New here...ADD and critical thinking skills.

Hello all,

I was diagnosed with ADD about 2 years ago after my wife urged me to see a therapist. We have been together for 20 years and the diagnosis gave her an "ah-ha" moment because in that moment she began to understand why I did the childish,crazy things, the lying, the hiding things, the needing someone to take care of me over the years. I have always been another child in the household and these things have driven her crazy. One of the biggest problems that I have is not being a freethinker, a critical thinker. I let other people do my thinking for me.(not so much anymore.) I would go with the flow so that I didn't cause any waves. 

I am currently seeing a therapist and attending a group meeting. I have been taking Strattera for the ADD and recently started taking Celexia for anxiety. I feel that some areas of my life are coming together but I still have major problems with critical thinking. It seems like once a day my wife asks"what were you thinking?" To which I reply that I really did not think about it, I would  just blurted something out. I did not learn several of the basic skills that kids learn growing up(I am 44). Has anyone else experienced the lack of critical thinking. If so, how did the behavior change, if at all? I am currently trying to read some articles that I found but reading reference materials and medical items is not one of the best things I do.

Thanks for listening(reading),


Similar to me...

My DW and I have been together for almost 20 years. My ADD was discovered about 3 years ago and I had no idea how it had affected me and those around me for years. As for free thinking... I've heard the "What were you thinking?" more times than I can count. The way I see it, the fewer Extra decisions I have to make, the better I will fair that day. I refer to this as auto-pilot. Routine keeps the mistakes to a minimum :) I used to be Totally "Go with the flow" Laid-Back, Stay under the radar guy because I wanted to avoid conflict at all cost. After my diagnosis and Adderall I can think a lot better and am confident in my choices, so I speak my mind easily. I don't shut-down in arguments anymore. My DW is still getting used to Not being able to get the last word in. 

I have found reading and posting on this site very helpful, like you, reading medical journals is still not my strong suit.


My husband has the same problem it seems. I'm not sure that I do though I've made MAJOR financial mistakes by reacting to things instead of thinking them through.

Sometimes it seems like my husband has a difficult time taking responsibility or being accountable. He asks me EVRYTHING that goes through his mind and I also have ADD. It seems like my 5 year old makes more decisions for himself than my husband does. The constant request by him for me to make decisions for him is unbelievably annoying and has affected my respect for him. I mean, literally, if he is making a sandwich he will ask if I think he should mayo on it. If I don't give him a valid answer then he gets pissed. If I say .. "I don't know." he thinks I'm being flippant for not deciding for him.

I'm a strong woman and when I married him he appeared to be a strong man but the minute we got married he lost so much ability to think for himself. I'm his 3rd wife - go figure. His second wife was a control freak and didn't let him think for himself. I feel like I'm paying the price for that through his anger and lack of confidence.

It is definitely a turn off also ... meaning it affects important areas of our relationship in a big bad way.

I'm taking Vyvanse and it targets my focus better than any of the other meds. 


I married a strong woman (Non-ADD). We just knew that there was balance in our personalities, I was Laid-Back / Don't Worry and she was React Instantly / Worry about EVERYTHING.

We knew before we agreed that we should get married that I needed to work on my ability to speak my mind, not tell her what I "Think" she wants to hear and she needed to work on the Auto-Attack Response. 

I was never the question about everything guy, unless it was something she usually did and I was about to do the task and I would try to do it my way and really not ask enough questions, then she would worry that I would screw it up and jump in... Micro-Manage??? Could be anything. It was in the case of heated discussions where I would enter the Shut-Down Mode. This bad repeat cycle got her to say she wanted me to "Be a Man" and "Have an opinion". Of course I had an opinion but because these fights would come seemingly out of thin air, the attack (Seemed like to me) would catch me unprepared and instantly feeling guilty not knowing there was a problem and over-load me. The conversations typically occur late at night, anyway, the ADDer's Worst time of the day and I did not even know that was what was causing my struggles. Uuuuuuugh!!!!

Adderall has changed everything for me, but all the new awareness has been like learning a new language 43 years behind everyone else. Communication is much better, but more heated... The Laid-Back guy is not nearly as laid-back anymore, so we lost some of the balance of personalities. But it is an example of "Be careful what you wish for...", too. My DW always wanted me to tell her what "I" thought and sometimes she may not like the answers. 

We are still adjusting to the new dynamic...

Hmm, are you my husband,

Hmm, are you my husband, YYZ?  I plead guilty to doing what your wife does.  It's definitely a bad habit that I need to work on!

I've told her about this site...

But I don't think she ever looked at this site. I could be wrong, though...

SO... I'm not sure how to answer your question??? What answer sounds good? Wait... Old coping skills, Danger! Confused... ;)

I was told the same thing by

I was told the same thing by my husband...about his first wife (didn't let him think for himself, control freak). Ever think that maybe it wasn't her but him not WANTING to make decisions? After being accused of the same thing myself, I finally realize that maybe it wasn't all her. If he's doing this with you, it is a very good likelihood he did the same with her. It just took me 14 years to figure this out about  my DH. Don't get me wrong, I've gotten HEAPING doses of 'bat $hit crazy' and 'robo-b!tch' from his ex-wife, but I now see things might have not been 100% her. ;-)

Exes and their Hexes


Yes, I have also had the  'Ah Ha! No wonder she is such an angry bitch!' moments. Lots of them.

But I've stopped answering the questions. Along with wanting me to be the Answer Girl he also made me the keeper of the blame.

My new standard answer .. "I don't know. But you are probably capable of figuring that one out."

Honestly I usually don't. Except for the occasional "Do we have any ice?" I'll answer, "Yes, its in the oven."


Ah, yes:  the keeper of the

Ah, yes:  the keeper of the blame.  I do feel like that sometimes.  dmothomas, I love your answer, "Yes, it's in the oven."  I want to use that one sometime!

Keeping in mind that I also

Keeping in mind that I also have ADD so I'm mostly not empathetic to his drama and anger, which only happens in the evenings, which is only when he is home. He needs to change his medication again.

changed username in the midst

changed username in the midst of the conversation as I realize that I'd like my husband to use this site also. 

The ice


That whole ice thing is sad but true. Happens at least once a week. He will be in the kitchen pacing in circles while waiting for the microwave or something and he'll come all the way in to the room where I am and ask if we have ice.

Drives me crazy. Not funny crazy. Like I want to throw something at him kind of crazy. I'm not violent though. Not yet anyway.

This is a very interesting

This is a very interesting topic.  I don't mind making decisions, and so generally, the division of labor in our household between me and my husband on this point is OK.  But sometimes it's not, as when (1) I confront situations that make me uncomfortable and thus have a hard time making a decision or (2) it's physically impossible for me to decide.  An example of item (1) occurred a few years ago, when our dog developed a bump on her leg.  The bump was pointed out by one of our daughters.  I did research on the Internet.  I discovered that there was a high probability the bump was a symptom of cancer.  Did I call the vet?  No, because I was scared.  I finally called the vet about two months later, after my other daughter nagged me enough.  You know who I really wanted to have nag me?  My husband.  But he didn't do anything.  An example of (2) hasn't happened yet, but because I don't trust my husband to make decisions, I've selected other family members to get decision making power for me if I'm unable to do so.  That is, they, not my husband, are my agents in my health care and financial powers of attorney. 


This whole concept is so foreign to me that I had to re-read the whole thread three times before (I think) I understood it. The original post was about "thinking toward and making a decision" I think.   My ADD guy makes decisions all the time, even when he really ought to consult me... and he tends to be oppositional, so if I make a simple decision about what I am going to make for our dinner, he always names two or three other things I should make instead, and when I say okay, he says, well no, you should probably make (whatever it was originally).  He'll make snap decisions, then refuse to be budged, but not necessarily take action.  Sometimes he makes the same decisions over and over again, on successive days, and makes a different decision each time, like it's never been decided before.  But now that I'm used to it, I usually just wait it out, and eventually we get to the "right" decision.  

I was going to post this little story on the humor thread that was started, but it sort of fits here, too, under the "what are you thinking about?" idea.  My husband and I had had a pretty intense, albeit brief, conversation about the state of our life, then a silence fell.  Since we hadn't really "concluded" anything, I asked "what are you thinking?" And he said, I was wondering.... if my boat.... needs a bigger motor."  After the shock passed, I laughed myself right off my chair.

LOL Gardner

May as well laugh about it right??

I have read several books (Men are Like Waffles but Women are like Spaghetti, Mars/Venus, etc) which get into the differences in thinking between the way men compartmentalize and women have everything in their brains relating emotionally to everything else.  I don't know that it works 100% for ADD brains, but I know my husband's general answer to "What are you thinking?" is "nothing"........and I can't conceive of that because I don't think in my entire history of life on this planet that I have ever thought NOTHING AT ALL. 

But it is well born out by men everywhere that their very favorite thing to think is indeed.........nothing.

thinking nothing

My guy said once (years before I knew about ADD) that he was thinking about something, obviously, but my asking the question made him forget what it was... which seems very much like a focus issue.  And another time... "I don't like telling you what I'm thinking, because it's usually something stupid or worse, not connected to what we're talking about.  I'm not an idiot... I'm not going to admit to either of those thoughts."   I learned to not ask the what are you thinking questions a few years ago.  Right about the time I admitted to myself I was probably asking, at least in part, because I wanted him to ask me. You know, to demonstrate interest.   And that just wasn't honest.  

A more appropriate response

A more appropriate response for an ADD mind is "Everything" ... but it would be too difficult to explain. I don't ask my husband what he is thinking. One more item in my thought-blender might blow the lid! ;-)


My NDFW (NOT Dear First Wife) asked me that question ALL the time. I Can be thinking of nothing... It's like the brain catching it's breath. A brief disconnect from the prior hyper-focused event.  My NDFW would go on and on and on... "How can a guy as smart as you be thinking of nothing... you must be thinking of something" My skin crawls as I remember this ;)

I am about to take this very moment to think about "Nothing" now... YYZ is going off-line for a moment and will reconnect soon ;)