I'm not sure it's ADHD

My husband and I have been married for 5 yrs. Although for the last 3 we have separated 3 times. We have currently been separated for a yr. My DH was diagnosed last Sept. with ADHD and started taking Ritalin, although he stopped both the counseling and the Ritalin in late November.

I have always wondered if his diagnosis was correct. Since I have been with my DH he has the typical struggle with following through on projects, he has never once finished a home project completely. (We are remodeling our home) He has had 4 jobs since I met him, each time he leaves for something “better”. The last was to buy out the business of his last employer when the employer died. He has had it for a yr. now and every week he feels he will lose it.

The difference is, he does not have a temper, and in fact he will avoid confrontation at all costs. He is also very neat at home. He can’t tolerate a messy house and helps with most of the chores.

He goes through very pronounced cycles every 6 months. Each Dec. and June he decides he doesn’t love me and never has and he leaves, each time getting divorce papers that in the end he won‘t sign. In a month or so he will come back and tell me he loves me and wants to work it out. I can actually see the process begin in the weeks prior to him leaving, he shuts down, stops calling, takes me off any of his social networks and then he just stops communicating completely. We have 4 children (2 each from separate marriages) and they are so confused and hurt by the abandonment.

In the last 6 months his moods have begun to cycle, first every month to the present state which is every week. One week he will break down and cry that he loves me like no other, that I am the only person who understands him and supports him in his business to the next week completely ignoring me, or as it stands now, calling me and telling me he hates me, I am pathetic and disgusting and the only reason I stay with him is because I am desperate, not because I love him.

That is where we are at present and my friends, family and therapist tell me I have to sever all contact with him and get on with my life. I understand that intellectually but I still love him very much and I know that in his heart he loves me. He is just so confused and alone and I am not sure what to do.

Thank you all for listening to me. I have been reading your posts for a few months now and it is the only thing that helps me get through my days.

Don't know but sounds like me

I just posted a response in another forum explaining how every six months I get very verbally abusive towards my husband...ever since we were married.  But let me back up...

I've been diagnosed with ADD twice now.  Once before pregnancy and once after.  The symptoms were related both times but much more anger the second time I was diagnosed.  I'm pretty sure I have ADD and can relate to most of what you are saying about your husband. 

1st:  I have an undergraduate and a graduate degree...neither are related and I ended up working in neither field.  I've had 11 jobs in 10 years.  Granted, once I had to work two jobs at one time and we did move twice...but 11 jobs!!!!  I didn't get fired from any of them.  I just got bored or burned out...not only did I switch jobs, I switched careers...molecular biology, social work, retail, accounting, staffing, investment, and back to accounting. 

I DO have a temper and try to avoid confrontation at all costs.  I wish I wasn't messy!!

My moods cycle so much.  On a short term basis, I can predict my mood cycles in any one daily event.  On a long term basis, as stated above, about every six months I have a blow up. 

I can relate to the weekly changes he is having.  Sometimes, something will trigger an old memory of something my husband said or did.  I can't seem to shut it down and the longer it stays in my head, the more convoluted the story becomes to the point that he has absolutely no idea what I'm talking about and has never done or said things I accuse him of.

Many of the symptoms of ADD can be addressed with medication.  Although my symptoms remain when I take medication, they are much, much less severe and I am able to work my way out of the lies in my brain.  Counseling also greatly helps along with getting as much knowledge about ADD as I can. 

Please be cautious in how you proceed in your relationship.  Things happen when I forget to take my meds.  I have been physically abusive to my husband because I was out of control.  He is a big guy and I still hurt him a little.  I would hate for you to stay in a relationship that would endanger your well being...especially considering what he says to you. 

Furthermore, he doesn't even take meds.  Do you know what his reasoning was for stopping meds and counseling?  Ask any nonADDer on here and they will probably tell you he is in denial.  And, if he is in denial he will not change.  You have to decide if you want to stay with a man who treats you like this or if you want a happy life.  I am not an expert but I believe that there is very little you can do to convince him to change.  You can give him all the love in the world and he will not accept his ADD.  For me it took a major blow out with my husband.  It is different things for different people.  I'm learning that spouses seem to get farther with the "tough love" approach.  Perhaps if you love him, the best thing you can do is "wake him up" by severing all relations.  Your friends, family, and therapist all say that you should.  They care about you and respect you and you should trust them. 

Just remember, the most important thing is for you to be safe and happy.  It isn't selfish.  You can still love him from a distance.

May God Bless You,

Hard to Function



Thank you

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement!

You are right, he says he wants to get back on meds. but he stopped paying his insurance premiums and now says he can't afford it. I wasn't surprised that he quit the meds. in late Nov. he was setting himself up for his Dec. meltdown and he couldn't do it on Meds. He was a completely different person for the 4 months he was taking them. It was like having the man I married back! I guess that is why I hang on, when he is doing ok he is the most loving, considerate man I have ever met.

If you don't mind my asking, have you ever been diagnosed with anything else? My therapist, who also used to see my DH says she believes he may have bipolar issues as well because of the 6 month mood swings and because he seems to be  cycling faster and faster......

Just lonely

May well be bipolar too...

I went to the doctor initially thinking I was bipolar- I suffer from terrible, rapid-cycling mood disturbances... But I was diagnosed solely with ADHD and told that the symptoms of each can resemble each other and/or are often comorbid (both present). In my case- I used to go through this kind of wavering on my husband... But I never told him about it... I would silently feel like leaving him for short periods of time and hold it in... then that would pass and we'd have a lovely couple of months and I'd be glad I held my tongue and didn't do anything impulsive. I used to blame him for my moods and think he was causing them... In the moment I could make anything his fault. Ultimately I realized that I would have these moods regardless... I am a very emotional and intense person. My husband isn't the easiest person to live with. He is grumpy and moody himself... but he is also wonderful in lots of ways and he is not CAUSING my moods. My intellect knows that and tries to keep my emotions on that in the stable when I start thinking that way.

In general my moods are patterned like this:  HAPPY... HAPPY... HAPPY... HAPPY... HAPPY... HAPPY... HAPPY... HAPPY...HAPPY... HAPPY>>>IRRITABLE>>> ANGRY ANGRY>>> SAD SAD SAD...  .... eventually... HAPPY...HAPPY... etc...

My whole adult life I have suffered terribly with my moods... My general disposition is sunny and happy and silly and fun... with periodic extreme ANGRY and then extreme SADNESS.  When I get angry, I can feel it coming... it starts with irritability quickly blooms into this fireball of rage. I try to leave at the irritable stage and get to a place where I am alone. Otherwise I rage and say things I don't mean and slam doors and act like a friggin' idiot,  hurting those around me...  After it subsides, I feel incredibly remorseful, embarrassed, and depressed and that lasts for a few days... I feel self-loathing like I don't deserve my family and friends and like I'm trapping them.

The ANGRY/SAD part has subsided a lot as I age... I have begun to recognize the irritability and can often stop it there, or at least skip the anger and go right to sad... if I get to a place where I can be alone when the irritability strikes. I've never raged full-on in front of my son... but he has seen my irritability and sadness a few times and once after he was asleep, I was raging downstairs and he woke up and was crying, which immediately stopped the rage dead in it's tracks... that was the most guilty I've probably ever felt... that was a wake up call for me that it just can't happen.

As for your husband's behavior- I think it's unforgivable- filing repeated divorce papers is abusive and terrorizing to the kids and it kind of doesn't matter the reason. That sounds volatile enough to possibly be bipolar to me... Does he show any other signs? Does he go manic- talking like crazy, not sleeping, spending money, having grandiose ideas about himself and things he thinks he can accomplish? These can be other pieces to the puzzle. Does he abuse any substances?

I'd definitely remove yourself from this situation and advise him to seek help.

Good luck!!!

It sounds like you have

It sounds like you have worked really hard through the years to get a handle on your emotions and take responsibility for your actions! I applaud you...I know that I have many issues of my own that I add to the mix of our marriage but I do realize that threatening divorce 3 times in 3 yrs. is a very abusive sign and it is extremely unhealthy for the kids. Thank God my 2 are older teens and realize there are some very different circumstances with my husband. They have sought counseling and we talk quite a bit on what is best for them and also for me. They love their stepdad very much but don't trust him at all anymore.  

What my husband goes through sounds so much like what you described to me but he doesn't really express the anger, he bottles it up inside and with this last blow up he did become verbally cruel which he has never done before. Usually if he has something to say he e-mails me. He NEVER wants to talk face to face. Maybe that is because he is scared that he will lose his temper, but again, I have never seen a temper from him. Sometimes I wish I would. I would love to have the opportunity to let go with all the pent up emotions. The one time we tried that in therapy he went stone cold and refused to open his mouth. I left after 20 minutes because he had completely shut down.

You did ask about his other behaviors, as soon as we are on an upswing he will start talking about buying a new home, I'm a Realtor and he insists we search daily. I know this will last about a month and then fade. He also talks about going back to school to earn a degree, wants to buy a new pet (right now we have 3 dogs and 2 cats ) buy a new truck or buy a new building for his business.  His speech is more rapid and he does sleep less during that month. He has never abused drugs and has always drank moderately until lately. For the last 4 or 5 months his alcohol consumption has increased dramatically. He says he works so hard, which he does, that he deserves to unwind at night but he is actually getting drunk.

I wish I could convince him to seek out the help he needs but that was the ultimatum I gave him last summer when he left and as I said, he went on meds. and therapy for 4 months and then called it quits. That is why he doesn't live here anymore.......

awww.... hang in there...

It does sound suspiciously like bipolar to me- but obviously I am not a doctor- and if he won't seek help- there's not much you can do.

I think you have to just keep on keeping on- providing the stability for your kids and let him muddle on alone for the time being. Whether he pushes through with divorce or not- you can't be the glue trying to hold this together when he is behaving like that. He doesn't deserve it and it's also just unhealthy. This is not an abandonment on your part.  A person can only take so much and it sounds like you have put up with a lot. I heard you say that you bring your own issues to the table and you probably do (everyone is flawed), but that doesn't absolve him of his abhorrent behavior. He should either be in or out- the yo-yo-ing he has done is what's unfair and horrendous for the kids.  At this point, You have to take care of yourself and those kids.

I am sorry this is happening. It's heartbreaking. Hang in there! Big virtual hugs your way.

Pbartender's picture

"Letter" writing...

"Usually if he has something to say he e-mails me. He NEVER wants to talk face to face. Maybe that is because he is scared that he will lose his temper, but again, I have never seen a temper from him."

I've done this in the past as well...  If there was something important I wanted to talk to my wife about, I'd write a letter, or an email, or send her a text, if it was short.  She hated it, thinking I was being impersonal with her about important things.

But typing it out allowed me to take the time to think through what I wanted to say, and it allowed me to review and edit my words, if I needed to.  It made sure that I was saying what I wanted to say in the may that I meant it.  It made sure that I didn't forget anything I wanted to say in the heat of the moment.  It kept me from getting distracted by conversational interruptions and getting lost in digressions.



Thank you for that insight!

Thank you for that insight! Even when he does e-mail there is a strange consistency to them. He says " I care about you" or "I can't give you what you want" or "we should never have gotten married". Things of that nature,  he also states every time that we have nothing in common and that we have never in the years we have been together had any fun. We have gone on many vacations with and without kids and camped and spent nights laughing and caring for each other but at the time he writes all of this I know he believes what he is saying. Then when he is done with that cycle he says verbally " we are perfect for each other" and "I'll never love anyone like I love you".  Can you tell me, do your e-mails to your wife mimic past e-mails when you are upset or are you actually bringing up new points and trying to converse? I don't think my husband has really ever tried to converse in these he just points out the same things over and over, almost like cutting and pasting past e-mails......

All of you have been so very helpful with insights into what I am dealing with. It takes a lot of courage to share as much as all of you have with me.  Thank you so much. I have never found anyone who seems to understand what I am dealing with and yet supports me... THANK YOU

In 15 years of marriage, I

In 15 years of marriage, I have seen 3 of these "cycles" from my husband. I could go into details about how and why and all of that, but let me just say that each seemed to be triggered by extreme amounts of stress from unavoidable life events...the most recent one lasting almost 3 years because of alcohol abuse and other attempts to self medicate. I don't care what triggers them, how 'confused' he might be, how much I feel in my heart that deep down he loves me and doesn't mean it when he gets this way and calls me all sorts of horrible names and does all sorts of hurtful things...all that matters to me is that I am done living my life waiting for him to get his shit together. I finally started putting ME first in my life last Sept, and if it weren't for that, he would have never hit rock bottom and finally started getting the help he needed. Whether he continues to do well or not is completely up to him. He knows his issues and he knows what he was doing...even when he was doing it. Once they know 'better', you cannot accept anything less or you will never get anything more.

He took meds for 4 months and stopped. I'm curious...what was HIS perception of how things were when he was on meds? You said he was 'the man you married' again. How did he feel?

Reading your story, for all of the differences, it was all too familiar a feeling. Please put some, if not all, of your focus on YOU and ask yourself some of the same tough questions I had to ask myself. Maybe, for the time being you need to pause the marriage, let him flail about until he either goes through with the divorce or hits his own personal rock bottom, and you start moving forward with the faith that no matter what he does, YOU are going to be OK. You have to stop making him and his issues the focus of your life...or he never will make them the focus of his.

((((HUGS)))) my heart goes out to you...I'm so sorry for all you're going through.

Pbartender's picture

For that matter...

"Once they know 'better', you cannot accept anything less or you will never get anything more."

For that matter...  Once we know 'better', we cannot accept anything less or we will never do anything more.



sorry reply took so long

Sometimes I need a day off because all this info gets overwhelming to me... I cried so much before my appt to be diagnosed because I was so afraid I was bipolar. My specialist assured me it wasn't and said the two often get confused. Maybe it is bipolar for him and the add meds just were not enough so he stopped them all? Whether or not he realizes it, you are an angel with what you and your children put up with. You said he had children from a past marriage. This may not be appropriate but is it possible to get any insight from the ex?

I certainly can understand

I certainly can understand having to take a day off! I would love to talk with his ex except she is a very closed person. We have a really good relationship and she knows what is going on but she was raised in a VERY closed mouth family and feels talking about emotions is a sign of weakness. My husbands kids usually come over here if they are having problems so they can talk with me or my kids about it.  My DH was on Ritalin for those few months and he said it was the first time in years he felt that his head was clear and that he could concentrate yet it didn't stop the need for him to cycle into his 6 month depression/abandonment. I will say he has been married twice before and each time he lasted 5 yrs. and then left so I am just another casualty in his long term marriage plans....