Need Input! Pivitol counseling session coming up!

Hi…non- ADHD spouse here. I’ve posted a few times on this site and have all I can do to not sign in and read her for hours on end. My husband and I have a very pivitol appointment coming up with our ADHD coach. I say “our” because we use her as a marriage counselor. This meeting is sort of a come to Jesus meeting. I need to communicate some boundries, and other areas of opportunity that need to be dealt with. One of the big things that I’m struggling with his the outside of our home and yard. Although he knows the “hording” of stuff outside our home and in our yard bothers me, it’s very, very hard for him to let go of some of these things. He’s made some headway in the past few weeks but it’s not even close to the way that I like my home to look. I have my own issues and although I’m neat freak, an orderly, organized outside is what I function in best. We paid so much money to get this great house and lawn. I was so happy and I could sit on the deck and relax and renew while looking out onto this amazingly beautiful, lush backyard. Now, there is a HUGE burn pile, 4 nonworking rusting lawn tractors, broken down leaf blowers, car engines….etc. I could go on for hours. So, that said, how do I tell him that I need this put back to the condition we found it. Or at least close to it. He sneaks things in through the back of his car and things come in without my consult. Almost all of this was done without my knowledge. Is it fair for me to say “It causes me so much stress and pain to see our backyard like this. I need for us to work hard at getting it all cleaned up and looking like it used to. Another poster commented on Melissa O’s blog and talked about how she regained her sanity creating her own happiness. One of her steps was: 2. I looked around my house and made a list of what bothered me most. For me it was the unmowed lawn, peeling house paint, and tools left out (dangerous for my 3 children). I decided we (my kids and I) would be responsible for most of the upkeep of the house together. Now, I like pulling into my driveway after work and seeing pretty flowers, a mowed lawn and neat house. It's - NICE. My problem here is that he won’t let me touch any of it. I would just hire a dumpster, pull of my sleeves and get to work. Call the salvage yard, have them take all the broken down cars and equipment, re-seed the lawn (a lot has worn away to dirt) but he WONT let me do that. Also, I'm prepared to do all the rest or even have it hired. All the projects like the unfinished flooring and the clogged gutters and the stair molding that keeps falling off or the towel bar that's falling off. I can fix ALL of that. The rest is another story. How on earth do I communicate that I cannot and will not live like this. This is my home too and I need to create a place of peace and happiness for myself. He is not doing that job….it’s my responsibility to create my happiness and I NEED this. How do I say that in ADHD speak. UGH….now I have butterflies in my tummy just thinking of this session and what’s going to come out of it. Also, am I being unreasonable? Thank you so much everyone. Gina B

Maybe buy a huge shed? Put

Maybe buy a huge shed? Put all the stuff in the shed? Ask her to help get it out of site. Put it in a storage shed off your property, sell it for scrap metal, give him a deadline to get rid of it and if it's not out of site 6 months from now then you can have someone come haul it away? Or tell him to buy a new house he can live in, by himself, with the stuff....? Just kidding, is it a deal breaker? I understand about the esthetics, you want it to look nice. But, can he keep it if he hides it from view? I have seen some houses with two and three sheds out in their back yards. I don't really see how a tractor would fit in one though. Maybe you could make a list of what these items add to your household, or what they contibute to the household (i.e., how owning or having them helps him to be a better vs. How owning them doesn't add to the everyday home life, i.e., they can't cook, they can't do homework, they can't work, they can't do laundry... Make it funny, try to lighten the fact that they add NOTHING to the value of your home or to the value of the relationships with you or your children.

We have a HUGE shed.......

And just started building a garage. I wish we could hide it. I would be FINE if it want in plane site and I could get the yard to be a yard again. BUT....,I dint know how to hide two broken down cars that have no engines in them. And the tractors are big lawn tractors. And multiple sets of tires. Then we have our own stuff that actually works and useable like the lawn mower, spreader, weed wackers and such. It's just so overwhelming!!! The burn pit started out as this very cute fire pit. Now it's 5x the original size. In a way it is a deal breaker because it symbolizes our whole marriage. It says "I know you hate this. I never consulted you. I even tricked you into letting me have some of these things. You've told me how it affects you to see our yard distroyed. You even cry over it. But, well, I don't see it that way at all so, this is just the way it is. Sorry it's upsetting you but, well, you just need to deal. So many things in our lives are like that and I try to be oh so understanding and sympathetic of the ADHD brain. Look where it's gotten me??? Oh how do I get through to him!!!

I would definitly make a list

I would definitly make a list how these items do not add to your relationship and how they take away from your home. (pro's and con's) These are broken objects that have no value to your home, they add no value to your home, and add no value to him either. Why would he want something that lessens the value of his home? Why would he want something that is broken... Unless he relates to it? Maybe he see's himself in this stuff? Maybe he feels he adds no value and he is broken? Then that would be a deeper problem and would be something to focus on. My dh has stuff from 3 jobs ago and doesn't get rid of it, however, it isn't outside for the whole world to see. It isn't out for each passerby to stare at and think about. It isn't in plain view for him to see everyday either. Your DH must think and feel something each time he comes home and see's it there. It can't make him feel good to see stuff that is broken. It's just "one more thing to do" on his mental list. It must overwhelm him and paralyze him at the same time. I'm sorry. Stick to you guns. I learned a long time ago to makes lists to show and validate all problems. They (the lists) help to solve them.(I learned professionally to document each problem - each list helped to validate, solve, and correct problems). If the list is long enough, it will MEAN something to him. It may not solve anything right away, but it may help him to see that it is creating more dis-harmony than providing any comfort. Good luck! Let us know how it tuns out.

To me this is an issue of

To me this is an issue of unhealthy attachment and possibly control. My husband had almost an entire half of our 2 car garage FULL of boxes containing computer parts, computer cases, printers, monitors, cords, etc...he refused to throw it out..REFUSED. I got a very cold shoulder for 'taking matters into my own hands' once...and everytime he couldn't find something I was reminded "I guess you threw it away". Our pipes burst and destroyed it all. We loaded it all up on a trailer and hauled it off to the dump. He basically said "I'm glad it happened, I would have never gotten rid of it anyway and I didn't need it". Explain that?? He got a new car...didn't trade in his old one. It sat in the driveway for weeks. I finally gave it away. He forgave me...eventually.

I think you need to include him on what you need to feel happy about your home again...and hoepfully the coach can help him understand the reasons behind why he refuses to get rid of things like this. I don't feel it is even about sentimental is some kind of baggage from the past that makes them hold onto things like this...and also, I feel, to be able to 'live' with the eyesore and space it takes up and not seem to be bothered by it is another issue that needs to be addressed as well. Our lawn/yard is far from perfect, but I am like you...I cannot stand to even look at it when even the weed eating is behind. I'm very grateful that his hoarding of stuff hasn't affected the outside yet, but it would be nice to have some help keeping it decent.

Take a deep breath...relax...and draw some lines in the sand. You're not being unreasonable. It would embarrass 95% of the population. You're not alone. No need to feel bad or nervous. It is what it is. Something needs to be done, at the very least a compromise.


my husband laid down the law many times always feeling bad for throwing away the huge amounts of things I accumulated. I finaly got it when my husbands said "honey you always see the behind the scenes, part of what I love about you is the potential you see in things alot of people would leave behind....but everything has potential, you cant bring everything home. you just cant" thats about when I would pitch in and say " but honey it's a once in a lifetime price for that, or I can get it running I swear it'll be good for us in the long run, you just dont believe in me or make me do too many chores and things so I dont have time to do it"

I was of course trying at the time and when I realised he was right, that I just know I can do so many things that I gather things so I can do things, but I wont do them. I purged everything. he said he didnt want me to get rid of everything he felt bad if I had no hobbies. but it was the right thing to do. l need to focus for a good long time on being selfless instead of selfish. I will return to 1 hobby later but right now thats like letting me hold onto the debit card when I say "I'm going to be more aware of my purchases" :) I tried to hold onto my hobbies and projects before and just simply put them off until I was better. and it never worked.

I guess thats why when were being insightful and good and trying for a while we will tell have to make us. it seems stupid but I think the lie spread about is that adhd cant do things....yes we can but it's like an alchoholic, we have to be detoxed and we are going to get to a point of withdrawl every single time that will make us burn until we roll over everything/everyone in our path until we get that pleasure high (sex,shopping, video games...ect) I think most spouses just want assurance that they will be able to let go and we will do fine on our own before too long. adhd is made to sound alot like were never going to get better and you will always have to hold our hand while we do our chores.  it's a very hard commitment to go with someone through rehab but look at the lifestyle and habits we have....were addicts. we lie, cheat, steal, manipulate to get the next fix, we promise to stay clean and when the detox starts and we start getting withdrawls we binge.  I think thats why we get depressed when we go good for a couple weeks and then slip back, we believe we cant do it just like an acoholic can feel like he cant give it up he's just incapable. but were not. it's just a hard habit to kick and it's real easy to let an acoholic walk all over you because he s been good for a while and he tells you he's ok because he knows has hope...and then he'll lie and say he's fine or not say anything at all and you find the bank acount empty and he showed up drunk or didnt show up at all.            I kicked and screamed going into adhd treatments because deep down I was fighting the idea that If I try it, it's going to take away everything I have (lifestyle centering around me)

it's hard because it does mess with our emotions, and us physically just like alcohol. anyways, it's a good idea to purge, but if I were you, I'd only invest if you willing to go hard core and detox him of his selfish life and you cannot believe him when he says he's fine, your ruining his life, you hate him because he's not like you, you dont love him....all of those things are said out of a base beliefe in us that we cant escape our drive to drink (or pleasure) but it doesnt last forever. we either leave to find someone who will let us drink, or we get through the detox and sober up and start seeing the truth of the hold our addiction has on us.

I had no idea

This is the first time I have made the connection between ADHD and my need to be constantly vigilant about things appearing in the yard that don't belong there...about the collection of gear, accessories and supplies from hobbies or projects he hasn't been doing for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years.  But I have made some progress getting him to work on clearing out.  I repeated the message quite a few times until it got through that there is no room for good things to come into our life if our life is full of things from the past.  That by opening up space in the basement, workshop or his office, he will allow more of the good things he wants in life to enter in.  He understands by things I am not just talking about physical items, I'm talking about experiences.  I reminded him about those rare occasions when the workshop has been "clean" it gave him new energy and enthusiasm to start something new.  But that keeping space for good things to come into your life is something we have to do on a regular basis.  This seemed to make sense to him after several (short!) talks with him about it.  I also made clear that all the stuff is hurting me.  And if the stuff is more important than me, well.....  I'm quite convinced if he lived alone he would be a hoarder.  But he can't work on the clearing out alone, I have to be there to act not as supervisor but as a "lackey" running and fetching.  And as soon as the anxiety gets too great, he's done.  But we are making progress.  That English guy who does the home organizing shows has some great concepts that resonate with people, I'm paraphrasing here.... This (item) is not your experience of (blank).  You will always have that in your heart and mind.  And the "making space" idea above.  I've even had to promise my husband that if he ever "needs" the particular item he can't let go of, I will buy him a new one.  But I'm pretty sure he's never going to go back-country hiking again, nor scuba diving, or "need" more than one broken chainsaw.   Once when I couldn't get rid of a cement mixer on the front porch (weird, huh?) I took a photo of it, printed it and said.  Look.  Please.  See what I see.  It was gone in three days.  (My guy is a photographer, so his eye is very sharp when looking at photos, but perhaps other ADDers have that ability, too).  I think ADHDers don't "see" all the stuff at once, they see each individual valuable item, so it doesn't "add up" to very much stuff... it's a lot of individual items, none of which taken alone we would object to.  You have to find a way to show how "much" there really is.  Or how it really "looks" to make the point.  And yes, like TheEndOrBeginning says, sometimes you have to force them. 

Forcing might be the only alternative

Hi everyone: Boy is it always amazing to me the people who come on here and take the time to post and give such wonderful advice. Thank you to all of you. We have talked about this many times and he says that he takes this stuff in with the intention of it being “project”. We’ll part this car out on Ebay for money, we’ll fix this chainsaw up and sell it/use it, I need totes and totes of computer software and hardware because I might need it someday to build a computer…etc. There is always a dream of a project to be completed or finished. My husband should’ve been an engineer or an inventor. I’ve NEVER seen anyone think like he does and create amazing mechanical things like he does. That is, if he sees it through and finishes it. I wish I could show you the pictures of our lawn before and after. It would just break your heart. I do have to go hard core and I think it’s going to effect our relationship very badly. We were almost to the brink of divorce two years ago and I think this session might do it again. That said, I cannot exist in a relationship that is so one sided. His way..or no way. I get that he has ADHD and I’ve done a lot to accommodate that and change my communication style but there is a point when patterns have to change and accountability has to come into play. The ADHD excuse only hold water until a certain point. And, by all means, I’m not insinutating all ADHD’sers use this as an excuse. My husband does. I also want to tell you that the bottom of our raised ranch is much like the outside of the house. I can help it a bit more because I just go with a trashbag and start throwing things into a container and bring it to salvage or Goodwill. The inside stuff is easier to manage. But the struggle to keep things from coming into our house is monumental. The other day I had to say “no” to a beautiful doll house for my daughter because we can’t bring one more thing into the downstairs great room. How sad is that. She has a doll house and she will certainly not parish but this was the one she really, really wants and it’s pink….she’s 6…pink is BIG. So, in the end, this is the message I’m going to send. “I understand how difficult it is to part with the items in the yard. I know that you believe that all of your projects will get done but if I base future on history, I know it’s going to be a real struggle for you. It’s not YOU, it’s the ADHD in you. Look at these before and after pictures. We bought a house that looks like this and 6 years later it looks like this. It causes me so much stress and pain to look out and see our backyard in such disorder. You’ve cleaned up in the past and said that it was so much easier for you to find things and you love it when it’s cleaned up. It’s whats best for both of us in the long run and certainly best for Victoria because, as it is, I wouldn’t want another child over to play in our back yard. You have until December to get the yard cleaned up. If you need help, I’m here to help. If by December it’s not cleaned up I’m going to take matters into my own hands. Does that sound ok? Is that offensive? I also don’t want to be a dictator but in this regard it’s such a huge thing for me…I see no alternative. Know what? I also think this also symbolizes something else. When we bought our house it was pristine. Now, it’s a junk heap that he’s created. When we got married, having no knowledge of his ADHD, I thought I was marrying this guy who was super attentive to me, wrote notes and stuck them in my lunch box, wanted an intimate life, loved to go out with me, was fun to be around, couldn’t do enough around the house. After the hyper focus wore of, I now have a guy that plays with his iPhone constantly, we have a sexless marriage, he might spend a total of 10 min of quality time with me in an entire week and has difficulty doing anything for me or with me that he isn’t interested in doing. You should also know that I’m almost to the point of walking away. If it wasn’t for my 6 year old I would’ve been gone already. I love him and it’s hard to love someone who had difficulty giving you what you matter how small. Thanks everyone. Gina B

My husband would never do it

My husband would never do it without help. If anything gets done, we do it together...and like Gardender's husband, once he's done..he's done. I usually do the majority of the work, he  never stays 'til the end'. Don't set him up for failure by saying he has to do it, better to say "I would like to set aside (insert date) for you and I to tackle the clean up, is that OK?" and be there with him to do it. OR better yet, if he'd agree to it, then let someone else come in and do it. Offer to hire someone and do it while he's gone if he'll agree. The less involved he is, the better..possibly.

Too much stuff

It's really helpful to get the ADD perspective on this. My partner is a clutter-bug, though not as bad as described by many here. We live in separate houses, which makes it easier for me, though we're contemplating moving in together and I get anxious whenever I think about it. My partner Max has admitted, "I really like things neat the way you do, but I just can't accomplish it." I think the bigger issue, though, is the lack of balance in the relationship. "Do I have a right to say this?" the original spouse asked when she started this thread. Yes, yes, yes. At one point in my relationship (now in its 11th year), I realized what I wanted had equal weight to what he wanted. Duh! One of the problems was I waited until I was angry to take a stand because I needed the power of anger to get me to speak up for myself. Gradually, I've learned to be straightforward, clear, and neutral. "You know, I love you, but I am overwhelmed and depressed having all this clutter around. If it continues, I will not be able to go on." Then you have to stick to that.

Wow to the last two posts

Both of you are very right. I will help, I am willing to help.....if he allows it. He gets very concerned about me just throwing stuff out because I think it's junk. He finds usefullness in what most would consider junk. Last time we did this together it was a great day. We blared music out of the shed, put our kid at my moms and just went crazy. However, he started getting a bit aggitated after we came to an impass on a few sets of tires and stopped and wouldn't let me continue. So...all that we accomplished is now back where we started and then some. Addsolution: I'm so going to steal that last sentance from you. It's so simple. So to the point. So NEUTRAL. I love it. So, the key of this whole thing is to offer help, state my issue with love and neutrality, mean what I say and believe that my voice and needs are valid. Wow...its amazing how completely at peace I feel right now. Nothing is more powerfull than a non-adhd spouse with a plan. LOL Must love out to all of us on both sides of the fence. Neither of us has it easy. Thank God many of us still have the empathy gene in us, no matter how hidden. I love my husband very much and I know how hard is must be to live in his skin. I have a food addiction and some days in my skin are 38 hours long. Thanks to all for their input. Gina B