It's all my fault

My wife has been diagnosed wi OCD & ADHD. She reacts to any situation that in stressful for her. This is fine within our relationship since she is working on this in counseling and I support her. Unfortunitally she has found a way to blame me for the situation that created the stress ... Even if the situation is not related to me. I think I am "safe" in her eyes so it's easy to default her angerr onto me. She is having a moment right now ... Thank to recent support on his forum ... I am looking at her stress as real to her instead of looking at it in the context of ADHD. is this the right perspective or am I enabling? I want to stick up for myself but know that I need to lay back, roll with th punches and simply support her with sympathy ... Enabling? She is so beautiful and an amazing person - I become desperate for her smile at times like these.


I didnt used to be that bad. I didnt like anyone to push me to far but over the years as we get married and have children or other stressful and lovely adult things come about it's like noise. everything we have to do in life is like a noise and when you add them together it reaches a point of where it is unbearable and reason goes out the window. it gives me the worst headaches. I would pop tylenol every single day. my husband before we knew what was wrong would push me to take on more and more responsibilities (I tried to accept all challenges) but everything I did...paying bills...setting or keeping apointments. everything requires sooo much focus in the right order and a great deal of memory that it got to the point that I blamed him for making me this way. no matter what he did he was wrong because no matter what he did my headache wouldnt go away. the only time it goes away is when I'm stress free...which means basically no responsibility. not really a reality we can hope for :) it is litterally like noise...I started buying ear plugs.....I felt better. long story short I do my best to stop yelling and start plugging my ears. and usually what that means is that I need to go by one and get rid of my stresses.

I started walking (yep....not sitting and trying to read a test or trying to make sense of something on paper) and the walking gave me peace. the whatever it is that starts making you a bit happier when you excersize kicks in and by the end of the walk I feel better. this is actually funny to me when I think back to my mother (undiognosed and does not believe in meds or labels) she used to get so angry at the drop of a pin sometimes but instead of yelling she would always just get out of the car or leave the building...wherever she was and walk it out. she always came back a better person. one time we stopped her and told her to just say what she was angry about......we never asked her to do that again :)

having said is important to me that my husband acknowledge that it is real to me....but after that...I need him to help me stay on track by not allowing me to just be the victim. he started telling me "honey I dont just believe it's real to you I am so sorry you had to go through that, but I went through it too...on the other side" I dont always like to hear it but the more often I do the better I deal with it and realise how great a man he is for not just believe me but having sympathy....and then he lets me know...I hurt his feelings with my behavior and that gives me an opening to make it right. one of the bad/worse parts of adhd for me is is really easy to get stuck in my world and not have to deal with any consequences. my husband tried only being sympathetic and it didnt work to well. his feelings never got addressed because if left alone I'd conveniently forget to make it right.   it is really like being in another world sometimes, like a movie that you can make whatever you want to happen. only thing's only like that for me everyone else has to clean up the trash that is left behind when I lie or manipulate. everyone was so afraid of my temper they felt like walking on eggshells and didnt want to set me off...and I knew it :) (not my best days :)

anyhow...thats just me


Just a short note here... You are TOTALLY right about walking. I did not discover it's benefits until I was recently diagnosed (2 years ago) and had a German Shepherd puppy. I walk in the AM, I walk in the PM ideally (Work, Wife, Kids as Variables) I feel SO much better after a walk. No gentle strolls, either... as fast as I can (4+ Mph). These walks really helped me through some of the tough times after diagnosis and still help today.


Yyz and all, can you comment on this:

Statement dH made to me: ok but try not to be so controlling every aspect- what we will be doing every moment. As far as I knew I was NOT doing that beyond the: Are you going to show up phase (he hasnt been). What exactly is the fair and adhd tolerable (on meds) equitable compromise (if there is such a thing). I want to be fair, but need to have my sense of some stability honored as well. Thoughts?

I always ask for

I always ask for specifics...and examples of when he feels I've done something 'wrong'. I don't accept blanket statements or accusations thrown at me. I insist he give me examples of how I do what he's accusing me. In this situation, I would also ask what would be an acceptable way to him for you to 'make plans' would be. I would try to make him understand "I get that your ADHD makes flying by the seat of your pants OK with you, but you also need to understand that I don't function that way and planning things isn't something that feels 'wrong' to me."

He's just picking you apart, in my opinion. Stand your ground...but also try and hear what he's saying.

Sounds flustered...

Sherri is right about specifics. "Controlling every aspect"? It drives me crazy when people lash out with Absolutes. There may be trends, tendencies and very predictable behaviors, but none of this You are ALWAYS... As far as fair goes, I knew I had a lot of predictable behaviors that were going to change. The "Empty Trust Bucket" needed massive and frequent deposits. I also knew that perceptions take a long time to change. It was frustrating, for sure, but I hoped time was on my side with changing these perceptions of expected behaviors.

With regards to control, maybe when the weekend comes around ask your spouse if he had any projects or things he was planning to do to scratch a few things off the To-Do List. Tell him a couple of things you were hoping could be done. If I don't have a big preplanned project on a Saturday morning, I'll ask my DW "What are 2 or 3 things you would like me to take a look at this weekend?" This simple question has yielded some good results at our house.

Being fair is good, but we ADDer's need to put forth some effort to See what has been going on, or really Not going on and make the changes to make everyone feel better.


it's just me

just my experience but I thought my non-dh husband controlled my life. he had soo many rules and expectations. it drove me insane. till finally in a burst of anger and frustration he told me "I'm so sick of your blaming me for not doing your chores! it is not a expectation that you will do the dishes today and most days it is your job!" (I'm a stay at home mom) I  of course went to my room and shut the door once again the victim of his outrageous rules and expectations. "he just doesnt understand me. he doesnt know what it's like to be a free spirit (what I called myself before knowing about adhd :) , he's crushing my soul by forcing this everyday life on me" it was not until my very loving mother (whom I was venting to the next day) was very quiet on the other end. then proceeded to tell me I was a spoiled brat and that had nothing to do with any adhd. that I had taken something difficult for me and instead of working on it to better the lives around me as well as my own..I used it to do anything and everything I wanted. I didnt blame it on adhd because at the time I didnt know about it. I just had a million diffrent reasons I couldnt show up on time or didnt have to go to things that were important to him or do any dishes. with or without meds somethings are harder for me. but ten times out of ten I used my free spirit as a way to live in my own world and let other take the consequences. granted I did not want this information and it took everybody around me turning against me (they all agreed not to enable me and make me stand up for myself) that I realised with no one to take the consequences there litterally wasnt anywhere to go...except to face them or flush my life down the toilet.  one thing that is really hard to figure out is where does the adhd stop and the common problems pick up. I tried several meds and they didnt "fix me" because I was trying to get rid of everything that way. turns out once I can focus better I still have to do the dishes and no meds can change the way I feel about them :)I just have to do them.   I was telling myself that I cant do anything right for my husband and he was too picky and such but it turns out I was using not being perfect as an excuse to not do anything! in order to keep relationships around me I have had to change and live life  so there is a middle ground and most of the time I'll bet you'd be surprised at how far we can go and get things done. it may not be perfect but then I hate the way he does my laundry so nobody's perfect. but even without meds I could get soooo much done. I just didnt want to do it. mostly because I was comfortable that way and thought it was unfair. that if it didnt bother me to live in a mess and I was happy that way he should just leave me alone.   even without meds or any real therapy I had to come up with my own budget plan (because he stopped paying for my stuff, and mom wasnt falling for my pity stories) I had to find a cleaning schedual that I could work with...the thing is is I've had someone basically bailing me out every moment. a mom/dad/boyfriend/brother...whatever. someone always fixed my problems because they didnt want me to fall on hard times or get suicidal. everyone could sympathise with me....because I knew how to get them to sympathise. now I'm not joking it to my husband 9 months to explain our online budget system to where It made sense. it takes every ounce of my control to stay in one place long enough to get dishes done. but when forced too I found a way. because as good as I was at being depressed inevitably I am adhd...extreemly driven...and it's not really in us to just sit still. I sat around in my room for only a few weeks before it finally hit me no one was going to come and find out why I was so depressed. at which point I had to realise by that very thought....I had indeed been putting myself in there waiting for someone to manipulate.  ok wow. you can tell the meds are worn off with how long this little thought ended up being...sorry if I didnt make any sense and again it's only me I can speak for but gosh darn it if I dont believe I have adhd and it's no picnic...but man can we manipulate and lie and were just not willing to admit it to ourselves. dont let it ruin your life. if my husband had given up and left with the kids I would have had no one to blame but me and adhd wouldnt come close to covering it. people sometimes forget how messed up we can become as human beings that has nothing to do with some parts of us. I'd say at least 50% of the isseus in our marriage had nothing to do with adhd. and weve been working pretty hard to teach our daughter that it's ok to mess up...even alot. but you never EVER stop trying to do the right thing. no one can get mad at you for doing your best. but it's pretty obvious to everyone around who is usually trying to keep in mind you have a hard time with somethings that you are not even close to trying.

I wanted to mention

I wanted to mention something..not sure if you (or anyone else) would have a comment on it..but you mention your 'free spirit' label you gave yourself a time or two. I find this somewhat ironic because I think that is how my husband sees himself too. I think that is what is keeping his stuck in the "ADHD isn't a problem for me and if you don't accept me for who I am then you just don't love me enough" frame of mind.

He actually told me that the way he 'treated/controlled' his ADHD when he was younger was by being different...intentionally...through clothes, hair, etc. What made it even worse was that he also insinuates that he can do the same NOW with his tattoos, his new mohawk, dressing strangely, etc. I don't care how he wears his hair...or dresses...and I'm not 100% against tasteful and minimal tattoos...but where my HUGE issue comes in is that there is NO WAY IN HELL he can convince me that he can 'control' his ADHD with these external things. mohawks don't speed up your frontal lobe and make you less impulsive. Tattoos don't stop you from becoming so overwhelmed that you give up on your marriage and cheat.

I think he wants to feel his ADHD makes him 'special' and wants to accept all of the 'free spirit' parts of it, but not the ugly parts of it as well. I can accept a helluva a lot...but his impulsivity and compulsive behaviors are devastating to our marriage and nothing will fix this if he isn't willing to admit it is a problem. I keep hoping this is just a phase of denial (got the diagnosis 14 months ago) and that once he accepts it, he'll claim the 'ugly' parts too and want to do the work to minimize them. He is willing to go to counseling, but I keep asking myself over and over again if it is worth it when he isn't wanting to go to help with his ADHD, he would only be going because I want him to.

You're extremely aware of your ADHD and its affects...that's awesome. I love your line "it's ok to mess up...even a lot". That is so true...and I'm trying very hard to learn to pick my battles...because we all do mess up. Some of his "mess ups" are deal breakers though. :(

free spirit=genius

I love to be expressive. I change hair color every few weeks or so, a tattoo here or there and dressed a little...strange for a long time. most everyone who knew me before I met my husband saw the transformation and didnt accept it. I now dress like a semi typical mom (with a teensy bit of flair) and slowed down to semi normal hair colors and only change it every 6 months or so. everyone thought he was changing who I was. he didnt care really what color my hair free spirit was part of why he loves me. but the part where its hurting the people around me is where I didnt see the problem (not the hair color but fully embracing my free spirit)  it took me a long time to make a decision. I go back and forth alot trying to figure out if there really is something wrong with me...if it's just everyone else and I'm the normal one. it's so normal to me for so long that it really is a hard battle to try to figure out which way to go. (stay free or join life)  I kicked and faught but after testing the waters and making my husband promise that if it isnt working and I hate it I can just be me I tried it out. dropped the treatment several times because I hated it. the thing is I couldnt get past the feeling that my husband didnt want me. that he didnt love me the way I was. I went over it and over it trying to see it from his view but no matter what I thought about it always came back to "he doesnt love me" I embraced my free spirit more and more everytime that thought came into my head because I was determind to show him that I was beautiful the way I was. not to mention any forums or papers online arent really that gracious when they talk about our tends to feel like we were perfectly normal and just had a creative suddenly it's like we have a mental disease. if we embrace adhd's embaressing, we get treated diffrently. within days it spread around my job that I had it and everyone started talking about "that explains it" . to learn the most treasure part of you (to me) is sort of a malfunction can make a person feel downright stupid.  I have some perfect older brother is fairly well exactly like me. same everything as far as habits, creative side. my dad only made it worse telling us we were special...that the world couldnt hold a candle to our expressive mind and there was nothing we couldnt do. (my dad has it too :)  that was when we were forward 18 years and now at 30 I'm dealing with it and my older brother lives in my grandmothers basement with very little contact to the outside world. he hides and wont speak to most people. my dad refuses any type of treatment and is happily still telling himself that he is a genius and that the world just doesnt recodnise it. ....the diffrences can be all over the charts if you dont treat it but one thing that keeps me in line is watching my family. they have no relationships. my parents live seperate most of the time and they are happy only as long as they are indulged. where as I still have all of my creative vibes and make wonderful things...I still sit sometimes and contemplate the universe....I still throw out my arms and twirl quite a bit and there is alot of laughing. I'm still me. that was my greatest fear is that I would loose me. it turns out that my husband loved me tremendously...but those free spirited things about me he loved were hidden beneath a tangled mess of distructive patterns that any adhd or not person should make an effort to do better on.  I thought he was asking me to be a zombie and do the things I couldnt possibly do. but it turns out alot of those I just didnt want to change. and he was asking me to do the things I could do.    I might stink at remembering appointments, and writing notes to myself, I forget to look at the calander on a regular basis but my phone is always with me. I loose things alot so I am constantly looking to see if I still have it. when I make an appt I dont write it down anywhere but in a phone me a note to say where I need to go and allowing myself enough time to get ready. not everyone is the same but there are alot of things we have trouble with...and alot of creative ways to stay on top of it. in the end....I still miss things but not even close to before and I feel proud instead of worthless for not keeping it because I still did a great job on the whole. if anything the meds have helped me finish my projects, having some comprehensive thoughts and the talks my husband and I have to have to keep our marriage together is way way less complicated. because I still have my passion but I no longer have no control over it. honestly theres not much in my life thats changed. for the most part I am just like I was before. only healthier..happier and most of my rebel self dissapeared because I didnt have to over compensate for feeling abnormal. a counselor helped alot with that. I actually thought she would tell me I was fine. and she did. because I can manipulate...and lie. I can be perfectly normal when I want to be....which only goes to show I can find a way to make it work and I can do things the way I'm supposed to. i'm not quite as abnormal as I shout to the world as I have my own way of doing things.  I had to be honest and that is a really hard thing to get someone like me to do. I can feel like hurting myself or throwing myself off a bridge but as soon as I step into the counselors room I'm fine and were doing great. I know exactly the right way to incriminate my husband instead. it really is a hard thing to watch. my dad has thought he had adhd for over 40 years. but never tried treatment nor did he want it. it's a lonely, angry life and my mom has stuck with him through every day...but she hates it and only endures it I think because he only comes home on some weekends and she says "it's too late too start over". I told my dad point blank that it's fine if thats the way he wants it but to think about this.... my life was a living nightmare because he didnt get treated. but I didnt blame him. I knew he may not have known what was going on and thats ok. but once you do....and you shrug and say so what, I'll just let my family suffer through the rest of their life? thats pretty hard to forgive and pretty self centered. but then again that really all I remember of my dad is him being self centered.  I saw my daughter follow in my steps and said "heck no" I thought of her getting kicked out of classes and teased for being a space cadet. I thought of her struggling to balance a checkbook and ending up thousands in debt or living in her car for a while like I was. I thought of the tears she would shed throughout her entire life wondering why she's even alive. I thought of every girls happy ever after turning into a nightmare for her. being lost and never really having a place of her own and having to create her own world all alone.  then I told my father exactly what had happened to me throughout life while he was being a free spirit. and asked him if thats what he wanted his precious grandaughter to do. all because mommy didnt think there was anything wrong with being like this. then I asked him if he really thought he was a genius and that he knew better than all the people out there for the last century doing research on this.  he's slowly looking into it and I thank the lord maybe him and my mom will get a few years of happier times.  but only after I slapped some diagrams on the table for him to look at. diagrams that showed the research about the parts of the brain that dont work right for us. only then did it hit's not a bunch of people who decided our behavioral habits arent like theirs and we need to change like we think our spouse is trying to do. its real. you scan the brain and see active functions and ours isnt working full capacity as the rest are.... he made assumptions and wouldnt take a look into it. he heard things about it and thought that was rediculous. I admit I did the same thing till someone explained the scans to me and said "the adhd is only a part of you...  the rest is up to you" .  just before that I had nearly bankrupted my family due to my impulsive shopping and "it'll work always does" attitude.

If I had to list a top 3

If I had to list a top 3 things about my DH's ADHD that I would love to see him get help with, how he copes with (or doesn't, more accurately)stress would be on that short list. Although my husband rarely 'takes it out on me', he does threaten to quit his job often, makes me regret it if I offer any advice or give my opinion on any given stressful situation he's ranting about, and he obsesses over situations that most people would not give a second thought to. (mostly interpersonal relationships with co-workers...bad politics where he works...and everyone is not always going to like you!)

My counselor explained his rants as like him needing to release steam, such as a pressure cooker. He doesn't want my input or advice or anything at all but for me to listen. Where the problem came in was me taking him so literally (I'm going to quit my job!) and me not understanding that he didn't want it to be a two-way conversation...when he would call to rant.

If you are getting blamed for things that are in no way your fault, then I would say "I know you're upset, but there is no logic link between myself and the current crisis at hand...and it is very unfair for you to make that connection and blame me" and give her some space. Deep down I would say she knows you're not to blame, but it is a pattern they get caught up in that is very difficult to break...blaming others for everything that goes wrong in their lives. You have to stop carrying the target around...and tell her "not fair, we'll talk when you're not so upset" One very beautiful thing about ADHD is that (for my husband anyway) most of the time he can 'forgive and forget' MUCH quicker than I can. So removing yourself from her crosshairs, letting her know that you're not going to accept the blame no matter how much she wants to place it on you, will hopefully help diffuse the situation quicker. Pleading your innocence just keeps the flames going.

I have learned to just listen. Even if I feel I have something helpful to add, I don't. He needs me to just listen to get it all off of his chest, then that's fine. I want to help anyway that I can. He can deal with things in his own way using his own mind. I respect that. I don't say anything short of 'well, that's just crazy' or 'I'm sorry' now. He commented the other day about how he was going to quit his job and go flip hamburgers for a living. He immediately looks at me and says "honey, I'm just kidding...I am not going to quit my job..I'm just stressed and venting" and I could tell he was worried he had upset me. I said "it's Ok, you're allowed to be upset and vent".

I wish you luck...I think you can help this situation by just simply giving her space, NOT TAKING IT PERSONALLY when she's having 'a moment', and very calmly and quickly pointing out how you are not responsible for the situation and removing yourself physically from her blame.