To nag is counterproductive.

First of all, basics. People with ADHD follow different rules to people without it. You cannot apply the rules you have learnt socially to people with ADHD because they are not ADHD friendly, just like how asking someone without ADHD to work without break or food for very long periods of time is not average-person friendly. This can actually work fine for people with ADHD in hyper focus. When I get into something, my hunger and thirst disappear and they can regularly disappear for an entire day or longer- however long I am in hyper focus. I have to literally tell myself to eat and drink despite my lack of apparent hunger or else I know I'll collapse at any moment otherwise. All that hunger and thirst comes straight back once I come out of hyper focus.

There's a reason for why I said that. Because for a lot of people with ADHD, nagging is counterproductive. There's a notorious rule that a lot of us follow:

1. The more we tell ourselves we need to do something because we have to or because it's good for us, the more we will procrastinate and act against it.

Add two more rules:

2. We forget very easily.

3. We are 'distracted' very easily.

One final rule:

4: The more we are under stress, the stronger our ADHD symptoms.

Number 4 is dangerous simply because if you thought the first 3 were horrible, 4 heightens the effects of the first 3.

Now this is not an excuse to hate people with ADHD. This is not an excuse to hate people with ADHD. Yes, I said that twice. I've found people without ADHD have rules just as annoying and the only reason I will not list them here is simply because I'm not here to play blame games and if I did, you would hate me for stating all your flaws and be more likely to criticise everything else I say and not take the advice. You just need to accept that this is how they are or else everything will fall. 

So let's put the rules into context. You ask them to do something. Rules 2 and 3 come into play. So in response you ask them again. Rules 2 and 3 come into play again and now rule 1 starts to take effect. This cycle repeats and with each repitition, rule 1 becomes more and more heightened. You start to get frustrated and nag them in more harsher ways. Now rule 4 comes into play, making the first three rules worse. Can you see now why nagging is such a counter productive tactic for us?

Another thing to remember is that people with ADHD are still human and so we still have a lot of similarities to people without ADHD. For example, if you have are stressed, you lose control of your emotions quicker. The longer you are stressed, the lower your capacity before your break. As in if you've been stressed for 5 days over work, you'll break over smaller things than if you were only stressed for a day over work. Another thing is you don't like bosses when they are unhelpful to you, unsupportive and constantly telling you to do more and combining about your attempts to try. All here points are exactly what you are doing to someone with ADHD by constantly nagging them. Asking someone to do something at a later time when they forget easily is unhelpful. It's like telling someone to eat with a spoon when there are no spoons in the house and then getting angry when they don't. I forget to do things sometimes within a second of being told to. While my wife is talking to me I can reply as though I am listening to her attentively and replying appropriately when in actual reality I am completely distracted and so forget everything that's happened half a second later.

If you have noticed your ADHD partner's emotions getting worse as time goes on, then it might be because you are acting like their boss 24/7. Reminding them to do things, telling them off, reminding them again and finishing our work for us, thinking you're helping when from our points of view you are doing nothing to help. By picking up after our mistakes you are giving us a reason not to do any work. If you were given a choice to have a maid to clean your house for free or to clean the house yourself, which would you pick? You might be saying but we'll fail otherwise but that's because neither of you know how to control the ADHD and assume that just by telling us how to do something and reminding us all the time, we'll eventually get better at it (because in this case  that's not how we work either). You're literally following social rules which have absolutely no relevance to us whatsoever. It might be relevant to everyone else, but for us you need to act as though you know nothing about social norms and have to start over again (as if you were a child/teen learning about the world). If you think that your partner gets angry even when you're asking them nicel, if you also you know they used to be much more patient over things like this in the past, it's probably because that person still has all those past experiences in their head. You might not have trying to be nice during the beginning and when you realised it didn't work so you tried to be nicer, they still had all those experiences in them. Nagging them brings up all those experience again and they automatically assume you have all one frustrated feelings you had shown in the past. Like how if someone has pointed a gun at you, you expect them to be ready to kill you everytime. And even long after an event like this, you may still associate that person with an intent to kill you.

It's not like you can't overcome these differences. Like how everyone is different and so can't be treated the same, people with ADHD also can't be treated the same way. It's not an obstacle that will always hinder your life and I have learnt to take advantage of my ADHD such that some things seem effortless to me whereas it's clearly a huge struggle for everyone else. When in basketball in hyperfocus I know where everyone is. My mind just takes in all the information and I don't need to think. It made it incredibly hard for anyone to take the ball off me because the instant anyone got near I could tell and the instant an opening was made by my team I would notice and pass. And all this required a very little amount of concentration and thought for me. 

Going back to ADHD rules, of someone is distracted easily, take away their distractions.

When I look at my phone or a tablet, if I see a bunch of apps these apps I've noticed distract me and create openings for me to forget what I was doing. Solution? Use Siri or a search to search for the exact app I need, skipping the loaded app screens. Reduce the amount of apps on my home screen or the important screens so that I don't get distracted and forget.

I feel overwhelmed by a project or get bored with it and stop? Start another project until I get overwhelmed or bored with that, then repeat until I suddenly forget how overwhelmed or bored I was by the first project, I found which isn't after much, then restart it.

I forget to do things? Don't give myself a chance to forget it and do it straight away.

I need to remember something for later? Put it in front of my face i.e. a place I will definitely have to use soon that forces me to notice it. I get distracted by something whenever I see it? Put it in a wide open obvious space that I will pass by and make it colourful so that I can't stop staring at it. What I remember to do starts to overwhelm me now? Tell myself I don't need to do it, but that it would be nice if I could do it now. If I told myself I needed to do it, I would avoid it more, but I found that I told myself I don't have to, suddenly everything's okay, but that works for me, not sure for who else it works. Tell myself I only need to do one very small thing then I can continue later (when in actual reality my hyperfocus usually gets to me continue something I start for a long time so it gets done quickly). Don't tell myself that I can eat chocolate if I finish the work, but instead tell myself that whether or not I do the work, I will still eat chocolate but tell myself it'll taste better if I had done the work, and if I do do the work, relish for 5 seconds just how much better it felt to eat the chocolate.

I didn't figure these all out straight away, I read self help books, tweaked them or made my own because people with ADHD are naturally creative and I took advantage of that by testing out anything that came to mind until I found the right tactic. I did these one at a time and forced myself to leave some things until later (like my crazy crazy mood swings- you can find me rolling on the floor sometimes for no other explanation other than because I feel so happy). It's taken a long time but it's very clear from both my wife and I and I am becoming so much better over time at doing everything that normal people find easy to do.

There's just one problem of course. There are a bunch of other things stopping this from happening. A lot of you may be thinking that the ADHD partner needs to do this and so the information is useless to you. That may be true for many. Of course it is. You spent about 15 years learning about the world and society at least before you started getting the hang of it. Now you have to restart all over again for this one person. My wife takes forever to find ways to help me with my ADHD. Even with very very specific instructions from me she struggles to help. It takes her a long while to learn to do it properly. Even the most simplest of things, I'm guessing because some of my instructions sound as though they make no sense to the average person in how it's supposed to help. It's a struggle for her despite help from me to help understand me (I will tell her almost everything I learn about my ADHD and she still needs very specific instructions to help out with it and still even struggles on those). You can overcome their ADHD without having to settle for just full acceptance, except the ways I'm thinking of, have nothing to do with ADHD whatsoever, just normal marriage tips. Some points even have absolutely nothing to do with marriage itself, like just simply learning to accept your partner is not like everyone else and that the rules they abide by is just as normal as the normal flaws every other human faces. Make judgements; don't judge. But that's a whole other essay. I haven't finished with my points on this whatsoever yet still. Even then full acceptance is still what you need in order to reach this sort of stage without becoming frustrated and angry in the process. This post is for those that feel as though they're are at a stage where their ADHD partner are willing to help themselves or are willing to cooperate with you to make their lives better. Also so others can see that it is possible to overcome ADHD problems.


As always, if your partner is ready to work with you. Write down or be aware of why the ADHD side does everything. Don't get angry at any of the points, from both sides. You're here to solve problems, not cause more. What they feel during, what they feel stops them (not what they think, huge difference), when they got around to doing it. Read books on ADHD to make it a lot easier. They give you a strong reference point for possible answers to these questions. You should eventually start seeing patterns. Now that you know the patterns at the very least you can find out when they might occur and so what you should avoid and if it's unavoidable, begin to find solutions for it. It's a suggestion and it might not work, but as always, it's worth a try. The other option is to not do anything at all and so see no improvement.

Yes, nagging is counterproductive

That's true whether the nagger has ADHD or doesnt have ADHD.

I so believe your remark that nagging does nothing good, that at the beginning   of my marriage I thought it over and decided that I wouldnt be the reminder, either. I  let my husband know this up front, This means that my ADHD husband is on his own, to remember his appointments and get to them on time, fulfill promises he makes to people, complete tasks that he begins. He's on his own to ask me for help if he needs it.  I dont try to read his mind about that.  If I'm not myself meeting a deadline or complying with a promise I made to someone other than he, or on my way to an appointment of my own, I'm happy to do something, right on the spot, for which he asks for help.  Even very happy.  But he has to communicate that he wishes me to help.  And I have to be able to provide that help in a wy that is timely for me as well as for him.

Not being his reminder, let alone his nag, keeps the relationship at an adult adult level.   

 We both have a strong sense of dignity.  One of the ways that I honor him and myself  is that I will not  act in the role of his mother to him.  I am his wife, not his mother. My tenderness and love of him is as a man, not as a child.    One of the ways that he honors me and himself is that he doesnt ask me to be his mother.   The ideas of him treating me paternalistically or me treating him like a child are repellant to both of us.  We've talked it over.  

Do we give each other reminders occasionally? Sure, but it's occasional and neither of  us inhabits the reminder, let alone nag role. We each take the consequences of our own forgetfulness.

He does ask for help when he decides  that he needs help, and I'm happy to contribute my mind and hands to helping him with what he requests, if I'm not at the moment fulfilling an obligation or promise to someone else.  In that circumstance,  he has to wait until I'm done completing on the prior obligation to someone other than he.  

Less frequently, I ask him for help. But I dont nag or remind about my request, and yes what I've requested can get forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind, often, for an ADHD person.    What to do about that?  Well,  As J wrote in a recent post, even if in or other relationships a task is shared, that doesnt necessarily mean that the task has to be shared.  Sometimes what's needed is for the person thinking she needs help to figure out to do it herself. That  doesnt apply to all situations, of course, but I like J's approach, because I dont at all like the role of learned helplessness for myself . So yes, I ask my husband for less help than I'm accustomed to  asking a person who doesnt hav ADHD.  That's a plain fact.  He has a lot on his plate, and I've learned to do some things by myself that ordinarily take two pairs of hands.   But what's good for me is also good for my husband.  

 Because of ADHD attention issues, I know not to interrupt what he's doing with those requests of mine, when I do make them  My need of his help needs to go on his schedule, he'll give help later. If he gets to it.   And there is no way that I will turn into his reminder or nag, even if I do need help. There are some things that I cant do by myself.  This is a marriage between two adults, so of course there are things that we must share doing, regardless of his adhd and my limitations.  Those are the tough ones to get done, if he doesnt manage himself to do his part.


You know, I so very much agree with you that nagging is counterproductive, that I put it in the category of other kinds of counterproductive behavior that doesnt make a spouse compliant, but instead conditions the spouse not to want to participate or make herself available to have that done to her..  I put it in with stereotyping, labeling, misrepresenting, lying, cheating, hiding,  interrupting, yelling.  Yup its in the bin of behaviors that people who write about conditioning call negative reinforcement.  Negative reinforcers dont make people obedient.  This has been studied.  Negative reinforcing behavior like accusing, labeling, nagging, stealing, humiliating i n front of others, or yelling at someone conditions the person getting labeled, nagged, tricked, harassed or humiliated to avoid the person doing the negative behavior.

The shoe of nagging or any of those other negative reinforcers fits on both ADHD and non ADHD feet.  Of course.

Incidentally, my husband and I can do this even-steven, reciprocal behavior and let each other take consequences because we have no children, let alone very small ones, living  in the household.  Obligation inside the household is different, if there are young mouths  to feed,, or children to be taught how to live well, and succored in time of need. 




I Don't Really Even Need to Comment

..on all the reasons why nagging doesn't work bu to say only once again.  It does not work. Period. End of story...for ALL the reasons there are.  But in terms of reminding or reminders....I had a thought about this too as I read through this?  It's one thing to remind someone, when you actually see them "not remembering" or even a " is......." and leave it there?  I'm not going to get into whether or not you should do this, but I do appreciate that at times and it really has prevented me from forgetting something....but mainly it has to do with "on time" rather than important thing to point out?  "On time" different, than "forgetting" which 95% if the time......that is what it is for me?  I will remember things.....when it;s too late.....but that does not mean I forgot because that is also absolutely true?  To imply that "I forgot" ( completely and it left my mind completely ) might accout for 2%....or forgetting.  So what does that say about reminding now?  Pre-emptive nagging or pre-emtive "reminding" are really just the same thing packaged in a different wrapper?

What that is.....just to keep this clear and easy which has come right out my wife's mouth "word for word" is........" (I)...don't want to have to worry about it"  So ( I )......will feel ( I ) won't worry."  This is all about the other person and their worry and the stress of their worry has on them?  So what are you doing or how is that helping the person you are reminding?  Well...under those circumstance "alone" does nothing for the other person?  In fact.....from the receiving end of is clear "why" that person is doing it?  They aren't doing it for me or trying to help me.......that much, is as clear as the nose on their face.

So....I'd say.....if you are going to remind someone and be helpful......remind them "when' and "how"  they need it.  And if they don't need it or need to be reminded....then don't do it?  Not that hard to figure out? Don't remind them to make you feel better so you won't have to worry.....that's  waste of time...and a waste of energy on all accounts if that is why you are reminding them what ever it is?  Is it for you....or is it for them?  Something to think about....and how you could know what and when to do it?


Every relationship is different, J

My husband not only brought his independent streak, which I like, into the marriage, but also a well worked out and practiced reminder system that works with his ADHD.  You'll appreciate that. We do lend each other a reminder hand on occasion, but what I'm not is The Reminder for him.  That would be somewhat like that situation you described of your new wife one day when you were gone getting into your workspace and "putting it in order."  Like. No.  Much of my husband's ADHD workspace is in his head and his reminder system needs to fit his head.   We do better keeping track of our own obligations. But that's just us, not a universal to recommend to other people.  

I agre with this: "So....I'd say.....if you are going to remind someone and be helpful......remind them "when' and "how"  they need it"

I really like what you three said here...Good stuff:)

( "So....I'd say.....if you are going to remind someone and be helpful......remind them "when' and "how"  they need it")

I would (and do in principle) agree w/ this statement above, but, its never that simple when two different minds are judging the "When" and "How"....I lean toward  the concept of never reminding, unless, 1) I am asked to, or 2) I am emotionally prepared to accept any thing she says about the reminder without a word....In other words, If I judge the "when" and "how"  and give a reminder. Then I must be man enough to calmly accept her reply concerning it, w/ no negative response....

It is difficult (heart hurts for her in the moment) to listen to your wife standing in the hall speaking to her co-worker, informing them she has overslept or misplaced her keys an will be 30 minutes late....When that kind of action is 100% not you....But all the "help" alternatives like shaking her when her alarms go off only pisses her off, because she starts hitting snooze 40 minutes before she gets up, then jumps up in a rush....This is just who she is, and she isn't changing...Baring a miracle....

It's taken me many years to accept the fact that all I can do to help her, is to roll over and push my ear plugs in a little deeper, and let her fight her own battles....It sure has seemed a lot strange (this acceptance love) to this Doer and Fixer Husband of hers....But I refuse to be the source of conflict....No matter how limited I am at being able to interact with her...


Words of wisdom

I just wanted to say yes, that's the way I found out to be the most successful. Don't remove obstacles (she's sooo angry when I do). Unless she asks. Let her trip and tend herself to her bruised knee.

This doesn't solve everything, though. Problem is, I'm often the one who needs to take care of the bruised knee. Otherwise, I'm likely to be called insensitive.

If she's late, she might ask me to drive her. And if I have time, I do it. But on the way, she decides she wants a sandwich from a local deli, because she's so hungry that she's about to faint. So we stop, but then she spends an hour in the deli and I can't reach her on her phone because she put it on silent 3 days ago and forgot to un-mute it. And I can't leave my car, because there's no parking allowed, and I really don't want it to be towed away in the 5 minutes I spend looking for her. I should have told her "I'll only wait 10 minutes and then drive away", but it somehow hasn't occured to me she might spend so much time inside. So if I do drive away, well, that's not very chivalrous.

It turns out the guy behind the counter is a  really interesting person. Or, on the contrary, a f*** redneck who didn't have change in the register, so he refused to sell the sandwich, so she needed to tell him what she thinks about this and how rude he is and what he might have done instead. And then there was this really nice retired guy behind her in the queue, who joined the discussion and decided to share some interesting memories from war and how clerks were back in those days.

She's still late for the appointment, 90 minutes instead of 10. That - she'll have to deal with on her own. But my time, waiting for her in that goddamn car... I guess I asked for it.

When we know their phones are

When we know their phones are for THEIR use...When we know that time means nothing to them, most of the time.....When we know that distraction, forgetfulness and the justification to follow is a 95% probability, when they walk in a store....And we still allow victim comments like "you aren't sensitive"  (which really means...."I'm placing a guilt trip (manipulation attempt) on you, in hopes I can use you") to cause us to put our selves in a hot automobile, for a much, much longer time than it would take us to do the same thing....Then you are right...Yes, we are asking for it.....Got plenty of the t-shirts!..

But, I'm starting to really focus on boundaries....NO matter how much gas and money it seems we are wasting....You can't replace time and sanity LOL.....It's the only way we will ever get along, and reduce the conflict.....

Bottom Line........Fear ( Again )

I'm going to make a separate post about something that I "now" know much more clearly than I have before.  You sparked my memory again when you reminded me of this:  "That would be somewhat like that situation you described of your new wife one day when you were gone getting into your workspace and "putting it in order."  Like. No."

I really think I'm done know ( for now ) analyzing and learning and gathering information and now it's time to come to some conclusions which I already have begun to do.  I realized this now more than I have in the past....but my mother did this same thing as well.  That was really you had to pick one major fault or flaw in my mother out of all the good qualities she possessed, she was intrusive and had a really poor sense of personal boundaries and space.  She would always justify this by telling you she had to...."for some reason".....because..........................................................." and then that was that?  And it was reslationship to fear of something.  Fear and worry go hand in hand.  Without fear.....then why worry?  Worry, is just wated energy and runimating and grinding that fear in to dust.  Just pulverizing it with over worry and gridning and grinding and grinding away at it....until you've ground it up so small that you can't even see the peices of it anymore?  You just shred it to pieces with all that worry which is ALWAYS traced back to FEAR.
I say "yes" say "NO"  ( I'm afraid )
You say "stop"......and I say "go go go"  ( because I'm not afraid  and you are )

I was thinking about this in terms of being oppositional and defiant?  I say...."do this".  And you say " no way" ( because I'm afraid )  I say......."Let's do this together or I'm going to do this"...( my mom )...."No"....."Wait"!!!    Always, first thing out of her mouth. "No.....Wait......wait........wait.......No............"   "What are we waiting for MOM???"  The same thing my Dad would say  "Wait for What?"   Exactly?  What are (WE) waiting for?  And who's this we?  You got a turd in your pocket?  There you go.....that's exactly where it came from?  I don't know how many times I said that to my Mom......repeatedly and never got an answer from her even once?  I got so sick and tired of hearing the word "NO"....that I would always circumvent my Mom...and go to my Dad first?  At least he was reasonable about his answers and he'd give you actual "real answers" to whether he said "yes" or "no".  Unlike my Mom.......who'd just say "NO....or .....wait........."  First, before anything else.

Like I said....."Hey, that sounds like fun....lets go....."  "Wait......No........wait....................."  It's why I would get up really early in the morning, get my cereal bowl and cereal by, get my cut off shorts and T shirt on and tennis shoes....and be ready to run out the door as fast as I could ( in the summer or on the weekends ) since the biggest obstacle standing in my way was my mother....not my father.  My father...could really care less if it didn;t affect him...and me not being there or around him on his days off was just fine with him.  No one to bother him or inconvenience him with any demands or needs or any of that "stuff" that got in his way? As long as that Hyperactive little nusance is out of my hair.....that is a very good thing.

So the second my dad would be up on his days off and my mom was still puttering around.....I'd be eaten, and ready...and hit my Dad up for the day. "Can I go over to so and so's house to play?"   "When will you be back? "  "Before dinner" "Okay"....and BAM.....I was outa there and you wouldn't see me until dinner time.....I was FREE!!!!  Another succesful ESCAPE!! hA!!  I had that down to an art form.  And I remember distinctly doing this....while or before my mother had a chance or voice to say anything.  Specifically...with intention.  Why?

This is why?   ""  Over and over could count on it, just like clock work.  Sane thing she would do anytime she got that look on her face?  This "wide eyed look" with her mouth she just saw a ghost or something? LOL  This was her "normal" response to anything she did not understand ?  It had nothing to do with anything you would think one would be afraid of....but the fact remained that she was simply afraid of damn near anything and it was paralyzing to witness or be around she was paralyzed herself.  And that "paralyzation" would rub off on you too...if you were "tied to it" I found ways to cut the cord and get free of those sticky strings that would just get you all tangled up in knots.  Thankfully....I had my Dad around for Dad was my ticket to freedom since.....he wanted "NO" part in it what so ever? I thought?  I wanted "NO" part in that drove me out of my mind!!! LOL  This was when I was in grade school....if you can picture a little kid....climbing up on the counter, pulling the cereal box from the shelf.....getting his bowl and cereal and spoon together.....and then the milk from the refridge.  I use to pull the draws out of the cabinet...and makde steps out of them......and even though I got yelled at for doing that "your going ro ruin the shelves!!!"......I did it anyway.  Besides, no one was there to watch me do it, cause everyone else was asleep ( my sisters and mom and dad ).  I would wake up at day break...and start planning my escape!! ha!!

And normally , as I remember.....the only thing I would get called on from those times....was spilling milk on the table and counters.  I never cleaned it up.....which was par for the course?

What I just a very accurate and true accounting of the way things "really were".  You can see why I did that.  That was my sole motivation and reason and exactly my own thought processes at the time. Honestly....with no embellingshing what so ever.  I didn't do that because I wanted to necessarily.....if I had my way, it would have been different.  But that is...what it is....and what I had to work with and that is all that I knew at the time.  And pretty much at the time.....I was pretty Okay with that?  I never gave it much thought beyond what I just said?  But that thing that you said or reminded me of.....about my wife getting into my stuff and moving my things around and intruding in my exactly what my mom did too......for exactly the same reasons?

Worry, fear, worry, fear.........I'm afraid, if I don't do it.......I'm afraid if I don't remind him.......I'm afrraid if I don't do something......something bad might happen?  All because......I'm afraid?   FEAR.....everything always comes back to fear as the lowest common deminator.

And my mom...would always say....."you're so brave".....and I would think but not say it "'re just afraid".

I guess I'll just post this here since this is segwaying into it anyway......but I looked up for fun  ( as I do ) what the word "courage" says as a defintition and further exploring what "courage" is?  Just to have that clear in my mind for my own understanding of it?  Interesting....what came out of that search?

(1)  Feeling Fear Yet Choosing to Act

“Bran thought about it. 'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?' 'That is the only time a man can be brave,' his father told him.” ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Fear and courage are brothers. — Proverb

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear — Nelson Mandela

There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid. — L.Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Being terrified but going ahead and doing what must be done—that's courage. The one who feels no fear is a fool, and the one who lets fear rule him is a coward. ― Piers Anthony

Courage is about doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared. Have the courage to act instead of react." — Oliver Wendell Holmes

(2) Following Your Heart 

“Passion is what drives us crazy, what makes us do extraordinary things, to discover, to challenge ourselves. Passion is and should always be the heart of courage.” ― Midori Komatsu

And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” — Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.
 — Soren Kierkegaard

“It takes courage ... to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” ― Marianne Williamson, "Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of 'A Course in Miracles'"

(3) Persevering in the Face of Adversity

When we are afraid we ought not to occupy ourselves with endeavoring to prove that there is no danger, but in strengthening ourselves to go on in spite of the danger. — Mark Rutherford

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them — Orison Swett Marden (1850-1924)

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the   day that says I'll try again tomorrow. — Mary Anne Radmacher

“Go back?" he thought. "No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!" So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

“It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.” — Mark Twain

(4) Standing Up For What Is Right

Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself ― N.D. Wilson, Dandelion Fire

Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes — Maggie Kuhn, Social Activist

From caring comes courage. — Lao Tzu

Anger is the prelude to courage. ― Eric Hoffer

(5) Expanding Your Horizons; Letting Go of the Familiar

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. — Lord Chesterfield

“This world demands the qualities of youth; not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.” ― Robert F. Kennedy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. — Anais Nin

(6) Facing Suffering  With Dignity or Faith...

 “There is no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bear witness that a man has the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.” — Frank

The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances. — Aristotle

Until the day of his death, no man can be sure of his courage. — Jean Anoulh

A man of courage is also full of faith. — Marcus Tullius Cicero


noun: courage

the ability to do something that frightens one.

"she called on all her courage to face the ordeal"

strength in the face of pain or grief.

"he fought his illness with great courage"

So I guess, if there was a measure of something, if  you had to pin point it here ( for anyone here ) or even for myself in this way.....fear exist no matter what?  I'd say it would have to be, ones measure of courage that makes the difference or not?  Either you have what it takes or you don't....who knows where I got it.....but I got it and that's all I know?  I think from one relationship to the next.....these are the things that really make the difference more than anything else?  I think based on what I said?  I guess having more balls than brains soemtimes, is not such a  bad thing after all?  Witnin reason of course!! LOL


Segwaying into it

J, segwaying is so much better than segueing.


Segueing: "to continue at once with the next musical section or composition (often used as a musical direction)." 

  1. Segwaying:


Segwaying into a topic IS what you do in your posts  :)  And more fun, more fun.

Glad that you saw the violation of boundaries issue if I were as a new wife volunteering to be The Reminder of a man who had devised, maintained, and uses daily his own memory palace, that fits his ADHD mind and is what he chose to set up.  What's wrong with that, if it works?  Nothing, I think.


I read what you wrote about fear often being the motivator of one person trying to stop, shut down, silence, or block another person from doing something.  I don't disagree, fear is often behind those things.

As for someone busybodying into someone else's own ways of taking care of himself, or messing around and "reorganizing" his space, I don't know what that is, but it's something like "the world has to be the way I think it ought to be, and I don't care what you need or prefer, I will make not only my things my way but will make you do it my way, it has to be my way"

No thanks. 


LOL Chicken Polo!!! LOL

Yes, despite my spelling errors.....this is what I do.  And that video so reminded me of "Day of the Chicken" except with a "chicken for a ball " and a moto cross bike instead of  Even more chaotic if you can imagine?  The "BALL" in this case...does not have a mind of it's own?  Much more challenging that way, I can tell you!! LOL

Yes, this is it.  And this is also why I struggle with it?  What is happening here and why?  Me, never texting, never writing "letters to people"...."never really emailing" and being kind of technologically challenged....this whole concept of "commenting" is still strange to me?  I mean,  what is a "comment" anyway?  Is it an opinion, or is it expressing a feeling?  Or is it....just saying "what ever you think"....but is it a conversation or even "chatting"?  I don't think so?  This whole "internet" type of comminication in short hand is still forgeign to me?  What the Hell is this....if it's not a conversation with some kind of diaglogue in it?  I mean....I'm a "live person" kind of guy and I hate talking on the phone too?  Without the "live interaction" and all that goes with it.....commenting, is like a bunch of people walking up to some road kill in the road..and standing around "commenting" on the "road kill?  Each taking their turn...."commenting and "giving opinion".  Is that a real conversation with real dialogue?  What's the purpose and what's the point? Don't answer's rhetorical.  Where is the real "connection" in all of that....just like on's just opinions and each person gets a turn to "voice an opnion" with no expectation of a relpy...necessarily?  It's hardly a conversation....really?  Where does it stop?  Right where it starts? I guess?  Isn't that just one way type of communicating?  Kind of....being a spectator without having to respond or in fear of anyone saying anything back to you?  Where is the "feedback"?  What's the "pay off?  And yes...with the steady creative stream of consciousness happeing in my head 24/7......I have creative thoughts just flooding in all the time and one goes into another?  I could do that all day if you let me....but "live" in person.....I have something to gage it by?  Now I am having a conversation....a real diologue in the "normal kind of way"?  You know/ people have been doing for 1000's of years?  I get that......this standing around some road kill and making comment is still kind a weird for me?  But as I know....that's just me....I'm the weird one....I am not criticizing only citiquing and saying I'm the one who doesn't get it?  That's all.  I have no bearing on where the boundaries begin and end because there are my head!! LOL  ( that's the truth too )

It does remind me of something we go again. LOL


She's Gone........But, She Left Me a Parting Gift

So, as it turns out, D didn't leave yesterday as she originally planned and ended up leaving today.  It is a bitter sweet event with a lot of emotion and sadness yet, with a resolve and an ending like finishing a book that you were really invested in and now it's over?  You know, that feeling like "now what?"  You can't read that book again "ever" since it will never be the same as the first time around since you already know everything that is going to happen and there is no mystery or surprise?  Nothing to look forward to and you already know exactly what will happen even though.....maybe later, you will pick it up and re-read it again to pick up the little nuances that you missed the first time around?  To get the deeper meaning hidden in there that you missed the first time around.

Chevron.....this question you asked is a good one, and I had quite an epiphany that came from my personal "quest" to figure out...just "what the Fuck is wrong with all these Christians ( so called ).....the ones who for example:  Kick little kids out of Sunday school for asking questions?  It's the same "people" doing this...I'm certain of that?  They do not want any conversation nor....are there to answer questions.  They are there to "tell you the way it is".....questioning is "Blashemy" to question God?  How dare you!!  Recalling the somewhat of a night mare I had with a "another one of these folks"....the guy I worked with for 8 years...who caused so much chaos and trouble for me in the shop ...he was a "one man wrecking crew"...who single handedly erased 14 years of developing a system that worked flawlessly for 3 guys working togehter...without a hitch?  And the Boss....was happier than a clam at high tide?  Not until this "Uber Christian"....."Evangelical conservative. Type A guy ( complete with a heart condition )...anxiety, fear, an anxiousness to fill a football stadium. complete with racial bigotry sexual and nationalism with a Jingoistic bend to it.... and a peculiar disdain and hatred toward Gays.  A true "Xenophobe" the point, that when I got in one of many ( semi heated on his end ) debates about Gays and of course...don't forget Abortion ( which I refused to debate about even though he said he could even see himself going down to an abortion clinic and blowing it up since it is murder.....( his justification ...a little scary that he'd even say that )......and with me saying to him...."Well you know.....the Episcopal Church has gay priest you know?  What you have to say about that?"  "Well, they are really Christians....they are fake Christians"

"Oh really?  My entire family might argue that one with you...since they are all Episcopalians including me ...technically speaking?  And technically speaking...since your entire family is Catholic....there is basically no difference between the two except for the Priests not being married or having families of their own.....and a couple of other minor what you're saying is almost like saying Catholics are not Christians either.....but ( I don't even know what denomination he subscribes too....some Charismatic Branch of Holy Rollers that are not Baptist or any recognizable one that I have heard of before? appears that it doesn't matter which Church you pick....there is always one or two in the crowd so that doesn't mean anything?  Mr "Uber Christian" ( yes ...he is German ) seemed to think along the same lines as we are talking?  Like "His Way" is the only way.....and he is absolutely "invested politically" and has to label himself as "something".  Without a label....I doubt if he knew who he was? " I am a Christian....and woman, go for my spirituality" he told me when he was dating and single but only dating "Christian Women:" from "his Church"...only.  But of course....who else is "safe"?  You never might meet some Gay Priest in one of those others ones....the ones that allow "those kind" in know....."those kind"?   And the whole time he is telling me how much Gays are a problem.....I'm sitting there thinking about this story he tells me one day about why he feels this way?  As he says...."All Gay want to do is have sex all the time.....they want to have sex with ALL men and no one is safe from them " ( paraphrasaing here  to get the gist of what he beleives )  With me thinking back of an old girlfriend who lived with these two gay guys and I would sit around and drink with them and listen to their sordid tales. LOL  Actually...what they said was quite interesting?  As I recall in response that beleif....."What makes "you straight men" ( the homo phobes ) think we'd even be attracked to you? arogant to think that we'd even want to be with you which we don't.....I can assure of that? "  Not directed at me...but a "vent" none less.  And with that in mind...he's telling me that he was on a bus...down in LA once...and this guy sat down next to him and started chatting with him?  And they were having a really great conversation so the guy asked if he watned to stop by his he did...and while he was just inside the door th guy asks him if he wants something to drink...which he said sure, so the guy says help he did....and then the guy walks into the kitchen and tries to kiss him....which ( from the trauma and the way he was describing it....this was like next to nothing he had ever experienced before and he was horrified!!! The horror!!! )

And I look at him and went....."what part of that did you not get?  The part where you were getting hit on....or the part where you accepted his offer?  And then  you said yes...and went to his apartment with him so what esle do think he thought?  That you would freak out when he tried to kiss you...after he just picked you up on a city bus in LA???  Dude.....which part of the fact that you went with a Gay man who asked you to his apartment...don't you get?  Like duh??"

This is when the bald spot on his head turned bright red and it wasn't from embarrassment?  He was pissed!!  I could always tell when he was pissed.....because he worked facing away from me and he would never look at you when you got into it with him like that ( about these things ) and I could see the bald spot on his head in plain sight....and I'd just watch to see it light up or not?  It really lit up that time....let me tell you!! LOL  He had a thing about Gays.....ever seen his trauma?  As it appeared to me....since he related that story as to why.....ALL Gay men are after anyone who moves and they all want "me".......yeah right!! LOL  That include little boys too.....just like the Catholic Priests....they are ALL pedaphiles!!!  Well a pedaphile is not Gay ( automatically ) in fact....gender is not so much the issue......"power" is?  And without thinking past this any further....I think there was a deep dark secret in there that he was not copping too?  Perhaps a run in with one of those Priests ( as a kid )  and maybe that story was just a made up one?  Ya think?  Could be the reason why....he "jumped ship" to a different kind of Church....the one where  "Real Christians" know....the NOT Gay ones?

My epiphany of sorting this all out.....actually goes back to Constantine...and the Council at Narcea?  You know...Constantine....could have given a rip about Christianity....he was (as I hear ) kind of ruthless asshole of sorts...but he had a problem and that problem involved a whole bunch of these power crazy Christian leaders all jocking for postion with each other and stirring the pot for everyone else and really messing with his ability to have "power over the people" so these "power hungry " Christians leaders needed to be taken care of?  In my ephiphany......the same "type of people"....who might go along with the answer here to  "I don't know what that is, but it's something like "the world has to be the way I think it ought to be, and I don't care what you need or prefer, I will make not only my things my way but will make you do it my way, it has to be my way"  You know, lets edit all these scrolls and scriptures and pick and choose the ones that "git me best and wht I beleive" and then make it into one unified Christian Book.......that "we all" agree on?  Well, not everyone agreed on it exactly.....but the ones who were in agreeement? lol  Know what I mean?? LOL  And Constantine, could really give a rats ass what they came up long as they came up with something....he could care less?  He was the that bunch, let me tell you?  He was not invested at the Christian Religion per se....he was invested in ruling hiw empire and not taking any lip off a bunch of hooligans who were getting in his way...and were a problem?  And of  course.....each "head hooligan"  was picked to come hammer it out under his orders and direction?  Not cause he was such a nice I hear, he wasn't really all that nice, if you understand the context of this entire story?

I think somewhere along the lines...the message got lost?  And now 2000 years stilll seems to get lost in the exact same way?  It's interesting....that now at this point in time   ...those "hard core" Trump supporters  ( just like my co-worker...FOR SURE ) are the only ones left who still blindly support him?  I'm thinking they do.....cause hey sahre the same ideals as he does including his "type of Chrstianity".....just like his running mate Pence who is a Catholic?  The interesting figure that I just read this accounts for only 18% of the poeple out there?  Whcih means.....18 out of every 100 people.....might fit this profile?  So that would mean that based on the stats and looking at these figures.....that would mean 1.8 out of every 20 Christians...might also share this kind of thinking?  That is certainly not all of them....just like not all Catholic Priest are pedophiles?  And the curious thing about being....that within that 18%....would include a host of other out liars?  Outliars you might think...who are very very interested in getting their own agenda served?  The most afraid....and the "skweaky wheels" of the bunch? 

The ones most interested in "control"  ...usually make the best canidates for jobs where "power iand control" are the needed to do that job?   What really interesting to note here, is what those Gay guys said to me back then when they were venting at a party once...and this ideas about homo phobes.....actually being Gay themselves.  Closet or "in denial Gays"...are the worst..they said?  And "me thinkgs" co-worker, may have had a little more to his story...after all?  Possibily not meating this guy of a bus..and maybe somewhat else?  And maybe, he went along with it.....because it was an authority he recognized and trusted....and his trust was shattered and so was he....but a part of him liked it...non the less?   Me thinks....this is where it might come from....possibly?

I never had a problem with that...and thankfully......having nothing even remotely close to sexual abuse or inappropreate "sexual advances in my experinence"..and I've always been pretty happy with being heterosexual with no inclination to be other wise?  But if someone else is or really not qn issue I have?  Like I said.....I bascially lived at my ex girlfriends house with these two and all their freinds and they threw some hellatious parties...OMG!!!  And with all the drinken debauchery going one came on to me.....not even one time...even if there were flirts just in fun...since they do kind of get one track minded qnd like to tlk about sex alot?  And I'd go.....Okay  TMI ...lets move on to something else?  But no one was cornering me and truing to get me compromised.....not even a feelking.....they simply were interested?  And they weren't interested because.....I'm not Gay?  And even if I was "hit on".....according to them...that could only be seen as a compliment or a form of falttery ( to even  be in the running they explained ? ) So someone thinks I'm attractive?  What wrong with that? It doesn't mean I'm Gay? LOL  I mean really.....what's the big deal?  The "Thought Police" are going to get you...if you "think bad thoughts". LOL  "He knows when you are sleeping...he knows when your awake....he knows if you've been good or bad so be good for goodness sake? better watch out, you better not cry, you better "keep your mouth shut" I'm telling you why!!!  The thought Police will get you.....and thinking Lovely thoughts will make you sprout wings and fly with the ferries to never never land?  Not so much?  I'm pretty darn sure that none of that is true!! LOL

Anyway...beyond all of that and all those correlations and thoughts of my own.....just sharing my thoughts is what we all do?

Here I am again.....right back where I started. myself...with my two little dogs.  The dogs are great company by the way...but they are hot humans and it's going to take a littel time to re-adjust back again?

But this parting gift...which really made me smile.....going long with what you said...."NO Thanks"......that was one of the most poignient and actually hysterical thing that just made me bust up laughing.  Even in my hour of ( what ever it is ).  Finishing a book, and feeling a little sad the the book is over and I don't have a new one to read just as yet.  No hurry....based on my gift. LOL

I've been using this plastic "pasta ladel" to scratch my back since it's got those little fingers on it..and it really works great?  D....see's me using it this morning and goes...."I hope you clean that now...since you used it on your back".  And I'm thinking...."well, not if I use it as a back scratcher, instead of a "pasta ladel"?  I mean, it works better ( as I told her ) than those bamboo ones called "back scratchers"...and since no one is going to be here to scratch my back....I am allowed to scratch my own back using anything I like...especially since   "your leaving!!!  Why does it even matter!!! LOL

So she very conscientiously , took care of any loose ends and didn't leave me with anything to for her or in any way that she created more work for me which was very nice of her to do and in is what I would do too?  I appreciated it..and in turn....fixed some things on her car that needed fixing?  Her brakes are shot and I tried to fix them today, but I needed power hammer to get one of the stuck bolts undone so I'll do that next week..and she is still going to come and do the bills for a little while since that was her job not mine?  It all works out in the wash and that's fine with me ( and her )  We are both helping each other and being as civil and as respectful and you could possibly be...with a little saddness and a moment to say good bye which was hard to see her drive off knowing she is not coming back :"home".

And then....I come into the kitchen to wash my hands.......and my "back scratcher is gone???"  Where's my Pasta Ladel????  Well, I finally located my Pasta Ladel Back the dish washer...since apparently, it needed D so clearly pointed out?

And then I spotted one of those Bamboo Back Scratchers...siting up on the window sill above the sink...right where I couldn't miss it?  So the moral to that story is......Plastic Pasta Ladels are NOT for back scratching....and even if they will never be used for Pasta...they need to be cleaned and washed thouroghly?? LOL  And "Bamboo Back Scratchers" ...are for scratching your back....cause everyone knows that Pasta Ladels...are not suppose to be used for back scratching...even if they work better than the Bamboo ones!!!  Everyone knows that!!

I'm glad that was my parting made me feel oh so much better, almost instantly!!! LOL  It is what it is....and nothing more than that. LOL  There you take on what you said?  No thanks is right....what the Fuck up with that? ( sheese )


PS  Just one more thing....."He who smelt it, dealt it" I've always said  ( going back to my childhood when I'd get "name called" or accused of things ) thoughts along those lines are as I was thinking about it, if it's it good enough for Steven's good enough for me....he sitll uses that one himself, and he's a petty savy guy.  At least I think so.....he's a very funny man.


That's it!!! LOL

Thanks for the invite.  I think I will?  Maybe now I can write to express or convey, instead of writing to think?  My noodle has been in over drive, just trying to problem solve and to "learn" which thanks to everyone here, I have learned a lot?  Maybe I can share some "real" insights of my own in things I have known and thought about for a very long time?  I've have many thoughts about this whole ADHD diagnosis which are all extrapolations of things I thought before I knew I had ADHD?  There are lots of things I've discovered on my own which I find right out the book which is nice to know that I hit the bulls eye occasionally?  That list of 6 qualities needed for "courage" I have never seen before?  It was like I was reading all the steps I took on my own one by one and no one was helping me along?  It's nice sometimes when you read something like that....and go....."sometimes I do get it right?  All by myself" ;)

Kind of like the reminder thing?  I did it before by myself.....I can do it again without any help?  Oh, and one more thing about my "Uber ( so called ) Christian"  co worker along those lines?  The "unsolicited help" he provided ( which was always unwelcome )  It occurred to me, when he first started....that he kind of just started taking a very similar way?  Extremely intrusive and annoying and I told him to "stop it".  And it was like a battle with him too....all the time?  He was constantly doing things his way without asking right out of the hole which is really weird for a new employee to start doing things "his way" without asking first?  Very disrespectful indeed which really started to get on my nerves especially as the foreman?

Anyway....on my own, I had this notion of Tom Sawyer of all things?  You know, the "white washed picket fence" and how he talked all the kids into the neighborhood into painting the fence for him while he sat in the shady tree and ate an apple?  This guy, literally started doing my job and he just would not leave it alone?  He was like ( as I called him ) a mother hen.....mothering around and getting my business like I said?  I finally did the same thing my T told me to do with my wife and let her have control of the bills since that was such a sore spot or source of worry?  Sure enough....I just said...."well, if you enjoy or want to do this ....sooo much then here, you can do it....I've done this for 30 years and I certainly wouldn't mind NOT doing it any longer?  It was like he almost didn't care or even hear me yet, he just continued on as if he had been told what to do?  The ironic part was when my boss started to complain to me about things and I said..."don't look at me, T is in charge of this now?"

Suddenly....the "we" started to appear in his language and I went "uh uh....there is no "we" here, only you. You volunteered stand alone on this since you seem to know so much and exactly what to do.  I'm doing the Tom Sawyer deal if you haven't noticed ...but I didn't talk you into volunteered and I'm just going to eat my apple and watch you do it?  Get it???"

He didn't get it.  It only made him mad??? LOL  I am still, trying to figure out, what this "Christian" connection is all about?  There is definitely a connection...and I really would like to know?  There is no way you can't notice this, expecially if you work or are friends with non-believers as said.....I'd perfer just to say.....people who don't have a particular interest or faith or belief system.....that not to say they are not spiritual....they just don't subscribe to any or really give it that much thought?  Between the two appears this "thing"...what ever it is......appears much more prominently and distinctly....tied to religion and namely "Christians" a label.  I have come to find that this "label" means different things to different people?  But this curious "thing" that appears , but found more often than not....tied to the word Christianity?  Why is that....and what is this all about?  What I'm saying "appears" tied to Christianity.....but it most definitely "is not".  What up with that?  Still thinking on this?  Fear again....seems to be the common denominator?

I'll be back...for sure.  Thanks


Hi J

Just wishing you well in your transition....I've come to realize that being physically alone can be good or bad....It will be what you make it as you already know....Since conflict begins internally with one person before it spills out onto others, that alone will decrease your load in that department....

And if you can stop fretting so much about Trump and Christianity that will be another huge load off your mind...:)....(messing w/ you!)....

Christians are Christ followers....They believe that Christ (and the Father) lives in them...John 14: 23...They believe that their Sin's don't count against them.... Romans 8:1....They believe that the only thing that separates them a part from the world is there hope in Him..(The Christ)....The power of the Cross.....John 3:16....

The gospel condemns sin, but, God is the only judge....Christians should be bearing good fruit (love)....But....What does the bible say about a double minded man?? Don't it say he is unstable in all of his ways??....I think your former co-worker should have been more concerned about loving others, instead of condemning them....John 3:17

God is Holy, and he has called us (Christians) to live holy in this present age...1st Peter 1:16, Titus 2:12....There is really no room to be judging others....Beam and mote you know?

Sin is what it is....But there is a way of escape....The Father through his great love and mercy toward us, has made provision for us to be his Son's... And fellow airs w/ the Christ...For of him, through him, and to him are all things....He is the way, the truth, and the life....No one comes to the Father, but, by him.....That's the message of Christianity.....

So we probably shouldn't look at, are study people, to find out what it's all about....He told us to learn of him....



barneyarff's picture


Read your post.  Thought long and hard about it.   Asking a genuine question here.  My ADHD husband has medical bills.

He keeps getting requests for payment but just can't figure out what is going on or so he says.  Mostly I think he's annoyed that I was working out of town when these happened and he blames me.  He asked for help and I finally gave in   The day we planned to do it, he hadn't slept well the night before and never came to the table to get this done.  I had asked for a more specific time than just "on Saturday" because I had other things I wanted to do and I knew that if I went on about my business until he said he was ready, he would have the excuse that I never said it was time to look at the papers.  Asking for a more specific time annoyed him so he sighed and said "OK, Saturday afternoon, will that be good enough for you?"   I was home, but he never got the process started.   I haven't bugged him about it.  I've asked him to clean off the dining room table occasionally. His mail from this and other things cover the dining room table even though he has a whole room that is his den.  We can't even ask the family to dinner because of this mess. I mean it's been piled up with his papers for 9 months now (So it's in his line of view daily, however I didn't wrap a pretty pink bow on it to attract his attention.  He's an adult).  But here's the thing.  I finally just looked at the bills on my own.  He owes  thousands of dollars mostly because he didn't take his insurance card to the hospital.  I asked him why he didn't just go to the hospital people and ask what was up with that.  He said his family just didn't air their dirty laundry that way.  What?????    So I got the information from the insurance printed it out.  All he had to do was take it down to the billing section of the hospital.   I've done everything else.   He said he would do it today.  When I left for work, he was still in bed.   I doubt he will take the paper to the hospital and there will be lots of reasons he didn't do it.  That would be normal behavior for him.   And he will whine and blame me.  I work full time and commute.  I also own a business.  I make waaaay more money than he does, because in spite of the fact I paid for him to get two separate degrees he can't manage to get a job in his professions so he is making very little money.  Today is his day off, yet it will be my fault that the paper didn't get to the hospital.   And it's because I nagged him (which I didn't) or-----here's a check list of other excuses used to blame me for him not doing what he needs to do.  Or he "forgot'    I've suggested several times that a reminder system of his choice would be helpful----I guess that's nagging-----    I'm so frustrated!   And all I can "hear" you say is that it's all MY FAULT because I won't cater to his timeline.    And the WHOLE WORLD won't cater to his timeline.

And he gets to just platz all over our house, our lives and our checking accounts.  And I'm supposed to put up with it because he's "special"

My anxiety for owing this much money for something we have coverage for is going to cause me health problems.   Because this is what happens.  I never know from one day to the next if something else has fallen through the cracks that is going to cost us thousands of dollars just because he didn't get around to doing something simple.   Why is it my job to pick up the pieces or get punished for his neglect?   Why should my health be jepordized?

So, I'm not supposed to nag.   Everything has to happen in the ADHD timeline.   But there are timelines as to how long insurance companies will accept bills too.  The other problem is the car accident he was in.  There is a 2 years statute of limitations for claims.  I've done almost all the work.  He only has to call to make an appointment.   If he doesn't do this we are out THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of dollars.   So, if his ADHD timeline doesn't just fit into the statute of limitations, am I just supposed to sit back and take that?????   Are you kidding me?    What about my anxiety?  Does that count for nothing? 

I understand about not nagging.  I understand it doesn't work but for pity's sake, does the ADHDer never have to just suck it up and get it done so the family doesn't get thrown under the bus?

You described my life.  This

You described my life.  This has nothing to do with nagging or not nagging.  It has to do with someone obstinately and  steadfastly refusing to take care of something regardless of what you do or don't do and then acting like you are an imposition on his life and completely unreasonable in your requests. It doesn't have to do with whether or not you nag or how you approach the problem, it has to do with unmanaged ADHD.  These are basic living skills; you are not arguing over who is emptying the dishwasher and how to politely get someone to comply. 

That excuse is a new one on me.  Wow. But... I've heard some doozies myself including "no one at work uses much health care service so I don't know what to do...I don't work with anyone who goes to the doctor very often..."  Huh?  

The only thing I've found to work in sitautions like this is to make an appointment with the appropriate people, take time off owrk (sucks), pick up H and take him and sit down and finish it.  This applies for high stakes things such as you describe which are also things that I cannot do myself because of privacy/HIPAA regulations.  

At this moment, I still cannot figure out how to change his tax withholdings unless I walk into his employers' shop and ask to speak to someone.  It's a family run business and they would probably accomodate me but it would be completely humiliating for me and emasculating for him. He'd be furious with me. So, I told him that we were not filing taxes together this year. He was shocked but not shocked enough to take action. 

I've come to the conclusion that my H will not step up to prevent the family from being thrown under the bus so I have to mitigate the circumstances as best I can but I, like you, live in constant anxiety about what's next. Chronic anxiety does manifest itself in health problems. 

The original poster mentioned that the post was meant for someone whose ADHD partner was willing to take steps to address the issues. Your husband and mine apparently are not. 

barneyarff's picture

our lives


Now what?   I've been married a very long time.  to divorce will be very very VERY expensive and he will get a lot more than he put in.

I feel trapped.  So trapped.  and it's going to kill me because of the stress.  Yet, that doesn't seem to matter.  Do you know my husband didn't even thank me for the hours I spent trying to unravel this for him?    He did finally kind of thank me for getting he car tags paid for.  He still has to put the sticker on his car by himself.  Wonder if he'll get around to it......

We all make mistakes and misjudge stuff, etc but not trying to fix it is beyond my understanding.

It never ends

I hear you.  I never get thanks either.  The stuff I have to fix should never have happened to begin with.  It's complete avoidance of responsibility.

I apologize for being so harsh.  I've come to draw a distinction between stuff that is basic living that every adult should handle without adversely affecting other people and nice to have quality of life stuff.  It would be NICE if my husband could plan a date or a vacation or participate in household chores or remember to thank me or notice me from time to time.  Those things would be lovely.  BUT ... being completely asinine about such basic skills... no.... I get my panties in a twist because he chooses not to handle them and I have no choice BUT to handle them because the stakes are so high.  I am at the point where the only things I jump in to do/fix are things like you describe.  BIG things.  And that's if I'm even given a chance to know about them. 

Please be kind to yourself and remember to thank yourself and congratulate yourself for being competent.  I hear you.  I never get an apology for being placed in a position to spend hours unraveling something. If I dare mention how put out I feel about it .... I'm blamed for doing it or I get the blank stare or more weak excuses........ 

Here is my funny for the day.  I made a dental appointment for my son.  My son is working at my H's company for the summer so they commute together.  The appointment was for immediately after work.  Between the two of them they missed it.  I got the no show bill yesterday.  H decided to jump in and help.  He texted me this morning and said that if we made another appointment, they would waive the charge but if not they would have to do something else.  (what ?  IDK, he couldn't say).  He reported this information to me.  WHY WHY WHY WHY is this a question for me versus a simple appointment reschedule?????? You're already on the phone.  Am I now to take this earth shattering and important information and call back and rescheudle?  Where's the help in that/???? arrrrgggghhhhhhhhh.  I dont' dare say that this is not helpful help or I hear how he can never do anything right. 

Right now, it's a little crazy.  My daughter is 22 and my son is 19.  They have both managed to "adult" according to their age, experience and abilities.  They continue to progress, learn and ask questions.  The other day my son said to me that I sound like his boss except that his boss asks how is weekend was.  Ouch and duly noted.  I've taken on this role for so many years because I've managed two children and an adult.  It worked for the kids when they were younger but this approach will no longer work with them. I've been conditioned to behave this way.  I have to change my reactions with my kids.  Right now they are acting more mature than my H.  



Hi, vabeachgal and barneysarff

I hesitated, since my husband does tackle what he sees (the key: what he SEES, in his way) needs to be done.  But it was like ticking boxes to read your posts about what yes, vabeachgal is in fact the result of obstinacy, not a harridan nagging.  Over and over again, I think as I read on this board that my life day in and day out is easier than these dreadful situations---which are real---that posters describe on this site, because my husband and I married late, and he had a lifetime to feel the consequences if he didn't show up at work, avoided the dentist, didn't pay attention to bills and so on.  These things hit him personally, as in creditors knocked on HIS door, HIS car would get repoed, HIS jaw would hurt if he didn't attend to his teeth.  These are somewhat fictionalized examples, but not the main point.  He can get into a "quit bothering me, I'm not going to deal with it, yeah, yeah, yeah, I promise, just to get you off my back."  He doesn't much, but he can and when he does it tracks exACTly on the head in the sand or head in the sand while saying I'm harassing or irritating behavior.

Vabeachgirl, how this would go down in our house

he only thing I've found to work in sitautions like this is to make an appointment with the appropriate people, take time off owrk (sucks), pick up H and take him and sit down and finish it.  

I admire that you've got the gumption to do that.  My husband would NOT participate in that.  He would not get in the car.  He would never even get to an appointment I made to force a situation.  I'm lucky that he's a sweetheart and knows that there are real consequences out there, but forcing the issue would set off a REAL brushfire in him.  It has nothing to do with reasonability, sanity, debt, or consequences.  I just couldn't do that to mine and have it turn out.

This applies for high stakes things such as you describe which are also things that I cannot do myself because of privacy/HIPAA regulations.  

Exactly.  You and Barney are not talking about being a little dictator about everything in the home, you're dealing with a situation in which other people are harmed by the delay/neglect/delay/neglect of a partner.   I posted a question a week or two ago, what do you do, to get done what needs getting done, if there's a very basic problem that can't be handled by the non ADHD taking it all on and doing it all, that the situation, which can't be avoided, requires the ADHD person to take action and complete something.  The answer that the thread members came up with was: nothing.  There's no way you can reason with, cajole, force, or do anything to someone who is refusing to do his/her part.

Well.  That has been my experience.  I'm going to leave the details offline, which makes the description vague, I know, but I wrote that question to board members while in the 9th month of waiting for my husband to do his part that I couldn't do for him, that had massive implications for us, for him and for me.  Nine bleeping months.  He's not ordinarily in ODD mode but when he gets into it on anything, it's like the issue is totally dead to him and he doesn't even go look at it because he has ODDed that no I'm not going to do anything about that.  

Nine fricking months.  I had puh-lenty of time to think over my rule of not nagging.  I really did wonder how long he would go on.  I wasn't being his bossy bitch.  There was so much riding on it all, so much.  He'd occasionally surface on the issue and say "we need to do X" and I'd tell him where he left off on his part and waht he needed to do, send him the documents again, and he'd waft away.   We must have done that 4 times over the 9 months.  "We need to do X"  "This is where we left off, and the ball's in your court on doing your bit"  And he'd waft away.   I'm not really sure how he got himself out of his ODD.  All I can say is when the most recent time that he wafted into "We need to do X" and I resent him the docs, and named what he needed to do (which came down to writing two bleeping sentences about things HE owned), and he again expressed irritation that the situation hadn't resolved itself, I blew up.  Not a major cyclone, but I said something different this time:  "There's no reason to be irritated with me.   I have been very, VERY patient with you.  I can't do your part.  But I want to know, if you don't want to do this thing we're doing together, for ANY reason, let me know and I'll abandon the project and make arrangements for myself."

Va and Barney, in my opinion about my own life situation at home, words, even reasonable, factual and informative ones have little to no impact on moving someone out of ODD refusal into action.   It is very much a question of the ODDer's will.  I agree, Va, that if the wellbeing of the family is at wellbeing certainly was, and the maddening thing was, so was HIS...that there's no other option that I can see with someone in an ODD balk than either to take the bull by the horns and get your spouse to the doctor and sit there until the thing is done with him; or what I told mine, that we could go C's route (C, I didn't mention you to him), which is separate finances, separate cars.

I can tell you that nicely waiting until your spouse gets over his/her ODD doesn't get things done.  

And I REALLY believe...about what I've seen at home here, not about your spouses, but the evidence is pretty persistent with mine, that it is difficult or difficult to impossible often for my husband to see the impact of what he does on other people.   So my talk about what it does to me for him to ODD block on something that affects us both is just wasting air in my lungs.  That's yet another reason I won't nag.  It is a waste of my time, in addition to putting me into the role of the harasser and I don't want to take on that role.  

I guess that's the reason I rejoined the discussion, in terms of the problem you brought up, which SMD originally didn't: what IS a spouse to do with a partner who blocks, refuses, blocks, refuses, forgets, or "forgets", blocks, evades, and it is hurting other people than her/him?  

My husband has a kind, generous heart.  He doesn't want to hurt people.  And (not but, and) he doesn't recognize, or recognize and retain, what his actions do to people around him.  I can tell you when he was in his 9 months of now...not, he was not connecting his refusals to any impact later on.  

I think, but I don't know, maybe the planets in the sky had changed their positions and he was desirous enough of finishing the thing to be willing to do something on it that I couldnt do and the team couldn't do, only he could do.  I don't know.  People are mysterious.  It's possible that in a recent conversation I reminded him of the way things stood at present, and that if anything dreadful happened to him, or to me or to us, that no he wouldnt' be in control of his own wellbeing and choices.    Maybe that was of sufficient value to him, and maybe I told the story of that vividly enough that he understood that he was holding himself, and us and me hostage with his refusals.


At this moment, I still cannot figure out how to change his tax withholdings unless I walk into his employers' shop and ask to speak to someone.  It's a family run business and they would probably accomodate me but it would be completely humiliating for me and emasculating for him. He'd be furious with me. So, I told him that we were not filing taxes together this year. He was shocked but not shocked enough to take action. 

Interesting, Va.  That's the C separate accounts solution.  It might work. He'd have to do his own taxes and deal with the IRS

I've come to the conclusion that my H will not step up to prevent the family from being thrown under the bus so I have to mitigate the circumstances as best I can but I, like you, live in constant anxiety about what's next. Chronic anxiety does manifest itself in health problems. 

In these situations, its like the family is not real enough to the ODDer that they are worth caring for.  I do think my husband often doesn't see the impact on me of what he does.  I mean, really take it into his recognizing mind and see how large or small the impact of his actions on others is.   As J says, ADHD challenges vary from day to day, sometimes the reception is clear sometimes not.

I'm as stubborn as they come, so I waited out my husband 9 months on his refusal/avoidance....of something so small he had to do, in something that overall had a very large impact on him and me.  I will not be made into a nag by behavior like this.   But I didn't have kids in the family....that so changes the dynamic.   At my age though, it was going to be foolish for me to remain in my unprotected state, waiting on my husband to deal with himself, and get off of no I won't into completing the task.  Which I couldn't do for him.  


Nuclear Option


You responded with good insight and clarity, as usual.  What I described is a nuclear option and not to be taken lightly. Doing such a thing creates a huge, raging forest fire, not a contained fire pit. It has to be really important, like the situation Barney discussed, where we would be forfeiting thousands of dollars due to inaction and going through the hell is worth it.  Just because I'm a rogue nation with nuclear capabilities doesn't mean that should start a nuclear war!  And, there's the resentment and anger that comes with having my hand forced in that manner. The few times I've had to do this, I've had to express serious consequences and been prepared to follow through." In these situations, its like the family is not real enough to the ODDer that they are worth caring for" - because this is how it really feels. It feels like lack of caring and it causes so much distress and worry and anxiety and unnecessary unpleasantness to get something necessary done. The personal, emotional and relationship cost to having to take it this far is immense. Only as a last resort. Even if the thing is fixed, I still feel the above statement, that I'm not real enough to my H to care about the "thing" and how it affects me. 

You're absolutely right, once my H has decided not to do something, it's dead. Anything I say after that is wasted breath. 

We can do separate finances and such but it only goes so far.  He can still accumulate debt on his own and it affects us all because of reduced discretionary income, ability to obtain necessary financing for things, etc.  We can do separate taxes, but if he never files on his own, it is OUR house that can be liened or his paycheck that can be garnished and then what?  Oh, and we get to pay more this way plus late fees and penalties if he doesn't file but it least won't be a joint debt on paper. Or I can pay his share out of my pocket. The choice of separateness can be limited and still dangerous. You still need a reasonable person on the other side. We're at 8 months with the tax withholdings LOL,  maybe month 9 will be the charm? 

I don't want to be made into a nag over these things either, but like you, I can't remain unprotected and vulnerable. There isn't any cajoling or wheedling or enticing someone to do what they do not want to do.  (and we're not even talking about ability, simply don't want to)


barneyarff's picture


It is a great relief to hear others write stuff

My husband's reason for not taking care of the medical bills was that he doesn't understand how to read the bills and his brain doesn't work well anymore.

This is true HOWEVER not taking the bills to the hospital for explanation, etc is just silly.  Except that he knows that I will not throw us under the bus and will eventually take it over.  He learned that again this time when I followed through after waiting for him to do something for 2 years.  All he has learned is that sitting and waiting will let him win every. single.time.   Because winning is more important than anything else I guess.  He would strongly oppose that opinion and blame it on his poor brain function and "It's just how my family does things"....Now, it's true, it's how his family just does things.  Two family members of his have recently died.   Both situations were dramatic messes because no one would step up   Afterwards, my husband even said that what he saw was pretty horrifying yet he continues on his merry way.

But why wouldn't he just take his insurance card back to the hospital to show them he had insurance?  I said many times during that year he should go ahead and get any tests or procedures done because he had fulfilled the deductible so he had to have known he had insurance.  Now he says he didn't understand what I said so he didn't do anything. 


Also thanks for saying what a great toll this type of behavior takes on the relationship.   How can I trust him with stuff like this going on?  What else has he not done (found out twice that he hadn't put me as his beneficiary on things!!  His Excuse?  He thought leaving large chunks of money to our minor children would make up for the fact that his dad didn't leave him anything.  Never mind me)         It's hurtful and frightening.  I can't feel safe because of what his does and doesn't do.  Like I said before, everyone makes mistakes and that's OK, just fix them as best you can.  But this....   holy crap


The rest of the world

LOL.  The rest of the world keeps their insurance cards in their wallet along with their driver's license. I don't get that. Where does he keep it?  He could have contacted the insurance company while he was in the hospital and had them email or fax a copy to the hospital. 

I have a bad feeling about the beneficiary information.  For a long time after we were married, my H kept his sister and her kids as beneficiaries.  Because.... if you're married the wife gets everything anyway.  Ummm, no, that is not the case if you specify other beneficiaries.  I don't know where he gets his information. And he has obtained enough life insurance to "last you a little while."  The truth?  It's only one and a half times his salary and a significant portion would be spent to pay off his debt. I carry a separate policy.  This was one of those things.... I forced him to get a physical to qualify. I was able to make arrangements for someone to come to the house. 




Apologies for my lateness in replying first. I tend to wait a bit after seeing messages because I try to take very strong care of saying the wrong things. Also I'm still trying to improve my ADHD myself. I don't reply to things straight away because a large amount of my mental effort is focused on trying to make myself better (I only found a very strong link between me and ADHD 6 months ago). It would be hypocritical for me to comment if I can't even help myself.

I'll try to address each point that was raised here:

1: vabeachgal was right about how my post only applied to partner willing to improve themselves. Life is always much more complicated than one solution which works for all. I also added that there a large number of factors which can affect your relationship which have seemingly nothing to do with improving on ADHD but make it worse. There's this psychological phenomena whereby we like to see everything as having only one or two sources. Like if a fire started from burnt cooking we tend to say that the person who was supposed to be watching it was neglectful. We don't take into account that he or she may have made it a habit to be neglectful because their parents used to be all the time and it never harmed them, or maybe the person was incredibly stressed because of their current life and felt like making it easier, their feeling of wanting to do everything as fast as possible and thus multi-tasking things which are dangerous to attempt to multi-task etc. But of course when you consider this much it's overwhelming, especially when you just want an easy answer so that whatever is there (a problem, something you want to understand, news etc.) has a sort of closure. It's why I couldn't even finish off my post with even the ADHD aspect (almost completely ignoring other life aspects) to anywhere near a fully comprehensive point. If your partner happens to be in the situation of not trying to improve, then your efforts (at least the focus of it) are necessary to be directed elsewhere.

I did however mention one other use for this post, and that is that it helps give people hope that you're life does not have to consist of constantly putting up with failures on the ADHD partner's behalf. I found it hard to attempt to apply for one job in the past or to do paperwork. I avoided bills and the previously mentioned like the plague. I couldn't even do the 'simple' things like were mentioned here like calling someone just to ask one question. But that isn't my excuse to not do it and I'm not prepared to let my wife and the world babysit me. For the record I can handle these things now. Except it took a while to do so. And I'm still working on it. Not as good as the average person, maybe not even near, but I can do it in a reasonable time and manner. And without my wife having to even ask to begin with.

As BigSurprise also mentioned delayed gratification is a horror for ADHDers. At least the average person's view of delayed gratification. It's basically the same point as my first rule, whereby we can't just suck up and do things for the good of it. It sounds horrible but put it this way. Let's say you want to get from floor 1 to floor 5. The average person would take the lift because it's the fastest way of doing so. They just want to get to the end. Someone with ADHD takes the stairs. They want to be able to feel every step. They still have a goal to reach the 5th floor, but they don't need to constantly keep thinking about it to get there. In addition they also get the added benefit of leading a healthier lifestyle (by trading off speed in this analogy). The average person dreads taking the stairs and the ADHDer dreads taking the lift. Two very different ways of getting to the top, but both equally good. Bring it back to the original point, people with ADHD can have a goal but it's important to respect the small things that happen as it goes along or else their ultimate goal can't be achieved. Except the world doesn't like this way. They want everything done fast and see life as only a goal so we get forced into a life which doesn't cater to our advantage but caters to the majority's advantage. As always, it doesn't mean we don't have to fit in and the world has to work for us, it just means compromise. How I avoid debt? Just don't use a credit card. Don't take out loans. Reduce any contracts or monthly payments to a minimum so you don't have to constantly remember the next time you need to pay up. It may annoy others that I can't use credit cards or pay things monthly but the trade off is that I don't accrue any debt either. Going back to the example of getting to the 5th floor, you can't just tell me off for not using the lift, I can tell you off for not using the stairs. Compromising, I take the stairs when work isn't urgent. You can't say that work is always important to be as early as possible and so taking the lift every time is the way to go.

2. Chevron, there is this thing. If you are certain that your husband is kind-hearted, then when it looks like he doesn't care, it's definitely more than likely that he does. It's the same with someone trying to improve on their ADHD but can't. They really want to but nothing is working. Some people have sadistic tendencies i.e. an apparent need to see the suffering of others for enjoyment. It doesn't mean they act on it or that they don't care about others. They can learn to suppress those feelings and replace them with logic and reasoning that tells them it's wrong to do so. They can learn to be just as caring as others yet at the same time unable to help their sadist tendencies. It's the same with me. There are some things I clearly do not see as important emotionally that would disgust others yet if I hadn't mentioned it absolutely no one would notice. They may even actually argue the complete opposite. I am completely aware that I am not attached emotionally but know that it is wrong to be that way and take alternative steps to make up for it. In the case of a sadist it may be that in order to fulfil their sadist tendencies they harm themselves. By helping others in a very generous manner so as to sacrifice their living more than others would. Or they could deal with it logically and say that trying to harm others would only bring such and such consequence which is definitely not worth the effort, yet helping so and so would have consequences I'd much rather prefer. It could be that your husband is definitely aware of the damage he is doing, equally that he isn't. And equally that he really cares about that which you think he should care about but doesn't show it, yet equally that he doesn't. Whatever it is doesn't matter. It's still completely possible to be kind hearted and caring for everyone without that emotional attachment. Equally as possible to not be as caring for one group as another yet love the former in a manner that clearly exceeds the latter. For example if I love eating more than I do my wife, I can set it so that I say I love her three times a day, write a poem every week and go out on a date every month. I can reduce the amount I eat or share whatever I love eating with her. I can increase my love for her by connecting her with food in some way or another. Technically I cannot help the feeling that I actually love food more, but it's still possible for me realise deep in my heart that I actually love my wife more and that I couldn't bare to see her go, that my life would much less enjoyable without her (this is an example, not the truth).


Thank you for your very thoughtful post, smd.  I'll respond to the part of it directed to me.  

Yes, I'm quite certain that my husband is kind hearted.  His friends are certain of it as well.   In my posts, in this thread my remarks have  been about other matters than doubting the kindness of my husband: they've been about nagging, reminding and ODD, not about any fear that I have that my husband lacks feelings or doesnt express them.  

I did say in one post that when a person refuses to do something and the persistent refusal is harming other people, it's like, meaning gives the impression, that he or she doesnt care for others.  Perhaps you saw that comment.  

But you can trust what I often say about my husband that he's kindhearted.  He expresses his feelings his ways.   In his case, and differently in mine, feelings and thoughts cohabitate.   It's not either or, either emotion or logic,  in either of us.  We have them both and use both logic and feelings.  I've received what I consider to be high praise from my husband in his saying that he thinks I'm reasonable, meaning that I apply reason to living.  He has a razor sharp mind andhas very strong emotions.  Ihave strong  emotions,  too, although my exprssion of mine is usually not so fast-flash as his expression of his is.  But that's enough about  us as particular people.

I was very interested in what you went on to write about yourself ,   and as you said, being kind hearted without emotional attachment.  In your studies you will have run across the topic of alexythymia, which is pertinent to what you said.   

Your remarks about the possibility of learning to suppress feelings and replace them with logic and reasoning really dont fit my husband.  He himself describes something else in himself, and I trust his abilityntomdescribe hmself.   Not all people with ADHD are alike.  Nor dothey have to be.

 Your remarks reminded me of a long correspondence I had online some years ago with a very smart and thoughtful man who had not ADHD but Asperger's Syndrome.  In the process of working on his part in his marriage, and on bettering himself, he had taught himself to introspect and it became his special project to teach people online about what he was learning about himself and Asperger and he w to work to improve in a relation while having it. 

He and I chatted about not processing love through feelings, but through logic; that is something's ng that many people with Asprgers say they do, and I dont think processing feelings through logic has to be limited only to people with Asperger's.

 He described learning to communicate his love to his wife not through facial expressions or through emotion laden language, but through what he called acts of service, which was very close to what you described of someone knowing that he was emotionally detached but setting a rule for himself and then  following it of regularly doing things that a partner would recognise as an act of love.  That was very close to what thi s man with Aspergers said he was doing, at home.

Very best wishes to you as you study and think about ADHD.  I always read your posts.


...apologies for the typos.  I'm composing this on a geriatric Ipad, and sometimes miss seeing and fixing all the typing errors.

Good Analogy


I don't care how my H gets to the 5th floor as long as he can recognize it's where he needs to go and can keep from getting distracted by the donuts on the third floor and the cute receptionist on the 2nd floor.  If, when he steps on the first stair tread, he forgets all about the 5th floor.... or that the elevator is an option.... and never resumes his journey, well, what do you do? He cannot, as you say, just NOT use credit cards.  He sees something or wants something and will find a way to get it even if it is not responsible.  Any joint agreement we make regarding use of credit cards is good only for the next 30 seconds. 

I don't care what he wants and how he gets it if it doesn't cause harm to those around him and jeopardize stability and safety. Reasonable time frames, however, are important for some things. 

The personal, emotional and

The personal, emotional and relationship cost to having to take it this far is immense. 

This is very true.  And the loneliness is double because your partner doesnt see what he/she put you through. And sometimes doesnt grasp what was at stake.  

I'm glad that my husband found a way past his blocking.  I hope month 9 is a good one for your situation, too.

barneyarff's picture


My anxiety is very high today   because even with my best efforts, we are on the hook for these medical bills because we are past the deadline

I am sick, just sick.  After having everything in place, and taking the advice of many, to just "drop the ball" so just once he'd have to pick it up and it's so big, even HE wouldn't ignore it.  Now guess what.......   Here we are......   And I have to hear about his health and how his brain isn't functioning 100% and how he didn't understand and how he was embarassed and how he turned to "the person he trusted the most" and I refused to help him.   I keep getting told not to enable.   He didn't even have a job at the time and I was out of town for a few months, earning mone,y when this happened.  And it's still my fault. 

I hate my life   I hate EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF IT      And he will walk away unscathed because that is what happens.   And he will "win" because he knows I will eventually pick up the ball. 

which is what he wants.  No responsibility   All the power           I can barely talk.    I can barely work.   I feel so betrayed.

And I spend my days worrying about what I missed.   The stress is going to kill me.   And he will blame me for that too.

I'm sorry to hear this,

I'm sorry to hear this, barneyarff.  Nagging works for some people; consequences work for some people; but there are other situations, like yours and sometimes mine, in which nothing works to persuade the person with ADHD to take responsibility and avert disaster. 

Can I ask a favour from you?

I would like you to write down 10 things that made you feel better happier. Spend as long as you need to but make sure it's done. There are definitely hundreds of things in your life which can bring you happiness and if you can't see it, make it up this instant. Something as simple as just sipping coffee for a moment and admiring how nice it tastes or staring at the beauty of flowers.

Write down your worries one by one as well as the things you love in a diary after writing those ten. Make sure there's never more than twice the amount of the things you worry about than the things you love (plus your original 10). And whenever you're down look back at those things which make you happy while dealing with your worries one by one. Force yourself to read those happy things one by one every time. Don't write any more worries if you can't think of two extra things that will make you happy.

Stress and anxiety has technically never killed anyone. The subsequent actions committed because of stress and anxiety do. And I completely agree with what you've said previously- dealing with your anxiety is just as important if not more important than everything else around you.

I'm not trying to be a therapist here. In a way you can almost call me selfish here. I simply just like seeing others happy and seeing them realise the good that can come from and that is in their life.

I'm so sorry, honey.

I'm so sorry, honey.

Do you have  someone in your life offline, to know that you're having this hard a time? Someone who will listen to you? We're here, but I hope you have someone there  for you, too.

I hope you try to get some stress off of you, any way that works for you right now.  

No, what he failed to do isnt your fault. 

Online hugs,


barneyarff's picture

Thank You

Thank you everyone for your support.  I do have local support and that is where I was last night.  Spent time with a therapist friend at lunch today.

Always understanding that you and my friends and my therapist are only getting my side of the story and of course I have my hand is all this disaster too, I'm learning that the more I insist that my husband step up and take care of things, the more he will tell me that his brain doesn't work or that he doesn't understand what I'm talking about or that it's always been my job to do the paperwork so why would I stop now and of course, he repeated again last night that when he called about the hospital bill and asked me what to do, I was "mean" to him which I guess excuses him from taking care of his bills and as of last night, it was still my fault.  I am refusing to pay the medical bills.  And the more I refuse to do stuff the more outrageous his behavior becomes.  It's like a little kid who gets whatever he wants by whining, and when the parent says "no" the kid ups the ante and so it circles until the kids is pitching a wild fit and the parent is exhausted and gives in.  What did the child learn?  Nothing good   That's what I've done.  That is my part in this.   It's just I never believed I was married to someone who would "pitch a fit" to the tune of several thousand dollars just to keep the level of power in place.

The more I ask him to step up, the more he will show he "cannot" because EVERY SINGLE TIME I have come in at the last minute and fixed it because it would impact me too.  This time I did not.   Well, even this time I did, way too late but I tried to fix it.  And since his experience is that I'll fix it before we get into trouble , he can act pitiful and do nothing.   that is always the payoff.  And I play along every single time.   So my anxiety is through the roof.  Last night, he "won" again by blaming me, etc

To be fair, when this happened we were in that COBRA time, and I hadn't paid the COBRA bill because I was hoping we could get to the next insurance without paying that expensive bill.  When he went to the hospital, I had to pay for the COBRA insurance so they would cover the hospital bill.   They said they would.  My husband just had to get the card or paperwork or whatever to the hospital when it came in the mail, so the hospital could bill the insurance company.    I'm pretty sure I told him this.  In fact I KNOW I told him that after going to the hospital, he had fulfilled all the deductibles so go ahead and get all the tests, etc he ever wanted because they were "free" now.  And he did do some of that so he knew he had insurance and at that point he must have had had the new COBRA insurance card.   He just didn't do anything about the hospital bill.  He had 12 months to take care of it.   I looked it up.  I was out of town working 8 out of those 12 months.  Yet it is my fault

You see, he has no motivation to change.  Why would he?  If I ever get on my "high horse" all he has to do is tell me how terrible his brain is or how mean I am or whatever, and I feel guilty and do the chore.  And he feels vendicated.

OTOH, as I've been insisting he buck up, he has been getting "sicker and sicker"    This year he has been to the ER at least 3 times.  The first time he went this year he told the doctor that we were poor and had no insurance so he hadn't been taking his medications.  I was stunned and horrified when the doctor "counseled" me about how poor people can get access to their meds at a discount.  

the other side of this is, even though I have "all" the responsibility, I had very little "power"  Even to reclaiming my dining room table after him having all his mail on it for literally 9 months.   I want to move to a smaller 1 level house, but that means he will have to get rid of lots of his stuff (He comes from a family that hoards)  He agrees that he, too would like to move but then when I push it, there is always an excuse for not cleaning out the stuff even to the point where he told me once that he only agreed he would move so I'd quit "flapping my gums at him"   That was so humiliating.  we don't talk like that.

So, now it's time to make decisions.  I really don't think he will change.  I think he will up the ante even more if I don't do what he wants    It could get very expensive.  I hope it doesn't get dangerous.  So far it hasn't.     I've got to figure this out quickly.  It's ruining my health. 

Crap, I've been a slave....

Thinking about your situation, Barney

Let us know how you are, as you want to.  I'm glad you have friends, there in your life.  

What you wrote in your last post sounds like you taking stock of what can change and what wont.  I always have to do that myself before I tackle something that's going to be long and hard.

I  agree with you that you have your responsible part in the pattern in the past in which your husband has gone belly up instead of doing something that th two of you needed.  It always takes two to tango, or as older friend of mine used to say, it always takes two to tangle.

But I'd gently suggest that you not slip into thinking that you're the screwup, he's just...incompetent and so more innocent than you of keeping the pattern of his using you and you tolerating his using you going.  

As your friends online here have said, and I bet your offline ones have too, the events and actions that you describe having happened show  that it's clearly not true that you are  the only responsible one.   That you're the screwup for his failures of action, while he's innocent is what HE says, not what has been going on.

 Now is a very good interlude not to listen to his descriptions of you or the relationship.  His (whiney) claims have been part of his smokescreen that he puffs out at you, to try to hide himself.  

I hope as you're seeing pattern, what can change what very likely wont that right now you wont go the way he has been encouraging you to go, and only scrutinize yourself.  You need to do what you're doing in that last post, get a fix on him and the whole dynamic as well as on you.  You've judged yourself pretty hard, earlier, buying into his campaign or you to believe at you were the fixer and that all problems were yours.   I know and appreciate from having done it myself in my past that people can do that.

 I think it's important to your seeing things as they are, which you were sure doing in your last post, and to your making your new decisions and executing them, not to slip back into what he has wanted you to believe, that you're the only responsible one for what he does or doesnt do that ends up failing.   Dont listen to that kind of smokescreening from him right now.  Dont worry about what's in his head right now.  He may believe that he's a victim for the rest of his life., with or without you in the picture  .  You can change your thoughts but you cant change his  

Ask your therapist friend about this, so that you can get his/her on it from dealing with clients plus therapeutic training about it: yes, I bet that as you do things that step out of the old pattern with him, he very probably will up the ante for awhile.  I think you're probably right to expect that.  It will help you to have your therapist friend's take on what they call resistance.   It would be great if you had an offline person in your life as you got through that.  It wont last forever.  He may already have shown you how he's going to try to block you changing, he's going to go more and more needy and sick on you. ... Because that's what kept you locked into place taking on his responsibility before.  

Just thinking about what you wrote.  You, your faithful friend and your therapist friend will know more and better.

If you feel physically endangered, you need professional guidance in handling that, OK?  




I am sorry that you are going through this.  Please be kind to yourself during this time and be sure and find someone to talk to. 

The betrayal is real and the emotions attached are real.  It will take you some time to sort it out but you will.  I understand the barely talk and barely work comments.  Been there.  

It is not your fault.

Most people carry their insurance card in their wallet.  Why didn't he have it? 

It's not your fault you were away working.

He could have contacted the insurance company while at the hospital and requested that a copy be emailed or faxed to the hospital. 

He could have been honest with you about not doing this task in a way that you could have provided real help or tell you he didn't understand. But that sounds like a cop out. 

If he didn't have a job at the time, he had all the time in the world to take care of this without pressure. Two years, right? 

The people who told you not to enable, well, the dynamics in a non adhd marriage are different.  It was probably well meaning advice but not suitable for your situation. 

Why does he say his brain isn't functioning 100%? 

Please take care. 


Very sorry

I have been following this particular thread since it rings true with me too.  I am so very very sorry for your situation, I can totally relate.  I have no explanation for this type of scenario other than the ADD brain is damaged in some way.  I can think of no other reason someone would just ignore or conceal a pressing matter and just expect it to go away.  My family has paid the price for my H's ignorance and total lack of follow through on any matter he doesn't understand.  I do not understand WHY someone would ignore something that would require 15 minutes to clear up and later complain that he  is responsible for thousands of dollars. I ask you, remind you, text you, tape a note on your phone etc and still it goes undone. But, then they have the chutzpah to blame it on the one person who was pushing them to get it done.  That is beyond comprehension!!  Back off we are told and let them suffer the consequences, help set reminders, realize their limitations.... H not picking up his dry cleaning has no affect on my life so I don't care about the consequences BUT some things do matter.  We all see it time and again where there is little thought to the ramifications of their actions or inaction and no ownership of the financial ruination to the family.  None.  They are always the victim and it is always someone else's fault. NO A$$#*!3 it is entirely your fault that there isn't money for college or a  new car or anything else most of us expected to have after working everyday for the last 40 years.

All of these experts are are full of advise that is useless.  I have watched hundreds of youtube videos by experts lecturing about the areas of the brain that don't function in the normal way.  They are quick to tell you why the ADD brain operates differently and why we should just accept ADD partners for their "gifts".  The focus is all about them, make exceptions, expect less, have a parade every time they remember to take out the trash without 14 reminders.  Come on, you are not 12 years old for crying out loud, grow up and be a man.  Stop hiding behind the ADD excuse and do something about it.  Instead of expecting everyone to make allowances for you maybe it is time to seek help and put effort into your marriage and family instead of video games or porn or whatever it is that is soooo distracting you can't function like a full-fledged adult man.    


Hi barneyarff,

Hi barneyarff,

Many things you said sound familiar. I'm not sure about your H's particular mindset, but have you tried describing to him what will happen if he doesn't?

I've recently learnt there are 2 things that work:

1) Establish deadline

ADHD folks work much better with deadlines. They need a well-defined external structure to rely on. Instead of saying "do this", it's much more productive to say "do this before MM/DD/YYYY". Don't say "could you do this", because a likely response is "yes", i.e. "yes, I could (hypothetically)". If you want to be polite, add "please", but don't say "please" at the beginning of the sentence.

2) Describe consequences

It is likely he's unable to predict them. Have you observed anything that would support this? Be very clear what will happen if he doesn't do what is expected. Use simple words. Don't leave room for (mis)interpretation. Describe how you'll feel as a result. Hell, describe how HE'LL feel.

It seems to be working in my case. Not saying that's easy, but we just want some things DONE, don't we? And this is a possible way to achieve the goal.

Please let me know if you've ever tried doing it this way (precisely this way, phrasing makes a world of difference). And keep us posted.


Wishing you all the best. Take care.

Part 2:

Part 2:

Give yourself a time margin. Make sure the deadline you establish is AHEAD of the actual deadline when the disaster strikes. This way you can still readjust in case he doesn't comply.

Describe to him what will happen if he exceeds the official deadline. Make sure he understands it will be his neglect that caused it. But also, when you establish "your" deadline, you might want to describe a "punishment" that's within your capabilities and that won't ruin your life. It might be "I'll stop talking to you" or basically threaten to take away anything that's important to him. And then do it. And set another deadline, with consequence. If he exceeds it, do what you told him you'd do. It might seem like a very radical solution, like an obedience training, but that's desperate times.

No need to feel guilty, he's the one who's failed in the first place (don't tell him that). You don't really need to feel vindictive in your heart to do this. This has nothing to do with feelings. It's just a potential way to reach him.

He's playing your guilt like a chello when he says the timeline doesn't fit. The trick is to make him WANT to comply.

I needed a long time to learn that the working solution is the best. It brings relief to both parties. He won't have to face his failure afterwards. You won't have to deal with another disaster that's already happened. You both win.

What would seem ruthless and dominant in a neurotypical relationship does not necessarily become so in a relationship with an ADD-er.

Part 3:

When the deadline is exceeded, you must act IMMEDIATELY. Delayed punishment works exactly the same as delayed gratification: it does nothing. It seems like two disconnected events. It will only make him feel bad, but he won't understand why this is happening. Make sure he understands it's a direct result of his neglect. Say "I'm very sorry, but there's nothing I can do for you. I told you what the consequences would be". Overplay your emotions, if need be.

Again, this might seem like blackmail, but trust me, it's not. You're just grounding him in reality, and he probably needs it as hell, based on what you said. He'll possibly learn to appreciate this predictability in his life, as this might be the only element he's able to predict: that what you say always comes true.

Now, that's just one way to tackle those things. I'm not saying it will work here. I'm not saying it will ever work with your H. I only know it works in my case, and I've tried to describe the method as precisely as I could. It doesn't solve all problems, of course, it's just the tip of the iceberg. But with those things out of your way, it's easier to focus on what really matters; the bigger, more complex, less obvious, multi-step issues.


Again, I wish you the very best and hope your problems will be solved this way or another.

Part 4:

Part 4:

To end on a more positive note: make sure he knows you appreciate the effort he makes. Even if he fails. He may not accomplish things so easily, but as long as he's trying, that's the road to success. If you praise his effort, it'll make him try harder next time. As long as the gratification is immediate.

I often made the mistake of assuming my SO knows what I know. Turns out I was wrong. She just doesn't know what seems so obvious to me. I've found out that by making it clear to her, I actually help her cope with things. It actually builds trust between partners and breaks the endless loop of the blame game. If she knows the consequence FOR SURE, she'll try to avoid it. And if she doesn't, at least she won't feel like she's entitled to say "it's your fault". And if she says that (as I know she will), I might not be able to control myself, and react in an aggressive manner (as I know I will). This way we prevent an even bigger disaster. Silent days are better than becoming a vagrant.

Juggling multiple tasks

Hello, this is completely new for me but something that I feel that I will have to do to be able to move past the funk that I find myself in with my non ADHD partner.  My partner is actually OCD in many ways and she prides herself in her accomplishments because of being OCD.  I was diagnosed with ADHD two years ago and I tried the medication and honestly it did absolutely nothing for me except make me even worse.  I felt that the medication was not helping because there were absolutely no tools in place to help me with what i needed to do.  I stopped the medication and looked for other natural ways to fight the demons as my wife calls them.  I take fish oil, vitamins, and I also work out (run) to keep my mind healthy.  I have apps on my phone that keep me on track with messages to remember things and to do things.  My wife has been a great help but our relationship has truly suffered because of this and we find ourselves broken.   Her explanation to me is to think of a piece of wood that I keep putting screws on and taking out, leaving behind a hole.  This hole is a weakness on the piece of wood and eventually will break.  I dont know how to take that comment or even process it because it makes me feel that i am single handedly destroying my marriage which in turn is making me eat more because of my frustration and gain weight.  She tells me that I need to find the root of that demon also, It all comes from being overweight in the past and loosing that weight and now gaining some (20lbs) back and unable to get it off.  I do feel stressed out because i feel so much pressure on my shoulders, as if everything was my fault and now I can not function without snapping back at her when she starts shooting off a thousand things that need to get done and that have not gotten done and discussing this plan that I need to have for her every week.  I need help, i understand that, but how do we show our non ADHD partners how they are causing that stress and tell them that 90 percent of my problems feel directly related to the way she reacts or deals with my condition.  I don't blame ADHD for all of this, I blame the lack of knowledge on how to deal with it and fix things and actually stick with those changes long enough to see the positive side of those changes.  It has been so bad that i started eating and hiding from her to eat and eat until she found out and now our relationship is broken because there is no trust at all. Please help any advice, thoughts, ideas?

Jcaban Thank You First

for snapping me out of the funk I've been in which I apologize for in the midst and heat of my own personal dilemma.   It isn't fun to lose your relationship and I equate it to losing anything or loss in a finite way......including things like a special pet or even a death in the family.  It's one of those things that nothing can prepare you for even when you know it's coming and that probably true for most I would guess.   The last couple weeks ( since ) have shown me many things just from paying attention to it and watching yourself closely.  I can see the anger that was not there before, and it is part of the grieving process and I do remember going through this many times in my live big and small, and it is part of human nature and how we are designed to protect us from loss or the pain of losing soemthing special.

So returning to the time before this actually took place......I had done a few things successfully that I might suggest as well.  Smd's idea about creating a space is a really good one.  I've spent the last few years doing that and it really helps out with any messes or things in the living space you share which eliminates the need to be so "on guard" and pressured, if you don't have your "stuff" in the same area you share with others.   What really worked well in my case, was to pick 5 rooms that were "off limits" for me to bring my things in and spread them around so that just makes it easy and simply and the room is easier to take care of?  Just as one example.  The idea of picking a doable number of rooms was to simply be able to do it.  And then get that down and just keep doing it like smd was saying as well.  The only thing I could add to that which really helped me more than any one thing, and that was the concept of "pick up as you go" ...which is actually more difficult to get down and requires more attention.  The thing's almost impossible for me to do all the time without fail, but that's not the goal.....The bar ....gets put out farther than you can actually go........but don't say it out loud or say it to anyone.  Just keep that as your goal.....but not expect it to get there.  That are shooting for something in the long range without a definitive time you have to get there.  It just becomes something you start thinking about all the time. get so use to doing it just do it all the time to the point of it being a habit but the point of me reiterating this is the fact that you do it without the pressure or without anyone else judging your performance except for you.  It takes the pressure off....without having a spoken promise or dead line to go after.  You are very much right about what you are saying, the pressure build up and the friction can and will do that too you and the best thing you can do is not to fight.....not to be angry....and to create a place where you can do things you need to do and keep that separate from everyone else.  It takes time to learn habits and skills.  And it takes repeated repetitions in a continual basis.  The idea of "picking up as you go" long term.....long run goal.   You don't put time deadlines on those.......they're just there all the time and they become part of your everyday existence on going forever.   That...and make promises but only with yourself and really try and keep those most of all but make sure you can do it for sure....before you promise it.  Those promises to yourself really work as well.  These are all tools mind you, they're just tricks to train your brain or your body.....into doing things unconsciously and the only way to do to do it a lot, over and a consistent way over a long period of time.   That's realistic and actually doable.  It does have doable...and you're the only one who knows that but those little training exercises are what you were asking for I think?  Those really work for me and they do work if that could help you?  I also noticed....that if you read what you said backwards from at the  end ( where it says "  trust.......or deals with my condition" ) will give you the path to get there starting from she said you need to find the source.  In your own words in a general way?  Stress.......equals anxiety.   And anxiety leads to all manner of things.  Including eating as just one of many possibilities.  I might add, that running will help you lose weight but  eating less is a guarantee?   I find that "eliminating all at once" is not the best route either.  1/2 as much or 1/3 as much...and live with that for a while.  And then 1/2 that again?  I'm not one to cold's never worked for me.  Again...the goal isn't as fast as possible...the goal is longer range for this kind of thing and not pushing yourself too far out of your own comfort zone but the point of doing this means...your comfort zone with move along with you and it will become a new one now.....higher than before.  Your shooting way past the immediate but giving yourself enough time to get there.  The "act" of doing it......without a ceiling or any limitations to bog you long as you are speaking the facts right now...and just admitting when you falter and not hide it....but at least you doing something the 5 rooms, or 1/2 ing your intake on something and making those short term promises to yourself......but the big one is the picking up after yourself one.  That one trains your brain to pay attention to everything.  It's the hardest one for me but it forces to pay attention and when you pay see all kinds of things you didn't see before.  Including shoes and clothes lying around etc....

I have to thank you again for making me notice something as well?   It can happen very quickly when you are under pressure and you are already stressed out.  Those are the keys things to look out for and try and reduce as much as possible.  At least that works for me if I make that happen.


Children Make it even Harder

I read your post, Barneyarff. I completely agree with you and I know this feeling. There are many many things that the ADHD spouse does not have to do, even if the non-ADHD spouse would prefer that they get done. But there are some things that are the ADHD spouse's responsibility that greatly affect the non-ADHD spouse. This is even worse if you have children. And this is when the "nagging" question comes up again and again. I don't want to nag. I hate nagging. I don't want to be in the position to nag. And let's not even call it nagging, because nagging has negative connotations. I don't want to have to remind my spouse or inform my spouse or get an agreement from my spouse to do something. But I have to do these things and so much more because there are some things that absolutely must be done and I can either do them all myself (way too much responsibility for one person) or if I am out of town when they must happen I can beg, cajole, humor, etc. with my ADHD spouse, praying that he will do them and knowing that I will probably get my head bitten off by him for the work I do trying to get these things done. This is no way to live.

My ADHD spouse puts me in this position where I have to be the boss and then he resents me for it.

I think it's a matter of space.

If you've been reading the posts here, trying to get someone else to understand is near impossible. What I've noticed tends to work is when you think about what you need rather than what they need without blaming the other side or being judgemental about them.

To begin with, I know nothing about OCD. But I know about humans. You'll always have someone, if not multiple people in your life, who are trying to make your life worse. The most painful ones are the ones who you care about and who care about you but help you in the most unhelpful of ways. If the pressure is getting to you then you need to find space to think and do what you need to do to get better. Create spaces where she cannot criticise you for example or space where you can just think about what to do next without distractions. You would need to find out where you can make the space. If you are trying to improve that space will probably be very useful in helping you think more effectively and get yourself together. You might need to look up on OCD and found holes in her personality whereby you can create some space, directly and subtlety without causing any damage.

I find that for me for example, I can create space to improve without pressure by describing everything about myself and what I've been trying with my wife. It's not really robotic, more like I'm narrating and commentating on my life out loud rather than in my thoughts. It builds that trust and so long as I am being truthful, she'll see everything I'm doing and know that I'm doing everything I can. There was this one situation whereby I was using so much mental effort I needed trying to keep certain habits that I was building that when she even asked me to just call someone for a few minutes I said I couldn't even do that. At first she was telling me that that was dangerous, horrible etc etc. because I'd said at this moment in time I cannot deal with anything else other than my habits and so her criticisms weren't wrong. However based on my previous descriptions of myself I'd given she knew just how much effort it took for me to do something like this because I'd been trying before so it made it easy to give her an ultimatum. I told her that she could ask me to make the phone call, but she has to acknowledge that I have been keeping up a these habits for a week now and if I suddenly stop after this, it will all be without a doubt her fault. She wants me to build a habit so that I can be reliable and I tell her that. So she has to make a decision; tell me to make the phone call and keep adding things onto my life, potentially breaking down my current build up of habits, or do them herself and help me out and let me continue my building my habits. And what happened after? My habits continued, I started on improving other aspects and things happened faster. Completely worth the few days of extra effort on her part.

If you are definitely improving and she can not only see it all but you have stated each and every one, she cannot blame you for something you've already told her in advance would happen and any attempt to blame you would be mostly baseless. In this case that you know that you cannot handle the pressure she is placing on you, at least for the time being. No accepting but others can take it, no but you can't just slow down whenever you like, no anything, you have ADHD and need to handle things in a certain way, this is what you need to improve and if she does not give you the space for it, it won't happen, and she knows she wants it.

It might not work for everyone though. The basic idea is you need to create space; it's just that how it happens depends on your capacity and hers. You might have other strengths you can use to create space and this particular example might be something you struggle with horribly and need time to improve on and so won't the most effective way for the time being. And to know that you need to start studying yourself and her personality/OCD.

smd1409 - Your input here is

smd1409 - Your input here is invaluable!  We don't hear enough from the perspective of those who have ADHD and obviously we have a lot of difficulty understanding some of the behaviors we see in our ADHD spouses, so your insights are most welcome!  Please keep sharing - it is really helpful.  I will be looking out for any comments you may make on any of the threads. Your explanation of why nagging doesn't work and why things don't necessarily get better even when the non-ADHD spouse makes some improvements in their own behavior match with my experience of how my husband responds.  Do you have any more suggestions for the non-ADHD spouse that you think WOULD work when there are things that really are important to your joint lives?  And can you offer any insights into some of the self-sabotaging behaviors that occur and seem to recur even when the person pays a high price for them?  Some of the people here have been bringing up situations that have very negative effects on them and they are understandably angry and that has led to discussion about the dynamics between the couple, but there seem to be so many situations where the person with ADHD keeps repeatedly harming themselves - particularly with financial/legal things.  I think it may be about the long-term consequences not seeming relevant "in the moment", but some people have paid high prices over and over again - ADHD doesn't mean stupid, as we all know, so why do people seem unable to learn that a small amount of effort (paying a bill on time when you have the $) will prevent SO MUCH more work and stress and hardship in the future?


I'm going to repost something about myself which might help you understand what a small amount of effort means to someone with ADHD. Although not everyone with ADHD will experience this, it'll show you just how hard it can be and that everyone else with ADHD who struggles to pay the bills or do paperwork might have a struggle as hard as I did, even if not through the same process. As for how to overcome them, there are quite a few self help books as well as posts here of course including from me later God willing.

'Your life seems to almost mirror mine, based on everything you've said. There's only two real differences:

1: You have been married for 14 years; I have been married for 3.

2: I have finally accepted my ADHD traits.

Every other thing you have said is exactly the same. Oh also, I'm the ADHD husband (I was even a delivery driver at one point). I was in a fly or fall situation (my whole family being affected dramatically by it) and after failing miserably at every other award-winning, successful given-by-professionals-and-millionaires strategy for years and years, attempted to try ADHD help strategies, only to find that they helped tremendously which forced me to accept that I had ADHD.

Focus on improving his ADHD traits, especially habits. Working with him will speed up the process and help him accept it. When I say work with him I don't mean make sure he's reminded all the time or tell him what he should be doing, I mean discuss with him about the things he could try which might work for him and what he is and isn't willing to do at the time. Read stories together and help books about ADHD which you think relate to yours and see if you can draw some solutions with him from there. I also have jumped from job to job a few times, all low wages, though one reasonable wage. Do you know what happened to that reasonable wage job? I had to quit because of severe depression and anxiety from trying to keep that job and work like the 'average' person. In that time I caused much more trouble for everyone around me than what was worth coming from it. My untreated ADHD had interfered with it so much that this was what it lead to. If you don't treat it now every time he makes an effort it will only lead to failure which will frustrate you both.

That ego he has which you said was hurt when he got demoted? Chances are it has been harmed in a similar way a large number of times before. In his own world he recognised every small failure and found a pattern which he couldn't break out of no matter what he tried and someone outside has finally realised this and decided to take action against him. The only reason you've not noticed this is because once again, it all happens in his own world and being demoted was something that happened externally. I had six assignments for a university course to do throughout the year. I got 50% on my assignment at the beginning and the feedback I got for it was that I had an adventurous and very interesting way of thinking about things but I made too many careless mistakes and that things didn't make sense whatsoever (in a true undiagnosed ADHD manner I was last-minute for every deadline, missing many deadlines which they allowed an extension for because of the surfaced depression and anxiety). So I based my next essay on the previous feedback that was given. The result? 50%, same remarks. So I tried to learn from it again, used different ways of trying to explain what was on my mind so that people could understand. Can you guess what happened to the next 4 essays? Now imagine that one scenario being applied to every part of your life (I didn't know that I might have ADHD at that time so every strategy failed). 

When things like that that happen, it destroys anyone, not just those with ADHD. You also have to remember that this is only one trait of many in ADHD which recur and consistent causes problems for him in his life. Recovering from it is not easy. It's even harder when you have someone who is constantly beside you telling you you haven't done enough after believing that you've tried everything you could. He gets that from everyone else too. To have someone who can be patient and say "we will get through this together", I believe will make an incredible difference. When I realised I had ADHD, I told myself that I would go through this alone because I didn't want people trying to tell me what to do again and that no one, not even my wife, would be 'helpful'. Helpful to me is when people are patient with me and offer to work together with me, not give me orders that need to be completed and compare me to the rest of the world who can do complete these orders. They don't have ADHD so they cannot begin to understand the struggles I go through to complete these same orders. However, when my wife started to show support using ADHD strategies, learning about not only ways to help me but help herself help me and offering very positively enforced, non-judgemental solutions I began to feel like someone was in my life. The thing is when she just offers discussions about how I can change,  I will feel at fault, as I always have. When she began to change herself as well in order to help me, it no longer felt like a fault I have to accept and a trouble for the world, but another obstacle in life that needs to be overcome. The same thing, but two very different ways of looking at it.

Given how your husband feels similar to me and his situation, if you have any questions about the way he acts I can probably try to explain to you what I go through which might be exactly what he goes through. Have him look at what I've said below as a common problem I faced and see if he can relate and if it doesn't, at least you can both find comfort in knowing that people with ADHD have completely understandable reasons for the way they act. Oh, also don't let him use ADHD as an excuse, only as a reference to remind you to be patient and think things through for discussion.


I've found that when the average person looks at paperwork, they will see it as boring and struggle through it until they say "phew, I'm glad that's done". I will say the same, except after I've completed writing down my first name in an application. 

You see, if I look at jobs, I feel overwhelmed. I think about all the problems that I might face in my job, look at the job descriptions or think about what that job involves, think about how I might fail in a similar fashion to how I've failed before, get bored with the job, quit the job, have my wife and parents and employers and everyone complain about who I am for doing what I've done and telling me off for different reasons and so on and so forth. It all points to the idea that it won't work, so I feel demoralised and I've essentially used up all my energy thinking about everything that might happen and what problems there are with finding and getting a job. These thought will not leave my mind no matter how hard I try and may occupy me for an entire hour. I will literally get tired from thinking too much, stressed, worried, frustrated, and feel as though I need something to calm down with before I break down or go crazy. So to protect myself I'll go do something else.

I come back to it, not hours later but maybe days or weeks. My worries prevent me from doing it again but I constantly have the idea of doing it again. Every time however I get distracted by something or tell myself I just need to prepare myself it a bit more. Once I finally get round to it, I print out the paper application or begin asking and once again everything feels overwhelming. I look at a piece of paper and I don't think to myself to start from the top and work down but rather I look at the entire piece and think to myself that I can't get this finished and I don't know how to start. My same worries surface and occupy my mind for a similar amount of time until I tell myself that I'll try again later, printing the paper was another great step forward (though I tell myself that it was something small compared to what others do which frustrates me even more). 

You see, I can't start from the beginning because I see every piece on information on the piece of paper and my mind cannot ignore it. Even though I tell myself to just start from the beginning and work my way through, my mind cannot stop thinking about every other piece of information there and so I'll constantly look back at it while also looking at the beginning as I get distracted easily. However when I get distracted this time, I think about all my worries again and my mind knows that these worries are real and have happened before on many, many, many occasions, and I can't bare to see the same thing happen again. Once again, they will occupy my mind until I can no longer mentally withstand the thoughts.

So I get back to it, maybe not hours, but days or weeks later depending on the urgency, because I think I still have time as always. I have been aware from the very beginning of this that if I do nothing I will also fail myself and others and get frustrated at myself because I can't act on these feelings because I keep getting distracted by other things and I keep forgetting to get back to it. I do look at it regular and go back to the application regularly, but somehow, some way or another, I find myself doing something else all of a sudden. Of course, throughout every moment my wife is also reminding me of my priorities and cannot understand why I take so long. I simply say that I'm just that type of person and that I don't work as fast as her every time, that she doesn't understand that different people do things in different ways, though deep down I know I should be working faster and that she is probably correct. I love her and don't want to fail her.

I finally gather the strength to start and write something on the piece of paper: my name. I congratulate myself for starting because there is finally something which has clearly been done by my own hand: my writing. Not a piece of paper, not an action, but something that is from my own hands that feels set in stone, that not only I can witness but everyone else, therefore proving my efforts. Then I realise there's the rest of the paper to do.

ADHD problems found in this: distraction, forgetfulness, previous failures, lack of self esteem, more-than-usual sense of stress and pressure, procrastination tackled only by urgency, easy loss of attention to things they don't like, passionate hate of paperwork. All can be treated, but need a strong and sustained effort in order to overcome. It's worth dealing with these traits because ADHD can turn things like distractions into an incredibly strong level of attention to detail (imagine being distracted, but with all your distractions confined only to things related to what is relevant to your situation).'