My Thoughts Hurt...

First and foremost, I must show my gratitude to whom has created this site. Upon finding this, I thought I was the only one going through so many of the similar issues other women are facing in this forum. Oddly, I felt relieved knowing that I wasn't loosing my mind, and what I thought I saw, I was truly seeing. I am a new member to this site, and recently decided to join as I have been feeling overwhelmingly frustrated in my current relationship. I feel that the tension is growing, and I wanted to find another outlet rather than venting to my partner about my frustrations. I don't feel that my continuous venting or showing of my frustrations is easing any of our issues, in fact, its probably making him avoid them more. Here is a brief summary of my relationship (Well I hope to make it brief). We have been together for 14 months, and it has been one very rocky roller coaster ride. We both jumped into this relationship rather quickly, and moved in together within three months of dating. We knew that this may have been too soon, but as much as there was a risk we felt that it was right for us, and it was what we wanted. That is when the cold wars began. We were both at the time going through very difficult hardships in our own lives financially, and my boyfriend, he was also restarting his addiction treatment from 3 years ago, as he felt that this would help him get through the stress he was facing and help him cope. I am a person who suffers from insomnia, and very bad anxiety; so I supported his decision to go back on the medication that he felt helped him. I don't place any judgement on people for their past, as it is their past. He was an addict, and this isn't the only relationship I've been in where the addiction in my other partner boiled to the surface (this also makes me wonder about my selection in men, and why I seem to choose these sort of personalities). Anyhow, December of last year, the arguments were happening every single day, over the stupidest things. It seemed the closer we got, the farther we set ourselves apart. He constantly told me that he has ADD. After one argument and ultimate frustration I researched the symptoms and was shocked to read he had at least 80% of all the symptoms and I researched for hours. I printed them out, and gave them to him to read. I didn't tell him what it was, or why I was giving it to him; but even he himself couldn't believe that it truly was possible. He decided that if there is something he can do to improve the situation, he'd like to take the first step and talk to his addiction specialist. We both thought this would be a great idea because he is a very good doctor, and you feel genuinely comfortable talking to him about anything. I wanted to make sure this was something my boyfriend wanted, and something he thought he needed; I didn't want him seeking treatment because he thought it was something I wanted. Knowing he was an addict in the past, and learning about addiction in my past relationships, I know that if an addict doesn't truly believe they have a problem, then they are never going to seek help until they truly believe in themselves its an issue. I have really put that theory to use in many perspectives, because it can relate to so many other situations in life. After seeking treatment and being diagnosed with ADHD, he was a different person. He was able to pay attention to me, focus, he was motivated; he was a happier person. I guess, all in all, too happy. Unknowingly, he began abusing his medication and taking more than the recommended dosage, and then running out of the medication which caused huge spikes in his mood. I did not know this was going on until the fighting flared up again and I just noticed his irrational behavior. He was talking to me in ways I knew he would never say, at least not intentionally. I began then laying it down on the table, and told him that I wanted the truth and if he didn't give me the truth, I'd find it out. He knew exactly what I was talking about as well, as you could see it in his defensive actions/behaviors. He finally gave me his medication bottles, and he was already ten days without medication, going from five pills, to zero (He was only supposed to take 2 pills a day). Ayyy yiii yiii. We went to the doctor, and the doctor was NOT happy with him. I was at least positive in the fact he was willing to admit his mistake and face up to the consequences. Since then, his doctor and I remain in contact, and I dispense his medication to him daily, in the AM, and he takes it at his scheduled intervals. Now, we are here. It has been a very rocky, stressful few months. Between the stabilization to the current, things have been really great, and then slowly falling back downhill again. I feel very frustrated. I feel that I am carrying the emotional burden alone, that I am the only one thinking about our problems, and the only one acknowledging them. I doubt that he will ever act on the things he says. I have changed alot of my behaviors and/or reactions towards my boyfriend and relationship after doing alot of research about ADHD. I realized that my reactions to him were no better than the initial behavior his was outputting. Every action has a reaction, and I am slowly learning ways to react in a more positive way. I literally will analyze what he says so that I can understand and react accordingly. It is exhausting. I know that having these inabilities can be extremely frustration for him as well, I just don't believe he realizes how difficutl it is on me also.. I think our biggest issue would be communication. I feel that is what fuels the arguments. We perceive things differently, very differently. One word means something completely different to him than it does to me, and things he says mean something completely different to me than what he is actually saying. It has been exhausting these past few weeks. We both love eachother, we both want this to work, but I am concerned I am the only one putting in the "awareness" effort into our relationship. He admits things about himself about being not able to multi-task, and focus, etc; yet he never does anything to solve it. I hear excuses as, this is what I have always done, this is all I know, but in my mind; I have been able to modify/adapt in my life no matter what I knew growing up. I think he really just needs to decide for himself if he likes/dislikes the negative results his lack of awareness about ADHD is causing. I really believe in my heart, that he wants this to work, but actually doing it are two different things. I am trying as hard as I possible can to remain patient and understanding, but this is draining me and I am loosing my will power to keep my frustrations to myself; and then I implode. We have other issues that I feel need to be resolved, such as a sex life; but I think looking at the root of the problem might solve alot of the other issues down the line. I am at loss on how to proceed, as I cannot do this on my own. We need balance, and he needs to understand himself so that we can achieve that balance together; is it possible for him to achieve this without me enabling him or taking charge of the situation and just supplying him with what he needs to be aware of? I feel that my explanations are alot easier for him to understand than if he went and read and ADHD article on his own. Is that enabling him to not push himself to want to do it on his own, or in this sort of situation, is it okay; to an extent? How much is too much to give, and how much is too much to expect? Where do you draw the line. I have SOOOOO many more things to say, questions to ask; but my hands are now cramping from typing this HUGE post. I think I'll handle one post at a time, as there will be alot (haha). Mind you, I am a humorous person, and as much as I get frustrated, I can laugh at some of the things/OCD stuff in these situations. I'm still rambling. I appreciate everyone's support and those who have taken the time to read my post.

Hi Sunny Thanks for sharing

Hi Sunny Thanks for sharing all this. It sounds like an agonising situation - addiction on top of ADD. What strikes me is that your guys' symptoms improved a lot once he got appropriately medicated, but things have now slipped again even though he is still taking the meds, so I am wondering if the dosage needs to be changed? What does the doctor say? As for where to draw the line between enabling and self-responsibility - that's something I also wonder with an ADD partner, like how much are they capable of changing for themselves without other's input? Perhaps with the right medication and therapeutic support they can get further. Is your man getting therapy to help him with his addictive personality? All the best to you....

Thanks For Commenting...

It can be a very frustrating situation at times and a huge test to my patience, mind you I'm already a very impatient person to begin with so I have to fight that urge of implosion with all my might. Things have slipped downhill for the most part, due to the fact we don't have sex; and I think more importantly....communication. We perceive things so differently. He has no ability to be empthatic, or to analyze something to understand what I am saying. I could explain 2+2=4, in five different ways that he could understand, and it will still somehow = 11 in his mind. I think that is the biggest barrier we have right now. Also, he isn't self aware. He doesn't understand his actions, or my reactions to them. I know I am at fault as well for our relationship slipping because as the frustration builds, so does the resentment; and you wind up reacting negatively. Its hard to keep on track when I feel as if I am the only one accomodating his disorder. I tip toe around it, think about what I say, how I say it and condense what I really need to say into a sentence so he doens't loose focus. Its very hard to try to analyze how he will interpret something I say, and then try to phrase what I say around that. I wish he'd take the time to be "self aware" and learn about ADD. Although, I'm wondering now if he is having difficulty understanding what it actually means. If he isn't interested in something he will day dream or it will take him a million hours to read three sentences. I'm thinking of focusing on the biggest issue in our relationship first. Communication, and then outlining the reasons we have trouble communcating effectively and then explain them to him in a way he will understand...but that leaves me to wonder, as said in my post, is that enabling him? I'm a take charge, get it done type of gal, and well; he isn't that way. Its frustrating because I want to feel that HE is the one who WANTS to learn and understand things in our relationship. In any event, sorry for rambling...as you can tell I have soooo much to talk about as this is the first time I've been able to talk to someone about this....(again rambling). To answer your questions, the doctor has adjusted his dosage in the Adderall. He was taking it 3x a day, and now he is taking it 4x a day. He also works 16 hr days, and is a ticket broker; and this is his busiest time of the year so he is easily flustered and overwhelmed. The doctor thinks it could be stress thats making it more difficult for him to control his actions, I'm sure my frustrations contributed to him being even more frustrated. In regards to the therapy for the addiction, the only therapy he receives is the medication that stops him from being able to take the pills he used to be addicted to. If he were to ever take it, he would get violently ill. He hasn't done anything to learn about self control, or go to any NA sessions as he said he would and even after it being suggested by his doctor. As much as I would love for him to get some sort of support system for his addictive personality and ADD, I can't force him; and what might work for me, might now to work for him. I am really trying my hardest to believe that he is making efforts in his own ways and that I can't expect him to fix things as I would. Since I found out that he was abusing his medication, we don't keep the medicine in the house. I have a weeks worth of meds in the house, and that is it. I have it broken down in the little pill case so he can administor it himself....but he is at least smart enough to know, I would notice if he were ever tempted to take and extra dose. I will say, since the doctor up'd his dose to 4x a day, its been a very peaceful household. We even went on a date together and actually had a good time!! Its also weird...because he now suddenly notices if he interrupts me. He didn't before, and now he can catch himself when he does it. I know that is small, but HUGE that he is noticing things more as of the past few days and how they look on the receiving end. How do you manage your relationship being with an ADD partner? Is he making steps to improve his condition? Is he compassionate to your position in being on the other end of the ADD?

Welcome, SunnyNights

I've noticed that you are fairly new on the site...welcome, and we all hope we can help you get through this very tough time.

First, a request - can you put paragraph breaks into your posts?  They're pretty hard to get through in one big lump, and you'll get more responses if you break them up a bit!

Okay, some thoughts:

I suspect that you are not the only one who is exhausted from what is going on in your household.  Deep down your partner probably does want to learn how to control himself better, but it is SO MUCH WORK to do so...That's not an excuse for him, but it may help you have a bit more patience with him.

His response to the upped doses of Adderall seems very promising.  Some of his issues with addiction may well have to do with bad impulse control that comes with ADHD.  If the meds help him control his impulses to interupt you in conversation, they may also help him curb some of his addictive tendencies, as well.  Also, your comment about going on a date and having fun is promising, as well.  Keep that up!  Build as many fun experiences as you can, now that his meds seem to be working well.  At the same time, talk with him (or see if his doc will talk with him) about the fact that the best treatment includes not only meds, but also creating some new behaviors.

For the two of you, it sounds as if new behaviors around communication would be effective for you as a couple.  So perhaps before you get into another arguement, it would help to say something like "now that your medication really seems to be helping your impulse control, I would love to be able to have the two of us take advantage of that positive change and see if we can create some new, and more constructive, ways of talking with each other, particularly when we disagree.  Can we talk about some ideas while we are happy and smiling so that when we get into an argument we can stop it before it escalates?"

Some common approaches to improving communication patterns include:

  1. Creating cues when someone is getting out of control.  For example, if you feel you are getting out of control, you could say "I need a couple of minutes to think about that" and then wait for a moment before responding, so you can take the "heat" out of what you were going to say
  2. Giving each other permission to back away from an argument if needed (no bad feelings) with a guarantee that the topic won't be dropped, just discussed a bit later
  3. Banning certain words (swears, blame)
  4. Repeating what someone has said in order to demonstrate that you understand both the overall concept and the nuances ("I think you said" X,Y, Z"...am I right?")
  5. Learning to listen
  6. Asking for the other's opinion, not just always offering your own
  7. Learning to let something go, once it's been discussed, and live with the outcome of the conversation
  8. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, agree not to personalize disappointments.  You are disappointed with specific symptoms and behaviors, but not necessarily with him as a person (if you didn't think he was a good person, you would presumably not continue to stay with him).  Make sure he knows that you can differentiate between him and his behaviors...because that will help him do so, too.

It will be very hard for him to break down the emotional barriers he needs to break down to come to terms with his past, and a good therapist might really be able to help him do so.  See if he would be willing to talk regularly with someone who is very familiar with ADHD...This will relieve you of the burden of trying to figure out how much of this responsibility should be your own.

Melissa Orlov

Hi Melissa! Thank you for

Hi Melissa! Thank you for your warm welcome and very thorough response. I greatly appreciate your insight. I cannot express to you how much I value the outside perspective, and it is especially helpful being that I have not been able to discuss my relationship with anyone who understands my position in the relationship. I will definitely break down my posts a bit more. Now that you point it out, maybe I'm overloading my partner in the same way, without breaking it down to him. How can I approach him without him becoming overwhelmed? I agree that I am not the only one exhausted in the relationship, as I can just tell by how he reacts to me. At this point, no matter how I approach him, he locks up and becomes defensive. I believe that his doctor has spoken to him about seeking some form of therapy, such as attending NA groups. He says he will, but then he doesn't, at this point I do not know if there is anything that can influence him in that direction. Any suggestions? Your suggestions for creating better communication patterns between the two of us are great! I must say, that as much as I can be frustrated in my relationship, I can say that it has taught me alot about how negatively I would communicate. Not just to him, but to anyone. I was able to see that the way things were said, or how a discussion was approached greatly impacted the results of the conversation. I think your ideas are great and I've already started to redirect how I communicate with him. As of late, I am really trying to better understand his way of thinking. If he says something that just doesn't make sense, or seems contradictory, I ask him if he could clarify what he is actually thinking so I can better understand him. I definitely think that this helps ease the frustration a bit because instead of immediately reacting to something he may have said, I try to take a step back and realize he defines things differently then I do. In your suggestions, I can say that throughout my entire relationship with him, walking away from an argument has always been an option; but the problem being he doesn't come back to it. Ever. He definitely is very hestitant to resolve things, and what confuses me is that he sees the negative result the lack of follow through has; but he still continues to not follow through! He is extremely closed up emotionally, and slowly he is learning to open up a bit, but in the meantime I have spent alot of time watching how his family interacts. A part of me feels we learn what we see, and alot of his actions reflect how his parents interact as well. Also, he did tell me that his sister was diagnosed with ADD when she was younger and was on Ritalin. His dad always interrupts, but more importantly; his parents never approve of anything. They always question him and put alot of his choices down. I fear that this has deeply impacted him because he will fabricate things to avoid his parents "reacting." He always wants their approval. Living with him, I've seen that he isn't confident in making his own decisions, or confident in thinking for himself. I have a feeling alot of the decision making was always done for him, and he was always forced to follow others instead of following what he believe in. I would love for him to be willing to speak with a therapist because I think it would really build his confidence, but honestly, I fear he won't be truthful; let alone be fully aware of himself to be able to discuss everything with a specialist. I guess that is their job though, not mine to worry about. At the end of the day, I deeply care for him, I know we both need to make improvements for this relationship to work; I want to grow together. I just want to see him be able to find a way to modify/and or improve things within himself so that it can improve the quality and happiness of his life, with or without me.