I have ADHD, my wife is controlling - coping?

My wife left me 2 years ago thinking I was abusive.  After a long battle I got a custody evaluation that came down hard on her saying how controlling she is and how great of a dad I am.  I know I have ADD and have a tendency to laziness, but the last 2 years I have made huge strides using some of the coping techniques described in some of these books.  Well, the evaluation coming back so strongly in my favor, everyone saying how much I've grown, and the kids begging to live with me every single day has made an impression.  Suddenly, she's talking about trying things again.  Thing is, I've never stopped loving her.  But everything I've read about ADD tells me how much a not-controlling wife makes a huge difference.  2 years without a controlling woman in my life and I was doing great.  

So, we're working on things.  She's agreed to do counseling.  What can i do?  I want my family together.  I have 3 kids that need me.  I loved her when she was nice.  But she expects me to be what I'm not.  And she's constantly going back and forth, saying she doesn't really love me anymore, but remembers we had good times and maybe she can learn again.  She might say she doesn't want to try it in a week, or she might stick to me for years.  I think patience and calm are huge for me, but what else?  Anyone have tips?  Anyone been through this?

Summary - controlling wife, 3 kids, 2 year separation - how do I take her back? What can I do?

I am a non-ADHDer, married to

I am a non-ADHDer, married to an ADHDer. Take it for what it is worth...

What would make your wife think you were abusive? Can you give any validity to that feeling at all? Do you feel she imagined, lied, or dreamed up things to support this feeling or did she have real reasons to feel this way?

For your marriage to heal, if that is what you want...one thing you have to understand is that the effects of your ADHD on your marriage are very real. Chances are, your wife has becoming controlling. Chances are that your ADHD makes you feel like everything she does or says is an attempt to control you. These are two very separate, but important issues. We, as non-ADHDers, see behaviors that appear to us (and quite often are) as out of control. It is natural to try and control what you feel is out of control (spending, addictions, neglect of the marriage, abuse, etc). We become codependents in these marriages. We are called nags, control freaks, "mothers", and some other farily unsavory things. You ADHDers are called immature, lazy, stupid, selfish, etc. Neither of you are bad people, you're just reacting in a very normal and natural way to the circumstances of your marriage.

It is great that you've made strides in your life and learned new ways of coping with your ADHD issues, but are you willing to make strides for your wife and marriage? Do you accept that your ADHD (especially if it was untreated during your marriage) quite possibly caused her to become the person you didn't like (the controlling wife)? My concern is that you're questioning whether or not you should take her back and in the same breath it seems you're not really seeing the big picture. YES, she will need to work on herself and she will have to learn (over time) to trust you again. Trust is destroyed with empty promises and the repeat of the same hurtful behaviors over and over again. Even if ADHD explains the reasons behind this, it does not change the damage done by leaving it untreated. You both have a LOT to accept...mainly your fault (both of you) in the demise of the marriage. You cannot see her as 'controlling'...you have to look at her through the eyes of someone who reacted the best way she knew how (assuming her story is similiar to many of ours here).

I know your complaint was that she was controlling. If you are able to articulate and relate to the issues SHE felt the marriage had and what it was she needed from you that she didn't get that made her leave then you might be able to piece things back together. If you feel the only problem was that she was controlling and felt you were abusive then I would say you're probably not ready to reconcile.

I found this post by

I found this post by SherriW13 very illuminating. I am the non-ADHD partner married to a woman with ADHD. Our marriage is in horrible straits.

I have been accused of trying to control her so many times. Now I understand better how I could respond.

My real problem is that essentially we are not talking. I caught her in a long-term series of betrayals with men on a dating site and we are going to marital therapy, but the therapist is not aware of ADHD and the therapy is not helping. She simply wants me to forget the affairs and carry on. She hates discussing topics like this, and I don't have a way of getting these ideas across to her. It is so frustrating ...  Everything also deteriorates into blaming and ' look how much YOU hurt me' ...  I feel hopeless !