on this and it was stated very well.  I just wanted to add this into what I said about conclusions since it was so relevant to everything I said.

Entitled: Competitively Helpful

I can actually relate to this question from the other side (it's not *always* easy for me to admit I'm wrong).

First, reframe the debate so it's not about being right or wrong. The inherently adversarial nature of this frame will be counterproductive to your goal, which I assume is to bring someone over to your way of thinking.

Now, if your goal is to hear the words "I was wrong" come out of someone's mouth, then the rest of this post may not be useful to you (too many personality and relationship variables for me to account for here). But if your goal is to bring a person around to accept a different viewpoint as valid (and if you're open to that person maybe being YOU), ultimately leading to an improved decision making process, then keep reading.

One question I always ask in a contentious situation is, "What would have to be true about this approach/proposal/etc in order for you to support it?"

I actually ask this to myself first, just to get a handle on what about the other person's argument I am reacting negatively to, and to remove the issue from the domain of "right and wrong."

Then, I ask the other person this question, and listen to their response, keying in on areas where we actually agree. Then work from there.

In cases where you agree on literally nothing, that's a flag that you aren't approaching the issue with the same values. For example, if you're working with someone to build a product, and one person wants to maximize for revenue, and the other wants to maximize for quality, then it's unlikely you are going to agree on product specs. At that point, you need to take a step back and have a values discussion, and decide whether or not you are OK with compromising in order to arrive on a shared set of values before moving forward

Yes, J....


Am I thinking "right"(lol) if you don't do compromise as a noun....you will end up with compromise as a verb? Cause that is how I am seeing it and it explains alot. 

I am thinking some people find compromise a four letter word when used as a noun. Unfortunately, ......they WILL end up with compromise as a verb and have no personal relationship of any value cause they didn't want to use it as a noun? WTH? You know I am referring to H here(noun) and me here(verb). AM I nuts on this?

Your posts today have been very interesting.


You Read My Mind... Zapp

Think about it. If compromise is a four letter word....then you see this as a bad thing.  And if you are unwilling to compromise....you are unwilling to negotiate.  And if you are unwilling to negotiate....you are unwilling to admit your wrong.  And if you are unwilling to admit you are wrong....you will be likely to never say your sorry or apologize since you'll never see what you did to have to apologize for?

And if someone is in denial?  It goes without saying?  None of that will happen so you might as well not argue in the first place?

If someone is so fixated on what they believe is true when it's not.....well?????????? LOL

Getting to the source is always a good idea I think? lol


Different Kind of Lies

Melissa has a post on lying on this forum that helps identify the kind of lying that you are seeing.  Lying in itself is not as much an issue unless it is done in a deceitful manner with knowledge that they are doing it and with intention..... to manipulate or to take advantage of someone in a harmful way for example.  Or....  hiding something out of shame or embarrassment or to avoid the consequences is another kind of lying (with intention).

  Lying without intention but from seeing things from a different perspective than you see things is hardly in the same respect if the lying  person firmly believes what they are saying is true (the inability to look at themselves and see the truth).   In that case (a person in denial)....doesn't even realize they are doing it and there is no intention at all.  More....just an inability to see oneself and believing something different.  In my case before I knew anything about ADHD or that I had it....I fell into the second category more often than not.  And then even after that until I realized that the things I believed about myself were not true or what I thought was true about myself.  As a rule...,..pathological lying was not an issue that I had.  That is....to just make stuff up for no other reason.  People who suffer from Borderline PD have this one as a common component along with the disorder itself.  That's different than what I was describing for myself in the past for example.  ADHD vs BPD in this case.  OW's husband as she has reported...is suspected of having this tendency along with having ADD,NPD or BPD as co-exisiting issues.  That might help explain this better and the possible reasons why?



mine won't let me go to his T with him.

I've asked my guy if I can go to his T with him, but he says no. It feels to me like he doesn't want to work on our relationship problems. That he's only going there for himself and ignoring the fact that I'm suffering too.

How do I get him to allow me to go with him once in a while ? I wouldn't need to go every time. Maybe if I suggest a one out of three he might agree ? I need something, cause I know he only tells his T the parts he wants to. Like...he took a trip for the day to go down the shore. He didn't take me with him because he knows I hate to be in the car when he's driving on a highway.( I developed a fear when I lost my sight in one eye.) So I can't do the driving myself either. It's tough situation that I know my guy doesn't like. I guess I have to stop being so afraid to drive with him, somehow ? Or nothing will change ? But this taking trips, sometimes overnight, drives me insane ! I always think he's staying with another woman because he cheated on me not long ago. And some things he does are very suspicious. Like this last time, he bought something and left it in his car trunk. He mentioned he had it there and would get it. But then he acted like he forgot he told me and avoided getting it for days until I kept asking him for it. Then he laid it on the coffee table, upside down, as if he didn't want it here. He's also slipped and mentioned the town this woman is from by using it to be something his son's g/f's place of employment. And another place, was mentioned that was a place where she now lives, and it's the place where he met me cause I used to live there !! Same place !! Man, was I livid !!

He must have everything about this woman on his mind all the time. Why else would he be slipping so much with all of her information ? It's really upsetting me. Though I wish he would slip and tell me who her boss is. That, I'd like to know. Actually, I think there's a way I can sneakily ask him. She works for the same company as he works for, but in a different location. But they semi work together at times. Just not in the same town. I've always complained when he made any reference to changing his location back to where she works. He's a huge flirt and I knew he was flirting a lot with her. That was even before he started the cheating thing, but I trusted him then.

Of course, I'm thinking...he bought it for the woman he cheated on me with and had a slip of his tongue about having it. I know he has tongue slips a lot.  So I think he's regretting he did that and doesn't even want to hang it in our house now. Am I nuts or what ?


Getting them to agree....


My wife has ADHD and we are married 2 years in May, 2016. She has most of the major symptoms that I can easily observe. Im from an Italian family, the youngest of 4 boys and I thought I would never see anyone put us to shame in arguing. I love my wife and when she is in a "normal" state of mind, when things are going well, she is awesome and we are deeply in love, this is the woman that I dropped everything to marry.  I've been researching ADHD lately and I think its when things are essentially getting stressful and it upsets their "apple cart" that the arguments begin. I also think that I've become a sounding board for my wife snd she feels comfortable to let out all the emotional, pent up anger that's been stored in her on me, no one else, but her mom knows. I'm reading to figure out just how to handle it. When she gets this way, I feel trapped, like she doesn't even know me, deep dpwn I'm thinking, run, how did you get here, but, I love her and I'm committed to thie marriage and I will figure this out. I'm learning that the best way for me unfortunately is to just disengage, like she does. I'm not perfect, and at times I have set off her emotional "flooding", only to regret it. The sad thing to me about ADHD is that there's no emotional regulation to stop the anger, discuss the issue. I have never done anything that terrible to set things off in such a ridiculous way as to literally scream and have someone push or slap me, then go days and lately, weeks without speaking. I have a masters in psychology and believe whole heartedly in changing behavior but this is ridiculous. I can't fathom the deeps of explosion my beautiful wife is capable of. I get so hurt by her sharp tongue that throws lies and hurtful things, personal things. Right now, I'm working on getting us back to a somewhat normal state, try and get leverage to get her back in the state of mind of love. Then, I need to be extremely cognizant of protecting that state. It is up to us, the non-ADHD spouse to protect our ADHD spouse and maintain a healthy marriage. I pray for all of you and me for happiness. Doug

Have you told her how it

Have you told her how it makes you feel, when she gets so angry? With ADD it might be difficult to stop the initial angry reaction, but usually there are ways to interrupt it and to help her dial down the emotions. My suggestion would be to talk to her when things are calm, and let her know first of all how much you love her and how important she is to , and that you really want your relationship to be great. Then tell her how her anger makes you feel, and talk about strategies that both of you can put into place to prevent things getting out of hand in the future.

Now he is putting pressure on me. He says that he is willing to


Now he is putting pressure on me. He says that he is willing to see a psychiatrist, but does not want me to have any part in it. He says it is his private matter. How can it be his private matter when it concerns the whole family?? He says he cannot handle a separation emotional for long and that at one point there will be no return. I do not want him back if that means no ADD treatment and me admitting being the one to blame for his anger outbursts   



I think he's bluffing, but only you can make that decision..  He wants you to believe that if you stay separated for the needed time, then he will refuse to come back.   He wants to come back NOW, so he wants you to think that he won't come back at all if you take too long.   I would probably say something like, "we need to stay separated until I'm confident that we won't return to the same ugly dynamic that we were experiencing.  It's not good for the kids and it's not good for us.


The reason why your H doesn't want you to see/talk to his psychiatrist is because he wants to control the info....which means that he wants to:


1) Directly lie about what's happening, lie about what you're doing, and lie about what he's doing.

2)  Lie by omission by not telling the doctor pertinent things, telling half-truths, and telling things out of context.  


He can't blame you if you're there to defend yourself, so he won't let you be there.  


he is putting pressure on me. He says that he is willing to see a psychiatrist, but does not want me to have any part in it. He says it is his private matter. How can it be his private matter when it concerns the whole family?? He says he cannot handle a separation emotional for long and that at one point there will be no return. I do not want him back if that means no ADD treatment and me admitting being the one to blame for his anger outbursts.

Hi overwhelmedwife!

Hi overwhelmedwife!

I think you are right. I read in Melissa's book that ADD people live in the here and now. He probably wants to put pressure on me so that he can come back right away. Thank you for encouraging me in staying firm. 

My H is a miracle to me. I just do not understand him. Is it really only ADD, or is there also a lot of proudness and lying involved? He does not want to have ADD anymore. He says it was a wrong diagnosis...now he wants to go to a different Psychiatrist to get a second opinion...And in our mail communication he tries to tell me that I am the one with the problem...

I do wonder, does people with ADD always think it is the others fault? Why would you not want to get treatment if it only can get better? Or is your perception really sometimes so completely different that you are so convinced it must be the fault of the other person? or is there a lot of pride involved? Or both?

Yes, there is a lot of pride

Yes, there is a lot of pride involved.  They don't want to believe that they are the root of the problem

Now he is putting pressure on me. He says that he is willing to


Now he is putting pressure on me. He says that he is willing to see a psychiatrist, but does not want me to have any part in it. He says it is his private matter. How can it be his private matter when it concerns the whole family?? He says he cannot handle a separation emotional for long and that at one point there will be no return. I do not want him back if that means no ADD treatment and me admitting being the one to blame for his anger outbursts   



I think he's bluffing, but only you can make that decision..  He wants you to believe that if you stay separated for the needed time, then he will refuse to come back.   He wants to come back NOW, so he wants you to think that he won't come back at all if you take too long.   I would probably say something like, "we need to stay separated until I'm confident that we won't return to the same ugly dynamic that we were experiencing.  It's not good for the kids and it's not good for us.


The reason why your H doesn't want you to see/talk to his psychiatrist is because he wants to control the info....which means that he wants to:


1) Directly lie about what's happening, lie about what you're doing, and lie about what he's doing.

2)  Lie by omission by not telling the doctor pertinent things, telling half-truths, and telling things out of context.  


He can't blame you if you're there to defend yourself, so he won't let you be there.  


he is putting pressure on me. He says that he is willing to see a psychiatrist, but does not want me to have any part in it. He says it is his private matter. How can it be his private matter when it concerns the whole family?? He says he cannot handle a separation emotional for long and that at one point there will be no return. I do not want him back if that means no ADD treatment and me admitting being the one to blame for his anger outbursts.

I am in the same boat. My H

I am in the same boat. My H constantly tries to make me admit to things I didn't do. He recently had me arrested for domestic violence that I didn't commit. The ADD mixed with Adderall and alcohol abuse make him believe things that are completely untrue. It has now effected my life in a legal way. It's so sad because I think part of him actually believes that I hurt him. It's scary and I feel so helpless.

I also am the one ADHD

You have described what is going on in my ADD head too. It's almost like speaking another language. I have a thought in my head and as I speak it comes out sideways almost like verbal dyslexia. I end up repeating the same things over and over to my wife too because of the missed verbal and nonverbal cues that she understands. So she feels that I'm disrespecting her or treating her as stupid. Now I'm trying so hard careful to choose my words I almost stutter which adds to my frustration in getting my thoughts out.

I hate how ADHD turns so many lives inside out.

My First Post, too -- Making assumptions about how I feel, etc.

I finally figured out that my husband really is broken, it's not that I am selfish or ungodly or unsubmissive or rebellious. He has serious problems. He fits the profile for ADHD but he also fits the profile for a narcissist. And I fit the profile for codependency but I'm trying hard to get over that and take care of myself and just be who I am supposed to be, and not who he says I would be if only I really loved God the way I'm supposed to.

I'm sorry but I feel that people with ADHD have a responsibility to do something about it if they know they have it. My husband would never acknowledge that anything is wrong with him. He has no relationships in his life at all, and it's all everyone else's problem (of course). Please, if you have this horrible problem, do your friends a favor and get fixed before you come back to them. It is absolute crazy-making to live with you people. I mean, seriously. I am not trying to be mean but if you knew you were contagious with a sickness, you'd quarantine yourself and get help, right? I so with my husband would do that. Life around here would change so much.

When we are talking (and we go weeks without talking because he does the silent treatment and acts all wounded when I don't agree with him) we constantly talk circles around each other and it is so frustrating. We have been through so much in our family over the years and our marriage has taken a huge hit. It's always been hard and weird, but for several years I accepted that it was my immaturity and weakness that was the cause of his unhappiness, his failures, etc. No longer. And we have had the worst time of it since I stopped taking responsibility for everything.

Anyway, just wanted to say that I totally relate with the frustration of having someone tell you how you feel, why you did such-and-such, what you think, then when you tell them you don't feel that way, they get even more angry that you have the temerity to argue with them. 


It sounds that you have much more going on then ADHD. Perhaps you could talk to a counselor.


Thank you LoriP

I realize this is an older post but the topic is so close to what I posted about recently (about "implied meaning") in the Communication section. It was my first post too.

What you are describing, LoriP, sounds an awful lot like what my partner might say, especially the "keep it ridiculously simple". When he's done being angry and has a chance to think about his reactions, he will often tell me that if I can be *really* clear---black and white really----that this would help him. This is tough as I'm someone who communicates a lot with metaphors and, well, not so black and white.

So maybe this is a big part of our communication problem and I appreciate so much you giving your viewpoint. I think that his defensiveness may come from years of not getting things and feeling "lessor than". He's in his early 60s and I've known him less than 10 years so this was all built up over many years, I guess.

Anyway, thank you. It really helps to hear from the other perspective. Really helps.

Thank you LoriP for being so

Thank you LoriP for being so open and honest with your experience in the ADD relationship. I'm hoping to take what I've learned from your post and try to understand when my ADD spouse is confronted with too much. Indeed, he feels attacked and defensive and unfortunately as the non-ADD spouse I allow myself to be pulled into our extraordinarily out-of-hand discussions. I will try not to take it so personally and try to not to be the cause of what makes my husband feel attacked. If he's stressed by outside forces, I will try not to make it worse.

I think my current concern is how it's affecting how I relate to the world at large, I feel I have to switch between two sets of personalities. The one at home has to learn to be more "submissive" and the one out in the world who is normally friendly and funny is becoming a facade, because I have lost part of myself in accommodating the constructs of the ADD world, and I'm beginning to hide behind that persona where everything is okay because I don't want anyone to know how bad it can be.


I have lost part of myself too.

I realize this post is old but is resonated with me.  I have lost part of myself too.  I have put so much effort in trying to normalize things for our children.  I also find that unless someone has direct experience with ADD/ADHD, they don't get it (and I understand why they don't get it - it doesn't make sense). 



My first too

I've never joined ANY forum before becsuse it's just not my thing. Found this when desperately searching internet for some help. I have a question specifically for you.... What made you realize your perceptions were off? With my husband, he insists that his is not inaccurate. Says he's very intuitive, (which he is, just not when it comes to things he's emotional about) It's not just our conversations and my feelings, it entire situations. He'll even see or, more often hear, things, not just words and insist something happened or was said when reality is almost opposite. Like his paranoia fills in the blanks and instead of seeing that it's his own imagination, insist something is there or said is reality. I love him so much, but I can't help but get angry when having to insist I'm not lying to him. He gets angry because it's always something "touchy" that he percieves so wrong. I need to keep hope that he will one day know the REAL me, and not his paranoid delusion version if me. What will help him see that he has a problem? Talking, as you know, is very difficult when one has ADHD, I can hardly ever get a word in, much less explain something important. He has a big heart and loves me very much as well. I can't imagine life without him. PLEASE, any suggestions from anybody here would be greatly appreciated. Thanx

Thank you for sharing

Please share more about your experiences with ADHD so that the rest of us can understand.



I completely rewrite sentences as they are being said to me. I find that I need to repeat over and over why I did one thing or another 



This soooooooo true.  How did you realize that you were doing this?


What helped you become more self aware?

Thank You!!!

(I'm 5 years into my relationship, 4 married) My husband is not diagnosed, but we've been really struggling lately. And your post was just like "WOW! that's Jon!" It totally describes him, and how our arguments go. Your post has really given me some insight into how to cope with situations like this better. Thank you so much for explaining it so well!

Thank you.

I've known that my boyfriend has ADHD since the start of our relationship, but my understanding of ADHD has changed a lot. When we started dating, all I really knew was what the name told me. He has issues with attention and hyperactivity. I had NO IDEA that included a whole host of other problems, like the issues with perception that you are talking about. I really thought that I was going crazy for a while. My boyfriend and I would argue, and literally 30 seconds after he said something, I could repeat it and it was like the words never came out of his mouth. He would say I was wrong, and just trying to make him feel bad. I wish these facts about ADHD were more widely known because it could have saved me a lot of tears and angry thoughts. I have just started seriously researching ADHD within the last month, so I have no advice to offer anyone. I just wanted to say thank you and I hope things have gotten better for you. You are not alone.

No thank you! Really Thank you....

Alone in a room full of people. It is busy in our heads....

I do not think we can improve unless we let our sig others see our vulnerability and that is quite difficult for professional woman and I can only guess for the men out there that want to be MEN if you know what I mean by that.  It is for me embarrassing and frustrating. I have often told my boyfriend that it would be better if we emailed each other when we are arguing.. I am more clear when I write things down.  I am curious if others feel this way too?  Unfortunately for us, hard as I try, he has felt the need to control our situation like a parent reminding me that I never turn off a light or close a door etc etc because of my ADHD. Please ladies never say to your ADHD men that I pulled a (insert his name here) it is emasculating and a criticism that cuts away a little at a time to where we do not want to be honest and open in fear, for lack of a better word embarrassment no one and I mean no one that I know enjoys feeling stupid. It may seem slight and ridiculous but it is hurtful because we do not want to let our other halves down nor do we want to lose them when we cannot climb out of the hole we drill for ourselves. The other big secret, the defensiveness is fear. Feeling safe is paramount with our partners. It is hard to explain ourselves when we cannot figure it out first, that leaves you or non ADHD partners feeling left out. That is never my intention but it is the result sometimes.. You are not going crazy and it is incredible that you are trying to figure it out.  Your boyfriend is lucky. You know, since I seem to be the one ADHD'er on this forum I am going to let him read these posts I recommend that to Lemon25 as well.. What do you all think about that?

We, my ADHD brethren are a chore, I do not envy our relationships.  NO we do not need to be quarantined but we are not for the faint of heart either.  I wish everyone happiness on this forum.

PS... A helpful hint take us for a run,  if I do not exercise everything goes to hell in a hand basket....  LOL


Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your reply. My boyfriend had one of those doctors that gave him a prescription and sent him on his way. As a result, I think he's convinced that taking medicine is all he can do for himself. I've been trying to help him learn about diet and exercise because everything I have read has said that those two are HUGE factors in the treatment of ADHD. Right now, the most exercise my boyfriend gets is light walking and not much of it. The problem is, I never know when's a good time to talk to him. Sometimes when we talk about his ADHD, he says things like "thank you for helping me and trying to understand." Sometimes, like last night, he gets mad and defensive and tells me to shut up and leave the room. It makes it really hard to make any progress.

Thank you for starting this

Thank you for starting this thread.  I also find it frustrating to deal with my husband's inaccurate perception of reality.  It is difficult to tell sometimes when he is honestly confused or when he is lying.  My husband would often try to manipulate me and say he told me things when he didn't.  He tried making me feel like I was crazy and he really did say or do something when he didn't.  Then he would play like it was his ADD and he forgot.  He finally admitted after many years he did purposely try to manipulate situations, because he didn't want to deal with conflict or his anxiety.  Thankfully, he no longer does this and of course no one believed he did this which was even more frustrating.  What I especially have a problem with know is how I feel he paints me to be this evil person when I am not.  For example, at my last individual counseling appointment, I felt my therapist was being very negative.  She was essentially telling me to leave my husband while I was trying to think of things to make our marriage better.  I left feeling more depressed than when I came in.  I felt she was pulling me back down when I was starting to make positive headway.  I expressed to my husband that I feel I should take a break from counseling.  He said so your not going to see her, because your angry at her because you can't take criticism.  I said what?  He said your pissed at her, so you don't want to go back and you think you can do better without her.  I said you are completely misinterpreting what I am saying.  I said I am not angry.  I said I just don't feel I benefited from the session and I feel worse.  I said I am going to try other things in place of counseling now.  He continues to think I am angry at her and I feel superior to her.  I feel this is a direct attack on my character and I am insulted.  He has also told me I am the only cause of his anxiety, which is so far from the truth.  He is finally realizing how inaccurate he was thinking that way.  But how do you deal with feeling your spouse is attacking your character when they are the one who should know you the best?  I'm having a hard time not feeling hurt and angry by this.  If I bring it up, it's often a I'm right, your wrong conversation.

I *just* made a new post

I *just* made a new post about this in the Anger/Frustration forum - you are not alone! I often feel like I'm being "gaslighted" by my DH, who remembers all of our conversations incorrectly and accuses me of doing/saying things I did not (and denying things he said!) I don't have much in the way of advice to offer, just know you're not alone on this.

My Husband does exactly the

My Husband does exactly the same thing with me so I understand how frustrating it is. We have had fights where I will remember something correctly and he'll tell me I am wrong and insist that he is remembering it right, but he's not. Sometimes he will also tell me how I am feeling or things I said while in reality I didn't say that. I usually just tell him that he doesn't like it when I do that to him so he shouldn't do that to me. The right medication should help with that though. My Husband is going on medication next week so I really hope it helps.

YES YEP and Boy Howdy!

Being new here to this blog, I really appreciate your honesty in sharing! ALL who posted this topic! I am knee deep in grief, or maybe I'm drowning in it? I feel affirmed by the fact that I'm not alone in this stuggle, unfortunately for all of you, with communication with my DH spouse. Also,  that I'm not crazy and that you all can put into words what I'm just now beginning to understand. I've said on more than one occasion that in order to have a relationship with someone, one has to be able to relate! I just told my husband this morning that the one thing that would send me "Over the Moon" would be to have, just once with him, an adult conversation laced with understanding, compassion and mercy instead of blame, criticism, judgements, constant changes in topics and character assassinations. (Gosh, I can have these with my friends and family members, but not with him) and it breaks my heart. About 10 years ago he said to a friend that he knows that had they diagnosed ADD when he was a child, 50 years ago, that hes sure he would have been diagnosed! It was an AhA moment for me and with my encouragement, he ageed to be tested. He failed the 1st test so badly that the Dr said he couldnt even score it. We were referred to another specialist only to discover that he passed the test!!!! HUH? however the Dr still offered to treat him and he refused. So here we are ten years later and I mentioned this too a new friend of mine who also knows my husband, and she said, I knew he had ADHD the 1st time I met him! WHAT!???? OMG! which is it??? I'm very confused right now and I have brought the topic up again in recent days to my hubby, he's a little defensive but getting used to the idea that I'm reading the book, and posting on this blog.  I really don't understand all the ins and outs of this disorder but Im trying to learn. I dont think he will see a Dr, and he is one in a different field. I'm in the midst of making some major decisions regarding a future without him. I just don't have the energy or emotional strength to stay. I'm dealing with my own PTSD now and have switched my focus onto my own health and healing. I'm hoping to glean some knowledge and insight as I will need to know all I can in the coming days... The cruelty and lopsidedness of this marriage, and I use the term loosely, have brought me to my knees, and I surrender...

Thank you God for always bringing me exactly what I need before I even know I need it and Thank you all for being so honest and courageously sharing! 


Ok, I re-read these posts just now and it occurred to me that not only does my AD spouse tell me how I "should" feel, he attributes false motives to my my feelings..."your just saying that because..." Huh? He doesn't live inside my head or my heart! I'm me, a separate person and I do know how I feel and why I feel that way! No explanations EVER make a difference... he's made up his mind and refuses to consider my point of view, I guess that's the Black and White talking... I hate that guy!  I also spoke with a counselor recently who brought up BPD, I raised my hand @ every symptom she described... Scary! Dear God I'm in over my head and my anxiety symptoms are back! grief, fear and hopelessness are my companions! :(    HELP! 

Yep....my H, too

My h behaves the SAME way, and my sister (a therapist) also believes he has BPD

I'm the non-ADHD one. I

I'm the non-ADHD one. I recognise these symptoms on this thread. My marriage had these problems but we got over them. There's plenty we're still working on but this one has gone.

I went through two stages where I began to detach from the symptoms myself. I realised it wasn't my problem, it was his. I was a nice person, doing my best. I realised something in him was choosing to see me in a negative light. I stopped fighting him to be seen as positive. I decided to not get dragged into it anymore.

First of all, I started asking "why are you so determined to see me as bad? I love you. Why won't you see the love that's here for you?" It brought things up a bit short I suppose. I wasn't arguing with him, saying he was wrong, that he had got me wrong, that he didn't understand me. I sat tight knowing I meant no harm and stayed 100% calm, wouldn't feed his anger with more anger. And just said to him "why do you hate me so much? To think I'm so bad and that you have to tell me so. It hurts me you know. I just love you." He did try to stay negative. But it just felt weird, like his words suddenly didn't belong anymore. I told him there was nothing I could say to him apart from the truth, which was that I loved him very much and wanted to help with whatever was bothering him. 

I even told him when I tried to tell him what I WAS feeling it's because I was sharing myself with him, because I love him. That I totally get it that it's not possible for anybody to know what anyone else is feeling unless you tell them and because of what he means to me, I wanted to share myself with him. It wasn't about correcting anybody - it was about me showing myself to him so he would know how to reach me. 

It happened again later. While he was telling me how I was really feeling in his view, I just shrugged and said "I love you. I don't know why you can't accept it, but it's true and that's all I can tell you. There's nothing else I can say." 

"But I can't be round this. All the bad things you say about me. You're driving me away. I'm going to go now and you can come and find me later if you like when you've calmed down and we can talk through whatever is bugging you and sort it out. I would like to do that with you if you want. But I can't stay whilst you're like this. I love you. That's all I've got to give. Find me when you're ready."

And then I left the room. I never looked back, never tried to get his attention. He found me later and said sorry. It hasn't happened since. That was about 6 months ago, after it going on pretty consistently for most of 7 years.

All I can say is that I've got so tired of being around constant anger that I just decided to not play that 'game' anymore. If there's anger, I disconnect and walk away.  I think while I got angry back it somehow helped reinforce his idea that I was mean to him.

When I told him I love him, it felt odd in that it's pretty much the exact opposite of what you want to do, which is to hide yourself from whatever is trying to hurt you. I guess instead of arguing with him I just showed my heart to him instead. What could he actually do to hurt me and apart from say words that aren't true anyway? I knew my truth, I knew what was my light, what it was inside me that was my motivation in life with him. So I showed it. It gave me some integrity too, rather than arguing and disliking myself for arguing.

I think I even told him I had thought about how horrible it must be to live with someone that you're convinced must hate you and that I genuinely felt for him, because I wouldn't wish that pain on him for the world. I meant it too. I just didn't recognise the person he described to me as treating him badly. Whoever that person was in his head, I knew it wasn't me. 

Maybe it's much harder to believe someone hates you if they extend care instead when you're angry. I don't know. If he wanted to believe it badly enough I just figured I was never going to change his mind. So I stopped trying to dismantle his myth through fighting and just told him straight where I was coming from. I'm the one who loves him. I had nothing else to say. He could either take it or leave it. He chose to take it.

I don't know if that helps anyone but it really has turned some of the bad feeling around we once had. We argue a lot less to be honest. And are negotiating more. Things have got at least 50% better in our relationship, which has opened up some real possibilities for change around some of the ADHD issues like housework. 

I hope Melissa reads this because maybe she has some thoughts on this.

Awesome! :)

This is one of the best posts I've read on this forum by someone who lives with the behaviors you've stated here...my marriage also improved leaps and bounds when I quit engaging poor behavior...And like you said: (It gave me some integrity too, rather than arguing and disliking myself for arguing.) I applaud you for it because it's not the easiest way some times, but like you, I have found it to be the way that leading to peace and a more fulfilling marriage...It force's accountability for us both...Great Post :)

I wish my husband could react like that

Wow. You are so lucky.  I have tried the "not arguing" or not being angry back, but my husband does not let that happen. My husband is hard-wired to provoke and provoke until he gets a reaction.  He will go on for hours.  If I walk out of the room, he will follow me and provoke.  If I leave the house, he will wait until the next day and continue to provoke until he sees a crack somewhere and then he goes for the kill.  Unfortunately for me, there is no loving, fearful husband behind my husband's ADD/ADHD, but an extreme narcissist....


I appreciate what you are doing to support your relationship

Hi Bluepetal,

I'm responding for Melissa, as she is on a leave of absence.  I truly appreciate what you are doing here in support of your relationship.  It is not easy to "turn the other cheek" when we are faced with our partner's anger and upset.  Yet, it is so important to be able to respond in a calm and peaceful way, when at all possible.  I hear it is having a beneficial impact to your marriage, and is even making it easier for your two to negotiate.  This is a great outcome.  I give you a lot of credit for finding a way to be strong and solid in your love for your husband, even when things are challenging.  It can sometimes make all the difference in the world.  I wish you the best.

Thank you for this *bluepetal*

I am new to this forum as well and I thought I was crazy.  I am so tired of being tired and feeling like I have no idea what is coming out of my ADHD's mouth.  I am going to try some of these techniques when he begins to rage and see what happens.



Good comment

Good for you

Hi Really123,

I know Melissa would agree that despite your husband's reaction, the position you are taking by backing away from your anger, and taking a time out when his anger or frustration is coming at you is a good plan.  Any time we can take the higher ground, instead of engaging and escalating, is a good idea, and can ultimately lead to better results in relationship.  I really commend you for changing your tactic to one of doing your best to maintain the peace.  You can add the phrase, "I really cannot engage with you when you are angry."  If he does not back down after a time-out, then I would agree that something else is going on, and you may want to seek the advice of a professional.

I am dealing with this too!

My DH (we'll we are engaged) have been together for almost 5 years; struggling with ADHD now for two months. He has such a short fuse now, I never know when it's safe to talk to him or not. Gets angry over the littlest things.  Then feels terrible when these words come out that he can't stop from saying. 

He gets side tracked so easily and won't stop doing what he's doing until he's completely figured it out (which could take hours). I go to bed angry and frustrated and alone.  He doesn't listen to my opinion anymore, or if I try to give an opinion it's like "that's not what I want" then he tells me that his perception is that if he doesn't use my opinion I am pissy towards him, like it's my wAy or the highway! 

Tells me I don't treat him the same anymore, he feels alone and distances himself from me. Shuts down, he doesn't touch me or kiss me like before, I feel alone yet he tells me he feels I don't love him the same. All these things he's feeling, I am too! All of this I'm supposed to ignore and not provoke him or engage him when he's saying these things. I'm not supposed to take these things to heart and not hold it against him.  I never know when the medication levels are good to have conversations or not. I walk on egg shells all the time and so does he.

 I love him and I am here for better or worse, even though we aren't married. I just feel so alone. 

Wow. Sounds so familiar. I've

Wow. Sounds so familiar. I've been married for 24 years and was too blind to understand that he really did have issues. He always said it was me; INSISTED that it was all me. I believed him and tried in vain to figure out how to keep him from being angry, having outbursts, etc., until about a year ago. Now I know he's not well in the head and since I'm in such regret over my life with him, I find it hard to encourage anyone to stay in a relationship  like this. Some say that their ADHD spouse is willing to utilize the tools to manage their ADHD and that they are working it out but in my case, he doesn't believe ADHD exists AT ALL in anyone, anywhere. And he is hard to convince of anything other than what he invented inside his own head. Sorry to be a downer. I hope that since your fiance is taking meds that he accepts that he has this condition and will be willing to continue to find ways to deal with it, especially if it means you will cut your losses and run (which is my suggestion).

He does accept this condition

He does accept this condition and wants us to go to counseling and get help so we can figure it out and get through it together! He also has OCD so I don't know how much of that contributes to the ADHD? I just fell like sometimes if I try to research it too much he feels I'm telling him what to do but I'm trying to educate myself too! I'm just trying to help and learning all I can about it is the only way I know how to! I know it's an internal struggle for Him and his brain works differently now. It just sucks it's like why do these medications change them so much? Where's the sweet man I fell in love with? I know he's in there somewhere!

This hits TOO close to home

My wife could have written your statement.

I just wish I knew what the solution is to your DH and my ADHD perceptions. Medication is only the first step (I'm speaking from personal experience). I've been married for almost 19 years and if I can't get my head on straight it won't make 20. If your fiance loves you he will try to find right combination of meds and therapy that work for him and you. Hopefully the ADHD has been diagnosed before to many years of "bad coping mechanisms" are in place and need to be unlearned and good one learned as in my case.

I wish you the best of luck either way your situation ends up.

Thanks Jeff413

I'm glad I found this forum, I don't feel so alone knowing that we are all in this crazy boat together! He was diagnosed two months ago so it hasn't been going on for long and I'm confident with the right tools in place, we can communicate better and learn to deal with this together ... I don't want either of us to resent the other and be miserable! 



I think you are getting some good advice here.  It sounds like your fiance has pretty serious anger issue that need addressing.  It is true that a lot of folks with ADHD have been struggling all their lives to overcome others not understanding them, or putting them down or criticizing them for their symptom-related issues.  That can lead to a lot of anger and frustration later in life.  However, taking it out on the ones they love can, at its worst be abusive, and at its best, lead to disconnection and hurt.  It is important that you check yourself to be sure you are not giving off anything that either reinforces his insecurities, or leads him to feel nagged or controlled.  I am not saying you are doing any of this, but sometimes we inadvertently interact with our partners in ways that we don't realize make them feel defensive and uncomfortable.

If this is not the case for you, then for sure he is in need of some counseling to get at the heart of the issues.  The OCD may be a factor, and it can be many things.  The medication might be having an effect, and if so, he should probably be on a different medication.  Whatever it is, it should be checked out by a doctor, so that he can get the best treatment possible.

It sounds like his is willing to take some action in order to correct his anger issues.  You have that working in your favor.  If you see a counselor together, I would be as honest as possible to get to the heart of the issues.

I wish you the best.

I get the He doesn't listen

I get the He doesn't listen to my opinion anymore, or if I try to give an opinion it's like "that's not what I want".

at one stage I thought it was narsasissm.

Lots of narcissism

I see loads of narcissism in my husband's attitudes, especially when he feels that he is in a position of power or superiority over someone. It is revolting.

Kudos by proxy

Not only is it revolting to hear it from my own spouse but he also likes to throw it in my face which makes me die a little every time. 

This is constantly what I get from him: "I take credit. I did it, it's all me. You didn't, so it's not about you. If you should even say anything you're just a narcissist."  

-or-  "No, you can't xxxx (pause) Because daddy did all this stuff so you can have all these great things because daddy knows how to do it. If it weren't for daddy you all would be up a river without a paddle. What would you do without me?" etc etc

My head is spinning... no one's even asking, no one is that enamored. Yet he'll just announce just how fabulous he is.

Even when he does something truly nice and I respond in kind, and show him our appreciation, somehow he just keeps fishing and fishing for days on end about getting more kudos. What can I say or do that will make him less needy? After the 5th or 6th time of saying "yes, I really love what you did, I appreciate it. good job." what else can I say or feel?  I have started saying "you deserve an award. lately, slightly sarcastic but he seems okay with my response. But then he'll announce, "I don't need thanks... I just want you all to know how hard/good/great I am next time you have an issue."

I can't deal with this constant need for affirmation. it's like anything is never good enough, I feel like a I'm living with my narcissist parent all over again, it's just never good enough.

It's dealing with a dysfunctional with identity problems.

"I don't need thanks... I just want you all to know"

Yes!!!    What I would get is, "It's the least I can do..."   and I soon learned that yes, indeed, it WAS the least.

Everything you wrote, Coping, has been said in our home, but mostly back when my kids were younger. Nowadays, my one son who is left at home does not speak to my husband at all. Between my husband and me now, there is very little keeping up of appearances anymore, and we don't converse much at all, so there's no call for this nonsense.

He also says something to the effect of, "I could have told you that, but no one consulted me"...   (after kids got older and we had all learned to have our own private discussions about plans/events/stuff.) 

Back in the day, he really bullied my son something fierce, always with the attitude that son should recognize on what side his bread was buttered. He would demand respect, never grasping that he'd done little to earn it. Before I knew about add, I thought this was due to his own lack of a stable father, but now I recognize that it goes so much deeper, since I've witnessed his treatment of employees.

So much despicable behavior.

I can no longer separate what

I can no longer separate what is ADD and the dysfunctions of my ADD spouse growing up with an alcoholic parent. It is too entwined, it is very bad. His treatment and empathy of others are often surprisingly warm, but he shows very little, if any, for our ability to communicate with one another. I feel very badly for our son... he's really caught in the dysfunction of our communication difficulties and we end up venting in front of him instead. That is really not a solution and no way good for our son. I fear the dysfunctions are being passed down from both sides. I become "less human" when I'm confronted by the face of ADD and narcissistic-type dysfunction 


I hear you. I am finding it tough in my relationship also totally. I came here for some support and maybe some clarity. This is the same thing I am going through. I really wish I could give you some answers. All I can say is you are not alone.

I have been accused, put down pushed aside and pulled back in. It Hurts.




How do I PM you on here? 

This has been happening to me for over 10 years

What really drives me crazy is when I'm either falsely accused of something or he says that I'm lying when I telling the truth. Sometimes I will have firm proof that I can show him that he's wrong, and he will run away so that I can't show him or talk over me so I can't explain.


He once accused me of "running up the credit card bill." He hadn't bothered to look at the details of the statement. He just looked the high total....and naturally concluded that "you know women; they spend too much."


I got the statement and looked at the "line item charges," and there was a big car repair charge on there that H had made (I understand why it was charged, my point is that he put that big expense on the credit card but had obviously completely forgotten it so hadn't expected the cc bill to be that high.


Anyway, when I tried to tell him and show him the repair charge, he ran into the bathroom and locked the door and refused to EVER look at that bill or apologize.


Thankfully, now I often have instant proof that I'm being falsely accused and we'll be in a situation where he can't immediately shut me down (in public).


For instance, if we're in a store, but in different areas, he'll call me and tell me to meet him at the cash register when I'm done.


I'll say something like, I'll be at the cash register in 5 minutes, I just have a couple more things to get. Then, I'll get those items and go to the cash register. He'll be angry and say that I took 20 minutes!


Well, because cell phone calls have time stamps, I'll quickly look at my phone and see that he called 4-5 minutes earlier. This proof doesn't elicit an apology because he's at the point of being angry and can't "back pedal."


Sometimes, maybe a few hours later, he'll say he was wrong, but usually he won't. He'll usually just switch to some other created or exaggerated reason to be angry.


Or...frequently....if he's wrong, he'll say that I still deserved the treatment that I got because I didn't respond well. lol   He will say this even if I very politely and calmly tried to show him that he was wrong. The problem is that when H is being shown that he's wrong, the "bad feelings" that he gets "colors" his perception to the point that he truly believes that he's being yelled at or being disrespected or something.

OccupyLove's picture

Yep, yep, yep...

Hi Overwhelmed Wife, I am one overwhelmed wife, too.  My H sounds like yours sounds like the other ADHD husbands.  I forgot about this site and forum this fall because I was so busy with family, school, and work.  My husband has a big problem with "being disrespected" when mostly he's doing most of the disrespecting.  It's hard.  Glad to have you here, OWW.

I'm not alone!

I thought before that maybe my husband was a compulsive liar or that maybe he just loved 'drama' but after questioning some of his false perceptions today (carefully so I didn't upset him), I found that he really believed the things he was saying (accusing me of feeling ways and having skewed memories of conversations). Then I searched online tonight for 'Husband cannot remember what I said' and this website came up. My husband does have ADHD (diagnosed as a child), now this makes more sense. 

Yes....It does come off as LYING, but they truly believe this...

For a LONG time I did think that H MUST be purposely lying, but ....no.....their brains "hear" things almost like a dyslexic "sees" thing wrong.    


I have often relied on RECORDINGS to prove my innocence!1


And, it's not just with me.  H can be watching TV and insist that one of the actors said something that they did not.   Well, THANK GOODNESS for DVRs!!!.   I can now, pause, rewind, and show him what the person really said...even if I have to rewind a couple of times.  

This will only get WORSE


When my ADHD husband and I communicate, he often inaccurately hears what I say. His perception is so off sometimes. Is that a frontal love communication issue?  He insists he is right, insists I did say it, and even accuses me of feeling ways I don't feel. He won't open his mind to hearing MY truth. Communicating with him is always frustrating. If I say "I don't feel that way", sometimes he'll say "Yes you do" and keep repeating it over and over several times. My anger just escalates. Then he usually just walks out and doesn't speak to me except for cordial "hi" and "bye" and that can go on for days. 


this is what I'm been going thru for a very long time....longer than our marriage.  When H and I were dating, his roommates had to correct him because H would say that I had said something , and they knew I had not said that because THEY had witnessed.   H would believe THEM, and then back off.   He wouldn't believe ME....but when they would finally "speak up" after they witnessed H berating me about something that DID NOT HAPPEN, only then would H back off....maybe a little apology....but never learning from that.  (that should have been a big red flag).

I had no idea that it would only get worse once we were married and there wasn't anyone to "back me up".    H didn't "learn" from those roommate corrections.   A normal person would think, "hmmmm....other witnesses are telling me that I'm wrong and that my girlfriend didn't say those things, so maybe I shouldn't jump to conclusions."    But, no....it is a memory-less system.   And yes,  H often insists that I meant something that I didn't.   It never ends.  

Then our kids got older and they began correcting him, but that often did not go over well.  A few times he would accept the "correction," but many times he would accuse them of "lying for mom" or "sticking up for mom because she's had brainwashed them".    Crazy!!!

I come from a family where divorce is extremely rare....extremely!  So, I didn't have the courage to get ut of the marriage early on....which I should have done.   

The bottom line is that there is a REASON why it is advised that couples date for more than a year before deciding to marry.   A person can't hide his true self that long.   The problem is that the healthy person often doesn't understand that the person that they dated during the early months...does NOT exist.

response - overwhelmed wife

Thanks again for sharing OWW

I just had a small question about what you wrote at the end of your post - something i have been having a very hard time reconciling myself with my ex. You wrote;

"A person can't hide his true self that long. The problem is that the healthy person often doesn't understand that A person can't hide his true self that long.   The problem is that the healthy person often doesn't understand that the person that they dated during the early months...does NOT exist.

I wondered  this myself - how was he SO sensitive, so seemingly self-aware, so kind, seemingly empathetic for the first little while, then once i arrived there to be with him (all commincations prior were skype video calls and emails due to distance)......how do they be ONE way and seemingly the nicest most loving guy you have ever met, then be someone else and show their other ADD side? How do we miss that in the beginning? Do they actually PRETEND? 

You said 

"the person that they dated during the early months...does NOT exist."


how do they not exist?

Who was that guy i fell for ? Where did he go? This is why it is so so hard for me to let go, i remember all of the really good, wonderful, loving times at the START, when he was EVERYTHING i was looking for. How do i let go of THAT guy? IS that really not him? :( 

I am really struggling trying to understand this part, i feel duped and stupid , was it all a lie? How did he hide this "real" guy from me? He did not tell me about the ADD until AFTER i arrived in the USA, casually , like it was nothing. Perhaps he believes it does not, in any way, affect his relationships. Denial.


Thanks for any insight on this one , it is much appreciated. My head is still spinning, and of course, i am all to blame in his mind. 


Thanks for your explanation and response, OWW. It all sounds so manipulative though, to us , doesnt it?

All a script?

is this something an ADD man tries to do, to appear "normal", or "likeable" to us in the beginning?

I could not have seen all these things come up in the start, as i was in a different country. It sure is different when you are living with someone in their house. As you said, that is when you see their REAL issues come up.

I wonder why he didnt tell me about the ADD BEFORE i came to visit him? In your experience, and what you have read on this site, do you think most men with ADD, DO NOT believe their ADD effects relationships? 

Do you think this guy TRULY believes he is not at all at fault, adn he will forever believe it is ALL MY FAULT?

this is so so upsetting and frustrating for me. It is so unjust. I WISH it was my fault, but it hurts like hell to be blamed for a "failed relationship" when it was not my fault. Seems like perception gets screwed up a lot with ADD-ers. 

Any insight would be so appreciated , thanks again OWW, you really help me understand. I am so exhausted trying to work this guy out.

It was really EZ for him to hide the "real him" thru .....

....the internet.  He could be funny, charming, and likely you couldn't do much to annoy him from a distance.  When you arrived, you saw the first glimpse when he didn't treat you to dinner.  If he couldn't afford to pay, then he should have chosen something he could afford...such as cooking you a meal at  home. 

I think many ADHD people do not realize how their ADHD affects their relationships.  Many can't see it.  And, so many blame others for any failed relationships. 

But, at some level, some must be aware that they have trouble with relationships, which is why they'll go out of their way to be "extra nice" and "extra generous" at first, to win you over.


smoke and mirrors

thanks OWW, yes you are right, and have helped me a lot, thankyou.

Yes, the dinner thing was a huge red flag, which i should have seen. I am no gold digger (obviously, as it was ME who spent THOUSANDS to fly there to see him). He definitely could have afforded the meal. He has a lovely three bedroom home, with many nice things. He could afford a mere $20 for a meal. It still upsets me to this day he did not pay, and worse still, used it against ME many times in arguments, saying it was a red flag for HIM that night! Can you explain this? HOW ON EARTH is it a red flag for HIM that i was upset he didnt pay for dinner?!!! ANY woman would be, when she flew around the world to see him! This must be a skewed perception and ADD issue, as i cannot see how in his mind he can say he thinks that is a red flag he ignored. He literally paid for ONE icecream cone one day. The whole time i was there, that is all he paid for. a $5 cone. He even lined up at costo customer service counter the first time he took me there to go grocery shopping with TWO red bull cans to get the TEN CENTS refund deposit. TEN CENTS!!!! in front of me, when i had just arrived there a day or two prior! I dont mind people doing that, but in front of me, for ten cents!??? It wasnt about the need for money, i am sure it was his OCD. He would buy extra deodorant for example, then i would see he had plenty at home,things like that. He had four cell phones, five computers, i dont know why. I dont know why i never asked. Now i know he as OCD and is a hoarder. Boy did he go ballistic when i joked he was a hoarder. Again, now i know why. Subconsciously or otherwise, he knows he has these issues. Ergh, this guy has taken up too much space in my analytical head. Makes me angry, and sad.


He's cheap and only wants to spend on himself.....


used it against ME many times in arguments, saying it was a red flag for HIM that night! Can you explain this? HOW ON EARTH is it a red flag for HIM that i was upset he didnt pay for dinner?!!! ANY woman would be, when she flew around the world to see him! This must be a skewed perception and ADD issue, as i cannot see how in his mind he can say he thinks that is a red flag he ignored.



He's cheap and only wants to spend his money on himself, so in his crazy brain, when he learned that you were bothered that he didn't pay for your dinner, he viewed that as a "red flag" that you were someone who might expect him to spend money on her.  (heaven forbid!  lol )   


He's not able to rationally think, "she just spent a few thousand dollars to come see me, so I naturally I will do the right thing and pay for a number of her expenses here"...a few dinners, the groceries, some sight-seeing trips, etc


No, instead, he viewed your expectation and disappointment as a sign that you expect him to be a giver sometime and he doesn't do "giver."  He probably doesn't buy people birthday and Christmas presents, either.  


He's likely gone and found another "safe" online relationship.  HE prefers those....they're safe, from a distance, and he doesn't have to spend any money on them.  His online chats are "free dates."


I'm currently in a fight with

I'm currently in a fight with my husband. It's so stupid that we're fighting about what he said I said but I actually didn't say in our conversation. I tell him he's wrong and I know what I said and he tells me he heard me say it. I suggested we record our conversations because what he remembers and what I remember is opposite. He literally got out of bed and went to the other room to sleep and told me he doesn't like being lied to. How am I lying to you when I'm telling you what I actually said? He kept telling me, Ya keep telling yourself that so you can justify how you're acting. I'm telling you the truth and you're getting mad at me and telling me in lying. How do I argue with a person who doesn't hear me? I've googled this before because I end up crying and alone in bed thinking I'm crazy. I wish we had cameras in our house to rewind and play back. 

Ah....being accused of lying.

Ah....being accused of lying.   I get accused of lying every week.  even when I can (thank god) prove that I'm telling the truth, he will either refuse to apologize by saying that "you've lied so much, so I don't need to apologize for being wrong this one time", or he'll give some really lame apology.

Twice this week I've been accused of lying.  Both times I was able to show that I was telling the truth, but that doesn't stop him....he'll accuse me again soon enough.  

Last night, he was accusing me of lying and I just left and spent the night at a friend's house.  This morning, H texted me asking if I had gone to a motel, I texted back, "no".   About an hour later, he texted claiming that I had said that I had slept in the car.  Thank goodness for texts.  I texted back saying that he needed to reread my text because no where did I say that I slept in the car.   

See....when I answered "no" to his question about going to a motel, his ADHD brain then "concluded" that I had slept in the car, and his ADHD brain also "concluded" that I had "told him" that I had slept in the car.   Obviously, he reread my text and saw that nowhere did I say that I slept in the car.  BUT....if that conversation had gone on in person, rather than texts, he would have SWORN that I had said that.  and he later would have insisted that I had lied. 

I have long wished to have cameras to record what goes on.  When I've recorded H and me by using my phone, he gets very angry.  

I really, really, really wish I could get out of this marriage, but I can't.   I am a financial prisoner.  

Typical Assumptions Made

I was very sick and made a flip comment about how I should sleep on the couch or guestroom. (I’d done that in previous relationships, if I was really ill, so as not to keep someone else up all nite or get someone else sick.)


-Accused me of being a drama queen

-Said that sleeping elsewhere was not going to happen

-Asked if I was going to kick HIM out of bed of one of us is sick?

-Said maybe he should just leave and go to his mothers

-Said I shouldn’t have kids then, because kids are sick all the time, would I avoid being near my kids then? (Jumping the gun there, I don’t have any)

-Said that I was the one making a “big deal” about it

-Claimed I didn’t love him if I didn’t want to be near him sick

-Said “Oh, I guess I can count on you to abandon me when things aren’t perfect.”


Basically a very long, angry rant about how I was wrong, he was right, and I was the cause of this fight. 

I told him that I never said ANY of the things that he suggested. Those are scenarios and assumptions he made up in his mind. He kept saying “but this is what it sounds like to me.” 

The next day he texted me a happy greeting, as if nothing happened, as if he didn’t accuse me of being an awful person who’d abandon him, as if he never ripped me a new one while I was already down and sick. 

I told him he hurt my feelings with the “abandon me” comment, and he just didn’t respond. As if not acknowledging it means it never happened.

Jenna...not acknowleding statements

"and he just didn’t respond. As if not acknowledging it means it never happened."

   This has ALWAYS puzzled me when my ADHD husband does this. He's done this our entire marriage, and I still don't know what causes this, and/or what he's thinking at the time.  Do our husbands REALLY think that "whatever" is just going to go away if they don't acknowledge it? Or if they don't "confess" something, it didn't happen and doesn't exist? 

    My husband actually used to say things like this......"If I don't say the EXACT words, I didn't really SAY it". Meaning.......He has to say the EXACT WORDS....in order for something to be REAL. Example: His actions could be hurtful and condescending (like laughing and rolling his eyes with a snide remark if I did something he thought was dumb), it often hurt my feelings, and I would tell him "What you did made me feel like you think I'm an idiot".  Then he would say...."Well, I didn't CALL you an IDIOT, did I?"  "I didn't say those words, did I?".....to which I would say "No".   Then he'd say, "Well, there you go". He REALLY BELIEVED he had to say "the exact words" "I THINK YOU ARE AN IDIOT".... for his statements or actions to be REAL. Regardless of how he had just behaved a minute earlier.  I couldn't wrap my head around those type of statements that seemed like he was deliberately "splitting hairs" with me, and using semantics. I would be left scratching my head feeling embarrassed, put down, and LIKE AN IDIOT.

    He is just now acting much better towards me. It's just taking a while to get used to it after 3 decades of unstable behavior.


Empathy Chip is Missing

Even non-ADHD people can view a scenario (like a car accident, for example), and each person will have a differing point of view over how it happened, who was at fault, etc. Misinterpretation or a pessimistic observation is one thing, but completely fabricating things out of thin air is inexplicable to me.

Of course things can be inferred without actually saying it, as in your example above about being made to "feel like an idiot." When I've tried to clarify that I was not insinuating that I would avoid/abandon him if I was sick, he told me that I was. Everything was always "you don't love me, you're going to leave me, I think I'm annoying you, I think I'm calling you too much, etc." and I've always had to reiterate "These are all things you've made up in your head."Even tho I think he's being irrational, I try to understand what he's feeling is real... to him.  At that point, I feel like I must be insulting him by telling him what he's feeling isn't real, just as I feel insulted when he's trying to tell me I have nefarious plans to abandon him. 

But how does one get that across without sounding like "You're the crazy one, you're the one imagining things..." ?? I feel like I'm always walking on eggshells, trying not to trip a landmine.


:) Love it...LOL

It's not unconcern just to say things once and not bargain for him to believe you...lol....My wife does the same...If I tell her I love her usually the next statement i hear is; You don't:)....Now I can say yes I do...but that plays right into her hands...Or I can say...Your right I don't...And that would be a lie...Or I can say nothing at all...And I win :)

Love is shown on a daily bases of commitment anyway...Not in our cheap words...

I Recognize Some of these Things...

in the description of your husbands behavior from my own feelings in the past.

First....he's feeling insecure.  Obviously!  He's afraid.  Obviously!  He's afraid you might leave him.  Obviously!  He's rationalizing ( or irrationalizing ) and seeing things that aren't there. ( delusional thoughts from projecting some future horror show of abandonment right into the big screen in your living room) and filling in the blanks to this imaginary movie that's playing in his head.  I get that.

Think of it this way......if you are drowning and someone swims over to help you.....your first reaction under that kind of panic is to reach out and grab the first thing that's going to keep your head above water and hold onto it as tight as you can to stay alive...which in this case would be the other person coming over to help.  In these moments......that person is not going to be thinking about the other persons well being and is likely to drown their rescuer to save themselves without thinking too far beyond simply getting one more breath of air.  Empathy is not even on the table in these kinds of moments.

If you can understand what I just said then you can understand what is happening when you see him doing this...which also explains why he behaves like he does and all the things he says or believes in that moment.

This is what appears to be happening inside his head....he going down and gasping for air and is in a complete panic upstairs.

Why?  He's picking up from you somehow that something he's doing ( possibly his ADHD ) is causing you to move away or reject him and he's carrying that out to it's worst possible conclusion.  Probably because he's had to live with this same thing ( for real) for most of his life in other ways ( the ADHD things again...being rejected and shunned by others over time )

So what do you do with a drowning person who's in the water and about to go down for the last time.  Throw them a life line....be creative.

There you go.

But a better question is....what shouldn't YOU do?  think about the drowning victim again.

Do you.  Act irritated or annoyed with them?

Do you....tell them how much trouble they are creating for you?

Do you tell that person to calm down...what's your problem?

No....first you get them back to shore and give them a minute to recover from almost dying.......then you can have the conversation with them about why they were out there in the first place etc... and talk to them in a calm rational conversation.

If you are doing anything other than making sure that person will get their next breath of air, and then keep re-assuring that they will get another one after that until they feel confident enough with you ( the rescuer ) that this will continue.....then your not doing anything that will help them.  period.

end of story

I'm not saying that this is your responsibility or not some psychological issue he is having.....but simply stating the facts of the matter and in those moments....that is exactly what you are seeing and what's happening which pretty much answers any questions to explain his behavior.

You might be right in something that is missing but my guess is that he might also have plenty of empathy except for the times he's going under.  Completely understandable in those moments if you think about.

Sounds like symptoms related to possibly PTSD, anxiety disorder or in that realm of issues.  I'm not saying this is easy to deal with someone like this or there is much you can do with "Chicken Little" in those moments but at least this can help you navigate him by understanding what you are seeing and why.

Showing care and concern never hurts.  Pointing out that he's seeing things or imagining things or arguing over his reality in those moments is probably more like dumping gas on an open flame.....not advisable!

Is he going crazy? 
Sounds more like panic than crazy. 
Are you going crazy.  No.  But don't let him convince you or second guess yourself into thinking you are.  Your fine in those moments....he's not.  Just remember that.

I hope that helps.



The drowning metaphor was

The drowning metaphor was very well expressed. Do you think it's possible that this can become a chronic state -- where it becomes the norm to be that way, and the calm never happens? From my experience, and what I've read from others here, I think you may be right that our partners had  unexpressed fears of 'drowning,' perhaps from past experiences in other relationships. Perhaps this is where co-morbid conditions come in. Those previous experiences are expressed through that lack of empathy, and they rarely if ever get out of that state of self-preservation.

I did feel quite a lot of the time that his overwhelming negativity (which wasn't present until after the hyperfocus was over) was pulling me under with him. It can be hard for me not to absorb the feelings of other people, and I've been working hard to turn that around. I tried to talk to him about this, too, suggesting we try working on this together, making a purposeful effort to look at what was good in our lives and going forward with a spirit of gratitude. He didn't seem to want to. Maybe negativity and looking for problems was familiar, even if he was unhappy. I think that was tied in to that lack of empathy and compassion. Nothing ever seemed as bad as what was happening with him. Even at times that he said he could understand why certain words or actions of his would come off in a hurtful way, it was more on an intellectual level, rather than putting himself in my place and understanding how it felt. It didn't cause him to change any behaviors or actions, except for one thing that came out of an especially hurtful incident. And I told him over and over how much I appreciated that change. Most of the time, the fact that he said he wasn't purposely doing something to hurt me should have been enough, it seemed -- though he didn't hold me to the same standard. I was expected to change myself on some fundamental levels. My past was minimized and I was expected to get over it. He focused on what I was still healing, rather than on how far I'd come. All of this was actually causing me to go backwards, which was then yet another cause for judgment. When I was drowning, he did get annoyed and tell me to calm down.

Perhaps all of it stems from a very wounded person who has built up such deep anger and hurt over his life that it almost becomes a way he identifies himself, and views life through that filter. At the end, he felt I had betrayed him in regards to his ADHD. It turns out that I hadn't, but it didn't matter. It caused him to negate everything else prior to that, all the things I'd done to try to understand him, which I did to the best of my ability but obviously not perfectly. It was stunning to me how strong his anger was, and that he didn't seem to want to let go of it. He blamed the course of our entire relationship on me and what he knew by then to not be true. He told me not to focus on what I had done that was good -- it was irrelevant. It was all about what I hadn't done. He didn't want to work with me to heal. He wanted to stay angry. I have read about a tendency towards this in one of the ADHD relationship books I read --  the person with ADHD doing just the thing that they were so angry about someone doing to them.

After a time, he said he wanted us to get to a point where we were like family. But after what I experienced, I couldn't do it. He had not ever moved to a point where I was more to him than someone he took from. He couldn't tell what things were meaningful to me in my life (his words to me) -- and I'm talking about serious things like health problems. Because I wasn't that important in his life? I felt like he hadn't taken me into his heart so, I could not trust him to have my best interests at heart. I simply couldn't be the only one trying to understand, or who was expected to understand. And in the end, one of the last things he said was "I just wish you could understand." 

I. tried. so. hard. 

Which brings me back to -- why is it so hard for me to move past this? Why do I still care to learn? He's either out of my life, or if I choose to contact him again he'll be in my life in a way that will only hurt me in the same ways as before. (I understand it's possible to change, but I'm not hoping for that anymore) Maybe it's my ADHD -- I want answers. I want to solve problems. I prefer to heal relationships if at all possible. When my own symptoms have caused me to pull away from people, I have pushed myself to do things that scare the hell out of me, that put me at risk of the rejection and humiliation that I fear so much -- motivated more than anything by not wanting to hurt someone. I know I need to work past what's often so hard for me. I still feel regret and remorse about him. But from what I saw, I could have done everything absolutely perfectly and been totally without my own needs, and it wouldn't have been enough. There would have been some way I'd messed up and deserved punishment. In the end, that's very much what it felt like. And in an odd way, and I don't know if I can express this right, it almost seemed like he was 'happy' to have a chance to get so angry at me and to deny me a chance to work things out. I guess I can understand that, too, if he always felt like people were telling him what he did wrong. He didn't believe he was like that with me, but he was. During our relationship, I told him things he did well, things I loved about him, even though that was very difficult for me. I didn't want him hurt because of a thing inside me that he didn't cause. But I couldn't tell you anything he liked or loved about me, personally, because he didn't tell me. I can tell you all kinds of ways he thought I was lacking, though.

I am really quite taken with your drowning metaphor. Almost like he was keeping himself afloat partly by pulling me under, not necessarily intentionally. I have a mental picture of someone being thrown one of those life saver ring things. When they put their weight on it, part of it goes under the water in order to help them float. If I wasn't really considered an actual person, but just a 'life preserver,' then it would be easier to just think about saving himself. If the life preserver springs a leak, it can't save you anymore. Do you patch it, or do you toss it and get a new one? I think you can guess what happened.

*heavy sigh*

I read through this, and I

I read through this, and I realize I am focusing on the negative in my posts. That was what was most obvious, or else we'd still be together. I hung on because I tried to see what might be below his surface. I wanted to believe that's what he showed me in the beginning. I know myself that many people have told me they had no idea what all was going on in my life because I did my best not to show it, and I've known this is true for others, too. I have tried to keep that in mind with people in general. Obviously there were great times between us, or I wouldn't have hung on during the really, really challenging times.  I think one of the biggest things that haunts me is the idea of "Was it ever real? Did he ever see me, or was he drawn to qualities he thought I had that could help him feel less pain? And when he found out I was a human with my own things to work out, he was profoundly disappointed."

Reminds me of the quote from my ex-MIL that I posted previously, not long after my ex and I got married. "Well, I had hoped you'd be able to help him become better organized, but I can see you're no better." 

I am beginning to feel that perhaps I am too damaged to have a healthy relationship. I am attracted to, and am attractive to, people who can't either. We both end up hurt. Sometimes I feel that the best thing for me to do is to just focus on getting through my day to day life the best I can and leave behind the idea of an emotional connection to someone. It is safer for all involved.

OMG - YES - the "exact words" thing!!

Going through this right now. Have a discussion scheduled to try to address it tonight, no idea how to make any headway against this. I've been reading posts for hours looking for any clues.

Scenario: My ADHD partner has an expectation of morning intimacy, but will seldom wake up in time for this to be practical, despite alarms, etc. When he does finally wake, he will be sweetness and light, cuddly, paying compliments, etc., until he realizes that I am getting out of bed because I either absolutely have to get ready for work, the dogs are fussy, whatever the case may be. Once he realizes that I am getting up without meeting this expectation, his entire demeanor towards me will change to sullen, withdrawn sulkiness, one-word muttered responses, turning his back, etc.

I have told him repeatedly that this impacts me negatively, and that it even makes me feel like he is punishing me emotionally for not meeting this 'expectation' (that was never reasonable given time constraints, etc to start with!) he just says "but I would never do that" or "but that's not what I"m doing".

When I try to explain that this is how it makes me FEEL, regardless of what he intends, he simply says "but I've explained why you shouldn't feel that way. That's not what I'm doing".

How do you get past this...??? It almost feels like gaslighting, like trying to convince me that my experience of reality is false. I can't figure out how to explain to someone that they need to acknowledge and validate a partner;s feelings. Surely this is obvious? You can't just go "but you shouldn't feel that way" and boom! problem solved...?

Any help out there...?

Thank you for this ENTIRE thread!!

Doesn't change anything in my own relationship but at least now I know that 1) I am definitely not alone and 2) I am not CRAZY!!

A Little Too Late

I'm a spouse, actually a soon-to-be former spouse of an  ADHD- husband.  I wish I knew of this site years ago.  There are moments during my seven year marriage where I thought I was losing my mind.  Our arguments are just as you've described. Going in circles down rabbit holes redirecting blaming all of it and then some.   What was the most confusing was his recollection of the argument.  He would say that I said things that I never said he would repeat things over and over.  His perception of the entire conversation was so unreal that I often wondered if he participated in the same conversation as I.   He would become righteous and indignant and then insulting.  Every argument ended with him throwing up his hands or walking out of the room or the home saying I can't live this way I want to divorce.  Went to counseling to talk about how we communicated, our therapist directed most of the communication habits toward my husband since his reaction was always irrational. We were remiss in telling our marriage counselor that the fact that my husband was diagnosed with mild Tourette's, OCD, ADHD and mild bipolar as a child. I guess I felt as though I wanted to protect that about my husband.  And I really didn't understand the mental illnesses and how The symptoms and her behaviors affect relationships. The first three mental illnesses were diagnosed at the age of six he struggled with a lot of things over the years but has managed to exercise an amazing amount of control for short periods of time. He Stopped taking medication for it around the age if 10 or so.  Three months ago He went to a doc in the box to talk about what I thought was mild depression. What he was actually doing was prescription hunting to be prescribed Zoloft. He sought out Zoloft specifically because his OCD would be minimized and is considered "a beneficial" a side effect.  He turned into any emotionless robot he'd look at me like I had two heads, I came home after a month of him being on the medication and he declared that I was cheating on him that I was a liar and there was nothing I could do or say to prove otherwise. He couldn't prove I was a cheater I couldn't prove that I wasn't.   I've always been very faithful to him. It was horrible.   I'm in the process, actually the beginning of the process of getting a divorce.  I'm confused and shocked and struggling with the reality of how terrible my marriage really was.   I was walking on eggshells to avoid an argument fearful that I may trigger one by the slightest gesture or word choice. I too have asked him if he even loved me or liked me?? Because he spoke in such a way that was so ugly that anyone listening would surmise that he didn't like this person to whom he was speaking to.  I got to the point where I recorded some of our heated discussions, I played them back for him couple of times he was very humbled and surprised by how it sounded. But it didn't change things, and he eventually would get very upset if I attempted to record an argument after that.  I wish I could find some peace in knowing that a lot of the damage being done was by him without him really being able to control it. I'm not trying to excuse the bad behavior I'm just trying to heal emotionally from all the damage. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Dipity's picture

Hands up who is wrong..or right..is anyone?

Ha! Snap!  I'm revisiting here after things have been going so well for DH & I after Melissas Couples counseling.  Huge fight over the past few days, I am still working on the sessions where it talks about how our perceptions are completely different and trying to understand that we see things and hear things and process things differently.  He has gone back to blame apportioning, wanting to be right, thinking he or I Have said various things which is completely at odds with my perceptions.  He has gone back to trying to be the child in this relationship, but as I am refusing to be the parent it is a little at odds now, so maybe that is what is making him so mad?  I'm trying to stay calm, keep repeating that I am not "blaming" him for anything or saying he is wrong - he then tells me this is bullshit and that is what I think or feel - GAH!!!  

He's stopped setting himself reminders, and has forgotten lots of little things lately.  I have said nothing about the things he has forgotten, I have also not done them for him either, nor have I stressed about them or gone and done them myself "for" him (Yay go me, I see this as MAJOR progress and a huge development for me personally, I guess when it is for things that are boring for him to do he is happy for me to be "mom" a rols I do not want anymore) Yesterday he went to the docs to fill his prescription, came home and made the statement that it would be ready for pick up today.  This morning he says "when you pick up my prescription..." Uhhh you didn't ask me to... He totally changed what he said from yesterday and INSISTS he asked me to pick it up for him as he is going to run out of meds if I don't. He has since texted me to say thank you for picking up my prescription and trying to parent me about a doctors appointment that I am trying to make, insisting it would be better for me to see a nurse today rather than wait to see a doctor.  Excuse me, my body, my problems I can make the appointment to suit me.. 

Sorry totally digressed there...Anyway, I have text him today and suggested we re-visit some of our sessions, I have told him I am very concerned after things had been going so well and that I feel we could use a refresher.  He has agreed to this, so I am hoping and have everything crossed that this is just a blip and revisiting things again will get us back on track.  I will keep you posted, but am SO glad I came here today so I'm not just sat mulling over things and feeling alone :) 




going through this too!

I have been married for nearly 20 yrs. I have noticed this issue getting worse in our marriage last few years. I also try to avoid conflicts. No matter how hard I try to do everything perfect he will find fault. The most recent he kept changing the reason he was mad. When I try to get away he follows me and starts in again. If I tell him how I understand the situation he yells at me, tells me to shut the F up repeatedly. Calls me names, says I am crazy, and other demeaning things. He then ignores me and doesn't come to bed at night. He has even told me to leave. We have 3 children. He does this also, mostly to the oldest child. He hasn't been diagnosed with anything. I think he is a narcissist but reading this thread I am experiencing the same thing maybe he has adh. I am trying to cope, but it seems to be getting worse. I don't have resources to leave, no job, no money, etc.. I will hope to find some emotional support on these forums.

every day is a hellish nightmare

I love my husband so much,he is my best friend and soul mate but increasingly his paranoid ideas are getting so out of control. I read that there is a condition where a person hears things differently, auditory processing disorder, can you get treatment for this?

Communicating with ADHD


I know exactly what you are going through with your husband as the same thing is going on between my wife an myself. I am the one with the ADHD and other issues that i have that have plagued my marriage. My wife is the most caring and loving person in the world to me and i just continue to shut her out, not out of intention but that is just the way we are wired. My wife and I have been together for 10 years now and married for 3 1/12 now and in the beginning life was great we were head over heals for each other and then all that went away. After so long a person with ADHD always feels left out and we are some of the hardest people to open up and properly communicate. Over the years we have had 3 beautiful daughters and my wife was a stay at home mom. For so many of those years i would never pull my weight around the house or with the kids as i always thought being the provider was more than enough and boy of boy was I wrong. I would always do things without her or without her consent and although i love my wife more than life itself i never took her feelings into consideration, which is what a lot of us with ADHD do. My wife would constantly ask me to do things around the house with her and to do stuff with the kids and i would always shut her out and make up an excuse on how to get out of it and would leave her to do mostly everything. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and it has plagued my life ever since i stopped taking medication when i was 17 and would sell my ADHD medication to kids at school to make extra money at the time. Over the past ten years my condition only got worse. I would go through spells of being the happiest person on earth to being just a downright depressed person who hated themselves. I would constantly put my jobs in jeopardy due to out lashes of erratic behavior and would snap on people. I would always try to find an excuse to get out of work and would cost me jobs. Once my wife and I got married life was great i was working all the time with overtime with a great company who i am still with today but my untreated condition only made things worse. I would never take my wife's feelings into consideration and when she wanted to talk about what was wrong i would always just push her away by saying nothing was wrong or that i was too tired to talk and sometimes tell her i just don't really want to hear it.I would continually drink with my friend sometimes 3-4 times a week and we both come from broken homes that alcohol has affected especially her and when she would talk to me about it i always felt that she was nagging me and always trying to ruin my good time. People with ADHD tend to make big deals out of nothing really. Last month i was going our phone bill and seen a lot of text messages from my best friend and my wife. So instead of sitting down and having an adult conversation i attacked and accused my wife of cheating and called out my best friend for being a back stabbing lowlife. My wife told me they were just innocent texts about life happenings and what kinds of things we could all do this summer and stuff. So the next day i found another number that i did not know and was to a guy she works with so once again i went full blown accuse mode again and that made it worse but she told me that it was a girlfriend of hers and that is was her boyfriends phone and now she feels that now i dont trust her but i do trust my wife with everything that i have but i don't trust people due to all the people who have turned on me in my life. The other day my wife looked very sad and i asked what was wrong and she said nothing but i knew something was wrong. She told me that she was unhappy with me and was going to leave me if i didnt change and said that she almost left me at Thanksgiving because i was invited to a Football game with my cousin and she didnt want me to go and i blew up on her and told her she was only here to ruin my good time. I am always depressed, easily upset and i get angry and yell at her and mostly the kids. She told me that the kids are sometimes scared of me when i yell at them or spank them. Then the next day i went on to her facebook page and seen she would search the guy at work everyday and would continue to text him and so I called the number and the guy answered the phone and i had an anxiety attack at work and when she got home i lost it again on her again and she left for the rest of the day and when she came back i was gone. When i did come back she was very unhappy and i could tell she didnt want to be there anymore. All i could do was cry and beat myself up for all the pain i have caused her and how the thought of losing my family absolutely crushed me. So on Monday i went to see a doctor to address these issues i have with my ADHD, anxiety, and depression. I was doing good until yesterday when our daughter emptied out my wifes purse and i found letters to her by this guy from work stating that she was the nicest most caring person that he had ever met and that he wanted to be with her and these notes were from November to February. Once again my problem is that i never rationally think things out only this time I didn't get angry about it I just brought it up as soon as she woke up before church and ruined her day instead of waiting until after church and talking about this like a husband and wife should. She told me that he cares for her and all of this was before he knew she was married and said its been left alone since then. I asked her why she never told me about this and she stated that she didnt want to upset me anymore than what i already was over the past few months she stated i probably would've drove down there and kicked the shit out of this guy and she said she forgot about them and was going to tell me when i was happy again. Due to my ADHD it never allows me to ever think anything through rationally think things out and makes me see things that are not there and always assume the worst. I am now going to seek professional help as all of my issues have caused my wife to want to leave me because i lost myself along the way. I am only 28 years old and the everyday battle with this condition is very challenging and its affecting every aspect of my life especially my marriage and my job as i cannot focus on either one. But I am taking the necessary steps to get better so i can continue in my career and with living the rest of my life with my soul mate. I have owned up to my mistakes and I have asked and begged my wife for forgiveness as I was the one who caused 90% of all the issues in my life and marriage because i left myself untreated. If anyone would ever like to talk please feel free at this point i see all the hurt and pain i have caused people in my life and just want to be able to help.

matt51 From Someone Who Has Been There

Learn from your mistakes and don't repeat them.  Reread your post and you will see them written out in plain English.  But here's the deal....that's like step one.  These are the things that she see's which are probably the things you need to focus on first and foremost otherwise....you aren't doing anything for her on her side of things.  I will say this another way.  Change your focus to her and what her needs are not to how to fix what you've already done and quit focusing on what your needs are at least for now.  You need to do this long enough so she can actually see and feel this difference.  Worrying about yourself  in the short term isn't going to do anything for her right now.  I see missed opportunities all over the place in your comments to do this.

"at Thanksgiving because i was invited to a Football game with my cousin and she didn't want me to go and i blew up on her and told her she was only here to ruin my good time.'

stop doing this!

"My wife would constantly ask me to do things around the house with her and to do stuff with the kids and i would always shut her out and make up an excuse on how to get out of it and would leave her to do mostly everything.'

Why?  Don't answer me but figure this one out and stop doing that too!

"Once again my problem is that i never rationally think things out only this time I didn't get angry about it I just brought it up as soon as she woke up before church and ruined her day instead of waiting until after church and talking about this like a husband and wife should."

stop doing this!

Come hell or high water.....stop doing those things!  Focus on this first....focus and put all your ADHD hyper focusing abilities into not doing these things and the other ones you already know the answers too.  Your not doing this because it makes you feel better right now...but it will make her trust you more and more as you stop doing these things less and less and then you will have things to feel guilty about and you won't feel so paranoid either....in steps...one at a time. Pick the low hanging fruit first and work your way up the tree.

Once you've had a little success in this area....then you can move your focus onto your own anxiety and stress issues which I know from experience are real .....by getting some help.  There are things that you should do and there are things you shouldn't do.  I'd start with the things you should stop doing first and then move on to the things you should do second.  If you try and focus on too many things all at once you will probably fail. 

That's been my experience for what's it's worth.  I'm just giving you a starting place.



Trying to get past all of this


Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate that. I guess the whole thing that gets to me is that she has not been fully honest with me and that hurts so much. I know i have caused her a great deal of pain too but this has been the most devastating event of my life. The hardest part for me to try and get over is the hiding of everything about this guy. She had briefly mentioned him to me when she first started working there and thats when the letters to her started. I feel so violated that she would keep this from me. I know how my adhd untreated was making me act and i think she thought i would over react to the whole situation, but she never told me and that so i never got an opportunity to tell her how i would've felt. She told me that we have to be able to reconnect emotionally and be happy again or she will leave. I am trying so hard each day to find new ways that i can show her my affection but she spends so much time on her phone and whenever i see her on her phone it makes me think that she is texting this guy from her work. I found out about all these texts by going on my online phone bill usage. I told her that i wont go check the usage out of her respect as she feels that i dont trust her and then i told her that in order for me to feel comfortable in reconnecting that she not text this person while we are together. My wife uses her phone a lot and so do i but she texts a lot and now everytime i see her on her phone texting i feel that she is texting this guy from her work and i dont want to keep bringing this up. My mind just wont stop racing and thinking about this. This whole thing has just been devastating to me and has really messed me up mentally. I am going to see a therapist today. I love my wife so much and feel so horrible over this whole thing. I have no clue if my wife is having an emotional affair with this person and if she has feelings for him. I have beaten my self up over this the past month and now it just feels even worse. I am trying to find ways to be happy but its so damn hard because i cant stop thinking about this. I want to try and sit down and have another open heart to heart talk and go over everything that she is feeling an focus it all on her an not on me, but I dont know if that will make her feel good or that i just cant let this go. I am lost.

When Someone Shuts You Out, How Do You Get Back In?

You mentioned that you shut out your wife when she tried to address some issues. 

I'm in a situation where my boyfriend's ADHD was becoming apparent, although at the time, I did not understand that ADHD meant so much more than just being hyper and inattentive. He has ADHD and depression (he never admitted it to me, but I found old news articles about crimes he committed in his 20s... where he was given a court ordered psych eval and a 90 day stint in a live-in anger management rehab). He seemed happy the last time we spoke, said he loved me and was looking forward to being on vacation with me... then three days later, I got a "Happy New Year" text from him and that was the last I heard from him. He refuses to answer his texts or phone calls. 

I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the fact I began asking whether he had ADHD... I pointed out some behavior that concerned me (getting angry over nothing, assuming I was going to "abandon" him if he got ill, zoning out in conversations, constantly needing me to be connected to him via phone/text), and twice asked point blank if he had ADHD. He would change the subject or have to get off the phone and avoid the question.

It's been almost 3 months now. Zero contact on his part. Not sure if he was hyperfocusing on me and it wore off... or if I scared him off with my persistent ADHD questions. I wrote him and told him I found out about his misdemeanors, that I know about his ADHD/depression, and that it did not change how I felt about him, it was nothing to be ashamed of, and we could work this out. Still no response.

If someone with ADHD decides to shut someone out, can that person ever get back in? I can't even open up a dialogue with him to discuss this, because he won't respond to texts, phone calls, letters, nothing. 

I feel like I'm being punished with ex-communication, except I don't know what it is that I did and I don't know how to fix it. 

Geese's picture


Hi Jenna I'm sorry to hear your story. You are the minority of women who would look at an adhd situation and not use it as an excuse to become cruel and abusive. Unfortunately, it sounds like your boyfriend is a dangerously ill person who poses a threat to you and your future family. Get out now. As an adhd man, I can say that nothing good is going to come out of staying in a relationship with someone like us. Add violence and criminality and you have a recipe for disaster. Please find a healthy man with a normal brain and live happily ever after.

At This Point... I'd Be Okay With Just Being Friends

He is 38 now and his misdemeanors occurred in his late teens/20s. He does have typical (??) ADHD tendencies of getting easily frustrated, riled up and angry, but I've never seen him be violent. It mostly manifests itself as angry rants.

I'm not holding out hope at this point that we would resume where we started... I understand now why he's only had one serious relationship, and why he has virtually no friends. I always thought it was odd that his "routine" would revolve around dinner and movies with his parents, and why he's had 3 jobs in 3 years (all in fields his parents are affiliated with, so I am guessing they use their connections to get him jobs, because all three jobs are drastically different and not in the same line of work). I also suspect based on his lifestyle, that his parents are subsidizing him.

Like me, he also struggles with depression, and I worry that with a lack of support (no friends or even coworker friends), he will get worse. He admitted he had depression but not ADHD (I think he only admitted it because I disclosed mine first), and when I asked if he was getting treatment (therapy or meds) he said no way, he didn't like the idea of talking to anyone, and said he would never take meds because he didn't need to be suicidal on top of being depressed. I am guessing when he was in court-ordered rehab, they probably made him do both and he didn't like it. But that was almost 20 years ago and treatment has advanced since then. I suggested he not give up trying to find something that works for it, but again, he shut me down and refused to discuss it further.

I still love and care about him, and would like to be in his life as a friend, if nothing else. He talked about feeling "alone" a lot... which makes it all the more perplexing to me that I am willing to be there for him and he's shutting me out. I texted him recently that I was worried about him, that I wasn't mad that he broke up with me by "ghosting" me (okay, maybe somewhat, but being hypersensitive as I now know he is, I'm willing to shove that aside), and that I simply missed having conversations with him. Maybe me playing armchair psychologist and prying about his ADHD didn't help matters... I'm the type that just believes if you don't open up, it festers inside and eats you up even more. But I'm guessing that backfired on me big time in this instance... and I don't know how to fix it.


Thank you Geese

At this point, I don't even think he can be called my boyfriend anymore... he's completely gone.

I've previously had a decade-long relationship with an ADHD/hypochondriac/anxiety person... it was no picnic, but there wasn't much anger involved. For the most part, he doesn't associate interpersonally with anyone but his parents/sibling, and I worry his self imposed isolation is making things worse. 

I've been around mental illness all my life (my mother once stabbed a box of fruit and tossed it on the driveway)... so when my friends ask "why would you want to be involved with someone with ADHD issues"... well, on a crazy scale of 1 to 10, this is pretty low on my radar based on what I had to grow up with.

But at this point, I'm just looking to keep an open line of communication with him. We always said at the beginning if things didn't work out between us, we would always be friends... at least I still feel that way.

Geese's picture

Thanks for the quick response Jenna

Hang in there as a friend and don't ever feel you need to stick around if it becomes a little scary. I wish there were more people like you though. Understanding people's challenges is a rare character trait. Friends are lucky to have you in their life.

Hi Jenna

I wanted to chime in here since I did respond to the same post you're query is coming from as more of an on looker in light of things I was saying and the title of my response......saying....I have ADHD and I've never done or been in the way that you described about your boyfriend to that degree but most importantly....not ever shutting any ex girlfriend or wife "out" in the way you are describing..."I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the fact I began asking whether he had ADHD... I pointed out some behavior that concerned me (getting angry over nothing, assuming I was going to "abandon" him if he got ill, zoning out in conversations, constantly needing me to be connected to him via phone/text), and twice asked point blank if he had ADHD. He would change the subject or have to get off the phone and avoid the question."

Everything except "zoning out in conversations"  I'd suspect have less to do with you asking whether he had ADHD...and more to do with more emotional issues outside or possibly indirectly related to his ADHD?  I know in my past that I had moments or times when I might have had feelings where I thought that the women I've had relationship with might want to leave me but this was after a long time together not feeling that way and it was specifically tied to things that had been said or behavior from them that would indicate that I would have a reason to feel this way.  In my case....this was accurate.  These women did really feel this way and I was picking this up from them for good reason.  In my case...one was having an affair and the other was already making her plans to leave for example.  And in the case of my ex who was having an affair.....she really did abandon me when I was ill ( after having surgery ) and would disappear herself when I needed to count on her the most but this was the first and only time in my life that I had experienced this kind of behavior from anyone and it never would have occurred to me to ever be that way myself meaning......I have always been reliable and responsible almost to a fault and would not place myself in the category of having an anger management problem.  I think it's fair to make a distinction between losing your temper in the heat of an argument or ( blowing up ) and not having control of your anger in those very specific moments from having volatile chronic anger that seems to be un-precipitated or in connection to anything that would be considered a more commonly seen response to another persons anger ie: quarreling or fighting where both people are mad and angry at the same time.  My temper or angry blow outs are always in connection to the latter in this case and only in the most rare cases when things get really bad....isolated and few and far between.  I know there is a ADHD component to this with me and I have been able to identify that in order to arrest this in order to completely stop this as the goal. (never having to lose my temper regardless in any situation no matter what)  But like I said.....having a volatile short fuse or any chronic problem managing anger in itself has not been a life long of chronic pattern and I do have ADHD.

I'm leading up to something that I wanted to say and why I am responding to you  because the description in behavior that I recognize from a situation I was in once with an ex girlfriend where I was seeing the same kinds of behavior that you are seeing ended up being in connection to an undisclosed long term addiction to pain killers that my ex had fiercely protected by keeping it a secret from me until I finally began to question it and then finally discovered that this was what it was.  When that happened and confronted her on it....this ex girl friend cut off all communication and the relationship was suddenly and abruptly ended without notice.

What you described seemed to fall more in line with behavior along those line or some other deep seated emotional issue than it does from strictly ADHD from where I am sitting.  I can't be sure of course but I thought it was worth mentioning.  I also don't think this has anything to do with hyperfocus unless your relationship is new and you haven't seen this before...saying, if the early relationship aspect related to hyper focus ends it doesn't appear that it returns again for a repeat performance in a cyclical way? Again, I myself have not done this either but I do know and have read that this happens with some people who have ADHD.

What I have done in the past and even now to a lesser degree that does appear to me more common is to connect, disconnect and reconnect in a pattern that I have become aware of.  Staying consistently connected is something that I have had to work on but that doesn't sound like the completely shutting a person out like you are describing ....checking out completely and disappearing in all regards emotionally or otherwise. I could be wrong perhaps and this really is a matter of degree but this does sound like two different things and different than what I am familiar with myself?



Thanks for your input JJamieson...

Yes, this relationship was fairly new, 3 months to be exact. One time I found a funny meme about "your next boyfriend" and sent it to him, and he responded with, "oh, so I already have one foot out the door now?" It seems if I was being sarcastic or funny, he wouldn't take it that way, and accuse me of dating other people or trying to abandon him. I know he had a history of girls using/abusing him (according to him), so I tried to ignore those comments as him projecting his insecurities on me. Sometimes I wanted to get angry and say "Don't make me pay for what somebody else did to you!" but I never did... because whenever this happened, I actually felt sorry for him. I understood where it was coming from and tried my best not to be hurt and take it personally (even tho I did sometimes, I never told him so).

One time I had drinks with a male friend from another state whom I only see once a year (this also included my friends mother, in laws and siblings). I posted it on Facebook, so it wasn't like I was hiding anything. He accused me of being on a date. Riiigghhtt... I'm on a date with a guy and his mother and half a dozen other people. That makes perfect sense.

As far as I know he's a moderate drinker and has used pot in the past (if he does now, I haven't seen it).He admitted drinking amplifies his depression, which knowing this, makes me wonder why he drinks at all. His anger isn't full blown army sargent yelling (no offense to any military out there), but just more loud, frustrated epic rants. Even if we accidentally tread on some stupid topic, like a celebrity he doesn't like. We all have one of those, but to go on and on swearing about them like they personally ran over your dog or something, its really weird to get riled up over something you have nothing to do with, you know? Sometimes I felt like I was walking on eggshells, wonder what flip, insignificant comment is going to set him off.... the minute I started saying "Shhhhhhhh..." he would immediately get embarrassed and then start apologizing profusely. It's like he knew he went off the rails a bit. But towards the end, that didn't work anymore. 

His parents are getting quite old, and I worry about what will happen when they are gone. I am guessing him spending so much time with his parents is really just their way of keeping him on a short leash to stay out of trouble. I want to try to at least keep an open dialogue between us so he has someone to talk him down the ledge, so to speak... I worry that he may flip out on the wrong person one of these days (road rage, an officer, etc) and get himself hurt.

Persoanlly I Think This is a Red Flag

For a 3 month old relationship to have all the things you are saying including the rants of anger...I think this is highly suspect ADHD or not.  My two bits.  And yes...this could be hyperfocus for someone with ADHD but I'm more concerned about the other behaviors this early on.  You may be best to leave this one alone.  My two bits again.



Geese's picture

I agree

I was trying to be a little bit more neutral in my comment to Jenna above. But when I read the first comment, my first instinct was (and still is) for Jenna to avoid being a victim here. Jenna... Pls be careful.

I have been reading your

I have been reading your posts, and I have to agree with J here.  Speaking as someone who has dealt with wounded souls in my past, too, I recognize your feelings of worrying about him being alone, not having friends, having past abusive relationships, etc.   You care about him and you want to help him get to a better place. That shows that you are a kind and compassionate person.

But he has to want to get to that better place, and ultimately, he has to do the work to get there, with or without your help.  It could very well be that your broaching the subject of his ADHD or seeing his criminal record is what made him stop contacting you. You tried to connect again, and he didn't respond. This is now a reflection of his issues, not a reflection on you. That's not to say you shouldn't have brought it up -- it's a real part of his life, and if there was going to be anything between you two, you had a right to know. The fact that he didn't share it with you (and that he didn't take the opportunity to share it when you told him you knew) shows that he's not ready for a relationship.

I agree with J -- some of his behaviors may very well be actual ADHD symptoms, but others (like the fear of abandonment, and the extreme emotional lability) are more likely the results of other things, such as substance abuse, childhood trauma (including emotional), perhaps even past head injury. Could be any of a number of things.

You are used to taking care of other people, that is clear. Like many other people who are also that way, you have a very high tolerance for poor treatment, and have an easy time excusing it based on whatever the other person is going through. Been there, done that, too. Also from personal experience, I know that you simply cannot convince someone that they need help if they don't already want it on some level. Everything you say may be totally accurate, and you may be saying out of the best intentions and purest heart, but if you push, you will become the bad guy, and the person will push you away. If he hasn't already, further contact might make that happen.

You have let him know how you feel. He knows how to contact you if he needs you. My advice at this point is to back away. Keep him in your good thoughts, but go forward with your life. Try your best not to dwell on how he's doing, or wonder if he cares about you or thinks about you. He might not be psychologically able to, even if he wanted to. You just don't know. A lot could have happened in 3 months.

I know it's hard. Believe me.

I also agree with the other poster (sorry, can't see the names on this screen) who said you should try to seek relationships with emotionally healthy people. It is better for your emotional health, too. Take care of yourself first -- you're the only person who you know will be there for you  your entire life.


It's been appox 1.5 years since my ex ghosted me (two weeks before a scheduled vacation together, telling me how much he loved me and couldn't wait to go on vacation with me).

His father writes articles for a paper, and recently mention his son's concerns for his 9 month old daughter's future (in relation to where this election is heading). My heart felt like it just dropped to the floor and shattered to a million pieces all over again. How is it that in such a short span since our demise he is married and has a child? Perhaps he always had another gf/fiancee in the wings, I don't know.

I couldn't figure out why my heart hadn't been able to let go since. Three people have asked me out, one was very promising, but I pushed him away. Seems no one could measure up to him in my mind. 

I now feel I know why we had a certain kind of bond... I've taken a test and discovered I'm ADD... but different from him in that I don't have his anger/impulsivity issues. But everything else I could relate to, in addition to the depression and anxiety. 

I always hoped that maybe I would get a call out of the blue and get closure, an apology, en explanation, anything... I felt like maybe this was just his ADHD/depression... now I'm just feeling even more lost... and disposable. I guess it doesn't matter whether she existed during or after me. I thought I couldn't feel worse about myself but I was wrong. I may have ADD too, but I would never have ghosted someone and hurt someone the way he did. 

lonelyspouse's picture

Started recording every conversation

My husband is nothing short of a crazy-maker. I reluctantly started secretly recording our conversations, both in person and on the phone (it's legal in our state as long as I am a party in any recorded conversations). It is nothing short of a royal pain to do this, but it started when I could not take one more accusation from my husband that I "never get it right" (the details of the conversation), and the never-ending accusations that I had a "tone" in my voice, or that I said something I never said, or didn't say something I did say, or that he never said something he did say, or that he said something he did not say... and on and on and on. I also frequently get accused of "yelling" when I have not raised my voice, and "criticizing" him whenever I try to share my feelings. This behavior is called "gaslighting"- based on the behavior of Charles Boyer's character in the 1944 movie titled "Gaslight" (which I highly recommend watching).

The reality is that he is short-tempered, foul-mouthed, and yells or screams at me whenever he is annoyed, frustrated, angry, etc. He interrupts me constantly, so I rarely get an entire thought out of my mouth- he basically formulates his retort when I am speaking instead of listening to me. When he becomes "offended" by my words (which basically happens every time I try to talk about anything I feel, want, or need), he plays the victim, and does everything he can to shut me down: name-calling, insults, threats (the divorce threat is his favorite), deflection, and projection. If I try to walk away, he follows me demanding that I apologize and admit my wrongdoing. If we're on the phone, he either whispers or yells (depending on whether anyone is within earshot of him) in response to any suggestion of him doing anything differently.

The recordings really only serve the purpose of reinforcing my sanity- that conversations were/are recalled inaccurately by my husband and not by me as he always accuses. For me it is not a simple matter of who's right and who's wrong- it's the idea that my husband seems to feel I am unable (mentally and emotionally) to recall a conversation accurately even minutes after it occurs.

He has been made aware that I record conversations between us, but apparently he forgets (or won't control himself when speaking), as often he is blatantly verbally abusive in the conversations. I have been moved to tears many times listening to these recordings- they can be quite painful. 

I seriously doubt that sharing them with my husband would be productive, as I think he would either become angry and demand I shut it off, or, still listening through his internal filter, argue against the unarguable. Once, when he was being very verbally abusive, he grabbed my cell phone out of my hands, and erased a recording that he thought would reflect poorly on him (because he was being verbally abusive). He then threw my cell phone across a ceramic floor- I'm guessing in an attempt to destroy the phone and any other recordings (which he did not succeed in doing). 

After 30 years of this craziness, I am almost ready to waive the white flag and abandon ship. I could write a book about the horrific things he has done and said to me and our daughter. I love him (more likely, the "him" I wanted to believe he was), but he shows no interest in getting better- only in continuing to play the victim and blame me for everything negative, sad, frustrating, unhappy, angering, etc. that he feels. He takes NO responsibility for anything he does or says, and shows no empathy or compassion for me or our daughter when we try to deal with his behaviors. We are like dolls or puppets on the shelf waiting for him to play with us- returned to that shelf when he becomes bored or annoyed with us. We are not valued as people, but seen as possessions that can be discarded like worn out shoes whenever he might decide we serve no further purpose. 

I mourn the life I have wasted hoping I could help him and end up with some semblance of a normal life with a spouse that could give and not just take. The sad part is he claims to love me, but his behaviors say otherwise. I feel I have sacrificed decades of my life for nothing- he does not appreciate me or the efforts I have made to accommodate his issues and how much I and our daughter have gone without because he is unwilling/unable to think beyond his own wants and needs. I think he threatens divorce to attempt to keep me submissive, and I think he would be shocked to find out I am seriously considering filing for divorce myself. 

Clearly, I am in a very depressed state of mind right now. He said some incredibly cruel things to me 2 days ago- the kind of things you cannot un-hear and will be remembered for years to come. I grew up believing in marriage and family and taking the bad with the good, but the bad is really bad and there is only a smattering of good. And yes, I was naive when we got together- I had no concept of the depth of his issues, and I foolishly thought my love and commitment to him would make a difference and that he would heal. I have learned the hard way that unless he makes a commitment to get the help he needs, all my prayers and wishing and hoping and work I do as his significant other means nothing. That is almost more painful to realize than the reality of the relationship I want with him but seemingly can never have.

While I take comfort in knowing I am not alone in having to navigate this kind of relationship, I am saddened to see so many people here in obvious pain and confusion from trying to deal with these issues and relationships.I wish everyone the best in however they decide to handle their situation. I truly wish I had chosen differently all those years ago and given my love and commitment to someone who could actually appreciate it and return my feelings.

"tone" in my voice

I've been lurking here for the past two months and this comment finally prompted me to join.

Just the other day my husband told me that I am not even aware that I have a "tone" in my voice when I talk to him. I can understand why you record him. I am tempted to record our conversations to see if I can hear this "tone."

I can relate to "claimed to love me." Mine says that he doesn't want to hurt me but his actions say differently.

I think mine realizes how close I am to divorcing and has been throwing me bread crumbs of affection so I stay.

There have been more than a few posts here that have hit so close to home that I have to stop reading so I don't start crying. But there also posts that give me hope for a better life.

lonelyspouse's picture

You won't hear it

Hi, on the edge.

The post you responded to was my first post here after joining. (It's now showing up below this post because of some glitch that made it disappear). I totally can relate to others' words hitting home- that's why I joined. 

My guess is that you won't hear your perceived "tone" even if you record conversations. Why not? Because the imagined tone is just that- imagined. You would know if you were being harsh, sarcastic, patronizing, etc. without needing to record the conversation. And when you don't hear it, you have no recourse with your spouse- he will likely insist he hears it no matter how many times he might listen to the recording (and he probably won't listen). It all has to do with the filter they have in place that distorts and twists words to always allow them to be seen as the victim of constant criticism. I even asked a psychologist about what I  could do to change this perception, and he said, "nothing". He would listen to me talk and see my husband become defensive even though I was not attacking him. After our sessions, I would ask my husband why he was upset, and he accused me of "putting on an act" during our sessions to try to fool the psychologist into thinking I was "innocent". Even though I practically repeated word for word the same things I had said to him first at home. My husband saw my truthfulness as an attempt to be deceptive, and he hated that the psychologist questioned his discomfort when I was speaking softly and honestly. All my husband ever saw was me trying to make him look bad- he never focused on getting the help he (and we as a couple) needed.

I don't know how long you have been in your situation, but mine has gone on for over 30 years. It's totally my fault for not cutting the ties, but I too wanted to have faith in a happy ending- or at least a noticeable improvement. And as the years went on, his bad behavior became normalized- as if I'd forgotten how I deserved to be treated and what a normal relationship really looks like. The most important thing I have learned is that no matter how much I love him, am willing to stay committed, or to work on this marriage, it means NOTHING if he refuses to first acknowledge and then commit to working on himself. Neither I or anyone else can make this better without his full commitment and cooperation. I don't have it, and I'm thinking it might be too late- he's too ingrained in his behaviors and shows no interest in changing. And even though he says he loves me (when he's not calling me names, insulting, threatening, or or blaming me for something), it doesn't mean much anymore. Love to him is just a word  with which to manipulate me when he decides it's in his best interests. It really is ALL about him.

However, I recognize that everyone is different, and everyone is in a different place in this journey. Do what you feel may give you hope or peace or closure. I haven't completely given up- though the psychologist says I should. Common goals are critical. My goal is to be happy and to have a happy family. My husband's goal, though never stated outright, but is supported by his behavior, is to have whatever he wants,whenever he wants it regardless of how that affects me. 

Pay attention to the behaviors and not so much the words. I hung on the words hoping they meant more than they did, and got burned. Now I look at behaviors- what he is actually doing. And I fear he will only "wake up" (if at all) when it's too late and I am gone. If it comes to that, there is no turning back for me. I've given up too much of my life trying to help someone who has little appreciation for me as a person, much less as a spouse. I can't let my life be just about tip-toeing around him until I die. I owe myself more than that. 

I understand lonelyspouse

It is so frustrating when this occurs. If I do what I should  to avoid this trap I will only live in the moment with my wife. It is super sad to waste precious moments arguing over simple details that can't be remembered from yesterday, must less a week ago...

It's not that I can remember everything either...The reason it becomes a problem and arguments start is the insane desire to be right about (both of us:( ouch! had to puke that up, it hurt to;) everything. When I tell my wife I would let someone cut my arm off if it's not like I said and she says's she would to....Then I come back and prove to her she would have one arm....It doesn't matter LOL....The very next day she will fight you all over again about being right:(

Lets all stay away from yesterday, and be happy today!

lonelyspouse's picture


(This comment was re-posted after it 'disappeared' when I tried to edit it).


My husband is nothing short of a crazy-maker. I reluctantly started secretly recording our conversations, both in person and on the phone (it's legal in our state as long as I am a party in any recorded conversations). It is nothing short of a royal pain to do this, but it started when I could not take one more accusation from my husband that I "never get it right" (the details of the conversation), and the never-ending accusations that I had a "tone" in my voice, or that I said something I never said, or didn't say something I did say, or that he never said something he did say, or that he said something he did not say... and on and on and on. I also frequently get accused of "yelling" when I have not raised my voice, and "criticizing" him whenever I try to share my feelings. 

The reality is that he is short-tempered, foul-mouthed, and yells or screams at me whenever he is annoyed, frustrated, angry, etc. He interrupts me constantly, so I rarely get an entire thought out of my mouth- he basically formulates his retort when I am speaking instead of listening to me. When he becomes "offended" by my words (which basically happens every time I try to talk about anything I feel, want, or need), he plays the victim, and does everything he can to shut me down: name-calling, insults, threats (the divorce threat is his favorite), deflection, and projection. If I try to walk away, he follows me demanding that I apologize and admit my wrongdoing. If we're on the phone, he either whispers or yells (depending on whether anyone is within earshot of him) in response to any suggestion of him doing anything differently.

The recordings really only serve the purpose of reinforcing my sanity- that conversations were/are recalled inaccurately by my husband and not by me as he always accuses. For me it is not a simple matter of who's right and who's wrong- it's the idea that my husband seems to feel I am unable (mentally and emotionally) to recall a conversation accurately even minutes after it occurs.

He has been made aware that I record conversations between us, but apparently he forgets (or won't control himself when speaking), as often he is blatantly verbally abusive in the conversations. I have been moved to tears many times listening to these recordings- they can be quite painful. 

I seriously doubt that sharing them with my husband would be productive, as I think he would either become angry and demand I shut it off, or, still listening through his internal filter, argue against the unarguable. Once, when he was being very verbally abusive, he grabbed my cell phone out of my hands, and erased a recording that he thought would reflect poorly on him (because he was being verbally abusive). He then threw my cell phone across a ceramic floor- I'm guessing in an attempt to destroy the phone and any other recordings (which he did not succeed in doing). 

After 30 years of this craziness, I am almost ready to waive the white flag and abandon ship. I could write a book about the horrific things he has done and said to me and our daughter. I love him (more likely, the "him" I wanted to believe he was), but he shows no interest in getting better- only in continuing to play the victim and blame me for everything negative, sad, frustrating, unhappy, angering, etc. that he feels. He takes NO responsibility for anything he does or says, and shows no empathy or compassion for me or our daughter when we try to deal with his behaviors. We are like dolls or puppets on the shelf waiting for him to play with us- returned to that shelf when he becomes bored or annoyed with us. We are not valued as people, but seen as possessions that can be discarded like worn out shoes whenever he might decide we serve no further purpose. 

I mourn the life I have wasted hoping I could help him and end up with some semblance of a normal life with a spouse that could give and not just take. The sad part is he claims to love me, but his behaviors show otherwise. I feel I have sacrificed decades of my life for nothing- he does not appreciate me or the efforts I have made to accommodate his issues and how much I and our daughter have gone without because he is unwilling/unable to think beyond his own wants and needs. I think he threatens divorce to attempt to keep me submissive-  I think he would be shocked to find out I am seriously considering filing for divorce myself- something I thought I would never do and never want.

Clearly, I am in a very depressed state of mind right now. He said some incredibly cruel things to me 2 days ago- the kind of things you cannot un-hear and will be remembered for years to come. I grew up believing in marriage and family and taking the bad with the good, but the bad is really bad and there is only a smattering of good. And yes, I was naive when we got together- I had no concept of the depth of his issues, and I foolishly thought my love and commitment to him would make a difference and that he would heal. I have learned the hard way that unless he makes a commitment to get the help he needs, all my prayers and wishing and hoping and work I do as his significant other means nothing. That is almost more painful to realize than the reality of the relationship I want with him but seemingly can never have.

While I take comfort in knowing I am not alone in having to navigate this kind of relationship, I am saddened to see so many people here in obvious pain and confusion from trying to deal with these issues and relationships. I wish everyone the best in however they decide to handle their situation. Knowing what I know now, I truly wish I had chosen differently all those years ago and given my love and commitment to someone who could actually appreciate it and return my feelings.


Broken Hearted Wife's picture


I'm not certain if my husband is ADD/ADHD or if he is currently suffering from a case of stress induced psychosis.  He mentioned that he had issues as a child and he comes from a family with a long line of mental illness.  However, everything you have described in your post fits the bill. 

We dated for 6 years before he proposed marriage to me...we were married on our 7th year, and he and his daughter has recently moved into my home last July.  He never displayed severe mental instability prior to him moving in.  Since he has moved in with his daughter, who displays all of the symptoms of Asperger's, he has lashed out on me by calling me unfathomable names and accusing me of being closed-minded, hypocritical, mentally insane...etc.  He accuses me of berating him and his daughter when I am trying to instill proper manners and house rules and he has caused my grown children to not want to come around. Additionally, he has forbid my teenage son to live in the same home as us (which his daughter now occupies my son's bedroom, leaving him with none in our home)...he has claimed that I am being resentful and I am "kicking the cat" so to speak, and he expresses to our therapist that I say specific things and behave in a certain manner in which I never had, nor did it transpire in the way he describes.  In our last session he couldn't contain himself and stormed out.  He refuses to listen to me or see things in any other perspective than his own and makes claims that he has the gift of foresight into the future and predicted all of this would happen. He states that EVERYONE around us clearly sees the same behavior that he sees, and therefore I need to look in the mirror and change my poor behavior.  When things are going well for us, shortly thereafter he tells me he is under spiritual attack and that he hears voices in his head that he has no control over.  The voices tell him horrible things and puts horrible thoughts in his head.  He feels unmotivated, irritated by everything.  After that triggers it goes down hill from there and we are back to the accusations and inability to communicate.


I am unable to help someone who is unwilling to see the truth in his behavior.  His daughter's disorder has been ignored and continues to go without treatment even though he has acknowledged that she has every symptom described as Asperger's. 


For better or for worse...through sickness and health, right?



Additionally, he has forbid my teenage son to live in the same home as us (which his daughter now occupies my son's bedroom, leaving him with none in our home).





He moved into YOUR home and essentially kicked your son out?  How does something like that happen?  How could you allow that?   


Does THAT come up in therapy?  It should!   I can't imagine someone moving into MY home and kicking out MY child.  



n our last session he couldn't contain himself and stormed out.  He refuses to listen to me or see things in any other perspective than his own and makes claims that he has the gift of foresight into the future and predicted all of this would happen. He states that EVERYONE around us clearly sees the same behavior that he sees, and therefore I need to look in the mirror and change my poor behavior.



This sounds very familiar!   My H likes to say similar stuff, but the people that he says have a negative opinion about me are people I've either never met or have only met briefly!   so, any opinion they would have would be from HIM.

You've summarized all my feelings

I too and a lonely spouse.  I can't even sit and think of all the different situations when I was accused (none of which is true) of this and that like desperately wanting to be with another man (or woman), disrespecting him at every turn or acting like a "super mom" simply to give our kids some semblance of a normal life with a parent who pays attention to their school work and extracurricular activities. 

I'm on the verge of considering separation and I told him so.  His only concern is "staying" in the kids' life.  However, we lived together all our kids' lives, and hasn't been very involved in all they have going on now, so what sense does it make to start now???  He has said he won't move out...as if he's adding so much value to the home and family life now by doing nothing but watching TV from dusk to dawn on weekends and evenings after work, neglecting the numerous household projects that need to be done, ignoring the fact that our kids have homework, projects oh, and also need to be fed EVERY day.

He proposed "nesting" which is where the kids stay at home and the parents rotate in and out on a routine basis.  This is highly NOT recommended by the attorney or our psychologist as it does not detach the emotional ties, the lack of support for the house and I know it will cause MAJOR stress on our 2 kids because they already know they cannot depend on him to follow up or remember things...they depend on me for that. They make comments at the ages of 10 and 13 like, "Can you take me to school today, because I don't' want to be late" or "Why is he yelling at us to get ready and he's in there watching TV and not even dressed".   These break my heart for two reasons:  1) that my kids have to subject to his unfair/projected way of thinking and 2)  this is the man I married, but he's not showing up.

Our psychologist/therapist recommends I move forward with separation/mediation after so many attempts to try ot fix this marriage.  He walked out of our last session 2 months ago and has not made contact with the therapist since (who've we've seen for the longest period of time over prior therapists he decided wasn't helping...we've had 4-5) ...another red flag that he doesn't intend to move in a positive way.

I need peace of mind, rest and peaceful life...not walking on eggshells, not waiting for the conflict-seeking discussion, no more.

I'm soo tired of living with someone who utters NO words to me..all day...literally nothing. He can walk into the house and say nothing, while I'm standing in plain sight.  WHAT is that??? This can last for MONTHS.

I've been depressed about this for so long.  I can't take much more...I"m only human.  He needs to seek help, but he constantly wants to tell me all the problems I bring to the marriage.

I'm soo tired of holding on to the fantasy of a normal life...my faith sustains me, but I know faith without works is nothing.




This is exactly what my

This is exactly what my marriage was going to be like. I only lived this for a few years. I left the relationship when our kid was 2. He is still not active with his son, but wants him half the week "to be fair". I end up taking him more because I make plans and do things with him. So far we let our kid decide who he wants to be with and at his age he really doesn't care.

I am so thankful I have a real father for my kid now. 

I hear how much pain you're

I hear how much pain you're in, and I feel so awful for you.

I really do believe that they genuinely lack the capacity to put themselves in someone else's place and look at things objectively.I think the 'busy brain' just somehow glosses over any possible differences in perspective and arrives back at their own, self-centered starting point.  I do think it has something to do with defensiveness, as well, and with wanting to see themselves as "good", because they do feel "different and bad" so much of the time.

I know exactly what you mean about the continuous wanting to point our your problems while stonewalling about his own. I have been informed that he is "not going to tolerate any more of my destructive habits"....blithely ignoring the fact that I told him a month before this that I was afraid for us and wasn't going to be able to stay if things did not change.   (Maybe he thought I meant that I would have to leave if I didn't change myself...???)

I am praying for a better outcome than you have experienced with counseling. But it seems like hoping for a miracle. There is so much that he would have to be willing to give/acknowledege...and I sincerely doubt he will be willing to make even the first step.  He actually added emotional abuse to the list of things he accuses me of, because I "pushed" him into losing his temper. But still refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing for physically intimidating me. All I get is "I did NOT hurt you". (But I am an abuser...?)

It's beyond frustrating, because they really believe they are correct. And that they need to "correct" your errors in perception/action/etc, often by using the technique you describe above - refusing to engage with you because you are not acting the way they want you to.

I wish I had more answers for you. I will pray for a positive turnaround in your partner's willingness to seek help in an honest way.



He proposed "nesting" which is where the kids stay at home and the parents rotate in and out on a routine basis.  This is highly NOT recommended by the attorney or our psychologist as it does not detach the emotional ties, the lack of support for the house and I know it will cause MAJOR stress on our 2 kids because they already know they cannot depend on him to follow up or remember things...they depend on me for that.



Nesting would be a terrible idea in many/most cases with an ADHD ex-spouse.  I know that if I had done that, every time it would be my turn to return to the "nest," I would be facing a week's-worth of dishes, laundry, and dirty bathrooms.  H would never do those things knowing that I'm coming in a few days.  The same would go for "fixing things."  He'd never bother, and I'd get stuck handling all of those things.  


However, even if it's the kids that rotate homes, there will still be the problem of your H not remembering things. How will those things be handled?  I know that my H would never have been dependable in any of those areas.  


Feeling Dismissed

Today, when my wife walked away from me as she done countless time before when after attempting to communicate with her I felt dismissed when she didn't respond to anything I had said and just got up and walked away.  This really hurts when she does this.  If it were someone off the street who acted in this way I wouldn't care. Not because I'm completely indifferent to this person or don't actually care about them or what happens to them in a general sense, because that's not true.  I don't harbor any ill feelings towards a person off the street who is rude or disrespectful to me and completely dismiss's me...because I don't know them.  I don't know their story or if their dog just died or husband just left them.  I don't know anything about this person to make an accurate judgment of why they just dismissed me.  I don't care in the sense that they don't care about me either.  Why should they, they don't even know me and I don't know them?

When my wife did this today and I felt dismissed, what she was saying to me was the exact same thing without any words.  Somehow, I had dismissed her?  So I went to her after this and asked her "why did you just get up and not respond or say anything after I was finished with my thoughts?"  She explained by telling me the detail of what I had said that she didn't like which sounded more like a complaint of how and why she didn't like the things I said. 

It was her way of saying that I hadn't really heard what she had to say to me before I responded.  She had said a lot of things and  I  tried to respond to the things she was saying because that is what I thought we were doing...having a conversation? 

What was missing (somewhat) hidden in everything else and thing she was trying to say without saying it was  "I just want to heard but not wanting to talk about these things with you right now."  By talking about these things with her, I had dismissed her even though she was not very clear in saying this up front. She had started out the conversation by telling me she wanted to talk about some things with me?  But that's not what she wanted.  She didn't want to talk....she wanted me to listen and hear what she had to say.

Instead of defending myself and trying to correct this situation, I instead, told her "I see, so when you got up and walked away you felt dismissed  because I didn't respect what you had to say in the first place....just to be heard?" She thought about this for a moment and said "yes."

The failure on my part was not being a good listener on my end.  As I said, buried in all the things she told me she had said this in more of a round about way but I was only hearing the points she was making not the overall message.

On her part....she wasn't very clear and wanted me to make this conclusion for her in one sense by adding this up and knowing this is what she was saying.

Were we both wrong in this case?  Why did this happen and we both felt dismissed?

To answer this...no, neither one of us were wrong so why did this happen?  Simply said, we weren't on the same page.  But to explain this gets even more interesting.  Not being on the same page means something is out of synch.  Something was wrong in the sense of time not timing or what was being said by either one of us.

If you look at cause and effect here for a moment......something happened previously that caused my wife to say what she said previously to the moment when she said I want to talk to you.  I heard what she was saying now, about what happened before.  In the essence of what this is saying is...."I'm responding to what you said earlier now in this moment" and expecting me just to listen.  In context to what she was saying, the entirety of all the this she was saying to me was her response to what I had said earlier but without saying this.  And the expectation that comes with this was for me was to respond to the entirety and the conclusion of all the things she said.  Instead, I was responding to each point in the moment as she said them.  This can get very confusing indeed??

This is a causality issue my wife and I run into when we mis-communicate with each other simply defined.....

to say X causes Y is to say that:
1. At some point in time, X occurs.
2. At some later point in time, Y occurs as a direct result of X occurring.
3. But for X occurring, Y would not have occurred.

If you have to stop and think about this for very long, it will explain why this happens.  Before you have a connection to what another person is trying to tell you, you both need to be in the same state of time when communicating about the past, present or future.  Not being clear on this yourself as the person talking or the person listening will surely leave both people feeling frustrated, unheard and dismissed and everything you were talking about will undoubtedly have to be talked about again and again until you can both get on "the same page" together at the same time:)





This is denial....

to say X causes Y is to say that:
1. At some point in time, X occurs.
2. At some later point in time, Y occurs as a direct result of X occurring.
3. But for X occurring, Y would not have occurred.

Have you ever known anyone that lives their life completely in this formula? Someone who will never admit that they actually could be an X....Every conversation you engage them in will always have to be Y would not have occurred if X hadn't occurred first...:)

It's rough! It will make the most talkative folks you know eventually learn to not engage...LOL....

Yes C This is Denial

It is denial, thank you for saying this. To have an open conversation with anyone where you feel like you are being heard.....they need to listen to what you have to say and have a chance to respond.  If you want to talk only to yourself with no one around....that's Okay too.  Nothing wrong with a little verbal processing by yourself?  But if you say to someone...let's talk...or I would like to Talk to you...I usually understand this to me a two way conversation where both people participate.

The interesting side effect of this kind of one way talking at someone is when you think it's your turn to speak or say anything in response to what they just said, what my wife says in these moments is "I'll feel like you are holding me hostage."  This is the compliment to the denial in the form of projection.  Any time you are simply having a conversation with someone and they don't like what they hear or disagree with your point of view and they accuse you of some kind of trespass or offense to their person or a disrespect to them personally is a form of projection.

Or in the case of this morning......getting up and walking away without saying anything.  In these moments it can get confusing especially if there is no anger, arguing or fighting involved.  No debate of discussion of any kind.  One person speaks....you respond as best you can to them.....and they get up and walk away?

And to make sure here...I'm not criticizing my wife.  I think in light of the things that are being said in this thread for anyone trying to recognize a moment like this with their spouse on either side...this is a really good "real time" account of a good example of denial and projection and being dismissed.  What I felt like when my wife dismissed me was feeling dismissed.  The confusion for me was when she said, "I want to talk to you" .  To be fair to this example....after she said, she also stated that she didn't want to make this a big discussion.  What I heard was I don't want a long drawn out debate or end up arguing or fighting.  I did respond to this by saying...."alright,  I'll just let you talk and I'll listen to what you have to say."  I wasn't changing the initial premise of talking with her by saying this.  I was just agreeing that she could say anything she wanted and I wouldn't interrupt or interject anything thought of my own and just listen..... giving her the open floor so she could say everything she wanted to say out.  When she does this (interjecting or interrupting before I'm finished...sometimes right in the middle of my sentence before completely my thought.  She will say  "I can't follow you because you take too long" maybe...I could be shorter? 

But that would normally come at a breaking point after the person has a chance to complete the sentence or have a chance to finish their thought first.  Where's the fire?....what's the hurry or rush?  I am boring you?  If this is the case, say so if this is what you feel.  How can someone know if you don't tell them?

or she says " this is how two way conversations normally happen...each person exchanges ideas back and forth, not one of your monologs".  This is also true that sometimes I get carried away with and being verbose on a subject or topic.  I could be better at this but, I'm pretty aware of this too.  Also...when I do this it's not a monolog, I'm responding directly to the topic or what she just to previously before my response even if I'm long winded sometimes. I know this is a rationalization but it's also a defense mechanism.  I'm not exactly sure of the name for this but I think this is called deflection? 

But after point after point she was going past  and me resisting saying anything and just listening.... I stopped her for a moment and said "just a second" and I went and got a pad an paper and told her I needed to jot down the points or else I would forget them because I was beginning to lose the my train of thought to each one.  She didn't have a problem with this either and I silently made short hand notes of each point so I could respond to them.

When she stopped talking I asked her  "are you finished?"  She said "are you in such a hurry to say something and can't wait?  I said " no, if your not done I'll wait.  I was just checking because you stopped talking"  This happened a couple of times and each time she stopped, I said "can I say something now?"  And again she would start again with a new point to make.  Is this filibustering?  I think it is? but regardless...it's a defense and that I recognize.

So when she was completely done....I responded to what she had to say with only my feelings and no opinions or judgment.  Just how I felt about the points she made to me.  That's when she got up and walked away after I address the points she made.  She's done this many many time before so it is not new to me nor am I not aware of confused of what she is doing. 

What I will say is she is not doing this to be intentionally disrespectful even if it hurts my feelings and makes me feel dismissed.  But at this point in time.  She needs to hear what I have to say regardless if we are to have any communication at all.  With no communication...there is no connection.

Yes C...this is denial.

edit....(note self ha ha).....when my wife walks away, my T calls this......"feet getting to close to the fire"  I've close off all the rabbit holes and now she running around looking for one to go down.  I really have compassion for her here, because I've been where she is before.  It definitely doesn't feel good to be out in the cold.  This is where I can be different than the people in my life have been with me when I was in her shoes.  Before with me....I've had anything from mocking, anger, disdain, ridicule and rejection when I've done this.  What she needs is the one thing that has not been given to her or me when I was there.  To be loved instead.... and for me to be patient and expect more running the fence line and looking for a hole in the fence.  It will happen, trust me;)



I don't know J we can't use words together very well....

I really don't understand it all, I know our conversations shouldn't be a competition to see who's going to be the winner. What puts a person in this mindset?....I've always thought it was listening for understanding and repeating what you heard as to come to the best understanding we can about how each others feels about the subject matter....We never get close:(

Can someone feel so bad about themselves the only way to accept themselves is to mostly shutdown on reality, so they automatically go on the defensive when any hint of a conversation is about to take place where some semblance of calm and transparency is necessary?

I just don't know, I had given up on this for the most part...

One other thing...I've noticed in my wife the absents of something and I haven't be able to put my finger on it....She has this look in her eye's and it associates with her actions also....If had to put it into words...It's like she isn't seeing what is right in front of her...It's kind of a wild look, rambunctious, restless.....She hardly ever seems to be at peace....She can be still if she is watching a movie or something. It's really not about being still...It's almost like I've never seen her with a calm attentive expression of peace. I really don't know how to say it.....But, its always been there....

One other thing....

This is a dream I have...I put my hands on her cheeks and hold her up close, we close our eyes and I just pray for her until her countenance turns completely calm...Then we open our eye's and she has this calm attentive expression of pure peace....Then she looks around at her surroundings then slowly turns back to me like she has forgotten everything...And she say's with a clear calm tone; why is this place in such a mess!

Sorry, I know I shouldn't drift from reality...But, I can't help it from time to time;)

C Quickly

My help has arrived for work today but something you said concerns me.  Just some quick associations in my thinking.  Repression is bottling yourself up and shutting off yourself from reality.  This isn't healthy.  Being present is being engaged and accepting at the same time.  Repression is moving away from reality as psychic defense.....I can't see any advantage for your peace of mind no matter how much you try and work within it....it's damaging if this is what your doing to accept your situation.  I am concerned about this for you.  Wishes and dreams are not reality.....but only as a temporary escape or creative tool.  That's healthy.  Staying there as means to avoid only keeps you repressed.  And you can't escape your feelings either doing that.  It's less denial in my mind, but avoiding the consequences of reality itself.(not psychologically speaking)  more to do with external than internal.  If you are living a deprived life you are repressing/doing this to yourself.  Your wife has nothing to do with that...only you can change it. Escapism and repression is not acceptance for your spirit.  You would know the difference because you would feel better than it sounds for you now?

I cannot tell you how much I love to live in the reality of my life even with my current situation with my wife.  I'm happy from that alone and it feels good.  If you feel bad all the time or am struggling with ever feeling good....I really am concerned.  Again...thinking of things you've said in the past and again when I was considering your take on things I was saying....as if they felt in completion with you.  Is it me who's creating these feeling or the things I'm saying (how I'm approaching my wife right now) that are pushing up against something else inside you?  I'm pretty comfortable with my decisions right now.....are you with yours?

I know how I feel about the things you are saying and they don't feel the same for me...(like they are competing)  Solely for your benefit here out of concern for you....why do you think this is?



Interesting How Our Perspective Differs C

And I hope all my comments about sports and competition haven't flavored you into feeling that I am.  As I am approaching saying anything here in this forum...it's as much to provide someone who possibly ( has ADHD and approaches things like me ) an alternative perspective instead of being competitive?  If that's what it feels like then I'm sorry.  The last thing I want to do is make you feel like I'm pushing against you because it doesn't feel that way for me?  More.....giving the alternative view as I said more for someone like me who might come here and only see the other perspective and get scared off?  I think that might be happening from my perspective if I were first coming here. But you bring up something that am concerned about as i project myself too.  Without knowing...competitiveness can look either negative or positive....one up-man ship vs in the spirit of ? ( for the fun )  Saying I'm not doing either but I'm glad you said something if I'm being insensitive?  I'm also doing this for myself as well in that it does allow me to see these things too by going back and looking for the kind of thing your saying and not trying to hide it or cover it up (speaking freely) But,  from where I sit but if you think about it.....coming to this forum as I recall does hit an adversarial nerve if you stand back from it from an ADHD male perspective.....pretty overwhelming at first?  For me it was a good thing to hit on my demons and resist some old habits.  For someone else it might go the other way depending on their state of mind at the time.  I'm still curious to why there are so few men with ADHD who are here only in that it appears almost absent?  Thinking what i just said could be the reasons along with a comment Melissa made to this very thing? And thinking why just saying what is on my mind might be good for someone to hear?  From a positive perspective?

You also have to consider the amount of time i have put into therapy and the tools I've learned to use with my T.  To the point of being able to use them for myself and not have him to guide me.  I've found it much more personally challenging to have to stand back and do nothing which is really hard on your self esteem which becomes a downward spiral.  What I'm really trying to do more than anything is stand up for myself with my wife who is I think ( without any malevolent plan in mind)  is limited in her ability to feel she can get her needs met without trying to control another person at the same time.  A really bad example set by her family and I see it there very clearly.  to the point of really disrespectful behavior even between themselves.  Also saying....every is entitled to their feelings and being allowed to set boundaries and just say No even if everyone is saying get over it.  Getting over it and accepting completely disrespectful behavior is quite frankly unacceptable after a certain point? 

And since I've gone through the same process that my T did with me (even though my issues we're quite the same as my wife)  I've gone through these same steps with him in one regard and am familiar with the outcome too.  Of course my T can be completely impartial and that a little harder for me to do but....in one respect for me personally.....this is a really good hands on way of establishing boundaries with someone who has trouble respecting other peoples.  I do think she is worse than some in that regard and in a real way...never learned this from her family.  If I to play more of a parent role with her for a while and not be an enabler...I need to be firm and loving at the same time?  This is less "tough love"and more of a prescribed process that I have already learned (and gone through myself) and am familiar with  not saying I'm good at actually being on the other side now! lol   But we also have our T as a means to step in or referee.  In light of our meetings....I get the feeling he is guardedly watching to see how things go.  I'm deferring to him at every turn. I also get the feeling from him and my past expereince that he is sending me some messages that are saying to be careful....careful for my own sake.  The last thing you want to do is to become co-dependent.  There is absolutely no benefit to you in becoming this way even if the other person can only operate under those conditions.  More than anything else...this is where I'm drawing the line for my own self esteem with less regard for my wife in that I'm not allowing it.  In this case....I only can control myself and this is the way I'm doing it.  She has to deal with her own demons in that respect and not make me join her at the same time.  That is not a requirement of marriage in my opinion.  How I see this....she has choices as well as I do.  She can leave if she wants and I will not be an interference with her if that's her choice.  I have a very good (even) balance of fairness either way but .....dealing with a person who struggles with fairness in one respect does force you to make a choice first....exerting your fairness and being forced to do it is not what I want either but it's a better alternative to what I already know and that's how I can make my decisions to do what I'm doing (experience really is the best teacher in this case for me)   That is your choice too.  Not having choices just makes you co-dependent and I've been there and it sucks!  not becoming that way once you are is harder to do than not becoming that way in the first place.  This is where I'm standing right now and I've had to draw a line and stay on this side of it. by no means does this take any choices away from my wife by doing so.  I feel pretty strongly about this based on my past experience...maybe that's why you feel I'm being competitive with you....which has everything to do with me and my particular situation and nothing to do with you my friend:)

But as far as some of the funny feelings and the looks you can't explain....I can't help you identify that but.....if your gut is saying that something isn't right....i would listen to it as I have found in my past...it was telling me something wasn't right for a reason.  I know what you mean though about looks that don't feel right though and in my experience.....it wasn't good.  That's all I can say.  I do very much like our exchanges for what it's worth just so you know...you have given me some very good insight that is different from mine.  It is why I came here.  I already know my insight for what it is worth!! lol



We have few difference's....

When I say our conversations, I hope you understood i meant...My wife and I and your wife and you...I'm hear to learn, to try to understand others, and hope to be understood....I'm hear to grow....and we need each other to help in this process. All the comments about failed conversation attempts and competitiveness was about my W and I....

Sorry if you felt I meant you and I....

Back For a Moment About Looks C

It's hard to know from your description without seeing this myself but......what occurred to me about a somewhat similar look as you described in connection to your wife's behaviors and your comments:  is "this what a marriage should be like?"  wild, tiger by the tail (your pastor), spending spree's or spending with disregard for you...What came to mind is a person with a very insecure attachment if you understand this concept.  Mirroring as I mentioned is healthy for a integrated person. Someone who is fragmented (disintegrated) in their personality or split inside (between two) in a sense....needs to mirror to see who they are from you. If she looks blank or absent it's because you are somewhat that way yourself as you project it from her.  Your projection saying...not you or how you feel.  But if your sad or feeling depressed.....she isn't getting what she needs from you and this will make her search else where for anything to fill the space up inside her.  If that's the look and what it's coming from....this is also very concerning to me.  If this is the case with your wife....she not mirroring in a healthy way.  She needs to mirror to know who she is because inside....she doesn't.  Feelings of total annihilations like being cutting adrift in outer space and cut off from themselves is what it's been described to be like.  The behaviors without this would be more desperate to fill that space up with other things or in the sense...you or anything or anybody that will fit the bill.  The money things is very concerning to me because of this C.  If  the money runs out......so might she?  This is something that I have had experience with and it scares me for you.  the co-dependency with a person who suffers like this is a tool for them that they need.....and you are a tool as well if you can understand this.  In part....this is the wait and see that I am doing and why I approaching my wife as I am.  What I did was to basically cut my wife adrift too see if this is true.It's all in a matter of degrees and no two people are alike.  I know my own story and experience and that is all I have to offer you and you are welcome to anything that will help. The problem is C.....assuming anything I'm saying is correct at all???? What is happening for you is what is happening for her all the time but by being with her...it will only get worse if this is the case and I'm correct?  I can't know.  I'm basing all of this on myself and my past and there is no way to tell from only the things you've said but I do this get this feeling from you and what I see from my past in myself comparing my situation to yours.  This is truly deeply concerning to me C but again.  I can't really know?   I don't know any more unless you give me more so I can compare to and that's what crossed my mind after thinking about your response to me.  This is where I'm really uncomfortable trying to play T with anyone because I'm not....at all.  Only for myself right now which was my only goal in learning this because I had to.  It's of great benefit to me now but I am reticent to say any more out of fear of being completely off base.



J This back for a moment comment is real close....

Thanks....I believe you are quiet correct w/ much of this post....Progress has been gained in much of these area's because this thinking and these actions coming out of this thinking has been exposed. It's something I saw early on and exposed it...But, in a very unwise way :(...Since we got back together it's been done peacefully and hopefully in wisdom.

The look, the active restlessness, it's probably her add....What I really think (and she has said as much) is that she made peace with her lifestyle before I came along....The rushing, the control, the hoarding, there was no one holding a mirror...There was no who had ever created the feelings (full time anyway) she was experiencing just by watching me live my life. All of a sudden she couldn't get away from the mirror. Our emotions of dealing with a spouse who's whole lifestyle was completely contrary to our own....No wonder she and I have been such basket cases:)...Do they still do shock therapy?

Most every story I've read and wrote on this forum has proven to me what happens to people who seek to get life out of another person....What makes us humans get emotional when another human is following their own minds, just like we all do? Is it fear we experience because we can't associate? I know for me it was, my fear turned to anger because she wouldn't do right...LOL

That's the story of many of us....One is pissed cause the other want do right....Why don't we just walk away and do right by ourselves and leave the other human alone to follow their own mind....It sure would be more peaceful for everyone....This is what I'm TRYING to do:)

What is the best medicine for someone who is "not doing right" to be abused verbally and abandoned sexually? Is that what the good Doctor should order? Or should they just get exposed to someone who isn't looking to find the wonder of abundant life in a human?....Who's stability isn't contingent on another human, who continues day by day living as responsibly as their heart and mind calls them to....




You Are So Right C

And as we all know...things aren't not always what we want them to be. You did ask...."is this a marriage'  in context it's close enough.  The answer is not well defined by what we always want and many times quite different.  Right now I want my panic attacks and anxiety to disappear and which means less time around my wife until i find a way for that to happen. For now this is the next step it does seem obvious to me. Thanks C.



Something that helped me....

I bought a 250 dollar schwinn bike a few years ago at Academy sports...I throw it the back of the truck and head up to the cemetery and ride 15 or 20 miles most days in nice weather...I pray, and listen to music on Pandora....It's done wonders for my mental and physical health. I'm sorry you are dealing with this....I will pray for you....


Thank You C

I find being outdoors in general helps my mood at all times...and exercise helps everything.  Good for you on that one.  And I do understand better about your situation and I have been there too.  Living a deprived life in the sense when you are supposed be have a partner is a difficult process to manage.  I do remember your story and recall reading about your first wife.  I don't know how long you were widowed? if I recall but....I took some time off from any dating or relationships after my divorce almost 4 years and lived alone *and my dogs of course) with the intention of just working on myself and finding out what I really wanted. It was a very good experience in that most of the things I had always dreamed of doing if I had that chance....were not the ones that really interested me once I really explored my options.  Diversions and pass times take on a different meaning when you have a chance to try different things.  One of them was going to Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP with my canoe and bike and I spent 2 weeks by myself there...ran the snake river, camping hiking.  It was an amazing adventure to do alone.  You do find out a lot about yourself when you can do something like that....opportunities are there if you look for them.  I will pray for you too.....I started the other day when I felt I had something to pray too that felt genuine this time.  You helped with that and I thank you:)

PS...thanks for putting up with me.....hyper focused crazy assed  posts and all. I basically dug into every corner of my psyche and past history and cleaned out a lifetime of cob webs all at one time! lol  but I did find what I was looking for and learned a great deal along the way;)

Thanks J for your compassion

Thanks J for your compassion it touched me. When I think about the big picture of life I realize we all are just who we are. Our insecurities, our feelings about what we think life should "be like"....what marriage should be like....You know part of my big mistake was looking at the bible and thinking "this is how it should be"...But, we people, we're all messed up to some degree...So, I've recently changed my mind...God's plan for a marriage is going to the Goal:)...Because he has a plan for me, his love completes me....But, look at me, I'm biting the hand that's loving me, the hand that feeds and sustains me. I struggle to rest in his amazing grace that is constant, I want to hear from him, but, I'm the one doing all the talking:(...Cause I'm human and  I'm not afraid to say I'm messed up (lately anyway;) But then he sends someone like J along to encourage me...Thank you Lord!

You know J you mentioned my first wife....It's funny how we deal with others....While she was sick having her breast removed, and going through Chemo...When you love someone you just show up...You don't think about it...Caring for her, learning how to avoid the chemo nausea, and drain the fluid out of her surgery site drains. Etc...Love just show's up....J...I want to learn to just show up, for my W. Her battle is just as real as my former wife....Early on I was numb, because I thought everything was intentional....But, I'm realizing it's just who she is....So, when you do pray my friend, just pray I can stop pressing, accept what I see....And just show up! J all I want is to be a vessel, to fulfill my purpose on this earth, while I have the strength to do so....I hate the thoughts of regrets....And there is one thing I know, It will always start with Love....Because he is Love.....

Blessings...Friend....I'm at the beach:)...Fixing to finish my coffee and head out to ride....Nice bike lane's here....



Yep Everything You Said Was True

Just showing up sometimes, is all you need to do to validate someone you love and make them feel special even when they aren't feeling this way themselves.

Blessings to you to




PS.....are you originally from Texas (I may have asked before?)   "Fix'in" is Texican talk......one of my ex wife's most endearing qualities:)

Thank You C

And as I do so often....I did this here with you. As you've noticed, so many times in my writing, the missing words here and there as I read to...missing punctuation, tenses etc...I have a slight astigmatism in one eye that cannot be corrected with eye glasses and words get compressed and missed along with ADHD ( a great combo! )....there you go.  I'm actually relieved in one aspect for you however in my concerns as it appears may not be entirely accurate either

It's been a rough week and an emotional one.....today I did accomplish at least the one thing I set out to do.  Get the opportunity to say what I saw as the problem in our relationship really...for the first time ever.  Denial....yes, very mch so.  And now I can say with much thanks to you here that you helped me a great deal.  My wife sat and listened to what she did not want to hear from me for so long now...but she did let me say it.  What is it? Specifically?  I'm not qualified but I know it what I thought all along in the range of the cluster B spectrum.  Disorder?  Possibly and most likely not but....that's not to say it does not affect me greatly.  It does trigger my PTSD to the point that it wasn't present before she and I started living together.  I certainly recognized the change in my anxiety but this can be from many things.  What I knew without question was the anger that I had not had for so long it was almost completley forgotten about.  She triggers my past in a way that creates fear when there normally would be none.  And to the point of coming here myself....I had to make sure and of what I was seeing both in myself and my wife to be sure.

Having said that am I in the same boat as you...yes I don't think there are as many differences from the sound of it.  We are on the same page fogetting anything I said in my misunderstading whicy bye the way...was referencing an ex from  my past which is not my wife now but our the difficulties still remain.  I need to learn many things to C but for now I got my answer in part

You did ask (about you W) and the competitiveness and failed communication attempts.  C we are on the same page.  That is what this has been all about for me as well.  The semblance of calm that is missing and not knowing if in the next moment, what you say or do will set them off.  I hear you.  It's  from emotional deep wound that is unbearable for them to go near that causes so much disruption inside.  In some ways you are ahead of where I am. Please forgive my inability to focus on much more than just knowing what I was up against.  I'm going to have to make some decisions too like you in ways I can live my life without complete disruption for myself.  There will need to be a different strategy for me and the future as well.  I'm done for now with this course of action which only had one goal in my mind.  To know who I was married to when a that person changes dramatically and angrily into someone else and denies this other person exists...until  today..... but knowing that even doing this will have some short term consequences to her stability. I have to work around this much I know...like you.


Thank you, thank you, thank you...

This is my first post here, but I have been following this site for almost a year now.

My boyfriend has ADHD. We have been together a little over a year. He is medicated and usually very well-controlled/adjusted. He was up front about this when we got together, so I have been researching and trying to understand things from this perspective all along. For the most part, he is a VERY high-functioning individual. Incredible work ethic, puts his own time management and 'memory' strategies in place (white board where he writes down lists of things to do before leaving the house, over the weekend, etc).

The area in which we struggle is everything to do with this post. His concepts of my emotions and responses are completely self-focused, combative, and defensive. And I CAN'T figure out how to change this dynamic. He seems to have this mentality that it is his right/prerogative to decide which of my feelings are "correct", and therefore deserving of his attention. Something I often hear from him is "I can't give you support for feeling like something I said was hurtful, since it wasn't hurtful".  He says that "validating my misconception" will only lead to further escalation. Whereupon I get incredibly frustrated because I am being spoken to like a child, and he is NOT the emotional "boss" of who gets to feel what.

What is this tic that makes him think he is the arbiter of what is/isn't hurtful to me? If this a manifestation of RSD (rejection-sensitve-dysphoria)? I think perhaps it has to do with sensitivity to feeling like I am attacking him by saying something is hurtful. Even though I am always careful to make it very clear that I am saying "I feel", NOT "you did".

Another facet of the problem is that, perhaps because he is such a high-functioning individual, he SINCERELY believes that he is being empathetic, understanding, and compassionate. He also believes that once he has "processed" something, his opinion about the subject is absolute FACT. There is no other way to look at it. Period.

We are separated at the moment. We had an argument, and he physically backed me into a corner. I started it, and I escalated it. I got angry, he got angry, but it ended with him backing me into a wall and screaming in my face. So I packed my things and left. We started talking about trying to patch things up. But his concept of this situation is that he has done NOTHING wrong, because he was pushed into losing his temper. Whereas I abandoned him, with no justification possible, because there was no reason for me to feel afraid, and therefore I should "consider myself lucky" that he is even contemplating returning to the relationship and undertaking counseling together.

I am frustrated beyond words, terrified that I am going to lose someone whom I admire and adore and can easily see myself spending the rest of my life with. But I CANNOT tolerate a partner who refuses to acknowledge the validity of my emotions. Who thinks that his perception is the only one possible, the only one that can be valid. The fact that he places 100% of the blame for this on me is just insupportable to me. And I'm shocked, hurt, and betrayed that someone I KNOW to be a wonderful, kind, good person would treat me in this manner. Is this defensiveness/refusal to accept part of an ADHD-driven response? Does anyone have any insight into this?

We once had an argument wherein we were both heated and needed to walk away. When we came back to sit down and discuss things the next day, he informed me that he had considered the issue from all possible angles and decided that, although it was going to be difficult for me to hear, he felt he should be the one to tell me that I seem to have some sort of mental/emotional difficulty in interacting with people appropriately. This was the only possible explanation for my behavior in his mind.

 We are supposed to start counseling next week. I am afraid that he will walk into counseling expecting the counselor to validate all of this for him, then when she fails to do so, accuse me of picking a partisan professional and walk out.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can work with him to re-orient his perceptions here?

Thank you all for being such a blessing and support. When things are bad, I always know I can login here and read about someone else experiencing a similar situation. It has kept me from leaving many times!


After reading that....

I sincerely hope you don't continue this relationship. You will have a life filled with these kinds of interactions and it could break you. I am still dealing with The Jekyll/Hyde aspect of my ex. It is still draining even though I no longer live with him or see him regularly. 

Hi Lauren,

Hi Lauren,

How did you reconcile the necessity of leaving all of the good & wonderful things about your partner, the things we celebrate about our ADHD mates? The laughter and spontaneity and kindness and open warm-heartedness?

Do you think they genuinely don't see their own close-mindedness with this inability to consider another person's perspective? Is it an actual lack of the ability to empathsize?

Mine has all those things

Mine has all those things when they aren't clouded by his depression and negativity. The bad far, far outweighed the good in our relationship. I will lose all respect and love if I am constantly beat down by the negative actions. 

Our relationships are different, but the ADD is at the core. Mine has ADD, by the way. Inattentive and not hyperactive. I can tolerate the ADHD much better. Those with the extra H seem happier to me and easier to forgive. 

About Going to Your Councelor

In light of the problems I was facing with my wife (in this thread )....we had a major break through and it has completely changed the face of our communications together.  I'm the one with ADHD is this case but I have been in therapy a long time and have since changed a great deal since I was first diagnosed.  Because of this....I had a lot of experience sitting in my T's office and could see myself in my past and use this with my wife now for the same reason I was there in my past.  I don't think it really matters what the cause for someone who is in denial.  If it's not something they want to look at themselves.....the human tendency is to look away and blame the other person.  The hard part is getting past this point but after that.....things can change IF that can happen.

Getting right to it for you.  What I did in this case with my wife was to walk into my T's office and just started spilling and telling him all the things that were wrong with me. I started by telling him that I was just confused about so many things (this was a lie....I knew exactly what was wrong but I didn't say that)  I made a full accounting of myself to him while my wife just sat there and listened for a full hour of me taking full responsibility for everything (that I already knew) was my end of any issues we were having. It was the equivalent of a full confessional with the two of them just listening. This was the turning point and it worked like nothing else I have ever done before with my wife.  It may sound counter intuitive but it was exactly what was needed.  What I wanted from my wife was for her to be accountable for her part (her actions) and she simply refused to hear anything I had to say.  She refused to look at or see her part period and I all I wanted was just that....for her to look at herself and take responsibility for her part

I'm not suggesting you do exactly what I did since I have a long history with my T.  I had been seeing him long before I met my wife so I pretty much knew what to expect from his part already.  However...thinking about someone who is in denial and only seeing the other persons part not their own...or not being able to fully accept their part yet but still knowing that they have theirs but not wanting or willing to look at it ( being totally defensive )...something needs to happen before they feel safe enough to come out in the open and talk about it especially if they feel threatened.  The best way to get them there is to make it safe for them to do so and not be adversarial.  By starting with admitting your part first and not blaming the other person for the reason why you have yours (taking responsibility for just your part fully) and becoming accountable yourself.  You are creating a safe conducive place for a person in denial to slowly start coming forward themselves at a pace that they can handle a little bit at a time.  I predicted this based on myself and my past with my wife so I just went in and did this in a really preplanned an overt way that was so dramatic that my wife started feeling guilty and even began feeling defensive for me in this case.  I knew this would happen with her (based on her need to rescue and have sympathy).  I played on this aspect in her and it made her feel safe.

We've been back again I did the same thing and my T is playing right into this along with me.  Just a few days ago...my wife admitted to me that she feels her time is coming with our T.  She said she thinks shes "really going to get hers" and the time is coming soon.  This has come now from a month of us getting along completely differently since I did this in our T's office and the changes in my wife have been dramatic. She is now allowing me to speak and tell her things that she does that really make it difficult for me at times.  She's not ready for the full accounting like I did (even though she has in little bits and pieces lately)  but her behavior itself has changed almost over night and the communication problems we were having when I was posting to this thread have pretty much completely stopped.

Like I said....this may seem very counter intuitive to do this but as long as you can be accountable for yourself and be Okay with being the first one at bat and not make things about your H and what he is doing just at first.....I think it will have the same effect as it did with my wife in making him feel safer to open up and look at his part by you doing this.  This worked where nothing else I tried did and it worked like a charm.



Thanks Ma'am ;)

I reck'in I'll need some more along the way:)



Thanks for the feedback!

Thanks, J, for the feedback.

I know that I have tried this technique with my partner person-to-person. In fact, this is the only way that any 'dispute' ever gets resolved...I just eventually agree to take all of the blame, apologize, and 'try to do better'.

In the current situation, I have even tried taking all of the blame for this 'abandonment'...acknowledging how I should have been more rational in that heated moment, should not have left him, should have thought more clearly about the value of our relationship, etc. (Even though I secretly want to scream "In what world do you get to tell a woman she's "lucky" you'll take her back, after you physically inimikdate her"!!)

My taking all of the blame in this way, with a soft voice, neutral tone, caring affect, only seems to accomplish a sort of condescending acceptance on his part. There is no mutual acknowledegment. Just "thank you for recognizing how damaging your behavior is. I will try to support you as you work to change this".

I am struggling with how to break through to getting him to see how hopelessly destructive it is to approach any potential reconciliation from his standpoint of "you're LUCKY I'm considering this, no other man in my position would!".  How is that a kind or loving thing to say to your partner? What value does that place on her? Is there really not a single action on his part that he can acknowledge may have contributed to this?

I don't know what happens to my loiing and supportive partner in these situations.

If I bring him a problem about work, family, etc, then he is the MOST sweet, supportive, encouraging partner I could possibly wish for. But the second it touches on him or his actions in any way, he immediately shuts down and goes on the "defensive offense" as I call it - attack as a means of self-defense. What I immediately hear is "you're treating me like s&i&", "you're trying to make me out to be an a&sh*le", or "you're trying to make me feel bad".  And I'm really, really not. I'm just trying to be heard and acknowledged when I say that something hurts my feelings. Without having to pass a logic-test for why this thing should/shouldn't hurt my feelings.


I hope this counselor can help. But I do not have high hopes.

The Only Reason This Worked...

was for my T to take over the session once I started and I let him lead me through my confessional (so to speak ).  He was able to guide me to the right things to say and I just took my cue.  We done this before in a sense.....with me!  I already knew what to say at the appropriate moments and then turn to my wife and reinforce what he was saying back to her.  Even if it was the same thing I had been saying before......she could hear him say it first which was confirming (or reassuring) that it was right.  I think the trust and faith in hearing these things from a third party who you trust is the key.  Hearing it from you (or me in my case) is the wrong person to be hearing it from even if it's right.  The one thing I have heard on this forum about going to  therapists is that the complaint is the therapist seems to take sides and let their partner get away with murder.....not making them accountable.  As I have come to discover.....a good therapist (as I believe mine is ) will not take sides but they might read one person or the other as not ready to hear too much at once and back off and not jump down that persons throat  in an effort to allow both people to speak their minds and be heard saying what they are feeling.  My T was pretty easy on me for a while until  I began to notice he became increasingly less willingly to hear me say the same thing over and over.  Each time I did...he would retell me something he already said.  This became really annoying and I would stop him and say "you already said this to me before."  After about the third or fourth time it hit me that he was doing this on purpose and it wasn't a case of poor memory on his part. lol

Anyway.....with my wife in particular, the reason I said I was confused was really more for her benefit.  I see in so many place that what she knows and what she grew up with in her family ( after witnessing this myself)  how utterly confusing they seemed to me in their logic about these things.  If anything, my wife is much more confused than I am at this point so to have some one that she believes is correct is all she needed to hear to put her faith in and defer to.  Deferring is the perfect word.  I deferred myself to my T and showed I trusted him even when he was raking me over the coals.  She felt safer to trust him (than me) to do the same thing with her since she witnessed how the entire session was going in her favor and not mine.  Since I was in on it.....I could keep going and not be defensive AT ALL and just take anything he said without questioning him.  It was very one sided and could have been viewed as totally unfair to me in this case but with the intention to make her feel safe and trust him by doing this.  It also takes the pressure off of me in the same way when I need clarification.  That's the point....all the lying and BS that someone comes up with who is in denial is to try an explain what they can;t explain in the first place.  Being in denial just keeps everything unclear and confusing so you need to have someone you trust to have the real answers and know they are correct.  In your case no matter how right you are....you aren't the right person to do this for your H.  If you can follow this train of thought when you go see your T, I think it will help you understand what they will be trying to do for the both of you even if it doesn't completely make sense at first. 

A person in denial will tend to get scared off and not want to come back if the heat in the kitchen gets too hot at first....patience is required and it needs to go at the pace set by the person who is in denial in the first place.

I know exactly what you are saying though...no matter what you say it seems.....it's never the right thing and  the irrationality, lack of coherence and logic was completely discombobulating!  It was beyond ,beyond astounding!  What's funny now with my wife when I tell her how much better things are and how much easier it is to talk to about things since this happened.....she can really see that either?  She just says she is so glad that we are not fighting over things like we were.  ME TOO!!  But what seems so completely obvious to me is that she is no longer being completely illogically defensive any more.  She couldn't see it then....and she still can't see it now in the difference.  What can I say?  The spell has been broken! lol

Hopefully...you will have some luck with your T too.  It will take time.  My situations was unusual so I can't say it will be this easy for you but I can say it will require some more patience on your part too.  It's all about defensiveness.  The less defensive you can be the better especially in your T's office no mater what your H says to him.....I would expect more illogical logic and defensive offense for a while:)



Thanks SO MUCH...

for taking the time to give this a reasoned and real response.

I will try harder to be patient and passive in my dealings with him until we can get into our first session next week. I sincerely hope you're right, and that hearing his assertions repeated back to him by a third party will make a difference, gradually. I know nothing is going to change immediately and that this will likely be a lengthy process. I have no problem with sacrificing my pride on the altar of this relationship, in counseling or otherwise. I always consciously let him win and argument already, so I really have nothing to "defend".

I am afraid that he will abandon the counseling after the initial session. I really think he is going to have a hard time "selling" this version of events where he was "abandoned" and takes no responsibility for physically intimidating me to a counselor. And I think that being pushed over that will lead him to believe that I somehow influenced the therapist to be "on my side". I understand that this interpretation is just a combination of lashing out due to hurt and extreme defensiveness over his firm belief that he would never hurt me. But women can't afford to take chances in that regard, and he just blindly and stubbornly refuses to see that.

I just hope he can step up for me and acknowledge that this is unproductive once he is faced with an outside party describing it.

Some Red Flags to Look Out For

If he starts arguing with the counselor or selling like you are saying....that's not good but to be expected to some degree.  If he listens but doesn't say anything...that's a good sign I think.  At least he's thinking about it.  I think you are right on though....if he finds some way not to keep going and or makes excuses not to go...I think that will be really telling.  A good therapist (like mine) will control the situation.  The more you try and point fingers with mine, the more you get it thrown back in your face.  My therapist is great that way.  The harder you push...the harder he pushes back.  He told me not everyone likes his style and many leave pretty quickly.  I think he doesn't like wasting time and I love that about him.  No nonsense right up front.  I hope for your sake you are wrong and he responds other than arguing.  You can learn a lot by just listening....actually, I've found you learn more by saying mostly nothing and letting the other person talk.  Good luck:)


His perception

Everytime I am forwarded a new post regarding this i die a little more each time.  My husband is the same.  He is now going to see an actual ADHD specialist at an ADHD clinic, god i hope those pyshciatrists can figure these people out, where the lies/misconceptions/reality problems/perceptions etc start and stop!  Can they tell?  Please tell me they can?  Every time he comes home from a new therapist he acts/talks like he has one up on me............as they only heard what he had to say............his TRUTH...........not!!  Yesterday was another communication battle as he could not actually speak what he was trying to say and thinking and after a few minutes of myself putting in a lot of effort to help him organize his thoughts............I was emotionally and verbally attacked as usual............because it was too much for him, he was never going to be capable of getting out what he wanted to say in a manner to which another human could put together the idea of what he was trying to say.  I always end up being the bad guy after trying to help him.  He lashes out and then all hell breaks loose, as I usually flip at that point to remind him I am trying to help and he has a huge problem.  Afterwords when I go back to try to discuss and see again if I can help him get his communication going.............he attacks me right away.................the whole part when I was trying to help is forgotten..............it goes from him talking to me as he percieved it to me freaking out at him "for no reason"........................good lord, this happens over and over!  If they are not getting regular professional help and accepting it...............get out while you can.

After being broken up for

After being broken up for over 2 yrs, I moved 20 hrs north of home to be near his family. I thought it was a good idea LOL. He tried to force me to live with him and his parents. He blocked my effort to secure my own apt. I said to him "look, if I don't make a life here for myself, I will have to leave". He suddenly started screaming that I was a bully. That I always threaten to take his child away. Then he chased my car out of the driveway and took all of the cash out of our combined account. Financial abuse  

Wow. All I can be accused of is keeping the family together even though he makes it difficult. We broke up in Europe, but I stayed and then followed him to his next duty station. I worked two jobs and took care of EVERYTHING! He MADE ME LEAVE because he said it was too hard living with me, even though we barely interacted. 

He was constantly starting fights. Every time he gets help, the "help" validates him and vilifies me. It is unreal. 

After the Father's Day fiasco, I have stopped trying to be so friendly. I am all business. I can't win with him anyway. When I'm nice, he's still nasty. And he believes he has a right to be....

You know, Lauren, I think

You know, Lauren, I think they TRULY believe that their ADHD hs absolutely nothing to do with this whole communication issue. There is no literature about it, other than some very vague publication on RSD (rejection-sensitive-dysphoria) that I can find.  So that makes it much more difficult to address, because even their "professional" help does not understand or address these concerns at all.

When I was trying to select a counselor for us, I looked up the area's resident ADHD "expert" and consulted his office for a referral. I then got reamed out because I was being a condescending b&t*h by insinuating that his ADHD had anything to do with our problems.

I just wish I understood what was driving it, so that I could have a prayer of addressing it in a constructive way...

Mine knows he has a problem,

Mine knows he has a problem, sometimes. Then he forgets and believes he just needs to be accepted for who he is. It is maddening. I would give anything to be completely free of him. 

Sometimes I have explained to him repeatedly why what he did was unacceptable and wrong and it takes him FOREVER to GET IT. Then he forgets again. 

Lol...if I ever tried to tell

Lol...if I ever tried to tell my partner that ANYTHING he did/said was "unacceptable"...I don't even know what would happen! He is allowed to say that to me, but I am not deemed to have a valid reason to say this to him. Because, in his mind, he has never done/said anything that would justify this. Completely discounting that sometimes his actions/words do not convey what he thinks they do. What he thinks he conveyed is the only thing that matters.


I have a persuasive way lol.

I have a persuasive way lol. It takes awhile though. I have to wear him down. 

Oh! What works best is PERSPECTIVE! He is unable to do it on his own, but if put him im my shoes, he will see the light for a short time. 

He still lives with his

He still lives with his parents. He asked me if he could move a girl he barely knew up here after he buys a house. I asked him if I could so the same thing. Perspective! He quickly decided it was a bad idea as soon as he thought about me doing it. I even told him she could move up here on her own amd they could date a bit before involving our son in such a big decision. He offered it to her but she wanted a free ride, so they split. 

He will buy a house for a girl, but not so his kid can have a nice room and a clean environment. Well clean for awhile. I am going to recommend he hire a maid when he does buy a house. 

LOL.. I wish I was able to

LOL.. I wish I was able to come up with such clear-cut ways to provide that perspective. Sadly, what I usually get is "your analogy here is invalid because (points a,b,c,d)" and I just get so tired of trying to meet his standards for what constitutes a valid comparison that I give up and give in. And, again, take all of the blame and promise to "do better".

I asked him how he would feel if someone backed his sister into a wall, and she called him and was upset that this person made her afraid. He said that this had happened once, and he had to stop himself from driving to Missouri in the middle of the night to beat the guy up. So I asked why the current situation was so hard for him to understand, then. All I got back was "you had no reason to be afraid of me" and "i don't want to talk about this outside of counseling".

It's honestly like talking to a brick wall that can answer you, but only give negative answers.

I couldn't do it. All the

I couldn't do it. All the sweet personality in the world couldn't make me put up with that. Even if I was still madly in love, I would move on. I have done it twice before. Self help books and doing things I enjoyed softened the hurt. 

Good luck with counseling!



(Got any book recommendations?) ...  I really believe he will walk out of counseling as soon as the therapist tells him he shares the blame for our fight. And if we make it through that, he will walk out when she tells him that his "she's lucky I'm here" attitude is not appropriate or constructive.

This was over 10 yrs ago, but

This was over 10 yrs ago, but they were self help books to cheer me up. Turning my back on those guys is what ultimately cheered me up though;)

I have to give mine some

I have to give mine some credit. He always comes around and feels sorry for how he acts. Yesterday he was nice and wanted to know what happened. I very bluntly told him and he didn't get defensive. He agreed that he needs to make plans and let me know things in advance. He asked to have our kid this weekend and to start getting him more. 

The other reason he acted so crazy at the water park? He felt that me and my friend were excluding him. I told him it would be a daddy/son day and he walked away. He would come back and leave again. I didn't know he wanted to hang out with us. He had all this anger inside and didn't tell any of us why. I told him that people can't read his mind lol. Poor guy but so glad I am done being his personal cheerleader. 

Hi Berlie...

Hi Berlie...

I know what you mean about the "professional" help only validating them. That's because the professional IS truly only getting their side of the issue. Which is complete with their perceptions of your actions/words, presented as facts. For example, when my partner tells people the story of why we are separated right he says "we had an argument and she walked out on me". Conveniently leaving out the part where he physically backed me into a wall and screamed in my face that he was "DONE!". Because, you know, that's irrelevant. He would never "hurt" me, so there was no reason to feel fear. Therefore, leaving was completely unjustifiable and he was 'abandoned'.

I am praying that this couples counselor, who is supposed to be the best in our city, can help us. He MUST take some responsibility for his actions and words. He MUST acknowledge that all of my feelings, whether he intended them or not, are valid simply because I am a human being and a co-equal partner. Otherwise we can't move forward. And that may honestly break me.

Perceptions are inaccurate and I am a lonely spouse

So I looked into the RSD disorder and wow, that sums it up!!  So due to my husband filing a worksafe claim and having a letter now come back denying head injury due to medical records being provided by doctors and psychs..........I find out that besides the ADD he has been diagnosed..............he does have a personality disorder.............he never told me this although I always knew it was there.  Now i feel as if I am at the beginning again and not sure if I want to stay now.  The meds he was given 2 years ago have helped the ADD a lot but not the personality disorder...............it may be time to give up....................

crazy making

I just found this site .. By typing into the browser..That "my BF  tells me bad things about myself, that I never said, never thought and nothing I say  can convince him he is wrong"...

I read some of the comments here. And It was like a light came on.. Suddenly It seems I have a clue, others are dealing with the exact crazy confusing thing as I am.. And its been a lot of years of this. Accusations that coincide with anger about something I never even thought, much less said or did..Most times I feel blind sided.. shocked. caught off guard, off kilter by what he thinks I said and the anger that comes with it.. He insists I did say these things, I do think these things..I am a nasty, unkind, person . And that when I say he is wrong..He accuses me of, lying.. And lying , that i never thought or said or did the things he is accusing me of. He accuses me of screaming at him. When I am sitting silent as he screams. Saying nothing..  When its over ..He insists that all the yelling was me ...Yet I might not have spoken a word.. He still says I was screaming at him..

I wondered sometimes if he is mentally ill. delusional.. Or just mean.. and uncaring..


NOW i have to read more about ADHD.. As the comments here.. Describe  what I have had to deal with..

Thanks for this site.. It gives me insight into what otherwise has been what I call  "crazy making" behavior... 

Hi Kiokito

Welcome :)  It's nice to know that there's one more person out there who REALLY understands.

I wish I had some better answers for you. Or any answers at all. You are describing EXACTLY what goes on in my life. I don't even know if I have a relationship at this point. I just know that every, every single teeny tiny action, word, gesture, deed...EVERY anything that I do or say...he will find a way to interpret into a negative reflection on him, and react accordingly. As soon as he finds the way to believe that whatever word or action is negative, it becomes absolute fact in his mind that I meant it to be mean, horrible and malicious, and there is absolutely nothing that I can do or say to convince him otherwise. In fact, even trying to explain what I meant is "justifying" my "bad behavior", which is desrespectful and wrong.

I have no idea how to do anything anymore. I feel like I cant even breathe around this person, literally can't BREATHE, without him telling me that I am sighing dramatically, and that means that I am being negative towards him and treating him badly. I'm a nice person. And I don't hate him. I don't actually think mean things about him. I see that he's hurting and lashing out. But I can't help him. He WILL NOT hear me.

He's doing the yelling, says I am

Kiokito, you wrote that your partner is the one yelling but you're not saying anything at all, yet he insists you were screaming at him.  I've had this happen.  It's terrible when it does.  I have never read anything in the professional literature about it, but just to confirm, that has happened in my life.   

Now that's a really big disconnect on his part from reality.   I have no suggestions how to handle it, but a few times, in the middle of somethign when he suddenly raises his voice and starts shouting, I've said I'm not shouting you are, and I don't know about you but I can't take being shouted at if I haven't picked, quarreled, insinuated anything mean to him, or shouted at him.  So I leave the room.  It doesn't feel at all like an adult level interaction at that point, but I really can't stand being shouted at if I've said nothing at all, nor intended ill will.   

The few times we've succeeded in going back over things when this has happened, it turns out that he has gotten mad at or upset at something going on in his head, not something I said, intended, etc.  

It's not all "his fault" in these situations, but golly moses, if I'm not intending harm to him, raising my voice, and have said something really, really ordinary and factual and he starts getting agitated and shouting, what DOES one do with that, except end the event, and let go of it or if it's important to the relation wait until he's more in control of himself or less under stress, and try again.  

So sorry you're going through this.  

Dipity's picture


This post has helped me so much this past couple of days. I posted over in the anger forum but found this post after. Thank you all for helping me fell so much less alone!


There really needs to be a way on here that you can connect eith others to form an actual face to face support group in your area, I feel so bad for all of us. We never chose to have our lives so hard, and it seems to be a hard choice to leave what we are now dealing with.

Isn't this EVERYONE'S first

Isn't this EVERYONE'S first post on here?  I think this is the story of our lives.  I lived it for 23 years, and finally couldn't take it.  Now I'm trying to navigate the waters as a single mother at 55 with 11 & 12 year old boys.  Unfortunately he left and it's even harder because he doesn't medicate or go to therapy, I can't "talk him down" after his 10 day silent treatments, and now my boys are becoming the victims AND they're picking up some of his behaviors.  The boys are both adopted, but the coping "skills" (if you can call them that) that he uses are learned behaviors and they've picked them up and it's very frustrating.  You're definitely not alone!!


I began finding ANYthing out about ADHD from coming off the early relation high in which I was the subject of his hyperfocus that I didnt know was hyperfocus.  So at first no books or articles read, no idea what ADHDwas, no friends who were in relation with partners with ADHD, no acquaintances raising kids with ADHD, no even basic knowledge of what ADD/ADHD meant when the word was used.  ONe of the first things that cropped up after his hyperfocus on me began to abate was exactly what this thread is about.  Exactly the behavior, the presuming what I thought and forcefully trying to get me to accept that I had said something I didnt or worse meant him harm or evil. It broke my heart.  I thought I was with someone who was seriously unhinged.  And he would thereafter treat me like I was mean.  Time went on, I've learned, imperfectly, to disengage and if I mean him well, like a very wise poster said, not try to defend myself because in these moments he will neither hear what I say, not what he says in his head; nor believe me, but to try to keep calm and if I need it, get away from his accusations.  For us evenings are the very worst.  For us, when his blood sugar is low is not the time.  

But wow,, wow, reading this very long thread today.  I began crying.  I have felt so alone, when he starts telling me I said things that I didnt, accusing me of meaning him ill when I didnt.  Refusing what I do say, slotting in instead his own words, then telling me I said them.  it has been so lonely.  I havent been able to talk with anyone about this.  many descriptions in this thread are so exactly his behavior, its like someone was running a video camera of us.

i love my partner.  I have been in very big pain over this part of being with him.  Today I've learned that the behavior is not rare in people with ADHD

My ex has decided that his

My ex has decided that his add symptoms are a side effect of work. He refuses to see he was always this way. He forgets anything crazy he has ever said and done and holds himself in the highest regard. He believes our breakup was simply two people not meant to be. He may even think I left him because of how he "changed" because of his job. Trust me, he was bad before. I did not leave him because I'm cruel and his disability changed him. Disability my foot  

He is very happy to have found a new love and so he is happy for me. I told him that my love is one of the kindest, most gentle men I have ever known. I told him I have never seen him angry or feeling sorry for himself. He said, "oh that's just like me except I always look angry". What?! That is NOTHING like him! He is basically bipolar. He is so obsessed with the job he quit. The job he absolutely hated before he quit it. That is all he talks about now. He displays it on his clothes and car. He is constantly bringing it up to anyone who will listen, for recognition. It drives me nuts! My boyfriend now had the same job, for longer, and with more frequent and worse missions. He never talks about it and it didn't change him at all that I can see. I have warned him that he'll be expected to talk about it and pat my ex on the back when they finally do meet. 

I'm Glad Things Are Working Out for You

And I think you just made a good description of how perceptions work and can throw you off.  And if they are off track.....they will keep pulling you back on line with them instead of the other way around.  Good observation:)



OMG, I don't feel so alone and crazy anymore.

My husband won't communicate a lot of little things, times, addresses, even if I am driving, he will give me directions.  If something is really bugging him, or depressing him, he will not talk to me about it or tell me what is bugging him or say it is none of my business. He will exagerate his accomplishments and tear mine down to nothing ("I worked my butt off today for 12 hours while you sat home on yours doing nothing") when in reality he worked 4 hours and I had cleaned the whole house, went grocery shopping, ran 2 errands for him, made all the meals and took care of my 2 autistic boys (7 and 8), plus the endless little favors "get me a glass of water", "rinse my dish please" ,'Open the window", "close the window", "turn on the air", and I am a witch if I say "no" or "I am busy" or "You don't love him anymore".

If I do everything he asks, then "You don't need to do everything for me, I am a adult, I don't need a mother, stop trying to mother me."  If I don't do what he want then I am lazy, or a witch, he does so much and I don't do my part and it is time I start.  I can't seem to do anything right.

He will try to help me with a problem (whether I asked or not) and give his advice and if his solutions don't work, he accuses me of not trying them or I was doing it half-a**ed.

If I am right in a debate, "I am a spoiled princess that always has to be right" "you can never be wrong can you"

Some how (usually for dumb reasons or no logical reason,) we will disagree or start arguing and sometimes yelling and this is what usually happens. My husband will some how try to take me on a guilt trip me and says everything but the actual accusation of me lying, so I can't say he is accusing me. Then he will try to turn anything I say around and make it my fault or completely misquote me or go on about something completely irrelevant to the discussion. If I mention anything he accuses me of always turning everything around on him. and then he will ranting about the disagreement for a long while; If I say something, then "I never quite talking" "I never let him talk" and/or I misquoted him continue his rant.  If I am quiet then "I am acting like a child", and if I walk away,  "I am throwing a fit and running away like I always do" or he will just follow me and continue the rant. 

My feeling are not my own apparently, and I never know what I am feeling.  I will tell him how something makes me feel and he will correct me and tell me how I am feeling and if I should feel that way, or if it is the right time or place to feel that way.  If I comment on his feeling he will tell me that I don't know how he feels and how he can't help how he feels or when he feels it.

Once my husband is angry, common sense, feelings, what has been done, if sick or hurt is completely irrelevant to him, black is white, up is down, but he is right and I am wrong and the only way it will all end is letting him get it out of his system, or try to walk away and let him cool down.  Oh and literally every fight he suggests that our marriage is not working and maybe we should separate.

Usually a few hours later he will apologize, several times, tell me how much he loves me, tell me he doesn't know what is wrong with him and  then ask me why I put up with his crap.

Usually the rest of the day/night is fine.

I get so frustrated and stressed!!

OH! and BTW I am a Aspie w/OCD, ADHD, APD and SAD, he is Bipolar and ADHD, I have 2 boys who are Autistic w/ADHD, APD, and a mood disorder that hasn't been diagnosed yet, and 1 teen who is a Aspie with benefits also and my husband has 2  teens (boy and girl) who are ADHD and possible Bipolar. 

What do we do or don't do. I can't take much more. He really is a good man, and I love him dearly, but it is almost like someone possesses him when we fight, it is a real life Jekyl and Hyde.

I an sure I have forgotten several other things, but I am sure you some of you know.


LES's picture

He is listed as many things

But after reading some of these blogs, I see his description in so many of them.  This post especially describes my conversations.. welll verbal exchanges, but communicating like a conversation between two people is NOT what happens with him and I, nor does it happen with him and anyone else, including his daughter nor his family.  It is enough to drive a normal person totally mentally mad.   it is like my lips are moving, but he is looking right through me and having a conversation with someone else I don't see in the room.   With all the cruel, mean, hateful things he says and does, he will then tell me I am actually the one doing them to him. WHAT?  it is totally crazy on his behalf and makes me feel so helpless, especially when he is hurting me, his daughter and my furr babies with his controlling, false accusations etc.  He is a narcissist, I see him as also a sociopath, but ... said...  he is a self-absorbed controlling A-H, who wants to rule his kingdom and we are suppose to play along and I am now losing  my hair from the stress, my stomach problems have increased, I'm gaining weight, although I don't each much, I can't concentrate, I feel like I'm losing it, but I'm stuck at this point in this horror of a life with him.  I've tried to tell him in so many ways, the Emergency room doctors have tried to tell him the stress he is adding is going to kill me, but he will walk out saying "you don't have stress" and takes no blame, my counselor says I need to leave to heal that he will NOT change and that I will more than likely end up with a stroke, heart attack or such with all the stress i'm going through and the depression, my regular doctor, my gastrointestinal doctor, his family, my friends, HIS DAUGHTER all have tried to tell him, but he WILL NOT.. see that he is causing this and will not change or even TRY... he won't even TRY.  his daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and he says they are wrong, although after starting her on meds, her school work improved, she stopped getting into trouble... etc...  but he would not agree.  why?  he was gone all the time and didn't have to deal with her.  I love her as my own, but when I met her she was craving attention, because she wasn't getting it from her ADHD father and sports addicted father AND mother that she was all over me, because I actually talked to her and listened to her, it was very sad.  She even accidentally busted my lip a few times, hit me in the head, kicked me in my back.. none intentionally trying to hurt me, she thought she was playing...  but her ADHD caused her to not think things through.  What I'm trying to say is that if one person the father or daughter doesn't accept the illness or whatever you call it and in turn help the following generation, the families, friends, including the ADHD person etc. will continue to suffer and not enjoy life.   I've spent years, since 2007 trying to deal with him and convince him he is killing us, killing  my love for him, driving his daugther away, but he WILL NOT listen and I'm now in such a way that I HAVE TO leave, i can't handle this any longer, I'm almost dead inside, I feel empty, I'm becoming a recluse, I'm afraid to have a conversation and now days even if I do, it is all negative, because I'm so miserable.  Everything I do or say is wrong, he blames me for things that happen when I'm not even around, it is crazy..  I'm sad for him, although he has hurt me so so so bad and done some really horrible things, including cheating, lying, using me, taking me into a deep debt.  I just always wanted him to acknowledge and try to work on himself, not for me, I'm expendable, but for his daughter, their relationship, but it is now too late, she says she hates him and it makes me want to cry every time, she cries because she doesn't want to come over because of him, she doesn't want to be alone with him etc...  just all so very sad.  but I can't help someone who doesn't want help, plain and simple.  I thought i was the special one, his first true love, but nothing is enough to change these types of people if they don't want to change.    I do hope Catherine10 that you are now at a happy point in your life, I hope all that posted in the past on here and everywhere suffering with dealing with this stuff have moved on and helped themselves heal from the mental abuse and torture it has caused.  

Sounds like you have to leave for your health.....

What are some of the things that he's doing or saying?


Have you been married since 2007?


How old is his daughter now?  Would you be able to continue a relationship after the marriage ends?  If she's old enough, she won't need her dad's permission.


Of course your H won't admit that he's causing any stress-related health issues with you, because to admit that would mean that he'd have to change.  And, he''s not willing to change or admit flaw.


My H repeatedly tells me that he'd die without me, but he is literally "killing" me with stress.   If I were to die young, H would likely never admit to himself that he caused the stress.  Our children might tell him that, but he'd vehemently deny it.


My H has NPD traits along with borderline PD.   


How would you "get out"?  Would you have to move out or would he leave?  


Be VERY careful when breaking a marriage/relationship with a Narcissist.   They will often respond in a destructive way....destroying your things, etc.  Before you announce that the marriage is ending, get your valuables, photos, keepsakes, favorite clothing items, jewelry, etc out of the house for safekeeping.  Store them at a friend's home or in a rental storage that your H doesn't know about.  Keep your purse, keys, phone, laptop, tablet, etc close to you and away from him.  keep your car parked in a way that he can't block you.


I am not kidding.  I've only known a few women who've divorced Narcissistic husbands, but each time the N's have tried to destroy or were able to destroy items that were important to the wife.


Twice, my H has thrown out most of my clothes (put them into an unknown dumpster, threw out jewelry, tore pictures, blocked my car, grabbed my cell phone from my hands and threw it into the toilet when H suspected that I was going to call the police to stop him from destroying some of my things.   


Just be proactive and protect yourself and your most important items before you let him know that you're ending the marriage.   



Sounds like you have to leave for your health.....

What are some of the things that he's doing or saying?


Have you been married since 2007?


How old is his daughter now?  Would you be able to continue a relationship after the marriage ends?  If she's old enough, she won't need her dad's permission.


Of course your H won't admit that he's causing any stress-related health issues with you, because to admit that would mean that he'd have to change.  And, he''s not willing to change or admit flaw.


My H repeatedly tells me that he'd die without me, but he is literally "killing" me with stress.   If I were to die young, H would likely never admit to himself that he caused the stress.  Our children might tell him that, but he'd vehemently deny it.


My H has NPD traits along with borderline PD.   


How would you "get out"?  Would you have to move out or would he leave?  


Be VERY careful when breaking a marriage/relationship with a Narcissist.   They will often respond in a destructive way....destroying your things, etc.  Before you announce that the marriage is ending, get your valuables, photos, keepsakes, favorite clothing items, jewelry, etc out of the house for safekeeping.  Store them at a friend's home or in a rental storage that your H doesn't know about.  Keep your purse, keys, phone, laptop, tablet, etc close to you and away from him.  keep your car parked in a way that he can't block you.


I am not kidding.  I've only known a few women who've divorced Narcissistic husbands, but each time the N's have tried to destroy or were able to destroy items that were important to the wife.


Twice, my H has thrown out most of my clothes (put them into an unknown dumpster, threw out jewelry, tore pictures, blocked my car, grabbed my cell phone from my hands and threw it into the toilet when H suspected that I was going to call the police to stop him from destroying some of my things.   


Just be proactive and protect yourself and your most important items before you let him know that you're ending the marriage.   



Emotional Responsibility?

Does anyone else experience issues with their ADHD partner seeming to not even be aware that they attribute all emotional responsibility to their partner? That it's always our job to communicate, our job to ask questions, clarify meaning, etc?

I feel like I am beating my head against the proverbial brick wall in so many ways, but most often, this is what it comes down to. I am responsible for managing my own emotions, responses, words, and actions, but I am ALSO responsible for any RE-actions on his part to anything I do or say that is deemed negative.

Conversely, however, if I state that my behavior is a reaction to something he did or said, I am ALSO responsible for my 'misinterpretation' of whatever he did or said that caused my reaction. And I should know better.

Further compounding matters, he will then draw various conclusions regarding what my reacting in this way means about my treatment of him. ("You should know that I would never intend (X), and it's hurtful and insulting to me that you don't know this and are acting as though I would...").

I can never offer any statement of something that makes me feel hurt or upset without being told that it SHOULDN'T make me feel that way, and I'm actually insulting him by being hurt by this in the first place, etc, etc.

If he loses his temper and has a rage explosion, this is my fault, for not controlling myself and behaving in agreed upon ways to minimize triggers. But if I lose my temper, that is also my fault.

It seems to me that I am being held accountable for both sides of the emotional coin here.

lonelyspouse's picture

Responsibility (blame) is all mine

I too am being blamed for ALL upset my husband experiences. Any negative emotion he feels: Frustration, irritation, annoyance, anger, sadness, anxiety, etc. is all laid at my feet with angry, blaming words. I notice that I never get any recognition for my contributions to any positive feelings he has- even when it is obvious that I have gone out of my way to accommodate his needs/moods. It's the blame game in overdrive. My husband only takes responsibility for things that he thinks reflect positively on him- even when the credit belongs to someone else. If I try to talk to him about his chosen behaviors when he is feeling negative, I am always accused of trying to make him feel guilty, and that I think I am perfect. By definition, I am never allowed to voice any legitimate grievances or concerns, as he has assigned this ulterior motive to everything I say, thereby dismissing my words instantly.

It is a sign of real emotional immaturity to not be able to listen objectively to your partner's concerns and feelings without needing to make it about yourself. I feel (and have been told) that this is narcissistic behavior- a lack of empathy and caring. In my husband's case, because he is narcissistic, he rejects any attempt to discuss his behaviors and refuses to acknowledge how they impact me. It is, in his mind, all about him.

Objective Listening...

Thanks for your reply...I never thought about this from the emotional maturity standpoint. Setting aside the obvious question of whether they are capable of true emotional maturity, you're absolutely right. He cannot listen objectively. It is always about him, and what statement I am making about him by feeling/expressing the thing that I am.

I'm luckier than most here. My ADHD partner acknowledges that part of his symptomology is that he legitimately HAS NO ABILITY to control his temper. The issue is that he thinks that since he can't control this, he is not responsible for what he does/says. That I am actually responsible for not provoking it. He does not apologize for, or even address/acknowledge the horrible things he says and the way that he speaks to me.

When we are not having conflict, I have the most sensitive, attentive, kind, loving, and understanding partner imaginable. When I have a problem that is NOT related to us, he is the most supportive guy on the planet. Wonderful, witty, forthright, always helpful to me and providing a supportive perspective that I desperately need.

But if I breathe one word of something between us that I am not happy with, WHAM! I'm "accusing" him of 16 things he would never do. I'm saying that he is lying to me, or I'm implying that he is...etc, etc.

I'm not accusing him of anything. I'm not making any blanket personality assessments or statements. I'm saying that a little thing is a bit hurtful to me. But the response I get is a 6-page discourse on why it's actually HIM who is being hurt and "done wrong" here. I will be accused of continuing some 'pattern' of bad behavior. Of never understanding what it is that I do that causes x,y,z.. And when I ask what this pattern/thing IS, I never get a clear answer. I get "I'm sick of having the same conversation with you over and over again"...what conversation??? All I am getting is a garbled stream of invective and accusation. WHAT am I doing????

I just want my kind and nice and loving partner...all the time. Not 'only when we are perfect'. I want someone who can engage in an open, accepting, and constructive dialog with me. Without taking everything I say as a 6-layered insult.

Is that possible?

How can you communicate with them? How???

lonelyspouse's picture

Can they be consistent?

My opinion, based on my 32 year relationship with my husband, is that until/unless they are willing to both accept responsibility for their own behaviors AND make compassion (empathy) for their partner more important than their need to lay blame and reject honest feedback, then no, there can be no meaningful conversation. Their internal filters that process incoming information distort it- hence, everything is our fault in their eyes because our needs are viewed as personal attacks- regardless of how gently we may express them.


It just baffles me as a perspective. I have no idea how to address it, confront it, conquer it. THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU. No one has accused you of anything.

It's like I'm tripping over an invisible pothole.

How can you make someone understand that they are processing things in a self-focused and defensive/combative way?

I have asked him, in more calm and connected moments, to please reflect on whether there might be some validity to my saying that he approaches things from a very defensive place. The last time we fought, about a month ago, once we wound things down in the aftermath, I asked him to think about that very seriously and try to consider it and get back to me with his thoughts.

He never got back to me.

This morning, he blew up at me because I was walking on eggshells after 2 nights of rage incidents. These were not directed at me, but they still leave me on edge. Literally shaking sometimes. He tripped over the dog this morning, so I offered to take her out. He said he would do it, but I offered again. This was interpreted as my "insisting" that I be the one to do it, which means that I was making a statement about his behavior and implying that he wasn't capable of controlling himself well enough to, etc, etc.

I said that this was an example of the defensive mindset that I was asking him to consider.

Rage explosion. Why should he be the one to come to me, he yells. If I have a problem, it's my responsibility to come to him.

I pointed out that I had done that, and had asked him to get back to me.

He denies that I asked that, and reiterates that it's my job to come to him.

(Why is it ALWAYS on me?)

Then we switch to the tape loop of how he's so tired of me always doing the same things, acting in the same patterns, and he's "f*ck%ing sick" of having the same conversation over and over and over".

WHAT conversation...??? What are we even talking about?????

I need HELP. I'm spending my work days crying at my desk and in the bathroom. But it's worse if we split. We tried separating over the summer. And all I do is dwell on the good times and miss him so much that I can't physically breathe.

I don't know what to do...

lonelyspouse's picture

YOU Can't Fix This

I feel almost sick reading your comments because everything you are saying is what I have experienced for the last 30+ years. YOU can't fix this- your partner has to be the one to accept ownership and responsibility for his own behavior and feelings, and it will not get better until/unless he does. You are doing exactly what I have done- racked my brains to the point of physical exhaustion and emotional breakdown to try to understand how we can help them. The hardest thing for me to learn was that allowing myself to be blamed and verbally abused was counterproductive to my goal of co-existing peacefully and happily. Although I knew I did not deserve to be treated that way, I did not present any real consequences for my husband's mistreatment of me- which meant he continued to allow himself to behave very unfairly and inappropriately whenever he felt criticized- which was basically every time I asked for anything I wanted or needed from him. 

I wish I could tell you it will get better with time, but time will not heal this behavior. In fact, it worsens over time unless they get help. And as far as it being worse without them, it feels bad for a while, as it is natural to try to focus on the good times when there is so much hurt. But in my case, the bad outweighs the good because the bad is an every day (or almost every day) occurrence while the good is more sporadic- and totally tied to me walking on eggshells around him.

The best thing you can do right now is to take care of YOU. Clearly it is interfering with your job, and I know how difficult it is to work and deal with these issues that we seem powerless to change. I would urge you to speak with a therapist to gain some perspective on the situation and discuss options for your own happiness and well-being. It isn't "on you"- don't let yourself fall victim to that mindset that benefits no one except the blamer.

I Think You are Right lonelyspouse

I have managed to get my filters in line and don't hear things anymore and don't have problems in communications at least to the point...that they are not distorted and I certainly don't blame my wife or others for my emotions.  That part I have pretty under control.  But as far as consistency in general or in other areas?  I'm still working on those areas namely the non emotional stuff like house chore and picking up after myself.  It's better but not consistent.

So...to answer your question (why I responded)....I don't know if I can ever be consistent at everything all of the time?  I don't know if that is possible.  I can do it for a while and then something always slides back again even if only a little bit and not for very long.  If I had to give you and answer honestly.....the answer right now would be no.

Even after taking full responsibility not blaming anyone else for my emotions or failures, not losing my temper or getting habitually angry all the time at little things and as I was saying to jhrv.....I even welcome honest constructive criticism and want that kind of feedback.  Even without those things...and even with reminders in place.....I'm still not consistent all the time in the other areas that I struggle with like chores, time keeping and being late or staying on track and switching gears when I should but it is better than is use to be.  I'm not sure if this is not as good as it gets is what I'm saying.  I don't think consistent like everyone else will ever be possible.  Pretty good most of the time seems the best I've been able to accomplish to date.



Wow jhrva

I could have said most of what you just said about communicating with my wife.  As far as controlling temper goes....I don't sound like your H in that case.  I don't fly off the handle at the slightest provocation or read into things and hear accusations that aren't there very often...and if I do hear them or am not sure....I ask or say I don't understand?  But I don't just get mad and lose my temper.  Having said that.....it seems that the problem I face with my wife is the exact same one you are having.  She reads things into things I say, flies off half cocked, hears things that aren't being said and is volatile at times to say the least.  It's like I'm having a conversation with two different people that switch from one to another one in the middle of the conversation without me being aware of it until I say the wrong thing (completely unbeknownst to me) and then comes out the "other one."  It appears to me as if this "other one" is now talking to someone else not me??  Like I keep wanting to look over my shoulder to see who she's talking too???  Like....where did that come from what I said and who are you saying this too??

I do know when this comes out of her though...it comes out any time I mention something on her part that she might take as....."doing something wrong."

I did just make one important discovery in how we are completely different than one another if this will help you.  I have asked her to tell me anytime I do something that she doesn't like...to please speak up and let me know especially is I'm not paying attention.  More just asking for a reminder to keep me on track.  This is what I WANT!!  I want to know when I'm screwing up.  I want to know what I'm doing that is causing her any problems.  I want constructive objective critique period.  I beg her....please...let me know what you want....I'm not a mind reader and I can't know that until you tell me???  That seems like a reasonable and logical thing if you are not wanting to repeat the same mistake twice you would think?  It doesn't bother or I don't take exception.  I may not always agree with her assessment....but I take the part that is my responsibility and use it to learn from.  How else can you learn anything if the other person is not allowed to tell you where you screw up?? That makes no sense to me but.....it is literally, the opposite of what my wife wants.

Actually....I have no idea what my wife wants half the time because she won't tell me ahead of time.  And the very last thing she wants is exactly what I do want...to imply, say, or even infer to her that she has some responsibility on her side...for anything?  I also don't accuse her for making me angry and if I do lose my cool at times (not temper or raging) and just get upset in a normal everyday way without yelling or screaming....I also take a moment ( like a few minutes...usually 5 or less) and come back to her and say...."Okay....I'm back.  I'm sorry for getting upset.....and then try and continue with what ever it is that we were having a moment about. 

All she does is react and get angry.  No emotional control...no emotional intelligence...just reaction and anger.  It's very child like in how it seems??  And it takes her sometimes days instead of only a few moments to get over herself.  She will go off for hours and hours and sulk and pout by herself before she can regain composure and let the "other one" recede back into what ever corner it is that it lives inside her until I say something to trigger it from coming out again.  She appears so insecure about herself that any mention of some aspect about herself even in a constructive loving way is some form of attack on her soul?  I think the "other one" is the one being attacked and that's who jumps out and starts flying into a tizzy back at me.  It really is exactly what it looks like to me?  And I don't know what to do about the "other one" who is like her little hurt child that jumps out and is fighting against her father or something.  I'm not her father and I don't tell her what to do...like never.  Are you kidding me?  I never know when that nasty little girl will jump out and start into me and the last thing I want to do is provoke her.  Yikes.  Eggs shells.....most definitely!!

All she will say is that it's a part of her "WHACK" which tells me nothing.  WTF is "WHACK"?  I don't think she knows either...that's the problem.

If you can believe that I have ADHD and don't do this....then I do know how frustrating this is and I don't know exactly what to do about it either.  It definitely is a distortion of reality though....that's when the "other one" comes out and it appears to me that the "other one" is also seeing someone else standing in front of her instead of me?  Who that is I haven't the foggiest?????




I have often thought that it does seem exactly childlike. It's a very simplistic and self-focused way to view emotional interaction.

It's especially frustrating with my partner, because as I've mentioned, he is capable of such high-level compassion and support for me in all other areas.

And I do think you're right that there is something we are triggering in them with the suggestion of "doing something wrong". The problem is that LITERALLY ANYTHING I say is interpreted from this standpoint - how I am thereby accusing him of doing something wrong. And if I suggest that this is his interpretation, rather than my intent, he will fly off the handle about how there's no other way to take this, I clearly meant this, here is his "evidence" for why I meant that...etc, etc.

On the other hand, If I misinterpret something he says, I am guilty of a systemic pattern of false and negative presumptions about him, I'm accusing him of behaving in ways that he doesn't, etc.

So, basically, his interpretations of my behavior are correct. My interpretations of his behavior are wrong.

My failure to accept his explanation or elaboration about what he meant is wrong. His refusal to accept my explanation or elaboration is correct for 16 reasons he will list.

If i suggest that there is a double standard at play here - rage explosion. "So SICK OF REPEATING THE SAME...".  (We're repeating it because it isn't resolved. I don't agree with you. And you refuse to accept any part of what I say.)

I ask how he can speak to me in the ways that he does, if he really loves me.

He just yells that he is sick of me not seeing my problems and what I am doing, sick of etc, etc.

He never apologizes for the rage and the meanness. But I have to apologize for and take responsibility for EVERYTHING.

I don't have a problem knowing that I have to be the bigger person. That is a "known quantity" at this point. My problem is that I am held to a standard of perfection in this regard that is 1. unattainable and 2. not reciprocated.

Like your wife, he is also capable of carrying this on for days. I can predict when these episodes are coming. Little tensions in his behavior, etc. If I ask about them, I am accusing him of behaving badly. If I say, "are you sure you're ok?", I am accusing him of withholding things from me, or directly lying to me.

If he says "are you sure you're ok? you seem tense", I respond with either information about what is bothering me or reassurance that I am ok. If I say that to him, he responds with "what, so now I'm not allowed to...?"

How does he not see the difference in how he reacts to me, vs.....you get the point. I'm just so tired. Worn down ragged with trying to explain this to him. I've made no headway. And I don't seem to be able to force myself not to pursue it. It comes out in frustration, no matter how hard I try to suppress it...

lonelyspouse's picture

Why we resist giving up

IMO, we don't give up because we understand that there is a disconnect there, and we want to fix it. It seems so reasonable to want to talk it out and reach an understanding, a resolution, so we can move forward happily without repeating these scenarios. The problem is when we are trying to do this with a partner who refuses to take responsibility for what is actually verbal and emotional abuse, these conversations, these resolutions, cannot happen. So we continue to try to communicate our very real and reasonable needs and wants to partners who either can't or won't hear us. In our confusion and hurt, we try another approach or to talk another another time, because we know we are not asking for anything unreasonable- but the results are always the same- we are deemed too critical, too needy- we are wrong. They give what they want to give and only when they want to give it, That works for them, and any attempt to change that only invokes their wrath and we end up feeling battered and broken for "daring" to ask for what we need from them emotionally in the relationship. It is a vicious cycle that we end up repeating over and over again because we love them and don't want to give up on them. 

Verbal Abuse

This is a danger zone that I haven't even allowed myself to stray into very often in my own head.

It feels like verbal abuse. It shocks me. Physically sometimes, like a gut punch. That the person I know and depend on, who professes to love me more than anything under the sun, who is so loving and compassionate and supportive in all other areas, can behave like this towards me. At all. Let alone blame it on me and never apologize.

He has admitted that he hates this about himself more than anything else. That he has no ability to control it. That he despises himself for it, does not want to say any of these things, or be the person they present.

If we accept the premise that he (and many ADHD'ers) actually, truly LACKS THE ABILITY to control this...is it verbal abuse?

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

But...standards of accountability.

Do we hold a schizophrenic person accountable for damage done during an episode? There is a criminal defense for diminished capacity.

If we accept the premise that they TRULY cannot control this...to what degree are they "abusing" vs. "demonstrating a symptom"...?

lonelyspouse's picture

Yes, it's verbal abuse

From what you have described, he is verbally abusing you. Verbal abuse is not a symptom- it is a chosen behavior. If he truly hates himself for doing it and for the person he becomes when he does it, why does he not seek professional help to try to change his behavior? I'm not a doctor, but I don't believe (from what you have described) that he has no ability to control it- he chooses not to.

My husband is extremely verbally abusive whenever he feels criticized by me. Name-calling is his "specialty". I have asked him to stop many, many times, to which he replies that he "can't" unless I stop being a bitch first. It isn't that he can't stop- it's that he won't. He thinks I deserve to be called names for criticizing him- which is how he automatically labels anything I ask for from him. He does not call other people names- EVER, so clearly he can control himself. And, he told me that it is my responsibility to de-escalate any situation in which he becomes volatile- he sees it as my responsibility to get him to stop acting out- not his. Of course, there is no way for me to stop him, and he then blames me for his ongoing rages once he gets going. It's nothing short of nonsensical, but if he can get me to accept responsibility (blame), then he can continue to live his life without feeling any need to work on himself- it's all left to me. And if he doesn't change, then it's my fault for not finding some magic solution that requires nothing from him at all. Do you see the pattern here? It's nothing short of nonsensical and crazy-making.

If someone tells you repeatedly that they are sorry for abusing you and makes no attempt to get help for their issues, IMO, they are not truly sorry. 

Childlike Emotionally Not Otherwise

I think that pretty much sums this up as I have observed.  Double standard?  Yes it is.  That part...I have learned to accept as being my role.  I have to be the bigger one always and cannot expect that from her.  For sure!  That much I can get over.  It's not important.  And it doesn't affect me anymore to have to do this but..

What does affect me is the hostility towards me for no apparent reason.  Actually....I do know the reason and it really is tied to my ADHD.  I can't stay connected as long as she needs and I need to have a break every so often.  If she had her way....we would sit and talk for 8 hours straight and it still wouldn't be enough.  That black hole thing I recognize at least as not being a out me.  When the life gets drained out of me and it's still not enough....something is wrong and it's not on me end.  I have made a dedicated effort in focusing on her and watching the amount of time I spend decompressing, hyper focusing and not being present with her in the same room.  I can't go more than a few moments before I hear her calling me or wanting something from me.  It is needy and I know that my ADHD only makes it worse but...only so much can be blamed on that.  I'm an extrovert and AD(H)D...so I am social anyway.  Extrovert tend to get charged from being around people but only so much.  I get drained like anyone else if I have to be "on" for too long.  With my wife.....even that is not enough.  She has a very difficult time being alone for very long...in fact....when she alone for more than a few hours without being in contact with someone (anyone).....she starts to show signs of it like you are saying.  I can see it coming and she starts to get ansy and very impatient.  Literally....I might be in the kitchen getting some food after leaving her alone for a 20 minutes before she will call out ....'what are you doing?"   "Getting some food....is that Okay?"  She doesn't realize just how clingy she is being and if I even mention a peep about this is when she goes off.  It's like I have to pretend not to be irritated by this because if she even senses some kind of irriatation on my part....out comes the shitty comments and jabs. 

As my T said to me....."she's a porcupine.  What do porcupines do when they get defensive?"  ouch!  That's what they do!  It's that push...pull pattern and I clearly see this for what it is.  That doesn't help make it stop but at least I can pay attention to it as it swings back and forth.

Ironically.....she's the one swinging back and forth but I'm the one being accused of doing this with her.  I've found the best way to keep a lid on top of this is to stay as level and even keeled as I can.  If I can do this with her....at least I can track it and not get pulled into one direction or the other.  It really is a ploy for attention but there is only so much attention that most adults need.  I think she is extreme and I also think you are right about an emotionally lonely childhood with Alcoholism involved.  She still can't really admit or see that her mother is an abusive Alcoholic single mother parent.  There is a lot there that she can't look at because it's too painful.  That I think is why she react so hostiley and can't communicate her needs to me.  Part of her knows it's wrong...and part of her knows she right.  The right part (or self righteous part) is the other one.  The little girl who never got her needs met is still trying to get them met from me now to fill that black hole that was left there from the past.  I get all of this but....it still leaves you having to deal with a child who acts out...living inside an adult who is there most of the time....but not all of the time.   I also think this is why I don't have to really do anything to set this off.  All that has to be happening is something else going on that triggers these episodes in her. I really think at this time.....it's not always even me who is triggering it.  Sometimes yes....but sometimes it can be something outside of our home at work or with someone else and that's all it takes.  She will come home from work and I and I can see it on her face.  That face means.....uh oh!  That's just too much responsibility for another person to fill.....ADHD or not.  I've come far enough with my ADHD to know where I am and know what I'm not doing too.  I'm very aware of myself at this point and not defensive at all about it.  Nothing anyone says about my behaviors that I am full knowing about is going to hurt my feelings just to bring it up or mention it.  The only thing that sets me off now is when I'm not reacting and doing quite well and then this still comes out of my wife.  That much....I do know when it's me or her and in these moments.....it's less me than her I think.  Only admitting that the aspect about my ADHD that I have little control over is needing to take breaks from her ( or anyone) at different times to take care of myself and keep myself level.  This is not a two person process and I need brief and periodic times to recover in order to keep moving forward.  When she won't give me even that much space...it becomes unreasonable.

But....it's all that she knew back as a child but that doesn't help me much.  There was no Alchohalism in our family (including me) so it doesn't give me much to work with.  I can't begin to imagine what that was like for her.....and...I can't begin to imagine just what she needs many times because of it.  That's my problem in knowing what to do?  I have no experience here so I can only guess?

Are you saying that ACoA can help me understand her better and not just for the adults who grew up this way?  I might be interested just so I can understand what she is not telling me (or doesn't understand about herself to be able to)  Anything along these lines will surely help at this point.  I have enough experience on my own to pick these things up pretty quickly?




Hi J...


Thank you SO much for all of the highly relative feedback. It's helping such a tremendous amount.

I do think ACOA/Al-Anon could help you with understanding her better, and probably in other ways that I couldn't really begin to guess. The program is for anyone who has been impacted by living close to addiction,  so I think you would certainly qualify. The fallout from this disease spans generations, particularly when we (the family of an addict) aren't aware of the ways in which it shapes us emotionally, or even that it shapes us at all.

It took me 30 years to come to the awakening point that I was different from other people in how I processed things and expressed my emotionality - that is to say, didn't express it, at all, because I was afraid that it would be rejected. Then, after I learned that expressing was more healthy than repressing, there was a rebound period of expressing TOO much and needing TOO much, which may be what your wife is going through, protracted or otherwise. When you find someone you can depend on emotionally, and you actually trust this person not to hurt you, the tendency is to dig-in and want more, more, more of that healthy attention. Then you wear out your partner, then they push back and need space, but that feels like rejection, which causes an amplified, almost childlike 'pouting' response...but it's all based on pent up need and the "high" of having it finally met in a safe way, followed by the corresponding "let down" of having someone (however reasonably) say "I love you too, but I need some space right now"... I went through precisely one cycle of this before "oh, ok, but he's coming back when he's ready/able" happened. But I was only able to get there so quickly because I am in personal therapy, attend a support group, and have a strong network of therapeutic friends. I think this could have taken me years to recognize, let alone correct, if not for the therapeutic process as a whole...

You may consider asking your T for a referral to a local chapter. If nothing else, it couldn't hurt, and these are definitely people who "get it" as a unit whole. Whatever the emotional struggle is, someone in that group has at least a relatable experience.

Meeting of the Minds....ADHD vs Non ADHD

I thought about making a new post here, but since this post is already addressing this issue....I decided to include it here to share what recently happened when I was finally able to get my wife to see something that I have been really frustrated with for a long time.  I knew it made me angry and it definitely felt disrepectful....but I was not able to get a straight answer from her until just the other day.  This is an on going problem for us but I think a crack of light just appeared from the conversation we had about this.  From the ADHD side of things....I felt rather vindicated.

In the course of this issue we have had when we confront each other....in the past....it usually ended up going no where fast.  I have since changed my tack with her and the two of us have begun to discuss this in order to get to the bottom of it.

Specifically.....the assumptions and accusations that come through in my wife's language and tone when she speaks to me as well as appearing to go on a tangent and avoiding answering my questions directly. 

Getting right to it....I told her the other day that she was making me angry and she could clearly see that this was the case.  She immediately did what she always does and got defensive.  What was it that was getting under my skin.  Not what she wanted or what the specific thing she said......it was the accessment, judgement, and incorrect conclusion that she blurted out as the second part of what she said.

The first part I had no problem with.  I don't even remember what we were talking about but it had to do with her being angry about something that I had done that she has seen me do many times and we have talked about this as many times to the point that this is nothing new.  She knows exactly why I do these things or so I thought.  She also accused me of calling her names or being judgmental which was the first thing that clued me in.  I asked her what she meant?  She said....when I get angry (in the past) I have called her names in the moment.  This is true and as I admitted to her about these past moments....I told her that it was in response to her doing the same thing with me.  She didn't understand?????  Why should (or did) anything she had to say or the reasons why I did something make any difference?

  As she said this....."what your saying doesn't mean anything to me and I don't care about why you do something.  It doesn't matter and it's not important to me."

I said...." I hear you.  I really do.  These things don't matter to you and you don't care in reference to what I am saying.  It's not important to you as you just said.  Is that right?

She said basically....yes that's about right and then started back in about the specific thing that she was upset about.  I stopped her and said..."wait....you just told me you feel and as I heard you.....you don't think what I am saying is important or should matter in respect to what you want and how it makes you feel.  In respect to you....I just listened to you and I heard you and how you feel.  I get to have that same chance now....and these things that I was saying are EXTREMELY important to me and I need to have the same chance to tell you why.  You don't get to decide how I feel or what is important to me even if you don't agree or it is not important to you....at least give me the same courtesy you demand for yourself."

She agreed to listen and this is what I said.  "If someone were to borrow something of mine without asking and not knowing any better....I might think they stole it.  As long as I believed that....how I felt about them would not change until I heard what they had to say for themselves.  If I confronted them and they said that this was a mistake and they should have asked me but I wasn't there to ask and they decided that I most likely wouldn't mind since I let them borrow that thing before."

The problem here isn't the borrowing.....it's the not asking and not getting permission first. That's the disrespect right there. Who knows if I need that thing right now or not better than me......and then I go and I can't find it?  Double the anger if that were to happen.

But in this hypothetical situation.....once I hear what they have to say about this incident....I know they didn't steal it and they just told me the error in their own thinking and the reasons why they did it.  It still doesn't release them from making a bad decision....but I'm not going to feel the same about it once I know they didn't steal it from me.  I told my wife in our confrontations at times.....the WHY and the intentions behind it is everything when it comes to these things for me.  It changes how I feel about them and changes any judgments  I might have had otherwise.

My wife looked at me kind of puzzled and said something that equates to "what does that have to do with the price of tea in China????"

I said...."well.....if you don't believe me when I tell you that many of these things that I do are not directly in any way to you....but you respond to me as if I did these things with some kind of intention behind it?  That's how you talk to me and that's how it comes out even though I have explained this to you repeatedly to the point or exasperation. "

She said..."right, I am sick and tired of hearing you say the same things over and over repeatedly....you think I just don't understand."

I said..."if I keep telling you the same thing and yet....you keep acting like you have never heard this before....one would make the assumption that you don't understand by getting the same reaction I get each time I do it.  This is the case and why I keep saying the same thing because it appears you just don't understand."

She said..."it not that I don't understand.....it's that I don't agree."

"Don't agree????  With which part?  My explanation.....the experts on ADHD....or just that you think I'm wrong and I don't know what I am talking about?"

She said....."I just don't trust what you are saying is true and I feel differently"

That's when I said...."so in my example....if you don't believe them when they explain why they borrowed something without asking and you believe they stole it from you.....then that would mean that they are a thief.  Isn't that what you are saying?  Whether you realize it or say this to them....you are calling them a thief and are treating them accordingly base on your conclusion."

"And what you just admitted to me was that you don't believe what I am saying and so therefore....I'm a liar.  Whether you say it to me directly or not.  That is what you are doing and it comes out exactly like that in how you treat me...the things you say to me and how it comes out.  You justified in treating me like a liar (or a thief in my example) simply because you have decided that you can't trust what I am saying because you don't understand it.  Therefore....I'm a liar.  Anything that you don't understand gets explained in the same way.....with suspicion and doubt not matter how "right" I am and no matter how many times I say the exact same thing.  The accusation comes through in the second part of how you respond which comes through loud and clear.  You are calling me a liar and I wasn't born yesterday.  I can tell what people are thinking by the innuendo and the attitude that goes along with it....so when I finally get fed up with not being believed and I throw that back in your face because I get tired of not being believed....that what I'm doing with you.  As poorly as my responses have been with you in the past....in the moment...I returning fire with fire and calling you any name that pops into my head whether it's true or not.  What I might call you is irrelevant....I'm just doing the same thing you just did to me but I'm not beating around the bush like you are....I'm calling you out for calling me names that are not only wrong....but are disrespectful and unwarranted base on everything you know about me and everything that I spent so much time making sure I am accurate and not lying....ABOUT ANYTHING!!

In our case at least....this is true.  I don't lie to my wife unless I just don't want to hear about something and hide what I am really feeling or what I know is true just to avoid the conflict and her angry reaction.  The consequences of telling her the truth.....that is....to be called a liar since she doesn't believe me no matter what I say.

Fot the first time ever....she actually understood what I had just said to her and acknowledged that she now understood why I said the things I have to in the past that did not make sense to her until now.....including any name calling I have done.  In respect to my wife....I apologized up and down for doing that with her back then and told her that it took me until now to be able to find a way to say this in a way that she understood.  My lack of knowing how was also the end result of not doing this well and only creating a fight.

I see this as a giant step forward in cracking the ice concerning this topic and coming to a meeting of the minds between the two of us.  We both walked away feeling heard and understood.




Seems like you guys had a genuine, productive discussion! Celebrate it. :) Well done, you.  You deserved fm some vindication for all the breakthrough thinking I've seen you doing here lately :)))

Thank You jlhrva.....Also

Thank you for explaining this pattern to me.  Yes!!  This is exactly what I am seeing and experiencing from her.......

"It took me 30 years to come to the awakening point that I was different from other people in how I processed things and expressed my emotionality - that is to say, didn't express it, at all, because I was afraid that it would be rejected. Then, after I learned that expressing was more healthy than repressing, there was a rebound period of expressing TOO much and needing TOO much, which may be what your wife is going through, protracted or otherwise. When you find someone you can depend on emotionally, and you actually trust this person not to hurt you, the tendency is to dig-in and want more, more, more of that healthy attention. Then you wear out your partner, then they push back and need space, but that feels like rejection, which causes an amplified, almost childlike 'pouting' response...but it's all based on pent up need and the "high" of having it finally met in a safe way, followed by the corresponding "let down" of having someone (however reasonably) say "I love you too, but I need some space right now"

My wife it appears has been stuck in the second stage you mentioned.  Expressing too much and needing too much.  That part she is fully aware and she has told me (now) more recently.....that she is struggling with this herself.  This is where knowing this really helps me.  If I know how difficult simply picking up after myself can be for me and how it takes time and dedicated effort to learn to do this better as I go along.....I can certainly relate with the fact that even though my wife is aware of this part in her (how could she not.....she has run into trouble with this most of her life).....she still can't find a good balance between either being repressed and letting her emotions build up until they gush all over you in the moment good or bad.......or way over doing it and becoming unreasonable and over emotional when she tries to express herself. 

The problem as I see it is that it all looks the same to me concerning anything negative....that is.....it all looks extreme and it all looks like anger.  She has said to me many times that not everything is anger but without trying to be smart ass here but in response to her......if I see someone who is over reacting to something.....and their eye brows are furrowed, they are yelling or talking at you with elevated volume in a chastising or imperious tone.....appear kind of out of control and are complaining about something while at the same time......look very unhappy and and making accusations and threats to me......this looks like anger to me!!! lol

I realize now (going along with what you are saying)....that she has trouble expressing her emotions other than in kind of ALL or NOTHING way.  This really is what it looks like.  Their very little subtlety or variance between how she come across and it comes across as offensive and disrespectful many times since it just doesn't fit the situation.  This in turn and what it looks like......has triggered my anger response to the point of my emotional liability taking over especially in those rare few time that I lost control of it and completely lost my temper with her.

What I have clearly seen for quite some time is how the both of us when we got that way were over reacting with a disproportionate response to the same thing.  This has been the hardest part to try and get her to see.....that both of us are doing it not just me.  She still can't see herself as I see her to know why I react the way I do with her.  It does appear with both ADHD and someone who grew up with alcoholism in their family like my wife (her mother and her many boyfriends and ex husbands and whose stories I have heard are really horrendous)....that self awareness is the first step in seeing just what other people are seeing to even understand your part and how it effects other people who are not this way.

  I did not experience this same kind of thing growing up so it is difficult to fully understand just how much this can effect you like you are saying.  I see this same pattern in her brother as well as the rest of her family.  No one expresses anything or says anything that has to do with what is really happening with them emotionally.  The explanations and reactions to any given circumstances sometimes leaves you scratching your head going.....huh?  How in the world did you come to that conclusion?  In fact sometimes.....it would be the very last conclusion in a very long list of conclusions I might come up with myself on any given day?

And in respect to what I was saying and in appreciation for you input......it does help me better understand my wife so I can know how to read her if she cannot do this for herself.....that is.....tell me openly and honestly how she really feels about something since she appears not to be able to process emotions like disappointment and rejection without flying off the handle with anger or pouting like a little girl who didn't get her way.  That is exactly what it looks like to me.  This is difficult at best when you are not reacting or behaving in that way at the same time with the other person.

Those accusations and name calling (actually on her end it is black and white labeling and compartmentalization ) even though fro the looks or it on the outside....it comes out as arrogant and self righteous and attacking even over the smallest thing.  Those are the easy moments for me to get past.  When I see something happening and I really do understand it and am not confused in any way.....and my wife appears to watching a different program than I am in the same moment.....that does make it easy to determine between the two of us.....who is seeing things more clearly and who is not.  Just the ability to do this tells me what not to do with her those moments.  Just let whatever it is come out and then go back and sort it through later once she has a chance to calm down and come to her senses.  If I don't react at all.....she will almost always come around.  If I do react to her instead.....she doesn't get past those times nearly as easily or quickly and then holds those against me for the next time it happens.  This may not seem fair to me but it is what it is.  Better to work with her than against her in all things that's the lesson that I have learned and I take with me to tell me the BEST thing to do.  There may be several ways to approach her and I have tried them all.....the best appraoch by far is to just not react and let it go.  No matter what comes out of her mouth in those moments.....I know that I well get the real answer and the real response that I want from her if I just wait and let her come to me.  When I do this.....she does this with me almost every time and we move on and keep moving forward.

The BEST choice in these things is not always the first one you think of and many times.....the most difficult choice because of how difficult it is to do and how hard it is to become skilled at.  And yet......it's just a skill like anything else.......if you say you can't......you won't.  That's the lesson I have learned at least:)

Thanks again jlhrva......you have really confirmed this for me and it really helps narrow things down.....I appreciate it and your encouragement as well:)



ADHD is not to blame

Unfortunately, when ADHD is present, the tendency is to blame all difficult or bad behaviours on ADHD. I would love to hear Dr Hallowell's input on this, but I don't recognise most of what is described here as symptoms of ADHD. Be aware that ADHD frequently comes with other co-morbidities and having ADHD certainly doesn't exclude you from having separate mental disorders, personality disorders or being on the autism spectrum, any and all of which could contribute to the behaviours described.

This could describe my ex and his attitude to me almost to a T, but in our case I'M the one with the ADHD (or, more accurately, ADD Inattentive), which made our marriage impossible, because in addition to the ADD I have chronic health/pain issues, but he refused to believe that when my health was pretty much at its worst, I couldn't do more around the house. I guess he thought I was just lazy and his parents think I used my health and the ADD as an excuse, despite the fact that as soon as my health started improving, I did more. I only discovered very recently what the real problem was, as I truly couldn't understand it. We got on really well most of the time, but he did tell me a couple of years ago that he resented my illness although he didn't blame me. Now I discovered it was all a lie, and no matter what I say to him, he won't (or can't) believe me when I try to explain to him that if there was any way I could have done more I would have. I loved him more than my life and, more than anything, I wanted to make him happy!

ComingToTerms's picture

This is my first post as well.

What do you do when you ARE the ADHD husband, and you are seeing a counselor, and even though it's a slow process you ARE trying to improve on the many pitfalls being unaware of being ADHD has allowed to become habit and part of your way of viewing the world, your relationship, and how you respond to both? 
What do you do when you know that, yes, sometimes I think I said or told her something, but didn't and am willing to admit that maybe I'm remembering incorrectly, however, there are some situations where I DO know for a fact that I shared a certain piece of information that she just isn't remembering but she always insists, pretty much no matter what, that no I never did?  I know I'm wrong sometimes, and I'm normally able to recall that I didn't actually share something when I'm wrong.  I don't bother to continue fighting or arguing when it's adamantly refused that I said something in those cases where my memory is rock-solid as there seems no point to it, so I just suck it up and push down the unhealthy feelings.
What do you do, when you regularly reinforce in counseling (for depression and anxiety, and ADHD) that there is equal fault for our current relationship strain and stress for how we both go about (or often not go about) trying to address the issues between us and your counselor keeps asking why I keep "making excuses" for her, despite my (female) counselor acknowledging that she recognizes there is fault on both of our parts?
What do you do when you want to go to marriage counseling, but she is resentful of the suggestion, doesn't want to go, and with clear disapproval (not imagined, in this case, I can assure you) says that "it's not the direction I would choose to go" but that she'll go "if that's what you want" and gives zero input about who we see, etc... and closes with "I don't care who we see, just tell me when and where I have to be" refusing any more involvement beyond reluctantly agreeing to go.

What do you do when she criticizes a lack of "confidence" as her reason for not being attracted to you but you're trying to move on from 7+ years of lack of intimacy?  Or sets material goals as a potential goal or hurdle for there to be a possibility of a physical relationship, like find a better job or show some interest in advancing your career further while unfairly comparing me to ex-employees she was glad to be rid of.  (I won't be specific the exact amount, but I make a good living, and earn in the $50 to $100k range)

What do you do when you have doubts about whether the relationship can be salvaged, but the goals set to demonstrate "confidence" in her eyes are things that could seriously impact my financial situation if we do determine that divorce is the direction we need to take?  It's a no-win situation.  Either switch jobs, reduce hours and go back to school, etc... to "show" initiative and drive, and risk nothing changing and winding up with a much smaller income as a possible divorce begins, or, stay where I am and continue to be judged as having no ambition and confidence work-wise.
What do you do when it's only been recently that she outpaced my earning, though I never, ever, held earning more over her head, but suddenly, not continuing to advance upwards in a company that has a brutal turn-over (due to positions being cut annually) in upper management resulting in my increases continuing but being able to be overtaken by her own are something to use as justification for not wanting to be intimate or start a family?
What do you do when time is running out for a family to even be a possibility due to age, and you can't help feel responsible for her possibly never having children?  But, what do you do when you've impressed over the years how important a family is, that you want children, but she shuts down any time resumption of a physical relationship is addressed? 
What do you do when she said she wanted more romance and spontaneous angle to love and sex, but she never initiates, or does anything that suggests she's open to physicality?  Or you drive over an hour away to deliver flowers, cards, etc... to her work place, multiple times, and thanks are given, even an occasional comment that suggest lovemaking may result, but again, never materializes?  When I didn't push/ask for it after said comments because it's been reinforced time and time again that if I suggest it she "shuts down", her words, not mine?  What do you do when you feel like you can't even kiss or hug her as it'll be perceived as wanting sex?  When you do give in and do it (no, she's not the one initiating the kiss or hug), you kick yourself for not being able to keep your hands to yourself because you're so touch, intimacy, sexually starved for the woman you still love and find sexy, despite her not being happy with her weight and body shape?
I'm sure there's lots to pick apart here, and some is coming off far more victim than is intended and definitely far more so than I express in counseling.  I'm terrified of ending what we have, but I'm concerned that we aren't making any visible progress on our own, or despite my solo counseling and recent understanding of my ADHD condition, and even more worried if we stay together we'll just grow old and bitter together, when perhaps the temporary pain of divorce might allow us both to move on and find more fulfilling happiness despite both of us being less financially secure as a result.
Our communication is poor... I am frequently blamed for lack of it, but she seldom opens significantly meaningful conversations about us and our relationship, but does frequently respond to issues with snark or sharp comments.  From a confidence standpoint, anytime I do say let's sit and talk, most of the issues addressed get pushed at/on me.  She realizes she has issues to, but rarely voices them, and (as has become clearer talking to my counselor) displaces problems on me for the most part leaving me adrift and feeling like there's no "meeting in the middle" and that I'm the only one making effort to bridge or resolve the gap. 

What do you do when she complains that I don't know how to read her, but she won't out and out say what she wants most of the time, I have to drag it out of her, she wants to play coy (which when things were good, wasn't a big deal, but now that they aren't is infuriatingly frustrating and comes across as passive aggressive), etc...
What do you do when you know where you need to go next (counseling together) but you've having to drag her (emotionally) kicking and screaming against her will?  What do you do when she would surely benefit from solo counseling to for her own depression, but it's not something she would consider doing?
What do you do?

A Very Familiar Story

I did make a more general response to this and other posts previously, but I just read your message again (it came up in a Google search when I was looking for answers!), and I thought it might be more useful to address your comment specifically.

When you describe your husband, you could easily have been describing mine, except in our case, I'm the one with the ADHD (Inattentive). I have always been honest and open about who I am and what/how I feel. But, he decided that I was lying about my health at some point (never said it directly - he just didn't believe what I said!)  That finally ended our marriage this year, because he couldn't "love and accept me as I am, for who I am", as I had asked him to. Well, I'm the same person he married, and I've always been a loving, affectionate wife, so it was hard to understand that he would just give up, without even trying counselling, especially as he says he really did love me in the beginning.

I just recently discovered that he has been telling our friends, as well as his family and friends, all his reasons for ending things, and it is clear from what he has told them that he never accepted or believed that I couldn't do more than I did. I  have chronic pain and other health issues which I had when we got married. They did get worse after the marriage because he put an enormous amount of pressure on me, both before and after the wedding, to do things that I just couldn't cope with, physically and emotionally.

The stories going around make it sound like I was just lazy, and apparently a liar too! It was devastating to hear that he thought so little of me, virtually from the beginning! I loved him so much, I would have done anything within my power to make him happy! I tried so very hard, but he never recognised any effort I made, because it wasn't enough and it wasn't consistent. Well, ADHD didn't help with that, but I mainly couldn't be keep things up and be consistent because I was in too much pain to do so! His negative attitude and lack of support didn't help either.

I've said far more than I planned to. I suspect that is an ADHD thing, because once I start writing my thoughts just keep flowing and I keep writing! But, my reason for responding to you about this is because I believe you are right when you say you think there is more going on with your husband. There is definitely something going on with mine, I'm just not sure what. But I don't believe the way he perceives things and me is "normal". I do wonder if perhaps he lies a lot himself about who he is and what his motivations are, that he would assume that I am lying. It would never have occurred to me to think that of him before, because I have never lied about who I am or what I think or feel, so I don't expect other people to. Maybe it works the other way around too!

Communication with ADHD

I now get so depressed reading anything on this forum.  It is a vicious cycle.  My own experience is that either your ADHD spouse can take meds that help him or they don't as well as other possible ways to help.  If it is not helping then I would assume like in my case they have another mental health issue, like a mood disorder.  The mood disorder symptoms are really the parts of the illness that are hard to deal with on a daily basis if not treated or treated properly.  If you can have a neuropsychological assessment done on your spouse do it!!Otherwise you will never really know what is going on with your spouse.  We get our results on Thursday and I hope it lifts a huge burden off my shoulders of trying to cope with an illness that is ever present and not getting any better or worse.


I have read back through your posts and I find your way of expressing yourself very honest and simply put and I thank you for expressing it in a way that speaks from MY heart also.

I am coming full circle back to the FACT that....... if the spouse with the issue cannot/willnot ACCEPT they have this and it can GREATLY affect the quality of their MARRIAGE......then I need to prepare to mourn the death of our union and move on. 

Daily life with sporadically checked ADD, after 4 years of KNOWING, is enough. My expectation of effort from him is not extreme. My desire for simple, RECIPROCAL conversation has reached a critical peak. I am jealous of couples who appear to actually enjoy being with each other. We used to be that way.....how slowly that ebbed away....I did not see.... 

I find it interesting too that, as I look back....my spouse has not initiated one single "step" regarding my concern for him.....and then, as time went on...our marriage. He gets an F for effort but expects an A......I too want to scream ...GROW UP.... at him.

I am sorry he has this problem. I thought any problem in this marriage was our problem and together we could come up with solutions. I was wrong.

I believe I am living in my own denial.....of his denial.......duh.

As of now, moving forward...I am going to keep it foremost in my mind.....H does not believe that ADD is that big a deal .......and I (me) am no longer striving to "live a lie" in this marriage.....for his sake. 

Berlie66 you are in my prayers.

lonelyspouse's picture

Response to Catherine10

I feel your pain and frustration, and can completely relate to your experience.

My husband has been formally diagnosed as a narcissist, and, although never formally diagnosed (same psychologist agrees) has ADHD tendencies. Your experience is what I have been living for 30+ years. I am almost daily (exception is when we do not converse) accused of having feelings, thoughts, desires that I do not, and when I "dare" to speak up and voice my own truth, I am told that I am a liar. I am even regularly accused of saying things I have not said- it got so bad, I started recording our conversations to prove to myself that he was not correct. There is no point in playing them for him, as he would accuse me of doctoring the recordings- which I don't even know how to do. Conversely, he often denies saying and doing things, terrible things, that no one would make up, and the recordings bear out.

The psychologist who diagnosed my husband told me there is nothing I can do- that I am not the problem. He had told me years ago that my husband's emotional IQ is very low. My husband is an intelligent man with a good career, but that means nothing regarding his inability to be fair, to listen and actually hear what I am saying, to correctly interpret words, and to even let me speak. He repeatedly cuts me off-  as if there is no need to listen because he thinks he knows what I am going to say and how I feel before I ever tell him. He would deny it, but he is very insecure, and seems to need to be right about everything all the time. Yet, there are those times when he counts on me for help, and I always wonder why, since he has so little regard for my intelligence and opinions.

Jus this morning, before he left for work, I asked him if he still wanted me to place an order for a piece of computer equipment that just yesterday he told me he wanted me to order for him. (I have to verify everything with him as he changes his mind about many things without ever bothering to let me know). He said, "no". I said "okay". Then he announced that I should go ahead and order it, Puzzled, I told him my question was not me suggesting he should buy it, just verifying whether he wanted me to place the order. He started getting angry and told me he is tired of the "back and forth". Umm, isn't that what conversation is? Then he started yelling at me that him telling me to order it was him trying to stroke my needy ego. ????????? I told him I didn't care one way or the other whether he buys this item- it's for him. He then launched into a tirade about me and how he's sick of me and all the trouble I cause (it's causing trouble to ask a question), and how I'm ruining his career. He then left, calling up the stairs that I should go cry to my mother, and then yelled "F-U" and "don't you dare call me at work" before slamming the door and driving away.

This is one of the milder interactions between us. They are nonsensical and maddening, and there is NO way for me to make them right. The psychologist told me that he hears everything through an internal filter that interprets ANYTHING other than joyful agreement as a threat to him and his "reality". The harder I try to reassure him, the more he insists that he knows how I really feel, what I really want, what I really meant, etc. And God forbid I ever am actually angry with him- he has told me to "keep those feelings to yourself". It's all about him- all the time. Classic narcissist.

I wish I could offer you hope, but unless your husband recognizes his behavior as an issue and wants to change it, nothing will change. It is impossible to be happy and have a meaningful relationship with someone who won't listen and insists they know you and your thoughts better than you do. I'm not sure that he CAN'T hear you- more that he WON'T. 

I would research narcissism online as see if he fits that behavior. I'm guessing there are other things he does or says that might give you a better indication of what his problem might be. I hope for your sake that he is not a narcissist, as I don't think many of them ever change- because they refuse to see themselves as anything other than superior in almost every way. 





This could be my situation except my husband caused us significant financial harm due to poor decisions and debt accumulation and he decided that his job was the source of his problems so took a job making $12,000 less per year (because that would help pay down debt???) 

Your wife is tired.  She has probably rationalized your behavior over the years.  She has probably spent a lot of time blaming herself for things not working out.  She has probably expended a lot of energy to try to "fix" things.  She probably does not find incompetence sexy.  And by that, I don't mean incompetence at work, but general life skills incompetence.  She probably doesn't see you as a husband/leader anymore.  She has probably spent enough time trying to figure this out and does not see the utility of devoting time to counseling.  At some point, women get tired and have to decide if the time and effort is well spent (because it didn't yield results in the past) and whether or not they should move on in their minds and spend the effort on themselves.  


At least in my situation this is the case.  My husband went to therapy about 10 weeks.  I was told that I need to "lighten up".  No one, my husband or the counselor seemed to be concerned with my well being or how the ADHD has affected me over the years.  The only thing that phased my husband was when I told him his financial betrayals and Ashley Madison changed me as a person and that the old me won't be coming back.  I am back in grad school.  I've found a few new activities and am actively seeking a career change.  Our life is still derailed but I'm focusing on the life I want which may or may not include my husband.  I am not putting in the time and effort for joint counseling because my time is valuable and I now judge that the time is better spent on things I want. 

Thank You for Your Post!

I am so glad I found this post and I just wanted to Thank you for sharing your experience because you have described my Ex boyfriend exactly!!.I have been reading articles on Narcissist, Emotional Manipulation/Abuse, etc and all of them ring true in some instances to my Ex, but his communication sounds a lot like he may have ADHD.  I have NEVER gotten an apology let alone closure in any of the arguments we've had and because I was the "fixer" who always wanted to communicate and come up with a solution, I have been suffering for a while. We were together on and off for 3 years and about a month and half ago he broke up with me as a punishment for my "Ungratefulness". To make a very, very long story short, he created an incredibly hurtful and explosive breakup between us by pretty much accusing me of being "Ungrateful" a day before we were supposed to move into our first official place together. We recently were about to move into a new apartment (which he didn't want to put my name on the lease) when he began taking things that I say as being "Ungrateful" towards this new purchase.

First, he insisted that he be the only one to put money into anything going into the apartment, which at first didn't feel right because since the beginning of our relationship I have either been the only one providing for the both of us or going half and half on everything. Just recently he had gotten into a career in Truck Driving and was getting on his feet, so I thought that because I have been with him through so much that he was happy to finally be able to provide us with a place of stability. I guess I was wrong because not too long after him signing the lease he began being very accusative of my feelings. One day while on the truck with him, I confided in him that I was having a little bit of a hard time breathing and that I might be experiencing anxiety induced hyperventilation (I began to develop this probably as a result of the constant "chaotic" state he would put me in). When I told him this, his face changed to anger and he said something to the extent of " I am going to get you a car and we are about to move into an apartment, shouldn't you be Happy? I guess nothing I do is going to make you Happy." This made me feel very bad because #1. I have no control over what is happening to me, #2. This is the first time I confide in him about this, and #3. Now he is making me have to explain why I feel this way and that It doesn't mean that I am Unhappy with the Apartment or car. I responded by saying " It doesn't have anything to do with those things, I don't know why this happens, but you shouldn't get upset over it, it doesn't mean I am Unhappy". Then he responded by saying " Yes it does. Anxiety is depression, which means you are feeling unhappy". 

Once again he was taking something way out of context to assert that I was feeling "Unhappy" which in turn means I am being "Ungrateful" towards him for the effort he made to get an apartment and vehicle for us. This is the very, very short version of about a months worth of things said that he has flipped around or accused me of leading up to moving into this apartment, which btw I never got to move into. I am beyond devastated, but it is helpful to know I am not the only one who has gone through this.  

I'm in the exact same

I'm in the exact same situation!!  Hello from Houston and yes we have a problem.  I have been married to my ADHD husband for 10 years and we're now on the verge of divorce. He sneaks around behind my back contacting other women and watching porn. He's very secretive and he's a pro at lying by omission. His way of comforting my pain is by ignoring me, if he doesn't have to talk about it "the problem doesn't exist". If I try to talk to him it ends badly in a screaming match because I get so frustrated I explode.  I cry myself to sleep almost every night because I can't get through to him and feel like "he doesn't get it" well, I'm tired of crying, tired of his lying and I finally realize he's either never going to get it OR he get's it and just doesn't care because he has to save himself from looking bad.  He's put me in financial ruin, he's neglected our property and destroyed me emotionally. All the while "he refuses to see it" OR see's it and doesn't care. My heart feels like it will never mend, I feel like I am bleeding inside.  I have tried counseling (that was not help) I've tried pleading with him (that's no help) I've tried screaming and yelling (that's no help) I tell him if he doesn't change I'm leaving and he tells me over and over that he's done everything HE CAN to make me happy.  He looks like the Golden Child to everyone else because they don't live with him and see what's really going on....I have no options left... It's just over and I am a broken woman..

~Seriously Broken Hearted In Houston

lonelyspouse's picture

Could he be suffering from NPD as well?

Circa66, some of what you describe is classic NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder). I am well familiar with all of your issues, as my husband behaves similarly, and had been diagnosed as Narcissistic. I was told by a psychologist that they don't get it- that they live in a fantasy land inside their head. That is because narcissists cannot handle ANY criticism, and see criticism even in simple requests for attention, time, help, etc. They also have no empathy, and cannot deal with the pain that being introspective about their behaviors might cause them. It IS all about them. Nothing is ever their fault, and they will not admit wrongdoing, apologize, or take responsibility for their own behavior. Turning a deaf ear to your concerns and tears is typical. Telling you they've done "everything they can" to address your needs (when in reality they've done little or nothing) is also typical. Your statement about him looking good to everyone else because of his public facade is a bell-ringer for covert narcissism. There is TONS of information on the Internet about this. I urge you to do some research, and see if this fits your experience with him.


My H FOR SURE has narcissistic tendencies.... It's scary how well it fits him.  I believe it's all rooted in his csa.  But yea... Describes him very well.


i am so sick of it.  I am amazed as I prepare for my life with put him, doing research on how to get through divorce, making sure I have everyone in line for what I will need... And all he does is watch you tube videos of world of Warcraft.  I guess since that is what matters most it makes sense.  Pathetic though.

lonelyspouse's picture

So Sorry

SpaceyStacey197, I feel bad for you that you have to go through this, for anyone who does, but I'm glad you're taking care of you. I'm sure it still hurts, even though you know it's not your fault. I wish you all the best!

Thankyou LonelySpouse....

Thankyou LonelySpouse.... Your username reflects my life for the past 7 years. :-(  I imagine you feel many of the same hurts and pains I do.  I am very very very OK with being alone, but I am very very very not ok with being alone when I am in a marriage.  My life with my soon to be ex will soon be done.  And while that pain seems almost unbearable at times, the idea of living another year like the past seven is just too much....  I cannot even bear it.  I have too much to offer someone.  Too much to give.  I wrote another post the other day commenting on how lucky my spouse was to have married someone like me.  I am not perfect - but dammed if I am not loyal and loving almost to my own.... no for sure to  my own detriment.  I put him first.  I honored him with everything I had.  I sacrificed my present on his lies of a future.  I wish I would have found someone like me.  And very soon, though I am not in any hurry - I have the chance to find someone who IS loving and loyal and live out what ever I have left in my life.


I feel very lucky that I am getting out now, even though the pain right here, right in my chest and stomach every day.  I have good days, I have bad days... I focus on and visualize my life free of the chains to a man who feels that I am wortth so little he wouldnt even read a chapter in a book that *COULD* have helped save our marriage and open us up to a potentially glorious life.


On paper - we are perfect, same interests, same political leanings, same desires for the future - but I guess that is because he lied.  None of what he told me was true. 

lonelyspouse's picture

Same experience, same issues

SpaceyStacey197, you sound like you are healing, but we both know the scars will always be there. I like what you said about being okay alone, but not alone inside a marriage. My husband bought himself a pocket-sized book about letting go of anger- even bragged about it like he deserved kudos just for buying it. Unfortunately, that was almost 6 years ago, and he has "glanced" at a few pages- never read it. My guess is that he saw himself up close and personal in it, and couldn't handle the recognition. He even carries it to work in his briefcase every day since he bought it. I asked him why he won't just sit down and read it- it only took me about 20 minutes to read the entire book. He had no answer, but joked about how maybe he would put it under his pillow and see if he could "absorb" it in his sleep. It is both maddening and pathetic that they will not dare to change- even if the payoff would improve their quality of life as well as ours. I will be thinking of you, and cheering you on from my little corner of the world.

LS  - story of my life... I

LS  - story of my life... I have spent a ton of money on books for him, requested by him, even bought him a dammed kindle to make it easy for him.  he doesnt know where his kindle is, and I know he never even 'cracked' the books.  neighter did his mom (got her a copy of a book to help her help him too. 


Seems I am the only one with enough balls to call him out on his shit.  His friends wont (they are self absorbed).  His mother wont (she is scared he will shut her off too).  So that leaves me - who sees his struggles even when he cant.  But I am not going to be his whipping boy, his excuse anymore.  I have alot to deal with, and I am not going to let him harm me anymore.  I may love him - and in fact I do very very much.  But I really dislike him and his protective mask.  He is full of it, and instead of preparing to deal with life with out me, and instead of doing ANYTHING to lift a finger to improve our chances.. he watches videos of video games... I am sure that its for front in his mind... those games.  Good for him. 


Pathetic.  I am looking forward to living a grown up life with out someone who manipulates me and uses me and who is out for himself.


He always did take the best cut of meat... you know?

I have suspected that he is a

I have suspected that he is a narcissist but unfortunately he's not interested in getting any help.  He's diagnosed with ADHD  and has his Adderall which by the way life got a lot colder after he started that drug.  Trying to convince him that there is more wrong than ADHD would be impossible. According to him it's all my fault.  I was just showing him his history of online porn and instead of him trying to make me feel better he made the MMMMMmmm sound and that really hurt my feelings... Like I said in public he's the Golden Child but behind closed doors he's a monster that lives to crush me emotionally.  I recently resigned from my job because he was accusing me of something and right now I am studying  for a new career. As soon as I am done with this course and back in the work place I will be GONE... 

lonelyspouse's picture

Narcissists don't want help

Circa66, I feel your pain- I really do. You have every right to be angry about the way he "enjoys" your pain. I asked a psychologist who treated my husband (until my husband realized he was not going to be successful in getting him to agree that I was the problem), and he said that the reason they enjoy hurting their spouses/ children is because at the time, they believe they deserve to be hurt. That is why they don't react to tears (except possibly angrily) or pleas for change- they think we get from them what we deserve. 

No, I agree that it will do no good to talk to your husband about his possible NPD. And the reason most of them never change is because they like who they are. Deep down, that might not be so, but they will not admit to that. They just keep up the facade in public, and let loose at home. My husband once told me that he knew he was punishing me for things that were not my fault, and I mistakenly thought he might be on the verge of a breakthrough. But later he denied he had ever said that, and then later admitted he had- but only to 'shut me up'. 

I wish you the best of luck with your new career and new life!

Wow, I see this in my husband

! My husband once told me that he knew he was punishing me for things that were not my fault, and I mistakenly thought he might be on the verge of a breakthrough. But later he denied he had ever said that, and then later admitted he had- but only to 'shut me up'.


I go through this daily with him. He says something to calm me down and the next day he tells me he only told me that so I would leave him alone. Thank you for the information...

Just Broken

I have tried everything to get through to him. He just doesn't care. I have begged him to go to counseling, begged him over and over to see my side of things. He tells me that he understands but I know he doesn't... He doesn't do anything to get help and I feel so worthless in his eyes. It's an especially hard night for me because I am finally realizing that I can't fix this and I have been fighting a losing battle for 10 years. At the moment I have been fighting with him for numerous days straight trying to get him to understand and realize what he's doing to me. All he does is mock me by saying yes, I get it. I am physically ill from my heartbreak and stress...

Circa66 please....

know that I am thinking of you and praying for you as you navigate these wearying waters. The ups and downs of this emotional roller coaster take its toll. Staying in the valley makes it hard to see a mountaintop view. You need to focus on you.....and that is hard. It makes us feel selfish. IT IS NOT. Just "learning" to "see yourself", your value, potential, your hopes seems wrong. IT's NOT.  Please consider taking a break from saving your marriage, "helping" your spouse and .....ATTEND to yourself. You might be surprised ......there really is hope.....for your LIFE.



I just wanted to give a little update on possible progress.  We saw a mental health professional today and she spent 2.5 hours with us. I was very surprised by what she said.  She told him that he is well over the 50% point on the Narcissist scale! He didn't argue what she was saying so maybe he's interested in getting help.  On the other hand she suggested that we been seen "together" as a couple but he doesn't want to do that. He would rather be seen alone. 

Short Lived

My new update really sucks.. That was very short lived.  On Monday he decided to turn in early (or so he said) I walked into the room he's staying in and found him live chatting to women live on a porn site.  I felt like someone shot me : (  My heart once again broken and no remorse from him.  He packed up his stuff and moved to a motel.. So I think it's really over this time. I don't want him back because I am tired of hurting.  I don't know how long it will take for me to get over him because I'm pretty sick over it.  I probably won't make any further posts.  I feel like I'm the crazy one.  


Circa66 - I am so sorry that

Circa66 - I am so sorry that things have gotten to this point.  But I hope you take hold of this thought and that it helps you navigate these waters. 


1. You didnt cause this.

2. You cannot control this.

3. You cannot FIX this.


The therapist said he had narcisistic tendencies... and you cannot fight that.  The very nature of that condition makes it nearly impossible to treat.  I am so sorry that you found youself involved with someone like this.  No one deserves this treatment.  I hope that you take this shot to RUN for the hills, and never look back.  I have read up on narcisism and the outcome is never good.  I know you are sick with it, and you have a long hard road ahead of you to mourn your loss.  Because even though he might not have been the person you thought he was, you still have to mourn your vision, your dreams and the life you thought you would live.


But let me tell you something.  You have a future ahead of you, and soon - you will wake up and it will not be your first thought.  Your springtime will hit, and you will see things in a new light.  I encourage you to read up on happiness after divorce.  Its encouraging to see the kind of joy you will find after escaping from a narcisist.  If you want, I can give you a link to a forum specifically for people who are struggling in relationships with narcisists and those who have gotten out of it as well.  People like that (those with narcisistic profile) find joy in hurting others.  In manipulating others to feel badly about themselves all while making themselves seem like the victim, or like the perfect partner.... they WANT you to pine for them and to beg and plead for them.    I am so sorry that you are in this situation as its going to be hard to rise from.  But you can and WILL rise from it and find a life that is beautiful for you.


Thinking of you and sending you virtual hugs!

i am astounded - my husband ALSO argues about my feelings

I just read a lot of this thread, having been very surprised to find the topic. It's an old old issue in our marriage. Well my issue anyway, because if I say "That's not what I said" it doesn't seem to be any kind of feedback he's open to. He goes on believing what he is claiming, and these days says "Well, any normal person" would take it exactly the same way he does. No awareness of my interpretation can penetrate his version.


I'm new here but I've been happy to find the benefits of not engaging him on this. Believe me, I've made that mistake many times in the past. I seem to have a nearly irrepressible reaxtion to what feels unfair, along with a (perfectionistic?) urge to correct inaccuracies

 Part of me thought the disagreement would gi away, simply not exist, if I could show its false underpinnings. I now see it doesn't work that way.


Nonetheless, whatever the outcome, and whether I stay calm or not, I'm left feeling judged, criticized, inferior. Not to mention the nagging doubts it instills about facing an "unreliable narrator" (is that the literary term used for fiction such as Girl on The Train?).


What totally stumps me is when he identifies the emotions he ascribes to me; there are no shades of gray, just simplistic ones like "angry" and "hostile".


Thanks to all for being there. I will keep coming back.


I hear that!

I think my husband's view of events is soooo different to mine.  He was gonna buy a 2nd hand computer (via the net) and I sent him a message stating what my tablet requirements were and not to tell the buyer, as I had already asked him (we do not know the buyer or where he lives, so this could be money badly spent), he only then went and told the buyer what I told him not to and thought I meant the last 10% of the sentence, which was irrelevant!?!  He once asked me if I liked a particular digital watch once, I said 'yes', he then proceeded to buy me some old-fogey dress watch, I only recently 'fessed up to not actually liking the watch!  He thinks he knows my taste, but does not have a clue.  This is only a small fraction of what he does, he goes gung-ho on things that I have shown a little bit of interest in.  He angrily  tells me, 'I was only trying to do something nice', when he has gone way overboard with something that has turned out not in my best interest. He also latches onto a small phrase I may say in an argument and he may not understand it's meaning (he speaks Dutch as a 1st language) and then the argument turns bad!  He once told me "You know how you sometimes say things that are not true?" I thought 'seriously?'.  This coming from a man whose grasp on reality is somewhat skewed!  He can very easily walk away or go to bed when an argument is unresolved, and talk about it tomorrow, leaving me pissed and upset.  I sometimes want to leave him and go as far away from him as possible, but the only thing holding me back is I once loved him to the bones (I still do love him, he puts up with my craziness) and know he is not a bad person, it helps a tad, that he realizes he has issues, but boy does annoy me to my back teeth!!!

Different Versions

I didn't think this was a problem in our marriage until last night.  We were discussing selling the house.  I had provided some clear, factual, unambiguous information.  It's a case where the information is just that, information and unchangeable - the same for everyone.  He repeated back something he said I said.  Uggh. It was so effin' wrong I couldn't even get my thoughts around it.  I don't understand how he interpreted what I said the way he did.  I KNOW I didn't say it because it wasn't true.  I shared the same information with another person who did not misunderstand me in the least. 

It got me to thinking.  I have always skimmed past posts and articles regarding this topic.  I didn't think it was an issue.  However, thanks to this forum and the research I've done, I've been more centered and objective.  I realized that I was delusional.  It's always been a part of our marriage.  What DID happen is that I was busy and overwhelmed with work, kids house (duh, right?) and always gave him the benefit of the doubt.  I assumed, incorrectly I believe, that I mispoke due to being rushed and too many things on my mind.  I no longer believe that is the case. It is apparent that he made me doubt myself in the past.  A lot. Did I tell him about the kids' event?  Oh, maybe not. I've been busy.  I was sure I shared that piece of information.  You say no, I didn't?  Ooops.  Sorry.   No, honey, I'm sure you didn't tell me that very important piece of information.  You said you did???  Hmmm.  I must be losing it. I'd better get better organized and pay attention. 

We end up with two different versions of events and conversations.  It was involved in crazymaking all this time and completely missed it.  I let him do it.  I didn't see it.  I didn't protect the integrity of my own thoughts. 

In response to what J said about individual therapy and working on yourself.  Absolutely.  It helps to be centered and objective. You are less likely to be sucked into unproductive and repetitive cycles.  This forum has helped me.  I've read every credible thing I can get my hands on.  With the work J suggests, it becomes easier to see the real, unfiltered picture. 

Last night is a long story.  Maybe when I get my thoughts together and lick my wounds I'll post about it.  This was just one of my eureka moments. 

However, in response to all of those who question whether or not their ADHD spouse is unable to see and consider them.... yes.  Last night I got brutal confirmation that he is unable to reflect on how his actions affect me and the family.  I feel absolutely hollow today.  I can't even cry.  Maybe later. 


so identify with your post....

You speak well for so many of us caught in this cycle of interaction/ communication that leaves us.....numb.

This "misunderstanding" part became a huge wake up for me when I heard myself say "I'm sorry I must have misunderstood" for the umpteenth thousandth time. It spurred an action of not communicating with him......therefore there could be no misunderstanding. When he would comment that I wasn't talking very much I would say " well atleast you don't have to deal with me misunderstanding you...." He did not like that response......what else is new?

Last week we had a "major" blow out. BOTH of us. He said, she said crap. UGH! Afterwards....when I was alone...kicking myself for not rising up and being the better me I so want.....I realized ......the "elephant" (his denial) has been silently roaming in our situation and that day we BOTH woke it up. Been an interesting week.....spending time with me myself and I. Thinking, learning,questioning, resolving, epiphanies, realizations and PRAYING. He put a note on the apartment door this morning....saying he hopes we have a future and that the last 43 yrs meant something.

For me .....all I am focused on is the future and it will be different and good. So I met with him and told him calmly and honestly....".there is no future for us with the denial of adhd. Your decision. I have no desire to ask you to address something you DO NOT WANT TO. I can live with that because it is the truth. I CANNOT nor WILL NOT live with the adhd RUNNING this marriage......MY LIFE matters just as much as YOURS. If you don't want to SHARE  life then you should not be married. What we DO affects each other GOOD and BAD.....THAT HAPPENS IN MARRIAGE!! You have said the ADD isn't that bad......I disagree. Do you hear that? I DISAGREE!!!!  I will love you to the moon and back.......BUT I WILL NOT live with this(unaddressed) one more day.  ( I had written this out and left it with him.) He does SO much better with written words. I KNOW he feels like crap......I CANNOT fix this marriage alone. I CANNOT fix his ego (I have my hands full with my own....and I am truly liking this journey of self discovery...good and bad) and honestly?.......His having this issue IS all about his EGO.(and that is not a flippant comment.....it is the truth.) ONLY HE can fix that....or not.....and I can live with either one.

Just to add....my H was diagnosed 4 years ago. In hindsight.......that is 4 years longer that did MORE damage because of the denial. I do regret the time wasted....my own denial of his denial.......WTH was I thinking? It's not his fault I gave 4 more years........that's solely my responsibility.

Numb is a good word. 

Numb is a good word. 

Here's where I became unglued.  Not obviously, but internally.  I kept calm outwardly. 


1.  Lies lies lies

2.  Hiding financial transactions and debt - recurring debt issues.

3.  Refusal to go to therapy

My husband initiated a financial discussion.  He wanted me to approve a refinance and withdraw equity from the house to pay off one of his loans and one of his credit cards. (yes, I mentioned only one of each because there are more :( 

The answer was no.  I will not agree to that.  He wanted to take out so much equity that we would have been unable to pay realtor fees to sell the house.  WTF, right?? 

So, no big deal, my answer is no, end of story.  I told him that I would not even remotely consider it because he never finished therapy to get a handle on why he has these problems and how to keep from relapse.  He answered and told me that he had given me a reason.  Both parents died before he was 19.  He thought money would always be available (sold investment properties, pinged retirement accounts, refi'd properties, etc) and he did not understand until now that money is not infinitely renewable.  His dad was a lifetime smoker (lung cancer).  His mother had colon cancer.  He refuses to get a colonoscopy.  The rest of his family lives to their 90's.  He is 47.  His parents died early 40's. So to recap:


1.  Thought money was inifinitely renewable - because we're in the third grade

2.  Parents died so he didn't think he would "make it this far."  I am going to clarify he is not talking about suicidal thoughts - he thought he would get a vile disease and die.  It's been 30 years since their deaths.  

So, the question I asked was this:  If you didn't think you would make it this far, why did you think it was okay to do things to hurt me and compromise the foundation and stability of the family????   How is that an excuse to lie to me and hurt me?  What does one have to do with the other? 

The paraphrased answer was - ready? - if he thought money wouldn't run out (OMFG OMFG OMFG) how did I expect him to understand that his actions regarding money and lies would hurt me?  He thought he wouldn't make it this far so how did it matter?  How would I expect him to consider me if he thought he wouldn't make it? 

Therefore, if I EVER expect him to keep me in mind or consider the family needs I am sadly mistaken. He's not able to. 

Have you ever heard such bullshit? 



Oh MY....vabeachgal.....

I laughed and felt such sorrow at the same time!!!!! Isn't it insane? What we hear said to us out of "honest" communication? I am so sorry for your "state of being".

I am with you on so much you have said about your H. Mine, too. The money......OMG!!!!! I wish I had realized years ago the difference in how we ACTUALLY viewed  money so differently and for one of us.......so POORLY. He would call me a tightwad, grinch.....now I understand why. At the time I didn't and I believed him. Well this tightwad banked her paycheck for 2 years prior to his retirement and paid off EVERYTHING(many were of his doing only) so he could retire with NO DEBT. Interesting that since then , when he talks about "wouldn't it be cool to have......." He gets a look that says" I will kill you and they will never find a tiny piece of you" and most of the time he backs off. I am looking out for me now because it appears he never will......his words are...."if something happens to me....you will have enough to get by"........that's his measure of providing.......just enough to "get by." OIY!

Thanks.  I needed a giggle...

Thanks.  I needed a giggle.... not a tiny piece.  hahaha  Laugh or cry, that is the question!  

I am to the point where I look at him like he is a three eyed man speaking Chinese. However, like you, I don't go out of my way to communicate at all.  Of course, I am told that I am miserable to communicate with. That's why everyone who passes my desk stops to say hi and chat. 

I'm actually doing all right.  I've joined a hiking club, lost some weight, joined a book club, I am actively reaching out to old friends.  Taking some fun classes.  Personal goal is to try every new wine bar in the area - they seem to be cropping up everywhere, even the local grocery store. Craft whiskey distilleries have also become quite popular. 

I think it's called building a support system .... 

This forward looking tightward crazily scrimped and saved and booked a trip to visit my daughter in Italy.  Yeah !!!!  My husband did not save money and is not going. He maxed out his credit cards again so it's not even an option for him.  

And yes, that was considered "honest" communication. 

Future planning and insurance is all me.  My H won't do it.  He always cites a small policy he has through work as though it would be enough to take care of funeral expenses, medical debt and his other debt.... well, that's pretty much it actually. It's never occurred to him to do more. 



LOL...Sadly Yes.....

Yes I have, but, I've found out it's just better to not ask questions of people who I know just make that kind of BS up on the fly to try and cover up or justify their irresponsible life styles....

Enjoy your trip to Italy!


Food for Thought


I read your post and stared at it for awhile.  I found myself coming back to it.  The implications for me are profound.

Duh.  Why would I ask such a question, knowing as I do, that I am unlikely to receive a well considered and self aware answer?  On the contrary, the answers are usually devoid of self awareness and are often an affront to my self esteem. 

I am frequently accused of never being satisfied with any answer - that nothing is ever good enough.  (No one has ever heard this one, right?) Your post puts this in perspective.  I am not satisfied with the answers because they do not contain a shred of personal responsibility and are stories pulled out of thin air for the occasion.  My question as legitimate, but I had no right to expect a real answer.

I'm a person who likes to find answers and receive answers.  I'll work on that expectation.

I'm sure Italy will be great, but mostly I miss my daughter.

VBG.....It's not just you, we all get comfortable...or I do:)

(Why would I ask such a question, knowing as I do, that I am unlikely to receive a well considered and self aware answer?  On the contrary, the answers are usually devoid of self awareness and are often an affront to my self esteem.) 

Why do any of us do this?....Love, Comfort, the desire to just share with our one special life mate?....Our minds fool us into thinking they will be concerned, they want the same level of intimacy and sharing that we do 2=1....Maybe it's because on the outside when there is no emotion or words being spoken, they can look so normal....(our normal)

Then the reply or comment comes that screams I have no patients for you, you are not allowed to have needs, our lives will always be about my needs!....See, we all can forget, after a good nights sleep, and a nice cup of coffee....The morning light can allow our hope to rise:)....But it usually only takes one attempt at communication to SHOCK us back into reality:)....

I understand about missing your daughter, I'm spoiled, I've got them close....And I'm thankful for that....My grand children are one of the special gifts in my life!


One thing I will also say, my

One thing I will also say, my husband will discuss his issues with me, but when asked why he said something, reacted a certain way, thought something, he has no idea and cannot explain his thought processes. He can be quite hurtful in what he says and the way he acts.  I have told him he's not a bad person, but makes bad decisions.  His judgement is poor and he once told me I was a pessimist, I think I am an optimistic pessimist = realist, and he is just floating on his fluffy cloud most of the time!

My H cannot retrace a thought

My H cannot retrace a thought process at all ever. The decisions appear like magic charms in a bowl of cereal. 

This is why I love this forum......

The comments from ones that can bring out laughter!!! I love the cereal analogy! Sometimes I think the absurdity of what we sometimes deal with is better released with humor......because the " void" we live in can be EXTREMELY overwhelming.

Oh...And One More Thing ....

About Trust altering perception?  I realized not long ago....what was happening when my wife and I get into sometimes because of these "accusations" that get thrown into a conversation where this is totally uncalled for and I mean....nothing to do with lying, ADHD, forgetting to do a chore.....nothing of the sort?  It could be about the Moon for all that matters.;.and still...the conversation goes side ways???

So in terms of trust?  If you are guilty ( first ) before anything else and you must be proven innocent?  Once you're proven innocent.....it's still a wash ( no apology for wrongfully accusing you of something? )  because you're still guilty first....before you say the next thing any time you say anything?  The problem here is....you are just guilty...period!!!  ADHD ...only exacerbates the problem but is not the cause!!! LOL

That in it itself....will screw up your perception if everyone is guilty   except for you?

My wife has trust issues any way...long before she met me which is why her perceptions at times are not worth arguing about?  No one...can be guilty in everything all the time? (except for me that is lol )


I might be missing something,

I might be missing something, but I'm not driving to JFK this time, I am leaving from the local airport. 

You Aren't Missing Anything .....V

What is missing is the logic in that question?  It was an impossible question to answer because of it?  I forgot....you live in the area and that may have sounded like a legitimate question which it was not?  More in response to the "illogic" in your H's decision making and applying it that way? 

That question...was actually posed to me a very long time ago...from a friend who just came up with that out of his head one time in response to something that made absolutely no sense what so ever and it struck me so funny....I never forgot it?  That's the point....it makes no sense since there is an important part missing?  The logical connection between seemingly....two questions being asked at the same time which there is no answer for?

All I can say is.....my friend hit a home run on that one!! ;)





Catherine10, thIs sounds a lot like the man I married 37 years ago who has these tendencies  but is also abusive and self-centred, as yours sounds. We had a wonderful 14 years living apart while he worked away. It was a huge shock when be returned to retire with me. The long gap had been recovery time. I was back to square one, as he has changed little. If anything he was worse, having worked with a bunch of compliant women who were eager to please him. He expected me to behave like them. To cope, I decided communicating with him verbally is not possible, so I gave it up. He seems happier too. There are so many ways to communicate non-verbally, and it simplifies daily life. He does not seem to notice and never comments when I'm silent for long periods. He does not take it well when I nonverbally resist his controlling ways but as words don't come into it be does not verbally abuse me, like before, he just goes away and sulks cor a while, leaving me with no cruel words of his running through my head. Regards  JaneAgatha

As an ADHD H who seems to

As an ADHD H who seems to suffer the same thing- yes, what you hear can sometimes get "translated" by your brain into a different set of words. You hear a set of words, your brain tries to "sum up" or "get the gist" of those words, then re-states it in your own words. These words can sometimes have different meanings. If they match up with was originally said, great, life continues without a hitch. If they don't, boom, argument time!

Please understand, it is very difficult to learn to question your perceptions. There's no other way of validating reality, and learning to question reality creates a new set of problems- always doubting that you're right about everything, every thought, every feeling, every desire. It can be terrifying to consider that your perception of reality is wrong. You never know when this ADHD goblin in your brain is going to start playing the reality-remix with your conversations.

Just know that he probably does care about what you say and feel. He's being negatively effected by this as well. Hopefully you can find a way to define and tackle this issue together as a team, rather than butting heads over it.