Helping my wife end her suffering

Hi Guys/Gals,

I am 38 yo male and I was recently confirmed as a victim of severe ADHD. I have been married for 13+ years now and we have 2 kids but somehow I feel that I have not lived up to the expectation of my spouse. Though she is not the first to be disappointed by me, she is the one who suffers the most. How can I ease her pain?

I know for sure that my existence on this planet is a HUGE mistake but I have few responsibilities such as kids, stay at home spouse and aging parents. If somehow I figure out a way to fulfill my obligations, I really don't have any reason to waste the precious resources of this planet earth we/you call a home. those resource being air I breath, water I drink and food I eat.

At this point, I do not have any regrets/fears for the failures I may or will encounter to support my responsibilities and I do not get any excitements from my so called "achievements" or "accomplishments"...

So my question is "How do I convince my spouse not to waste her life on the "cluster fuck" like me...

Any help will be GREATLY appreciated...




Hope you're doing better today

You ask "how do I convince my spouse not to waste her life on .... me". 

You don't.  Every adult gets to choose for themselves.  Someone else, even if it is a beloved partner (that's you by the way) does not get to choose what is best for her.

I think your question comes from how you were feeling when you wrote this, pretty awful and in pain, and seems offered as a way to make amends.  There are better ways. 

Lastly if you don't want to be married you have to "own it" and not make it look like you're doing it for the benefit of someone else.  No one's existence is a mistake -- you are still here to learn and grow.  How can you ease her pain?  By doing what needs to be done.  Don't know what needs to be done?  Ask her.  Forget what needs to be done?  Ask again and write it down.  Lose the list of what needs to be done?  Nail it to the wall.  Over and over again.  Do the job.  Forgive yourself.  And forgive her when she doesn't believe you.  She believed in you for a long, long time and now is your chance to return the favor.  I hope you return to this forum, there is so much here to help you understand your own life, and you have a lot to contribute to lessen other's pain. 

Very Good Advice...

Gardener has some Really Sound Advice here. As an ADDer who did not know he had it until age 43, I had to own it, learn about it and change the things that were destroying my marriage. Here is the BIG One to pay attention to: Gardener suggests: "And forgive her when she doesn't believe you." It will take a long time of proving your new behaviors are going to stick, so you will have to show a lot of patience to get acknowledgment of you positive changes. Your DW will be sitting on pins and needles waiting for the switch back to the old behaviors.

You are at the right place to get started on your journey.



No! I am not having second

No! I am not having second thought or thinking that I will be better off without her and kids. Probably I won't even survive past few months without them. My thinkingis plain and simple at this point. If their life becomes better by leaving me, I am ready to sacrifice myself. As is bringing me to this world was a huge mistake and I don't think I  am doing justice to the resources I am consuming on this planet...

Get help for your pain

You sound quite desperate.  Call someone today.  You are absolutely wrong when you think their lives will be better without you.  Post again tomorrow and tell me you made an appointment.

Your not a waste....

I can promise you, your not a waste to your wife or your kids and obviously they don't see it that way, as they are still there.  Has my dh (hes the one with ADHD) disappointed me?  Has he hurt me? The answer to both is yes (or I wouldn't be on this site) but I wouldn't trade him for the world!!  Don't discount your wifes ability to forgive and move to her and most of all please GET HELP!!!!!

The resources on this planet

The resources on this planet WERE meant for you to consume, if they werent, there wouldn't be enough for you. I know this dark place. When i was younger, i used to beg and plead for God to take me everynight and somehow i woke up everyday. I would never do anything to harm myself, but i was hoping God would end my suffering and i just kept waking up everyday. I finally figured out that waking up everyday meant that i am here for a specific purpose and i wasnt going anywhere. Keep breathing, take little steps everyday, call someone that can help lessen the darkness in your soul. You have a purpose and you cant leave until you have left a specific "Mark" on this planet that you can be proud of. You have a lot to live for. Most especially your children. : ) someday maybe they too will be struggling and you could help lift them up from your own experience of getting through it.

Shawn , please read this

You just found out that you have adhd and, like so many others in your shoes- you may be feeling like you are "defective", that your already low self esteem feels justified, and maybe you are angry because it seems like no matter what you do you won't ever get it right so why bother. Then: 1.) STOP. It may feel SAFER to stay in this zone of negativity (its been there a long time, right?) but you are only hurting yourself and the family you say you love. Take a moment and let yourself get used to the idea that this physical disorder- something that has been there all along, you just have a name to it something you need to deal with. If you do, life can get better. You are not perfect. But know that no one else is either. The good news is that there are things you can do to address it. And it WILL be a family affair, so don't cold shoulder your wife in the meantime. 2.) Shawn, I am also going to go out on a limb to say this. Avoid the temptation to self medicate with alcohol, illicit drugs or anything a doctor has not recommended you to try (and even then Only as prescribed with regular follow ups) There are drugs for adhd but they must be carefully assessed and followed up with AND no other drugs/booze in the meantime or it can mess up your brains neurochemistry. 3) be kind to yourself as though you were talkng to your son/dtrs. Would you really call them " Cluster f*ck"? Then dont do it to yourself. It is disrespectful. Get counseling to learn how to deal with this._

get help

Gardener447 is right.  Get help.

It sounds as if you may be suicidal.  I hope I am wrong. 

Do a google search to see the effects of suicide on children.    Whatever you may have done, suicide would be worse, emotionally crippling your children.

My spouse is ADHD and I have a lot of problems with that.   However, if she were to do herself in, I doubt either I or the kids would ever recover from that.

Your condition is treatable.  So treat it.  That's how you can best discharge your responsibilities.

only effects those who remain

regardless of your obligations, responsibilities, etc. if you are suicidal you need help because the only people left to absorb the horrific shock waves that result from a suicide are the ones you supposedly love and care about and don't want to hurt.  I know from experience. Treat your ADD, treat your depression, educate yourself about both and share the information with your spouse.  your kids deserve better than potentially having to live their entire lives knowing they weren't enough to keep their dad alive.  You chose to reproduce.  You chose to marry.  You need treatment of some kind to take responsibility for the choices you have made and the lives you impact.


your current suffering is NOTHING compared to the suffering your loved ones would feel without you.

its funny how similar we all are :)

I knew I was a mistake on this planet from as early as 6. there were times I tried super hard to make life great and prove myself. it never worked. I let everyone down. but my husband was the hardest. not a week went by in eight years I tried to tell him his life would be better without me. that he should take our two kids and make a better life without the disasters and chaos that surrounded me. I tried getting divorce papers, talking about it for endless hours trying to convince him this wouldnt end and he would end up in a pit of dispair just like me. I tried deliberately pushing him away in every way I could. the man just wouldnt leave. I used to cut myself saying I was worthless and stupid, praying every day God would take me out. never having quite enough courage to end life. all it really took in the end was a visit to the doctor. he sent me to a counselor.  I didnt want to go. I didnt want to hear that I'd have this forever and it wouldnt get any better. I didnt want to hear that the man that had already put so much effort into our marriage should put more effort into me "dealing" with me for the rest of my life. I actually went for the meds to prove a point....that I was hopeless. but within weeks the fog had lifted. allowing me to see things quite diffrently. and the lifetime of effort I expected and dreaded wasnt needed. only a new begining. my husband saw my anguish over my life and said "lets start over" he shook my hand and said " name is....". his thought was that with such a new and overwhelming development there was no way it would take less than forever to sort out our entire history or who did what to whom. he said as hurt as he'd been in the past having a fog lifted and new eyes on the world was nothing short of starting life over. I tried everything over again. tasted every food just to see if I really did like it. sounds silly. but we both did it and he didnt make me feel bad. I messed up a little here and there but as long as I take those pills like I'm supposed to ...instead of dissapointing him 24 hours a day....I only feel like I dissapoint him or anyone else maybe 30 % of the time which my counselor informed me "is normal to dissapoint that frequently because no one can please anyone 100%" every marriage has issues, every parent has problems. but just saying I was soo sooo sorry and taking those pills to stay unfoggy was all my husband wanted. he wanted me to be happy. he knew how much it hurt me to live like that. he even saw a counselor on his own to work through any left over frustrations and to help him see my perspective a little better just so he wouldnt put a halt to my progress yet make sure that his feelings were taken care of so that it didnt come back on us later. he is nothing short of an amazing man. he said if he really thought I wasnt worth it he wouldnt have even married me. he's just as sorry it took eight years to figure out what was going on. but with the right attitude and not living in denial and a loving partner it really isnt bad forever. in our case it really wasnt even that long. it is one of the hardest things for adhd people to get out of the "I'm not worth it" circle.  it really is a horrible thing to have. but the idea behind "I'm not worth it" is "I'm tired of fighting this never ending fog"  adhd life leaves you tired all the time. trust that finding a med that works for you....can do amazing things in that area. life isnt as tiring because you can focus better. I still talk alot and dont sit still that often but I can do soooo much more now and my husband tells me at least once a week how happy he is for me to be so stress free.

Please get help.

I was undiagnosed for 43 years. Life CAN improve for you and your loved ones. If you read a little here you can see there are positive outcome, sure it takes some work, but anything worthwhile does.

You are not alone in what you are feeling. You did not do anything to get ADD, but there is help...


Thanks everyone for the

Thanks everyone for the encouraging words everyone. No. I am not suicidal and I can never think of such a cowardly act with so many responsibilities on me. Once my kids are independent and I have secured my wife's future, may be but that is not happening for atleast next 15 years.

Regarding getting help, I have tried that but it does not help at all and honestly I don't think I make this world any better place than what it is already with my miserable presence. Trust me I gave 39 years of life to reconcile but NOTHING works.

Thanks again everyone for your kind words and help. I hope my sense of responsibility and love for my family will carry me till the end of my useful life.






Hi Shawn, Okay, so it is up

Hi Shawn, Okay, so it is up to everyone here to be able to commit to their own action. If you are not ready to deal, cant bear to face things, or are just plain "okay" with leaving things as they are- it is everyone's choice (as long as you are truly not a danger to yourself or others, that is). Let it be that diehard enabler in me to make one last post to ask, and please answer honestly TO YOURSELF the following: 1) are you really committed to changing things for the better, or is it easier to do nothing, give up, and live in that old familiar place of negativity and low self esteem? (I know this feeling personally, so please dont be offended); 2) are you reading all the good info on adhd (get audio books, its easier); 3) are you under the treatment of a good dr who knows adhd (not just a drug pusher!); 4) are you getting counseling? 5) are you eating well (my spouse finds protein shakes for breakfast are a good brain awakener in the am, omega 3 is also important; 6) are you exercising (this is critical for some people- research suggests it can increase your brain dopamine levels- the "feel good"); 7) are you having regular, periodic (can be short 15-20' sessions so not overwhelming, at times when you feel strong and centered) with your partner? This is important for connecting with your mate! Ultimately, Shawn- have you done everything you can do to get a handle on this or do you just not want to deal with any of it? Ask these hard questions and face your fears. You ARE a good person (that rings loudly too, in your posts) BUT you sound overwhelmed, depressed, and like you dont want to look further. I know this sounds harsh and I am sorry for that. But Shawn- it is your life AND the lives of your wife and kids at stake. Take it slow and dont worry about addressing everything at once. But START NOW.

Here's the thing...

Hey Clusterfcuk,

Ellamenno here...  ADD wife.  I think we all go through this crap.  I know your post is from months ago - so I hope things are better.

I've been meaning to reply to this post for a long time but i... well... uh... y'know.  Takes too long for me to form coherent sentences and type them out and reread them to make sure they make sense.  and all the time that doing so eats up makes me feel guilty and behind on the daily to do list etc. etc....  wait... is something burning?


But here's the news:  You will never reach 'the end of your useful life'.  Youre family, your friends will not simply go on about their business if you 'check out.'  Their lives will be destroyed.  They will blame themselves etc, etc.  The will need you always.  Your kids don't stop needing you once they're financially independent.  Your wife doesn't stop needing you once you're retired.

I feel just as useless as you do, trust me.  I do stupid shit every day and there are days (like today) when the medication isn't working so well and i'm tired and I forget things and when this happens i have to rely on my routines and 'reality checks' to get through the day.

I stll feel like a child sometimes in my relationships because goddamnit, F*CK!!! Nope.  Didn't do that thing I was supposed to do.  I. just. forgot.  And I get the eye rolling and the frustration. and yes, it's worse now that we know why, not better.

Cut yourself some slack and allow yourself some time to do something you love.  Even if that means just f*cking sitting in a chair and staring at the f*cking wall for 30 minutes a day.  My husband laughed at me the other day because i spent an hour watching you tube videos of about 25 different performances of the SAME song.  Just to see what tiny ways each was different.  Waste of time? sure, maybe.  But you spent 4 hours watching a football game on Sunday so shut the f*ck up.  (no I didn't actually say that to him!) 

Sometimes we need to space out.  Sometimes we need to remember who we are and why that's great sometimes.  (I am a musician, and after about 2 years of not listening to ANY music at all, I finally found something I'm interested in, and realized that the reason I stopped was because I wanted to 'control' the ADD and not get distracted and try to be 'normal.'  So now i'm playing music and singing again and no - there's not a lot of money in it, but it gives me something to look forward to instead of telling myself how stupid and useless I am.  It's a little dangerous:  I can get side-tracked and forget stuff if I'm practicing or stay up too late.  But I recognize that and I set timers and force limits and then I don't feel guilty.

Anyway, i hope this makes sense and I hope you're ok.

lotsa hugs,


Time... (I call it YYZ Hour)

Zone-Out / Down Time / Free Time

Everybody needs this! Excellent call Ellamenno :) The day starts a 5am and I haul A$$ ALL Freakin' Day, Every Day and after the kids are down around 9:30 I figure I deserve to do "Whatever" for at least an hour, because even if I went to bed I could not go to sleep until I Un-Wind... Maybe I need to break out my old Custom Bach 50B and play some Big Band Jazz...

The Crazy Pace seems to be driven from realizing all the things I did not do in the past. I did not see all the things needing my attention, now I do see them and there is No Way to get everything done. I like the feeling of accomplishment, but kind of get tired of feeling like I "Have" to go at 100mph every waking moment and still getting reminded of all the other stuff not getting done because of the projects I was working on. No winning... At the end of each "work your a$$ off weekend" without fun time, it's comments like "Well this all had to be done"... Deflating... Some of our Not Working Time should be spent "Relaxing" on your days off. Not all of it, but some of it... 

YYZ wants some free time, but does not want to feel guilty about it, because there is ALWAYS something else that needs to be done.


full of surprises

Didn't know you were a bone player YYZ!!  Cool! When I was in school we called you guys 'Brassholes.'  Heeheehee!

Get that thing out & play some jazz dude! 

Bass Bone, Man :)

Customized by a horn specialist at North Texas State University, now UNT. In-Line, Open Wrapped, Double Trigger... I could still play, but would have No Chops ;-) I loved the days playing in a Jazz Band... Now I write SQL Queries, not Nearly as Cool... Should we start a Forum Band?

Low Brass Kicks A$$! ;) 


Thanks Ellamenno for your

Thanks Ellamenno for your kind words. I can totally related myself to you but the the cultural background I come from, things like ADHD is considered just an "excuse for being lazy"... Anyways, my wife is liberated now with my kids. Fortunately, none of my kids have ADHD. So, as of now (unfortunately) I am only responsible for their financial well being. Though I will never be allowed to show my love and affection to my kids (and trust me it hurts more than anything because she has moved back to Brazil with her parents), they have better future with "normal" mom than clusterfcuk like me. I will do whatever it takes to make sure that my kids are successful and happy in their life which at this point is my only reason to breath and exist! :)

Thanks again everyone for your support and kind words.


Hey - I'm so sorry your wife took off with the kids... I'm pretty sure this is illegal and you can contact a Family Law specialist and find out what you can do about it.  YOU HAVE RIGHTS, CLUSTERFCUK!!  

I know what you mean about the cultural thing.  It is SO hard for anyone to understand, and for traditional cultures... even harder.  

Please, please find something you like to do, or reconnect with old friends.  I know it's hard (I have the anti-social part of ADD too and find it takes all my strength to go 'mingle' with people). but you need to get out of this downward spiral of beating yourself up.

what are your interests?  get a paper or look online in your area and find ONE THING to do this weekend that you haven't done before and that your curious about.  If your nervous about being around new people just do something short and promise yourself you'll go home once it's over.

hang in there!!!



I agree w ellamenno, you have

I agree w ellamenno, you have rights. I am the wife without adhd...and he is out of the house. Not much anyone can say, I guess, but I linger here because it is far from a closed chapter in my book (can not speak for him). I made him leave for reasons that were unavoidable (physical outbursts), but he can not understand that I still maintain a connection to it love, caring, loyalty whatever. But I am maintaining that from a safe distance. And I am sure he feels he is a clusterfcuk too, though can adeptly blame me at the same time (cant quite figure out that one). From my "side", i want him to know the kids-and he has been seeing them more now then he has in the past two thats good. But the emotions that keep him from even acknowledging me in a room when he walks in continue to feel hurtful, awkward, and sometimes, scary. But I am dealing w that. I am trying to set down my protective walls too, and I have no idea how he is taking that. But I would NEVER do what your wife did- alienate you from the kids (no matter how tempting it was to remove myself from the pain). Your kids do need to know you care, more than just from a financial point. Call them...often. Set a timer up as a reminder. Send them letters, pictures. Visit if that is an option. Please do not disappear from their lives because you think they would be better off. It is crucial for them as they grow towards adulthood that this is possibility - to know their dad.