Help managing impulse control

I recently became diagnosed for ADHD and OCD. I have suspected both for years but never encountered a reason to learn more about their long term effects undiagnosed. Looking back I can see just how much I have been affected as well as those around me, especially the ones I love. I am now 4 months into trying to make changes for myself and in my marriage. I am taking generic extended release Aderrall daily, along with multi vitamins and fish oil.

For the first three months both my wife and I noticed a significant change and things were in the right track. However, the 4th month was rough. Im still processing how much this has affected myself and those around me and can sometimes get very depressed, especially when I dont control my symptoms and backslide on the way I act or react to my wife and child. We have a 14 month old girl who is the dearest thing to my heart next to my wife. During this month, we went one two trips, one for business, and one for family. In between those trips, i spent a week on call. The weekend we returned from our second trip, we hosted a large bbq at our house. All  of these events back to back compiled a massive amount of stress on me and completely overwhelmed me. In our relationship, I am the breadmaker, the cook, the maid, and the evening nanny. My wife works evenings and on weekends with two different jobs. I work from home during the day and also often get stressed due to interruptions from my wife or daughter. This has left very little time for us in between all of the other stresses in our hectic lives to work on our marriage other than some time individually whenever we can find free time between taking care of our child, cleaning our large house, and taking care of two 50 lb dogs who we love dearly.

We have been trying to work on putting new systems in place like calendars, checklists, chore lists, and sticky notes but with all the stress and travel this past month was just a spontaneous mess and I treated my wife unfairly on more than one instance throughout the month in reaction to situations that were really out of my control anyway. I really would love some advise from others in our situation adhd or non that on how to deal with stress and not letting the overwhelming feeling lead me to impulses driven by anger. Is there additional medication I can pursue to help calm the angry impulses? Any techniques would also be helpful. I know excercise is one of the best and that is one thing I really need to add to my new routine. I quit gaming when I decided to get diagnosed which was my previous stress reliever but was detrimental to my marriage and since then I really havent replaced it with anything constructive. I just clean the house which can be therapeudic to me but it definitely isnt excercise. Any good books to read on stress and anger management? Im also goin to speak more in depth to my therapist about recent events and ways to cope.

I'm the spouse without ADHD.

I'm the spouse without ADHD.  I've become the main breadwinner in the family but also remain the main housekeeper.  I still do more of the family-related tasks, although these are somewhat less time-consuming now that our children are young adults and away from home much of the time (but I know how to do an amazing number of parenting tasks that involve the phone and the Internet!).  Anyway, it seems to me that you are doing a lot already in your family (more by far than my husband contributes around here).  Your month sounds stressful for anyone.  Would it be possible to negotiate with your wife to have her pitch in more during times that you can predict will be stressful?  It seems only fair.  I can't guarantee that you asking will result in her saying yes, but you never know until you try.  

That said, my attempts to get more help from my husband and children during busy times have not been successful.

Thank you for the reply,

Thank you for the reply, Rosered. I have been having trouble relinquishing some of my responsibilities to my wife because she has repeatedly let things slip through the cracks, causing me more stress. With her working two jobs (more for hobbies and social aspects, not for financial purposes) and helping raise our child, she has become less organized. I've asked her to considering working less or dropping one of her jobs to allow her to focus more on us, our child, and helping out with chores, but she is reluctant too because she enjoys both jobs. I hate asking her quit something she loves but I don't know how else to make time for us. Once our daughter starts going to school, maybe she can use some of the extra time to work more if that's what she wants, as long as there is still dedicated time for us. We've talked about this with our counselor too. I feel like she blames a lot of my stress and anger on the ADHD and OCD and doesn't take into account that there are things that she can do that could help relieve some of this frustration from me. I'm having a hard time talking to her about this because she is, in general, a very emotional person and her feelings get hurt easily. I definitely feel frozen in fear like the book describes. And of course, there's the pre-diagnosed memories that she is battling too. Due to this past month, she's gotten back into the rut of contemplating if we even have a future together. I know that I HAVE to work on some things. I need to exercise so I can release my energy and frustrations, I need to learn new techniques to manage stress and anger, and I need to find other things that can make me happy so I don't want to make her out to be a bad person. She is a beautiful, talented, caring person which are all reasons that I married her. Lately though, I've felt like I'm the only one putting in the work and effort to change.

Peace of Mind

I have not heard from my wife since early yesterday morning. I sent her one last proposal to try to come to an agreement before she left.

I talked to a lawyer friend to seek some advice and counsel on what my options were and what could happen if either one of us filed for separation or divorce. Afterwards, stricken with panic and sadness, I started preparing to make the first move and file first as that is most likely why she has chosen not to respond because her lawyer most likely told her not to communicate to me further at this point. I am sure she has arrived at her parents by now.

When I woke up this morning, the sadness started setting in again, I gathered myself up, took my medication and started my third day of my self improvement plan. Since I've started, I've felt better and better daily. Shortly into my day, when I was about to continue working on court forms, I stopped myself and asked, "Is this really what I want?"

I wrote the positive and negative effects that would happen by filing for Legal Separation vs if I took the road less traveled and surrendered my ego, my emotions, my pride, and my fear.  I asked myself what matters most to me in this world. My answer was my wife and my daughter. I asked myself, if I want my marriage to succeed, what do I need to do? My answer was whatever my wife needs me to do.

When I came to this realization, a great weight was lifted off of my heart. I wrote my wife an email and shared my thoughts. I don't know what the outcome will be, but it brings me peace of mind to know in my heart that I am not giving up on my marriage and I am willing to do whatever it takes to make my family whole again. I know that I can only change myself and I cannot expect my actions to change my wife's mind. I have to want to do it for myself. I DO want to do it for myself. I've used all the time my wife has been gone in action, buying books and dvds to increase my knowledge, exercising, taking my medication, ramping up my counseling sessions, signing up for support and community groups, writing out priority lists, to do lists, attending church and more. My choices and my actions today have calmed my mind, my heart, and my soul!

I'm glad you came to this

I'm glad you came to this decision. The option of fighting your wife for custody actually made me really angry. I just took our only child and moved back to my home, 1300 miles away. My husband is stuck back because of his job but with plans to come to us early next year. Our marriage is over, but I'm willing to help him get settled in and of course, share custody and fun, family times with our son. I did not want to get stuck in his home state, divorced and with no family for over 1000 miles. Plus he's from a snow town, I'm from a beach resort town;p Fighting over custody would be a horrible experience for our son. I feel lucky that mine doesn't seem to want that, but time will tell. 

My husband's adhd & depression made a mess of our marriage and upon realizing it was adhd, 3.5 yrs later, I no longer had energy left to help him become a better person and husband. I didn't trust him to get better. He actually seemed to get worse and use his adhd as an excuse. After you've spent years causing problems, you can't just demand sympathy and more patience. Mine tried that. He was mad as heck that I refused counseling, but I knew he wouldn't make any fast, significant changes. Why should we have to keep dealing with it? Where's our break? Our happiness? Why are we supposed to KEEP helping another adult manage their life and emotions and whatever else? I've gone home to get some fresh air, to get away from his chaos. I'm too tired to carry another adult on my shoulders. I deserve a break. Perhaps your wife does too. It's pretty drastic for a grown woman to go back to her parents. I am currently living in the same room as my son, in my friend's spare room. I have to worry about bills now. Pretty sad when you'll leave a nice home and two jobs just to get away from adhd. 

Good luck to you. Let your wife breathe and work on yourself. Don't be surprised if she doesn't have the energy to go through your marriage rollercoaster anymore. If she does, count yourself lucky and do your best not to repeat old mistakes. She'll likely be hyper vigilant about that if she does take you back. If divorce is in your future, why not just share custody? Why demand primary custody? Are you really that much of a better parent that you need to one-up your wife? My parents spent my whole life fighting over me. I never forgot and somewhat despise them both, so your posts really struck a nerve. But I don't know the whole story. 

So much more to the story


There is much more to the story but it doesn't matter anyway. What I do know is that I am a very good father and provider and will continue to be. And due to my own convictions, I won't let myself fall back into the old patterns. I've been dedicated to this change since I found out about my disorder and have tried to do my best to stay on course. When we began this journey together, my dr. warned us that it may take some time to find the right medicine or combination of medicines to "get my brain to work right". Our marriage counselor warned us that things may get worse but guaranteed us that things would get better if we didn't give up and stayed on course. I truly believe that. I think every married couple goes through their strife and they become stronger with the more they learn to overcome together. We can't change the past but we can focus on today to make a better future for ourselves. I am sorry that you had to go through what so many women have gone through unknowingly. I'm sure your husband feels the same way I do in the fact that had I known sooner, I would have done everything I could in my power BEFORE it began to affect my marriage. Something I read today really hit home. "Having ADD is not my fault. It's a medical problem, just like someone who needs glasses." - from "Change Your Brain Change Your Life" by Daniel G. Amen. This was a power message to me not because it gives me an excuse to use for my behavior but because it let's me know that there is hope once I find the right prescription. ADD is not like needing glasses in the fact that we have sophisticated tools to help us determine the proper prescription to correct our eyesight. Typically, you get an exam, they give you glasses or contacts and you can see again, at least for awhile. Every once in awhile you need to review your eyesight and update your prescription. With ADD, it may take longer to find the right prescription and dosage before you "fix your eyesight." And once you find the right prescription, you can effectively make the changes you have been trying to make without medication.

I can completely understand if my wife does not have the will to continue with our marriage. As I stated to her in one of our first marriage counseling sessions, I grieve for her because she married someone who unknowingly had a disorder that affected her happiness. I only wanted and still do want her to be happy. I said then and I will say it again now that I understand if she would rather leave me and find someone else because she shouldn't have to take this journey with me if she doesn't want to. Neither of us knew we would be taking this on when we got married as it really hadn't manifested yet. And so, to her, I am a different person than the person she thought she married.

She certainly deserves at least a break if she wants it. I wish she had the will to be hear to support me through my journey (as one spouse would typically do for another) but I get it. I just wonder though, if I got cancer, would she leave me? If I got in a car accident and was paralyzed for the rest of my life, would she leave me?

The casualness of marriage in today's society truly saddens me to my core. So many people today repeat the cycle that they experienced and loathed as a child. I come from a broken family, too. I was not old enough to remember the nastiness of the ordeal but as long as I can remember I have always said I will only marry once and I don't believe in divorce. That is also why my decision gives me peace. Because i am not compromising my own ideals and beliefs. My wife came from a broken family too, with a verbally abusive father and also had issues with other men growing up. When do we as a society say, "Enough is Enough!"? When do we take responsibility for our own actions and take our marriage vows seriously?

"To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish 'till death do us part. And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness." I will keep my vow to the end even if she chooses to leave me. I do not blame anyone for leaving their spouse, if that is what they choose to do. Like I said, it takes two, and if one of those two isn't willing to continue to play an active role in the marriage, there is no way the marriage is going to survive anyway. I truly feel sorry for all that my wife and other men and women have had to endure due to ADHD. But where there is pain, there is love.

Your words are wise, to a

Your words are wise, to a point, but I have no pity for words like "people don't take marriage seriously" or "what if I had cancer/became quadriplegic?" Those comparisons no longer affect me because I believe in being happy. I will not continuously put my spouse's happiness before my own. It bothers me to know some people think you should make a marriage work no matter what. That would be great if it wasn't that it is usually just ONE person trying to make it work. Sad to say, that is a typical marriage. It is what you are implying now. That only you are willing to work on it, but your wife bailed out for a reason. Someone once said here that "for better or worse" was always worse for her. My husband never tried with ours, he just believed I should put up with anything because we were married. I'm thankful divorce is an option. The tools my husband needs to make me happy are only there in hyper-focus. Why would I spend (waste) my entire life with someone who can't listen or remember anything I say? If he got Alzheimer's later, at least I'd still have the good memories. At this point, I can think of almost zero really good memories. Yes, a spouse would typically help out the other through hard times, UNLESS they are worn out from carrying them or dealing with their non-stop emotional problems, etc etc, for so long. This isn't just a case of "poor me, my wife won't do her part". No, it is likely a case of an exhausted wife who has carried more than her share for too long. 

You yourself have admitted to angry outbursts and your wife claims to be afraid. I would have left too. I won't be miserable for the sake of an intact home. I hope you are able to recover, but I hope your wife is too. 

About your eyeglasses analogy.....mine has been wearing and sleeping in the same dang disposable contact lenses since I met him. Add "what if I went blind?" to your list because that is in my husband's future. When I diagnosed his add and a Dr told him about the meds, he wasted no time making himself sound like he was doing me a huge favor by taking them. "These drugs have a lot of side effects, but I'm willing to take them for our marriage". Gee, thanks! I'm tired of mothering a grown man and carrying all the responsibilities. If he got cancer or became disabled and I still loved him, I would care for him up to my limits. If all he did was moan and feel sorry for himself for months on end, yeah, I might leave for my own sanity. There would be guilt, but much relief. 

I am not here trying to be ugly, I am only offering a reality check and working through my own issues from the "non" side. I'm betting my husband could have written most of your words. Most of them, but I don't see him following through. I hope he proves me wrong. I'll let you know if you're still around. 

Thank you, Lauren, for

Thank you, Lauren, for expressing what I thought after reading the same post to which you're responding.  You worded it very well.

Lauren, I appreciate your


I appreciate your willingness to provide some perspective and share your feelings. I can see that my wife must have been emotionally exhausted to get to this point. That is the main difference and something I've had a hard time relating to since I've joined this community. There seems to be so few stories about husbands that did pull their weight, both financially and with their responsibilities around the house and with their children that I have found it hard to get good advise that really relates to us.

To reiterate my OP, I am the breadwinner in our marriage. I make enough money that she doesn't have to work if she didn't want to. A few years ago, she approached me about starting her own business. I fully supported her idea because I knew it was something that would make her happy. I helped her get the business started from the ground up, finding out all the information to get it going and helping her purchase what she needed. She took her second job only when I lost my job last year (not a normal occurrence for me). She was worried i would not find a job in time and decided to pick up a second job (mind you her business only has her typically working one weekend out of the month except for her busy months). The second job did not pay very much but it came with some benefits for her and for our daughter. The downside was that she worked mostly nights so we had less time together. The upside was I got to spend quality time with my dau.

In regards to chores and responsibilities, I pulled the majority of the weight there as well including cleaning the kitchen, dusting, vacuuming, polishing wood floors, cleaning bathrooms, yard work, windows, taking cae of our pets, dishes, and more in a over 3000+ ft square house. Additionally, because my wife hasn't really expanded her knowledge of cooking though I have offered to help there as well, I cooked almost every meal. I also was in charge of managing and paying the bills.

So let's sum that all up: I worked a full time job during the day, picked my dau up from day care, took care of my dau needs, cooked dinner, managed the bills and paid them on time, and kept up with my chores throughout the week. Horrible, right? I guess I have my OCD tendencies to thank for that. Which is fine except when I try to push the way I like things done onto my wife, something I have been learning to control during this time as well. The OCD contributed to the emotional exhaustion as well. She was tired of me trying to tell her a "better" way of doing things and didn't want my advise. I'm sure that had a lot to do with how I said things.

I have no history of domestic violence or physical harm others and I am in general a happy person that makes very few enemies and is well respect and trusted at work and in our circle of family and friends. I don't like conflict and typically do not start an argument. We argued, yes. But I never called her nasty names or told her she was incapable, or stupid, or worthless.

I've also been dedicated to change since I've read The ADHD Effect on Marriage. Again, I've been doing my part, which is why I started this thread. My wife left me after I started the thread not before. I have been looking for help and advise and answers. I have been trying to make a change in my life. I have been trying to let my wife know that we had too much on our plates and we needed to get rid of some of it to focus on our marriage and on my recovery. I am completely aware that if my wife is not willing to let her anger and resentment go (must be the hardest thing in the world for y'all to do, I know) and be an active part in this journey, than this is a journey I will be taking on my own.

I hope your husband makes the kind of commitment I have made for himself. I hope that change makes you at peace as well. Everyone has to make their own choices. I do believe there is a reason for divorce. I would never want a person to be stuck in an abusive relationship. My point is not to say divorce should not be an option. My point is to say that the two people that are part of their marriage should recognize what they need to do to support their marriage. If one or the other is not willing to do so, the marriage will fail (this holds true). But as Sunshine said, "At some point if she wants to stay married to you (I am sorry to be so blunt), then she is going to have to address the reality of ADD, that it isn't going away but neither is it the end of the world (at least until ALL options have been exhausted and that is certainly NOT the case so soon after a diagnosis) and that couples can and do have productive, happy marriages with ADD."


One more thing

In regards to her business, it required me to often to travel with her, help her set up and take down equipment, and take care of our dogs and child typically alone the entire time and typically camping because she did not make enough with her business to justify renting a hotel. On events we didn't need to stay overnight, I still typically travelled with her to the events to help her setup and take down her equipment and even took the time to learn how to help with her business and join her if had someone to take care of the dogs and our child.

And yes, I did find a job in time bit she decided to start the second job anyway. Soon into starting I asked her if she wanted to leave but she said she enjoyed the job and the people and didn't want to.


Sorry meant to say Sunlight! :) Not Sunshine...

Well, it sounds like you were

Well, it sounds like you were easier to live with than some, but we all have different limits. I left a beloved boyfriend once because of his anger. The verbal stuff was hard (and inappropriate) enough, but he punched a hole in the wall and ripped the door off the frame. Other than that, we had an incredibly close relationship. I got out before my own body started to get abused.

I feel OCD because of my husband's laziness er tendency to half-ass er his add;p

He worked, but I did EVERYTHING else and YES, I like things done a certain way, but he just could not follow through or consistently. When I complained that he sat my MUCH ANTICIPATED certified letter on the table and didn't tell me about it.....I found it later, he quickly and calmly excused it with "I'm sorry, I got distracted". Sure, you have adhd, but I need a real apology, not an excuse:/

I am so glad to be gone and can't wait to shed all the anger. 

I hear you there

I can completely relate to that. I actually have wondered if my wife has ADD as well. She really had a tough time keeping up with her chores even before our daughter. She was horrible about tracking her expenses with her business, she even let important mail of hers sit around until lost. I've found envelopes of hers with bank cards that she ordered but never activated. Yesterday, while going through some pictures in my daughter's room and found an envelope from her 1 year birthday with $50 still sitting in it! She can be very messy as well. I often have to ask her to clean up a pile of paperwork or randomness that she has let compile over the course of months at which point she gets angry and says I'm trying to control her....

But you are right, everyone has limits, and I think due to her past with her father (who was verbally abusive and she does not speak to anymore) and loosing her virginity as a rape victim, her limit is less than most. She has also had issues with depression and suicidal thoughts in the past. Understandable considering the prior. I have asked her to seek counseling on these subjects as well as her over the top dependency on her mom and stepdad (a totally different issue) but she just gets angry....

And I completely agree that you need an apology in the form of action, that is consistent and sincere. I think if you can take this time to focus on what makes you happy whether that be exercise, painting, going to the movies, whatever your hobby may be and getting back to what made you happy to be you, it will help you begin to shed the anger. In regards to your anger for him, I think if you continue to participate here and continue to learn more about ADD and other brain disorders, it will help you see the world from his eyes. Here's a few books I've picked up that might help if you haven't read them already:

Change Your Brain Change your Life

Healing ADD

5 Love Languages

New Earth: The Awakening of Your Life's Purpose

Driven to Distraction

Delivered from Distraction

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

Act with Love

You,  Me, or ADHD

The Dance of Anger *****  <-------------- This one I hear is great for women in your situation

The Dance of Connection

Most of these books were suggestions from others or from Mrs. Orlov. I'm currently reading Change Your Brain Change Your Life at the request of my counselor. Just the first Chapter will make you think differently about his behavior.

Again, thank you for your perspective. It really does help and make a difference!


Great way to live your life!

Something i got from the sermon at my church yesterday that really hit the mark:

"The secret to saying no to a strong immediate desire is to find an even stronger future desire."

i think I'm going to tattoo it onto my arm! LOL.....

Good News

I'm very happy I made the decision I did. My wife contacted me the next day and finally began responding without legal intervention. We have since been communicating through text and email. She is still planning to leave state with my dau but has expressed that she wants this to work. While she is there, we are planning to sell the home and I will be relocating to be near them. Of course this decision puts my career at major risk but it seems to be the only option for her to be amicable at this time. In her mind, I have and will always be the problem in our relationship. I am determined to change that opinion not only in her mind but in her parents. We are taking it one day at a time right now and I have been diligently focusing on my self-improvement plan:

  • Continue Counseling
  • Find correct medications and dosages for treatment with psychiatrist
  • Take ADHD medication as prescribed daily as well as Fish Oil, other ADHD friendly supplements and Multivitamins
  • Educate myself further on the effects of ADHD and its influence on impulse control and ways to combat symptoms with medication, exercise, and brain training techniques and exercises with books, videos, courses, forums, support groups, etc.
  • Participate in forums.
  • Work on self calming techniques, meditation, etc.
  • Exercise daily a minimum of 30 minutes
  • Educate myself on being a better husband
  • Join Support groups
  • Educate myself on constructive parenting techniques and being a better father and role model for my daughter.
  • Find hobbies that cultivate my natural creative side of ADHD and provide me with a sense of happiness and accomplishment.
  • Continue to focus on treating others with respect, especially ones that I love the most.
  • Continue to focus on saying please and thank you.
  • Exercise daily (IE: Workout at gym, walk dogs, bike ride, hike, etc)
  • Eat Healthy - focus on ADHD Diet
  • Sleep 6-8 hours per day


Relative involvement....

So far so good on the plan. The Dr added Lexapro to the mix now to help with mood leveling. I've been sticking to my self improvement plan daily. My wife has asked me to put the house up for sale and move to Missouri and continue to work on my plan there, initially from an apartment on my own until things are better between us. I've been packing the house here and there but focusing mainly on my plan as it's priority. I received an email today from my father in law telling me to stop focusing on moving and only focus on getting better. His tone was very threatening and protective. He let me know my wife did not know he was sending the email. He wants me to show that I can and have improved.

My problem is I have no idea how to do that when they are over 1000 miles away and don't plan to come back. When our only communication has been through text and email and barely that.....

I want to be close to my daughter at the very least so that I can continue to have a relationship with her while I continue my self improvement plan. I think that is only fair. I don't know if my wife feels the way my father in law does... She has said that she wants me to move to there as soon as possible soi I can continue therapy there and we can try to work on our relationship but my father in law's email makes me think otherwise....

I don't know what to do. I'm trying to stay positive but I don't want to loose my relationship with my daughter. I don't think it's fair to me to be required not to see my daughter for an undetermined amount of time while I continue my self improvement plan. Going to talk it over with my counselor today.

Physical Health

Yeah, I gotta work on that regimen.

Thank You. We gotta supprt ourselves to be strong survivors and models.


A couple of books


I am non-ADHD female.  I really commend you for your openness and wanting to move forward, it's very important that your wife sees your consistency and willingness to look at new approaches. My H was diagnosed approx 1 yr ago at 56 yrs old, he takes Adderall and guanfacine (brand name Tenex) 2mg 1x per day (at night). The guanfacine was added to try to address impulsivity and anxiety - it seems to have effect in reducing anxiety (the first time he took it he woke up the next day and said that was the first day in years that he remembered waking up happy, and productive discussions are far easier) but hasn't really addressed the angry outbursts.  He tried an SSRI (Zoloft) (utter disaster, never ever doing that again) but responses to medication are so individual that this is just one anecdote. We're considering our next step, he is fortunate enough to have a psychatrist who seems flexible and is willing to try different combinations of meds.

Re the meds, you didn't mention what books you may have read but a suggestion from me would be Daniel Amen's 'Change your Brain, Change your Life' and 'Healing ADD' (dramatic titles, take with a pinch of salt, but he does seem to speak quite a lot of sense).  These books were hands-down worth the price for my H and I, if only for the tables of medications and the descriptions of which are more appropriate for different issues, and he also discusses supplements. Of course these are only one Dr's views, he isn't your Dr and he isn't my husband's Dr, but they might serve as a starting point for further research. Between us we had read quite a few books but these are the ones I refer back to when we get into discussing medications. Check out the reviews on Amazon.

Hope this helps and keep up the great work.

Sunlight,   Thank you for the



Thank you for the response. I have not had an opportunity to pick up any books on Anger Management yet but I have read the ADHD Effect on Marriage, and have been reading these forums since finishing the book. I will definitely pick up your suggestions and continue to learn more about ADHD and how to manage my anger and stress. I've heard of different herbal supplements as well that help with depression or anger as well. I'm going to discuss this more with my Pysch on my next visit.

She left me this morning. She

She left me this morning. She packed a bag and took my daughter. I was exhausted due to lack of sleep this morning as I am on call this week. I was laying on the couch trying to wake up for work this morning and she asked if I was having trouble waking up. I mumbled yes but she didnt hear me and responded "This is such a great marriage. You don't even talk to me." I let my anger get to me and yelled back " What did I do now? I'm, exhausted. Thanks for waking up on the wrong side of the bed!" Definitely. not the way I should have responded. Of course, her response back was negative and it continued to escalate. She went upstairs, packed a bag, and took my daughter. I tried to get through to her, I tried to share with her that I know I did not react appropriately but I need her help in how and when she talks to me. I shared multiple links to blogs and forum posts in relation to this topic. When she did talk to me, her message was only that I needed to change, she does not take any ownership in what thing she could have done or could be doing to help improve our communication and our relationship. She let me know that she had already talked with a divorce lawyer. She says she does not want a divorce but I don't know if I can trust that at this point. She has went behind my back already to talk to a divorce lawyer after saying she would never consider that route. She also has had an attraction to another man who is a close friend of mine. I confronted her about it before anything happened and have done my best to forgive her because I know that she would not consider another man if I was providing for her needs. Regardless, trust is waning and I feel stuck in a corner now not knowing what to do. I will continue to work on my ADHD and doing things that make me a better, happier person, but the thought of loosing my family is ripping me apart....

I should also mention she

I should also mention she plans to travel across state with my daughter and stay with her parents until things are better. She wants to take my daughter with her. By law she cannot do that without my consent, I did not give her my consent to take my daughter with her. I don't think her leaving is going to improve anything. I know I am acting defensive but my daughter is my heart. She is a part of me and I can't bare the thought of loosing her.

I'm so sorry

I'm very sorry that your wife left this morning. I know that first thing in the morning is not the time to have discussions with my spouse. Not until he's eaten and meds have kicked in. It's also not the time to argue. Once the fight starts its better to reschedule the issue for a time when you can both discuss things rationally. It sounds like your wife was in no mood to talk about her role either. ESP after being snapped at. ADHD people aren't the only defensive people in town. I strongly suggest a marriage counselor well grounded in ADHD. Perhaps Melissa's service can work if you are trying to do it long distance. Also, while i understand how you are focused on the loss of your daughter as she is innocent in this and isnt mad at you, your wife needs to know that you want to be married to her for herself not just as the keeper of the kid.  Meanwhile control what you can control, your own behavior. Best wishes in this very difficult time.

Backed into a corner

Thank you for your support, Shelley. We have been seeing a good Marriage Counselor grounded in ADHD for about 4 months now. Her guidance has definitely helped improve our relationship however the past month our relationship got put on the back burner due to 2 trips, being on call in between those trips, returning from the trips and hosting a bbq for memorial day, then a stressful camping trip so my wife could work at a festival over the weekend. We have had little to no time to work on our relationship during this time and I have let my symptoms get the best of me due to being overwhelmed and stressed.

I have been pleading with her though email to come home and to take her role seriously to help us move forward. She is putting it all right back on me right now and, regardless of what I say, is planning to leave the state to stay with her parents until she feels it is safe to come home. My anger outbursts have made her feel unsafe. Though I have never had a history of physical abuse, she fears for her and my daughter's safety. I am very much against abusing women so this hurts me even more.

I feel backed up into a corner because I am afraid if she leaves she will never come back and I may never be able to see my daughter. The only way I can stop her is by filing for legal separation and petitioning for child custody. I do not want to go this route because I love her and my daughter very much but I don't want to loose my daughter and I know I am a good father to her. I am the primary provider, I spend time with her at night and on the weekends when my wife is working and we have so much fun together. I tuck her into bed at night and tell her I love her all of the time. I read her books and play with her. I can't bear the thought of loosing her let alone my wife. Please know that this is NOT what I want to do. I am against separation and divorce but at this point I don't know what else to do to protect my daughter and our relationship. I'm not saying my wife is not a good mother or that my daughter wouldn't be safe with my wife's parents but she would not be in danger and on the contrary she would be happy being home with me. I work from home so I have the flexibility to take care of her and I am willing to hire help to ensure she is always safe and attended to. I just don't know what to do.

Difficult spot

I guess pleading to change her mind may be making her did her heels in more. Instead, try respecting her wishes and try to work with her to mitigate your concerns. She can't keep you from your daughter but you might have to work together for visits.  So you can ask your wife 1) how does she envision visiting options, mtg in the middle, alternating travel, etc. 2) Skype evening calls, etc to keep in contact, 3) what changes does your wife need to see in order to consider reconciliation, how to measure, etc. She probably knows you want the marriage to work, what she doesn't know is if you will follow through on the promises. Also remind her that while you'd like to be perfect, it's not a reasonable goal and it takes time to learn new habits, but that you are committed to change regardless of whether she walks. There is no perfect answer here. On the anger management issue my dh benefitted from listening to Eckhart Tolle, not sure what book but it might have been A New Earth. More philosophy than direct ADHD book, but he liked how it linked anger to the ego. He's a lot easier to live with now that he's learned to let a lot of the anger and hurt go.  Good luck.


Do you think she would ever forgive me if I filed for legal separation and petition for child custody? I'm willing to do all of the above but I feel the need to protect myself and my relationship with my daughter and it is the only way I know I can legally. I don't want any of this!

Slow down

Do not act out of panic.

Consider finding a lawyer for yourself who will draft a letter to her lawyer making clear your lack of consent to her taking the child out of state (heck in the state I am living in that could land her in deep deep trouble and nobody wants that - well I hope not).


Probably not

Going straight to the lawyer is a rather extreme move. You've said that she claims to not want to be divorced so that kind of move would show you don't trust her. I'm not a lawyer, and each state is different, but I don't think your rights should change because she crosses state lines in what is supposed to be a temporary respite. That being said, perhaps you should share this concern with your wife and come to a voluntary interim agreement. Something like, while I am absolutely committed to working things out I'm also worried about my custodial rights and have been told a legal separation is the best way to protect them. I'd rather not go that route, so would you be willing to agree to a parent plan for now in order to relieve my anxiety on that issue?

Good suggestion, Shelley.  I

Good suggestion, Shelley.  I agree that generally, in intact marriages, one parent can take a child out of state without the other parent's approval or agreement.

Going to a lawyer is extreme

Going to a lawyer is extreme but she has already done so and did it before the disagreement which resulting in her packing a bag and leaving.  There is every need for de-escalation here but that is different from being behind the curve.

Thank all of you

Thank all of you for your quick responses. It's giving me some consolation during this turmoil. I have reached out to a lawyer and am waiting to hear back so I can discuss my options. I very much like your suggestion, Shelly. Can a parenting plan be put into affect without having to file for legal separation? is it a legal agreement or simply a mutual agreement?

She has informed me that her step dad is flying down and driving with her to their house in another state. She says she is going to stay for a few weeks and see how my progress has been going with my counselor, psychiatrist, and dealing with my anger management.

Sunlight,  I completely agree that she needs to come to the realization that ADHD is not going away. I also completely believe things can not only get better but they can be better than they ever were. I'm going to go pick up my meds for this month, workout, pick up some self help books and write in my journal. My boss let me have a personal day so I can try to clear my head. Thanks again everyone for your support. It means a great deal to me.

Those outbursts etc

I am very sorry this is happening to you all. Is there a chance that she is grieving the ADHD/OCD diagnosis and that her life with you isn't what she imagined before the diagnosis?  The grass might be looking greener on the other side of the fence.  Add to that the busy life you are both leading and she might just be overwhelmed by all of it.

"My anger outbursts have made her feel unsafe."

You cannot stop these outbursts by willpower, or presumably you would. Make sure you include in your plans finding a psychiatrist (a doctor who can prescribe) who will work with you on these outbursts and on underlying or co-existing anxiety issues.  By doing this (a) you will be tackling a root problem, (b) demonstrating to her that you are doing so, (c) putting yourself in a better mental spot to continue addressing the ADD/OCD issues. Do this soon, very very soon. Otherwise for want of a nail the ship might be lost.

At some point if she wants to stay married to you (I am sorry to be so blunt), then she is going to have to address the reality of ADD, that it isn't going away but neither is it the end of the world (at least until ALL options have been exhausted and that is certainly NOT the case so soon after a diagnosis) and that couples can and do have productive, happy marriages with ADD.  

The next step

My wife and I talked through emails and texts yesterday. I tried the parenting plan, however she is not willing to sign it because we cannot follow it while we are so far apart anyway. She has given me one choice which is to move near where she will be with my daughter and continue therapy there. She has asked me to put the house on the market, begin packing, and begin making arrangements to do so and show continuous proof that I am making progress. She will not allow me to spend alone time with my daughter during this time and is severely limiting my parenting time to her. She will only allow me to spend time with her in public places if I want to salvage our relationship.

I am completely against separation and divorce which is why, though so many will call me a fool, I am not going to take legal action to win custody of my daughter. I can only hope if my wife chooses to come to that decision, that the courts will allow me primary custody. I will be keeping a log daily of everything I do and how often I reach out for parenting time with my daughter as well as my progress for self improvement.

I mostly blame myself for what has happened. I blame myself for not realizing that there was something wrong with me that was hurting the ones I loved for years an years. I blame myself for not taking control of my symptoms quicker. I don't know what else to say or write.

Her ultimatum seems abrupt

Her ultimatum seems abrupt given only what you have told us.   You have described that you cared for your dau when your wife was working.  Just curious whether she reported her concerns over leaving dau with you in the past, or is something else going on ie she is asking you to uproot your life betting that you won't.  Presumably she also quit her 2 jobs and left the dogs with you. Just questions that you may not want to answer here. Anyway, document everything, and keep your lawyer in the loop.  And if you find a med that helps with the impulsive anger let us know - we're trying gabapentin over here.  Good luck.

Seems so abrupt

I'm very sorry your wife is unwilling to be flexible right now. Of course that may be related to it only being one day. She's asking a lot of an ADHD person to do all the work in moving, it's a huge stressor that usually doesn't help manage symptoms. And concurrently make treatment progress.  In order for your marriage to work she will eventually have to let go of the anger and resentment for behaviors of the past, as will you of course. 

There is a book called Act with LOVE that is for relationships not just ADHD ones that does a pretty good job of showing how both parties contribute to relationship issues. No relationship fails because of one partner, even if the burden of "fault" is skewed to one. If your wife hasn't read Pera's Is it You, Me or Adult ADHD, I would highly recommend it. Does a good job of showing how pervasive the symptoms and impact can be. 

Try to manage your stress as well as you can. Exercise, sleep, eat healthfully. Treat yourself respectfully so that it's easier to treat others well.  

Long Day

Thank you again for your advice, all. I have sent these recommendations to my wife in hopes that she will have a change of heart and show me a more significant that she wants to make our marriage work as much as I do. I was finally able to meet with my counselor today. I received some great information and advice which has helped me calm my anxiety and focus my energy and efforts to have more productive results will protecting myself and my relationship with my dau. I will be taking a few days to focus my efforts and continue to work on my self improvement plan while I strive to stay positive and continue to  show my love and concern for my dau and W. I appreciate everyone's support and advice.