How Do You Disengage Yet Be Supportive?

I hit a wall with my ADHD hubby this morning. I know it's just a temporary setback but its so easy to get bent out of shape.

He started back to college yesterday and I'm super proud of him. I've helped him along the way (filing financial aid, doing the paperwork, helping with registration, etc.) and he has said that he was very appreciative of my help and couldn't have done it without me. He's been to school before and got decent grades, but tardiness was an issue. He's without meds right now and I meant to make an appointment with his doctor last week, but I forgot to.

Well he got to school on time yesterday and had a pretty good time although he said it was stressful. I was surprised that he got there on time because he didn't get home from his 3rd shift bar job until 6am and he had to start waking up at 9:30 so he could leave the house by 10:30. He's been stressed out overall lately due to some family conflict over him selling a truck his dad bought for him in order to get a motorcycle (which he intends to use as his primary vehicle).

Well he came home this morning at 3am (after playing with his pool team) but didn't crawl into bed until 5am. I set the alarm for him and went to work. Well 10:30 rolled around and I hadn't heard from him so I started calling. I called several times but he never picked up. So I called my mom, who works 3 blocks from our apartment, and she offered to go over there and bang on the door. She tried several times and was about to leave when he answered and said he was in the bathroom. I can't believe he was in there without his phone (it's attached to his hip 24/7) but so it goes. I went ahead and called his doctor to make an appt and when I called my hubby to tell him, he asked me why. I could have swore that he told me that he needed to have his 3 month check-up but he said he still had one month left on his script. I told him to hold it and go on to the Dr since he wanted to talk to him about getting his dosage reduced because the current mg makes him irritable and agitated (thus he only wants to take it at certain times). I told him he also needed to talk to the doctor about his sleep issues. He's been diagnosed with sleep phase disorder, which is common with ADHDers from what I've read. I've told him about the taking a low dose of his meds to help him sleep but he's been resistant. Well he explodes at me over the phone and says he doesn't want to sleep at night because that's when his mind is clear. Also "never send your mother over here again. It was embarrassing and I'd rather flunk out of school and have to deal with that again." At which point, I told him I would remember that and hung up.

I'm so frustrated with him right now. His life has been a mess for four years, he's tied to his job at this stupid bar (oh! how I wish the place would burn down!), and just when he convinces himself that everything is going to be alright, he allows himself to start with the "I'm a screw up" routine. I don't know how to disconnect myself from this and yet be supportive. I can't stay awake at night worrying because he's not home yet and I'm afraid he won't make it to school on time. I can't be in charge of calling him 20 times to make sure he is up. I've got to draw the line somewhere and I don't know how. Any tips?

 

Oh, I feel your pain!  "How

Oh, I feel your pain!  "How to disengage but remain supportive" could be the name of my book about surviving life with an ADHD spouse.  I'll have to think about your question but to start, here is one suggestion:  tell your husband what you told us:  "I can't stay awake at night worrying because you're not home yet and I'm afraid you won't make it to school on time. I can't be in charge of calling you 20 times to make sure you are up."  Then add, "What can you do so that this college experience is successful?"

Thanks Rosered. Yup, this has

Thanks Rosered.

Yup, this has always been my struggle. When hubby worked 1st shift I barely slept for fear he would oversleep and lose another job. Some things I have learned to let go--it used to bother me that he didn't attend church with me (he's supposed to be a Christian as well) but I eventually let it go. I decided that God would deal with him when it was time. I guess it's a similar situation now--just letting go and letting God.

He's not my favorite person right now (hubby, not God... Lol!) but I will try to talk to him later. My mom suggested writing my feelings down, which may be a good idea. I used to communicate with him that way when we were dating. Trying to talk to him about difficult subjects now invariably leads to me saying something that he takes the wrong way. Sigh.

dazedandconfused,You sound

dazedandconfused,

You sound exactly as I did not so long ago.  What I've come to realize is that support surely has limits.  I felt after a lllloooooong time that I was always doing things for my husband under the GUISE of support but really what I found I was doing was parenting him.  I took the need to be needed over the top and burned myself out!  The ADHD person LOVES the co-dependent partner because of this need to be needed.  Females have a natural tendency to nurture and so the need to be needed is actually rewarding but has it's limits otherwise it becomes grossly imbalanced and leads to stress on the caregivers part.  Yes, I say caregiver because that's what you become if you are fulfilling anothers needs over your own.  I found that to be truly supportive I have to support myself first and by doing that the support for my husband naturally falls into place.  This takes BOUNDARIES, BOUNDARIES, BOUNDARIES!  Take a serious look at what you are willing to do and not do for him.  I would suggest the things that cause you stress are the things that are to be first on your list.  Stress and worry are signals and clues as to where your boundaries are being crossed.  After you ID those stick points write them down for you and your husband and have a short discussion about the new boundaries in place.  I would suggest offering the positive 'here is how  I'm willing to support you' statement to avoid the inevitable conflict that occurs when confronting the ADHD mind.  Then, FOLLOW THROUGH!  Be consistent and don't give up your personal freedom by giving in.  The intent of this is to gain back your sanity and peace.  I imagine he might perceive this as a withdraw on your part but so be it.  I know the reaction my husband had (confusion, sulking and blame) added to my stress because he felt abandoned BUT that's not my responsibility to own his reaction and feelings.  This takes a cultivation of strength but  remember you can't control how people perceive you, they'll think of you how ever they think of you.  I mean look at Jesus for crying out loud!  He was the greatest gift to this earth and people perceived Him as negative and put his body up on that cross!  They saw Him as a threat.  But guess what?  Life kept on going and he moved on to create some pretty cool things despite what people thought and by supporting his own viewpoint on Life (beliefs) he ultimately fulfilled his mission.  Self, Life and Others is the motto that's currently in place for me at this time and maybe that will help you to?  Good luck!!!!

Thanks Harmony. That was very

Thanks Harmony. That was very helpful.

I think yesterday boiled down to him being sick and frustrated. He apparently had food poisoning so he didn't make it to class. He says he'll have a chat with both the professors tomorrow after class. But I did draw a line in the sand. I told him that I wasn't going to worry about whether or not he was getting enough sleep nor would I call him ten times to make sure he was up. If he fails at school because of absences or tardies, then that's it. He said that was fine. He's apparently very frustrated because pretty much all class announcements, assignments, etc have shifted to online spaces that the school maintains. It's hard for him since he hasn't been in school since 2004. I think he's just overwhelmed and snappish right now. But I did tell him that if he does the studying and gets to class when he's supposed to, I will help him stay organized. That's something that I excel at and don't mind doing to help him.

You are right about one thing--I can't control how people view me. It's an area that I really struggle in. I'm gradually learning that there's nothing I can do to change minds and so I should quit stressing myself out.

Thanks again!

dazedandconfused So glad you

dazedandconfused

So glad you implemented a healthy decision for yourself.  Sounds like you both came together with a good compromise!  As far as the viewpoint of others I know I've struggled with that and still have to keep it in the front of my mind when interacting with others is that people have 5 ways to view me.  They'll either:

1.  Like Me

2.  Love Me

3.  Dislike Me

4.  Hate Me

5.  Be Neutral

Understanding those 5 viewpoints that EVERYONE holds when interacting can take the stress out of worrying about what others think of me.  Remember, no matter how impeccable you are within your interactions people will choose one of the above to 'view' you with---even those close to you.  Just notice how you use these viewpoints with others.  Usually one of the five viewpoints are there within 3-5 seconds upon meeting up with someone.  Keep up with your beautiful awareness it sure is shiney!