Is it too late?

Hello Everyone, I have been diagnosed with ADD. My wife was the one who discovered the common relation of my symptoms and ADD. She was very supportive in the beginning but I was less accepting. I knew I had ADD, there was no question. I suffer from all the classic symptoms such as procrastination, loss of memory, uncompleted tasks, finacial incompetency. I've been on a list of medications but none have had an effect. I sought a Psychiatrist but that became a "Pill Pushing" extravaganza. I keep thinking I can deal with this myself but it has not gone well. I have been more accepting than ever in the past 6 months (finally reading that 2 year old copy of "Delivered from Distraction"). I have tried to work on improving, but my wife has now moved in a different direction. She is not supportive any longer. She feels I have not done a thing. My procrastination to seek help and improvement as left her frustrated with me. Now anything I do related to my ADD (or not) is met with ridicule and scorn. I here things like "You're such an idiot" or "You can't get anything right, I hate you!". I understand she is frustrated. When I tell her she is being hurtful she replys with "how do you think I feel, I've been dealing with your sorry self for 16 years!" I now feel as if I am walking on thin ice. I'm afraid to say anything in fear of an argument. On the other hand saying nothing does not help either. When I look back on our marriage, this is nothing new. Almost from the beginning of our marriage my ADD must have played a role. Anytime I spoke, my thoughts or ideas were put down. Any task I performed was met with, "Why did you do it that way?" or "This isn't right at all what's the matter with you!" This has made me go into seclusion within myself (if that makes sense). I'm not open at home. I'm silent, expressionless. It has made me less in touch with my children too. I am never sure what I should say or do with them. I find myself missing the boat so to speak. Another day goes by and I didn't help my daughters with there trumpet music. I didn't help my daughter with her track aspirations. I didn't help my daughter with her project that's due in days. Then I'm told things like "You are useless, I can do a lot better without you" My fear is I'm too late in turning things around. I find it difficult to even think of a direction to go. I've asked my wife if she would go to counseling with me. She believes she does not need it. The problem is mine and if any one should go to counseling it's me. I feel I'm being made a spectacle to my kids as well. Contantly being ridiculed and belittled in front of them must have them losing confidence in me as a dad. The sad part about all this is deep inside I am an outgoing, loving person. I have always been the one people would say, "Wow, what a great guy, he's so funny, how does he do that!". I am an artist and love to play music on top of a myriad of many other interests. All of this has gone, it's very dark now. I don't have the finances to try another medication or speak with a psychologist. I know the things I have to do and find them visable but untouchable. My question...Is it too late to save my marriage? Roger
up2lisa's picture

You Did It! Keep Doing It!

Hello Roger, Thank you for your post. You likely wrote what my husband could not and I weap for what I know in my heart are your sincere feelings. Do not give up, it is not too late and I assure you...your wife in her deapest heart wishes herself that it is not too late. To know both sides of the coin, hers and yours is very, very, sorrowful to me at this moment. If I can offer you any support it is, that you have more insight and ability to convey your thoughts and feelings than many people with or without ADD. My husband would have been paralized to have written 3 sentences. Paralized by his fear of "getting it right." And, I would have wound up re-writing it. But, you wrote Roger! Maybe it took you 2 hours or two weeks to write...but you did it! Praise God and in your DOING IT Roger, it was at the right time for me, you have blessed me, truly. THANK YOU! My advise is to DO, PUSH YOURSELF TO DO. L

To Roger and Thank You, Lisa

Roger - Lisa said a lot here!  You should be proud of your ability to verbalize your feelings, and to recognize the issues that your ADD has contributed to your situation.  The next step is to take control.  There is NO DOWNSIDE to doing this.  Your situation with your wife can't possibly get worse (what's worse than being belittled in front of your entire family all the time, having your wife tell you that she hates you, and feeling as if you can't be loved as yourself??  NOTHING!)

Your wife has significant anger issues and is wrong when she says that you are the only one that needs counselling.  I recognize this because I was there once, myself.  Having said that, counselling won't work for her until she decides she's ready to participate.  So, in the meantime, what do you wish most to do to help yourself?  Do you want to start experimenting with non-medicinal treatments for your ADD, such as exercise?  Do you want to start contributing to your daughter's trumpet lessons?  (If so, work with her on what would be the most constructive time to make that happen, then figure out the best way to remind yourself to do it).  Do you want to do the one thing thta your wife will appreciate the most?  (Ask her to tell you what that is...)  Believe it or not, the thing I wanted most from my husband for quite a while (aside from the really big thing - pay attention to me!) was for him to do the dishes every night.  I felt that this would be a symbolic gesture - one that showed that he was thinking about me and understood that I hate doing dishes and that I am often not my best at night (too tired).  Perhaps your wife has something like that - something that you can "own" even if you don't like doing it all that much - that shows her that you care about her feelings and the quality of her life.

Can you afford a coach?  If so, you might consider hiring an ADD coach who can help you organize what you want to attack first, and help keep you on track.

If your wife is like me, her anger is getting in her way right now (as well as yours, but that goes without saying!)  But deep down, she is hoping for some ray of sunshine that would indicate that things really can change.  You can provide that ray of hope to her, or (not to put too fine a point on it) you can provide that ray of hope to a different woman after everything falls completely apart with this one.  You may wish to challenge her a bit as you move forward about the counselling.  While this may not be her case, I know that I hated the fact that my husband's response to my anger was to retreat rather than engage.  If this is the case with your wife point out that you are asking her to engage in a constructive way when you ask her to go to a counsellor with you.  But, make SURE you find a counsellor who knows a lot about ADD if you take this route.  It's important that part of the counselling includes separating the ADD symptoms from the person with ADD - and counsellors who don't know much at ADD aren't as good at this as those who do.

Most certainly, you deserve better than the situation with which you are living right now.  No one should be in a relationship in which they feel completely crushed, as you seem to.  You have one life to live - pursue how to make this one happier than it is now - and don't be afraid to find a positive outlet for your emotions - either here at this site, with a counsellor, or with thoughtful friends if your wife isn't yet ready to listen.

Melissa Orlov

Hello Melissa, Thank you for

Hello Melissa, Thank you for your quick and helpful response. I really needed to get this out to someone. My wife actually does not ask for much. Attention and affection is what she asks for. She has told me it is not jewelry, flowers, a trip, just some attention and affection in the simplest form. A touch, a conversation with eye contact, a real kiss at somepoint in the day. Sounds simple.(by the way, I do the dishes often, and fold laundry) With my racing thoughts and constant noise it is difficult at times for me to find these expressions. When the time is present for me to do these things I dont. When she asks why, I can't believe I missed the opportunity again. What did I do in that time? Why didn't I ask her to watch a show with me or take a walk? Why didn't I plant a big kiss on her before bedtime? She often tells me I "Sit and drool" as she puts it. I know what she means. After a day at work, many times I am spent. My brain needs to go to that inner place to unwind. I sometimes feel as if I am oblivious to things around me at that time. It's not that I dont care or have feelings for my wife, I do. I see how it can appear to be arrogance or self-centerness but I need to calm the noise. The other major issue I have is memory. I often use this analogy: I look at time through a papertowel roll moving from left to right on a time-line. I see only what is in my vision at that moment. As I progress along the time-line the thoughts and sights that were in my little window have passed to the left and often forgotten. If I act on things in the window I can be somewhat successful. If I miss it, it could be gone forever. I also cannot see or think about the time to the right of my window. This makes it difficult to plan ahead. (For instance, I have a hard time planning for the weekend and before you know it, the weekend is here and I have no plans.) These two major issues cause me pain and frustration. It gets in the way of my daughters music lessons, help with homework, and alone time with my wife. (No libido, another chapter) The biggest frustration is the lack of control through all of this. In the end my wife and kids are angry wth me and the vicious circle doesn't stop. Medicine did not make a difference. I have tried Wellbutrin, Celexa, Lexapro, Straterra(almost killed me), Concerta, Paxil, Ritalin. They all had an effect for about the first 2 weeks then things were back to chaos. I want to contribute to all aspects of my family's needs. I do not want to feel useless. If exercise works, I will try to make time for that. When, I'm not sure. My goal is to be happy again, and my family to be happy as well. I have caused enough pain. It is difficult however when it seems I'm fighting a battle within the boudries of my own home. A civil war so to speak. Thank you again for your thought s and wisdom. It is greatly appreciated. Perhaps this is the start down a much needed path to follow. Roger
up2lisa's picture

Use What You Have...WRITE the wrongs and make them RIGHT.

Aside from the statements your wife made, she likely feels much like I did and has done what I have done. However, if you have read my posts, I have left my husband and then all ADD broke lose. But, THATS another blog. *SMILE* Before you get where I am at (which I would wish on no one) Roger, maybe in your case, writing to your wife may help in bridging the gap toward intimacy. With my husband there was a complete gap. He tried, much like you did…in his head. But, at least you can write Roger. Write down your feelings. My husband and I .. . well of course you know it was me who bought it. In the early years of our marriage, then the middle years bought another, a workbook on building a better marriage. He barely touched it. When he did, I didn’t understand what he intended to say ..or didn’t say. Last year, before I left we went back through the book. While he was on medication. He was embarrassed himself how fragmented and incomprehensive his writing was. I say this Roger, because I can VERY WELL understand what you are writing. Write to her, write of yourself, to her. It may prick her heart. Believe me, I know her NERVES are picked right about now. But, she is still there…she has a heart, prick her heart. Roger, I left and I STILL have a heart. We don’t hat YOU, we hate the disorder and it hurts terribly that it won’t go away. But, like any sore…you can heal it or sooth the pain. But, you can not (at least in my opinion) bandaid it…like it isn’t there. Because when you do, you forget about it…and there it goes again…ooozzzing. I know the opinion is that your wife is angry, but I don’t think she is. I think she is hurt and disappointed. Hurt that what she thought she had in you, isn’t what she has and that she may never get what she wanted. What can anger do with that? Nothing, but be hurt. I bet she is afraid, afraid it is always going to be the way it is and doesn’t know what to do herself. That is a scary place to be, frustrating as well…but truly anger, I don’t think so. It is just despair. Likely the same despair you feel Roger. Use what you have Roger, write her a letter, type up an e-mail, post up a poem, and make yourself notes! TODAY I WIL … touch it and do it! L

Disappointed wife

Lisa & Roger, As a wife of a 44 year old ADD male, and been married for almost 13 years, I have to totally agree with you. My own experiences have gotten me to the point of extreme frustration, disappointment, and just don't want to play "the game" anymore, I'm tired. But your right, the thought of what my husband could be and what he has become, change seems so hopeless. What can we possible try that we haven't already tried in the past 10 years? My husband tell me that I make him feel like a loser and can't do anything right, although I don't say things such as "your stupid" or I hate you" I have resulted in saying very little, because everything gets taken out of context or is taken as telling him another thing he's done wrong. So when I do say something, I try to get him to understand why another way my be better....I know this sounds worse in writing, than it is. If my husband explains his side of things, and I disagree or have a different opinion, he then believes that I don't understand his point. I don't understand why he can't understand that just because I disagree that I don't understand. When we first started dating he use to say " we casn agree to disagree" all the time, where did the man I married go? I have stayed in the disfunctional marriage for two reasonss, ok three, 1) I believe this is where God wants me to be 2) my son & 3) I have seen what he can be. I really feel like he uses his ADD as an excuse, says he wants to get help, but it goes nowhere, because he doesn't know what next step to take. He, of course throws the blame on me and says that if I was nicer, that he wouldn't be as nasty of attitude... and that maybe I should get some medication. Well, if I have endured this life for this many years with little to no medication, then I hardly think I need it now. Thanks for letting me vent, I would love any feedback, and just a place to go and get support from those who have experieced this too.

Hear you loud and clear, Snoopydebi

Feedback for Snoopydebi, You wrote: "My own experiences have gotten me to the point of extreme frustration, disappointment, and just don't want to play 'the game' anymore, I'm tired. But you're right, the thought of what my husband could be and what he has become, change seems so hopeless. What can we possible try that we haven't already tried in the past 10 years?" When I met my husband, he described himself as a "big unrealized potential". At that time, I had no idea what he meant. Now, I do. What he could be and what he is...only ADHD stands between the two. If only all that raw brainpower and energy could be harnassed and channeled into something constructive. My husband is the stereotypical "absentminded professor," the proverbial "walking encyclopedia". But he just can't get it together, and inevitably ends up frustrated, angry, and mean, while everyone around him is bewildered as to why this brilliant guy can't produce. Not to mention, they are offended by how he is treating them. Then it all backfires on him when they sabotage him. In addition, everything he does is so overblown and complicated that it takes four times as long to do it, and costs four times as much to get it done. And then he is past exhaustion by the time it is finished. That all adds to the frustration. He just can't think in terms of "s i m p l i c i t y". He also can't think in terms of "how much money is allotted to spend on this project" or "is this project really necessary or worth it?" It just becomes a compulsion that won't be satisified until it is carried out. The last major project bankrupted us - in terms of money and energy. I think it scared him enough that he is starting to listen to me, well, at least a little bit. :) But what a price to pay to knock a little bit of sense into his head. That is another thing - he only learns by his mistakes, when everything blows up in his face. If you warn him ahead of time, he won't listen. Really a shame. And I've had to suffer along with him when things don't go right. And I'm left to fix the disasters, too, as he escapes into his other interests. You wrote about "extreme frustration, disappointment", and then you said, "I'm tired." Wow, my sentiments exactly. I'm tired. I'm really tired. I'M WORN OUT AND TIRED!!!!! What haven't we tried? But it really is, "What haven't I tried," because he just goes along with "whatever" to satisfy me, but he can't follow through on any of the ideas of any of the counselors because he is so stuck in his disfunctional life pattern. I'm tired. Why did I choose the username "Survivor"? Because I feel like I have been in a war for the past 18 years and I'm still around to tell about it. But I am tired of the battle. I thought maybe the username "Surviving, but just barely" might be more appropriate. I have to plan my life around him and assume that I can't depend on him for anything. It is really sad. We used to drive to work together (our jobs are close to each other) but I got really tired to being late all the time so I let him take the car and I started taking the bus so I could get there on time. I feel like he is constantly inconveniencing me. One time in talking to my son, I complained about being inconvenienced, and he said, "Just wait, Mommy. There is a reason for this. You are being prepared for something. You'll get to heaven and find that all the angels are absent-minded!" I told him, "Then it would not be heaven!" You wrote: "When we first started dating he use to say 'we can agree to disagree' all the time, where did the man I married go?" Well, my husband never said we can agree to disagree. And he is always right about everything. Which reminds me of another joke: "I thought I was marrying Mr. Right. Only problem is that I didn't know his first name was Always." Actually, he never wanted to "agree to disagree." He demanded that I "support him." But how could I support some of his crazy ideas? But he would insist, get his way, then find out that I actually was right. Seriously, I understand your statement, "where did the man I married go?" There are so many ways that I feel that my husband misrepresented himself. So many things he did, so many things he said, that led me to believe one thing about him, when after the wedding, everything was the opposite. A man who "was never happier than when all he owned was his backpack," turned out to be a hoarder and a pack-rat. He told me that his "greatest virtue" is patience. However, after the wedding, he turned out to be the MOST IMPATIENT person I've ever known. The list goes on and on. I've been tricked. I've been deceived. I've been lied to. You wrote, "I have stayed in the disfunctional marriage for two reasonss, ok three, 1) I believe this is where God wants me to be 2) my son & 3) I have seen what he can be." Me too: 1) I believe this is where God wants me to be. Or at any rate, I have not been given an acceptable way of escape yet. 2) We have a number of children. & 3) There are occassional bright spots of brilliance in the midst of the chaos. You wrote: "He, of course throws the blame on me and says that if I was nicer, that he wouldn't be as nasty of attitude... and that maybe I should get some medication. Well, if I have endured this life for this many years with little to no medication, then I hardly think I need it now." You, too, are a survivor. If you have gotten this far without medication, then you certainly don't need it. You are only reacting to him. We once went to a counselor, actually it was the counselor for our son, and my husband complained to the counselor about his "hysterical wife." The counselor didn't buy that. He quickly came back with, "If you were doing what you were supposed to do, she wouldn't act that way." That was a MAN speaking. I am sorry to say that one of my coping mechanisms has been to imagine some imaginary man who really loves me, and every time my husband says or does some awful thing to me, I imagine what a husband who loved me would do instead. Is that sick? Does my husband really love me? He says he does. But his actions speak otherwise. What am I supposed to believe? Maybe he can't help it. But every time he is sarcastic to me, it is hard for me to think to myself, "It's just his ADHD coming out. He really loves me, behind those harsh, biting words. He didn't really mean it." Then when it is so hard for him to apologize, it is REALLY hard to believe that he loves me. You wrote: "Thanks for letting me vent, I would love any feedback, and just a place to go and get support from those who have experieced this too." I don't know if my letter has helped... Someone else wrote in this site that she didn't think anyone else understood her. But from what she wrote, it sounded like she was describing my husband, and she was expressing my feelings exactly. I think we are all too familiar with the situation... and yet, we don't know how to get through it gracefully. My husband got some meds, at my insistance, and he fought me all the way, UNTIL he finally tried them. Now he won't live without them. The problem is that he needs MORE HELP, but refuses to go any further in getting treatment. There is some improvement, as his anxiety level was reduced enough that the unbearable verbal abuse has mostly stopped (if it didn't stop, I was going to file for divorce because I REALLY COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE), but I believe there is more help available that he is too busy/late/frantic/rushed/overcommitted and too proud to avail himself of. Which is a shame for him, as well as for me, for our kids, for his employer, for everyone else who could benefit by what he really has to offer, if he could only "get it together." AND I am more than willing to HELP HIM, if only he wanted my help. You know it's bad when you are careful not to say anything about your husband that will upset your Mom, but one day she comes out with, "I don't know how you put up with him."

In reference to Survivor and to Snoopydebi.

Wow and to think that you wrote this today. I feel as though I have just read my life stories. I asked my husband to leave 3 weeks ago. We have been married for almost 28 years and I have never asked him to leave before. So, this to me, is serious. I spoke to a friend of mine about our relationship and she instantly asked if he had ADD. I told her that I "thought" he did but he had never been diagnosed. She said that so many of the things that I discussed about our problems sounded like the classic symptoms. Now this morning I decided to research the condition and I found this website. After reading some of the forums, I am just amazed to know that there are so many others out there who are like us. The many tasks he has taken on without fully preparing either with supplies or instructions only to stop half way without finishing them. He is quick tempered. He makes mountains out of the smallest of incidents where something major may happen and it would not even earn a reaction from him. He has great difficulty in making any decisions about where to go, what to eat, what movie to see, whatever...he can't seem to make the decisions and I am required to make them. I think I have ADD as well as I can't help him in that and we end up in major fights over nothing more than where to go eat. Every day, he has lost something else but he has always accused someone else of taking his keys or moving things. It is always easier for him to blame someone else. My husband has great potential. He has great people skills. He loves children and could spend hours playing with them. He is basically a little boy in a big boy's body. He began with having successful jobs but over the years he began losing these jobs due to mismanagement. Whatever the problems were - they were always due to someone else but never himself. He has put us into extreme debt on more than one occasion by trying a new business or felt that he needed to purchase a toy to make him happy without taking into account that there was not enough money to pay the existing bills much less anything new. About 7 years ago, he lost his last "real job." You know the one...the one that offers a good salary, company vehicle and expense reimbursements, benefits (insurance, retirement, vacation, etc.). At that point, I took over his position as head of the home and began working in a "real job" while he began working in jobs that offered little to no pay, no benefits and no future. He spent countless hours working there each day but did not receive any extra pay for all the long hours worked. He was much more willing to settle for nothing instead of fighting to achieve what he had always had and what we still needed. Whatever the situations have been over the last 27.5 years, I have assumed more and more responsibility and have found solutions to the problems. I am in a position now where I am just tired. Exhausted. Discouraged. I feel Neglected. I want to know how it would feel to go out to dinner and have the waiter give him the bill and not me. I want to know that the bills are getting paid and I'm not having to stay awake at night trying to figure out a new plan or strategy to make sure they get paid. I want to feel that if something was to happen to me or to our son that he would have taken the initiative to be ready to provide for our needs whatever they may be. There are so many things that I want to have that my husband just doesn't provide. I had thought it was his lack of concern but after reading these topics, I am discovering that maybe he just can't help it. So where do we go from here? I assume he should be tested but how is the right way to approach him with this new concept? Then where do we go from there? I am very saddened to read that even after 10 years of treatment, that Survivor is still having to deal with these issues. This is very scary for me. I have been in it for so very long and unless there is some form of hope for me to cling to - then I'm afraid that I just can't hold on. My grip has become quite weak from gripping so hard for so long. Can this marriage be saved?

Response to survivor and Exhausted and sad

Hi Girls, this forum is so awesome, it makes me feel so much better know that others have lived this and understand what I am going through. I'm really not insane.....I'm just living in the very frustrating world of ADD (not recommended for the weak at heart. LOL). I totally understand the taking care of bills...I wish I could live in the ignorance of not knowing exactly of what is going on. I have played "head of household" from day didn't seem so bad in the beginning, but it's getting old, I just wish he would step up and assume his God given position, you know? Like I said previously, God's given me the strength to hang up, if it were up to just me, I would have left years ago. For the last 9 or so years, my husband hasn't held a job for more than 9 or ten months, in his defense some of the reason is due to the type of work he's done, telemarketing type sales. He has currently been working for the past month for a janitorial company and works nights, so I have been able to have so much peace at night, he works at a school, so is starting on days next week, so I will have to find a way to adjust to his days until August and goes back on nights. There seems to be many things that we have all described that is a result of the ADD, but I have a hard time accepting that it isn't something that they have no control over, I still take it personally and think they just get it together and do what they should do, right? I also feel that a lot of my husband's issues have been learned from his parents, which show the same symptoms, and I have a hard time spending time with them all in the same room. ARGHHHH. I would like to stay in touch. I hope that this forum provides some comfort to your situations.


Thanks so much for these stories. It has helped me to understand everything a lot better. I have recently come out of a marriage with a man with ADD. It is hard because I still feel so much love for him but he was making me so unhappy and he was then blaming me. Recently my Mother was diagnosed with cancer. Although my husband seemed like a kind man to others he would only think of himself and his own immediate needs. He would never ask me how I was or understand that I couldn't give him all my attention all the time. It felt like I was being suffocated and contantly misunderstood. I would get frustrated with him and I think this hurt him but he just couldn't see the damage he was doing. The marriage only lasted six months and he blamed me for not putting in the effort when he just couldn't see when I was. I would try being open hearted and talk to him openly about everything. It would help for a day and then he would promptly forget a word I had said and we would be back at square one. He also couldn't hold down a job and didn't appreciate me talking about my career because it made him feel bad. It is hard to be so frustrated with someone yet still love them. He suddenly ended the marriage one day without warning and has stopped contacting me so it is hard to make sense of what actually happened. If anyone could possibly tell me what could have been going through his head to act so unkindly and so irrationly it would be very helpful. I know he is a good man so it is hard to imagine what would make him act with such carelessness. I hate things being unresolved but there doesn't seem to be anything I can do. He was so determined to have me marry him then changed his mind completely in a day. Is this typical ADD behavior? I would love to have some understanding of him.

new to this

I am the 28 yr old wife of a 26 yr old man with ADHD. I have constant conflict in walking the line of trying to understand him, and being accused of doing anything but. I read up, research, and consult a therapist trying to gain a greater understanding for what he deals with, but I'm forever being told that I act superior, don't know what I'm talking about and don't understand, nor could I ever b/c I don't have it. When ever I try to bring up ideas of how we could better communicate, or advice I've read on how he could get more out of life (which is something he constantly complains about) I am again put down. I also suffer from Bi Polar disorder, and from what I've read the two are similar. I'm tired of being talked down to, and put down for things I try to do. Seems like nothings ever good enough. I need new ideas or suggestions b/c I'm out. Harvest

Support for Non-Add Spouse

Hello, I am married to a 60 year old man with ADD. We have been married for 12 years and known of his ADD for about 9. In the last year, out of total frustration I discovered the benefit of attending Al Anon meetings. The twelve steps can be used by anyone but do provide a framework for those of us living with this disorder. Does anyone else attend these or have you heard of 12 step programs being used to deal with ADD? I have spent many hours angry, depressed, hopeless and burdened. It has turned me into a bitter person that eats at my soul. Not good for anyone. But I do have a framework and it has helped. I will keep going. Balanceact

Try This Program

Seems as my (I'm non-ADD) councelor has explained what you MAY be dealing with are co-dependency related issues. It's something I am dealing with in dealing with the daily efforts to undersand and support an ADHD spouse. Seems we tend to get inadvertantly drawn into unfamiar territory and styles and try to solve too many problems and take too much responsibility from a ADD loved one. Thats what I read in your message. Try . They have a 12 step program that will focus you back inwards to build a srong supportive base of love, patience and understanding with YOU. I also try this, which is CoDA's motto: God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And Wisdom to know the difference. All the Best!

12 Step Program

Ned Hallowell talks about the usefulness of the 12 Step Program for dealing with ADHD in Delivered from Distraction and you might read that chapter.  He suggests it for the person with the ADHD, by the way.

Melissa Orlov

I am married to a man with

I am married to a man with ADD and although I have suspected it for years, he has just officially been diagnosed. We have been married 5 years and have a new son and I wanted to give you some of my perspective as an ADD wife. First, your wife loves you. She wants to see things improve. I can tell you that your wife is acutely aware of the differences in your marriage and the marriages of her friends who are married to "non-ADD' men. She sees the closeness, the eyecontact, the ease they have together, she sees how their lives seem easier, less hectic, less disorganized. She sees how her friends RESPECT their husbands and genuinely adore them for who they are. She sees the partnership that is probably lacking in your marriage. Being married to an ADD husband makes you doubt yourself, and hate yourself because of the negative thoughts you have for your husband. I for one am about to loose my mind. While I know my husband has ADD, I feel like the problem is with ME...that I don't have enough patience, enough optimism, enough creativity. I feel like I am a stick in the mud while my husband is the fun happy-go-lucky guy that everybody loves. I watch peope adore my husband and all the while I think to myself, "Yea, but you don't have to live with him." Being married to an ADD husband is like being married to a child that everyone loves but who you are sick and tired of..... it's puts your wife in a "mother" role. And let me tell you she HATES that. Your wife sounds like she is at the end of her rope. She may have given up already. I can tell you that when she looks at you she is screaming in her head "GROW UP!!! BE A MAN!!" and "THINK DAMMIT!!" It's exhausting to be constantly irritated and disappointed in the man you love. I'm 5 years into it, I can't imagine 16. If she is saying words like "I hate you..." then she is well past frustrated and on to contempt. You need counseling now. You sound like you are depressed and possibly wallowing and procrastinating. Trust me, she can smell that a mile away. My advice is to MAN UP and insist that you and your wife go to counseling together, MAKE THE APPOINTMENT and GO. You need to take the lead here. Don't make her research the insurance coverage, find a counselor and make the appointment. YOU DO IT and do it NOW. Your wife fell in love with you because of the good ADD qualities, but she is sick of the bad ones and she needs to express that anger in a constructive environment. In the meantime, anything you can do to show that you can be a responsible MAN who is willing to work at this relationship, do it NOW. Stop the pitty party.


Hello L, I'm glad I could

Hello L, I'm glad I could help in some way. I've never had a problem expressing myself. I just needed an outlet for my frustration so this was it. In fact I often say I am more comfortable in front of a crowd than in one. I always loved being on stage. I have to keep forging on. I already have some new found support in your reply as well as Melissa's. Thank you for that. I hope things look up for you and your husband. I take it he has ADD? I can't lie, it is difficult to deal with at times. It can slip in and out of your life with such stealth, it ruins things without you even knowing it. I have faith however that it can be tamed and used for good. Finding the inner gift as it is said. I hope through this interaction with others facing similar tasks, along with professional criticism, I will avail. Let your husband know, anyone reading these entrys are not judging on grammer or spelling. It is more important to get it out. Mis-spellings and gramatical errors don't exist on these pages. Support, emotion, passion, and hope all do, and that makes the mis-wordings become fluent. Take care, Roger

Hi Roger, I'm an adult male

Hi Roger, I'm an adult male with ADD. Its tough man. I think you need to try ST again. I had good luck with adderall.. until I stopped taking it.. years ago. For some reason, us men don't want to take stimulants. LOL I'm on marriage number 4. You don't want to go there. Get you and your sweetie to counseling. Tell her the only way you'll go is if she goes with. Tell her your scared, anything. Tell her its you getting the counseling, she is just there to help you. Good luck brother!

Hello, Thanks for the

Hello, Thanks for the insight. I cannot go back on ST. It made my BP go through the roof and my Heart Rate double. I find it difficult to afford and anything I've tried so far has not worked long. I definetly do not want this to end. However, as my wife puts it, I find new and exciting ways everyday to mess something up. It's gotten to a point where I don't even trust myself with somethings. I know my wife doesn't trust anything in my hands. It's difficult to get out of the quicksand when you're already half buried. That's the way I feel. One big issue is that I have come to full terms with my ADD. I want to learn as much as I can. I want to turn my life around. However the support I had early on is no longer. My wife has told me just that. It's difficult. It's tougher on your own. I have to keep plugging along and try not to get down about it. My family deserves it. Take care. I hope things go well for you. Peace, Roger

Wife Not Only Person Able to Help

You're right - it is much, much harder to make progress on your own.  But your wife doesn't have to be the person who helps you progress.  There are others who can help you identify what you need to work on, help you create a plan, and then help you stick to it until you can do so on your own.

Don't use her as an excuse.  YOU are responsible for making the change.  I just wrote about Nancy Ratey's new book, and I think it would be a great one for you to read because it will give you some hope that you CAN change (finding that hope and inspiration is hard sometimes) AND it will give you some ideas about how.  You sound as if you are a bit down about yourself, and so reading something that will give you both inspiration and hope may help.

Then, look into a therapist, coach, family member or some other person who can help you solve some of your biggest issues (who that will be depends upon your own individual issues).  It's much cheaper than divorce and when your wife sees that you are making progress, she may start helping out, too.

Melissa Orlov

Rays of Hope

Hi Roger. I really feel for you too. I've written elsewhere on the site - I feel my husband and I both have ADD (and some of our 3 kids as well). I am the one who researches ADD, seeks help, takes medication, etc. Just a few months ago, things seemed really bleak for me too - like I was literally buried by so many negatives in my life. I really felt hopeless. I will say that proper medication, continued research, and a wonderful counselor who also recognized anxiety in me have given me a new lease on life. It's wonderful having an advocate/cheerleader in my corner. The material she had me read, exercises she has had me practice, and the discussions we have make me realize "I'm worthy just because I exist. " I used to feel like such a victim, didn't assert myself, communicate my needs, grew inwardly resentful, etc. Now that I'm rebuilding my self-esteem, communicating more clearly with my husband and family (difficulties, needs, etc.), I'm actually hopeful again and am rediscovering who I used to be/my real strengths, etc. (my real dream is to be a published writer of cards, children's books, etc.). Bottom line, because I'm happier and more positive, my husband/family are too. I tell my husband I'm literally giddy. I think you really need a knowledgeable professional on your side - my counsellor also understands medications - you really need to treat depression/anxiety first so you can think clearly enough to advocate for yourself and address your ADD issues. I asked my primary care physician to recommend a good psychologist. Remember - you are worthy just because you exist. That statement alone started to turn my life around. I wish a recovery journey for you. Jen Koretsky's book/wesite/blog are great for folks who also have anxiety issues.
clancy's picture

Your story

Fran, as i read your story i felt like i was reading mine too. I also am the only one who researches ADD. This blog site has given tremendous insight into the dynamics of my relationship. I've only seen the relationship from my perspective but now there are two sides to an issue. I agree with you about treating the anxiety/depression first.