Non-ADD spouse/parent frustrated with ADD spouse....someone please help me to calm down!

It is 1:58 AM and I can not sleep..... I am the non-ADD spouse to a recently diagnosed (within the last year) ADD spouse.  I am in tears as I write this...but let me give a little brief history to paint a clearer picture.

My spouse of 7 years and I have 2 very wonderful sons (ages 3 and 5 months) and an angel baby that we miscarried on 12/4/2008.  Prior to conceiving, my husband expressed his hesitation with 'parenting' infants and felt better as our oldest son got older and able to talk.  Our 3 year old is a bundle of energy and may have inherited his Dad's ADHD, but I chalk it up to being an active toddler who was our only child for the first 2.5 years of his life.  Unbeknownst to him, he was also my 'therapy' after we miscarried his brother or sister at 8.5 weeks. 

My husband has been 'absent' from child rearing unless it is to criticize something that isn't or should be done.  However, he doesn't engage himself nor seems to have the patience needed for raising children.  My husband has only bathe our 3 year old maybe 4 times, he has never gotten up in the middle of the night to feed/soothe either of the boys, he rarely attends Dr's appointments, he doesn't know the names of his 3 year old's friends in school, he doesn't know his teachers, he doesn't know neither of his son's schedules (i.e. feeding, nap etc), and he gets impatient with the littlest task (such as changing diapers). 

I work fulltime, I attend school part-time, and when I am home, I am in 'Mommie' mode as soon as I hit the door.  About 1-2 times a week, I'll work through lunch at work so that I can come home and spend approx 1-2 hours with my husband before being Mommie.  Once our 3 year old was born, I began sleeping in our den, because the baby's crib was/is in our bedroom.  When the baby would awake during the night, I'd use a little flashlight so I wouldn't wake my husband.  Eventually, he began sleeping in his office because he complained that once the baby woke up, he could not go back to sleep.  I don't mind him sleeping in his office because frankly, I do not want to hear the complaining...especially when I am the one changing diapers, soothing a nightmare, changing clothes etc. during the night, and still get up and go to work and school.  My husband?  He'd complain and then stay home from work!!!!

I do not leave the boys alone with their dad for long periods of time.  Why?  Because he drinks daily, he's not as attentive as he should be, and he has no patience with them (only porn and alcohol).  2 weeks ago, I left both boys home to do a little shopping (my husband had not had anything to I thought I'd be some what okay to leave them with their dad).  I was gone for 37 min exactly when I received a frantic call from my husband (with the baby crying in the background), my husband proceeded to tell me that he can not soothe the baby and he's been crying for 45 min.  I hang up, drive back home.  I walk into my bedroom where my 3 year old is watching TV, the TV is loud, my husband is laying across the bed, and my infant son is in his crib (in the same room), laying on his back, crying hysterically.  When I walked to the crib, he was red, sweaty, and his voice was horse from crying so long.  I started to cry as I saw him.  I picked him up and felt that his clothes were drenched in sweat....I was f'ing livid!  I looked at my husband who obviously saw the disdain in my face and said...I tried everything...but at this age (5 months) he should be able to self soothe himself!  I felt sooooo bad.  I felt like a parent who left her child with an obvious child abuser....child neglector.  To add to how horrible I felt, later that night my husband attempted to play with our oldest, our oldest told both of us that he did not like Daddy, I asked why not?  He said because Daddy made him sad.  I was curious....while my husband is in our presence, I asked... how did Daddy make you sad?  My son said...Because Daddy was hollering at 'our baby'.  I said huh?  He continued to say that earlier because 'our baby' wouldn't stop crying Daddy hollered at him to be quite and told him to hush up.  OMG.....I am in tears now..... not only was the baby affected, but so was the 3 year old.

Okay....last night, I call ahead to let my husband know that i will be getting home late, I hear the 3 year old in the back ground hollering, and my husband hollering back at him.  I ask what's wrong and he say's 'the 3 year old' is mad.  I race home because this behavior isn't like my 3 year old.  I get home, my husband is upstairs, my 3 year old is in the dinning room with my mom (who thankfully resides with us....we pay her instead of day care to keep our baby until age 3).  Basically, my Mom does all that my husband should be doing.  Okay....back to the subject:  My 3 year old is red, sweaty and itching from his eczema.  I ask our son what's a nutshell, my husband physically restrained our 3 year old for 20 or so min to 'calm him down'.  I am sooooo hurt.  He tried this in the past and I expressed my opposition to his tactic.  This time, he knew full well that he shouldn't be restraining our son in the manner that he did.  This type of 'corrective' behavior adjustment doesn't work, nor do I want it happening to our son.  So now, I am awake dealing with the fall out.  Our son is having trouble sleeping, his eczema is inflamed, he keeps waking up hollering 'NO DADDY"....

WTF?  What do I do?  I can take anything my husband or his ADD dishes out, but when it comes to our son's?  I do not play this crap!  At all!  If he wants to discipline his sons?  Great....but you can not be an intermittent parent! 

I am sooo hurt..... I haven't spoken to him about it because I first have to calm the hell down!  This is too much. 

I don't think I could tell

I don't think I could tell you anything you don't already know. His not partcipating in bath time and care for the infant wouldn't come as a huge shock to me, my husband was the same way. However, it sounds as though he is completely disconnected from the baby and is being a huge bully to the 3 year old. Think of what it takes to make a 3 year old 'not like' their own daddy.

I don't have any answers...or solutions...but he either needs to get help or never be left to care for the children again. ((HUGS))

Keturah's picture

Thanks..... he is on

Thanks..... he is on medication, but he needs therapy and to exercise.  Until I can trust him?  I'll never leave our kids with him...

Thanks...your hugs are appreciated.

This behavior Embarrasses me (an ADDer)

I totally agree with Sherri, and usually do... I have 9 and 13 daughters and from day 1, I have gotten up for the late night feedings, gotten up in the middle of the night if the baby was in distress, given at least 50% of the baths, I'm really bad at picking out clothes though... I may not do half of the work, but I don't work any harder than my wife does during the day, so I try to split the home duties. Perfect, no, but I try. I'm sorry, but your husband needs to get help and fast. He is missing out on some of the greatest rewards in life. My girls love has helped see me through dark times when most of me wanted to quit. I understand what it feels like to be over-whelmed by not knowing how deal with chaos/illogic and unknowns also knowing that I will look like a failure again if I cannot figure it out. ADD is NO Excuse for ditching duties! Is your husband trying meds, reading and getting therapy? I flourished after I realized what I had been dealing with for 40 + years without knowing what IT was... You can't do everything, but he will let you... That's how ADD works, unfortunately... Having children close together was always a nightmare scenerio to me and I know why that is now. I can only handle so much chaos. I hope your husband decides to get help before all his relationships blow-up in his face.

ADD symptoms CAN improve, but it is not easy...


Keturah's picture

Thanks....  I really hope

Thanks....  I really hope that he gets better for himself.  If he doesn't do it for himself, it will never work.  Medication isn't enough... I agree with you, improvements will be hard work, but its needed before my relationship is forever damaged and/or his kids.  I can only shield them for so long....

thanks again!

Your husband sounds like

Your husband sounds like mine.  He "used" to watch our 3 yr. old one to two days a week until he started sleeping most of the day and the 3 yr. old was basically watching himself.  My now 10 year old is more responsible when it comes to watch his brother then his father was.  Now my children both go to daycare full time as it is in "their" best interest.

I like horses and one of the things a trainer I follow says is "the frustration begins where the knowledge ends".  I believe this is true in so many ways and in so many areas of life.  With my husband he gets frustrated with our boys because he doesn't know how to calm them down, redirect them, etc.  Our oldest boy also has ADHD and I think my DH gets very frustrated with him because he doesn't understand why my son just can't do what he asks of him.  Then again my husband doesn't understand ADHD (his or our sons).  This is playing a huge role in our current separation.

Keturah's picture

"the frustration begins where the knowledge ends".

"the frustration begins where the knowledge ends".....such a powerful statement.  it's surely and "A-Ha" moment for me when i read your response.



My husband turned out to be

My husband turned out to be the same way, too.  This was a big surprise to me as he always boasted how he would take care of his younger cousins, feeding them, changing diapers, playing with them, etc.  Well, when our daughter was born it was completely different.  I believe I could count on one hand the number of times he fed her, changed her diaper, played with her or took her somewhere with him.  Oh and he would yell at me too when she would wake up in the middle of the night and wake him up, screaming "can't you shut that F'n kid up".  I knew then, without a shadow of a doubt that I would be the main caregiver of our daughter.  At that time, I can remember thinking to myself, how on earth did I end up with the biggest jerk in the world.  We did not know that my husband had ADHD (not officially diagnosed until 2007) among other problems, which resulted in some really bad years during my daughter's childhood.  He pretty much checked out of her life and mine.  Now, I feel great sadness for him because she doesn't have much to do with him and he will never experience the love of a child.  I feel that is one of the worse things that can happen to a parent. 

You are lucky in that you know your husband has ADD and you can begin the work to turn things around before they get beyond control. 

Please keep us posted.  I will keep you in my prayers.

Keturah's picture

I don't feel lucky.....

Wow.... I've asked myself the same questions... how in the world did I end up here?  With this?  I love my husband...with all my heart, but I am soooo tired of being the main caregiver, I'm tired of walking on egg shells, and I am sooo tired of saying the sky is blue and he hears 'oh you've done something wrong...again!"  It is sooo physically and mentally draining.  Yes, my husband has been diagnosed, and he's on medication ...however, either he needs to get his dosage up'd or he needs to feel good about himself.  I nor our kids can make him happy.  And it isn't fair that our happiness thrives off of if he's in a good mood.  I am in the process of attending counseling and just trying to get some sanity for myself and our boys.  I have to begin to heal and work through all the hurt he has put me through.  It's hard....boy is it hard.  And, I am doing it for me, not for our relationship, and not for him.... solely for me.  I lost touch with the fun, happy go lucky person that I once was.  I did nothing wrong to have to carry this burden....a burden that isn't mine... but I sure as hell am fighting back to get back to loving me. He is missing out... missing out on the best parts of him.  Then he gets an attitude when our oldest who's 3 tell's him that he doesn't like him, nor does he enjoy playing with his dad.  It's really sad because kids love unconditionally and boy..... he is really missing out on all the fun! 

Right now... I'm not sure if I'll file for a divorce or if this marriage is worth salvaging.  I do know that I have endured a WHOLE hell'ova'lot and I am tired of all the crap that I've been force fed.  And having sex doesn't fix our problems (like he seems to think).  I've never been the type of person that will have sex with anyone, or just because even if I am upset with the person.  My husband?  Well he feels that intimacy = sex and clearly that's not the case.  For him to feel wanted he needs to get sex.  So when I turn him down, he's on the internet getting his gratification, or speaking to an 'ex' sexual partner who doesn't have the woes, gripes, baggage, or anything else that i deal with!  I told my husband, carry the freaking load that I am and then....then let me know if you have time to 'get busy' or do anything besides wack your freaking dick!  He will wake up and jerk off!  He can go days without interacting with our son's but can't go hours without physically gratifying himself.  Ohhhhh, I'm tearing up even now thinking of all the crap I've put up with over the years.  The sad part is....I have to learn to communicate, get a long, and/or understand him regardless if we stay together or not.  WHy?  because of our boys!  I think of the alternatives.... if I get a divorce the possibility that our sons will be allowed with him unsupervised, or our son's getting on his PC seeing what Daddy does, and/or chooses over them.  It's so sad, and I will not be unhappy for the sake of anyone. 

I'm just rambling now...sorry.


I don't know if I suggested

I don't know if I suggested it already, but if I didn't PLEASE get the book Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. If nothing else, you HAVE to break free from the codependent role you have fallen into with your husband's ADHD. You will never be happy and things will never improve for your marriage if you don't. You have to stop being consumed by his moods and his ADHD and start having a life separate and strong from him. I am speaking from my own personal experience...and although my husband's ADHD is causing him to unravel, he's been sleeping in the den for weeks, and he's withdrawn from the entire family I feel more peace about my life and feel stronger than I ever have. My life, for the first time in 13 + years, is not consumed with ADHD and his moods.

I still love him and have no idea what the future holds for us...but I am done letting his ADHD drag me around by the hair.

Please keep us posted. I wish you all the best.

Keturah's picture

I will get the book

I will get the book tonight.... somewhere on line!



I have it as an

I have it as an it from iTunes. I listen to it constantly. Without that book and prayer I would not have a chance...literally. I am not ready to divorce him, but I am able to have some peace with my situation TODAY.

Please keep us posted!

Keturah's picture

Thanks so much for the

Thanks so much for the suggestion on the book.  I purchased it as a CD and i listen to it daily....usually when running errands and/or going to work.  I am enjoying it so well as learning a lot!

When you heard chapter 5..or

When you heard chapter 5..or 6...somewhere around in there...where she lists all of the 'bad' things Codependent people are called...did you have to sit down and take a minute to process what she was saying? There are so many wonderful quotes and so many times that I was moved to tears because I relate so much. I am SOOO HAPPY that it is helping you grow stronger. Until he wants to get help with you, it is the best thing you can do for yourself.


From A non ADHD Mans point of view

your story is sad and probably impossible to get anyone close to you to understand. I am a non adhd husband who is basically a stay at home dad because my adhd wife is a flight attendent and is gone 2-3 days a week. She has worked for the airlines for 14 years now and won't consider doing anything else because its so structured and stimulating it's the only thing secure in her life. So ununified parenting of our 7 year old With adhd and our 5 year old without(we think) is next to impossible. I have been pushed many times beyond my breaking point so I know what that is like. all I can say is hang in there, there is a way to achieve happiness, he just has to want it as bad as you!

Keturah's picture

Thank you for you input... I

Thank you for you input... I agree 100%, he has to want it.... No matter what I do, i can not do and/or want it for him.  I am growing daily and learning more about myself in the process.  I am a much happier me.