"I'm not talking about this now!"

Hi all, I'm new to this site, but I've been reading it with ever-opening eyes for the past few days. I just realized that I am a woman with ADD and my husband and I are on our way to a classic control/parent/child situation. I am so relieved to have found this sight. All these years I thought I was lazy and undisciplined and now I find answers, people describing themselves, conversations, and situations that could be me. 

My (immediate) question is this. I was reading through one of the other posts and I came across someone talking about trying to talk to her ADHD husband and having him shut her down by saying "I am not talking about this right now!" She described this by saying he was "attacking" her.

Reading this exchange absolutely floored me. I say this ALL THE TIME to my husband. But when I say it I feel like I am protecting myself from a conversation that has quickly spiraled into yelling and blaming, where nothing I will say will satisfy him, and where it is just rehashing the same thing over and over again. I never even considered that this might be perceived by my husband as me attacking him.

I guess my question for other ADHD people is, Do you find yourself saying this or similar phrases a lot? And for similar reasons or different ones?

And my question for the non-ADHD spouse is do you hear your spouse saying this a lot? Do you perceive this as them attacking you? Does it ever work as the ADD spouse intends (that is, to stop the conflict for that moment). And is there anything else they could say to you in this situation that would make you realize "I'm am feeling completely overwhelmed by your anger right now, can we please shift gears?" I guess I could say that, but it rarely occurs in the heat of the argument. Or would that make you angry as well?

I mean, I said this TODAY to my husband. I say it when I feel like he has the bit in his teeth, so to speak, and nothing I say is going to convince him of my point of view. And that nothing I say or do "now" is going to help. It's a phrase born of complete hopelessness, at least for me. Feeling hopeless that he will ever NOT be angry at me.

But I can see from the non-ADD point of view (and what my husband always says) is that there is NEVER a time when that is a good time to talk about this for me. I just want to know if there's anyway past this particular communication impasse. Because I guess, from my point of view, I feel like we ARE always having this conversation about how I screwed something else up, or failed in some way, and my husband feels like we are NEVER having this conversation in a way that satisfies him (i.e. I guess, that makes me "change"). What would have to be said on both sides to make it seem like communication is happening?

If this issue was addressed on one of the other forums, I'd love to be pointed to it.

My ADD husband changes the subject

or makes a joke. He simply will not discuss anything I need to discuss. He's nice about it but it's infuriating. It's like tackling a brick wall. You're going to hurt your shoulder but the wall doesn't care.

yeah me too

I also get a shrug, a smile, a joke or a speedy exit.  But then again, I don't nag or "persist" for very long, so maybe it just never gets to the point of "I'm not talking about this right now."  But the message is still there, loud and clear.  

How Long will this last's picture

"I'm not talking about this now"

I am the NON-ADHD person in our relationship and I say this to him all the time. Why? Because sometimes he seems to be out of reality and will go on and on about something.  I'll say, stop, I'm not going to discuss this now with you (because he escalates everything when he is like that).  Next day when I try to bring it back up to discuss it rationally he does not even remember the spiraled out of control conversation from the day before.  It is a terrible roller coaster because it leaves me bewildered as to what is important to really discuss. I have learned that my DH escalates conversations just for the adrenaline rush....not because it's really an important issue that is bothering him.

summerwine's picture

Maybe what you really mean is

Maybe what you really mean is "I don't want to talk about this in this manner"  It sounds like he just wants to vent at you and not talk in a way that is actually going to address the problems. Are you guys getting any counseling or have someone to mediate and help you communicate better?

you're right, not in this manner

is exactly what I mean. Thanks for that insight summerwine.

Sadly, we're not getting counseling. His view, before I realized i have ADD, was "you can go to counseling, this is not my problem, it's your problem to learn to be responsible."

After I clued into the fact that it might be ADD and sent him some links to articles on this site and some others, he told me he basically thinks it's b*s*. I actually sort of see where he is coming from on this, even if I disagree. He think's I'm going to use it as an "excuse" or that it is just a really fancy way to describe "laziness." He also thinks ADD is an unfalsifiable diagnosis, and that no counselor or psychiatrist I ever see is going to tell me that I don't have it. I countered with asking him if there was anything that would prove to him it was true or if for him it's an "unprovable" diagnosis. That's where our last conversation about it ended.

So, anyhoo, right now I'm just focusing on how to deal with my wacky brain more productively, and figuring out how to deal with his built up anger at my irresponsibility is part of that.

I'll see what happens if I try talking about manner instead of time.

He tends to think that his being frustrated with me justifies his anger and any kind of yelling or unkind thing he says to me (which, frankly, he is not bad compared to some of the things I've read on this site), and I find that very hurtful and frustrating, but also, more to the point, not at all helpful.

I understand that he is angry and needs to deal with it, and I have no problem at all if he wanted to say, "I'm angry, I need to you to know how angry I am, and how frustrated I've been, and to talk about it," but he seems to really think that yelling at me and getting angry is going to somehow "motivate" me to change or do things the "right" way, the next time. He has no clue how impossible that is. Maybe I need to do a better job acknowledging his anger and making him realize I do understand.

summerwine's picture

oh BIG HUGS honney! I know

oh BIG HUGS honney! I know how you you feel I used to be there with my ex. Here I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me and going to the doctor and trying medication and reading and doing everything that I was supposed to do and taking care of our baby. While he just ranted and yelled and said I didn't deserve support or help. I don't know why someone thinks that making you feel worthless will make you want to get better for them????  I cried myself to sleep so many nights. My counselor says that while anger can be justified, acting on anger, speaking in anger and lashing out in anger are NEVER justified. I don't why someone would feel like its okay to lash out at someone for their illness or disorder??? But they do and it hurts so much especially when you are really trying to make things better. You know what? Its abuse. Its abuse to refuse to be involved in your wife's diagnosis and treatment. Its abuse to refuse to learn anything about it and to act like it's not real. It's abuse to refuse to help or give support because you're frustrated. What if you got hit by a car or got cancer? Would anyone say it was okay for him to be like "I don't care, take care of it yourself"?  NOOO! The hardest thing about ADHD is that people don't think its real or they downplay it. Well I work with disabled kids and i have two kids with ADHD one who also has SPD and one kid with AS in my life so let me tell you: ADHD is a real disability. A DISABILITY. One of the top research guys who my counselor loves says ADHD is WORSE than having depression or anxiety. Yeah it can be worse than OCD and stuff. wow. But no one talks about that. They just say oh you need to learn to keep a day planner that's all. Please if I could do that I would! Its wrong that he has this attitude and its wrong that he is putting all of it on your shoulders. I'm so sorry that you are not getting the love and support that you need right now. I had to do it all alone while taking care of a baby with SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) and I had no help just people judging me. Everyone felt so sorry for my poor poor ex who had to put up with me. I'd really like someone to tell me why it's worse to live with someone with ADHD than it is to HAVE it? At least my ex could walk away and never have anything to do with it again. That's what he did he moved to a different city and good riddance. I hope your husband comes around I really do! I will put  a link to a thing that some of the best doctors in the world wrote about ADHD. They wrote about how its a real thing and that the way it gets downplayed is making things worse and it's singed by dozens of doctors. Respected doctors from all over the world there are pages of them just singing the thing. Maybe your husband will read that? I will also give you the link to CADDAC's videos that my counselor has been having us watch, its all lectures by people who know what they are talking about. Do you think he would read Melissa's book?

 

I am also going to say what I wish people would have said to me when I was first diagnosed and feeling hopeless:

You are a good, wonderful and awesome woman! I am proud of you for getting this far. I am proud of you for going to the doctor. I am proud of you for fighting this thing. It's not your fault you got a messed up brain. You deserve to be treated with love and kindness and respect. You go girl!

 

http://www.russellbarkley.org/adhd-consensus.htm

 

http://www.caddac.ca/cms/video/teens_adults_player.html

thanks for this

Summerwine,

 

thanks so much for this. It really helps.

 

This is a brand new discovery for me, and him (I'm talking I first started talking to him about this last week), so I'm still holding out hope that he will come around if I quietly keep introducing him to the facts. In fact, I don't know if it's related, but today he put a key hook by the door for me to hang my keys on. I have been asking to put up a key hook for as long as we've been married, but he kept saying he didn't want one, and we could just put our keys on the table (he thought it looked messy or something). But a key hook is one of those simple things that I've learned, even before I realized I have ADD, is lifesaving to me. (I once threw away my keys by accident, I swept them off the counter with a bunch of trash as I was moving out of my apartment. Everyone who was helping me had to wait and look for about 2 hours until we finally checked the dumpster). So, minor victory. I will send him those links you sent me and I hope those help as well. Thank you so much.

I'm so sorry to hear about your situation as well. I hope that you have support now, it sounds like you do. At least, you are always a very calm voice of encouragement on these forums. I'm pretty sure one of my sons also has AD/HD; so I feel really good that now I can read up on this and help him and understand him more.

You know, my husband has been very angry at me for a very long time. I used to be very very upset by his anger. But now that I realize that I have this brain disorder, it actually makes me feel more compassionate towards him, and more accepting of his anger. I know a little bit about codependence (my father is an alcoholic, recovering, and my mother is class codependent) so I've read all the literature about it. And codependency is a real thing, too. It's just as real as ADD. I used to think he was "just making a big deal out of nothing." But now I see. I agree, it would be nice if he were on board, and helping, and supportive and willing to go to counseling with me right now, but at this point, I'm focused on baby steps.

That's why I want to focus so hard on not perpetuating the anger/control cycle and to set boundaries to make him understand, like you said, that no matter how angry he is, it's NOT okay to lash out at someone. It's not okay to say cruel things. Setting that boundary is the hard part.

in the same boat

My wife was diagnosed with adult ADHD earlier this year. At the time we were having all sorts of communication problems, and now its reached rock bottom. No only will she not talk to me about our problems, but she even avoids simple things like what to cook for dinner. I have tried to get her to counseling but to not a chance. Everything I say to her, the reaction is as if I have verbaly attacked here. I don't know what to do anymore