My ADHD ( maybe a bit long or confusing)

So this is my second post. I have briefly stated my adhd in my previous post(new and just learning). This forum seems to be where all the topics are but i am still reading all the stuff on this site. I am going to elaborate on my ADHD issues that have been discovered. I did state some of them a bit before but i thought of some more after that and as per typical ADHD fashion, they come and go at random, although now it is a bit more controlled thanks to my med. I have been married for almost 8 yrs and there was ( or so i thought) not a problem at all. Apparently my undiagnosed adhd was just compounding or chipping away at my wife. I believe my hyper focusing was on her. I have always been needing reassurance or recognition if you will for things that I have done. This i believe, i talking to my adhd therapist and my wife stems from my childhood and my upbringing. Not that it was a bad thing but my parents were always doing things for me and making decisions for me. I had a very good childhood and no trauma associated with it. Now however it seems that over the years it has become a problem. I am usually asking my wife for direction on things when i should just make a decision even if it the wrong one. This issue i think is not too bad. The one thing that I have beaten to a a pulp is the fact that i "hover" over my wife. This is were i think that she is my point of hyper focus. I have learned that i have placed all my happiness on my wife... i.e if i am having a bad day and then see/talk to her, it is all erased. She is my biggest source of happiness. This is a big burden to place on someone, as i am understanding. I love her to death but apparently i have taken it too far. I guess you can have too much of one thing. It is situation overload apparently. All this coupled with the fact that i have never finished a project that i started although i have 3 pieces of trim to paint in the bathroom and it will be done, a COMPLETE remodel, so that is good. I just recently right prior to my diagnosis picked up Driven to distraction and I realized that it fits me, like it is describing my life, if that makes sense. Everyone says that i am a nice guy, so sweet blah blah blah ( all good stuff) to her. Sometimes she is like yea you don't have to live with him or people will say how to you live with him. Apparently it is something that has been just pushed aside and now it is to a head, causing me to find out about the ADHD, which has always been a comment to me as a running joke. Well now it is diagnosed and it really isn't a joke when it affects you and your family. This is were it is frustrating because it is a change from what i have been used to and "normal/Ok" life but in reality it needed fixing. This relates in that the therapist states he hears the opposite from woman that they wish their husband, S.O. or whoever would pay attention to them. Apparently i had the opposite, maybe it relates to my ADHD and it may not have been so bad if it weren't for all the other things associated with it. There has definitely been improvements according to my wife but, my thing is want it fixed and i want it fixed now so I can continue with life and not stress about if it will work. I need definite time frame, 2 days, 1 week, 2 months and i am having to deal/under stand that it does not work like that, there is now answer, as she says with out it will not work between us, but if taking the meds and doing therapy and fixing the way my mind thinks everything should fall into place. That is the worst part having patience to do this, but i have them for this because i want it to work between the 2 of us and the 3 kids also, if i forgot to mention. She is my wife yet I can not enjoy this fully. It is almost like we are starting over so as to reset and start new so it is not a continuation of the "overload" from 8 yrs. I fit 30 yrs of marriage into 8yrs, if that makes sense. Also during the time when this was getting difficult approx 9 months ago, she had started working full time and i saw less of her, so that compounded it more the little time that I had i tried to make up for the time we didn't and this just compounded it even more. More symptoms of ADHD that I can't think of.... Fast forward to now i am trying to make up for "lost time" but it is the opposite of what to. Leave it be and let it work itself out to be right again. I believe that is it for now, I am sure I had other thoughts that came and went. I like this site and look forward the hear peoples feedback if they can relate to any of this. I am sure that I have confused or bored ( : ) ) some people, I apologize for that but that is it in a semi nutshell.... P.S. I am college educated and also work a a full time job and a part time job.. both of which also bring my great joy. I sincerely love my job and do not think of it as such. It also could be noted that the ADHD puts me and my job pretty well, it does not negatively affect it very much, it is a perfect fit.

Some Thoughts for JFD

Okay, here goes.  This will be a bit stream of consciousness...perhaps in response to yours?  :-)

Your issue of hovering over your wife:  This isn't just an ADHD trait, but it can really be annoying.  My father, who isn't ADHD at all, used to do this to my mother and it drove her nuts.  She felt that he was being nosey.  Furthermore, it can be insulting.  Figure out what specifically bothers your wife about your hovering, then stop.  Develop a language or code with her where she can alert you if she thinks you are hovering.  For example, do you "listen in" on her side of phone conversations, then say "who was that?" as if she isn't a big enough girl to take care of her phone conversations by herself?  Figure out how she can tell you not to hover, such as agreeing with her that it's okay if she just answers that question "It was a call for me, honey, not for you" and leaves it at that.  (I.e. BUTT OUT BUSTER!)  If the problem is that you are just hanging around and not doing anything to help her, work through that, too.  Instead of just hanging out, offer to pitch in.

It sounds as if your wife has some specific ideas about how she would  like to interact with you.  Let her express these ideas to you, take notes if you need to, then pick one and work on it for her.  She'll appreciate your effort, and your interactions should be smoother because she is taking the lead.  One of the big issues for couples with ADHD is that the non-ADHD spouse feels as if their life revolves around a somewhat unaware ADHD spouse's behaviors.  So, change that for her.  Let your lives revolve around some of her needs (not all - that would be unfair going the other direction!)

You are impatient with your ADHD, and are looking for an instant fix.  There isn't one.  You need to identify what you need to work on, then make a plan to attack those issues.  It helps ifyo uget the imput of your spouse, as there will be areas that you don't think are very important that she thinks are very important.  If your marriage is on the rocks right now (sounds as if it is) then if pick the areas that bother her first, as the attitude improvement she'll have when she sees you are responding to her will be worth making that choice, and will make everything go more easily.

It will take you time and experimentation to get things right.  I was talking with my daughter the other day about how she learned to get organized.  She said "You try something to see if it works for you.  If it does, great, you try the next thing to see if that helps, too.  If the first thing doesn't work for you, you toss it aside and try something else...it's just continuous experimenting until you build your own system."  That about sums it up.  Make sure your wife understands that not everything you try will work, but eventually you hope to have a good system in place.  Also, make sure that she knows that you are looking both for her input and her support.

You mention that you feel as if you are starting over again.  That's actually a good thing.  You need to figure out how you and your wife can let go of your past difficulties and move forward.  My husband and I talk about our "old marriage' and our "new marriage" - i.e. the one we discovered after we let go of our past hurts.  The new one is great.  The old one isn't.  Start thinking about starting over as an opportunity - a chance to build what you think is best and most exciting now that you both see your best and worst sides.  A great marriage is one that accepts the quirks of your spouse - cherishes some of them, even - and builds on the best you both have to offer in a partnership.

Meds may well help you - agaiin, you'll need to experiement (under the supervision of a doctor) to get the right one and the right dose.  They won't fix your problem, though, particularly your marriage problems.  Those get fixed when you work through new ways to communicate with your wife.  My husband and I have changed how we talk to each other completely - it's now constructive, not destructive - and have learned how to hold ourselves back so that things don't get out of hand.  One technique - if either of us is really mad we tell the other one "I'm really mad about X and I would like an opportunity to talk about it" then set up a time/place to do this (i.e. don't just vent at the spur of the moment).  Inherent in this is a newfound ability to really LISTEN to what our spouse needs/wants and then a promise to try to do something about it (from either / both of us).

Often one area of conflict is around taking care of kids and house.  Talk with your wife about her feelings about your contributions in these areas and see if there is something you can do to improve relations in these areas.  Instead of hyperfocusing on HER in a way that bothers her, try hyperfocusing on being with her in a way that she enjoys....am I communicating the difference well enough?

Melissa Orlov

Reply to response

Thank you very much Melissa for the info. Some of the things you pointed out, were right on with what my wife had said. A few things I did not mention before in regards to what you had said are, I help out with just about everything around the house. I has taken me about 7 years to come to this, not that i didn't help out before but she is now working full time and i am the one home with the kids, as my work schedule allows this so I am the "stay home dad" for the most part, not that she still doesn't do all the the things she does. The phone thing is something that i have heard about, but with me it didn't seem like i was being nosy, more or less just making talk, probably to be self fulfilled, or reassurance so to speak. It sound strange but something like that. She has said that it is nosey and comes from my family, but there again, to me it is not, it is what has been "normal" my whole life and not a problem. Something that i thought was very interesting was what you said about wanting an instant fix to this. That is it exactly, I want it to be fixed now tell me how to do it so i can and then we can go on. That is something I am having difficulty with. I am doing better now but it usually goes back to getting some reassuarnace taht thing will be OK. Obviouslym i can't know that for sure but that is where i have the issue, asking for it. I need to, ( and have been doing better) just let it be and let it all take its course, me taken meds and seeing a thearapist. I tend to keep bringing up the same conversation over and over again and this frustrates her, "beating a dead horse" It usually ends with here tired of talking about the same thing over and over again. I have been taking adderall for about 3 months now and it definatly is working for the better. Hence the not always asking for reassurance and things like that. I usally wind up asking a question and not realizing but it is a form of asking about a time line and are things getting better. I am trying to try and be able to see the line between reassurance and a "progress report", not exactly how i want to word it but can't think of another way at this moment. I am not alwasy good as seeing the obvious so i ask if i can improve or stay with what i am doing, somethimes the repsonse is good other times it goes back to leave it alone and let it just work itself out. I have a hard time sometimes drawing the line and not crossing it. I tend to cross it and "ruin" a good converstaion or a good time that we were ahving, all not intentional, but subliminally i guess trying to find out if we are back to "normal". I want to move on and continue our marriage, oviously not like it was before(cause it was an issue) but to be back to a point where it is under control and I can not have to worry, hence the "new marriage" vs the old. I think also that i sometimes try to show her too much and communicate how much i really love and care for her, becuase I don't think she knows, but there again, I am sure she does, just I like to her it once and a while. She has said to me before (not in a demaeaing way) that i am the woman in the marriage. Meaning that i am the one that is craving affection and complains when i don't get it. It sounds funny but i think it is somewhat true.( yes I am a guy and did admit that). I guess that is just me. I see in my job that life can change in an instant and that you might not get a chance to tell someone that you love them or just that you might not ever see them again. I think that is why i always am trying to push the affection thing. I would feel really guily if I didn't get the chance to tell her I loved her and have her think i really didn't. That sounds like my crazyand probably not true but that is sometimes how I feel. I am going to continue to try my very best to make it work

Craving Reinforcement

Insecurity is likely a side-effect of your struggles with ADHD.  Did I do this right?  Am I okay?  It's also typical of relationships of kids with their parents, so look for a parent/child dynamic in your relationship with your wife - if one exists, see if you can make things more "spouse-like".

Perhaps you can take this opportunity to start to learn how to self-evaluate rather than rely on others to give you reinforcement.  I can think of a number of ideas that might work for you in this area:

1.)  Start keeping a journal.  Jot down notes on a regular basis about how you think you are doing and what you would like to do better.  Make sure to include what you think you are doing particularly well.

2.)  Ask your counsellor or a coach to take on the job of cheerleader so that your wife doesn't always find herself in that role.

3.)  See if your wife might be willing to pick one or two things to track with you or for you (rather than everything that comes to your mind).  Use this as an opportunity to improve upon something specific that is bugging her (like listening in on her phone calls).  By the way - about the phone calls - it may seem normal to you, but if it bugs her, then make an effort to respect her need for privacy.  Calls aren't important in the long run, but respect is.

4.)  I know you are probably doing this, but work with your counsellor on getting to the roots of this statement "I am the one that is craving affection and complains when I don't get it."  Are you REALLY not getting affection, or are you simply perceiving that?  Where does your need for this much attention come from?  Does your wife feel that you are "high maintenance" and that if she gives you a little bit of affection she'll open the floodgates..therefore she is safer if she doesn't give it to you?  If there is anything that you have written here, it seems to me this is the most important...and worth focusing in on.  If your need for reassurance is a result of your ADHD symptoms, then as you treat those symptoms more effectively you may (with effort) be able to get this part of your relationship more stabilized.

Melissa Orlov

So many similarities - might this help?

Dear JFD - I haven't been on the site for a bit, still feel like I'm feeling my way around, remembering an exchange between us and wondering what became of it. So in my readings I've come across several of your posts - which are uncanny to me in how they contain thoughts and experiences that could have been written by my DH if he knew how to access the computer! I'm most impressed with how you so clearly describe your hyper-focus on your wife. My DH is doubly blessed with OCD and ADD - when the OCD was the presenting malady, before we understood that his ADD was likely the underlying culprit - we were attending a support/recovery group for OCDers and their family and friends. It didn't take that group but a minute to see what was going on between the two of us. Our first "homework assignment" was for him to stop seeking me out for reassurance and for me to stop giving it to him! To this day I can't tell you which assignment was harder. When he came to me for reassurance, my instructions were to smile, shrug my shoulders, turn and busy myself away from him. Sounds easy, but the dynamic it released between us was unbelievably hard. Still is. Bottom line, it is now his lifelong job to risk making his own decisions. It is my lifelong job to abandon him to work out his own anxieties. So, I don't know if that little excercise is anything that you would pass on to your wife and implement between the two of you - it is both euphoric and maddening to make those relational changes in a marriage. But you have GOT to release your wife from being the answer to your insecurities and worries. She can NOT be your therapist even if she wants to. You are doing so well in trying so hard, and I publicly laud your efforts. See if you can create your own contracts apart from her giving you some kind of report card...I think it's safe for me to say that as she is freed...you'll know.

To Colleen

I appreciate your response, i am still trying to navigate my way around here and see what i have said and try to reply to everyone that writes back. it is difficult but I think i am doing well.. anyway....I have been trying and I think doing a better job of not "running"to her for advice and reassurance. Let me tell you it has been extremely hard and frustrating(not the right word) but I have been doing it. I believe the meds have helped me a lot especially with my anxiety but sometimes the decision making is a bit hard. One example that sometimes I just go in circles is if we are going to go out to eat, I say were do you want to go? She says I don't care. I them pick a place or 2 and she says no I feel like.... I am pretty easy it doesn't matter to me so my inside thought is alright I picked a place and it was not where you wanted to so why didn't you just pick a place. Here I tried to make a decision and it failed/backfired or whatever, so I usually just end up asking her. That is were I sometimes get frustrated with the whole thing. The biggest thing that I am having a hard time dealing with is the not always "going" to her. I feel like if I don't come to her for affection or talking or whatever, it is not there. It doesn't seem to be coming from the other end. I have been backing off but doesn't seem to be coming around as quickly as I want or had hoped it would. Here I go again, wanting things to change overnight. It seems as though as they get better, all of a sudden it won't be as good as I thought and then I get discouraged. I will say though that there has been an improvement overall, it is just really tricky to deal with and it wears on you. Maybe that is why as you said as it improves I will see it which i think I have, but then at times, whether she says it or not, they digress. I guess that is where the anxiety factor kicks in and, I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop, or my mind just going off, thinking the worst and then just it compounds on itself. Bottom line I just want to be able to be with her and not have her get all anxious and feel like she is being smothered which in my mind I have been doing and why can I just not go up to her and not be an issue. Well I a went off on a tangent. kind of in a low moment at this time..sorry... I am going to continue to try and see how it goes. I think i am doing good... talk to you soon