How do I regain his trust and respect

I am 43 y/o and over the past year have figured out that I have ADHD.  My daughter, who is 8, was recently diagnoised which led me to evalute my past.  I have been married for 15 years and we have always had problems.  I have ruined our credit by not paying bills on time, the house is never organized and everything is always a mess.  The biggest thing is that I have repeated this behavior time and time again over the years.  We took out a mortgage on our home and paid all our bills and for a while I kept up with everything but slowly I slipped back into the same routine.  We struggled but worked through it again, borrowing money to pay for everything...you get the picture.  I knew I was messing up each time but telling him meant I was a failure to him and to myself.  I kept telling myself I would catch up on the bills next month and then the next month came and went.  Finally, he has had enough.  All he does is ask "why, why, why" and now I realize that this is due to ADHD.  I have read a lot on the subject and I have created a schedule for getting bills paid and paid early.  Getting and staying organized is a struggle but I have finally figured out something that works for me.  He, of course, has no faith in me.  I still have a lot to work on including the household chores but I am trying.  We basically live separate lives.  He hardly speaks to me unless it is to question me about the bills and the household chores.  He just keeps saying that I have no respect for him and that I don't care (not true at all).  The only thing we talk comfortably about is the children.  We don't have a marriage anymore we are only roommates.  I hate the way things are and want to be able to work things out.  He says he hates the way things are too but feels that if he gives in that things will go back to the old ways.  He is trying I believe...he no longer yells at me about things but tries to speak calmly.  He doesn't understand and nothing I say is good enough.  I don't know what I should do.  I want to get my husband back, I just don't know how. 

Don't Know What to Do

Several ideas...first, you don't mention whether or not you are actively pursuing ADHD treatment.  If not, doing so would be an effective first step in helping yourself.

Second, you sound consumed by guilt.  You need to get past this if you are going to earn back the respect of your husband.  Therapy with someone who is very familiar with ADD might help.  Else, you need to spend some time thinking about who you are as a person and digging around for the positive things in you and trying to reinforce those things.  You are not just a collection of problems - you also have some very good qualities...start listing them to yourself.  Starting a journal in which you exlpore something good that happened to you, or something good that you are...every day for a few minutes might help you do this.

Third, if you have so much trouble with the bills, why are YOU still paying them?  Why not let your husband deal with them?  Even though you have a system which now works, it sounds as if you have to expend a great deal of energy to pay them.  Consider talking with him about changing this arrangement - not because you can't do it (you can now) but because it's a more efficient arrangement for the two of you as a team.

Fourth, you and your husband should know that your child with the ADD is observing how your husband treats you, her mom with the ADD.   He needs to be aware that efforts that he makes to shut you out or down will also affect your daughter.  Your husband can help you both significantly if he learns lots about ADD and about how to accept that side of you both.  There's lots at stake when you have an 8 year old - it's not just your marriage.

Fifth - the way you describe your husband is as the "parent" in your relationsihp (and a stern one at that).  This is inherently unhealthy for the two of you and nothing will get better until he gets out of that mode.  Therefore, work with him to figure out ways that will satisfy him that you'll still stay organized (perhaps hiring a coach to organize you so that he doesn't need to, or behavior therapy with treatment) and redistributing the work of your relationship (like the bills) so that you can play to your strengths (like the intuition to figure out your daughter needed help) and not have to "correct" your weaknesses so much.  That creates a "partnership" rather than a parent/child relationship.

Key to all of this is that somehow your husband needs to get to a point where he can accept you are you, and you need to get to a point where you don't feel guilty about who you are.  That die was cast a long time ago.  You can do much to help yourself (and you will see this as you work with your daughter to help her develop her own skills and confidence) but you will NEVER not be a person without ADD.  If you both accept that, and then act on what that acceptance means (changing the household structure, being more flexible with the way that your life goes day to day, assigning chores based on strengths and not on gender role models etc) you will make much progress.

The good news is that you think that your husband is trying...and so are you.  Keep going, just try to get some professional help to give you direction and to take away the "organizational/parent" issues in your relationship.

Good luck with all of this, and please keep us informed as to how it is going.

Melissa