need support and a hug please

tonite my ADD husband came home and I CALMLY told him that I should take over the finances and he should get an allowance each week.  He told me "I don't know if you are responsible enough to handle the finances".  I assured him that I was and asked him what amount would he find reasonable (I really tried to keep it together).  He told me $XX amount a week which is already what he is OVER spending.  I told him that was too much and he got mad and said "why didn't you just pick an amount for me!?".  I told him that I honestly thought he would NOT pick the current amount he is spending as an acceptable allowance!

I said to  him (again, very businesslike) "you need to take more responsibility around the house, having ADHD does not give you a free pass to do nothing".   He basically blamed me for the financial situation, told me I have poor communication skills, that I was NOT supportive of him or anything he ever did for our entire marriage.  He told me it's my fault we are in this mess (emotionally and financially) because I decided I wanted to stay at home more "with the kids" (yeah, that's why I went to med school and am $200,000 in student loan debt which I pay myself!!).  I did NOT say that, just thought it.

I tried to re-direct and ask him again "what tasks do you feel you could complete and what reminder system do you want me to use (post its, text etc).  He yelled "why don't you just pick the jobs you want me to do, it's obvious you're going to dictate all of this!!!".   I remained calm, which was hard to do and told him "it's his responsibility to pick the jobs that he feels he can do".  We finally agreed (sort of ) to him taking the trash out, sweeping the basement and one other thing (I forgot).

he then got back on the financial:  you're nothing but an unsupportive wife etc etc.  I started to lose it and then he said to me "what, do you want to sit there and cry about it".

I think this isn't working.  I REALLY did stay calm, unlike my screaming torrents in the past and I DID ADMIT to him that my responses over the years were WRONG.  I told him I thought he was a lazy good for nothing piece of ### and NOW I know it's the disease I'm responding to and not the human. 

I just want to clarify, I wasn't yelling at him that he was a lazy good f.n, I was explaining my past repsonses to his behavior and that's how I felt about him, thus causing me to respond poorly.

still didn't go well.  this sucks.

guess I 'm just looking for the cyber "hug".  thanks

<HUGS> I can totally


I can totally relate.  Every time we have an discussion where the evidence and logic and plain old fairness point to him needing to change a behavior in a way he doesn't want to change, he will derail the discussion into a "YOU ALWAYS THINK YOU ARE RIGHT AND I'M JUST A HORRIBLE PERSON SO YOU SHOULD JUST FIND SOMEONE BETTER THAN ME" argument.  Once it hits that point, there is no further productive discussion of the issues at hand.  SOOO frustrating.  It's his standard defense mechanism to shut down any conversation that attempts to directly address his issues.  

When I used to tell my husband he could only spent $xx dollars on luxury items, he wouldn't really listen and would say something illogical like "I will just use my tips to pay for it".  When I tried to remind him that his tips are considered part of our income that is required to pay for rent/utilties/food etc, and diverting his tips to "fun" expenditures will mean he isn't paying his share of living expenses, he would get angry and act like I was being some kind of Nazi.

I had a little better luck sitting down with him and showing him a spreadsheet of all expenses and income and highlighting the important numbers.  That seemed to make him feel like I was including him in the decision making (without actually making him do any of the work of compiling or explaining the spreadsheet).




You TRULY are not

You TRULY are not alone...that is the reaction that is apparently fairly common for many of us. It is almost like handling a child, Lord forgive me for using that terminology, but it is. What I do is I break each issue I want to address down into very tiny baby steps. I might tell him "I'd really like to talk about XXX sometime soon". I might get attitude...but I've at least approached the subject and I let it go for a day or two. Give THAT time to sink in. Then I wait for what I feel is a good time and I bring it up and ask for whatever it was I was wanting. First sign of anger, I'm out of there. I don't give things time to get to 'that level' anymore. I tell him I love him and we'll just discss it later. If it takes several tries to get him to listen, then so be it..but this typically works for me. Giving him time to digest every aspect of it a little at a time. I literally have to FORCE myself to stop..and walk away. It is not easy, when I feel I have so much more to say and feel the need to respond to his 'irrational comments' but I don't..not anymore.

I agree..sit down WITH him..go over the finances and put it all out there in black and white. If he can see income vs. what's going out and see that he's spending more than what you can afford, it is almost impossible to argue with what is plainly in front of his face. You can say it and it'll just sound like nagging. Just make sure you stress to him "I only want what's best for the family, I am not trying to take anything away from you...I just want us to work together so that we can both sleep at night knowing we're financially stable". It might be a good idea to tackle one issue at a time too. I am sure, from my own experience, that he felt matter how calm we remain, how cordial, how "but honey, I only..." it doesn't matter...once that defensiveness surfaces, walk away. I will say that I have found that my husband 'hears' me and will admit in a calmer state of mind that what I'm saying makes sense, but in that defensive state of mind, he'll admit NOTHING.

It might also help if you DID suggest a set amount of allowance for him, after going over the bills and seeing what you are truly able to afford, and being able to show how it fits into the budget in a healthy way. They really don't like making decisions, as bad as they claim they don't want them made for them.

I don't know about you guys, but when I read comments on here that I've heard myself 10000 times before, it almost is like a sense of relief, I suppose, to see you're not alone. I have heard the "just go find someone else who is better than me if I'm so horrible" line so many times. I used to respond with "why not just quit doing XXX instead of me having to find someone else who doesn't do it!" I've stopped that too...thankfully. Wasn't very helpful. :P

Good Luck!! (((HUGS)))

hockeymom11's picture


I actually did discuss a weekly allowance and he agreed to $30 a week or $60 per paycheck biweekly.  Today as I was doing the finances, I noticed that he withdrew $60.  I immediately texted him and politely asked (as polite as one can text!) why he took out the money.  He responded "for lunch"  I responded "that's an expensive lunch"

Him  "spent $6 yesterday and $20 today on lunch"

I reminded him "you do realize that $60 is your two week allowance"

and he said "I do now, yes"

that's it.  we'll see how long this lasts or how angry he gets.  Sometimes I really don't know why we put up with this behavior.  I already have two children and I don't have many feelings for him anymore, if any.

Someone asked me "if your husband had cancer, would you dump him then too?".

My response  "people who have cancer fight like hell to get a diagnosis, they fight like hell to get treatment and they fight like hell to stay alive and live a normal life".  I am NOT generalizing all individuals with ADHD, but WHY WHY WHY can't my husband try and get better?????  It's almost like he is at the point that he knows he has a problem, but it's really not HIS problem, it's MINE.

Need support and a hug please.

Oh gosh - how easy it is to see in others what we cannot see in ourselves. I have been guilty of doing exactly what you are now doing.... You have seen a lack of ability to manage a certain area so have taken over the emotional responsibility of 'doing it for him'!   How is it working for you????

It is like seeing a two year old trying to put on socks, seeing they can't do it, so always putting the socks on for them..... but you say I have let him do it and he just can't. Well perhaps he just doesn't have wide enough socks or he has been trying each day to put them on wet feet.

Look at the process not the outcome, the outcome only tells you there is a problem - not what it is.

Would a spread sheet work for your husband? Ask him what he finds difficult? You can't remedy a problem if you haven't out lined it, and you can't outline it without negotiations between two adults.


You said:  you told him nicely that you wanted to take over doing the finances.... did you tell him or 'negotiate'. Tell = Take. Negotiate = Share

 "I immediately texted him and politely asked (as polite as one can text!) why he took out the money." - You took responsibility, dis-empowering him.

Doing it the way he is, is not working financially, you both need to find another way for it to work while keeping in tact his sense of self worth, independence and self pride. You are, all be it unknowingly or unintentionally, attacking these when addressing the issue the way you have.

...but here is the hug (((o))) as we all know how this came about, why and the very difficult issues surrounding it. Hang in there, but keep this in mind, you wouldn't ask a person in a wheelchair to 'run' a race, you wouldn't exclude them, and you wouldn't run the race for them either, if you were inclusive you would help 'them' find a way to participate. This has to be the essence of all your solutions. Opting out is not a solution either by the way. :)

"negotiations between two

"negotiations between two adults" is not always what it is like when dealing with ADD.

Bottom line, finances is something people with ADD are commonly not good with and before they destroy their families something needs to be done. It cannot be compared to putting socks on for your two-year's life and death, survival or not, keeping your home or losing everything. There are a lot of areas that negotiations and compromise should absolutely be the way to go. Not only that, there are many situations where we have to just let them "fend for themselves" even if it's painful to watch. One of those is not when they're destroying the family financially.


hockeymom11's picture

Fruitcake, here we go again

Fruitcake, you sound and react WAY too much like Miss Behaven, so thanks, but no thanks for the advice.

Loosing my home from my husbands obsessive spending CANNOT be compared to a two year old putting socks on wet feet.  Please.

Here we go again. Oh dear, groan.

I am really sorry for upsetting you - that was not my intention. I have done so much of this stuff over the years that I tend to cut to the chase by throwing everything out that others might need to try and get a very long and convoluted process into action as quickly as possible. Not always very effective but it was worth a shot.

If you have lost your home to your partners lack of ability to manage funds then the pain you are feeling, which is evident, is also very valid, and I am sorry if I was insensitive to that.

The point I was trying to make was that, it seems to me, and this is often the case with folk with ADHD/learning difficulties, that the methods partners are trying have not worked for them, and the frustration and anger is evident from partners who have tried so hard to prevent disaster to no avail. This is fair enough and to be quite honest if the ADHD/ADD spouse is not willing to acknowledge there is a problem to be worked on then it is almost impossible to work on it yourself.

What about though if you could understand emotionally 'why' your husband has excessive spending, what about if that knowledge lead you to understand that he is as helpless to it at the moment as an autistic person is to rejecting hugs? He then felt you understood this so he was then willing to look at it and change starts to happen.....   ( I call this 'same rock different view point')

What about if he is hating himself for what he is doing to you and the children but can't stop - because the pain of stopping to him is worse than the pain of losing the house even you. I don't know, I am surmising as I do not know you and I do not know your husband - but I have seen this so often before and they will self destruct because they do not believe there is any other way, they cannot see any other way.

Anger aside, does this make any sense to you?

Negotiations - I agree.

Yes I agree with you. I was not proporting to just let them self destruct, quite the opposite. What I was suggesting was finding another way for them to succeed something that will work for them and still let them do the job of being a 'man' or 'woman' that they envision themselves being. Nobody wants to become their illness, no one wants to give up who they can best be, so if failing means doing either of those two you are going to have one hell of a fight on your hands, as they are litterally fighting for their lives, lives that have possibly (most likely) already been painfully failure based as children due to their ADD/ADHD.


Metaphor: If someone takes a child to the pool to swim and throws them in, full of terror each time, for a couple of years, then they go to to learn to swim later when methods have changed but the fear is still there, how much chance do you think you are going to have of getting that person near the water? All the logic in the world is  not going to work unless you find a way to make them feel safe about taking the risk in the first place. This is a very simplistic comparison, swimming does not affect you every day of your life - but the principle is the same.

If you are frightened you won't take a risk, and you certainly won't learn, and adults are very clever at keeping their fear hidden, esp. when they have had so much practice.

arwen's picture

hugs, hang in there, new is always hard

Hockeymom, hugs to you!!!  You were brave and tried something new and it didn't work the way you hoped.  I can so understand your frustration and disappointment and hurt.

Unfortunately (at least in my experience), the first time you try something new with ADHD, it *often* doesn't work the way you hope or expect.  With my spouse, I've found that if I try a new approach, he has no clue how to react to it, so he's wary and negative as a defense against something he is not prepared to deal with.  It often helps us if I lay some groundwork, like saying "I've been thinking about abc, and I'm concerned that there are certain problems that I really feel we need to deal with, for all our benefits.  If we don't address it soon, I think certain really bad consequences xyz will happen, and I don't think either of us wants that.  I'd like to share with you what I've thought about -- is now a good time to talk?"  Usually, he will listen with a more open mind if he understands that (a) I'm thinking about both of us (b) I'm trying to prevent something bad for both of us and (c) that I have some ideas but will be glad to listen to what he has to say as well.  (Please understand, I'm not saying you didn't do any of this -- in fact, it sounds like you did do at least some of it -- but emphasizing can really be helpful.  It also can help if you have a "track record" of being fair and thinking of him as much as of yourself, that you can point to in support of your current effort.)

Of course, that doesn't change the fact that he doesn't want to hear or accept anything that he doesn't like!  no matter how true it is.  In the past my spouse had a really unfortunate tendency to "shoot the messenger" bringing unwelcome news, and I would have to go to great pains to get him to recognize that I didn't make the unwelcome news up, nor was I bringing it to his attention out of spite!  I had to work very hard to distance myself from the facts in order to avoid being tarred with them -- I found this often was best accomplished by partly agreeing with his viewpoint ("I don't like seeing this either" or  "I hate dealing with this, too, but I can't see how it will go away by itself").

Keep in mind also that your past interactions have burned a deep groove in his memory, and it will take a lot of repetition of the new way to interact before change is fully effected.  People with ADHD lean heavily on habit to get them through daily interactions, and here there is no habit for him to lean on -- that could make him anxious, or he may try to drive the interaction back to a dynamic that he *does* know how to deal with.  Anger is a common way to mask fear -- if you can figure out what he might be afraid of (loss of autonomy, loss of self-esteem, loss of control) and find some way to address it, you can probably defuse the anger.

When I had the financial conversation with my spouse, what he feared most was loss of access to our money.  When he saw that he was going to be able to access more than just his "allowance account", and that the allowance account was just a device to help him be more money-conscious, he wasn't upset anymore.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't give up on this approach just because it didn't work right off the bat.  You have basically proposed a whole new paradigm.  You and your spouse will need to develop how you will work together within the new paradigm, and finding your way takes time.  For whatever it's worth, I think you are on the right track.  Stick to it for a while longer, and I believe it will bear fruit.

Hugs again, to help you get ready for the next time!


"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore