My experiment

Is it me or do others see a common similarity that those with ADD seem to use humor more often than non ADDers?  My DH uses humor and prides himself on his humor and "personality".  I don't find him humorous anymore because of all the disappointing and crazy-making stuff he does and doesn't do. I don't feel safe to be care-free and jokey when I am with him. I used to be very funny and witty myself. I miss that person I was.  I don't like the person who I have become.  Anyway, I am going to try to be extremely funny this week.  Just enjoy myself.  See what happens.  I am guessing that we will end up being like the two sillies (which is probably why I stopped being funny myself).  You might ask, "What is so wrong about being silly and having a little fun?"  Silly+Silly=Asinine when no one is being realistic and aware and mature. What could go wrong if I just let myself be happy and put away my worries? I will let you know what transpires during "silly, laughing week". 

It is not just you

I have the same challenge. My husband is generally outgoing and easygoing. And I have become less easygoing and outgoing myself.  I think that is because I am always stressed about getting things done and worrying about what we or he might have missed doing. It is hard to relax and enjoy things when you feel like you are the only responsible one. I find that when I do let go, it feels good for a while but then I have to get back into the duties of daily living and I resent that he keeps on with the fun stuff. 

I also wonder if they use humor and good-natured-ness to sort of get away with stuff. Maybe they depend on charisma sometimes to get out of trouble when they have forgotten to do something. 

I completely understand where you are coming from though.

A mood stabilising technique?

I also wonder if they use humour and good-natured-ness to sort of get away with stuff. Maybe they depend on charisma sometimes to get out of trouble when they have forgotten to do something.

Well, could be but maybe it is a pain/anxiety avoidance and mood stabilising technique?

So a common ADHD thing is emotional lability i.e.  intense and rapid mood swings,  if we are making people laugh then it raises the mood and we feel good, if we are anxious then we are more often that not depressed and feel crap.  Being laid back and good natured is also about lowering stress levels and trying to create a mood neutral or positive environment

I know I can’t help myself and I try very hard not to be serious, or if I need to be, at least not for too long and at first opportunity I will crack a joke.   Getting a laugh out of people gives me a buzz and is a great way of lightening the load of anxiety.  I also think because we look at the world differently it can give us a perspective that people see as quirky and humorous…until they live with us and then it can just get irritating right?   

I am not sure how common it is with us ADHD folk but I know myself I am a total chameleon; I take on the mood and nature of the environment around me. Maybe it is to blend in?  Maybe it is because as I said we are highly reactive. 

Yes, it is surely a

Yes, it is surely a pain/anxiety avoidance and mood stabilising technique.  This is what is so agonizingly crazy-making and disappointing for me.  Mature people make the daily attempts to "walk through" their pain, buck up against the anxiety and stand up to be counted on when the road is uncomfortable and difficult.  I thought I was getting a partner to walk through these hard roads together.  What I am getting is a clown who wants to diffuse what is real and give himself another helping of denial and feel goods (for just himself).  This doubles the anxiety and hardship for me. Who is to say whose anxiety is worse? His anxiety load is lightened.  My load is doubled.  He looks like a fun dude.  I look and feel like a worry wart and I feel like I am walking this journey alone.

I am learning so much about

I am learning so much about how it feels to have ADHD and I am learning that it can really suck for everyone involved. I had no idea the amount of stress people with ADHD feel. From the outside it appears my husband just does not care and is kind of flippant about some things. 

I have not figured out the best way to have conversations about who does what around the house, for instance, and about making responsible choices. It usually comes down to deciding that I do the mundane stuff like bills and cleaning, and he does the more project-y stuff like renovations (although they rarely get completed but I am trying to be patient and understanding!) On one hand, if this arrangement ensures everything gets done, I am happy with it. But on the other hand, if it means I am treating him like another child and getting stuck with the boring stuff, it really just does not seem fair. I continue to struggle with this one. And it is hard to have a conversation with him about this without it sounding like I am complaining or treating him like a child.

I can understand that you must be frustrated

Well first up let me say I can understand that you must be frustrated, and angry, and what follows is in no way a criticism or attack on you *in any way*.

However if you put it like that to him you are trying to put out fire with gasoline.  With so many loaded accusatorial words that by sentence two he is long gone, and nothing you say will go anywhere.     

You have said he causes you agony, drives you crazy and is disappointing , you have called him immature and weak, you have called him unreliable and cowardly.  You have called him a quitter, you have accused him of deliberately abandoning you, you have called him a clown and said he is unable to cope with reality.  You have said he is in denial and is selfish,    that he,  without conscience or consideration helps himself at the expense of doubling your distress.  That he makes himself look good while making you look like a shrew and a nag.

Not a single positive thing said about the person you chose as your life’s partner! 

So just to reflect, how receptive do you think you would be to that?   Even if you don’t say this to him directly, you are feeling it so likely projecting it and he is doubtless picking up on it right? You seem to have zero respect for him so it is hard to see any hope of a successful resolution, just a recipe for more conflict leading inevitably to the wheels falling off.   

I often see the non-ADHD spouse say: “I don’t like who I have become”.   I often see the ADHD spouse say “I don’t like who I am”.   Well surely any healings' going to take a change on both sides?


First, maybe I confused things, but there were two people talking about their spouses. I thought the language I chose was verging on respectful! It was not me who used words like denial or clown. 

But I do take your point to heart. I am learning just how much pain some people with ADHD are in. I would really hate to inflict more than I certainly already have on my husband.

My point was that I am trying to find a way to talk about these issues respectfully and in a way that helps us find solutions that work for both of us.


Of  course, my post was not intended to be a reply to yours.  Although I hasten to add that I meant no disrespect to anyone.

Words from a heart

Thank you Jon for responding.   Yes, again you are right and I totally deserve every word you said.  This is the crux of OUR problem, ADD or no ADD involved.  We do not respect each other. I am sorry to come to THIS board to vent and try to find some clarity.  It sometimes is a board of frustrated, confused and resentful spouses.  We would not be on here if things were fine.  I appreciate your strength to respond as you did.  I think you hit a nerve when you justified some of the behaviors that have confused and frustrated me for so long.  I wasn't always like this.  I, for the most part of our marriage, was supportive, compassionate and loving.  I gave loving words of "It's all right", "I know you are doing a good job", "Don't worry about it, honey." "Let's work together.", etc.  I have turned a corner and your response has helped me to see that.  Those supportive words now mock me because my particular DH did/does not work WITH me but AGAINST me and now blames and forgets me and all the support I DID give him for over f30 years.  He was the love of my life since we were 15 years old and I gave him the benefit of the doubt, gave him a thousand second chances, supported him emotionally through depression, affairs, losing jobs, financially.  I was TOO understanding and supportive.  I should have layed down my rules and insisted on respect from the beginning.  I though LOVE was the answer and things would work themselves out if I loved and worked and gave enough. And now he still is into caring for his own feelings and comforts as though all the loving I did give to him all those years meant nothing - he forgot or didn't notice.  Yes, I can see after what you wrote how no one would want to be in a partnership with someone like me anymore.   I was triggered by the idea that having fun and being silly it a tool to make one's self feel better.  I am working to get back to the loving, easy-going person I once was.  I guess I am not that person yet.  I am sad and alone and feel stupid and ignored and it comes out as mad and resentful and hateful. I have lost a part of myself that I gave away.  I am trying to get it back.  Your response is clarity to me how disconnected I have come from my real loving caring heart that is inside.  Again, this is a message to younger spouses.  Do not give your self away if you are not receiving love or respect in return.

Jon, I appreciate your writing abilities.  You dare to go to the vulnerable, brave places.  It helps everyone.

Pbartender's picture

And you're not alone in that, Jenna...

It's odd, because once again, I see my own situation in the words of one of the non-ADHD spouses.  I'm not sure what else to say, except that I know what you're going through and I understand how you're feeling.

Good Luck.



MagicSandwich's picture

... insisted on respect from the beginning

It’s dreadful when you realize a person in your life cannot or will not practice gratitude, isn’t it? I think the general feeling is true whether we’re talking about intimate relationships or interactions at the office. Recently I had a similar rude awakening at work after wrapping up a 5 year project. My team manager was next-to-impossible to work with. Over time I had been so antagonized by his behavior (and after 5 years, completely acclimatized to it), that I had morphed into an antagonist myself! I had become Nurse Ratched! 

Your “I should have laid down my rules and insisted on respect from the beginning “is spot-on.

Jennlemmon, silly is good.

Jennlemmon, of course no apologies are required, I in turn hope my words did not cause you any additional suffering, as this is the last thing I would want.

This forum is a place to vent, but even more than that I would hope it is a place of understanding and most of all, of healing.    I think that as a mix of people at various parts of the spectrum, the ability to have an open, heartfelt discussion about the things that cause us all pain is what most of us are missing in our personal lives, I  certainly know this is true for my own situation.       

This venting releases some of the pressure and offers some relief, though to me such things have always been temporary, leaving the underlying issues to bubble away only to flare up again at some later point.   This vicious cycle over the years has worn me down, in this way, despite our respective positions on the spectrum; we are probably not so different. 

I know in my own life and in my own troubled relationship/s  that as things spiral down, to distance myself from all the hurt I internalise my partner as some kind of monster,  I think things in my head that make them into somebody other than the person I love,   anger seems somehow  far less difficult that raw hurt.    This process of slow detachment is a natural way to try and disengage, to also protect ourselves, and I am not sure this as an ADHD or non-ADHD thing, just a normal human reaction when facing confusion and hurt.  We are trying to “unfriend” our spouse.

Relationships are hard at the best of times, with all the added difficulties of ADHD and any comorbid conditions there is no doubt this is an uphill battle.
So for me, facing the loss of everything near and dear, I came to understand that I desperately needed to break out of this cycle, to again be able to see the good in the person I loved, and also the good in life in general.   I came to realise that this would take prolonged conscious effort, it would be slow and that there was going to be setbacks.  Like all of us here I suspect, I am threadbare from years of conflict, I have little energy left to fight and my wife even more so, she is an amazing person, and she has had a very hard time of it.
I came to reach the bottom of a long slide late one night when I found myself standing on a bridge and searching for reasons not to climb over the edge and let it all just slip away.   All I could think of was my kids.

You see I  just can’t face another breakup, and put my children through this for a second time,  I would hate myself with an intensity that would be just too much to bear, and I don’t have the fight left in me for it.  Though nor can I abandon them, leave them wondering for the rest of their lives why, to do this would be the worst thing imaginable, they are beautiful kids and I just can’t do it.

The experience of having no way out left me washed clean of a lot of anger, and with some determination to turn things around and to try and find some peace.   I know that I am faced with a steep incline,  but the way I see it I can’t sink any lower and  I want to live to see my kids grow,   I want to be happy, I want my wife to be happy and I want my family to be happy.  And that means I need to forget the past and face things afresh, it means I need to question and try to repel every negative thought that comes into my head.   This is in no way an easy task and some days I fail miserably,   some days I wallow in my own misery, some days I am short on patience, and some days I want to scream, and some days I curse the restraints that prevented me stepping off that bridge.  
But on some special days, when I look at my partner while we are playing with the kids, or doing something we enjoy together, I remember what it is I saw in her all those years ago and I realise that I really do love and care for her, and I realise just how much lighter it is to carry this than the stress and negative baggage I had been carrying for so long.    And you know what? 

When I see her in this light, I find myself wanting to help her and wanting to participate, I have the mental space and the energy to focus on the things that help her out, and I find I can just sit there and listen to her, to the kids and the world around.   I find myself not needing or wanting to spend hours on the computer or the TV to zone out or to drink or whatever other destructive activity may distract me from the desperate unhappiness our life had become.  
Out of this she in turn has more energy, feels more supported and best of all she smiles; she can be more herself again.   
On a practical level I have done a lot of reading, and have spent a lot of time talking to mostly unhelpful and expensive therapists who stare at me with a blank expression, and I am trying to put into practice some of the techniques used in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, where you question the narrative in your own head rather than reinforce it with another that justifies your negative viewpoint.  
I have found that it helps If I sit down and consciously think about the things I like and admire about my partner,    I wrote a list of things that I liked,  things that I used to like that seemed to have gone away,  and a list of things I would try to do that would help her and us.   
The most important one, for me at least was to frequently stop, look around and see what was happening, I found when I did this I would notice mess before it got out of hand and became so overwhelming that I shrunk away from it.    In fact I became a little obsessive, my wife would find me putting utensils in the dish washer that she was still using.

This was a big deal for me, I simply would miss this until I would have an OMG moment where I realised somehow the house had been destroyed around me and I had missed it, this in turn would lead to an overwhelming realisation of how much there was to do and stress levels would go through the roof.  I would be frustrated at myself for doing this again and the only outlet for frustration is anger, mostly at our loved ones because we know that they will forgive us. Again this is a vicious cycle that ends up alienating everyone.
Interestingly enough it is not only mess where this happens, I have been known to forget to eat for days at a time, I simply don’t notice the hunger pains until I eventually eat something!  In fact I think my body stopped with the hunger pains because they were so ineffective, it happens with sleep as well, I don’t realise how tired I am from only getting 3-4 hours a night for months till I get sick and need to sleep for two days straight.    Lack of food and lack of sleep massively exacerbates our condition,   so now I force myself to eat regularly and to eat healthy food, and to go to bed at 10:30 and get up at 6:30.   It was hard at first and I slip on occasion but I feel 1000% better for it. 

Anyway I digress, my wife is still not there yet, and it is likely to take a long time, as an impatient ADHDer it does cause me some frustration and angst,    we have our misunderstanding, and we have our disagreements.   We have some complicated issues around intimacy that cause me no end of grief. 

She needs to do more to resolve her own issues, but I cannot put pressure on her, it has to come as realisation from within herself, all I can do is take care of myself so that I can be a participant in our life together and hope that this will buy some calm for her to do this in her own time.  Patience is very hard for us ADHD folk!
Some days I feel like giving up, some days I start writing a long negative rant to post on this forum, only to delete it before I post it, but I do find just the writing of them an outlet that affords me time to reflect, this forum and being open to complete strangers about really personal things is I find very therapeutic.

And Jenn,   I absolutely agree that being silly is a worthwhile, laughing at the world and yourself is a great approach and it is infectious,   life is the most bizarre thing and you either laugh or you cry, so why not laugh?  And most of all be kind to yourself, it sounds like you need it.

Thanks for this, Jon

So sorry you had that moment on the bridge.  I haven't been there, but I've caught glimpses of it and it's so scary.

CBT & questioning my own narrative are the only things that work for me, too.  I can't afford a therapist now, and the free group that I've attended off and on has just gotten too depressing for me....but there's a lot of CBT stuff I can put back into my 'routines' - I'd just forgotten about them while sidetracked by life.

There's more I could say but i've got to sleep.  Just wanted to let you know your post lifted some really dark clouds that were starting to gather in my head and you're awesome.

Thanks Ellamenno :)

Thanks! Your comment put a smile on my face, I am glad my post could be of some benefit to you.

I find sometimes I need to hit the bottom hard before I have something solid to stand on, if that makes any sense.

I have been to loads of therapists, in my part of the world there are very few that have the first clue about ADHD, the same is even true of Doctors.  Most times I end up spending hundreds of dollars explaining fundamental things to them that they should already know, it can get frustrating.

 I fall in and out of the current all the time too, I think it’ s all this getting bashed on the rocks on the way down, it is tiring and hard to sustain the effort, sometimes it would be just nice to “be” you know, and not have to constantly work to keep an even keel.   So long as we keep our heads above water I think that is a positive.
Hang in there mate, and try and get some decent regular sleep, I know it makes the world of difference to me. And I think you’re awesome as well :)

Done Trying


Four years into our relationship I am beat-up, exhausted and completely lost. I have to get away for this person, he won't take the medication given to him by his doctor. We have a beautiful baby little girl. I've lost all sense of who I do I detangle my thoughts and actions for this blood sucking, life draining ADD having non compliant monster.

  I've had to fight for his life, for him to stop excessive destructive behavior, drinking, gambling, self medicating with w#€d....womanizing, lying.....I forgot about my own life. why on earth did I think I could help him....I am drowning in this horrible relationship. Have to find the engery to get out. Getting over my postpartum depression....have to runaway before I am no longer. He has every ADD symptom, the worst case possible,  he has sucked the life out of me...   He's a Mack Truck, a Ogre and Caveman hybrid....

I read what you have written.

I read what you have written.  Go to a relative or friend and stay a few days and get some sleep and comfort.  Or have someone come in to help you, let you sleep and talk to.   I bet you are tired too. With a new baby, you should not have to worry and fret about an errant husband too. I am not saying it is only because you are tired, if you have read anything by me you know that I understand what you are going though with DH. AND add to that the new baby, it can't be easy.  I am so sorry this time in your life is not going well.  You need a mother-type to go through it with you.  Bless you dear girl.

  Jennalemon and


Jennalemon and Outtie,

Thank you both for responding to my post...Your reply lifted my sprit... I desperately some needed support. Only those who have actually experienced that I am dealing with can truly understand. I have decided to quietly take back my power/energy /life. I will not announce it to anyone or say it out loud, just to myself and you both. 

Will do my best to only use my inner voice in response to the craziness that Surrounds me, to avoid any sabotage of my plans. I have clarity this morning and it feels good.


Thank you. :)





Atta girl, VivG!  Stealth will help you greatly.  You definitely have the right inspiration in starting the quiet revolution from within.  You will build strength and feel when the timing is right.  Remember to come back here whenever you feel overwhelmed or need to vent.  May God bless you and your baby every day on your journey!


dear VivG, i have soooooo been there and amazed you mustered the energy to even get on the computer and express your feelings as well as you have.  The feeling that your true self is drowning in the chaos of someone else's lack of being present, sensitivity, common sense and decency is downright frightening.  My ex begrudgingly tried meds a couple times.  They helped a bit but he had excuses why he should go off them.  Tried couples counseling but he denied in the session that he had a problem.  Tried getting him a personal ADD coach to help him at his own pace but she also had ADD and they kept cancelling on each other, racking up a nice credit card bill in my name. Tried taking him to church, hoping we could at least give it over to a higher power and work on it together no matter what it took.  He said after two times he felt ridiculous and didn't want to be bothered.  He offered no alternatives save to keep on making me miserable and take no responsibility whatsoever. After 9 years together, three of which we were married, then divorced, then i gave him yet ANOTHER two years to suck me dry and drain my and my daughter's inheritance (she's now almost six), i can say that after you have gotten some deep empathy (yes, i agree you need some mothering...whether from your own or a good female friend you can trust) and SLEEP (if you can...i know it's soooo hard with a baby), get with a counselor/friend/minister/battered woman volunteer to help plan your EXIT.  It may not happen overnight, but you will be able to push on knowing you are developing a plan to put the lid on how much damage he can continue to do.  Meantime, i strongly suggest thinking of your energy like precious stones and not waste your pearls on swine.  I don't say this with bitterness because in spite of it all, some part of me loves the father of my girl but knows he does NOT have the ability (nor the interest in sincerely acquiring it) to love me back in an emotionally adult way.  I've decided not only do i deserve more, but my daughter can NOT grow up watching this sick relationship as a model for her possible future marriage.  I do not poison her love for him.  I keep any discussion about him neutral but the truth is, even at TWO years old she knew who was the responsible parent and who was unreliable.  It's very sad.  It's crushing to realize that you've given so much of yourself for so little.  But you CAN get through this and come out the other side and reclaim your life.  Stay with these forums and continue to get support.  Get sleep. I don't know if you are spiritual, but my belief in God and His unconditional love has pulled me through and continues to get me through every day as being a single mom is very hard but a piece of cake compared to what you've been through.  At least you will have your peace of mind. Much love to you and your little girl.  I'll be praying for you.  Big hug.

Oh dear Viv

I wish I could be like Melissa and give such a positive reaffirming talk about how it's worth it if you love him, and hold on and there is so much you can do to make things better, but I simply can't.

I only wish that four years in, when things were already bad, and the lies were more frequent than the truths, and the womanizing, GOD, all the womanizing and heartbreak and embarrassment on my part and the loss of all my self esteem and self worth, I had left....RUN and never ever looked back.  Must admit,, we did not have our children at that point and it would have been sooooo much easier, but I married him because I was very much in love.  I made promises to GOD and family and I did not take any of it lightly....I wish I knew then what my future with this man held and was able to accept that my GOD, a loving and understanding GOD, would not have wanted me to endure all these years with a man who just has no clue what marriage is supposed to be all about.  

I was elated when he finally was diagnosed.  Thought it was the reason behind everything.  That once he admitted it, accepted it and began treatment for it our lives would be normal. (or even close to normal)  NOT HAPPENING.  He was diagnosed over a year ago, sees a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, takes Wellbutrin and Adderall XR and monthly goes to an ADHD support group.  There are a few things that have improved, but very little. Also, too little WAAAAY too late.  So much damage done.  I will never, ever, ever be the same, independent, self-confident, fun, lively person I once was.  I am a shell of my former self and I long to be free.

I realize that yet again this was about me, venting, and for those who don't agree/care/understand I am sorry.  I just want Viv to know, that she matters, and the healthy and happier Viv will be a better Mom to that little one.

I wish the best for you.

To Beth

....I wish I knew then what my future with this man held and was able to accept that my GOD, a loving and understanding GOD, would not have wanted me to endure all these years with a man who just has no clue what marriage is supposed to be all about.  

I have ranted and raved at God for a long time.  How could He DO THIS to me?  It is so unfair.  Everywhere I looked there were couples laughing and talking and holding hands.  To me...everyone around me had a great relationship and was happy.  I had gotten the short end of the stick.  I was cheated!  I couldn't even pray anymore.  I had prayed earnestly for a loving, caring partner in life.  I wanted a MAN and I got a CHILD!  I got REALLY MAD and had an affair.  If GOD wasn't going to help me, and my HUSBAND wasn't going to love me, I would find someone who would.  God let me make that choice and I fell and fell and fell until I didn't know who I was anymore.  For five years I fell.  And my children and the husband that I hated so much suffered because of me.  After the five years, I divorced him.  (Not to be with the other guy.  He was married also.  Even for me at my lowest point, THAT was too wrong.)   I was MAD and I was SELFISH and I was going to be HAPPY one way or the other.  My husband and my children suffered even more.   Even after the divorce, my anger knew no bonds.  He had ruined my life and I HATED him for it.  After about 8 years of embarrassing myself and making the most horrible choices possible, my husband wanted to try again.  SURE YOU DO!!!  I'M NOT THE CRAZY ONE!  But I was tired.  And I was totally lost.  I can tell you right now that at our second marriage ceremony (in our living room with only family present) I was thinking "what the hell are you doing???"  I can also tell you that for the next six years, my anger and my bad choices never subsided although the guilt over what I had done to my children was overwhelming.  I could not deal with it.  I could not deal with life.  The man that I had the affair with went to my CHURCH!  I was in my own hell.  And I stayed there for awhile.  Six years of RAGE.  And then something happened to me that broke me.  And it wasn't quick.  I had never experienced this kind of pain before, so I began to do what I knew.  I began to pray.  For clarity.  And wisdom.  And forgiveness.  Nothing good was going on with my husband so I pushed him as far away from me as possible.  Into a different bedroom, bathroom.  I refused to do anything with him because I thought he was an idiot.  I had to find a way to survive just me.  Amazingly enough, at this time my husband was diagnosed with severe ADD.  I had nothing to do with this.  He realized that something was wrong and arranged the testing himself.  And I found this blog.  I also found a book.  Jesus Calling.  I realize that not all of you are believers, but this is for Beth.  The more I read and the more I prayed, I realized that my life is not about me being a princess and being happy.  It's about me learning to depend on the "lover of my soul".  The only person who will EVER understand me.  The only person who can EVER really comfort me.  I have just recently learned about ADD.  Mostly from all of the wonderful people on this blog.  I have learned to avoid, or refuse to react to, certain situations.  Some days I  can look past the ADD and see the guy that I loved enough to marry.  Mostly I have learned that my true relationship is not with him, but with my creator.  Look around with open eyes and you won't see happy couples all around you.  You will see divorce, abuse, abandonment, poverty, murder...reality.  We ALL have crap in our lives.  No one escapes it.  No one's husband or wife will ever live up to those "expectations" that have plagued us since we read our first Romance Novel or watched our first Soap Opera.  I'm not giving up.  I hope you don't either.

Hey Lady

Love ya, and that you are thinking of me.

My faith has been on a permanent hiatus since I lost my Mom to cancer in 2009.  After that, things with the husband got worse and worse and despite prayer and church faithfully EVERY single Sunday, it's just not there.

I would love to chat, but faith is not doin it for me right now, sorry.


Thinking of you.


You have all heard this before I'm sure, but here it is again.  "INSANITY:  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."  My question is this...why do we still have expectations of our ADHDers or ADDers to behave like (forgive me) NORMAL people?   My husband has always...ALWAYS done the inappropriate laughter thing.  Ask me how much I hate it!  But these days I just expect it.  I walk off when he does it, but I still expect it.  I don't expect him to remember to pay the bills, I PAY THEM and I alway will.  I know that if I give him money, he will blow it so guess what?  He never has more than $50 in his pocket at any given time.  The one thing that I have learned from this blog(and it works) was from something Jon posted.  I never raise my voice, and I never criticize.  Not so much because my husband would run and hide in the TV, but because I hate the way it makes me feel.  I am a very nice person dammit!  I'm not going to let him change that.  And since I have stopped getting so upset at him, our communication has improved greatly.

None of us are ever going to have the partner that we EXPECTED.  And maybe this next part is because I am menopausal, but have any of you noticed that even NORMAL guys can be, and are, jerks a lot of the time?  A friend and I were talking about other friends and their marriages.  We couldn't think of ONE couple that we really considered in a loving, considerate relationship.  Until you get it in your head that men and women are light years away in communication skills and emotions in general, you don't really have much of a chance of being happy in a NORMAL (there is that word again) relationship.  Then you add in the ADHD/ADD junk and you might as well start the anti-depressants before the wedding.  MAKE YOUR OWN LIFE!  I will only allow myself to BE with my husband on a very limited basis.  Sometimes on the weekends, by Sunday afternoon, I am happily ready for him to get lost in the football game.  Does anybody remember the days when marriages were arranged?  They didn't get married for love or romance.  They got married to survive and pro-create.   Romance and infatuation fade, and it fades fast.  Surround yourselves with people who make you feel happy and loved.  It sucks that most of the time it isn't our husbands, but it isn't.  I refuse to let HIS ADD destroy MY happiness.  They are fire and they WILL burn us if we get too close.  The word of the day is DETACH.  That is the only thing the works.  Let them live in their little cave.  If that makes my husband happy, fine!  I, however, am going to run in the sunshine.  Just because we are married does not mean we are joined at the hip.  Let go of the fantasy.  It's reality time girls.

Humor as an Actual Coping Skill

Well, could be but maybe it is a pain/anxiety avoidance and mood stabilising technique?

So a common ADHD thing is emotional lability i.e.  intense and rapid mood swings,

Hi Jon,

Fellow ADHDer here.  I think you are on to something.  Sometimes, when I visit this site I am serious.  Sometimes I am downright silly and ridiculous.  I am both of these things.  Everyone here is here because of a marriage that needs improvement, and everyone, ADHD or not, has a different way of dealing with things.  That said, I know that I experience that ADHD mood lability, which is tremendously challenging.  Sometimes, I channel my pain into something silly simply because it is cathartic.  I wouldn't call it avoidance because it's not my only coping mechanism.  At this point, it's often a FIRST STEP toward dealing with something, whereas in the past it could have been part of avoidance.  I'm usually just trying to diffuse the bomb which encompasses my emotions before speaking to my husband again so that I can be civil.   Humor sometimes fills that function, and I don't believe it should be underestimated as an actual coping skill, provided that it actually being used as such.  Here's something (that I think is telling) from my childhood psych profile from when I was being evaluated for learning issues:  "__________ experiences a great many thoughts and feelings at once and has difficulty managing them."    While I have matured, this can be true for me still.   Humor is just one way I deal with these intense emotions.  I also use this site to gather valuable insights in to my behavior and to find coping strategies to deal with my symptoms.  Taking this measure of control over my own destiny also helps me manage my emotions, both of which have increased my self-esteem.  It has helped me increasingly detach from my husband's behavior and attitude toward me, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, NOT getting depressed and letting that derail my progress.  This is no small feat for a distractible and emotional person.  It has taken me a few years to get to this point, and I am so grateful that I have.

I also think because we look at the world differently it can give us a perspective that people see as quirky and humorous…until they live with us and then it can just get irritating right? 

Yeah, I definitely get the impression that that quirkiness and ability to free-associate seemly unconnected things, combined with a lowered sense of inhibition and relative lack of filter can result in that ADHD sense of humor that appears at times.  I definitely feel that with ellamenno; she and I share a zaniness that I don't often see, except in perhaps my ADHD students, and my son.  Every time I think of pot roast, I think of her and smile.  She's hysterically funny.   I have seen this specific brand of humor uniquely in my ADHD students.  I don't know how to quantify it, and I can't say all of us are comedians, but it seems we are at our funniest when we allow the ADHD to come through. I am speaking from my own experiences and can't back this up scientifically, but even before I knew I had ADHD, I noticed this.

O.K.  I need to get back to office clean up.  The purge continues...


EDIT:  I just wanted to add that when I do get silly, it can, at times, be an extension of my emotional intensity.  It can also be a symptom of distraction when I have had trouble regrouping and focusing.  It's still my responsibility to manage, though.

Hi ADHDMomof2, Sorry it has

Hi ADHDMomof2,
Sorry it has taken so long to reply, I have been circling the wagons on another thread, should have just kept my head down, but sometimes I just can't help myself. 

I totally agree, my sense of humour is a part of me that I would not change for anything, we have a very self-deprecating sense of humour in this part of the word, where “taking the piss” as it is called is refined to an art form.  And like you even before I knew I had ADHD I was aware I had this, I have practised my timing till it is impeccable, with just the right comment at just the right time, to me this it really about breaking the ice in a situation where I am anxious. In a group people find it easier to strike up a conversation to someone who obviously doesn’t take themselves seriously.  
This often goes for more than just me, it can often break down formality in a situation that frees up communication,  and on occasion there will be someone else who is quick witted and then it can be a great deal of fun.    

I also joke a lot even when I am at a really low ebb, although this tends to focus lot more low effort humour based around cynicism and sarcasm.   These are obviously less helpful and I need to do less of it.  But I am naturally inclined to seeing the irony in things, and I know this is a direct result of my ADHD, sometimes our world and the knots we tie ourselves up in is just freakin funny.   I can honestly say that humour has saved both my sanity and my life.  
Silliness and humour are one of the best tonics, it is great to hear you share this characteristic, it’s one to hold on to I reckon. 
I hope that purging is going to plan, I did this a while ago under our house, to be able to walk though without stepping over stuff  felt great.

Pbartender's picture

False dichotomy?

I was thinking about this...  It feels like you're making a false dichotomy between silliness and responsibility.

It doesn't have to be all or nothing.  Why not be silly -- asinine, even -- while staying realistic and aware and mature (okay, maybe not mature)?  Isn't it possible to be light-heartedly responsible?  Is there no way to deal with the business and problems of day-to-day living in a less grim manner, so that the worries don't weigh so heavily?  Can you not worry (or worry less) about problems that can't be immediately fixed, without forgetting about them completely?  Or, failing all that, can you allow that there are times appropriate for being silly and having a little fun, and there are times for being serious and taking care of business, each in turn, so long as you don't overdo either?  (And yes, your hubby is probably overdoing the silliness.)

It's a lesson I've been trying to work on with my kids...  Do the serious, necessary work first, get it done quick, and get it done well so you don't have to do it again (and have a little fun by taking enjoyment in the work, if you can).  Then, once it's done, you can relax and have fun and goof off all you want without (or with less) worry. 

"Laziness breeds efficiency."  ;)




Is that Vault Boy?

Pbartender's picture

The one and only...

Pip-Boy 2000

Remember...  Your Pip-Boy is not a toy.  Proper cleaning and maintenance will ensure its operation for this and future generations.



Day four of my experiment.

Day four of my experiment.  I have been "lightening up" with the intention of losing my worries and fretting and just "letting go".  As you may have read, I am afraid this "house of cards" will crumble if I am not diligent and responsible.  So what I am learning so far is this:  I didn't see much of DH in four days.  He is just not around. I am often alone with my thoughts.  I made a special picnic and called him on his cell phone to invite him.  He was interested in the picnic.  While eating the gourmet picnic, he would start our usual negative banter, I let him have his say and acknowledged that I heard what he said, then talked about something I was interested in, especially the things I have passion for and love. I let nothing bother me (even though his CPA called ME 2 days ago to tell me that DH owes him $800 past due since May). I was tenacious about keeping myself positive and lovable and a little silly. I am also doing the same thing in the world outside of our relationship.  I guess I have been more free and easy outside of family because the outside world doesn't matter as much to me as family.  A technique I am using is to DETACH - from other's feelings and my own emotions and my own feelings. I am using humor and silliness as a tool.  I am being analytical for my experiment.   I am not in charge of rescuing or making things better or making the world better.  I am also using GRATITUDE to feel more happy and positive.  I am consciously walking around the house acknowledging in my mind all I have, grateful for all I can do, for my own physical abilities, for my own talents, for other's talents, love and beauty.  I am replacing my resentful thoughts to switch over to loving thoughts.  My FOCUS is off of DH frustrations and ON to all things I can love. And I am forcing myself to take the time to FEEL that love.  How do I feel about myself and our relationship this week?  Don't know be continued.

How's it going?

hope you're hanging in there....

Just wanted to chime in here on the use of humor for us ADD folks....  I've used it mostly for diffusing anger or frustration towards me, or as an apology.  For example:  years ago when I had a job as a secretary for 12 people, I was constantly having to do expense reports.  I was terrible at it, would put it off, would lose receipts or couldn't get my boss(es) to GIVE me the receipts (now that I think of it, many of them are probably ADHD) so I always got in trouble with the 'girls' in accounting who had to process all these reports and get everyone reimbursed.  Everyone was afraid of these women, and they were (understandably) grumpy most of the time.  pretty much every report I brought was off by a few pennies, and they'd have to go through and find my mistake and I'd have to reprint it and get the signatures from everyone again, which would hold everything up and i'd have the 'girls' annoyed at me and my boss breathing down my neck wanting his $8,705.32 from his trip to LA.  The day before xmas vacation the last year I worked there I decided to give each of the 'girls' gift certificates to a store nearby.  So I made a copy of the expense report template and made a 'report' for each of them.  One of them was a trip to Hawaii, one was to Italy and one was to Paris.  I filled in the meals and entertainment with extravagant things, (caviar and champagne room service, spa treatments, kite surfing lessons etc. etc....) each totaling in hundreds of thousands of dollars. I replaced the company logo (and other official stuff) with "MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!" in giant font, and attached the gift cards on the receipts page.  Then I went down to the 'cage' where they worked which is an office with a row of windows (like a bank teller) and told them I had three reports and they were super important.  It was 5 minutes before the cut-off time for accepting reports and they were NOT happy.  They tried to convince me to hold off til after vacation.  I said, "You gotta look at them TODAY!! pleasepleaseplease!!!"  and they relented, saying, "ok... leave them by the door."  and I said, "Ok, ok!  thanks!"  About 5 minutes after I got back to my desk 'Barbara' called from the cage.  She was laughing so hard she could barely speak and I could hear the other two reading each other their 'expenses'.  I had included some that were ACTUALLY attempted by some of the guys I worked for like, "$15 - lap dance at the Naughty Tigress"

So, even though my ability to get reports in correctly or on time did not improve very much after that, they were much more patient with me.

Another way I use humor is in situations where everyone is angry or uncomfortable and I just feel like I'm going to crack if I don't say something.  Example:  my friend has a very strained relationship with her father, and we were at an event with some family of hers and it was discovered that her father would be coming.  She was very anxious and was trying to figure out if there was a way to prevent him from coming or to kick him out somehow.  She looked around at everyone and said, "Well, are you guys all going to be able to stomach his presence?"  Nobody said anything, so I said, "Well, I dunno.... I guess it depends on what kind of presents he brings for us.  But, if we don't like them, I'm sure that even without a gift receipt we can exchange them or at least get store credit." My friend looked at me perplexed for a second or two and then burst into giggles.  Then we all came up with a list of possible tacky presents that this man might bring.... 

Sounds like you have made the humor work for you

Ellamenno, and I think that is good and I would have responded positively to your first example and expect not as much to your second, which is neither here nor there since it is about YOUR audience for using the humor, but just to caution everyone in this thread that it can be a very fine line.  My ADD husband likes to use humor to diffuse anger and/or as an apology and it works at times.  It never works if I am really pissed about something because having him crack jokes and try to 'lighten the mood' as he calls it only makes it seem like he doesn't take the issue seriously.  Therefore I end up angrier than I started, and that doesn't help anything. 

I am all for fun and even some for silliness, but there is definitely a time and a place for both and a definite time and place for neither in my opinion.  My experience with my ADD husband, ADD and ADHD friends, and also from several forums that I visit is that while the ADD folks generally think the humor and silliness is the height of awesome, while the majority of other ppl are reacting very  !??! 

Senses of humor are very individual, and one of the most infuriating ADD experiences I have had is the attitude of 'you just have no sense of humor' just because someone doesn't find your particular brand of humor funny or finds it inappropriate at the moment you are engaging in it.  Just because you find something funny doesn't mean than anyone else will, and they certainly aren't wrong if they disagree. 

I just say know your audience and especially when dealing with your mate, don't try to laugh off serious issues.  I at least seldom find that funny at all.  Yet by the same token, my husband and I both regularly make a comment and burst into laughter to diffuse tense situations...definitely not to be employed all the time though.


Oh, I totally agree

You have to know your audience, and fortunately I have NEVER had this backfire on me.

The second example was a situation with an EXTREMELY close friend of mine.  She was my roommate for over 3 years in college, we got through many tough times together.  OUr last year, she got an incapacitating injury and I CARRIED her on my back to a final exam because she couldn't walk, we had no car, no wheel chair, we couldn't get our hands on a wheel barrow, or something that would work.  So Yes, I knew her VERY well and knew this was exactly the thing that would make her laugh.

I also have never used humor to diffuse the situation when my husband is angry, because honestly his anger paralyzes me and I don't feel silly at all.

I think it has it's place, but don't ever think humor and silliness is 'the height of awesome'.  but, I can't say I feel that anything is the height of awesome for me.  At least not these days.

My experiment after a week

How has it been to "let go" and "lighten up" on my relationship with DH?  No more micro-managing, keeping on-track, making conversation, including him, inviting him, making plans, just letting it go and joining in the fun of "no pressure, no worries"  I found out that without my guiding force, there is no relationship at all. I can be fun and silly and engaging but, without my vigilance, I am by myself.  He comes home late, doesn't even bother to eat the dinners i prepare, doesn't engage in any communication at all.  It is like i don't exist and this is a hotel for him to sleep at.  If the grandchildren are here while I am babysitting, he shows up for a small amount of time then retreats to the garage to drink beer and smoke and do crossword puzzles.  Yet, in his mind, he is a GREAT father and grampa and husband because he is always joking when he does show up.  I have come to realize that the only enjoyable contact we have is if I invite him for a "date night" and talk about only positive things, he will show up.  Other wise it is OK with him if there is no contact at all. He is just "away guy", "garage guy" by his own choice.  It is for me to accept who he is and how little effort he can/is willing to give.  It is just sad for me to accept who he is.  So my silliness and fun is only masking my sadness and lonliness and nervousness that he refuses to talk about money or anything that needs to have decisions or impact - that he lets me take care of everything (no worries for him).  There is a part of me that wonders if he is having another life out there without me or could it be possible that someone wants to be so alone and free?  So, detachment + detachment = nothing.  Not funny or happy or good, just a farce.  Nothing but fun and silliness is NOT good.


Disengagement and detachment is a complicated thing, for me and most probably for a lot of ADHD types it is pretty easily achieved; we just let ourselves be ourselves.   It is very easy to withdraw and in fact with so much internal noise going on it can take a real conscious effort to coax us out.  To me things like TV and the computers are just noise cancelation devices and I think that maybe most of our addictive tendencies could be like this.   As a side,   I know this is OT but  I have seen a lot of talk about porn/sex addiction on here,  Gert Holstege did some detailed studies with brain PET scans on the physiological nature of… the  how to put this…the end state.  What was found is that at this point in time the brain regions associated with fear, anxiety and emotion are shut down.  There is virtual mental silence in areas that are typically way over-saturated in the ADHD brain.  It may be little surprise that some ADHD people are drawn to this a refuge

Anyway, so maybe much of our behaviour stems from trying to get our emotions under control, that trance like thousand yard stare when we are disengaged or detached as you guys see it is just us being lost in the sea of ceaseless noise going on in our heads.     You Non ADHD folk are like this as well, *if* your brain is working on a complex task, in this state it is nearly impossible to focus on something else and in reality we are all  poor at multi-tasking synchronously,  we can really only focus on one manual calculation dependent task at a time.    

 So here is a simple exercise for a Non ADHD person to get a temporary experience on what it like:

 On a piece of paper write a column of any random 4 digit numbers, e.g.






Write say 35 of them. Now get somebody to stand by to tell you a simple task, so it might be something like:

“I need you to go to the shop and get a dozen eggs, some bacon, some milk, some butter, a loaf of bread. I also need you to go to the post office and collect a package for me, while you are there can you get me some stamps and some red wrapping paper”   

 Once you have done this  the next step is to go through and add +1 to each number in the string and write it next to the first number,  don’t spend for than 4 seconds on each (use a stopwatch or as in clinical studies  use a metronome).    so using the numbers above ;     

1(+1)4(+1)9(+1)5(+1)  becomes  25106

2(+1)4(+1)3(+1)0(+1)  becomes    3541

1(+1)4(+1)5(+1)0 (+1) becomes    2561

 1(+1)2(+1)4(+1)5(+1) becomes    2356


Do the addition while they are telling you this task,    then once they have finished reading you out the task, stop and tell them back that they asked you to do.   

I all but guarantee, that no matter hard you try you will struggle with this task.  The reason being that you need to focus on the mentally challenging task and your brain filters out the secondary task and your ability to take it in and commit it to memory are compromised.

This is how our brains are *all* the time with varying levels of severity, our automatic filter system and hierarchical action/task organisational system are non-functional, so filtering of *all* extraneous stimulus requires conscious mental exertion to try and block it out, likewise placing things in context  that require spatial or time based organisation.    So we have a problem, we are are carried along by our racing thoughts in a state of perpetual distraction or we try and manually filter them and struggle to focus because our attention is taken up elsewhere.   Either way attention, memory and are severely compromised.   Meds help somewhat for some, but they are not the magic bullet.     

 I would dearly love to be able to engage with the world and the people around me better, to be able to give them my undivided attention,   I think us not being able to is what leads to the sense of “ feeling different” or on the outside looking in.     I saddens me greatly that I will always feel this disconnection with the world and most of all the people I care about.   I can't help but feel most at peace with solitude as it seems to rub my face in it the least. 

Perhaps in his heart your husband feels the same??