I used to blissfully ignorant to my impact on our marriage

I have been diagnosed with ADHD about 4 years ago and have been married for 18 years and have two kids. I have been put on Adderall XR that has helped at work.

About a month ago I had an true life changing eye opening experience and have been made painfully aware of how my anger and other ADD issues have been affecting my wife and family. Now I can't stop hyper focusing on how terrible I have been in the past. My guilt/shame is so bad I can barely eat some days. I keep replaying all the past fights I can remember over and over in my head. And almost all of them come down to me over reacting to something stupid. Then not thinking through my thoughts before blurting out something hurtful or cutting off my wife while she is trying to talk. Finally losing my temper and blowing my top.

Now every time we have a fight, I'm aware my mistakes right after I do them but the damage is done. And my wife has told me that she almost ready to leave me.

The guilt of what have done and am doing has me depressed to the point of wishing for that I will just not wake up one morning or have same freak accident. I don't want to kill myself I just feel that I don't deserve to keep hurting the ones I love and care for so if I can't stop doing this I don't deserve to exist. I'm sure this is just the depression coming to the surface. But it does concern me that it could get worse. I know that it would have to get a lot worse for me to do anything to myself. But it still scares me how bad it could get. 

I don't want to keep doing these things and I don't want to keep hurting my family verbally. I have made an appointment with my Dr. but this is the 3rd one I've had since my diagnosis. So I have to keep retelling my story. This time however feel I can share more than I have been able to in the past. I don't feel my dark side is something to hide but to exposed to the light so it can be eliminated.

I'm looking for anyone how has made it though something like this.


Hi there. I have changed a

Hi there. I have changed a lot of my behaviour since starting cognitive behavioural therapy (cbt). You can change, but it takes hard work, time and constant vigilance/monitoring. 

You have to get out of your wallowing and into some action. I get it that you are emotional and you feel absolutely devastated and terrible... But that is not going to change anything. If anything- those feelings are going to make you behave even worse. Trust me. I am an emotional animal as well. But this is not the time for you to indulge in wallowing. For now- you have to turn this off and take action. Your wife's feelings needs to be your focus. There isn't room right now for your feelings.

My tips are:

-find a doctor you like and trust who understands adhd and does cbt.

-Get the meds right and take them.

-Exercise and healthy diet and sleep.

- read everything you can about adhd. Read through these forums. You will see yourself over and over and over. You begin to see patterns. You begin to catch yourself quicker and quicker until you can actually control and resist your impulse to blurt something that is reactive and volatile. 

-talk to your wife. Say you are sorry. You are damaged- but you want to heal. 

-if you fuck up, and you will, because we all do- minimize the damage. It's never too late to stop in the middle of a fight and say sorry and confess you just realized that you started it and that it was stupid.

- whenever you realize you are being ridiculous or mean or too aggressive- stop in your tracks and either apologize or just stop- cool off and then apologize. 

- just do your best, forgive yourself for the back stops and ABOVE ALL- DO NOT QUIT TRYING.  

-Continue doing all the above- forever. 


Good luck to you. I know it's painful to change- but it is worth it..




You mentioned doctor, is that

You mentioned doctor, is that a psychiatrist that only gives you meds?  If so, like the other post mentioned, please find a therapist.  It can be difficult to find a good therapist that is familiar with AD/HD in adults but keep trying.  Maybe find one that will see you and your wife together sometimes too.  She needs to be involved and hopefully she is willing to be.  As the non ADD spouse, I would love if my husband figured out how his anger hurts me and the kids.  I think that is a great step.  It does sound like depression is surfacing, please mention that to your doctor.  Also may I suggest, reading your post to her.  If my husband feels what you feel and shared it with me, I would feel like we have a little bit of a chance.  And sometimes that is all you need.  Please keep us posted.  Thank you for sharing your deepest feelings.  My best to you.

Thanks for giving me hope there is a little bit of a chance

Thanks for giving me hope there is a little bit of a chance. The doctor is a GP but has some knowledge about ADHD and did also put me on a anti-depressant. Only been taking it for a few days so will have to wait awhile to see if it helps. I have a appointment with a therapist in a few days. We had another fight last night over something silly that I started. Think that somewhere deep in my mind I don't believe I can change and that I'm trying to push her away, That the only way I can make her happy is to push her away. And at the same time I would give anything to undo the emotional pain I've caused. How messed up is that? My therapist is going to earning his pay check on me huh?

Sorry if I kind of scrambled thing together as I replied, my emotions are all over the place right now.

been there

Hi, Jeff,

I am non-ADHD, but have been through depression before.  It can speak VERY loudly to you and seem like truth, but there is a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.  It is so evident in your posts that you are a good man.  A loving husband.  Someone who genuinely wants to improve his life and the lives of those he loves.  

It can take 3-4 weeks for an anti-depressant to take full affect.  Then one day you notice the sun is a little brighter and things are a little clearer.  Don't try to take on everything right now.  Give yourself grace and kindness.  You are making huge changes and you should be so proud of yourself!!

Things won't change overnight, but they will change.  You are so far ahead of the game compared to many others - I for one think you're doing great.


I wish

I wish my husband cared enough to see the problems he causes. I wish he cared enough to want therapy. 

Good luck with therapy and your marriage. It seems you have what it takes......to try:)

Jeff, the one post is right,

Jeff, the one post is right, it does take awhile for an antidepressant to work, it seems you are aware of that, just try to hang in there.  I have to say again that I think it speaks volumes that you are aware of how your actions hurt your wife, that you realize you may be pushing her away because of the pain you cause her.  These, in my opinion and I am not a therapist, are all great first steps.  I'm so glad you have an appt with a therapist.  I hope your wife is willing to go with you sometimes.  Has she read anything on ADHD to help her understand?


Thanks for the support

I’m starting CBT with my therapist to address my issues. In my research into CBT I found a flow chart that sums up how ADHD compounds itself with a negative feedback loop. I wish I had been diagnosed years ago and realized how much ADHD affects those around you as much as it affects you. I have many years of misguided coping strategies to figure out.

I’ve also been doing a lot of soul searching trying to understand my flavor of ADHD. As I read the posts here I see many similarities between myself and others. It is like seeing snapshots of myself throughout my life. Trust me I don’t like what I see but I’m determined to change so must face my dark side to know how to manage it.

My wife is having trouble sharing what is going on in our marriage with her family. She has been keeping most of what has been going on to herself and to use her words “always done what everyone else wanted/expected her to do”. So she is really struggling with what is going on and feeling cutoff.  I’m to try to get her read these posts so she knows she is not alone. I want/need to do something help her. As I told her last night “I can’t undo what I’ve done but I can stop causing you pain”. So anything that anyone might think will help I’ll try.


Jeff, I commend you for your steps toward a more managed life. As you do this, I would ask for feedback from your wife from time to time. Your wife I bet would benefit from her own therapy. As a non adhd partner, I realized I had symptoms of anxiety and depression from having low self-esteem and codependent tendencies. I was taught to put others' needs ahead of mine from a young age. Therapy has helped me a great deal and I have learned to identify and voice my feelings assertively rather than bottle them or explode aggressively. Therapy has helped me be able to seek support from others and become more vulnerable, instead of trying to handle it all by myself (resulted in many bad things for me, including depression).

When my SO and I have had problems, sometimes it's good to just have a nice casual date and be affectionate, if you can. Build up some positive feelings again. 

Jeff, have you or your wife

Jeff, have you or your wife read the ADHD Effect on Marriage?  I'm reading through it now, hoping one day I can get my ADD husband to read it.  It's very good, shows both sides in a fair manner.  There is one part that says to not look back, to forgive (hard to do but necessary) and move forward, almost like seeing each other as a different person and finding ways to like that person again and move on, not focusing on the past.  That was my take on it, I don't have the book handy or would give a page number or a quote.  That was very helpful to me because I tend to focus on how  my husband has hurt me in the past.  Now I am to the point where I have to change my thinking or leave the marriage, which I don't want to do.  So I am trying to focus on forgiving him and moving forward.  Also, since my husband doesn't really talk about his ADD, the book has helped me to see how his life is. Now, with some things, I can say that is how he sees things, and he is not trying to drive me crazy.  He can't remember from past experiences how long it takes to do a task.  His brain doesn't work that way.  He used to always ask me what time we are going to leave to get somewhere, to a restaurant that we always go to-every week.  It drove me nuts, he knows how long it takes to get there, he knows what time we have to be there, can't he figure it out for himself.  Well, after reading the book I realized, no he can't, he's not trying to drive me crazy asking me this every week.  It's a minor thing I know, but it's one thing off my very long list of annoying things he does! 

I also have not told my family about his ADD and only one friend knows.  My family just wouldn't understand and would not be supportive so I feel why bother.  It makes it a lonely journey though.  He has told his family and their first response was you don't have ADHD you're not hyper, then we had to explain that one doesn't have to be "hyper" to have this, he is inattentive.  I think it's great that you want to help your wife understand.  I hope she finds a way to learn about this and accept it.  Especially since there is hope out there, there are people that have happy marriages.  That's what I hold on to.  Good luck.