I give up

39 years of marriage, meds, counseling, job loss, house loss, being told I'm enabler - and the cycle goes on. Taking my energy , my sense of purpose and my hope. Please advise.

Can you provide any more

Can you provide any more details?  Are you employed?  Do you have enough money to live on your own?  Do you have children at home?  Are either you or your spouse currently taking medications or engaged in therapy or counseling?  

Husband with ADD wearing me down

We have two grown children not living at home. We both have had individual therapy as well as couples counseling. I don't have enough income to live on my own, and I do love him, dearly. He takes focalin, generic riddlin (insurance won't cover concerta which worked better). Therapist tells him to use calendar book to stay on track - he won't do it consistently- and then chaos ensues: either minor or major (loss of job,etc). Therapist says I have to let him fail - sounds good on paper but, failures always affect me, too. He definitely depends on me too much. Married 39 years and he was only diagnosed 10 years ago. Before diagnosis - habits were formed. I don't understand why  won't use tools therapist recommends. Thank you

I can relate

I certainly can relate to being told you are an enabler and being told you have to let them just "sink." I've been thru the same with several therapists and counselors.

You can't just stand aside and let your life go to hell just to teach them a lesson. Besides, I don't think it would make any difference. Many (most?) people with ADHD (or other similar problems) lived disorganized, chaotic lives before they met their spouses. Sometimes they have already been left by a spouse. They already know what the results can be, and it didn't make any difference. Many people have very high tolerances for chaos, being out of money, bill collectors, dirty surroundings, poor eating habits, etc., etc. If you don't take charge, they are not likely to either.

It's really a kick in the teeth to be blamed somehow for problems you don't really have the power to fix. Sometimes seems like it's temping for a therapist to focus on the only person who engages in the process and actually makes an effort. Other accusations I've experienced in the past: me being called parental because he acts like a child; me being expected to  come thru sexually because HE has needs (even though I can't trust him as far as I can throw him); me being unforgiving because HE screams, yells, and scares me still after hitting me; me not just refusing to go anywhere in the car with him because sometimes he has fits when he drives, etc.

I like "The Verbally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans. She is on your side and will help you see what is going on. Can you stay with one of your kids for awhile until you can think more clearly? If you are not getting help from therapy, don't be afraid to switch. There is a wide range from poor to excellent among therapists. Start small, but make the start toward getting away if you need to.

It might help to try to

It might help to try to distinguish between what you have to do and what you want to do.  For me, paying bills on time is a must.  So, I pay most of the bills.  It's not a must for me that my husband make it to appointments on time or that he wear clean clothes or that he get his cholesterol checked or that he get his teeth fixed.  So those things are his responsibility.  I don't do his laundry anymore.  I don't make appointments for him or remind him that he's late.  I don't tell him that he's going out with pants that have holes in them.  

These things can be hard to do initially. Harder, but even more important, is to work on making yourself more independent.  Imagine if your husband died suddenly.  How would you take care of yourself?  Where would you live?  How would you support yourself?  Start setting up that safety net FOR YOU.  

Does anyone really feel that

Does anyone really feel that it's possible to change habit like these in a 39 year marriage? We were married at age 20. The older I get , the more "purpose driven " I get. Thanks-

the enabler!!???

Many people have very high tolerances for chaos, being out of money, bill collectors, dirty surroundings, poor eating habits, etc., etc. If you don't take charge, they are not likely to either.

This is important for me to keep in mind with my DH.  THIS is what I wrestle with most.  I cannot tolerate the level of chaos that he can.  That is what formed our mommy/son relationship.  He could ignore what drove me nuts.  

Add the ability to stretch the truth and outright lie to dh's abilities. He lies to himself and everyone else to make life better for himself (because he doesn't want to put any effort into anything and believes he can talk his way out of everything - so OTHER people can do the work).  I am not able to lie.  When talking to a therapist, in the past, I would try to understand HIM, I would try to respect HIM, I would honor HIS feelings and perspective.  I would TRY to have progress with communication.  Now I beginning to accept that HE was making his case for HIMSELF with whatever means necessary.....He is/was a salesman (complete with winning gosh darn smile).  He lies to pass himself as non-guilty and superior.  Guess how our sessions turned out?  He lied to the therapist and me and made empty promises and the only thing that came out of it was that he could now tell people, if they asked, that I dragged him to counseling because I am nuts and he cooperated by going, putting in the hour and isn't he just such a great guy.  He chose to use lying and denial as ways of coping with ADD rather than using charts, communication, calendars and alarm clocks.


Jenna, although I left my STBX recently, we are trying hard to have an amicable co-parenting relationship, and it also does me a lot of good as I try to recover and move on from 15 pretty tough years. 

This quote struck me, too: Many people have very high tolerances for chaos, being out of money, bill collectors, dirty surroundings, poor eating habits, etc., etc. If you don't take charge, they are not likely to either. I am actually a relatively right-brained, non-linear, "creative" person and I thought I had a pretty good tolerance for a general level of chaos and ... well, life. But wow, my DH--I have never seen anything like it. The chaos and disorganization he began to live with drove me to stress and illness trying to take care of everything. And it became something I could just not live around very easily--I felt like I was being dragged down with it. He was not really that way when we met--he was hyper-focused. I think being a younger single guy was much easier to manage. But his living habits became unreal a few years after we had kids. He eventually retreated to his own part of the house and his room was just not something you could even function in or walk through. Literally--smelled bad, clothes piled calf-deep, and junk on every inch of the floor. The problem was, like you, I felt like I tried hard to ask him to meet me halfway. And it became completely about his feelings and perspective, and he only used denial and anger to deal with it. Or accused me of "not loving him for who he was." Ugh. Despite the verbal and emotional abuse, he just used that to not have to deal with things, because it was a shame, because I had to leave him. I promise, I was willing to deal with being angry myself. I asked him to go to counseling for five years and he refused. I took charge for a long time, and did almost everything that was essential for our family to survive. It wasn't that I didn't love him or love many things about him. I just didn't love living with someone who became completely unable to function or deal with life and then wouldn't treat it or do anything about it. Did this make me an enabler? Probably, because he got worse about dealing with things or being able to deal with them, over time. Here is my final example: he had a pet dog who was a puppy when we met. It was his dog, and when we got married, we both looked after the dog and played with him. Soon after our children were born, my spouse went into his "hardly do anything phase," and I found out that he had been opening the back door once a day, letting the dog out, letting it poop in the snow in the back yard, and calling it back in while DH didn't get off the couch. The snow melted in spring and there were 100 piles of poop thawing in the yard! DH completely stopped taking care of the dog at all. And with babies, I took that stupid dog out in freezing weather, took it to the vet, bought its food, and took care of it. Everything in our life became like this. I may have been enabling, but DH defended his actions and said they were ok (poor dog). 

I swear, if he had looked at me, and just said, "I am sorry--I know you are stuck with working full time while getting up with the kids, getting them ready, and getting everyone out of the house every day, while I sleep in and basically work part time. And that you do all of the dishes, laundry, bills, cleaning, and help the kids with homework and school. And maintain the yard and shop. I know you have told me that this is not fair to you and that you wish you had some help. There is something going on or wrong and I am so challenged to get up and move and help you, and my tolerance is such that I could leave the dishes in the sink for two weeks before I did them, but I appreciate what you do and will try to even it out a bit by giving the kids a bath at night or (fill in the blank)." Honestly, if that had been the response instead of denial, anger, and hostility, and insistence that he DID do so much or that what he was doing was fine (which was patently untrue), we would still be together.