Non-ADHD Partners: Please help me understand my husband. Thanks.

I need some help from the non-ADHD partners to understand my husband.  He is so angry and bitter.  We have been together for 18 years, and I started meds 10 years ago.  I only started therapy 6 months ago when I realized I needed help for my anxiety related to his pronouncement that he didn't love me anymore and wanted to divorce when the kids were older.  In spite of the changes I've made, he continues to vacillate on whether I've actually made any progress (You never change!/Why didn't you make these changes 10 years ago?  I don't love you anymore!/I love you.  If I didn't, why would I still be here?)  This part, at least, has less to do with me than him.  I've called him "Hamlet" (mostly in my head) since the beginning of our relationship about things both great and small.  Very indecisive about emotional matters, and admits he lets his strongest emotion at the moment drive the bus, and then feels that emotion even more, because he "gives in" to it. 

He tells me he's 90% angry about the present, that I'm not a psychologist, and I'm wrong that he's still mostly bitter about the past.  However, a couple of days ago, when I cleaned the house, I also continued my task this summer of taking 1 closet/area of the house at a time and purge it of things we don't need.  6 kitchen bags of Goodwill materials, swept the garage, tidied all the rooms in the house, repaired 2 bookcases, and did several loads of laundry.  Oh, and I just remembered that I put most everything away from my children's 4 day trip to the grandparents.  He said nothing about it when he got home, BUT the second after both kids were in bed that night, he immediately said with a scowl  on his face, "MAKE SURE YOU PUT AWAY  _______'S MEDICATION BACK WHERE IT BELONGS.  DO IT TONIGHT."  I busted my a** all day and got a lot accomplished, and he still talks to me like I'm a child.  Though it is not one of my chores, I would have done it.  However, I was really annoyed about how he asked me, and initially responded with, "You could do it.  It's not actually one of my chores."   I

I ultimately ended up doing it, because it wasn't a big deal, and I don't want to make choices based on his anger.   I keep telling him, I don't need an "atta girl,"  but if I'm not going to get any consistent acknowledgment, at least don't be a  J.A. to me and treat me like I don't do anything, because that's obviously not true.  I feel like his lingering resentment of me influences how he both views me and treats me, and his own emotional baggage (chronic indecisiveness re:  me which he refuses to acknowledge, depression, hurt from his Dad leaving for years after divorce, and the pain of watching his mother/step-father fight constantly) has made our marriage impossible.  He has told me as recently as today that I have had "years" to get my crap together and now it's "too late."  Does this sound like someone who is living in the present?  How do I deal with this?  I've addressed it and it makes him angrier because he says I'm wrong, yet his actions say otherwise.  His emotional indecisiveness alone is a major issue, never mind all his other issues plus mine.  I'm so frustrated from constantly trying and getting NOTHING (consistent) in return.  He used to say that I would fight and fight before eventually apologizing and that if I only apologized, it wouldn't get to the fight stage.  Now when I'm wrong, I apologize much sooner, if not immediately.  He acknowledges this, but now HE can't drop it.  I apologize, and he uses that as an opportunity to really light into me. 

The man I loved is in there somewhere, but I can't find him, and I don't know if I ever will again.  His depression and anger have a stranglehold.  I don't even know if he WANTS to get better, because he, by his own admission, loves to be a "martyr."  Yet, I know he hates living this way.

I read this a few times

I read this a few times because I want to try and help you understand...your pain and struggles are obvious in your words. :(

I think you are right. Your husband is angry. There are two reasons I hold onto my anger. Fear of being hurt/disappointed again and because it feels like nothing will ever change. Trying to get inside of your husband's head could be dangerous. I am going back and forth between feeling like he's setting you up to fail and feeling like maybe this has nothing to do with housework/meds being put back in their place.

What I feel you should focus on more than anything else is the way he is trampling all over your boundaries. First, let me say that I am not so proud to admit that I have been guilty of throwing around the "I want a divorce" card for leverage, even when it was NOT what I wanted at all. It's manipulation. Plain and simple. It is him trying to scare you into being exactly what he feels you should be. Doing exactly what he feels you should do. "when the kids are older" .. BS. Anyone who has ever been through a divorce knows that when you want one, you want one..NOW. If you feel there is any hope of it making any difference, I would tell him to stop with the 'threats' and the jabs that insinuate it's "too late". He's either in or out...and his comments are, again, manipulation. Try and take it for what it's worth...I do this too...and it is mostly just mind games. I recently just was able to admit this to myself (and my I could be held accountable for it when it happens) and am trying to stop. It is very unfair.

In the situation above, with the children's medication, I would just take that moment to say "look, I know maybe you didn't mean for that to sound like I took it, but it really is a huge problem for me when you speak to me with such seeming disrespect. Please don't do that" Unless you address it when it comes up and make it known "this is the kind of thing that really is a problem for me" then it makes it harder to come back, in the heat of an argument, and bring it seems like you're just picking at him at that point. This helps validate your problem, even if he denies meaning it the way you took it, he should at least understand that the way it 'feels' to you is condescending. Even if he doesn't agree or concede that you're right, at least you start setting clear boundaries for the way you deserve to be treated. This would be much more effective for me than the "stop treating me like I'm 5!" I get from my husband. His accusation loses it's validity somewhere in the defensiveness.

Is he openly critical of your housework or do you just feel like some of the things he says are insinuating this? Are you assuming this and could possibly be wrong? You weren't clear.

I think, honestly, he's treating you this way and emotionally beating you up because he is angry and just cannot let it go. Anger doesn't come from "today", not this kind of anger. This kind of anger comes from a lack of compassion, understanding, and acceptance of the person you love...and a big ole dash of ADHD rearing its ugly head enough that it seems as though it will always be an insurmountable issue. (all true for ME...not sure about your DH). It is hard to have compassion for the one who hurts me the most...because I haven't mastered the understanding that separating his ADHD from him is what it takes to gain that compassion..and acceptance. I don't have that ability and cannot muster that ability when he is denying that it is an issue. I'm sorry for you that your husband cannot see the efforts you are making...I am not even certain this is all about you.

Sorry...I feel my thoughts are rambly..I need to come back later when I can think more clearly.

((HUGS)) Sherri



Your husband sounds a bit like my first husband

He doesn't have ADD but was chronically angry at me. He would come home, bolt dinner and go downstairs to his office, where he would stay all night, mostly watching the same TV shows the kids and I were watching upstairs. He told me later that he hid downstairs because our house was messy (not that he ever helped clean it up). I did nothing right in 16 years. He was frequently violent with me.

I understand why your husband is angry. Being married to someone with ADD is hard. My guess is he feels he needs to be harder on you than he would be with most wives because he feels he needs to be in control (someone has to be). He needs to make sure you get the things done that need to be done. He's scared of you doing, or not doing, something he sees as a necessity. If he stops being angry, that would mean that he thinks [insert ADD issue] is all right. I can't stop being angry at my husband because that would mean it was all right for him not to work, not to do any household tasks, and to ignore me. It's like stopping being angry would give him permission to screw up.

Sherri, I do disagree that people who really do want a divorce can wait until the kids get older to get divorced. When I left my husband, my kids were 13 and 10 and I did not feel I needed the expense of day care. I knew I could not make enough money to pay for someone to watch my kids and have enough left over to live, so I waited, always knowing I would leave someday. The fact that I knew I could leave gave me comfort although I knew I couldn't leave right then. If I knew I would have to live with him the rest of my life, I couldn't have stood it.

I think your husband is trying to control you. He is trying to see if you will make the continued effort to control your ADHD to the point that he can get what he wants out of your marriage. He is keeping "leaving when the kids are older" as his security, like "If she doesn't keep the house the way I want [or whatever ADHD behavior of yours pisses him off] I can leave. I remember reading that terminally ill people in intractable pain that have the drugs for assisted suicide do not usually use them. It's knowing that they have an "out" if they need it that makes them able to tolerate the pain. {Please, I'm not equating being married to an ADDer with cancer, just giving an example of an intolerable position.}

I don't think this post is exactly an "upper." I do not know what I am going to about my current marriage, since my husband does not appear to be trying to solve any of the problems. You are working hard to improve your marriage and your functioning and I commend you for that.


Hi Sherri, Thank you so much

Hi Sherri,

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.  You might just be Nostradamus.  He has told me (in the few unguarded moments) that he is in a self-protective mode because every time he lets his guard down, I disappoint him.  I am also finally realizing for myself, that as much as I have self-flagellated over the years for my incomprehensible "ability" to repeat the same mistakes over and over , that he has also played an equal role by having an out-of-control ego, a sense of moral superiority (which to me, is an oxymoron), and the desire to be judge and jury.  I'm not so sure anymore that he wants an "equal partner" as do many on this site.  How can he feel superior if we're "equal?"  Also, he might just have to forgive me if that's the case.  I have seen these flaws play out with other people, with disastrous results, and in greater frequency, which is amplifying his depression.  He has a really hard time forgiving A LOT of people, in large part, I feel, because of the pain of his childhood (origin of the self-protective mode, in my opinion) and also because he is such a sensitive man (ironically, the quality that most attracted me to him...ugh...) and feels pain more deeply than others.  

We are moving toward separation/divorce in March (so our son can get mostly through his first year in a new school), so it is no longer just theoretical (sorry I didn't explain that), but it seems the closer it gets, the more depressed he is.  Being the sensitive man that he is, and having experienced the pain of divorce himself, he is loathe to do that to our children, to whom he is a wonderful father (it's bizarre really; it's like he's two people sometimes; maybe that contributes to his variable moods/opinions of me???  Not saying he's Sybill here, but something is amiss...).

Yeah, you are dead-on with the lack of compassion.  He is so angry he can't see the world from my vantage point, and I really have tried so hard to see it from his.  I know that opening my eyes has helped me change from being unaccountable to trying to take responsibility.  He still thinks I don't "assume responsibility" which is a bunch of crap.  I am CONSTANTLY devising ways to circumvent my inability to predictably remember and attend, both mentally and to task completion.  Some methods work, others don't, BUT I NEVER, EVER give up.  I didn't ask for ADHD.  But it's there, so I have to deal with it, and I am.  There are some days I wish he could experience a (temporary) concussion to the frontal lobe.  There's no way in hell he could deal with it better than me, but it might just give him some much needed compassion.  You can't will it away; believe me, I've tried "trying harder;" it's a ludicrous strategy.   I sometimes have the impression that he thinks if I just tried harder, my ADHD would further dissipate.  That's how he acts, anyway.  It's madness, really.  If ANYONE could find a way to harness her stubbornness and tenacity to will her executive functioning issues away, it's me.  I can't do it.

One thing I can say, having this challenge has made me so resilient.  Even as a kid, I knew I was different, but I also knew I was smart, and couldn't figure out why I wasn't doing as well academically as my peers.  I finally got a better handle on it when I discovered the wonder of exercise, and even though I got little sleep as I continually had to get up and take breaks to walk around, I managed to get on the honor roll and then the high honor roll while taking higher level classes.  This was years before I was diagnosed, or was even on meds.  Even so, I still knew I wasn't performing as well as I could.  I had that "sense of underachievement" that Dr. Hallowell references.  I feel much better about my performance these days, but I will never be a person who is complacent.  It's just not in my nature.   I wish my husband understood how my own experiences have shaped me, and realized how much effort is going into finding and maintaining solutions to my issues. 

I am working on the boundary issues, and I appreciate your suggestion on how to react.  I need a pre-determined response, one that is better than what I would come up with spontaneously and (perhaps) impulsively.  I like what you said, and agree that it would make for a less angry response and seem less defensive.  Especially as he tends to go on the offensive as my meds are wearing off.

Thanks, Sherri!


I am sorry to say this, but i

I am sorry to say this, but i am the non and my dh is the add. I am in the angry bitter 10 year scenario. I think acting out and blaming the other person sometimes can be also that we are not in a good place with our own self. I am angry at my dh and also angry with me. (i wrote a very mean mad message a while back that said why i am mad at me) Not much i can do to me, but every little thing will get under my skin. May not even be the dh. They could just be breathing and that will set something off. I did the counseling for me, we did some together but dh never did the work, so to speak. Only took the pills. I did not know the defensive, belittling, "not me", stuff came with it. I stopped being me and became some crazy person. I have no idea who is staring back at me in the mirror, all i know is that person looking back at in the mirror does not look good. I am really tired and miserable myself. I am sorry yours is really mean to you. All i can tell you from my perspective is, i want dh to work on himself, i want dh to not do everything for me, i want dh to be independent of me and act like a grown up in stressful sitiuations. This lying and defensive stuff is what is killing me. I want a mutual respect. I dont want someone thinking for me or ahead of time for me. I feel smothered and cant breathe, dh has this idea of how i am and how he thinks im going to react to things and does the exact opposite of what i would want. Then i am made to feel that i am ungrateful which allows dh to go straight to "i cant do anything right". I hate being put upon and then being made to feel bad about not wanting it in the first place. There is so much i could write. There is so much frustration, but i know you may not have any of these scenarios. So sorry for dumping. He (your dh) really needs to talk to someone if he hasnt already. I dont think he can get to understanding you until he gets rid of his anger first. I am way too mad to be compassionate right now. It just feels like i have to do one more thing to "let it go" to move on and i am way too tired right now. I am stuck. Hope he gets help before he totally loses it. HOWEVER, You need to tell him to fix or look at his anger. Dont allow him to mis treat you if he isnt willing to take a hard look at himself. If he is not willing to take a hard look at himself, he has no right to take it out on you. You need to take care of you. If he is the Non, then he knows better and he knows he can be better. He does not have an excuse to be abusive or belittling to you. I am mad but i am very civil. I am curt, but not abusive. I leave the room if i cant be nice. I have to deal with me and my actions. You must make him see this!! If you show him you deserve respect too, it may rattle him to at least take a step back.

Just a surreal moment for me...

Hi PJ... You said something the really resonated with me. "I feel smothered and cant breathe, dh has this idea of how i am and how he thinks im going to react to things and does the exact opposite of what i would want." I was doing this for years to try and prevent bad situations from occurring and never realized my pre-planning was "Causing" problems. I'm sorry from a more aware ADDer that you are going through this action/reaction cycle. I know now how much it sucks...



Thanks Y, i had a huge

Thanks Y, i had a huge thought and went away to check spelling and lost it... I will try to put together again. It is hard because i know this is only coming from a good place. I know that dh wanted to help, or do something nice, or wanted to give me something as a nice gesture only to be turned away as another "wrong" thing. I read something yesterday i think from you? I'm paraphrasing but my take was "no one wants to be predictable, and no one is "always" something". I feel dh was and does have me here in this "protective box" so to speak to avoid being "wrong." However, i am an extremely independent person and I just want to be allowed to "be" however i am, on that day, in that very moment. When things are anticipated, or predicted, or done for me, i feel i have to be nice and accept whatever it is even though i never asked, and the end result was something that wasnt close to what i wanted. Then the feeling of feeling like an a$$ for not appreciating it. Dh does all sorts of things and if i am crazy enough to complain about it, (i tried once) im only left with "really?" stares. When things are done for me, on an on going basis, (years), i feel like i am stuck and smothered. The visual I see myself in is a small bug that accidentally got caught in a spiders web desperately trying to break free from the webs getting more tangled to more sides, unable to free myself. No matter how hard i try, i cant get out. Just stuck. Nothing to do but DEAL with it. Feeling that way for a long, long time as each different thing happens just builds and builds and i feel more unable to be "free" to be "me". All the things i want to do are already done, (maybe the way i would have done them, or not), all my thoughts have been thought for me, (lost my chance to think), and all my decisions have been made for me (regardless of how i felt). All in the name of love. I get it, but, "I" lose parts of me in the process... I also look like an ungrateful a$$. Even now, as i read this, i feel like an ungrateful a$$. And the hard part is, dh was only trying to be nice. I get it, but dh doesnt. There is the rub. In dh's mind, he is always wrong and nothing is good enough, and i am ungrateful and come off as " holier-than-thou" which is so far from the truth. I am being denied my chance to just live and be me, i lose the ability to make all my own mistakes. I lose a chance to learn about me too. Might as well live in a bubble.

But, you didn't lose

But, you didn't lose gave it all up freely. For whatever reason, you cannot blame him for taking something that isn't his to take unless you give it away. I have experienced this in a few areas of my life with my DH too. You're blaming the wrong person. I only tell you this because the power that was yours, that you gave up, is the same power that can get all of this back for you...and more. Can you honestly name one decision that he made for you that you had absolutely no choice in the matter what-so-ever? Short of clubbing you upside the head and knocking you out, I can't imagine how he took your ability to just say 'no'. Maybe I'm missing something?

No, nothing was freely, i

No, nothing was freely, i spent hours, days, months, years asking for it to stop. I was nice, i was calm, i was repectful, then i got mad. For years he would throw away my drink (ice still in it and soda still in it) because he thought i was done, he would tell people my answers for me, he would pick up something on the way home that i didnt want. He would make plans for me, make calls for me, order drinks for me while out with friends not asking if i wanted something different. Do the laundry for me and ruin my clothes. Clean and vacuum when i had put special stuff on the floor to clean carpet or take smell away. Flush toilet with cleaning solution in it before scrubbing... Just dumb stuff, but right on my heels... There is no room for me to complete tasks or do them my way. There are much bigger things, all just as little and thoughtful , but became bigger in the process. I did not give up any of those things freely. I also did not ask for any of those things either. Dh tells people i dont like such and such, so he declines invitations, or accepts invites on my behalf when i wasnt interested at all. Tells people i like and dislike things that couldnt be further from the truth... Now, if i object in the presence of others he will tell me that i in fact do too and will give specific reasons which will make it more uncomfortable for me to clarify and object. I then look all uncomfortable or pissed which opens the door for "see, this is what i get" Followed by "see, our whole marriage folks", "no appreciation".... Sorry, but i wish I could punish myself for this...when we talked about it later (my asking for ability to do things for me or answer my own questions), it still happens... When i again point it out again, for the thousandth time, it gets followed up with: "you never told me this, Now i know" and then does it again and again and again.... There lies my groundhog day feelings. Feeling smothered and overpowered... I really dont feel i have given it up freely. : (

But so many of these things I

But so many of these things I still see as you 'letting' happen because you obviously, at some point in your marriage, created this monster. He had to start this at some point and at some point you had to make the decision "I'd rather say nothing and take what he's ordered me/let him speak for me/let him make plans for me than to just speak up and say 'no, I don't want that to drink...bring me a ____ instead'/'I would like to answer my own questions, thank you'/'I am not interested in doing _____ that you planned for I won't be going' " Enough of this and he would have eventually stopped the bulldozing and realized that it wasn't going to be a part of the dynamic if your marriage. I'm not saying you never complained, but you obviously did not have set boundaries...or you did not force him to respect those boundaries. Now you are very angry about it and don't know what to do with the monster you've enabled for all of these years. This is no different than if he were an alcoholic and you handed him a beer everyday. You may be so many years into it that you cannot see where you gave it up, but you gave it up. This had to start somewhere. Even the scenario where you say you're pushed to the point of discomfort in public because he is insistent that you feel/think a certain way...that is still giving up to him and letting him bulldoze you. "no, honey, really...I'm sorry but you are wrong on this...that is absolutely not how I feel. Can we please change the subject?" Maybe it causes a little discomfort for a moment, but caving has caused an even bigger issue. I HONESTLY don't mean to sound harsh, I just think you are not owning up to your own part in this and realizing that you have the power to change it without being so angry at him (and yourself) and without your marriage having to fail.

Him ruining your laundry...that is something that isn't so black and white. On one hand I want to ask 'why in the hell are you complaining if the man is doing laundry??' but I guess that's easy for me to say when mine does NOTHING. I would give my left arm for him to vacuum. Clean. ANYTHING. But if I had some of my things ruined, I suppose I might be a little upset too. Oh the other hand, I've ruined more than one item of his clothing through the years....and he's never said a word.

Hi sherri

Thanks for making me take a hard look, but I still feel heavy when i think about it. Yes, to some extent i have allowed my space and my tasks and my thoughts to be over run. But, and this is a big but, i think dhs' "intent" to do for me is what is making it hard to breathe freely. Dhs intent is to make me happy and to make things easier for me and to just do all great stuff for me. What i want is my own breathing room and to NOT feel I HAVE TO "fend off" these things. I have spoken, over and over and over, even from the very first time he turned the shower on for me and it just didnt make it "in" there. The intent is not to make me miserable, perhaps its the one "social cue" that may me missing here. Dh has had, at one point, no boundaries for any one about anything. Dh will do for everyone - its not just me and the eyebrows are raised and i am called the eternal patience master. Dh has no problem taking things from people, borrowing someones underware for a friend or himself, has no problem cleaning up at someone elses house. Im not trying to paint a bad picture... There is just this heavy feeling that doesnt go away. I have addressed this in my 10+ years of counseling and how to deal with it. I have been told i'm allowing it, but took the necessary steps to speak and try to make it clear. It has calmed down a bit, but it is still something that is a frustrating feeling. It weighs heavy on me. I dont know if that makes sense. After trying things and getting nowhere, The last resort is to internalize it... I mean really, beat a dead horse? Dh will punish himself more than i can. So, when i feel like i have lost a freedom so to speak, i feel queasy and heavy and then shut it down. That is how my anger is expressed sometimes too. I am reading the anger book. And, dh is working with a counselor. See, now, ,i feel you think im an a$$ and i think Y understands. Its a hard thing to admit and talk about because i know it does not come from a bad place. It is one more way to feel lost and unable to be me. If i ever try to talk to friends they think i am a jerk. So, there is really a tug of war over this issue for me. On one hand... But on the other...?

No, no, no..not at all. Let

No, no, no..not at all. Let me be clear...I don't think you are an ass AT ALL. That is not the angle I am trying to approach (and help) from. Many of the things you listed, I would be furious if my husband did them for me. I used to hate for him to make plans without asking me or telling me until the last minute. I imagine it is extremely suffocating...and I think he needs a wake up call. One point I also want to add, it does not matter his intentions, if it is crossing your personal space boundaries, then he has to accept that it is not something you want. He needs to learn your Love Language (a good book he might need to read a few hundred times! The Five Love Languages). It is just as simple as him trying to force his likes, dislikes, and reality onto you. I think you also might want to consider that his heart is not always in the right place...but this is a form of control and something he does for purely selfish ease some type of discomfort inside of himself. I am not certain his heart is always in the right place...and even if it is, it is where HE feels it should be and isn't considering what you need/ good intentions or not, he needs to try something 'different'. (i.e. keeping his mouth shut when you go out to dinner and not ordering ANYTHING for you, staying in another room and letting you clean your own way, never making plans without asking you first and knowing upfront that if he does you will not go along)

All I hope for in your situation is for you to take back your power and regain your 'self'. You can do it...I just don't think you see how it is possible. I don't know either, I would have to be there physically to watch him cross your boundaries, but I think that is where you need to recognizing where you need boundaries. There is a great book about boundaries...I think the authors last name is Cloud. I know you keep saying you're tired and you just want to give up...and believe you me, I understand that concept too. I took that same stand about mid-June and have basically just now started feeling like I even want to make baby steps to start 'working' on my marriage again. But, I would challenge you to do this for YOU. Do it so that you won't fall back into the same pattern if you do end up divorced and meet someone else. Break the cycle of becoming so lost in a relationship for YOURSELF. Do the hard work because YOU deserve it. You're not doing it to help him with his ADHD, you're doing it to save you! ((HUGS))


PJ... You make Total Sense :)

I've been through everything you are describing as your husband's actions/reactions. Right now you two are speaking 2 different languages. It sucks for both of you, but I understand. Until your spouse gains more understanding of this miscommunication, I don't see how to improve it because you would be keeping everything bottled up and giving the "Pats on Back", in spite of how you feel.

My wife has dropped specific "Hints" as to little things I can do that make her happy when she is not expecting it. Like "I move her car and notice, as usual, she is riding on vapors and she probably forgot or did not have time to get gas on the way home, So I notice and run to the gas station and fill it up and don't say anything. The next morning, when she is rushing out the door and realizes "$hit... I NEED Gas!", then looks and sees that she has a full tank. That makes her happy... I was "Thinking of her".   

I HATE wasting time, it just burns me up because I know realize there is Never enough time to get everything done, so I focus on things that I know she will appreciate or I "Ask" her if this "Action" is important. I waste a lot Less Time this way.

Hang in there PJ...


yyz, I am so happy that you


I am so happy that you "Get It".  Yes, I believe that is what most of us are looking for.  The acknowledgement that the ADD/ADHDer was "Thinking of us".  Only problem, my ADHD husband waits til the last minute to do anything of importance for himself (ie:  a deadline, takes no notice of getting his own gas for his truck until he is on fumes, etc.) so how can we expect them to do anything of importance or anything that really would make a difference for us?

Me, too...

I, too, have been guilty of completing tasks that my spouse doesn’t want me to do, all in the name of trying to do something nice for him.  I’ve gotten much better about that, but today, had a misunderstanding based on my faulty memory that kind of spiraled that came from my desire to "help out."  I saw the Sunday newspaper scattered on both the kitchen table and countertop today.  Being Tuesday, I thought I would take it downstairs to the recycling bin.  I incorrectly thought he had at one point said to me that once I was finished the newspaper, to bring it downstairs.  He asked me where it was when he realized it was missing.  I told him I had taken it to the recycling bin.  From the look of disappointment on his face, you would think I had stabbed a litter of puppies.  So I said, “I thought you wanted me to take the newspaper downstairs when I was done with it?”  He responded that he had never said that.  I then apologized.  I was also genuinely confused, because I was certain at least part of what I understood was true, so I asked him, “You didn’t say that I needed to take the newspapers downstairs after I was done?”  At this point, I can hear the level of annoyance in his voice increasing, and he asked why I was arguing with him.  I sincerely just wanted to figure out where I went amiss, as it is frustrating for me as well.  I wanted to know where the truth ended and my inadvertent mental creations began.  I now realize I was making it worse by reacting to the pain I perceived on his face.  When I told him I did not do it on purpose and that my heart was in the right place, he said that he never said I did do it on purpose.  I followed up with, “So why do you look so sad?”  He responded that it crushes him when I do these things, that if it happened every two weeks it would probably not be a big deal, but that it happens “five times a day” and that that is the entire extent of our interactions.  I thought he was exaggerating to make a point, but decided to shut my mouth as I was not intending to argue (although as I write I’m starting to see how he might perceive that differently).  I finished this afternoon’s masterpiece by giving him some printed comments from this site written by ADHDers on the topic of communication.  I trimmed them to remove the screen names as I didn’t want him to figure out that I’m on this site, because I won’t feel free to write these posts.  My timing in giving him the posts was impeccable as he had just returned to our deck to supervise our son and two other rambunctious young boys playing in our yard.  Not a wise choice on my part.

Later, when he got mad at me (again) for giving him the comments, I said, “I’m just trying to help you understand how I think…”  I was going to add “so we can communicate better,” but he cut me off to say, “I don’t want to understand how you think.  I don’t care.”  He added after something I said (can’t remember what exactly) to the effect of him not accepting my ADHD (He recognizes the diagnosis, but is sick of my symptoms manifesting.  Join the club, buddy.)

Finally, after fight number 2 of the night, he hesitated, then said, “You know, every time that I try to love you, you do something soul-crushing.”  

Is what I did today that bad?  Was his initial reaction of hopelessness understandable as part of the “ADHD Effect” or is it high-drama?  Perhaps a little of both?  Where did I go wrong?

P.S.  I realized 1 hour after the initial incident that it was the coupon flyers in the Sunday newspaper that he had previously told me to throw out once I had perused them.

Ahh, so it is nice to know

Ahh, so it is nice to know that not all of my husbands insensitive comments are not planted from adhd. How "refreshing". In other words, dont stress over that small "indiscretion". You made a slight boo boo- so what? Forgive yourself. My husband has made similar comments to me (and then some). Apparently he was just being insensitve for other reasons..

No, not at all - i could be totally wrong, but

I can relate... This is from my perspective...It may be because he KNOWS deep down you didnt intend to do anything wrong. He may have felt bad for getting upset again over something that seems so trivial, and is upset at himself for not appreciating your intent, and he is mad for hurting you and making you feel bad, again, for something that IS so trivial. And at the same time is upset at himself for not putting it somewhere where he could keep safe within reach of his grasp, which means he could have prevented this whole thing in the first place. My thoughts here- In the grand scheme (why "it" seems so big) is, a long time ago, He chose you, he chose to be there with you, therefor he chose his life and everything that it is now. He is just acting out because he is miserable. He has no one to blame but himself... THAT is the soul crushing. he feels he has lost a very important love of his life. He may not be able to say it that way but i have felt it that way... I dont want to hurt dh or you. He doesnt want to cause you any more pain, he is now feeling responsible for that pain he sees in your eyes and is showing it in a very mean way... You only want to help... And who are we to not appreciate all just makes me feel lousy. The part about not caring...from my perspective, is i dont want to do any more work. It feels so hard and i am so tired. However, i am here. I want to learn and feel that i am not as bad and as crazy as i feel. If he is reading the comments you show him maybe he will find us angry folks and relate somehow which may move him towards enlightenment. Im sorry, i hope it didnt sound harsh, i just have lived this scenario over and over and have been really mean about it too. Just thought i would share from my side, it may not be anything at all like my thoughts though, i do not intend to speak for your dh.

yep yep

for years I followed him around (acording to him) doing everything for him. speaking for him...he turned into a monster. angry all the time. hid in his office saying that was the only place he could get away from me and the havoc or drama that surrounded me. that it was the only clean place in the house (not true by my standards) turns out hiding in his office had little to do with me doing everything wrong and more to do with two things. one....I was suffocating him. by being oh so helpful I took away his life. he didnt have to talk or move because I did it for him. which of course brings the duh of the century...if you do everything for someone else you are going to get it wrong at least most of the time. because no matter how predictable someone is they are still an emotional human being and they will react at any given time diffrent than you will or that they have in the past. bottom line....I had to leave him alone. not kidding you...the hardest thing I could do since I love him and want to be with him all the time. it took a while. but once he had a voice again he used it :) I learned that yes the dining table needs fixed but it was his job to do it and yes it took him 3 months....but it was his....and it stayed that way. that is why he always went to his was his and that wouldnt change. he could do what he liked when he liked. it was his space. in trying to be a better adhd I ended up doing too much basically in the wrong area. all he really wanted was the house picked up. other things like fix it stuff was his area and was to be left up to his time line and how he wanted to do it at the time he decided to do it. it was a hard thing for me to let go of but it made a lifetime of diffrence. it's funny but I thought if I let him have it this way..nothing will get done and he's basically living his own life independant from mine...where did I fit in? would he ever come to me for anything? or was he going to live basically by himself. the answer most simply was no. he didnt come to me. because as many times as I told myself it wouldnt get fixed.....sooner or later it would get done and he NEVER asked for my help. did this bother me? nope. because as a result I got asked out on a date with him for the first time in about three years. he fit me in exactly where he needed me. to be his wife.  seems absolutly silly to me cause I would love to have someone talk for me or do all my projects for me, get me a glass of water, pour my coffee before I knew I wanted it....yeah no...I wouldnt. I did it because I loved him and thought I heard him mention it. turns out guys mention alot of things but dont really want all those things done and usually I remember it wrong so thats why I always got it wrong. I thought his anger meant he just wished I'd leave him alone and he never had to deal with me. turned out he really just wanted to wipe his own nose and wanted me to focus on wiping my own :) I'll never forget the look on his face when I asked him If I had taken away his freedom to have spontinaity and change his mind by me making him be predictable so I wouldnt make a mistake. the mistakes I make now are less of a bother to him at all because he doesnt notice them as soul crushing because it wasnt his space I was touching. it was mine. it sounds territorial but then...if he came into my office and reorganised I wouldnt be so angry because It might be a fine job organising....but it just wasnt what I wanted right now. my close mouthed husband who rarely had a good word for me got excited because he hadnt wanted to hurt my feelings at first and now it was like a huge bomb. he just wanted to shout all the time. anyways...thats just us being us just wanted to say I hear you and good luck and the best thing that could have happened was for me to realise that it wasnt the tiny newspaper I threw away it was 10 years of those tiny things I did to help him sometimes a dozen times a day or more. with all due respect I figured if he was a grown man he should have been able to tell me that a little sooner than waiting ten years...but theres that lovely communication barier that makes it so much fun to try to understand each other. I swear he said it every other way but just not the words that made sense. it wasnt till I heard someone else say something similar I was like "oooh...I get it"

To answer your

To answer your What you did was not even close to warranting this reaction. If you do 5 things like THIS every day and that's the worst you do...GEEZ, get a grip drama queen!! (your DH)

Where I feel you are partially going wrong here is the immediate response and assumptions to his question. Immediately you FEEL "I have done something wrong". He senses it, he knows it, and he's banking on it. "oh damn, I threw it away..sorry, I thought you were done." You're assuming the look on his face means _____ (angry, sad, etc). Don't. Just don't. Not only are you probably poor at reading body language, we are not too good at reading yours either. SO many times we've argued over a look..or a 'sigh' (why are you mad? why did you sigh like that?) that meant absolutely nothing. Stop looking at his face during these times, if you have to. It was an innocent mistake. If you make five a day, big F'in deal. I'm sure you won't toss out the newspaper next time...get over it buddy.

Also...if he wants to understand you, he will read. I can almost bet that you asking him to is going to insure that he won't. Stop trying to jump through flaming hoops for this man's acceptance and approval. Stand up for yourself when you make innocent mistakes and say "look, it could happen to was an innocent mistake and you are being very unfair in your reaction." You can really, really help by finding ways to feel better about yourself so that you don't let his feelings about you dictate how you feel about yourself. His opinion is cluttered with his own garbage and KNOW you're worth more than this..and deserve more. He feels/senses that you don't feel that way...and it seems he is on a mission to beat you down emotionally. Has he always been this way? Could he be projecting some guilt of his own onto you? Making everything you do seem so 'huge' because he's doing something he's ashamed of and it helps him rationalize that it's OK?

As for his "everytime I try to love you" gut feeling, being a non-ADHD spouse and knowing my levels of desperation for things to be different combined with my OWN self-loathing, is that this is solely to hurt. Even if he FEELS it's 'true' (i.e. it is what he feels is his reality) it is so muddied by anger that I doubt he knows his a$$ from a hole in the ground at this point. He is EQUALLY responsible for whatever state the marriage is in. He's being controlled by his anger. He is picking you apart like a vulture. Every time he sees a weakness, he swoops in. I would almost have to say (this is my "get off your damned high horse jackass!" response) "If me tossing out a two day old newspaper means, in your mind, that I'm not worthy of your love, then so be it!"


Awesome, Sherri :D

"If you do 5 things like THIS every day and that's the worst you do...GEEZ, get a grip drama queen!!" - Great assessment :)

"You're assuming the look on his face means _____ (angry, sad, etc). Don't. Just don't. Not only are you probably poor at reading body language, we are not too good at reading yours either. SO many times we've argued over a look..or a 'sigh' (why are you mad? why did you sigh like that?) that meant absolutely nothing." - Are we living parallel lives???

ADDmomof2... Regarding "The Newspaper Incident", I echo Sherri's thoughts. I can say that I have done a Million things in a similar manner, where you know "Something" was said about "Insert Task Here", and you want to do the task while you are remembering it, but you don't want to have to "Ask" anything about the task, because of the possible negative responses, so you proceed with the task knowing it is not that complicated. Because you did not "Ask" before hand, you did not did exactly what was mentioned, so you get beat up over it anyway. I've been through this SO many times...

The problem is basically this: From what I have read we ADDer's have a memory storage issue, among other things, where our Short Term Memory (Mine was Terrible, now improved) sends things to Long Term Memory WAY TOO Soon and Long Term Memory is like the "Cliff's Notes" of the actual event with highlights and no real detail to be recalled.

To both of you... Does it seem like there are ADD Bullies (Obviously) and ADDer's who Get Bullied, likewise there seem to be NonADDer's in both Bully categories???


Yes, I am seeing that pattern

Yes, I am seeing that pattern too...some ADHDers are run over like freight trains and others are the freight train themselves. In essence, as with a lot of unhealthy marriages, the balance is just so far off it is sad.

In my marriage though, I think we are at more of a 'he wants to bury his head in the sand and will fight to the death to leave it there' pattern. I decided around mid-June I would join him.



I think a lot of what my DW and I have gone through is because of the balance shifting more towards center. I don't just collapse in a confrontation anymore, which she sees as "defensive" and I see as "My right to express my opinion" and I sure I am still learning how to do this dance. I believe it still takes her by surprise that she cannot just make a remark and get away clean.

I'm really sorry to here about the Dead-Lock you seen to be in. I understand that ADD is me, like your husband, but my meds and research help me keep some of the "Special" ADD traits while throttling back the laundry list of "Crap" :) I know it sucks to be in the position, like a holding pattern, waiting for the Common Sense Plane to get it's instructions as to "How to Land the plane".

Interesting about your husband wanting to "Stand out" with tattoos, wild hair  and so on... I have always wanted to blend in, fly under the radar, because if I get noticed they might figure me out. My two examples of "Stand Out" are tasteful Muscle Cars (Sleepers) with superior sound systems (None of that Boomy crap, Audiophile ;).

I hope things get out of the rut soon, Sherri.




Not that I want you to be miserable (I don't), but I can't tell you how much better I feel hearing I'm not the only one to have gone through the misery of trying to a) accurately recall a future task (the mysterious "Something"-love it), b) not want to ask my spouse to repeat directions due to his reaction, c) proceeding how I remember it, and d) waiting for my "grade."

So true about the short to long-term memory.  There's the reality, there's the fill-in-the-blank for what you didn't hear, and the creativity improvisation for what you partially heard/heard but didn't really fully attend to at the moment.  It all gets jumbled into a sort of brain fart soup and emitted for all to enjoy.  Yum.

Not the only one, for sure, ADDmomO'2 :)

"I can't tell you how much better I feel hearing I'm not the only one to have gone through the misery" - This was one of my first realizations in the first chapter of "You Mean I not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy". I thought I was the only person who thought the weird things and had weird reactions and made some terrible decisions out of some impulse I had difficulty controlling.

Brain Fart... HaHaHa, that is on of my favorite descriptors ;)

Don't you love recalling something that is so crystal clear in your brain and seeing the person across from you looking at you like you've remembered only what you "Want" to remember. Selective Memory and Selective Hearing... Super Awesome :-?

YYZ (ADDad-O-2)

Super Awesome, Indeed

I've been told by my husband countless times that "I hear what I want to hear."  Yes, dear, because I LOVE it when you condescend to me, so I spend my days devising ways to convolute what you say.  One day, I hope to convince you that you actually said you'd buy me a live unicorn who will graze below the Ewok village you were going to build for me.  And instead of a security system I was going to shoot my good intentions from a crossbow.  At least I know I will have an endless supply of ammo!  Ha-ha! :)


You have not lost your sense of humor. This IS key :) My Jedi Mind Trick has worked for me since birth...



Sherri, can you be my husband's psychologist? :)

I have been smiling ever since I read this... hilarious.  I have called him a drama queen many a time, not meanly, but he knows there's a bit of truth there. 

Yeah, I definitely "read into" his expressions way too often, though I've noticed he does the same.  My tendency stems from paranoia that I'm always one step from the doghouse.  I probably miss some social cues courtesy of ADHD, and sometimes react too fast to what I perceive, whether I perceive it correctly or not.  I only do this with him.  Oddly, I am a diplomatic genius at work who can get along with anyone and bring opposing factions together, but I make up for it by being the village idiot at home ;).

He hasn't always been this way.  He used to be kinder, sweet, and affectionate. But we're both pretty damn stubborn (which I'm working on, for my part) and argumentative.  He has always been a bit self-righteous, a trait which has grown over time, no doubt in response to my ADHD symptoms as a defense mechanism.

I definitely think he feels a heavy burden of guilt as the one to decide to end our marriage.  He has said that he would like both of us to draw the same conclusion.   He's unable to pull the trigger at the moment.  Recently, when I told him I wanted to move this process forward, not because I wanted a divorce, but because despite me asking him not to condescend and humiliate me in front of the children, he not only continued, but told me he had no plans to cease and desist.  He was shocked, because despite my impulsivity, I don't just say things like that.  He then told me he wanted us to tell everyone it was a mutual decision to divorce, but I told him that simply wasn't true, but I had felt that I had no other recourse.   After considering the ramifications for the children, he agreed to improve himself to make this tenable until March, and he has (clearly, we have to raise the bar, but it's a start).   Though he's still being kind of a donkey, he's no longer calling me names and yelling at me in front of the kids.   

I do think he makes a big deal about relatively trivial things sometimes to justify himself.  Not that I never display any annoying ADHD symptoms or simply make poor choices.  I have told him repeatedly that when he makes a big deal about everything to someone who can't prioritize, it's really difficult to pick out a few things to work on.  It's starting to feel like he's the teacher in Charlie Brown; just a lot of annoying static.

My best friend said to me the other day that I have been with him so long that she feels like I'm losing perspective on what is and what is not acceptable behavior, which is why I am asking advice from those in the trenches.  What I am becoming numb to, shocks and infuriates her.  Even his "I try to love you" gem doesn't phase me.  I know it's objectively rude, but I put it on him and his character flaws.  I am finally at the point where in spite of being sad about the situation and continuing to improve, I can look at myself and say I didn't arrive at this point on my own and believe it.

A comment on memory

My husband has a terrible memory.....this is genetic (as is his ADD) so we don't always know exactly where the source of some of his problems come from.  Our experience may not be the same as everyone else's, but it is the same as other ADD/non couples that I know so just throwing it out there in case....

I have been guilty of claiming he only remembers what he wants to remember, and I understand why anyone would not love to hear that, but here is the problem as I see it.  We have a discussion.   Off the top of his head he comes up with an idea.  Together we come up with a much better idea, so we decide together to do something else.  Result:  He *remembers* that we went with his initial idea. 

We are talking about what needs to get done.  He only remembers 1 or 2 things that were mentioned (because he didn't write his responsibilities down) when really he was supposed to take care of 3 or 4 small tasks.

See from the viewpoint of the non, how can you accidentally only remember things in your own favor?  If it is truly random, wouldn't you sometimes remember to do more instead of less?  In our house it gets called selective at times because his bad memory pretty much only seems to work for his benefit.  I suspect, whether you realize it or not, that is how it appears to the nons in your life too.

Which on the subject, please help me with him remembering a decision we make together.  We talk it all through, make a decision, and he *remembers* that we decided something else?!  Other than having him take notes, which is a work in progress, any ideas?  When I get frustrated, I tell him that talking to him is as productive as talking to the wall and he gets SOOO hurt.  He is very sorry.  I totally get it.  I don't want him to be sorry though, I want him to remember what we decide.


Memory is a real tough one. When it comes to decisions/projects, When I am about to begin the thing I like to talk through the first few things I'm about to do. This helps me organize my first steps and my DW can review while listening and I usually ask if there is anything else she can think of regarding the project, or she can say "While you are at "Big HI Store", can you pick up some light bulbs (Whatever).

Having bad short term memory for as long as I did, I bypass the "I forgot half the things you asked for" by asking for a List. Write a list as you notice what is needed at the grocery store, then give it to me or even better (Email, Text) electronic is better because I can re-use or modify the data later. I have some great apps in my phone for Calendar Events,Tasks, Projects, To-Do's, Grocery Lists and these all has Reminder capabilities which really help me.

My memory has improved since Adderall and I'm a lot better about remembering "On the fly" requests. "I" am very happy with these improved capabilities! Do you realize how bad it feels to have only "1 thing" to do on your way home and be thinking about it all day, so you don't forget, and on the way home a random phone call comes in unexpectedly and you are on Autopilot driving, then you get home a see the look on your DW's face, suddenly realizing you've failed again!!! This is the Worst feeling and I had it a thousand times... The frequency of this kind of event has been greatly reduced, but the timing is bad because by 6 or 7 pm the meds are pretty much gone and the old ADD tricks are coming back. Uuuuuuuuuuugh...

Memory of things in our favor... It makes sense if you think about it. Do you remember more of the good things or bad when you think back to your distant past? Unless it was traumatic, I remember the things that mad me happy. Our ADD brains move things to Long Term too quickly so I believe the same principle applies. Also, being driven by adrenaline to stay awake and not be bored, unfortunately it is much easier to remember fun things. I don't believe it is a choice to forget things that are really important to our Non-ADD spouses, because who really wants to go through that fallout one more time? Just my 2¢ :)


He may be like you in the arena

of talking himself through the scenario except I think my husband may actually talk himself through it all......with maybe a break or two in between to psych himself up.  For example, no matter how many times he's needed to make the same type of phone call to a vendor, when it is time to call one in particular (they are the most difficult to deal with) regarding not paying his invoices on time, it is literally an hour long process.  By the time he makes the call, and at least 75% of the time only resulted in him leaving a message, as the deadbeat seldom answers his phone, I am exhausted if I am home to witness (or help along) the process.  Honestly it is painful to me and my nerves.

We've discussed templates, we've discussed keeping note pages in his organizer for each vendor's communication so that he can catch himself up quickly on where they are and how things have been left.  The honest issue as I see it is that he knows this situation is not an easy resolve and he avoids/procrastinates/needs to psych himself up/etc etc   I get resisting it, but you have 2 choices, 1. do it and get it done for the day and don't worry about it until the next time (which may seriously be tomorrow but so be it for now), or 2. procrastinate it and take all day and barely get it in before 5 their time and make it extremely unlikely that a resolution is possible.

No matter how much he knows it is inefficient and frustrating for us both, he goes with 2.  Some of that is personality & if he had numerous hours to make each necessary phone call, it wouldn't be a big deal, but no one has that kind of time.  The pre-call or pre-beginning of project convo is one we utilize a lot and is definitely very helpful.

We don't have the cliched problem of things being forgotten at the store.  I keep an ongoing shopping list, and I text all other things to him or do it when I am out, so that is probably less of an issue than for nonADD couples.

With great respect for all the helpful posts you've made around here (and giving myself the required several hours to step away from the computer before posting something I disagree with), my friend THIS I believe is a lot of hooey....

Memory of things in our favor... It makes sense if you think about it. Do you remember more of the good things or bad when you think back to your distant past? Unless it was traumatic, I remember the things that mad me happy. Our ADD brains move things to Long Term too quickly so I believe the same principle applies. Also, being driven by adrenaline to stay awake and not be bored, unfortunately it is much easier to remember fun things.

I get your concept, but not as you are applying it to a memory of a convo situation.  There aren't really fun things vs nonfun things to do with the type of convo I am talking about.  Yes I hope he remembers the convo itself as *fun* cause I make a great effort to make these things ADD-friendly (and my personal style is definitely NOT--I love nothing better than talking through options for hours even but I get that he isn't up for that), but remembering your own idea that wasn't even fully formed and just came out of your mouth on the fly, or forgetting things you agreed to do, while I agree are not deliberate done to annoy, I don't see as a fun/nonfun thing.  I can see it as ADDmom explains below as just remembering the first idea or the one that you bond with most quickly. 

Perhaps I am just not getting what you are saying.   I see nothing about this issue as being something that makes you happy vs makes you sad.......I can see it as being inattentive and not fully listening to the other person's point of view, but honestly my husband doesn't seem to struggle with that.  He  listens and cares, but he has trouble remembering what we decided esp if it was hard to come to the decision.

who really wants to go through that fallout one more time? Just my 2¢ :)

Couldn't POSSIBLY agree with you more, but not all ADD ppl will agree with you.  My husband will do something knowing it will cause fallout in the *not now* just not to have to deal with something in the *now*.  We talk and talk about how much easier it would be to just get it over with instead of making it worse, and he agrees, but there are some true dyed-in-the-wool avoiders who will put off the future pain that they just can't *feel* at the moment to avoid it now.


He's dealing better with this by eaps and bounds & his psychologist is uncovering that it seems to have to do with the repressive atmosphere he grew up with and the over-reactions/under-reactions he experienced his whole life--probably due to an undiagnosed, unmedicated ADHD mother and emotionally supressed father.



Not my best work, for sure...

My illustration was not very good. I read what I posted earlier and it was ineffective to me too. Memory for me was not a choice. I don't know why I remember some things and not others. My memory is certainly better than it used to be and I'm sure thankful for the improvement. If I thought my memory was deliberate and I consciously chose the things that benefited me over my wife or family, that would make me a real jerk. I don't think I am, because I know how bad I feel if I forget something important. I really do like pleasing people, especially my family, so when I slip it really sucks. As mad as my DW might be at me at the time, I assure you I am more mad at myself.

Sometimes my thoughts make sense in my head, but I can still write them down ineffectively. I like how you said you read my post, then stepped away for a while to process your thoughts before you responded. That is an example of things I am still trying to learn.



who really wants to go

who really wants to go through that fallout one more time? Just my 2¢ :)

Couldn't POSSIBLY agree with you more, but not all ADD ppl will agree with you.  My husband will do something knowing it will cause fallout in the *not now* just not to have to deal with something in the *now*.  We talk and talk about how much easier it would be to just get it over with instead of making it worse, and he agrees, but there are some true dyed-in-the-wool avoiders who will put off the future pain that they just can't *feel* at the moment to avoid it now.

He's dealing better with this by eaps and bounds & his psychologist is uncovering that it seems to have to do with the repressive atmosphere he grew up with and the over-reactions/under-reactions he experienced his whole life--probably due to an undiagnosed, unmedicated ADHD mother and emotionally supressed father.

Wow...not that I'm happy that you have this same issue, just feels good to know I am not alone. The 'let's avoid being honest now in the hopes that I won't get caught later' pattern in our marriage has created such a horrible atmosphere of 'who is this man and will I ever be able to trust him?'. It's SOO very sad to me and so very frustrating. I feel, for my husband, it is more of an impulse control issue than anything else. Sometimes. I am sure there are times when he's just afraid to tell me things because he is convinced I will be mad. He may be justified in some of that fear, but not in all of it. There are also times when he does things that I have every right to be upset about and he just simply does not tell me to avoid 'hearing it' and does it anyway hoping he just simply won't get caught. (the impulse control) This fosters BAD feelings of "he is selfish and cares more about ____ than he does his marriage".

I have definitely played a part in the 'over reactions' in his did his father and 1st wife. His mother would have been the 'under reactor'...and he was undiagnosed until age 37. I feel your pain. I would be interested in any progress your husband and his psychologist make in this area. This is sometimes a HUGE problem for us.


Memory is an issue that comes up very often between me and my adhd hubby.  We will be talking and something will come up that we have talked about, or I will say something about something he has said and instantly its "I never said that" or "I never did that".  He will swear that a complete conversation or situation never occured!!  It's very frustrating because it makes me out to be the person "making stuff up" and causing an argument.  I dont really have any advise for you, but know your not alone in this. ~~HUGS~~

The bane of the nonADD spouse "I never said that"

I hear you sister!  So frustrating right?  Sometimes I can give him enough of the scenario that he in *we were sitting right here on the couch, had just finished dinner when we discussed who we wanted to have over next Friday night.......remember?*  But sometimes he will just dig in his heels.....with my husband I think this is about 50% thinking he didn't say it and 50% knowing he must have by my reaction but not wanting to be wrong again.

I have even asked him in anger, "Seriously babe, you want to take your stand on this hill shored up solely by your memory, REALLY?!?!"  or the ever popular "In a contest between my memory and yours which do you think is more reliable based on history"--yeah that one isn't exactly conducive to resolving the issue peacefully.

I find that humor actually works the best to diffuse this one quickly, but isn't always my knee jerk reaction....working on this one!   I find looking at each other and bursting out laughing is honestly the quickest way to most resolutions LOL

Thanks for the hug and right back at you!

Always need a sense of humor

Amazingly frustrating at times....because its usually about something I would have NO need to argue about.  An example would my husband eats his hamburgers.  For the last 5 years I have been making his hamburgers w/o ketchup on them because he told me he didn't like ketchup.  A week ago, he asks me why there is never ketchup on them and I answer "because you don't like it".  To which he gets all upset that he NEVER told me that and I'm making it up!  Really? Cause that would be a REALLY dumb thing to make up, much less argue about.  We do this about once a week where I will say something and he will tell me he never did or said it.  Usually it is something really minor and I laugh it off, but sometimes its important and I don't want to spend time arguing over it.  I too am working on laughing things off and not getting angry....cause we all know that never helps.

^^^^Always need a sense of humor^^^^

I have ALWAYS said "If you lose your sense of humor you are in Real Trouble..." ;)

Awesome example too... If only the majority of my arguments were at the serious "Ketchup" level :D


My husband has a memory like

My husband has a memory like an elephant and does not forget conversations...the worst he does here is forget to tell me about events or plans until the last minute and that's not even a huge issue anymore. The worst thing he does it pick one thing, the most 'hurtful' or 'negative' thing about a conversation and the rest is lost in ADHD land somewhere and he solely focuses only on that one negative thing I said/did. It is like nothing else was said.

On the other hand, I have these kinds of arguments with my 12 y/o daughter on a daily basis. "you said we would _____" "I said we MIGHT but we cannot go today" "you lied to me!" This is a short, quick example, it is usually a lot worse than this. Or she will ask me something, I will answer her, then she will ask 2 minutes later and I will say "I just told you" and she will immediately become angry and claim she didn't hear me or insist I did not tell her. It's nuts! I have learned to NEVER tell her anything in advance. If I have a passing thought such as 'I would like to maybe try and go to the Mall one day soon' then it is as if I promised her and when the time comes if I can't go, don't have the money, or for whatever reason just cannot go she can literally pour on the guilt trip like no other. I have only seen this in one other person in my life...and that is her Daddy...but I think she's got him beat!

I have never seen a memory like my husbands. Also, he does not misplace things (keys, cell phones, etc) very often either. Not sure why that part isn't included in his ADHD package.



I have never seen a memory like my husbands. Also, he does not misplace things (keys, cell phones, etc) very often either. Not sure why that part isn't included in his ADHD package.

That is really funny to me as I always tell my husband that he will forget to pick up his socks yet he will never forget date/time that his hockey team is playing against which team and on which channel.

He would also be very good at trivia as he has an uncanny ability to remember even the most obscure fact / stat yet will forget garbage day.

He doesn't forget to pick up

He doesn't forget to pick up his socks, he just doesn't want to because it's boring. Hockey isn't. :-) I've spent 14 years chasing my husband's socks, clothes, etc all over the house come time to do laundry...never knowing where I might find things. He recently cleaned out his truck and brought in a pile of clothes. ?? I gave up on that one a long time ago.

My DH "forgets" garbage day's boring. Not on his radar. Doesn't bother him to have no room left in the can if it doesn't get taken around. I don't think it is intentional, he'll take it around if I remind him, but it would be nice not to have to.  Wish that was the worst of our worries.

Trust me

Wish that was the worst of our worries.

We are going through much worse than this. But this is at least something we find some humor in.


I understand...laughter is good.

Just "ketchup" would be wonderful!

Just "ketchup" would be wonderful!  In fact if that was the worst of our arguments or misunderstandings...we would be golden. husband thinks he has a memory like that.  He has convinced himself that he hasn't forgotten "anything" since he was a child.  In fact he has been known to tell me "I don't forget s&^t, if I did someone I've been with would have told me by now, and they never have".  Hmmm seems those same people dumped his a$$!  He really lives in his own reality the majority of the time.

Pointing to past

Pointing to past relationships that DIDN'T WORK OUT is a really poor resource when trying to prove a point, no? Der.

My husband does have a good memory, it is a fact...and his long term memory is better than his short. However, his sense of reality and mine are often so different it is terrifying to me.

That is his standard come back :(

Unfortunately that is my dh's standard come back when I have an issue with him.  NO ONE has ever had that problem with him or he NEVER had that problem (whatever it is at the moment) till he got with me.  In talking with his mom I know LOTS of people have had the very same problems with him, I just chose to stick around.  My personal favorite is when we were having some issues with my oldest son (hes 19 and was just being a disrespectful know it all) and I said something to the effect of we were all like that at one point or another, and that eventually he would figure it out.  My husband was like "I was NEVER" like that.....and when i jokingly pointed out that I had talked to his mom and knew he was, he actually challenged me to call his mom (at 10 at night) and ask her because I was "putting words in her mouth".  It was almost comical...I talk to his mom all the time about all kinds of stuff (I'm closer to her than I am my own mom), mostly about my boys because she raised two of her own and I love getting her point of view. 

Sherri I can totally relate, when you get a faulty (cant even call it poor because it isn't just forgetting what is said, but recreating it at times) memory with a different reality it does get a bit scary at times.  Sometimes I think we live the same parallel lives, I really do!  ~~HUGS~~

Wow..he is really in denial.

Wow..he is really in denial. :( Who doesn't know that ALL 19 year olds are know it all, smart a$$es and that most eventually get straightened out? Hell, even I admit I thought I knew it all at 19...and married a horrible man as a result (1st husband) even though my parents tried to warn me...and I was quiet, shy, and a goody two shoes!!! and a Momma's girl!

What bothers me most about our differences in realities/perception is

#1) he truly feels that I want to control him, that I want him to have no opinion of his own, and that I am hell bent on making him see everything from my point of view. Admittedly, raising my SD together probably created a lot of this feeling because it seemed as though I spent most of those years fighting for my place in his life and trying to get him to agree with me on ANYTHING..just SOMETHING...SD related so that I would have his support and respect. I argued my point vehemently. A lot. It made sense to me. He would admit to disagreeing with me just to 'take her side'..not because I was wrong. It just fueled my fire to argue my point more. NOW, it seems, he is convinced that is who I am 100% and that it is just something he has to 'accept' about me. He is living in the past...and projecting his own insecurities onto me. He considers me the enemy. It hurts like hell. I don't spend hours trying to convince him of anything anymore, as a matter of fact, I am the one who has started asking "can't we just agree to disagree?" and trying to move on. I've shown more respect for his independent thoughts than he ever has of mine.

#2) his affairs...his inappropriate behaviors with countless women (see recent class reunion behavior)...his seeming mission to destroy any modicum of trust I have in him (see recent leaving in the middle of the night because I had dinner with my sister). THIS issue will make or break our marriage. I cannot stress enough how DEVASTATING this issue is to our marriage. He has not only given up on HELPING me trust him again, he's setting out to destroy any trust I might have left. He is convinced that he won't cheat again. He has said many times that he would tell me if he ever wanted someone else again. HE TRULY expects me to just believe that. He does not give any consideration to the fact that living with him for 14 years is proof enough that I KNOW he won't consider my feelings AT ALL if he decides he wants to 'console' himself with another woman's attention...anything from a conversation to sex. I don't mean to paint him as a person who serially cheats...but twice in 14 years is more than most would have tried to accept and it seems as though he wants to pretend "it just won't happen again" and I am simply not able to do it. And, to hurt me recently, he's pulling out all stops to give me every reason to worry that he is cheating again. My stomach churns just writing about it. He left for town yesterday, our daughter begging to go with him, and he wouldn't take her. Made up lame excuses. My heart sank. He knows I'm in a bad place right now and he's done a LOT to put me there. He called about 20 mins later to say he would come get her, that he knew I was worried that he was sneaking to town to cheat and he didn't want me to feel that way. It was true. One of the things I asked him to do when we reconciled, to help me get past my insecurities, was to take our daughter with him when he 'ran to town'. I was devastated that he knew I was struggling and then stood and refused to take her. His phone call was of little consolation, he was 20 minutes into town and had plenty of time to make a quick phone call to chat, if that was what his intentions were. I have no way to know...he quit using his personal cell phone (the one I could check) months ago. I vacillate back and forth between "no way he is cheating" and being 100% convinced he is. I mostly feel he isn't...and that the majority of the issue is me slipping into depression and becoming overwhelmed with my fears. It sucks...hard. I am sick at my stomach as I write this. I have decided to talk to him about it and give him details of each situation where I feel he could have helped ease my fears, but instead chose to act in a way that increased them. He agreed to do whatever it took to regain my trust. If he isn't willing to do that, then I am done. I can't live this way. I haven't been honest with him about all of this...only casually mentioning it recently...but that is going to change. I can only pray that he reacts positively. God help us if he doesn't. I can't live this way and I don't deserve to. He cheated and destroyed me. He has to make it better. Game playing is over. Intentionally hurting each other is over. I'm moving on...I'm making huge strides in letting go of my anger. He needs to show me he's trying.

Sorry..didn't mean to ramble so helps getting it all out. It is very hard for me to admit.


Girlfriend I know exactly how devastating it is...I live it.  I have heard the whole "I figured it out and know whats important", " I will make this right", "I will never hurt you again", speech...and its a bunch a crap as far as I'm concerned.  In the moment he means it cause hes caught, but then he does exactly what he wants.  After the first time he cheated (a year and a half ago) we set boundaries for what was acceptable with other women and he has not only crossed them, he jumped over them and landed about 100 miles past them.  This past June he cheated on me again, but refuses to believe it is cheating because he didn't have sex with her (amazing how his mind works)....yes there was physical contact and plenty of messages between the two (hell he was making plans to move in with her).  He will admit to what he did, but claims he was just messing around and didn't mean any of it.  I know he talks to people all the time when I'm not home, I can read a phone bill and see phone numbers that I have no idea who are (but really its not worth the fight anymore to ask him).  He claims that I should trust him but then does stuff like leaving for hours with no idea where he is or blatantly telling me "I changed my passwords again so you can't get in my stuff".  I swear he tries to get me to give up and leave so that it can be my fault and he can walk away blaming me and feeling no fault on his part.

He also is convinced that I am trying to "control" him and his life.  Recently he told me that I didn't want a husband, I wanted a puppy that would do whatever I said.  We have the opposite problem with his daughter though, he is very hard on her (shes 8 and he wants her to act like she 13, maturity wise) and I ended up trying to be the voice of reason.  Then he gets mad because I defend her instead of "expecting her to grow up".  In fact I have to make all the arrangements and get her every summer because he doesn't want to be bothered with her (he will actually say that he loves her but doesn't like her much).  But the kicker is that he has even convinced himself that choices HE made, have been my idea and I forced him to do it.  I only wish I had that much control over others thoughts and actions....well not really but you get my point.  I fully admit to doing things to try and prevent him from cheating or leaving and the like, I'm in no way perfect and it didn't work anyway.  But trying to take over his life? Nope, I have always supported his decisions and tried to make what he wanted to happen work.

No, I have no freakin idea why I'm still here!!  I have good days and then I have days like today when I really cant find anything good to say about him.  I love him to death and want him to be my best friend again, but I'm also seeing that unless he chooses to change that isn't going to happen.  That hits kinda like a punch to the gut, I used to be the person that kept trying harder to make it better.  Again thank you for letting me ramble and vent.  ~~HUGS to all~~

Deflect, distort and deny

Wow this thread is a monster.  I got a little baffled along the way by the folks with ADD spouses who "smother" them.  Is that an ADD symptom? Is there a complete, vast, polar opposite to being smothered?  cause that's what I've had in the past. 

Next I was struck by the variety of ADD behaviors and reactions to behaviors by spouses contained in this thread, and noticed something.  Many of these behaviors don't seem like ADD behaviors to me, they seem like crappy attempts to cope by the person with ADD.  I call my guy's big three crappy coping skills Deflect, Distort and Deny.  At this point they're kind of like the Three Stooges to me... they can be funny but only when I'm in the right mood.  Deflect is his ability to ping-ping-ping back to me whatever behavior I'm struggling with.  I think he's making insensitive comments?  Ping-ping-ping turns out that I'm too sensitive.  Distort is his ability to retell stories, recall agreements or reframe events so that what he did BEFORE can now be seen in a more positive light.  And Deny is pretty simple.  You didn't say that, I didn't say that, or I must have been sleeping.    Anyway, I bring this up because it has been very helpful to me to differentiate (when I am struggling with him somewhat) between "this might be because of ADD" and "this might be his response to ADD".  Does this make sense?  If he's looking away, walking away, or interrupting while I'm talking, I think of that as ADD.  But when the next day I update a story from work, and he says "you never told me" that's Deny, not ADD.  Since the Big Conversation, he is more likely to say,  "Sorry, I must have tuned out when you told me the first time.  Can you tell me again?"  I'm finding it is much easier for me to accept/work with ADD, than it is rooming with the Three Stooges.  I feel more "okay" with calling out the Stooges, whereas I'm trying to be more aware/compassionate about the ADD. 

Some might say, who cares why - I just want it to stop.  And I get that.  But if it is useful to separate your spouse's ADD behaviors from his/her coping behaviors, give it a try.  And as a very-much newbie here (and with lots of experience of living with a person with ADD while I didn't know I was doing it) I feel I read about a lot of marital or relationship issues that aren't ADD.  Do others feel the same?  And again, is there any help to be found in identifying the difference between the two? 

I am so grateful to have found this website, and I'm coming to understand that I have it not-too-bad in the spectrum of living with my guy and his ADD.  He's always worked, we've never had screaming fights, he's a loving father, neither of us has ever left the house in anger (unless walking around the block counts -- guilty).  We've had financial difficulties, and I thought I was crazy quite a bit, I've been desperately lonely, and doubted my intellect, my feelings, my perceptions way out of line with what I now understand is "real".  And since the Big Conversation, I've seen a man who really, really, really doesn't want to talk about it or take medication, but finally seems to understand he's got something to contribute.  My heart goes out to those who have endured cheating, lying and torture to a degree I can't begin to imagine.  I am trying to find a balance between "see you don't have it so bad" and "your pain is real and must not be minimized".  Tricky. 

The three stooges live here..

I know them well. I hear "i never" " well, you" and "i did not" all the time! Mostly when drinking with an added bonus of how awful i am. I do agree that there seems to be more than add/adhd stuff here too. I just cant pin point it in my scenario. The adHD in mine is hyper focus to over compensate, or its a do it all to hide it type of thing, or do everything to show the love or to make me love. Either way its a very low self esteem thing, definitely a reaction from a whole life of adhd and feeling bad about himself. Definitely every one has different version, different story and different problems. I know now that this is not as horrendous as some others.

Remembering When Many Ideas Have Been Tossed About

I also sometimes have an issue of having a conversation in which multiple scenarios were discussed, and I do tend to remember the first thing said, no matter who said it, if I do make a mistake.  Yes, I also sometimes remember my idea and not the agreed upon idea (because it might have occurred to my racing mind before the conversation even started, which would also make it the first idea, to my mind.  I agree with YYZ that thoughts and ideas (no matter whose) go to long-term memory too quickly, and apparently, it's scientifically proven (no sarcasm intended here; I just learned something new from YYZ).  Also, if your husband is focused on his idea, it may have really taken hold like it does with me.  I can understand how it must look to someone else:  like a kid who suggests cake and ice cream for dinner, which gets nixed by Mom, and then says, "But you said we would have dessert for dinner..."  This, by the way, is a conversation my ADHD son and I might have, so I really do understand.

I do sometimes "remember" inaccurately to do more, which leads me to my next question. Is it always his idea to do less with the initial plan?  Do you think it is because he doesn't remember all the things that need to be done and you supply the rest because you do remember?  Is there another reason? 

In terms of note-taking, what part is a work-in-progress?  Does he object to writing it down all the time b/c he thinks he can do it right "this time?"  I have done this countless times because the inconsistency of the effort to outcome ratio misled me into thinking I could "overcome" my poopy short-term memory.  I now realize this is not possible, and when I remember, which is most of the time, I use one of my techniques to help.  Google calendar reminders are great.  Someone mentioned them on this site (might have been YYZ).   It sends you reminders if you set it up that way.  I also have started using a task scheduler in my cell phone.  You can write in a brief description of the task, and set up a reminder beep (helps to have the phone on you). 

I discovered on my own, and have read about a lot of us using e-mail (which unlike a note can't get lost) to confirm our understanding of things.  I have used this at home and work to great success.  What I do is e-mail my husband what I think transpired, and he will quickly respond to say that I was accurate or where I went amiss.  This is done before the task is due.  It is great to help avoid those fights about who said what, because it's right there.  I can also go back and check instead of asking him once I know we're on the same page, because even after all that, I can still forget.

Beyond note taking on paper, in a planner, or using technology, I don't know of any ways to make that happen.  When I do it correctly, at the initial time of the conversation, I take the initiative of rehashing what I think happened verbally and make sure it's written down.  Then I follow up with an e-mail and await confirmation and hopefully set up a reminder.  It doesn't sound as though your hubby is that far down the road. 

Is he on meds?

Good luck! 

Definitely can see the *many ideas* problem

but I don't share it........I'd love nothing more than to discuss 20 options at a sitting.  Nothing makes me so happy as THOROUGHLY exploring a situation.  Can you imagine my ADD husband running screaming from the room??  The poor guy actually never did so, he'd just try to keep hanging in there with me!!  I was having a blast........he, I think, was having a silent meltdown, but truly he should have said what he was going through.  I am happy to accomodate now that I know, but making accomodations needs to be a two way street.

I try to keep it to no more than 3 options, or 3 categories which will eliminate several options as soon as a category is eliminated, but still I see your point.

With regard to my hubby, our story is around here somewhere. I don't come a lot cause we aren't having many ADD-related struggles of late & while I think it's natural to drift off support boards when you aren't needing the support, I also find it rather sad.  We bond together here in frustration and pain (I even have a partial post in the book....) and once the pain stops we merrily go on our way when it would be more helpful to share tips and tricks together, right? 

We are about 4 years post diagnosis, and he was immediately put on meds.....first Ritalin then Adderal which he remains on today.  He is on the mild end of the spectrum and is the one that went searching for a diagnosis for why he couldn't seem to stop frustrating me!  So a definite good guy :)

Is it always his idea to do less with the initial plan?  Do you think it is because he doesn't remember all the things that need to be done and you supply the rest because you do remember?  Is there another reason?

At various times probably each of these has happened.  He does generally seem to think less needs to be accomplished than really does, when I mention the rest, he remembers all these things should be on the agenda somewhere, but he really only remembers the things that physically made it to the agenda or are catching on fire as we speak.  If it is a case of choosing what we are willing to do, he generally takes on MORE than he can actually accomplish because he thinks he is Superman time-wise when really he is more like the $6,000,000 man when in that slow motion mode.

I have to dial him back constantly as he'd take on every project in the world and then be overwhelmed when he couldn't accomplish them.  I can't count how many times he will say *during a period of relaxation of course* that there is no problem with the lawn needing mowing cause he is going to take care of it by the end of the weekend, but something will come up in the tiny slot he might have thought he could fit it into, and it doesn't get done.  Things with him need to be done immediately when there is a slot, but he LOVES his relaxation time so it is a balance at times.   He puts MUCH off into *not now* where it falls off his radar and stays on mine........that is probably the very worst part of being in an ADD/non marriage.

In terms of note-taking, what part is a work-in-progress?  Does he object to writing it down all the time b/c he thinks he can do it right "this time?"

He knows note taking works best and I suspect sometimes he purposely doesn't do it because he is sure he will remember it "this time".  He at times gets obsessed with doing things *the way everyone else does them* no matter how many times I point out that everyone makes some type of adustments for the way they work/think.  There is NO way everyone else does it.  I do think having to have a trick to deal with his bad memory makes him feel broken or something. 

He is big on cell phone reminders....that is his only mobile reminder system though we have paper calendars that are at home and one I keep on me.  We are EXTREMEMLY mobile.......matter of fact we probably have some what of a non ADD friendly life........very busy, dynamic schedule. Basic routine but there are exceptions almost weekly,  but we do what we love.  It is when things change that he gets thrown.

Since we are gone during the day and many nights too, Google reminders aren't practical for me.  Any type of online calendar doesn't work for me, so we can't do sharing that way.  He does ok with what he puts into his phone, but he still isn't at the point of "capture everything"--I think Getting Things Done system is the best way for him to go but full implementation is hard for him to grasp having to do.

Fully committing to a plan/system is hard for him.

What I do is e-mail my husband what I think transpired, and he will quickly respond to say that I was accurate or where I went amiss.

That makes it sound like you have many fewer conversations than we do.  We'd spend all day emailling back and forth LOL  While he has email on his phone, I do not, so it really isn't practical for day to day issues, though I guess it could be an idea for bigger projects.  Sounds SOOO awkward to me though.....I'd rather just do the drive-through know "What I think we agreed to is _____, is that right?" and when you get a YES, then write down the plan in whatever tool you use to record it.

When I do it correctly, at the initial time of the conversation, I take the initiative of rehashing what I think happened verbally and make sure it's written down.  Then I follow up with an e-mail and await confirmation and hopefully set up a reminder.  It doesn't sound as though your hubby is that far down the road.

I'd say when he does it correctly, he rehashes verbally and writes it down and all goes smoothly.  We do our follow ups verbally (we've gotten away from our weekly meeting but are working on reinstituting) and set up our own reminders.   

How often would you say you don't *do it correctly*?  Cause I'd say it happens a couple times a month here and I don't know if that is just falling through the cracks that will always occur in an ADD marriage, or if we just need to shore up the safety net.

He really is catching the majority of issues now and when I have to remind him, he is less defensive and more likely to jump right on it and get it done.  I probably shouldn't complain, but I am a tweaker :)

Aspen, In response to your


In response to your question, I'm not sure exactly how often I don't "do it correctly" or adhere to my system so I don't forget.  We get into so many ridiculous fights like the one in my original post.  He also frequently gets mad when I don't remember something, even if it hasn't affected our lives.  I usually feel like I have a better grasp on the frequency of this type of thing, but I am so tired and sleep-deprived from thinking about our future and our two young kids that I have bags under my eyes (yuck).  That we fight about so many stupid things also makes it much more difficult to me to isolate more important discussions and subsequently prioritize or see what I need to work on, which is very troublesome.  Interesting question, though.  I guess I'll have to monitor that. 

Consider the following conversation where I have forgotten his plans: 

Him:  "I'm going out tomorrow night with my friends after the kids go to bed." 

He sees me hesitate as I try to remember this event.  I don't doubt we've discussed it, nor does he think I doubt it, but I don't have my planner in front of me and don't recall.  I say nothing, knowing what's coming next.

Him:  "You don't remember???" 

Me:  "Uh, no. I don't have my planner in front of me."

and sometimes...

Me:  "No, but I take your word for it."


Me:  "I didn't remember, but now that you're talking about it, I do."

Him:  "We talked about it," said in a whiny voice.

Me:  Getting agitated, "I understand that we talked about it.  I just don't remember it/didn't remember it initially.  I believe that we had the conversation.  Do you want me to get my planner?  I wrote it down."

Now that I'm reading this, I can see I'm still, on some level trying to placate someone who doesn't want me to win.  I try to show him that I'm trying to take responsibility on my end, and have written it down, so at the very least, there cannot be an argument about whether the conversation took place; a huge source of past fights.  I'm sure it must be frustrating for him, but it's no picnic for me either.

The only thing I can say is that because of my time-management issue, I sometimes think more things can be accomplished in a certain amount of time than is realistic.  I know I'm getting better at this.  I try to imagine my chore list and what my husband would say if I told him what I would accomplish in ___ amount of time.  This helps, oddly, for me to decide how much can be done.



We have one of those big desk calendar things on the door of the kitchen pantry and if he has plans he writes it on there and so do i. If he askes me if i remember, i ask if he wrote it down and vice versa. If he did write it on there, i know i saw it at some point in time. If there was a conflict in the calendar/schedule, it was taken care of the minute it was noticed. Not everything has to be a pop-quiz! I cant remember a darn thing and its not because im add, i'm not add at all. I just dont remember. Kids, house, games, meals, people, phone, hormones or lack there of, no one can be expected to remember everything. Put one on your fridge. (they are ugly) Have him write down his stuff as it comes along and be responsible for the stuff he wants you to know. This way you can say if its on the calendar then see ya later, have fun. I used to work with a guy like that and there is no way in hell your going to remember stuff in a hostile environment or when the expectations are sky high.

No More Pop Quizzes!

Great point!  I hate feeling like I'm being tested all the time.  What does that prove anyway?  I have had plenty of non-ADHD Moms say if they didn't have a planner, they wouldn't remember to wipe their butts!  I doubt their husbands grill them.  Maybe to him, he thinks if I had paid attention initially, I would remember.  Sometimes I do.  But it doesn't mean that when I don't that I wasn't paying attention.  I have as much on my plate as the next Mom.  I work fulltime, have a house, 2 kids, a dog, and kid activities.  I don't know that having a kitchen planner would help, because he would still see I'd have to walk over to it b/c when I forget and he gives me the "pop quiz."  I'd still get the slumped shoulders, hopeless shaking of the head, and the "You don't remember?" with feigned surprise and real disappointment.  Damn it, he is a drama queen!  I should just buy him a tiara and a sash.  Perhaps, the bigger issue is that he can be a jack a**.  


The PINK SASH should say "I'm

The PINK SASH should say "I'm more better than you" lol. I dont know. If he's peeved that you arent remembering what he says, a respectful thing to do (as far as plans and appointments) would be to leave a reminder notes to stop his frustration for himself. Solve his own problem, be a part of the solution on things he can be responsible for. "God helps those that help themselves" We put notes on the kitchen cabinets just to remind us. Hell, i wish we has a microsoft application built into the bathroom mirror so i could see the days events in the morning. How cool would that be while brushing your teeth to get a view of what today entails. I looked it up and i think japan is working on something like that. I wonder if they could make a smart board with a mirror. Have neon lights to read it and the dry erase markers work on a mirror already... I have been known to leave myself messages on the mirror to not forget!

PJ: You crack me up and have great ideas! Double win!

Sounds like an awesome sash!

Love the idea of pairing a smart board with a mirror.   It would absolutely sell, but alas, to people with way more money than me.  Maybe I should steal one from work.  No one will notice me leaving with a 6 foot electronic whiteboard as I high tail it out of there...

Never tried a dry erase marker on a mirror, but I'm going to now! 

I want one too!

Electronic whiteboard and sash LOL  I think I may tried writing on the mirror when hubby needs to do something and he is leaving at 3am........I had been SOO low tech by just leaving post it notes on the front door!

Smart board at home

No, i dont think they would see you taking it home... It's not too cumbersome. : ) and if they did, you could tell them not to worry because you're working from home. There is no way we could buy it either. I'm just dreaming. However, i do think you can have your guy be responsible to help reduce HIS frustrations by reducing them himself...! So many times i have said, you know, if i had done it this way or done it that way i wouldnt be bummed or irritated. I am very visual, i need to see stuff to remember it. I know this and have known it for quite a while and i act accordingly. There is no way i'm going to remember what dh tells me with out a visual. Heck i'll forget the kids homework if they put their back packs away! I try to take responsibility for what i want the way i want it... i am able to do that more now... I try to tell the kids when they are upset at each other or a friend "what could you have done to not be upset right now"... Always... I want them to rely on themselves. I jusy wish dh felt the same. He is a do-er. He just does everything for us. Not me! I want to do it myself and teach the kids to do it too. this way you cant blame anyone.

Yes, him getting upset in the

Yes, him getting upset in the least over crap like that IS picking at you...when it makes absolutely no difference what-so-ever. Also, stop reacting with frustration. "cool, have a good time" would be my only reaction. He's trying, again, to pick apart'wrong' and you're falling for it hook, line, and sinker. Buy him a sash and buy yourself a shirt that says "save the drama for your momma" and a big set of smiling wax lips to wear at all times to keep him from 'assessing' your reaction as something he can attack. You'll always be smiling and agreeable. :) one is perfect, but he is grasping at straws and you're falling all over yourself trying to 'win' a no-win game. He's sabotaging your marriage.

I read a quote today on FB..."you don't have to understand someone to love them, but you have to love someone to understand them". He's got up so many walls that his compassion and love are not showing very well. (speaking as a life-long member of that club!)


Sherri, you're absolutely

Sherri, you're absolutely right.  I am taking the bait much of the time.  It used to come from a different place... the I-don't-like-how-you-treat-me-but-I-have-no-idea-that-my-behavior-is-sooooo-awful place.  Now it's coming from a stop-treating-me-like-crap-and-punishing-me-for-the-past; I-truly-don't-deserve-it, so-cut-the-sh**!

I took your suggestion tonight and avoided a fight; thank you.  Our daughter was having a meltdown, 4 year old style, and refused to put on underwear before bedtime.  After taking away several toys and privileges and getting nowhere, I started sensing she needed a few minutes by herself to calm down. I left her room and went to our bedroom where our son was picking out a book for us to read.  I asked him a question about it, and my husband said, "Uh-uh.  You're not reading to him.  You need to clean up that mess you made (the mess being our daughter, who has no more meltdowns for me than she does for him). 

I said, "That's not very nice."  Thought it was still important to let him know he had stepped over a boundary, especially insulting me in front of our son.  Didn't say anything out of line.

He said, "How is that mean?"

Me:  "Because you said I couldn't read to our son and you said that I made a "mess," which isn't a nice way to talk to someone." ...Had to clarify... the obvious...

Him:  "You're so over-sensitive."

This is the point where I wanted to say something, or just club him over the head.  Instead, I chose not to engage, keeping my knowledge that he was just being rude to myself.  He's got to know he's being a turd on some level, right?.  The rest of the night went better.  He needed an oven mitt, which I had just put in the wash.  We had lost the other one a while ago, so he was a little annoyed at me that the only one was unavailable, because it's ALWAYS MY FAULT.  I then had an epiphany and said, "Maybe it's stuck behind the drawer," and I pulled out the drawer completely.  I found it immediately, saying "Ta-dah!"  I then added, "That was magical..."  He smiled in spite of himself... or in spite of his spite :D.  We would have just escalated as usual if I had reacted earlier in the night.  Instead, we recovered :).

God, our fights are so stupid.  I should make some sh** up to make it sound more dramatic.  Maybe some dish throwing or the cops showing up.  Or a knife fight, like in Kill Bill.  This is embarrassing! 

You know, my best friend is so biased in my favor, that when she said he makes a big deal over the dumbest things, I thought she was a little bit right, but mostly protective of me... But then my therapist picked up on the same thing, but I still wasn't totally convinced because I thought maybe our rapport had compromised her objectivity.  But now I have several people whom I've never met, and who have experienced some of the same type of suffering secondary to ADHD, and you guys are telling me the same thing! 

Thanks again, Sherri, for telling me where I went astray.  I appreciate your honesty. 

I have been the baiter...and

I have been the baiter...and I have been baited. Glad I can help...not the type of experience one wants to have, nothing to be proud of, but it is what it is.

Good job handling each of his jabs...and to answer your question, without a doubt in my mind he knows on some level he's being a jerk. Unless being a jerk is just who he is through and through with everyone in his life, he KNOWS he's being rude and mean. It is all about attitude. I recognize his attitude...I've had it myself. Not necessarily towards my husband...but I do know it. I would have even gone so far as to say "I WILL read to our son and I will also handle the other situation...your comments were not only unfair they were unnecessary" To me it is more about demanding respect than pointing out that he's being 'mean'. Boundaries.

Fighting over small stuff, as I am sure you have heard many times before, it just a symptom of much bigger issues that aren't being addressed. His anger and resentment would be a good example of this. We don't fight over small stuff...we get enough fighting in with the big issues to make us both want to puke. Sigh. Occasionally my husband will start 'picking' (I HONESTLY have learned to bite my tongue and NOT pick at him for stupid stuff) at me and making jabs and I pretty much just tell him "not sure what your goal is, but stop picking at me like that. Keep your comments to yourself" The day we went to his psychiatrist appt was a perfect example of him picking me apart because he was (I am assuming) bitter about having to go, being the one with the 'disorder', and just flat out in the defensive over the entire situation. He was a jerk on the way there, during the appt, after the appt...and I think the class reunion incident was a continuation of it. I think he resents me in many of the ways your husband does you. OR at the very least is angry at me about something and trying to 'bring me down'. I have NO problem telling him he's being a jerk..for no good reason. I'm not ugly about it...just matter of fact.


To elaborate...I think the

To elaborate...I think the reason you should address the respect issues is because they don't involve 'emotion' and he cannot say you're being sensitive because you're not calling him mean, you're calling him rude. Being disrespectful takes the emotion out of it...which he seems to want to use against you.

I appreciate your thoughtful response

As I've said before, I bring perfectionism to the table, so I think things should be done wrong rarely and I work very hard to make that so.    He thinks 'doing well' and 'well enough' mean something different from me.  If he only drops or forgets one important thing in a week, he thinks WIN and I think OMG ALL OUR FORWARD MOVEMENT IS HALTING--not actually that dramatic but I do go into fix-it mode.

It often really just is about meeting in the middle, isn't it?  I hear from other couples so much about how they'd take my problems over theirs any day.......I get it and I'd take mine too, but then again if I had theirs, I might not be fighting that fight any longer.  I do think we all agree to a basic level of acceptable behavior when we are dating/engaged, and all our acceptable levels are different and that is ok :)


This is a great thread! So many things in there that I (the non-ADHD spouse) live with everyday. I am completely down in the dumps right now, see no light at the end of the tunnel. Reading this makes me at least feel like I'm not alone and I am finding great suggestions.

"I have been guilty of claiming he only remembers what he wants to remember, and I understand why anyone would not love to hear that, but here is the problem as I see it.  We have a discussion.   Off the top of his head he comes up with an idea.  Together we come up with a much better idea, so we decide together to do something else.  Result:  He *remembers* that we went with his initial idea."

And in my house, it gets brought up over, and over and over again. "DH, we talked about this. We agreed that we would do this." and it comes up again "No, we talked about this. Please don't bring it up again." And again. And he argues about it EVERY TIME. It is exhausting.

Other comments here about "reading" into things is so true. I had read about that a while back so I have been really trying to avoid sarcasm (which is really difficult to do when you are angry). I am trying to use clear words. He will hear sarcasm or attacks no matter what I say and I have to keep asking him to "please just listen to my words. There is no other hidden meaning." It's a constant battle.


The issue of putting a

The issue of putting a negative spin ON EVERYTHING THAT CAME OUT OF MY MOUTH got much worse for my DH when he started medications. (stimulants) Is your husband on medication? Has this always been an issue and not one that could relate to meds? Or being unmedicated, if he isn't taking meds?

He is on meds

But that is a work in progress. He was diagnosed 2.5 years ago and they are still working on getting the meds / dosage right.

I thought I had noticed it getting a lot worse since his diagnosis / starting meds. But it never dawned on me that it could actually be BECAUSE of the meds. We went through a lot shortly before is diagnosis (he lost his job, then we lost a baby mid way through pregnancy) so we were under a lot of stress / grief. He got diagnosed and then it was sort of a relief to know, then denial, then anger  etc... You know how it is.

So I have been thinking that it was really just a part of all of that. I'll try to think of a way and time to try and discuss it with him calmly. Maybe he should bring it up to his doctor and therapist.

hashing it out

tape recorder.  you may never need to go back and listen to it again but if you do it is enlightening for we ADDers to hear a conversation we participated in and recall differently than our non-add spouse.  If you both listen you may see why each of you remembers differently, plus how are we supposed to just believe a decision came out a certain way because you say so when our memory is telling us, rather emphatically, that it went differently.

voice notes recorder on cell phones work too.

I understand the "drama queen" thing

I do it too. I'm the one without ADD and with physical disabilities. When he (ADD) doesn't do something that I need him to do it hurts.

Let me give you an example. By way of background...we've had a "new" TV for a year, sitting on top of the old one that doesn't work. Last October we bought an entertainment center in a box (some assembly required). He didn't assemble it and the pieces have been a tripping hazard in my house for 10 months. Can't buy an assembled one because our car is too small to transport it. Can't afford to pay someone because he lost his job because of his ADD.

So his mother is moving and said we can have her old one. A church friend is going to move it for us Saturday (yesterday). He's known this for days. So why can't he get the living room ready to move this large piece of furniture across it? I can't help, I've been working hard all week (It is work, even if I do it at home, if I get paid for it.) and I can barely walk. When the room is a hideous mess and he lets his friend come in to help move the entertainment center in, and they can't get it in, it hurts. I'm humiliated and embarrassed and will never be able to look at this man again.

When I hear him flipping channels, desperate to find something, anything, to watch, while I sit in here working, it hurts. To know that what I need and the physical pain it will cause me to do what he won't do does not matter to him hurts. I cry and he doesn't understand why. He probably thinks I'm a drama queen too, but it hurts to be married to someone who doesn't care whether my needs are met.

In his case, it isn't inadvertent or "forgetting". He knows what I need him to do and chooses not to do it. If that makes me a drama queen, I'll wear that sash and tiara.