Is My Perspective Skewed or Was He Unreasonable?

There have been many times when I understand why my spouse is angry, and once I realize my mistake, I accept responsibility.  There are other times when I think my husband needs to realize that there is a reason I think he is, in certain circumstances. uh… an impatient control freak who lacks true spontaneity.    I just need feedback as to whether my assessment is accurate or whether I’m missing something that may alter my perception of this.  It isn’t about this argument…it’s about all of these types of arguments.  If I’m wrong, then my reaction needs to be different.  I don’t think I am, though…


This morning I was talking to the kids about what to do today and my husband suggested going to the beach as a family.  This may seem spontaneous, but be forewarned:  if he is spontaneous everyone has to MOVE, MOVE, MOVE because he doesn’t have time to waste, even though both of us have the entire summer off… 


The problem at hand is that I needed a new bathing suit.  Not WANTED, but NEEDED.  I HATE clothes shopping. It gives me ADHD overwhelm. I had taken my daughter swimming at a state park a few days prior and noticed that my bathing suit bottom was gaping in the back when we went to the restroom and I caught a view in the bathroom mirror.  Let’s just say that crack is whack…  I had thought about getting a new bathing suit at night for the past few nights after my kids had gone to bed, but I decided that working on the organization in my office was more important.  P.S.  There is nothing I hate more than organizing paper.  I know:  shocking when considering my superior executive functioning, but it’s true.


So, when my husband made this suggestion, it had been my morning to sleep in and it was my turn to take the kids so he could shower and get some down time.  So, knowing that it would take me far longer with two children in tow, I was out the door in 5 minutes with them to go to Target…


We were gone for an hour and a half, 30 minutes of which was traveling there and back.  5 minutes was for my son, who had to use the facilities the second we got into the store.  About 10 was for my daughter to get a coverall and the looking around for it.  So I spent roughly 45 minutes trying on bathing suits.  My daughter was an angel, but my son…  Well, the past few days I’ve been trying to figure out whether or not he needs his dosage increased due to a growth spurt.  And he’s a 7 year old boy who would would rather eat sand than watch his Mom pick out and try on a bathing suit.  He talks incessantly, is distracted by a lot (a lot more, recently), and is ALWAYS distracting to his distractible Mom when shopping.  I’m trying to concentrate on moving fast, making choices, reading the sizes, and keeping an eye on both my kids so they don’t wander out of my field of vision… It sounds stupid, but it is taxing on my brain…  Plus, ladies of the forum…I was picking out a bathing suit.    It isn’t as easy as it is for a guy.  Pick up a pair of shorts, essentially, and try it on.  Done.  As a woman, I had to mix and match bikini tops and bottoms, which was so annoying.  It’s already mid-season for bathing suits, so there were a lot of extreme sizes and not too many of mine…Medium.  My ADHD boy entertained himself by loudly asking over and over whether or not I would like an EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA LARGE bathing suit.  Both of my kids also tried to show me various bathing suits they wanted to try on.  That I emerged within an hour WITH a bathing suit…well, I was happy.  At least it wasn’t fruitless…


My husband was irate when I came home.  It was 11:00 when I left and 12:30 when I returned.  “How can it take that long?”  “What kind of mother doesn’t think about feeding her children lunch?” “Now we don’t have time to go to the beach, because by the time we get there, we’ll have to turn around to give the dog dinner…”


My take on this:  My husband, who always has an opinion (and rightfully so, in most cases) about time management, was O.K. with me leaving at 11:00 with both kids.  The kids eat lunch around noon, but we normally allow for some variation if we have things going on.  I bought them a snack at the store to tide them over.  I wasn’t about to take them to the in-store café for lunch as that was NOT PART OF THE PLAN.  The trip takes 30 minutes. He knows I can’t concentrate as well with children in tow.  His father has a place a mile from the beach, which is a mere 40 minutes away.  I told him we could take the dog (which my father-in-law does not mind) and then stay even later because we wouldn’t have to worry…  I told him he could stay home and pout if he wanted, but I was going to take the kids and go.  It was perfect beach weather.  I came home and got everything ready for the trip:  sand toys, bathing suits, change of clothes, towels, sunscreen, cleaned out my car, walked the dog prior, got dog food ready, etc… I accomplished this in about 15 minutes while my husband gave our poor, malnourished children lunch.  My husband came around, and decided to join us, but not without complaining about my lack of responsibility. 


Am I seeing this situation correctly or am I missing something?  I understand that part of this is the fact he’s felt like he has to “manage” me from a time perspective.  Then again, no one who knows him would describe him as laid-back or patient about waiting, and I’ve gotten a lot better about moving quickly and planning ahead, where applicable (still have a long way to go, though).

Good grief...

First of all ADDMomof2, let me agree completely with you here "I HATE clothes shopping, it gives me ADD overwhelm". ​As far as bathing suit selection goes, I would Never, Ever, spontaneously suggest anything that forced my DW to get a new suit. Also, Why did you have to take the kids to Target? Could the kids have stayed home and had lunch while you went to target?

Your son having a hard time standing around while you try on suits??? Duh... ;) ADD, I HATE standing around waiting for someone to try on clothes, my DW hates to go clothes shopping with me because of this too ;)  Back to "Why" would you have to take the kids to Target in the first place? How stressful, especially because you are under the unreasonable "Time Gun" in the first place. You spent 60 minutes total in Target, a store with countless distractions because they sell "everything", so you see things that remind you of what is needed for many areas of the household and you have to navigate through all that distraction with two kids in a store with TOYS on top of everything else. So... NO you did Not spend and unreasonable amount of time at Target.

Time Management: Yep... Our Non-ADD spouses have certainly had there unfair share of events where where go do something that should take 15 minutes and we are gone an hour and a half, this is a given. However, your DH suggested the beach run kind of late, IMO, in the first place. 11 a.m., in my newly developing time awareness state, when my DW needs to get a swim suit, is just a massive late start to begin with. I'm sure your DH must know by now that giving you time to plan ahead must help any event, such as your beach trip example. It sounds, to me, like you got everything together yourself pretty quickly. How was your DH helping in this critical "Time Crunch" situation? Also... We ADDer's function better when we have an idea of what the day holds for us. It was your DH's idea to suddenly change the plan on you, so he should expect some running around to get a quick plan together, Right?!?

I know... I'm just another ADDer giving a take on this situation, from an ADDer perspective, but I don't see how you could have done much better. The YYZ Clan just got back from a vacation that was a Beach ;) Panama City Beach (Before the storms ;) It was awesome!  

Appreciate the Support...

Thanks, YYZ :).  As far as taking the kids (which would have made that trip go infinitely quicker), maybe I should have said that even though it was my turn with the kids, if he actually expected me to be able to concentrate, he would need to take the kids, or at least, our son.  He tends to hold that kind of shit over my head (favors), and I hate being beholden to him.  Either way, I lose...

I'm supposed to function like him, because that's "what adults do;" direct quote from him... It doesn't matter if he's comparing apples and oranges; him trying on a bathing suit vs. me, which is no way comparable.  In fact, I'm not even sure if a normal non-ADHD woman would consider the time I spent that bad...  He gets mad if it takes me 40 minutes to get ready...I don't think that's that bad for ANY woman...

Curious as to whether our non-ADHD counterparts will think the same as us...

Glad you had a good vacation!

Keeping Score...

I HATE the idea of Keeping Score. A: It's Impossible to Track B: It's a marriage, Never 50/50, but if you shoot for better than 50% then it should work out. Maybe you need to think of your own "Apples to Oranges" example. Bathing Suit Purchase and Time to get Ready are two examples extremely skewed in favor of guys (Well Most ;) I guarantee my wife will take 45 minutes to pick out a bathing suit, in fact, I've seen her take a lot longer and Not pick out a bathing suit.

You are supposed to "Function like Him, because that is what adults do", really?!?! Does your DH have a book of lists regarding "Adult Normal Behavior"? I did not see one listed on

Vacation was great. Zero stress, even getting ready to leave which was ALWAYS a guaranteed Spat Moment. The most agreeable family vacation in the YYZ Clan's history ;)


Just wanted to say that I am thrilled you had such a good time.  We sometimes spat at the getting going phase too....wonder what it is about getting that car loaded up and on the road.

Speaking as another female non here, I am sure I have also spent 45 min and not bought a bathing suit at the end of it.

But ADDMom's experience in total is still way too much hassle for me and going to the beach would have been out if we weren't going to get there at set up till 2pm.  1/2 the day gone and too little to show for it in my opinion.

I just disagree with her husband that it was her fault.  It just was circumstances.

On the Road again...

"wonder what it is about getting that car loaded up and on the road."  - Aspen... This phenomenon has been Almost a running joke for years. I can't Quite call it a joke, because it really gets ugly sometimes. I Hate packing the suitcases, probably because of a history of forgetting things, so my DW handles what goes in the suitcases other than my stuff which I gather and place next to the suitcase. I'm the Loader, electronics manager, car prep engineer, navigator, Trip Time Management Scheduler and driver. Once we get 30 minutes out of town, it's like a huge stress bubble pops and we realize we are on vacation. I hope whatever has changed sticks, because it was nice not having a Super Stress Launch for a change :)

The "Bathing Suit" situation is something I learned a long time ago to let my DW handle with as much time, preparation and money as possible.

You are right about the "Hassle Factor" that ADDmomof 2 went through. If I were in her shoes and my DW knew I had to go do a couple of things before hand, the plan would have been scraped because of my track record of scrambling before an event.

I think she did remarkably well!


Something very familiar about

Something very familiar about your post from a non-ADD spouse here. That must have been very frustrating for you to take a 7 year old boy along to try on swim suits.  I would have not dreamed of trying to do it.  If I were a fairy on your shoulder, I would have told you it would be a disaster before you started.  THAT is the part that I would have been incredulous about your story.  In my mind as the non-ADD spouse with my experience with MY ADD DH, I would wonder if there was some malice involved as in: "I'll go out and make EVERYONE miserable, children included, just to prove what an angry, mean person DH is that I have to take my children along on an impossible errand to buy myself a swimming suit. What an unloving and impossible spouse I have.  Then, doesn't the ADDer get to feel superior (and the prove the non-ADDers inferior heart)?  You might have discussed a little further, planned a moment before leaving, given the non-ADDer a chance to offer his cooperation by communicating how terrible you would feel with your old suit and wished you had bought one earlier but didn't know you were going to the beach. I am guessing that you may have thought he might criticize you for not thinking ahead in buying a swim suit earlier.  Probably right.  But you did sabotage the day and blame it on your DH for not rolling with your punches. Maybe you feel he sabotaged your day by impulsively suggesting a beach day the day of. Maybe you needed to "get him back".  Sometimes things happen and schedules change and people need patience with unexpected events.  Sometimes a person feels sabotaged and like a schmuck for waiting, enabling, forgiving, understanding, and re-arranging their expectations over and over and both partners end up dis-respecting the enabling spouse and hating the seemingly "care-less" spouse.  You didn't do anything wrong. If you were a single mom it is what you would have had to do if you chose to go to the beach and wear a new swimming suit and no one would have been waiting for you.   I see the thing that is missing here and in my marriage is a lack of communication, sharing, trust and vulnerability. Where it is coming from ADD or not, it is the root of the problem.

You were afraid to ask him to take care of the kids. There seems to be an entire story here about what has happened over the years for that to be the case. You are afraid of his criticism.  He is too critical for you and you are too care free for him.


Hey, Jenna...

Hi Jenna,

I really wasn't trying to spite my husband, either consciously or subconsciously, nor do I think I am superior.  In my opinion, thinking you're superior just means you're an arrogant arse, and not superior at all.  I just figured it would raise his hackles if I asked him for a favor, after bitching about it, he would INSIST upon taking them, and then I would pay later.  He loves, BY HIS OWN ADMISSION (and without any embarrassment, which I don't understand), to play the martyr.  This is simply based on my experience with him, and loads of it.  And I just like to swear.  I do. I can't do it in front of my kids at home, and I can't do it at work as a teacher, so I've kind of decided that this is where I use my potty mouth ;).  I didn't swear at him; that was just HERE...  Actually, we hardly talked about it, because I tried to explain my viewpoint, and he wouldn't consider the possibility that I had a point.  I wasn't about to duke it out with him in the car with the kids in the backseat.  So not worth it...

I don't feel he sabotaged my day with the spontaneity.  Actually, I like spontaneity, but NOT his brand of "spontaneity;" "I-SAY-JUMP...YOU-SAY-HOW-HIGH!"  I wish he were more spontaneous.  I try to live within his parameters of "plan ahead," which is how he lives the majority of his life.  But he needs to let loose a little.  I would say it's his issue, which it is, until he makes it my issue...

Sorry about my comment about

Sorry about my comment about word usage. As you see, I removed it.  It was out of context and I was venting because it hit a nerve as I FEEL manipulated by strong language in my own situation.

What ways would he make you pay later? I can be critical too.  I would like to know what he does to make you pay that you are afraid of his acting like a martyr.  Taking care of his own children is nothing to play the martyr about.  What do you think he would have said if he HAD taken care the children while you went shopping?

The Punishment...

If, at a later point (within a few days), if I make any type of mistake, no matter how insignificant, he will link the two unrelated events, saying, "I did ______ for you and then you go and _______," an extension of his earlier martyring, which I find so annoying.  He goes on and on, lecturing me, pouts and sulks. Honestly, Jenna, it is ridiculous to see a grown man do this.  I'd rather have the annoying Target experience -and I mean this from the bottom of my heart- than experience his POOR-ME-A-THON.  I have openly told him on more than one occasion that I wasn't going to LET him do me X as a favor, because it wasn't worth the price...

Pbartender's picture

The important question is...

Does it look good?  Did you look good?

If so, then what's he complaining about?

My non-ADHD wife, with no kids along will take 45 minutes or more to go shopping for a swimsuit or a good pair of jeans.  That's nothing unusual.  Hell, I can sometimes take that long to pick out clothes, if I don't know exactly what I'm looking for.

I suspect, he had an itinerary for the day all built up in his mind, and the swimsuit shopping threw it all off...  From that side of things I can understand his consternation, though it doesn't sound like he handled it very well.



Hey PBartender, It looks like

Hey PBartender,

It looks like one of my daughter's Barbie's shimmery bathing suits, so I'd say it's a win...

He declined comment on the bathing suit.  I know him.  It would be akin to admitting fault... But...I saw him ogling me, so I think he liked it;)...

That makes me feel better, hearing about your non-ADHD wife.  He always thinks it has to do with my EVIL lack of consideration and lack of time-management.  Some tasks simply take longer than others.  I bet he wouldn't be able to do much better than I did yesterday...

Hmmm I have many takes on this, ADDMom

I definitely think your husband was being unreasonable.  Do you think he realized that you needed a bathing suit before suggesting the beach?  I ask because I am with YYZ that 11am was just way too late to start this entire process.  If he knew and forgot and thought you  could just pop into the car and makes sense, but if he knew there would be a minimum of an hour trip to Target (allowing for drive time and the bare minimum of trying on time if you found something perfect quickly) I don't get his blaming you for the fact that the plan wasn't working.

Now mind you I am with him that this beach plan absolutely didn't work in execution, but I think it was circumstances beyond your control at work and not at all your fault.  I'd have probably have just scrapped the whole beach idea as soon as my memory was refreshed about a bathing suit being needed as it is the only way I wouldn't have ended up stressed out and frustrated by this day.

Do I think you took too long bathing suit shopping considering how far you had to go and how many distractions came up while addition to yes just the fact that it was bathing suit shopping to start with?  No you did fine.  I tend to make bathing suit shopping an event all its own when possible LOL 

I don't like to spend a lot of time waiting around (though I can do it and not be a jerk about it and don't understand those that can't), so for me if I suggested "Hey lets go to the beach" at 11am and then it turns out that we couldn't (for whatever reason) get on the road until 1ish --you took till 12:30 to get home and lunch was still needed--and we wouldn't then get to the beach for 40 MORE minutes.  Yeah I would be done with the beach idea right then.  I don't get up wanting to go to the beach with any acceptance of being willing not to be set up on the beach till 2pm.  But that is me.  Anything that is too much hassle or waiting around, I tend to go to the 'lets just do something else' place fairly quickly.

I know for sure there are many ppl both ADD and non who are like me on this, but I know my husband (the laid back ADDer in our family) just rolls along with whatever pretty well even if his plan goes all to heck in the process.  He was on his way to be with his sister for surgery 4 hours away and would have gotten there in time to see her before she went in if he went straight to the hospital (the only route that makes sense to me considering the hospital was on our side of town so he practically had to pass it to go to his parents' house), but his parents said "Why don't you come to our house--20-30min away--and leave your car so that we'll all be together and can visit"  This made sense to him, but then he gets there, and they can't go because they have his nephew sleeping and he is an ADHD major problem and CANNOT BE WOKEN UP.  Once he wakes up, well let's get him some lunch, then well now it is only 45 min till school is out for the niece, now we got to pick her up (another 30 min with the line and what have you) and it was between 4-5pm when my husband finally makes it to the hospital to see his sister which was really the only purpose of his whole trip up there. 

Sorry for the sidetrack, but your beach situation and the above scenario have a lot in common to me........just too much happening keeping you from doing the 1 thing you actually want to do.  I was getting angry from HERE at my husband's situation, and he was getting fairly irritated by the end too, but he never just hopped in his own car and went to the hospital which is what I would have done as soon as I arrived and nephew was sleeping.  I am a 'get to the main event' or 'change to another main event' kinda person.

I think you did the right thing for yourself and your kids by insisting you were going no matter what because by then they were firmly in "we're going to the beach mode" and I am glad your husband chose to come along and have fun.  For me the dog joining the trip also......complete with as much ADHD chaos as it sounds like your son is right now--yeah not happening, but I understand why it was needed due to not rushing right back home to feed the dog.  

This whole thing sounds like a fun trip in idea but way too much crap to make it happen to be fun anymore by the end of it.......speaking for me only.  I would likely not have ended up on the beach that day.

Thank you for your comments, Aspen.

Hi Aspen,

I had mentioned on the day I returned from swimming with my daughter that the elastic in my bathing suit had worn out and that I needed a new one, but I'm trying not to expect him to remember everything I say... It's a tendency of mine as his working and short-term memory are remarkable compared to the rest of the population, and certainly to mine. Sometimes, I tell him something he needs to write on his desk calendar when he doesn't have access to it, and this aggravates him because I had been expecting him to remember because he does that so well.  So, while I did say that, I don't want to hold that over him as his responsibility, if that makes sense.  If anything is going to pass through his ears with nary a stop in short-term memory, it would probably be talk about me having to shop for an article of clothing.

Here's the funny thing... HE HATES THE BEACH!!!  He whined about it AFTER being the one to suggest it.  He ended up staying at his Dad's house reading a book while I took both kids to make sand castles and freeze our asses off in the Atlantic Ocean :)!  I don't think he wanted to go in the first place!  Maybe that's part of the reason he was such a baby!  We had a great time, even though my son kept clinging to me because the waves were high relative to him and there were a few instances where I thought he was going to pull down my bathing suit.  With his short-term memory issues, I had to speak to him half a dozen times about not exposing Mommy until I had to take him out of the water to refocus him:  "Mommy doesn't want to end up naked at the beach! What if her students see her and they have their cellphones!"  Gah!

That whole scenario with your sister-in-law reminds me so much of what happens REGULARLY with my non-medicated ADHD Mom.  I can totally see her suggesting such a thing, and me seeing the insanity of it and attempting to diplomatically suggest that she's bat-shit crazy;)!  I have to take control when we're all together (yeah, that's right, the ADHD one has to manage time!) because I don't want my husband to have a stroke or for him (ever the General) to try to manage MY parents...  When we're out to eat, I have to focus my Mom on what she's going to order... When we have to go out and my Mom showers 2 seconds before we have to leave, but not before she vacuums the family room, it makes me realize how far I have come...  But then I have to tell her we need to leave at X time and we'll meet her there because the kids can't wait around forever...

In my mind, it ended up being great IN SPITE OF, not due to my husband.  We ended up staying longer, ended up at the beach after the hottest point of the day, went out to eat later, were able to see my father-in-law after he came back from deep-sea fishing.  It was beautiful out and my kids and I were very happy :).

I do think that is one of the gifts ADD can bring!

You and your children had a great time at the beach. I probably would have refused to even go so therefore I would have been the one missing out on a beautiful day at the beach!  Or actually worse we'd have both missed out because my husband wouldn't want to go without me.  I do think kids change things in your mind with this though.......many chaotic plans involving the nieces and nephews but you do it anyway and have fun because they are looking forward to it.   I really think there is something valuable to rolling with things and not allowing what is clearly a hassle in terms of time and energy dictate the entire day.

Thinking about this now, my husband has done similar things to me with spontaneously suggesting something (yeah I am definitely the planner but I can get excited at his spontaneous plan as long as it happens when suggested) and then saying, oh yeah but we can't go until x y or z happens first.  These things take longer than he says they will due to him being poor at estimating time and sometimes I am sitting there ready when he comes back in and I don't want to go anymore because it just ruins things for me to have to sit around and wait and wait and wait.

If you want to be spontaneous but part of that is actually going in a timely fashion right?  Or maybe not-- maybe the spontanaity is really about the suggestion for some people regardless of when you go? I don't know, but if you make a spontaneous suggestions and excite me about something, it better happen pretty quick esp if it involves me getting dolled up to go out and don't leave me sitting around waiting for you to do what you forgot to do before this all came up.

Now I do realize this wasn't what you did.  The idea was his......maybe he even liked the idea before it became a hassle and a 1/2, but he may just be like me and once you are over it you are just OVER IT.

Many times my husband has put on a fake stern voice and said "Woman get in the car cause we said we were going out on the town" even while I am complaining that it is too late and we have too much to do tomorrow and blah blah.  I get in the car and have a great time :)

From the other side......the benefit of being with a person willing to roll with challenges and make the best them really came home to me last week when I was the one causing the lateness.  We had a very difficult funeral to attend last Saturday and my husband had planned (he really is a good guy) a couple nights away for us in a city I'd always wanted to visit that is only a few hours from home.  My brother and his family live on the way to this city and the funeral was a couple hours along the way too, so he arranged for us to have an extra night away with my family to see the kids after the funeral as a pick-me-up. Turns out some other family was there too so where the plan was to be on the road before breakfast, we didn't leave till lunch.

The reason we didn't leave till lunch was me.....if it was him I'd have probably been hurrying him along......but because he is a laid back guy, he loves my family too and realizes how much I miss then now that they moved several hours away vs in my same town, he just let us laze around in the morn, get ready slowly, and head out in our own good time.  I apologized cause it was really a much later than planned, and he just said it was my weekend and we'd do whatever we wanted and not worry about it.  With the funeral being so brutal that day before, just relaxing with family got me back into a better emotional place.  If he'd been making me feel guilty about it the whole time, I really don't know if I could have enjoyed the weekend away.  Sometimes you just have to let the other person be themselves even if what they need isn't what you need, you know?  My ADD husband is better at this than I am by far!!

The plan was to do a lot more that day than we did in the city because we got settled into our B&B and were a little lazy in determining our plan.  Because he'd done almost no research on this city (surprise surprise lol) he didn't realize a lot of things closed at 3pm therefore the Bourbon tasting tour we were going to do that night couldn't be done.  We went to the check out some of the horse farm areas for me and do the front section (not requiring admission) at the Horse Park--we were in Lexington cause I am a horse fan and my favorite horse of all time is buried at this park.  It is a good thing we did it cause the next day doing the admission parts still took us probably 4 hours and we didn't see everything!!

We ended laughing over our mediocre included dinner at the B&B and then having fabulous dessert at a book store while deciding on our spring trip and researching things to do there. 

Being with an ADD person really brings a lot of gifts and fun and spontanaity into our lives that we might really miss on without this partner.  We all have to spend more time appreciating each other!


Shopping for bathing suit

I am the non-ADD person, and I HATE bathing suit shopping, hate clothes shopping in general and would Never take my ADHD kids with me unless I absolutely had to if i knew i had to get the dreaded bathing suit, UGH !  I think you getting there/back in 1.5 hr and with a suit to boot is awesome. That is probably the amount of time it would have taken me, without kids. I don't think Men (most anyway) know just how long it takes to find a suit that fits that you don't look like a horror show in...its not like buying a pair of trunk, and all you have to decide on is do I want the blue ones or the greens ones...they don't have to worry does my ass hang out, are my tatas covered, etc... 

I try and do ALL my clothes shopping online...obviously you couldn't that day for the beach, but I find it so much less stressful sitting in the comfort of my home having it delieverd then trying it on in peace...and just sending it back if it doesn't fit. Which reminds me I need a new suit for vacation this year too, UGH !!!! I better start looking.  My H and I are opposite, He Loves to shop and I hate to shop.

I also prefer Not to have my ADD H takes my ADHD boys shopping, they are gone forever and always end up coming home with numerous items that we didn't need that they didn't go shopping for in the first place. if H needs something I would much rather he go alone..I know just how hard it is to shop with them tagging along, and pointing out every colorful object they see...and my H has just about as much impulse control as they do.  If you were under that sort of time crunch your H should have kept the kids with him and sent you off to find yourself a suit...and He could have given them lunch.

I do understand the stress of rounding eveyone up and out to go drives me nuts, it never fails I will say ok everyone we need to Leave in 30 one moves, we need to leave in 20 min...again no one moves, Guys we need to leave in ten min, no one moves...finally WE NEED TO LEAVE NOW, That is when everyone starts finding their shoes, brushing their teeth, looking for the DS games, MP3 player, etc.... ARGH ! 

You did a fabulous job.... seems like your H was just in the mood to pick a fight.

Hopefully, there will never be a market for this;)

Holy poop! What a funny post :D!  No, I completely agree with you.  I don't think most guys understand what is involved... Women are so vulnerable in a bathing many things can go wrong.  Maybe if someone invented a men's bathing suit where the frank and beans were sheathed...worse than a Speedo...I'm thinking more like the fingers of a gloves...they'd understand...  Then some of them would have to put padding in it like some women do with bathing suit tops... Some others would be squeezed, like a vice...  HA-HA!!!  It would be absolutely horrifying, but women like me would never have this stupid conversation again about how-long-can-it-take-to-buy-a-damn-bathing-suit!  

OMG, I'm crying from

OMG, I'm crying from laughing...I can just picture it ! Oh man the image burned on my brain...shudder. LOL  Noone better market that kind of Mens suit because the men that should never wear it would be the ones to buy it... then picture a dip in the cold Atlantic ocean..shrinkage factor..OK i'm going toward the inappropriate now.  I am unfortunately one of those woman that have to pad my top else look like a 12 yr old girl in my suit with grey hair...ah just another joy of motherhood


O.K., so the padding needs to be something that EXPANDS in the cold...but it can't be buoyant or it will look really awkward as I'm imagining the JAWS theme song and the false tip of the iceberg above the water...and a SWAT team picking up the poor S.O.B. standing in the Atlantic with children swimming away from him as mothers are yelling, "Get away from my kid, you sicko!"

De-Railment Complete ;)

You girls are too funny!!! Shrinkage, Jaws, SWAT Teams, Oh my!!! What were we talking about??? :D

ADHD stream-of-consciousness thinking...

I don't know...  What WERE we talking about?  

Seriously, though, venting like this is totally cathartic for me...  It puts this in perspective, and humor helps me deal with the poopiness of my marriage a little better...  Helps to know that men and women, ADHD or not, can see my perspective.  I don't need to be right all the time, and believe me I'm not, but sometimes he talks to me like I'm the lone inhabitant of CRAZYTOWN, but I know that can't be true... And you guys are objective with me, and question my reasoning, which needs questioning at times... 

I find it interesting that my husband tells me, both frequently and seriously, that I'm not funny and that I drive him crazy when I try to be funny.   I think I am just not relaxed around him, so it's forced.   My friends think I'm funny...and inappropriate... Guess I must be more relaxed here...more like my true self...

I think I am the alien in

I think I am the alien in CRAZYTOWN in my house, and I don't think my ADD H is funny at all...BUT I think its just because of the 'place' we are in...we barely talk, are both always frustrated with each other so its just not that kind of relationship. My friends all think I am funny and I laugh all the time..Just not with him. Its unfortunate the years of frustration have driven such a wedge between us that we can't even laugh together.  Maybe I need to get him one of the Franks and Beans suits..and I can wear a pair of Band-aids for my bathing suit top then we can at least laugh AT each other.

Hysterical...I'll be laughing

Hysterical...I'll be laughing every time I see a man in a speedo next week when I visit my ADD mom who lives on the cold shores of the Altlantic..the DA DA, DA DA JAWS theme will take on a whole new image

First thing I want to do is

First thing I want to do is thank you for these kinds of helps me, as a non-ADHD wife, to think more about my own reaction to situations and helsp me tremendously when it comes to picking my battles.

My impression is that

A) it is wrong that you are reluctant (for reasons stated) to say "I'm running to Target...going to leave *son* here with back soon" and just going. I cannot say, of course, that it is all his fault or your fault, but when a situation like this exists in a marriage, it typically is due to, as you said, 'history' and reactions that make you feel uncomfortable/bad for doing it. Children have needs 24/7...and they are equally both yours. For him to keep score is just wrong and I would have to call him out on it...but that's just me. "sorry you feel you did me a favor by watching *son* while I went to Target for a few the other day...I do appreciate that you understood how hard it is for me to take him clothes shopping and that it makes the trip take twice as long...but he is your son can't possibly see this as something I 'owe' you for. Whether you do or not, I don't".

B) He wants to claim that you should behave as an 'adult' he aware that adults do not have to answer to some micromanaging asshole about why a trip to Target, with two kids, to do something as time consuming and mundane as clothes shopping took longer than HE feels it should? I am 100% for being respectful of another in a marriage and doing things in a timely manner when you're preparing a trip for the day and the spouse is at home waiting...but it works BOTH WAYS. Ideally he would insist you leave the kids with him so you can get it done quicker. He didn't, so he can eat the 1.5 hours it took you to go.

C) He is picking at you...and it seems you were aware that he was doing this (YAY!!) and just insisted you weren't going to let him ruin your day...and oddly enough his dramatics ("not enough time...can't go now...gotta feed the dog!") ended up being just that...dramatics. The less you react to this shit and the more you say "sorry you feel the day is a bust, but I don' I am proceeding with the plan with or without you" God willing, the less he will do this crap.

D) if he feels it is unacceptable to not feed the kids at noon..or the dog at a certain hour...then HE needs to do his part to ensure that happens. Most people would do as you did, get them something to tide them over and just go with the flow. NO ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND would seriously call you irresponsible for feeding your kids lunch at 12:30 as opposed to 12:00...except him. That is HIS issue and I would make sure he understood that you didn't have a problem in the world with the kids eating at 12:30, having a snack to tide them over, and if he did then you suggest in the future that he keep the kids home with him while you run out...just to be safe...if it is close to meal time. Do you think that maybe, somewhere deep down, he does this kind of thing just to set you up for failure?

You did nothing should not be as hard as it seems you're making it on yourself to keep up with his standards. It's BS...and it makes me sad for you. It isn't all in do make me have more sympathy for my ADHD husband. (((HUGS)))

Yeah, Sherri, I really can't meet his standards...

Thank you, Sherri, for taking the time to make those comments.  It is likewise, so helpful to ME, to read (and again, this is NOT about me being right) that it is not always my character defects or my ADHD symptoms, or my "pride," or my "inability to change" that are the culprit (and I take issue with his assertion that I can't change-it's becoming clearer to me that he doesn't perceive me properly as his vision is clouded with a resentment that he clutches like a security blanket.  He continues to view me as I used to be, and this colors how he treats me on a daily basis.  This is not to say that I have achieved ADHD nirvana-I am writing to you from my much improved but still cluttered office-BUT I am making progress.

I've continued to experience that kind of treatment the past few days.  His grandmother, with whom he was quite close passed away this week.  He's been quite sad, and very snappy at me.  I don't take issue with him being out of sorts.  In fact if that was how he was grieving, I would be O.K. with that; God knows I am guilty of snapping at him when other things in my life have gone amiss.   What I do take issue with, because it is SO typical of him, is I ask him what he needs, he says "I don't know" but then gets aggravated at me if I ask him what I can do for him and gets mad when I hole up in my office working on my organization because he doesn't know what he wants, gets angry at me, and frankly organizing is at least productive.  He's very passive-aggressive and LOVES, by his own admission, to play the martyr. 

Thank  you for validating me for not indulging his tendency toward self-pity.  I used to do this weird dance with him where he would feel sorry for himself, I would try to supplicate him, he would push me further away and rail against my many, many failings, and I would try harder to please my implacable martyr husband.  Uh, for anyone out there experiencing this shit, my old tactic NEVER worked.  I've realized that by refusing to either indulge his tantrums, or to engage him in a fight (his 2nd favorite tactic; if I can't make you pity me, I'm going to piss you off until you explode so I can prove you are every bit the bitch I always knew you were; oh goody, now I can have my pity-party!  Win-win!!), it dissipates on its' own, without any help from me. 

Right now, I'm walking on a tightrope, backwards and blind, as his grandmother's death is not bringing out the best in him, and as his wife, I DO want him to know that I care.  I am being more tolerant of his flaws right now, but also not going to let him run me over because he is pissed.  Since he is ambivalent about being around me, I asked him if he wanted to go pick up the kids at his Dad's or did he want me to do it?  He said he was planning on going to get them but that he didn't care if I went or not.  So I stayed home-and out of the way of his wrath.  Tonight, I am going to tell him matter-of-factly that since he doesn't know what he wants from me, I'm going to make the decision for him and lay low.  I'm going to add that if his needs change, he will need to tell me, and that me not addressing needs I don't know he has isn't a sign that I don't care, but rather a sign that I don't read minds.  This will all be done with the flattest affect I can muster so he doesn't think I'm making this all about me (it isn't).  I won't even throw in the part about him being a little jerky; it's so NOT the right moment and it isn't important now.

It's been suggested to me by more than one person that he wants his pound of flesh; sometimes I do think he is setting me up for failure, even if he isn't aware of it...

Thanks so much as always.  I love your direct style :D!

My therapist says lots of

My therapist says lots of ADHD women inadvertently pick controlling. naggy or anal guys to kind of keep us in line. My husband is kind of like you describe your husband. Obviously they have their good qualities too- but my husband frequently plays the martyr as well and constantly nitpicks me- and, like your husband, if he is stressed, it comes out as anger at me... Last year his uncle committed suicide and my husband treated me like dirt for a month while he processed it. After I drove around to various family events making sure to be there for his family and to make sure I took care of everything at home so he could be with his family, he would come home and crap on me for small things like buying the wrong kind of pancake mix ( he would hold the box angrily in my face and say somberly "what did I tell you about this?"... so condescending) or doing the laundry too frequently ("I don't think other people do 2 loads of laundry a week! you're always doing laundry" Ummm- yeah- most people do more than 2 loads a week... Why do you care if you aren't even doing any of them!) . 

 I have started ignoring him when he acts that way and walking away, but unfortunately he doesn't usually let that go... He will follow me swearing under his breath and saying demeaning things about how childish I am that I can't actually discuss things. "Grow up" is his favorite phrase...  when really, I am the only one acting grown up ... he's trying to fight and I am often trying to keep my cool- because once I lose my temper, its not pretty... It's pretty bad actually,  and then whatever legitimate grievances I had don't matter because I am the screaming villain and everything is my fault...

Sorry that was more of a diversion than I intended.

Yep. We're Cut From the Same Cloth. Husbands, Too.

Hi ADHD wife,

I so relate to some of the conversations you have with your husband...  I've definitely been asked condescending, and  ostensibly rhetorical questions that he actually expected me to answer about various subjects, including pancake mix!

A few weeks ago, he wouldn't leave my office during one of his tirades, so I left the house and drove around for an hour.  He knew I was pissed, and apologized.   I never do that, but I'll be damned if he thinks he can follow me to my sanctuary, something he himself would NEVER tolerate.  Think I'm going to purchase a lock for my office door.  My husband actually used to follow me around more; that incident was an aberration, thankfully.  But I do know how it feels.  I think it stems from them not feeling listened to after repetitive mistakes.  Funny thing is, nothing makes me less receptive than being stalked.  Can you say "ADHD overwhelm?"  If he catches me in the gap where my meds have worn off and is following me, uh, watch out.  I'm like a cornered animal, liable to attack (verbally).  I try so hard not to be like that, but he did catch me yesterday during such a gap.  He asked me to call for pizza, and AS I'M TELLING HIM I HAVE THE PHONE AND PHONE NUMBER IN MY HAND AND AM READY TO DIAL, he repeated his request saying that that wasn't good enough and because I'm me he has to repeat it.  Now that is total bullshit.  I didn't object to reminder number 1.  I know I have ADHD and can accept that as I had been bathing my daughter, I don't have the prospective memory to consistently remember what comes next (though I did in this case).  What infuriated me was that I had the phone and phone number in my hand, had literally just picked it up PRIOR to his first question (he was downstairs and couldn't see that) and THEN he INTERRUPTED me to tell me the same thing even though I TOLD HIM I HAD BOTH PHONE AND PHONE NUMBER IN HAND, POISED TO DIAL.  That's just being a dick, in my opinion.  I exploded (my fault, meds or no meds), saying I don't need to be told twice consecutively in said circumstances.  I didn't say anything bad, but I yelled at him.  Sounds like you have a temper, too.  Do you feel like you can go from happy to pissed in a nanosecond with no gap in between?  That's how I feel off medication.  I have been reading a great book which compliments Melissa's book so nicely, "Understanding Your Brain, Get More Done," and there's a section on "Emotional Control."  Just started reading it last night.  I am going to follow his suggestions (Ari Tuckman, the author).  I so need it.  My DH knows where all my buttons are.  I swear, sometimes he's like a kid in an elevator, and pushes all of them at once...

You're not alone, ADHD wife, that's for sure.  Thanks for your post.

Great to know someone understands!

Reading your post is like reading something I might have written about myself and my husband! 

If I ask him something I've already asked him (and have no memory of ever asking him by the way), like what button to press for the car defrost in his car, he will either yell at me, bark at me with the most disrespectful tone, or sigh heavily and refuse to answer me.  A typical response to this for him might be (in a terribly slow voice that obviously implies I'm mentally slow or just the most exasperating person ever to live), "Well, what button have you pressed in the past? What book do you look in to find that answer? You're not a little girl. I'm sure you can figure it out.", which to me is so asshole-ish. I will think , I obviously can't remember and I'm driving right now so I can't look in a book. Are you going to tell me or not?? Why are you making such a goddamned issue about this and intentionally making me feel like an idiot over this stupid little thing? Now- whereas I used to say those thoughts- escalating things, I now just clench my lips together and say nothing to try to keep control and then he'll try to goad me into the response he can see I'm suppressing... He might say "What??! You're pissed at me now? You know how many times you've asked me that? Just take a second and learn it! Jesus!...." And then a minute later when I don't respond... "Oh so you're just going to drive with it like this? Classic. That's your style-eh? too lazy to figure it out."

Admittedly, this has gotten a little better since my diagnosis, since I have explained to him that in those moments where I repeat myself, I genuinely can't remember ever asking him that before and unless I flag something as important, I often don't remember small things like that later. Nonetheless, he still seems to think if I try harder and work at it, it wouldn't happen. In general, he thinks my ADHD diagnosis should have provided the key insight I need to change... frustrating. Especially frustrating is that I think he only sort of believes in ADHD and I'm not sure he totally believes I have it. Whenever I bring it up, and suggest that he might change some of his ways of dealing with me to accommodate me and not push my buttons quite so hard,  his body stiffens and gets completely quiet and then he might say something indicating that he is the one who always has to accommodate me and why can't I change my behavior for once? In general, he thinks that since my diagnosis, I blame all my faults on ADHD. I've said to him- these are not excuses- these are explanations... I AM working on me and changing my behavior... but I don't think he realizes and takes accountability for the role he plays in things... I've given up on getting him to look at that more fully because it just starts massive arguments and has become a hot button issue. I've been diagnosed for 9 months or so now and he still hasn't read the book I gave him 7 months ago (Driven to Distraction)... He skims the odd article I email him and thinks he has the gist of it... "Yeah, yeah. I get it. You have a lot of energy and you're restless and impatient and moody and creative and stuff".  I have given up trying to explain it to him. He resists any characterization of it as a cognitive problem/difference. "Come on. you are smart. You're a goddamned lawyer. You flew through school. You are not mentally impaired- give me a break".

The one area he acknowledges I have an impairment in- because it just is NOT normal- is emotional regulation... I do go from happy to enraged in the snap of a finger with the right (or wrong) stimulus... I don't know about you, but I can also plummet into extreme sadness/despair/self-loathing in a matter of a few seconds- usually right after an ANGER burst, which makes me feel out-of-control, crazy and terribly guilty and remorseful... This side of me is not seen by anyone but close family and one or two friends (wrong place wrong time) in the past. Generally, my personality is optimistic, upbeat and sunny... but my poor husband has dealt with a lot of depression, mania, irritability and  rage along the way. In terms of the rage- I have never hit anyone (although I used to feel like it)- but I used to self-harm as a teenager and a very young woman- I had no idea why I was like that and just couldn't deal with the intensity of everything. I have much better control now than I ever did- and having my son also seems to have changed me and made me more in control... but I still feel all the intensity on the inside, even if I swallow it down. I like to go for drives alone when I am really upset and either bawl my eyes out (big, baby wrenching, wailing sobs), or actually rage and scream and swear like a crazy person... Behaviours I am super ashamed of and suppress around others. When I had the meds- I have to say that those intense feelings and impulses were turned down by like 95%. It was the most relief I have had in my life- like a profound, amazing difference.

Emotional regulation is by far my most troubling symptom- to the point that I thought I had bipolar disorder and that is what I went to the psychiatrist suspecting, which is how I was diagnosed with ADHD last fall... Apparently bipolar and ADHD are often comorbid or mistaken for each other... But in my case- it's just ADHD according to my psychiatrist... And I responded SO WELL to the meds that I am convinced the diagnosis was correct.  Being pregnant right now- I am a bit of a mess... I WANT MY HORMONES BACK TO NORMAL AND MY MEDS BACK!!! Only 4 more months... ha ha. As if having a new born and the sleep deprivation will be any better... :)

Having said all of this, I do love my husband and he has many redeeming qualities... And he does love me to death, even if he doesn't fully understand me. I cut him slack when he is a dick because I know he puts up with a lot from me and I know I can be a dick... Problem is we both think we are just reacting to each other. But as I change my behaviors more and more and admit where I've been the one to set things off (inadvertently), my husband seems to be entrenched in his views that he doesn't play a role in the problems and it's all me- which I know it's not! The longer he sticks his head in the sand and his behavior stays in a rut, the more I find myself losing patience with his mean-streak.

HUZZAH! Did any of that make any sense? I was head-down, typing in a flurry of brilliance. ha ha.

When I read stories about

When I read stories about things like this, as I said before, it really makes me want to be acutely aware of how I am reacting to even the (to me) smallest of things. I really am examining myself more closely. Upon reading the 'defrost button' 'pancake mix' and '1 1/2 hour Target trip' stories I am REALLY trying to examine my own marriage and reactions. Lord, I pray I am not like this. I HATE condesending I truly will work on never being this way. I cannot imagine being mad at him over asking me about the defrost button once..or twice...or even 3 or 4 times. That's just someone being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole. That comes from a deep down overall attitude towards you and is NOT about the defrost button. That would be my opinion anyway. It is as if they sit and wait for a chance to criticize and have zero human compassion.

My opinion is that he doesn't want to read information or acknowledge that you truly have a explanation for some of your issues because then it would warrant him having some f'in compassion. With understanding of how many ways ADHD can affect people, one would be a complete jerk not to try and accommodate and have compassion for those they love. It is as if he wants you to now be 'normal', now that you know you have ADHD. It's bullshit.

Sorry...just feeling really badly for the way some of you are fighting so hard to 'fit into' the molds your spouses want to squeeze you into...I am not kidding when I say it is making me want to be more aware of if/when I would do this to my DH. I truly am striving to accept him as he is (with the exception of a few 'deal breaking' things) and will be more aware of just everyday interactions.

I once sent him to the store for salt...among other things. He came back with this HUGE box of kosher salt. I don't remember the conversation, but I was apparently (from his viewpoint) very critical of him for not getting 'regular' salt and for getting such a huge box "we'll never be able to use all of that". To this day we still joke about how I gave him a hard time over it...and I ONLY use Kosher salt to this day..and LOVE it. :-)


Thanks Sherri!

Those are some kind words. :)

I have the same reaction to reading some of the posts of the non-adhd spouses. I don't cheat or waste money or break promises to my children- so posts about that don't hit home for me in that way... but many of the posts dealing with milder issues make me really think about myself and try to reexamine situations through my spouse's eyes... I think I can ignore my spouse and his feelings too frequently and miss cues that he wants my attention... that's a big one. Also- I know I am too defensive generally. So when I read posts about those kind of things, it makes me think hard about things.

Anyway- thanks for your response. Hugs to you.

I've never tried Kosher salt- are you still on that same box? :)

oh Lord no, I've been through

oh Lord no, I've been through several of those "we'll never use all of that" boxes since then...*blushes*

another perspective...

Maybe before leaving the house, you could have asked him(since he's the planner, even though this trip was spontaneous) what time you need to be back by, and if he had said 12, so the kids could eat lunch, you could then decide if that was enough time for you to shop for a bathing suit with kids in tow. If not, then suggest the kids stay with him so you can get in and out quickly. If he refused, then you could just say that you don't want to go to the beach then..not if there's not enough time to shop for a suit. That said, this is coming from a non-ADHD brain, so I probably work a little more in lines with your husband. I can relate to the "now, now now" so I'm sorry if this comes off wrong. It's gotten better being a stay at home mom and having to force myself to be patient..there's nothing quick about leaving the house with a 3 1/2 year old and a toddler. :)


Ok, I'm just getting to some older posts, but this one I can relate to.

I have done the impossible juggling everything with both kids on my hands in a (futile) attempt to get everything ready by DH's deadlines, and it always resulted in DH getting impatient and annoyed at me for forgetting something essential or being late etc. etc.  He would snap, I would cry.  He would be over it in 5 minutes but I would feel humiliated for the whole weekend.

So.... here's what would happen with me NOW:  I would skip the bathing suit shopping trip altogether, I would say, "Beach?  Great idea! Do you want to get the kids ready or do you want to pack the food?"  He would laugh and say "Neither" and I would laugh and say, "Hm.... let's see....Nope:  Don't see 'sit on the couch and scratch my nuts' on the list of possible things for you to do now' if we're going to make it out the door by...  when was it you decided we should leave?."  He'd get the kids ready, I would pack up food and gather the sand toys, sunscreen etc.  I'd put on something i could get wet and sandy plus extra clothes to change into and off we'd go.

Bathing suit shopping sucks.  I am about as buxom as a popsicle stick, and glow-in-the-dark pale in ANY swimsuit, and I don't usually go into the water with the kids anyway.  (DH does that with the older daughter, and the younger one is still too scared to actually go in the waves.)

This comment blew my mind:

<<I would wonder if there was some malice involved as in: "I'll go out and make EVERYONE miserable, children included, just to prove what an angry, mean person DH is that I have to take my children along on an impossible errand to buy myself a swimming suit. What an unloving and impossible spouse I have.  Then, doesn't the ADDer get to feel superior (and the prove the non-ADDers inferior heart)?>>

First of all - speaking only for myself of course - to even HAVE a thought like this would require WAY more foresight and planning than I am capable of.  Like ADDmomof2, my reasoning for bringing kids along for any errand - especially if it was my 'turn' to deal with the kids so that DH had some time to himself - would be the need to save 'babysitting coupons' for the future. 

This is a scenario that has played out over and over and over in our relationship and I've finally gotten wise and now I JUST SAY NO!  Yes, having a new bathing suit will be ideal, but... realistically, do I need it?  I find that pretty much anything that's only beneficial to me can be cut out in order to save time.... note:  I say beneficial, not essential, there are things non-negotiable, and I'm learning to stand up for myself... but if I can skip something, all the better.  No, i'm not being a martyr, i'm just discovering how much time can be saved by skipping stuff I am not actually REEEEALLY required to have/do/get. 

Fortunately, DH does not speak to me in condescending tones.  That would be a deal-breaker for me.  he gets exasperated and pissed, but has never followed me around swearing. yikes.  I can't imagine.  I agree:  get a lock for your office!!

Thanks for helping me see my progress :).

Hey ellamenno,

This comment blew my mind:

<<I would wonder if there was some malice involved as in: "I'll go out and make EVERYONE miserable, children included, just to prove what an angry, mean person DH is that I have to take my children along on an impossible errand to buy myself a swimming suit. What an unloving and impossible spouse I have.  Then, doesn't the ADDer get to feel superior (and the prove the non-ADDers inferior heart)?>>

My thoughts were so far from this when I went out to get a bathing suit.  I tend not to buy them very often, but it was to the point where the elastic in the bottom half was weakened.  Not cool.  All I was thinking at that time was "This is SO going to back-fire on me.  I'm trying to connect with him , and he's going to get pissy because I can't possibly attend to this loathesome task QUICKLY, or QUICKLY enough for him with two children, ONE of whom is my then under-medicated SON who DESPISES errands.  I just remember deciding to take it on, and knowing I had lost before I had begun.  I just had the  unsettling feeling of "This scenario does NOT feel right to me.  He's telling me, 'Fine, go get the bathing suit,' but I know I'm going to go as fast as I can and still have him second-guessing and criticizing me."  I guess that vague and unsettling feeling is anxiety supported by experience?   THAT was the extent of what I was thinking before I left.  I have my faults, but PITY PARTIES are HIS claim to fame.   Questioning the possibility that HE might be having some planning issues with time is a BIG NO-NO.  I've gotten that piece with him, i.e., he is the CENSOR who wields his anger as a weapon to control what I say.  I'm slowly getting better at expressing myself without lashing out because I'm dancing around what I really want to say or just repressing myself all together (which NEVER works for for long for someone with impulsivity issues).   He actually was trying to be spontaneous that day, something I've mentioned we might benefit from, as he is a 'planner.'   It's not a bad skill to have, and is actually one I admire greatly, but he is too rigid at times he doesn't need to be.  I've told him that his idea of "spontaneity," which essentially involves him saying, "Jump!"  and me responding, "How high, Sir?" is not what I meant when I envisioned him being more spontaneous.

Thanks for the comment, ellamenno.  Looking back just 3 short months and I can see I've made a lot of progress with stating my boundaries.  Because of the "paper towel roll" memory I have, I can't always see my progress as I should.  My therapist was also recently noting that my reactions to some of my husband's ongoing behavior are changing so much and that I carry myself differently and seem happier because I'm not getting locked into his emotional state like I used to.  It's good for me to get this type of feedback, not for my ego, but because as I've said, I can't remember and don't have a proper perspective of time as a result. 

And speaking of locked, I am in my office right now, and I installed locks on both doors shortly after that incident.

O.K. Time for bed!


Pbartender's picture


"I've gotten that piece with him, i.e., he is the CENSOR who wields his anger as a weapon to control what I say.  I'm slowly getting better at expressing myself without lashing out because I'm dancing around what I really want to say or just repressing myself all together (which NEVER works for for long for someone with impulsivity issues)."

It occurs to me that I've had the same dynamic going with my wife...  and likewise, I have to completely tamp myself down to the point of being a door mat, otherwise I risk falling into "Total War" tactics.  I have a real hard time -- and especially so, when DW feels like being belligerent -- finding a good middle ground, where I can stand my ground to assertively express my feelings and defend my boundaries.




I just remember deciding to take it on, and knowing I had lost before I had begun.  I just had the  unsettling feeling of "This scenario does NOT feel right to me.  He's telling me, 'Fine, go get the bathing suit,' but I know I'm going to go as fast as I can and still have him second-guessing and criticizing me."  I guess that vague and unsettling feeling is anxiety supported by experience?

This 'unsettling feeling' you describe is your meds talking to you.  I get that feeling too.  It is the Adderall saying, "Look, this is not going to work.  Whatever it is that you think is a good or possible idea is simply not going to work. Don't do it. Whatever it is, just stop."  my brain usually fights back and I try to think of reasons why whatever it is I'm doing is a good idea and will work. But time and time again - it will blow up in my face.  YES, we get signals telling us it's ok.  Like you're husband saying, "Fine, go get the bathing suit' but, what I've (finally) learned is:  Many, many times, it does not matter what is actually said.  People say things but mean the opposite.  they sometimes say things and expect you to react a certain way.  You cannot rely on anything anyone tells you.  You have to listen to that unsettling feeling and run in the opposite direction.

Example:  My husband asked me to knit a hat for our nephew.  I told him I'd be happy to, but I'd need to buy some yarn, and that I'd need to spend some money on the yarn.  I asked him how much I should plan to spend.  He said, "I dunno.  I guess just get however much you need."  I had to explain that I could spend $5 on cheap yarn, or I could spend $30 on high-end yarn - it all depends on how much he wanted to budget for the hat, and what quality hat he wanted to give to our nephew.  He just shrugged.  So, I went to the store.  They were having a huge 40% off clearance sale, so I got some very nice yarn for a good price.  I had gone with a friend who knits a lot, and who was buying lots and lots and lots of yarn.  she kept showing me stuff and saying, "ooh!  you could use this for x,y,and q project!  I agreed, and thought... hm....  this is a great price... and really nice yarn .... I wouldn't have to get any more yarn for like a decade, considering how much time I actually have to myself.  I took cash out from the ATM (it was a cash only sale).  But.... like you, my dear ADHDmomof2, I started to get that uneasy feeling.  I knew that it doesn't matter how much sense it makes to anyone around me to buy stuff at a great price, if I simply DON'T have the extra money to spend.  So with my friend, the shop owner and several other people standing by, staring incredulously, I put the stuff back that i'd just spent 45 minutes deciding on color and quantity. Ignoring everyone echoing the store owners words:  'You won't get that much stuff at this price anywhere else!"  But I knew it would result in misery.  So I just got what I'd come for and I'm going to deposit the extra $20 back into our account today.

I'm learning to embrace that uneasy feeling.  It's never wrong!

Oh *That* uneasy feeling

The only thing is that I get that uneasy feeling a HECK of a lot,  to try and control my impulsive and addictive nature I somehow have become the arch conservative and steer a mile clear of anything that may be uncertain or risky or perhaps addictive.   At heart I am as far removed from this as it is possible to get,   but alas I fear the judgment of others so I repress my natural inclination to be outrageous.  The last thing in the world I want to do is stand out and be seen as different, so I dress and act very conservatively, and I over analyse risk. Although ask me to share my views and be prepared for a suprise, they are a LONG way from conservative, I like to see it as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.   I now find myself *judging* others that are more free flowing than myself,  all  the while wishing I  had the courage to chart a course less ordinary GRRR. 

In fact I have become so anxious to avoid standing out or making stupid mistakes that I had become completely paralysed by it.   This in turn has left me feeling depressed that I can’t just be me and increasingly panicked as the years slip on by and I have to spend the majority of my concentration trying not to be me but fitting what everyone else wants.   I have ended up overly adverse to risk and timid where I would really just like to be a lot more out there with risks, but alas I fear the all-pervasive judgmental frown from the ever present authority figures that have lurked in the shadows my whole life.  

Sometimes I find myself really resenting this as the big thumb of the NoN’s squeezing me into a box that fits their narrow sensibilities, like “their” way has created such a great world where everything goes to plan and is all just sweetness and light.

Sometimes I rage that I wish I could just do the petty self-organisational crap all the while keeping the ADHD characteristics they seem to be adopting at increasing pace.  The modern world is becoming one with shorter and shorter attention spans, maybe our moment will come?
I often wonder what would happen if we did not have to conform to this rigid structure, if left to our own devices how we would end up? Would it really be a constant disaster they felt the need to save us from or would we find our own balancing mechanisms?    And how would this in fact look? Would there be world peace?

How much of our perceived negatives is really just the result of developed coping strategies that have come about because our failure to fit into the norms constantly hammered into us since birth?
The NoN’s have felt that we upset the comfortable order of things, that we are not like them so they felt the need to constantly put us down, and now that we are broken as result of their ceaseless meddling, they have created a monster they need to drug so we can be more like them?  Is this the “denial” the NoN’s talk about??? 

Imagine how completely ****ed up a NoN would be, if from birth we insisted they had to be like us?  You think they could just do it?  And do you think that if we constantly told them how much of a letdown and a failure and a disappointment they were when they struggled,  that one day they would just have an epiphany and the pieces would fall into place?  That they would realise in a blinding flash of light just how obstinately idiotic and recklessly self-centred they were being and that they would bow their sorry heads and naturally adopt things as they “ought” be??   

So NoN’s  try this,   just  sit there  and  let your thoughts flow without following any particular structure, whatever happens you must not let them coalesce to a constructive sequence, they must *only* be fragments without follow up. As soon as they look like they might you must intercept them with a thought completely unrelated, while doing this, get up and do an activity, say organise a family holiday,  fix the broken hot water or build a garden shed, in fact why not do all three at the same time.   Ready go…Can’t do it?  Don’t be lazy, you slack looser, try harder, I know you could really do it if you wanted to, if you had any real moral conviction that is, and why don't you ever finish things you start?? If you just keep being difficult and refusing to try harder then I’m afraid I’ll be forced to give you a diagnostic label and punish you accordingly, oh and take 2 of these 3 times a day, I don’t care that it makes you feel terrible, take them or you will never get access to all that is good in life.      

How much of our anger and frustration and rage is actually because *they* made us and now they want to disavow themselves of us and blame us for our failures?? Sometimes with these NoN’s it’s all just me, me, me.

Just wondering out aloud here, thoughts and abuse all greatfully accepted.

Hi Jon, I sympathize with

Hi Jon,

I sympathize with your frustration at being told you are different, wrong, somehow deficient etc etc. I'm a 'non' married to a man who likely has ADD (but not yet diagnosed) and we have a son with Aspergers Disorder (plus two 'neurotypical' kids).

I also feel restricted by the people around me. I like to listen to music turned up LOUD - but hubby and son can't cope with that. I like to be able to see that something needs doing - confer on a solution - and get it DONE. Yeah... If this is something that hubby needs to be part of, even the smallest of things won't happen for months. Hubby doesn't like to be pinned down, made to commit to timeframes - it makes him anxious. Son can't handle disorder and needs routine to combat his anxiety. These two ways of thinking and being are often difficult to accommodate, without even considering the needs of the other 3 people who live in our house!

I feel pride and it builds my self esteem to start a project and see it through to completion. Hubby much prefers to plan in an abstract way, often quite creatively. But that leaves me trying to shape the plans into actual action on things that DO have definite timelines... You know - like fixing a leaking roof. Or buying firewood before we run out. Or replying to school notices. Not all of life requires creativeness. Much of it just needs dealing with in a timely fashion. I try to get hubby to just stop over thinking everything - let's just settle on what to do and get on with it. Then on the other hand - my son with Aspergers is completely inflexible and if something is supposed to happen on a certain day at a certain time - it just MUST. So - one family member needs infinite 'spur of the moment' ability -and the other needs to know the weekend's plans in advance and in detail. And I have to accommodate BOTH! So I don't get to be spontaneous or fun. Usually hubby finds something that he 'just needs to do first' which torpedoes getting anything done around the house.

I try very hard to put myself in their shoes, to understand their real difficulties. But - I see little evidence that they try to understand that not everyone thinks the way they do. Even hubby - who knows our son needs structure, planning - still can't make that happen for the benefit for the entire family.

I would dearly love a holiday - with a planned activity each morning - then lazy book reading or whatever unstructured self focused activity each family member chooses in the afternoon... That would be heaven. And basically unattainable, as hubby has a thousand plans of what he'd like to do - and won't settle on one location. Or timeframe. Or anything, basically. Infinite possibilities = no actual action! *Deep sigh*

My husband does that!

I definitely understand!  Sometimes I will take the kids with me even though I know it'll be a disaster because it's about 50/50 whether my husband will be able to deal with the kids without getting impatient and yelling at them.  And if he plans a trip, we have to be out the door ASAP and he turns into drill sergeant man.  And he can only get HIMSELF ready and out the door while I have to get myself and the kids taken care of and out the door.  If he tries to take care of the kids while trying to get out the door, meltdowns happen.  And then HE is always the last one in the car, because his "leaving the house routines" take forever.

BUT, my husband has Asperger Syndrome, so his brain has no flexibility when it comes to time management.  Thankfully, he really tries to work on this and not make the whole trip insufferable because one little unexpected thing threw off his entire image of how this thing should go.  We are both getting better- before, I had such low self esteem that I thought I had to live up to all of his demands.  Now, I understand that his demands are often unreasonable, so I am sticking up for myself more often... which leads to more conflict, but it is actually PRODUCTIVE conflict because it challenges both of our expectations for each other.  Like, my expectation that he should be able to have fun and go with the flow is unreasonable, as is his expectation of me that I do everything in a timely and orderly and regimented fashion.

He also doesn't understand his own tone of voice, so he often sounds condescending and insanely angry when he doesn't mean to come across that way.  I really have my doubts as to the validity of his insisting that he doesn't feel that way- that it is just his Aspergers inability to control his tone of voice, so he sounds angrier than he actually is.  I don't know if that's bullshit or not.  He may not be consciously aware of how angry he is, but I don't know if it's possible to sound so over the top and not mean it.  I think it's more likely that he just can't suppress how he really feels.  That's something we are trying to work out.

Thankfully, after things settle back down into predictability, my husband can look at it with a sense of humor and appreciate my ability to tolerate his challenges.  And I feel a sense of togetherness knowing we both struggle in different ways but we try hard to help each other.  Don't get me wrong, there are TONS of misunderstandings and we don't work well together at all.  :(  Which is really hard to deal with considering we have so much work to do and so many issues we have to deal with- often I just can't be effective enough to get everything done, and often he can't be emotionally understanding enough to help me through the tough times.  

But, I like to remind myself that I didn't ask for an easy life, I asked for a FULFILLING life.  

Perhaps he's being honest?

He also doesn't understand his own tone of voice, so he often sounds condescending and insanely angry when he doesn't mean to come across that way.  I really have my doubts as to the validity of his insisting that he doesn't feel that way- that it is just his Aspergers inability to control his tone of voice, so he sounds angrier than he actually is.  I don't know if that's bullshit or not.  He may not be consciously aware of how angry he is, but I don't know if it's possible to sound so over the top and not mean it.

I'm not sure about whether or not he knows.  Being a teacher, I can tell you that the term "spectrum," could not possibly be a better descriptor to what Asperger's (not even just Autism) looks like.  I had one kid who was so self-aware, when I asked his mom how I could better help him, she said I could ask him, and SHE WAS RIGHT.  He knew how his autism affected him, and it totally BLEW MY MIND.  He was 1,000,000 times MORE POLITE than any of my other students, always saying "hi," "good-bye," "please," "thank you," and "have a nice day."  It wasn't just a conditioned response, either.  He was absolutely sincere, and such a good person :).   Of course, he could become agitated when kids were turds, which, given that this poor child was in my worse class EVER, was understandable.  I don't know how aware he was of how others perceived him, but I think it was more accurate than one would assume.   He was truly the exception and a marvel, though, and I credit his amazing parents, who "simply" worked a billion times harder to help him understand social niceties.  

Maybe your husband's lack of self-awareness is a different version of our lack of self-perception, but more extreme.  It is actually part of the DSM that people with ADHD do not always perceive themselves accurately, and let's face it, we're a lot more socially aware than someone on the spectrum.  So, take our issues and add the fact that Autism is a disorder of social communication, and maybe, just maybe, your husband is telling the truth?  If you read the posts from non-ADHD spouses on this site, you will see that many of them perceive our actions to be inherently selfish, when at times, they are the *unfortunate* consequences of having ADHD.  Why do they perceive them that way?   Because frankly, our behavior at times are so goddamn mind-boggling that surely, we would have to be total a-holes to act that way, right??  Except that we are wired differently and would never choose to act that way out of the gates. What's more, we're impulsive to boot!  So fun!   Sure, that doesn't help them feel better, nor should it, but it is what it is.

I admire your courage and strength to work on a marriage with such challenges.  I hope you appreciate how awesome you and your husband are :)!


Thank you :)

Thank you.  :)  You're right- I have never (that I can remember) caught or even suspected my husband of lying.  He is literally the most honest person I've ever met.  

Don't confuse that with the most rational person I've ever met, though, because sometimes he deludes himself or rationalizes his own behavior, which are just as problematic as lies.  But EVERYONE does that at some point, that's just being human, and it's not intentionally breaking trust, which is all the difference.  But that's what I suspect may be happening.  I.e. he really feels anger when he yells at me, but he tells himself that it's just the Aspergers making his tone of voice or mannerisms giving a false impression, and that he really doesn't feel this way.  I don't really know how to take that.  If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and is something he can't consciously control, then how is in an inaccurate reflection of what he's really feeling?  If he stands over me aggressively with a tightened angry face, yelling, with his fists clenched, how is that NOT anger he is expressing?  He says I take it too personally, but that's because it seems pretty damn personal.  :P

At any rate, our relationship is not without its challenges (probably more challenges that neurotypical couples face) but it's ultimately rewarding.  And I'm so proud of the leaps and bounds he's been making to try and make life better for all of us by adjusting his behavior.  It makes me want to do the best I can for him, too.  :)  And I know that he finds his family important, even though he may not show it at times.  ADHD SOMETIMES feels like a walk in the park compared to what he goes through.