Non ADHD Spouse resentful & angry about lack of consistant discipline & support.

Recently diagnosed, and recognizing the serious impact of ADHD on my marriage and family has been enlightening ... for me. My estranged husband (we are separated, but living in the same house with me sleeping in the RV) has not been educating himself on the disorder, even though I made it extremely easy for him by printing up articles and highlighting text. He has so much anger and resentment built up against me. I consider myself very caring and compassionate. I don't believe that I act out with malice or to be rebellious. He is convinced that I undermined him and didn't back him up when it came to parenting our children. I accept accountability for mistakes that I know I made, but I don't accept all the blame.  In a monumental effort to save my marriage, I am trying to open his mind to consider the possibility that I never intentionally undermined him or rebelled against his parenting decisions. There were things that I didn't agree with, but for the most part, he had my support. I just couldn't cope with the battles, most of which occurred over several years when I was perpetually exhausted and stressed, which I now know amplified my ADHD symptoms. He always believed that my effort to minimize arguments and punishment was an un-supportive act of defiance, but I just wanted the turmoil to stop. So now, more than 20 years into our marriage, we are still fighting over my lack of support and my mistakes with our children; they are now adults that do not live at home. I now know symptoms of ADHD has eroded his love and respect for me over the years, and now he is bitter and resentful towards me. I do believe there is still some love there, so I am not ready to give up on us. I believe that we can find our way back to each other. I believe that he has spent the last several years brainwashing himself that he never really loved me and that we are no good together. I also believe he is depressed and going through a mid-life crisis. I want to stand beside him, and help him get through his issues while I work at fixing me. Since being diagnosed, I have made incredible improvements to my emotional and physical well-being, and I will continue to improve. It is an extremely difficult, lonely and slow process to patiently and quietly wait for him to figure things out on his own, but in my heart, I believe it to be the right thing to do. Is there anything that I can say or do that will help him come to his own understanding and acceptance of how my ADHD effected our lives all of these years, and that certain symptomatic behaviors of ADHD do not define my personality or morals? I believe with all of my heart that if he could peel away the layers of ADHD symptoms that he thinks defines who I am, he would find the "me" that he fell in love with, still there, waiting to be loved back. I have been doing all that I can to show him how much I have improved since my diagnosis; the changes that I see in myself are profound. Does anyone have any comments, advice or specific resources for me to share with him? I know he needs to accept/not accept and forgive/not forgive in his own time, but some words of wisdom and experience may go a long way in his consideration. I have a lot to consider in the big picture regarding our marriage, but I am hoping to find some support in this forum regarding the issue of raising children, anger and resentment and dealing with the past in our ADHD marriage.

I am the husband of  someone

I am the husband of  someone who has been recently diagnosed with ADHD.  We have been married for 18 years.  So I can probably give you some perspective.  I love my wife.  I really do, but she is getting to the point where I can't stand her.  So I am at ground zero with the resentment.  The resentment comes from the realization that we (non ADHD spouses) will never have what others do, regardless of the time, effort and resources that we expend in the relationship.  It's the realization that no matter how we conduct ourselves, that we will always have to deal with some form of "shenanigans." Such as your spouse stalking you on the internet.  It's suffocating, down right creepy and offensive.  There's just always some form of harassment that we have to endure and it's exhausting.  So the resentment builds....

It's little things like being called lazy, when I am the one trying to de clutter the house and get her to help me, because it's mostly her crap.  It's being accused of for years of extra martial activity with other women when it wasn't happening.  It's also the ability to obsess for hours about the most minute detail of our children's lives, but the inability or unwillingness to do anything positive about our relationship.  

Example:  I was on a military obligation over Father's Day.  When I came home we did celebrate.  OK...that's good.  Our big activity of the day was taking her (I did this so I am not complaining, I was happy to do it) to a furniture store, buying her a new chest of drawers and a new desk (she went back for her MBA, that my GI Bill paid for).  Setting her up with WiFi at home so she could study anywhere and would not be disturbed by the kids.  Doing things that she needed to have done to make HER life easier...this all happened very recently.  You know what my reward was for all that (Mind you, that was my Father's Day)...It was being called at work with her ranting incoherently about a post I made on Facebook about the family cat.  Speaking of which, she's known forever that I hate cats.  So the first week that I was in Iraq, she went and got one....These are just a few of the very minor issues that I am willing to talk about in public.  But for now, I choose to stay with her...My oath does weigh heavy on me at times and the resentment builds.  She is not the woman I fell in love with, she is the woman I am married too, now.  I don't know if she will ever be able to go back to that.  I am not the man I was 20 years ago either.  So to your question of trying to get it back, I doubt it.  Somebody once told me "you can never go home again."  They were right.  Things are never the same.  

I do applaud you for attempting to take ownership and responsibility for your situation. It is really the only thing you can do.  Unfortunately, taking personal responsibility is a rare thing these days.  You may end up staying with your husband, he may move on.  But if you constantly make a cognitive choice to act like the woman you want to be, and show him this,  instead of the woman that he sees you as now, you may have a fighting shot at keeping your family together.  Good luck.

PS...I truly believe my wife loves me as much as she can any man in the world.  She just has an inability or unwillingness to show it appropriately.  Let him know via your choice of words and your actions that you do love him...It's more important than you may think.

Pbartender's picture

Even in good marriages,

Even in good marriages, people rarely stay the same...  our experiences with life are constantly changing us.  But when ADHD is tossed in, and especially when it's untreated or undiagnosed, people seem to change for the worse.

We may not be able to go back to the way things were, but each of us can make ourselves better.  We can take control of our thoughts, our values, our actions, and how we react to what other people say and do.  Look at the advice you gave to Pepper...

"You may end up staying with your husband, he may move on.  But if you constantly make a cognitive choice to act like the woman you want to be, and show him this,  instead of the woman that he sees you as now, you may have a fighting shot at keeping your family together.  Good luck."

...and don't forget to follow it yourself.



Pbartender's picture

It's advice you'll hear from

It's advice you'll hear from a lot of people around here, including ourselves...

You can't truly control what other people do and think, and trying to will just drive you crazy.  Figure out the sort of person you want to be, and do what you need to do to be that person.  Let your wife (or your husband, as the case may be) make that same choice for themselves, and do your best to not let their thoughts and actions prevent you from being yourself.

I was recently reminded of this advice by a fellow called Epictetus, and a kid by the name of Hogarth Hughes.  Look them up sometime.



Oh the advice you will hear ... or read :) Thanks again

I looked up the two references that you made in your most recent reply. Thank you! When I saw "The Iron Giant", I was taken back to a time when my children watched that movie with compassion for the robot, and felt safe and secure in their world. I was quite impressed with the translated writings of Epictetus. My brief exposure to his writings leads me to believe that the purity in his philosophical teachings, as a result of him leaving personal views out of the lessons,  probably contributed to his philosophy standing the test of time; most of his thoughts are timeless and can be considered valuable in many cultures and belief systems. When I say most of his thoughts, that is because not every teaching is free of the thinking of his time, especially in regards to women. This is just my quick evaluation and reading of some of  his work, and my opinions could change with more exposure ... That being said, there is a lot of good truth in his words.

Thanks Pb.

Sickness is a hindrance to the body, but not to your ability to choose, unless that is your choice. Lameness is a hindrance to the leg, but not to your ability to choose. Say this to yourself with regard to everything that happens, then you will see such obstacles as hindrances to something else, but not to yourself. ~Epictetus


The Enchiridion



Written 135 A.C.E.

Translated by Elizabeth


1. Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.

The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed.

Aiming therefore at such great things, remember that you must not allow yourself to be carried, even with a slight tendency, towards the attainment of lesser things. Instead, you must entirely quit some things and for the present postpone the rest. But if you would both have these great things, along with power and riches, then you will not gain even the latter, because you aim at the former too: but you will absolutely fail of the former, by which alone happiness and freedom are achieved.

Work, therefore to be able to say to every harsh appearance, "You are but an appearance, and not absolutely the thing you appear to be." And then examine it by those rules which you have, and first, and chiefly, by this: whether it concerns the things which are in our own control, or those which are not; and, if it concerns anything not in our control, be prepared to say that it is nothing to you.

2. Remember that following desire promises the attainment of that of which you are desirous; and aversion promises the avoiding that to which you are averse. However, he who fails to obtain the object of his desire is disappointed, and he who incurs the object of his aversion wretched. If, then, you confine your aversion to those objects only which are contrary to the natural use of your faculties, which you have in your own control, you will never incur anything to which you are averse. But if you are averse to sickness, or death, or poverty, you will be wretched. Remove aversion, then, from all things that are not in our control, and transfer it to things contrary to the nature of what is in our control. But, for the present, totally suppress desire: for, if you desire any of the things which are not in your own control, you must necessarily be disappointed; and of those which are, and which it would be laudable to desire, nothing is yet in your possession. Use only the appropriate actions of pursuit and avoidance; and even these lightly, and with gentleness and reservation.

3. With regard to whatever objects give you delight, are useful, or are deeply loved, remember to tell yourself of what general nature they are, beginning from the most insignificant things. If, for example, you are fond of a specific ceramic cup, remind yourself that it is only ceramic cups in general of which you are fond. Then, if it breaks, you will not be disturbed. If you kiss your child, or your wife, say that you only kiss things which are human, and thus you will not be disturbed if either of them dies.

4. When you are going about any action, remind yourself what nature the action is. If you are going to bathe, picture to yourself the things which usually happen in the bath: some people splash the water, some push, some use abusive language, and others steal. Thus you will more safely go about this action if you say to yourself, "I will now go bathe, and keep my own mind in a state conformable to nature." And in the same manner with regard to every other action. For thus, if any hindrance arises in bathing, you will have it ready to say, "It was not only to bathe that I desired, but to keep my mind in a state conformable to nature; and I will not keep it if I am bothered at things that happen.

5. Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things. Death, for instance, is not terrible, else it would have appeared so to Socrates. But the terror consists in our notion of death that it is terrible. When therefore we are hindered, or disturbed, or grieved, let us never attribute it to others, but to ourselves; that is, to our own principles. An uninstructed person will lay the fault of his own bad condition upon others. Someone just starting instruction will lay the fault on himself. Some who is perfectly instructed will place blame neither on others nor on himself.

6. Don't be prideful with any excellence that is not your own. If a horse should be prideful and say, " I am handsome," it would be supportable. But when you are prideful, and say, " I have a handsome horse," know that you are proud of what is, in fact, only the good of the horse. What, then, is your own? Only your reaction to the appearances of things. Thus, when you behave conformably to nature in reaction to how things appear, you will be proud with reason; for you will take pride in some good of your own.

7. Consider when, on a voyage, your ship is anchored; if you go on shore to get water you may along the way amuse yourself with picking up a shellish, or an onion. However, your thoughts and continual attention ought to be bent towards the ship, waiting for the captain to call on board; you must then immediately leave all these things, otherwise you will be thrown into the ship, bound neck and feet like a sheep. So it is with life. If, instead of an onion or a shellfish, you are given a wife or child, that is fine. But if the captain calls, you must run to the ship, leaving them, and regarding none of them. But if you are old, never go far from the ship: lest, when you are called, you should be unable to come in time.

8. Don't demand that things happen as you wish, but wish that they happen as they do happen, and you will go on well.

9. Sickness is a hindrance to the body, but not to your ability to choose, unless that is your choice. Lameness is a hindrance to the leg, but not to your ability to choose. Say this to yourself with regard to everything that happens, then you will see such obstacles as hindrances to something else, but not to yourself.

10. With every accident, ask yourself what abilities you have for making a proper use of it. If you see an attractive person, you will find that self-restraint is the ability you have against your desire. If you are in pain, you will find fortitude. If you hear unpleasant language, you will find patience. And thus habituated, the appearances of things will not hurry you away along with them.

11. Never say of anything, "I have lost it"; but, "I have returned it." Is your child dead? It is returned. Is your wife dead? She is returned. Is your estate taken away? Well, and is not that likewise returned? "But he who took it away is a bad man." What difference is it to you who the giver assigns to take it back? While he gives it to you to possess, take care of it; but don't view it as your own, just as travelers view a hotel.

12. If you want to improve, reject such reasonings as these: "If I neglect my affairs, I'll have no income; if I don't correct my servant, he will be bad." For it is better to die with hunger, exempt from grief and fear, than to live in affluence with perturbation; and it is better your servant should be bad, than you unhappy.

Begin therefore from little things. Is a little oil spilt? A little wine stolen? Say to yourself, "This is the price paid for apathy, for tranquillity, and nothing is to be had for nothing." When you call your servant, it is possible that he may not come; or, if he does, he may not do what you want. But he is by no means of such importance that it should be in his power to give you any disturbance.

13. If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid with regard to external things. Don't wish to be thought to know anything; and even if you appear to be somebody important to others, distrust yourself. For, it is difficult to both keep your faculty of choice in a state conformable to nature, and at the same time acquire external things. But while you are careful about the one, you must of necessity neglect the other.

14. If you wish your children, and your wife, and your friends to live for ever, you are stupid; for you wish to be in control of things which you cannot, you wish for things that belong to others to be your own. So likewise, if you wish your servant to be without fault, you are a fool; for you wish vice not to be vice," but something else. But, if you wish to have your desires undisappointed, this is in your own control. Exercise, therefore, what is in your control. He is the master of every other person who is able to confer or remove whatever that person wishes either to have or to avoid. Whoever, then, would be free, let him wish nothing, let him decline nothing, which depends on others else he must necessarily be a slave.

15. Remember that you must behave in life as at a dinner party. Is anything brought around to you? Put out your hand and take your share with moderation. Does it pass by you? Don't stop it. Is it not yet come? Don't stretch your desire towards it, but wait till it reaches you. Do this with regard to children, to a wife, to public posts, to riches, and you will eventually be a worthy partner of the feasts of the gods. And if you don't even take the things which are set before you, but are able even to reject them, then you will not only be a partner at the feasts of the gods, but also of their empire. For, by doing this, Diogenes, Heraclitus and others like them, deservedly became, and were called, divine.

16. When you see anyone weeping in grief because his son has gone abroad, or is dead, or because he has suffered in his affairs, be careful that the appearance may not misdirect you. Instead, distinguish within your own mind, and be prepared to say, "It's not the accident that distresses this person., because it doesn't distress another person; it is the judgment which he makes about it." As far as words go, however, don't reduce yourself to his level, and certainly do not moan with him. Do not moan inwardly either.

17. Remember that you are an actor in a drama, of such a kind as the author pleases to make it. If short, of a short one; if long, of a long one. If it is his pleasure you should act a poor man, a cripple, a governor, or a private person, see that you act it naturally. For this is your business, to act well the character assigned you; to choose it is another's.

18. When a raven happens to croak unluckily, don't allow the appearance hurry you away with it, but immediately make the distinction to yourself, and say, "None of these things are foretold to me; but either to my paltry body, or property, or reputation, or children, or wife. But to me all omens are lucky, if I will. For whichever of these things happens, it is in my control to derive advantage from it."

19. You may be unconquerable, if you enter into no combat in which it is not in your own control to conquer. When, therefore, you see anyone eminent in honors, or power, or in high esteem on any other account, take heed not to be hurried away with the appearance, and to pronounce him happy; for, if the essence of good consists in things in our own control, there will be no room for envy or emulation. But, for your part, don't wish to be a general, or a senator, or a consul, but to be free; and the only way to this is a contempt of things not in our own control.

20. Remember, that not he who gives ill language or a blow insults, but the principle which represents these things as insulting. When, therefore, anyone provokes you, be assured that it is your own opinion which provokes you. Try, therefore, in the first place, not to be hurried away with the appearance. For if you once gain time and respite, you will more easily command yourself.

21. Let death and exile, and all other things which appear terrible be daily before your eyes, but chiefly death, and you win never entertain any abject thought, nor too eagerly covet anything.

22. If you have an earnest desire of attaining to philosophy, prepare yourself from the very first to be laughed at, to be sneered by the multitude, to hear them say,." He is returned to us a philosopher all at once," and " Whence this supercilious look?" Now, for your part, don't have a supercilious look indeed; but keep steadily to those things which appear best to you as one appointed by God to this station. For remember that, if you adhere to the same point, those very persons who at first ridiculed will afterwards admire you. But if you are conquered by them, you will incur a double ridicule.

23. If you ever happen to turn your attention to externals, so as to wish to please anyone, be assured that you have ruined your scheme of life. Be contented, then, in everything with being a philosopher; and, if you wish to be thought so likewise by anyone, appear so to yourself, and it will suffice you.

24. Don't allow such considerations as these distress you. "I will live in dishonor, and be nobody anywhere." For, if dishonor is an evil, you can no more be involved in any evil by the means of another, than be engaged in anything base. Is it any business of yours, then, to get power, or to be admitted to an entertainment? By no means. How, then, after all, is this a dishonor? And how is it true that you will be nobody anywhere, when you ought to be somebody in those things only which are in your own control, in which you may be of the greatest consequence? "But my friends will be unassisted." -- What do you mean by unassisted? They will not have money from you, nor will you make them Roman citizens. Who told you, then, that these are among the things in our own control, and not the affair of others? And who can give to another the things which he has not himself? "Well, but get them, then, that we too may have a share." If I can get them with the preservation of my own honor and fidelity and greatness of mind, show me the way and I will get them; but if you require me to lose my own proper good that you may gain what is not good, consider how inequitable and foolish you are. Besides, which would you rather have, a sum of money, or a friend of fidelity and honor? Rather assist me, then, to gain this character than require me to do those things by which I may lose it. Well, but my country, say you, as far as depends on me, will be unassisted. Here again, what assistance is this you mean? "It will not have porticoes nor baths of your providing." And what signifies that? Why, neither does a smith provide it with shoes, or a shoemaker with arms. It is enough if everyone fully performs his own proper business. And were you to supply it with another citizen of honor and fidelity, would not he be of use to it? Yes. Therefore neither are you yourself useless to it. "What place, then, say you, will I hold in the state?" Whatever you can hold with the preservation of your fidelity and honor. But if, by desiring to be useful to that, you lose these, of what use can you be to your country when you are become faithless and void of shame.

25. Is anyone preferred before you at an entertainment, or in a compliment, or in being admitted to a consultation? If these things are good, you ought to be glad that he has gotten them; and if they are evil, don't be grieved that you have not gotten them. And remember that you cannot, without using the same means [which others do] to acquire things not in our own control, expect to be thought worthy of an equal share of them. For how can he who does not frequent the door of any [great] man, does not attend him, does not praise him, have an equal share with him who does? You are unjust, then, and insatiable, if you are unwilling to pay the price for which these things are sold, and would have them for nothing. For how much is lettuce sold? Fifty cents, for instance. If another, then, paying fifty cents, takes the lettuce, and you, not paying it, go without them, don't imagine that he has gained any advantage over you. For as he has the lettuce, so you have the fifty cents which you did not give. So, in the present case, you have not been invited to such a person's entertainment, because you have not paid him the price for which a supper is sold. It is sold for praise; it is sold for attendance. Give him then the value, if it is for your advantage. But if you would, at the same time, not pay the one and yet receive the other, you are insatiable, and a blockhead. Have you nothing, then, instead of the supper? Yes, indeed, you have: the not praising him, whom you don't like to praise; the not bearing with his behavior at coming in.

26. The will of nature may be learned from those things in which we don't distinguish from each other. For example, when our neighbor's boy breaks a cup, or the like, we are presently ready to say, "These things will happen." Be assured, then, that when your own cup likewise is broken, you ought to be affected just as when another's cup was broken. Apply this in like manner to greater things. Is the child or wife of another dead? There is no one who would not say, "This is a human accident." but if anyone's own child happens to die, it is presently, "Alas I how wretched am I!" But it should be remembered how we are affected in hearing the same thing concerning others.

27. As a mark is not set up for the sake of missing the aim, so neither does the nature of evil exist in the world.

28. If a person gave your body to any stranger he met on his way, you would certainly be angry. And do you feel no shame in handing over your own mind to be confused and mystified by anyone who happens to verbally attack you?

29. In every affair consider what precedes and follows, and then undertake it. Otherwise you will begin with spirit; but not having thought of the consequences, when some of them appear you will shamefully desist. "I would conquer at the Olympic games." But consider what precedes and follows, and then, if it is for your advantage, engage in the affair. You must conform to rules, submit to a diet, refrain from dainties; exercise your body, whether you choose it or not, at a stated hour, in heat and cold; you must drink no cold water, nor sometimes even wine. In a word, you must give yourself up to your master, as to a physician. Then, in the combat, you may be thrown into a ditch, dislocate your arm, turn your ankle, swallow dust, be whipped, and, after all, lose the victory. When you have evaluated all this, if your inclination still holds, then go to war. Otherwise, take notice, you will behave like children who sometimes play like wrestlers, sometimes gladiators, sometimes blow a trumpet, and sometimes act a tragedy when they have seen and admired these shows. Thus you too will be at one time a wrestler, at another a gladiator, now a philosopher, then an orator; but with your whole soul, nothing at all. Like an ape, you mimic all you see, and one thing after another is sure to please you, but is out of favor as soon as it becomes familiar. For you have never entered upon anything considerately, nor after having viewed the whole matter on all sides, or made any scrutiny into it, but rashly, and with a cold inclination. Thus some, when they have seen a philosopher and heard a man speaking like Euphrates (though, indeed, who can speak like him?), have a mind to be philosophers too. Consider first, man, what the matter is, and what your own nature is able to bear. If you would be a wrestler, consider your shoulders, your back, your thighs; for different persons are made for different things. Do you think that you can act as you do, and be a philosopher? That you can eat and drink, and be angry and discontented as you are now? You must watch, you must labor, you must get the better of certain appetites, must quit your acquaintance, be despised by your servant, be laughed at by those you meet; come off worse than others in everything, in magistracies, in honors, in courts of judicature. When you have considered all these things round, approach, if you please; if, by parting with them, you have a mind to purchase apathy, freedom, and tranquillity. If not, don't come here; don't, like children, be one while a philosopher, then a publican, then an orator, and then one of Caesar's officers. These things are not consistent. You must be one man, either good or bad. You must cultivate either your own ruling faculty or externals, and apply yourself either to things within or without you; that is, be either a philosopher, or one of the vulgar.

30. Duties are universally measured by relations. Is anyone a father? If so, it is implied that the children should take care of him, submit to him in everything, patiently listen to his reproaches, his correction. But he is a bad father. Is you naturally entitled, then, to a good father? No, only to a father. Is a brother unjust? Well, keep your own situation towards him. Consider not what he does, but what you are to do to keep your own faculty of choice in a state conformable to nature. For another will not hurt you unless you please. You will then be hurt when you think you are hurt. In this manner, therefore, you will find, from the idea of a neighbor, a citizen, a general, the corresponding duties if you accustom yourself to contemplate the several relations.

31. Be assured that the essential property of piety towards the gods is to form right opinions concerning them, as existing "I and as governing the universe with goodness and justice. And fix yourself in this resolution, to obey them, and yield to them, and willingly follow them in all events, as produced by the most perfect understanding. For thus you will never find fault with the gods, nor accuse them as neglecting you. And it is not possible for this to be effected any other way than by withdrawing yourself from things not in our own control, and placing good or evil in those only which are. For if you suppose any of the things not in our own control to be either good or evil, when you are disappointed of what you wish, or incur what you would avoid, you must necessarily find fault with and blame the authors. For every animal is naturally formed to fly and abhor things that appear hurtful, and the causes of them; and to pursue and admire those which appear beneficial, and the causes of them. It is impractical, then, that one who supposes himself to be hurt should be happy about the person who, he thinks, hurts him, just as it is impossible to be happy about the hurt itself. Hence, also, a father is reviled by a son, when he does not impart to him the things which he takes to be good; and the supposing empire to be a good made Polynices and Eteocles mutually enemies. On this account the husbandman, the sailor, the merchant, on this account those who lose wives and children, revile the gods. For where interest is, there too is piety placed. So that, whoever is careful to regulate his desires and aversions as he ought, is, by the very same means, careful of piety likewise. But it is also incumbent on everyone to offer libations and sacrifices and first fruits, conformably to the customs of his country, with purity, and not in a slovenly manner, nor negligently, nor sparingly, nor beyond his ability.

32. When you have recourse to divination, remember that you know not what the event will be, and you come to learn it of the diviner; but of what nature it is you know before you come, at least if you are a philosopher. For if it is among the things not in our own control, it can by no means be either good or evil. Don't, therefore, bring either desire or aversion with you to the diviner (else you will approach him trembling), but first acquire a distinct knowledge that every event is indifferent and nothing to you., of whatever sort it may be, for it will be in your power to make a right use of it, and this no one can hinder; then come with confidence to the gods, as your counselors, and afterwards, when any counsel is given you, remember what counselors you have assumed, and whose advice you will neglect if you disobey. Come to divination, as Socrates prescribed, in cases of which the whole consideration relates to the event, and in which no opportunities are afforded by reason, or any other art, to discover the thing proposed to be learned. When, therefore, it is our duty to share the danger of a friend or of our country, we ought not to consult the oracle whether we will share it with them or not. For, though the diviner should forewarn you that the victims are unfavorable, this means no more than that either death or mutilation or exile is portended. But we have reason within us, and it directs, even with these hazards, to the greater diviner, the Pythian god, who cast out of the temple the person who gave no assistance to his friend while another was murdering him.

33. Immediately prescribe some character and form of conduce to yourself, which you may keep both alone and in company.

Be for the most part silent, or speak merely what is necessary, and in few words. We may, however, enter, though sparingly, into discourse sometimes when occasion calls for it, but not on any of the common subjects, of gladiators, or horse races, or athletic champions, or feasts, the vulgar topics of conversation; but principally not of men, so as either to blame, or praise, or make comparisons. If you are able, then, by your own conversation bring over that of your company to proper subjects; but, if you happen to be taken among strangers, be silent.

Don't allow your laughter be much, nor on many occasions, nor profuse.

Avoid swearing, if possible, altogether; if not, as far as you are able.

Avoid public and vulgar entertainments; but, if ever an occasion calls you to them, keep your attention upon the stretch, that you may not imperceptibly slide into vulgar manners. For be assured that if a person be ever so sound himself, yet, if his companion be infected, he who converses with him will be infected likewise.

Provide things relating to the body no further than mere use; as meat, drink, clothing, house, family. But strike off and reject everything relating to show and delicacy.

As far as possible, before marriage, keep yourself pure from familiarities with women, and, if you indulge them, let it be lawfully." But don't therefore be troublesome and full of reproofs to those who use these liberties, nor frequently boast that you yourself don't.

If anyone tells you that such a person speaks ill of you, don't make excuses about what is said of you, but answer: " He does not know my other faults, else he would not have mentioned only these."

It is not necessary for you to appear often at public spectacles; but if ever there is a proper occasion for you to be there, don't appear more solicitous for anyone than for yourself; that is, wish things to be only just as they are, and him only to conquer who is the conqueror, for thus you will meet with no hindrance. But abstain entirely from declamations and derision and violent emotions. And when you come away, don't discourse a great deal on what has passed, and what does not contribute to your own amendment. For it would appear by such discourse that you were immoderately struck with the show.

Go not [of your own accord] to the rehearsals of any
authors , nor appear [at them] readily. But, if you do appear, keepyour gravity and sedateness, and at the same time avoid being morose.

When you are going to confer with anyone, and particularly of those in a superior station, represent to yourself how Socrates or Zeno would behave in such a case, and you will not be at a loss to make a proper use of whatever may occur.

When you are going to any of the people in power, represent to yourself that you will not find him at home; that you will not be admitted; that the doors will not be opened to you; that he will take no notice of you. If, with all this, it is your duty to go, bear what happens, and never say [to yourself], " It was not worth so much." For this is vulgar, and like a man dazed by external things.

In parties of conversation, avoid a frequent and excessive mention of your own actions and dangers. For, however agreeable it may be to yourself to mention the risks you have run, it is not equally agreeable to others to hear your adventures. Avoid, likewise, an endeavor to excite laughter. For this is a slippery point, which may throw you into vulgar manners, and, besides, may be apt to lessen you in the esteem of your acquaintance. Approaches to indecent discourse are likewise dangerous. Whenever, therefore, anything of this sort happens, if there be a proper opportunity, rebuke him who makes advances that way; or, at least, by silence and blushing and a forbidding look, show yourself to be displeased by such talk.

34. If you are struck by the appearance of any promised pleasure, guard yourself against being hurried away by it; but let the affair wait your leisure, and procure yourself some delay. Then bring to your mind both points of time: that in which you will enjoy the pleasure, and that in which you will repent and reproach yourself after you have enjoyed it; and set before you, in opposition to these, how you will be glad and applaud yourself if you abstain. And even though it should appear to you a seasonable gratification, take heed that its enticing, and agreeable and attractive force may not subdue you; but set in opposition to this how much better it is to be conscious of having gained so great a victory.

35. When you do anything from a clear judgment that it ought to be done, never shun the being seen to do it, even though the world should make a wrong supposition about it; for, if you don't act right, shun the action itself; but, if you do, why are you afraid of those who censure you wrongly?

36. As the proposition, "Either it is day or it is night," is extremely proper for a disjunctive argument, but quite improper in a conjunctive one, so, at a feast, to choose the largest share is very suitable to the bodily appetite, but utterly inconsistent with the social spirit of an entertainment. When you eat with another, then, remember not only the value of those things which are set before you to the body, but the value of that behavior which ought to be observed towards the person who gives the entertainment.

37. If you have assumed any character above your strength, you have both made an ill figure in that and quitted one which you might have supported.

38. When walking, you are careful not to step on a nail or turn your foot; so likewise be careful not to hurt the ruling faculty of your mind. And, if we were to guard against this in every action, we should undertake the action with the greater safety.

39. The body is to everyone the measure of the possessions proper for it, just as the foot is of the shoe. If, therefore, you stop at this, you will keep the measure; but if you move beyond it, you must necessarily be carried forward, as down a cliff; as in the case of a shoe, if you go beyond its fitness to the foot, it comes first to be gilded, then purple, and then studded with jewels. For to that which once exceeds a due measure, there is no bound.

40. Women from fourteen years old are flattered with the title of "mistresses" by the men. Therefore, perceiving that they are regarded only as qualified to give the men pleasure, they begin to adorn themselves, and in that to place ill their hopes. We should, therefore, fix our attention on making them sensible that they are valued for the appearance of decent, modest and discreet behavior.

41. It is a mark of want of genius to spend much time in things relating to the body, as to be long in our exercises, in eating and drinking, and in the discharge of other animal functions. These should be done incidentally and slightly, and our whole attention be engaged in the care of the understanding.

42. When any person harms you, or speaks badly of you, remember that he acts or speaks from a supposition of its being his duty. Now, it is not possible that he should follow what appears right to you, but what appears so to himself. Therefore, if he judges from a wrong appearance, he is the person hurt, since he too is the person deceived. For if anyone should suppose a true proposition to be false, the proposition is not hurt, but he who is deceived about it. Setting out, then, from these principles, you will meekly bear a person who reviles you, for you will say upon every occasion, "It seemed so to him."

43. Everything has two handles, the one by which it may be carried, the other by which it cannot. If your brother acts unjustly, don't lay hold on the action by the handle of his injustice, for by that it cannot be carried; but by the opposite, that he is your brother, that he was brought up with you; and thus you will lay hold on it, as it is to be carried.

44. These reasonings are unconnected: "I am richer than you, therefore I am better"; "I am more eloquent than you, therefore I am better." The connection is rather this: "I am richer than you, therefore my property is greater than yours;" "I am more eloquent than you, therefore my style is better than yours." But you, after all, are neither property nor style.

45. Does anyone bathe in a mighty little time? Don't say that he does it ill, but in a mighty little time. Does anyone drink a great quantity of wine? Don't say that he does ill, but that he drinks a great quantity. For, unless you perfectly understand the principle from which anyone acts, how should you know if he acts ill? Thus you will not run the hazard of assenting to any appearances but such as you fully comprehend.

46. Never call yourself a philosopher, nor talk a great deal among the unlearned about theorems, but act conformably to them. Thus, at an entertainment, don't talk how persons ought to eat, but eat as you ought. For remember that in this manner Socrates also universally avoided all ostentation. And when persons came to him and desired to be recommended by him to philosophers, he took and- recommended them, so well did he bear being overlooked. So that if ever any talk should happen among the unlearned concerning philosophic theorems, be you, for the most part, silent. For there is great danger in immediately throwing out what you have not digested. And, if anyone tells you that you know nothing, and you are not nettled at it, then you may be sure that you have begun your business. For sheep don't throw up the grass to show the shepherds how much they have eaten; but, inwardly digesting their food, they outwardly produce wool and milk. Thus, therefore, do you likewise not show theorems to the unlearned, but the actions produced by them after they have been digested.

47. When you have brought yourself to supply the necessities of your body at a small price, don't pique yourself upon it; nor, if you drink water, be saying upon every occasion, "I drink water." But first consider how much more sparing and patient of hardship the poor are than we. But if at any time you would inure yourself by exercise to labor, and bearing hard trials, do it for your own sake, and not for the world; don't grasp statues, but, when you are violently thirsty, take a little cold water in your mouth, and spurt it out and tell nobody.

48. The condition and characteristic of a vulgar person, is, that he never expects either benefit or hurt from himself, but from externals. The condition and characteristic of a philosopher is, that he expects all hurt and benefit from himself. The marks of a proficient are, that he censures no one, praises no one, blames no one, accuses no one, says nothing concerning himself as being anybody, or knowing anything: when he is, in any instance, hindered or restrained, he accuses himself; and, if he is praised, he secretly laughs at the person who praises him; and, if he is censured, he makes no defense. But he goes about with the caution of sick or injured people, dreading to move anything that is set right, before it is perfectly fixed. He suppresses all desire in himself; he transfers his aversion to those things only which thwart the proper use of our own faculty of choice; the exertion of his active powers towards anything is very gentle; if he appears stupid or ignorant, he does not care, and, in a word, he watches himself as an enemy, and one in ambush.

49. When anyone shows himself overly confident in ability to understand and interpret the works of Chrysippus, say to yourself, " Unless Chrysippus had written obscurely, this person would have had no subject for his vanity. But what do I desire? To understand nature and follow her. I ask, then, who interprets her, and, finding Chrysippus does, I have recourse to him. I don't understand his writings. I seek, therefore, one to interpret them." So far there is nothing to value myself upon. And when I find an interpreter, what remains is to make use of his instructions. This alone is the valuable thing. But, if I admire nothing but merely the interpretation, what do I become more than a grammarian instead of a philosopher? Except, indeed, that instead of Homer I interpret Chrysippus. When anyone, therefore, desires me to read Chrysippus to him, I rather blush when I cannot show my actions agreeable and consonant to his discourse.

50. Whatever moral rules you have deliberately proposed to yourself. abide by them as they were laws, and as if you would be guilty of impiety by violating any of them. Don't regard what anyone says of you, for this, after all, is no concern of yours. How long, then, will you put off thinking yourself worthy of the highest improvements and follow the distinctions of reason? You have received the philosophical theorems, with which you ought to be familiar, and you have been familiar with them. What other master, then, do you wait for, to throw upon that the delay of reforming yourself? You are no longer a boy, but a grown man. If, therefore, you will be negligent and slothful, and always add procrastination to procrastination, purpose to purpose, and fix day after day in which you will attend to yourself, you will insensibly continue without proficiency, and, living and dying, persevere in being one of the vulgar. This instant, then, think yourself worthy of living as a man grown up, and a proficient. Let whatever appears to be the best be to you an inviolable law. And if any instance of pain or pleasure, or glory or disgrace, is set before you, remember that now is the combat, now the Olympiad comes on, nor can it be put off. By once being defeated and giving way, proficiency is lost, or by the contrary preserved. Thus Socrates became perfect, improving himself by everything. attending to nothing but reason. And though you are not yet a Socrates, you ought, however, to live as one desirous of becoming a Socrates.

51. The first and most necessary topic in philosophy is that of the use of moral theorems, such as, "We ought not to lie;" the second is that of demonstrations, such as, "What is the origin of our obligation not to lie;" the third gives strength and articulation to the other two, such as, "What is the origin of this is a demonstration." For what is demonstration? What is consequence? What contradiction? What truth? What falsehood? The third topic, then, is necessary on the account of the second, and the second on the account of the first. But the most necessary, and that whereon we ought to rest, is the first. But we act just on the contrary. For we spend all our time on the third topic, and employ all our diligence about that, and entirely neglect the first. Therefore, at the same time that we lie, we are immediately prepared to show how it is demonstrated that lying is not right.

52. Upon all occasions we ought to have these maxims ready at hand:

"Conduct me, Jove, and you, 0 Destiny,
Wherever your decrees have fixed my station."

"I follow cheerfully; and, did I not,
Wicked and wretched, I must follow still
Whoever yields properly to Fate, is deemed
Wise among men, and knows the laws of heaven."
Euripides, Frag.


And this third:

"0 Crito, if it thus pleases the gods, thus let it be. Anytus and Melitus may kill me indeed, but hurt me they cannot."
Plato's Crito and Apology


Thanks for good advice Pb

I am working to take control of my thoughts, actions and reactions constantly. This is still pretty new for me ... I think that I have spent my life creating ways of coping in order to live as normal as possible. I am seeing that many ways that I have done over the years was a form of self-preservation, and that many of the ways that I have felt inside was a result of constant chaos and distraction in my mind. I would like to think that I haven't "changed for the worse", but I do acknowledge that as time progressed I got worse at handling everything. I am glad that I can move forward with knowledge and the tools to do my best, but I still hope that I can make amends where possible, repair any damage done and have my life and marriage intact. I do not accept full blame for everything that has gone wrong in our marriage, and my husband knows he has made mistakes too, but I will do what I can to fix "us" and to be a better person, and hopefully, he will do the same ...

Thanks for responding,


Response to Non-ADHD "husband of someone"

Thank you for taking the time to give me your perspective. I really do need feedback, and you taking time to share a bit of your story is helpful. You wrote to help me, but I hope that you get something positive from this conversation too, even if it is just a little positive encouragement and hope that the two of you can become close again, with more strength, trust, patience, compassion and love for each other if you are willing to try.

As both of you gain more awareness for the ADHD symptoms and challenges of her disorder, both of you may come to realize that the personality of the woman you married is still there, and what seems like her being a completely different person is really symptoms ruling her mind and actions. I'm not going to pretend to know your wife or understand her, and I am not going to assume you share all the same thoughts as my husband, but I do think it is safe to say that we don't want to give up on our spouses, and just want to feel in love, like we matter and in tune with each other again.

I know that the non-ADHD husbands (my husband and you) are the ones that have watched your wives change over time, leading to built up disappointment, resentment, frustration and anger towards us. Those feelings seem to have helped you both emotionally detach from us at least a little bit and they will continue to help you break away permanently if you let them. Your tolerance for us is getting lower and lower. We drive you crazy and seem to let you down repeatedly, and we don't seem to care enough or are unwilling to put more effort into the marriage.

In my husband's case, he has been feeling this way for a long time, and I have been oblivious to his slow departure. He has been harboring thoughts of ending our marriage for a long time, but I only recently came to this understanding with him when he said he wanted a divorce and didn't love me. I was so caught off guard by his words and actions, because even though our lives seem to have constant chaos and drama, I didn't think he held me responsible for it all. Our arguments or blowouts would come and go, but we always ended up in a good place ... or so I thought. This all came to head mid-May of this year. Since then, I have packed up all my stuff and been sleeping in the RV, because he doesn't want me staying in the house. I am still cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and would be there for him in every way if he would let his guard down and give me a chance to show him how much better I am doing.

He has put up a protective shield around him in order to take a strong stand, keep his distance and to not give in at a weak moment. At most, we watch a little TV a few times a week, but we don't go fishing, play music, attend his gigs together ... nothing of any significant emotional investment that would be fun and confuse him more. We've had a few great conversations; some reflecting on the past and some discussing dreams for the future, and I am grateful for these times for they have created some new memories that we almost didn't get to share and they have helped us have some understanding and forgiveness for each other. My heart says he still has a spark of love for me, but doesn't want to risk more hurt or waste more of his life fighting to save our marriage. He is ready to act on dreams that have been delayed for the sake of family, and isn't confident that I want what he does anyway. We seem to be healing and reconnecting as time goes by, but we are still separated, and as the days and nights go by, I lose hope. Each time I start the process of letting go, he seems to say or do something to spark my hope. For example, when I confront him about why I am still here, or about moving the RV to my daughters home, or about giving him his life back and leaving as he wishes, he shuts me down, not even letting me finish my sentence. He hasn't said "divorce" or "I don't love you" since that one time ... I'm so confused ... I think he is too, but he is holding all of the cards. I won't leave him, no matter how painful and disheartening this living situation is for me.

We don't really work on our relationship, even though he knows that I want to, but he also doesn't end things either. I will tell you, through all of this, the one thing aside from my diagnosis that has made all of the difference for me, is understanding love is not enough. Marriages need to be nourished, nurtured, invested in and protected. In all of these years, especially the last decade, we haven't made quality time for each other, we haven't communicated our emotional needs or problems with each other, and we haven't given our marriage a fair chance. Of course love fades when you do nothing to keep it strong.

In our case, our lives were consumed with work, kids, home and family obligations. We were both unaware of my disorder, and a lot of our fights arose from his perception of me not being willing to support him in discipline decisions , not caring enough to remember things he said, not willing to have discussions when I was tired, not managing money well, being irresponsible with impulsive decision making .... I could go on ... Now I know these were all symptomatic responses of my ADHD. Why did things start going downhill when we had children? Hormones, extra stress, sleep deprivation, lack of structure are just to name a few. I didn't go to doctors more than once a year, and I sure didn't confide in them or anyone about my emotional/mental state. Well, once I mentioned to a doctor that I thought I was crazy ... he dismissed me saying, "people that are crazy don't question their sanity". That was the one and only time I opened up to a doctor until May, and boy, did I open up! I covered a life time of disappointment and challenges; jobs, relationships, family etc ... I told him about the weird stuff; falling asleep in the craziest of face to face situations at work, quitting jobs for fear of being fired, getting fired or choosing to quit after emotional breakdowns, working and caring more than anyone, but always coming up short. I told my doctor about my inability to focus and recall conversations with my husband, mishandling money, making impulsive decisions regarding the kids and so much more.

After some testing, and receiving my diagnosis, I was really angry for having lost so many years to anxiety, depression and a steady loss of self-worth. I was traumatized to realize that many of my shortcomings, failures, struggles and the chaos in my household likely would have been avoided if I had pursued a diagnosis for my issues decades ago. I wasn't a complete failure all those years, but I could have been a better wife, mother and businesswoman if I had received intervention early on. I wouldn't have spent years beating myself down with negative thought, anxiety and depression. The school years were very difficult, but different hormonal fluctuations from pregnancy on through peri-menopause really appeared to change my personality and take away my spark for life.

I agree with you, people do change ... they evolve and grow, which isn't a bad thing. A couple just needs to stay connected, and make more effort to connect when life pulls you apart. Time needs to be carved out for recreational fun together. Making time for fun together will continue to bring love into their marriage; creating good times, good memories and opportunities to communicate and stay on the same page.

Keep in mind, your wife's diagnosis may be recent, but she has battled this disorder her entire life without knowing. What she does now, and what support and compassion she gets from you will make a phenomenal difference in her well-being and whether you start replacing your negative thoughts and low tolerance for her with deeper love and romance. If you really think about what little time is left for your family after work, school and activities and then add cooking, dishes, laundry and such to the mix, how much time is she actually hyper-focusing solely on the children, and not giving any time or energy for enriching your relationship? I know that I couldn't fit it all in, and my husband got the smallest portion of my day. I wanted to spend time with my husband (and still do) more than anything in the world, but I caused him to feel like I could care less, was rebellious and lazy ...

I got up before the sun, and kept going every day until late in the evening or night, yet I never got the house in order, never got all of the paperwork organized, struggled to keep up and never made time for fun with my husband. Over the years, I abandoned playing my music instruments, didn't have time to maintain friendships, quit groups that I enjoyed and looked at activities like walking or dancing as time wasters instead of the physical exercise and mental mood boosters that they are. My husband would begin to settle down for the night even later than me, unwinding in the music room and wishing I wasn't so lazy and uninterested in the activities that we used to enjoy. I wasn't lazy or uninterested, I was just expending all of my time and energy to function at a near normal level.

Most of the time, to the world around me, I looked like a great mom on the go all of the time, but I felt like a fake. I didn't know that my brain was working overtime all of the time; that every process took more energy, more time and left me more tired at the end of the day than it did for non-ADHDers. I gained a lot of weight too, which I am working to take off. I may have been buzzing around all day, but I didn't make time for real exercise, and I seemed to think so much clearer when I was crunching on something or staying carbed up.

I tell you all of this in the hope that you can avoid having to go where my husband and I are now. I have no doubt that with a little weekly investment in our marriage and better communication about our needs and feelings, we would have been stronger for each other and more committed to fixing issues instead of being passive until everything exploded. I realize that it took this pain and heartbreak to confront my own issues and to start fixing me, but you guys are in such a better place to take on this challenge on together. You said it yourself, "you love your wife" and you truly believe that your wife loves you. Don't give up on your marriage over annoyances and by looking at the potential for a lifetime of "shenanigans" that may or may not happen.

Working together, she will restore confidence in herself and build trust in your relationship, so a lot of these behaviors may disappear, leaving the woman you married  beside you with a lot less annoying habits. I used to say terrible things to my husband about dumping me and finding a perfect wife and about suspecting that he was just waiting for the kids to grow up before he left me ... I honestly feel that I manifested a lot of this by slinging statements and accusations like that at him. I don't even know how he made it so long with someone that had no love for herself, but only disgust.

Getting to the heart of my issues have been like a miracle though ... Diagnosis, shock and dismay, understanding through knowledge, lots of reality checks and reflections on the past and Adderall. I've never felt amped up from my medication, but it is such a good feeling to feel normal. I went from loathing myself, to loving myself with the determination to be happy, have fun and meet my needs, then try to be there for everyone else.  I walk, dance, play my instruments and have lots of plans for the future.

I take my meds twice a day, so I have improved mental function and stamina from early in the morning until late evening. I was finding that I could be too impulsive and struggled coping first thing in the morning if I took my medication mid-morning, but if I took it too early in the morning, I was too vulnerable to irrational thought, impulsive behavior and inattentiveness when my husband would try to talk to me. Working on recognizing my triggers and weaknesses and developing skills to counteract them has gave me confidence and I am proud of my efforts.

All I can do is hope that my husband recognizes these changes in me and wants to give our life together another chance and a fresh start. Like I said, I believe there is a spark of love remaining, but he has tucked it away pretty deep beneath resentment and anger. If he lets just a little love flow my direction, we can start rebuilding our marriage and love stronger and better than ever. Oh, speaking of which, I absolutely love, but I cannot say enough good things about; specifically starting with the Love Bank chapter at If you take time to visit the marriagebuilders website, read the Love Bank chapter first, so that you get the basic concept. I assure you it is the cheesiest part, but will give you a good understanding for future reading. From there I recommend Emotional Needs and Love Busters as critical reading. The only reason I mention sections out of order is because who knows how committed either of you will be to reading further, so get the best lessons in first. What a different marriage we might have had all of this time, if resources like these were available back then. Love Builders and ADHD Marriage gave me tools and resources to empower me to improve myself better and to give our marriage a fighting chance.

I didn't realize how neglectful we were to our love, and how we didn't honor each other in our marriage. I had no concept as to how important it is to continue to invest time and love into a relationship. With all of the distractions in day to day life, it is way too easy to take your marriage for granted and to drift away from each other. I knew I needed to deal with my ADHD, but I also knew that if we stood a chance of reconciliation, we needed to work on marriage. I feel so fortunate to have and as a foundation to rebuild my life on. I utilize a great deal of resources on the Internet, but these two resources are the foundation, bricks and mortar of my new life.

Hopefully, our marriage will survive this awful time and we will become stronger and deeper in love, but if that isn't how the future plays out for us, I at least know that I will handle all relationships with much more care and consideration, share what I have learned through this experience with my children and others to help them avoid some of the same mistakes, and that I will be much healthier and happier for my own sake.

Your wife is on a journey of self-discovery and is working on her own personal goals to be better for herself, for you and your children, just as I am for my family. I hope that at some point, my husband will learn about ADHD a bit too, so he can be supportive, hold me accountable, but recognize my ADHD symptoms for what they are and not as part of my identity. I need him to stand with me, and be a gentle reminder when I need one, and to be my voice of reason when I can't hear my own voice, because of all the noise in my head. I don't want him demanding my compliance, judging all my actions and punishing me for my mistakes, but I do want him to understand post-its, lists and a little help organizing my life now and then will do wonders for my well-being, and will show in my actions towards him and others.

Geez, this is so much longer than I intended, but if anything I have said helps your relationship, or anyone else that happens to come across this post, then it is all worth it. I want you and all other readers to understand, nothing that I have said is meant with ill-will, and I am sharing some of my darkest truths and my opinions for the sake of all of us affected by ADHD relationships.

One last thing ... keep an eye on your children too. Watch for signs of struggle within them or outward behaviors that might be ADHD. How wonderful it would be if you could save one of your own from years of self-doubt and undefined challenges with an early diagnosis if one happened to inherited this disorder. There are many very creative, gifted and intelligent people with ADHD, and if they can be guided to their strengths, it will carry them through the not so good parts of having ADHD.



Your husband is gun shy.  He

Your husband is gun shy.  He has been disappointed too many times, but still loves you.  He still cares for you.  That seems like it is clear by what I read.  So I agree with your basic assessment, not that what I agree about really matters.  Something for you to think about and apply as you may to your own situation as appropriate:

When engaged in a heated argument with him, stop and make the effort to think "Is this me or the ADHD speaking?"  I have had to listen to my wife spout some absolutely vile things at me primarily she does not attempt to exercise self control.  Realize that you have a diagnosis and he doesn't.  He might be right, or correct.  (He won't always be, but chances are he is...realize it, accept it)

If again if your are getting upset, try to stop and think "Would a person without ADHD be getting upset now?"  Give yourself time to breath and think.  Don't gleefully jump into a confrontation with both feet.  

Make a to do list.  Even if you have to put "Tell Husband you love him" on it.  Or have it say "Do something nice for him."

He may be wrestling with the fact that you have a diagnosis.  I didn't really with my wife.  I knew that she had an issue for years.  When the doctor talked about her test results my thought was "well that explains a lot."  She had two issues with the diagnosis besides having her pride damaged.  Her first thought was that oldest daughters behavior has genetically been traced to her.  For some reason that really bothered her.  Like it was her fault that our daughter had issues.  The second realization was that in her words "It really is all my fault..." meaning her fault for all the issues in our marriage.  I told her that she was responsible for a good portion or them but the past is gone, it was the future that mattered.  I get resentful because the prospects for the future do not look any different than the past..To your point, there is no hope nor logical reason to have hope.  There is only duty but one does not live on duty alone.  

All the tips I just mentioned to you are things that I would like to see in my wife.  I don't know you, your husband not the length of the chasm between you.  Keep in mind that opinions are like noses, we all have them and they all smell.  

After her explosions (generally over stupid stuff or when she does something really stupid)  I am left with an incredibly hollow feeling for days.  That is when I am most likely to end the marriage or do something rash, because that is when I actively wonder what it would be like to be with a woman without such issues.  Mostly I don't dwell on that, because that is not my reality.  It's only when that nerve is raw and I am hollow.  But then who would be between her and my children especially with the family courts stacked against men?  So there it is... Duty at the end of it all.  

All that said, she is not bad, evil nor stupid...she is the woman I chose warts and all.

Oh, you asked about rebelling in another post.  I asked her one time about the house keeping and she said she was rebelling against her  parents and how she grew up.  She was a military brat, married a military guy....She's in her 40's now...The rebellion should be over.



Pepper ideas

Here are some ideas for you:

  • ask him to read my book.  That will lay out many of the behaviors that have happened between the two of you, and help him see that your actions were not intended as a way to defy him.  It will help him understand the "pursuit and retreat" pattern and conflict avoidance coping strategies that many with ADHD put into place and that you describe above.  Hopefully, he will start to differentiate you from your symptoms.  If he isn't excited about reading the book, there is an audiobook, or if he just objects in general, suggest that it's only reading material - you are not asking him to respond to it in any way, only that it may provide good insight.  (sometimes people don't want to read a self-help type book because they think the act of reading it commits them to following the instructions in it)
  • keep up working on yourself and make sure to set some specific goals that are measurable using SMART.  measure your progress objectively.  sometimes people fall into the trap of improving things inside their heads (more focus, etc) while not changing things (in an objectively measurable sense) in their behaviors (which is what a partner would see).  so it's important to be doing both.
  • listen to what he has to say to you about his own experience and respond empathetically.  Sometimes spouses need to hear not only the words "I'm working on that" but also "I'm sorry that you went through that" and other words that acknowledge the difficulties they've faced.  Working on things is a tacit acknowledgment of your role...but verbal acknowledgement helps a lot
  • pick one thing that he tells you is really important to him - whether or not it's important to you - and make a plan to address it in a way that you think will show him you are responsive to him.  he may or may not actually respond to what you do for him, but he might, and that would be good.
  • keep going on the path you are following - it's WONDERFUL that you see significant change in yourself and are starting to feel good about the direction in which you are going.  Keep it up...celebrate your progress!
Pbartender's picture

The proof of the pudding is in the eating...

The problem Pepper and I are running into, Melissa, is that our spouses are so locked down emotionally, that they simply won't read the books or talk about what they're going through... They refuse to.

For one reason or another, they've convinced themselves that nothing will change...  that the relationship can't get better.  And so they've given up trying, and don't want to take the risk of trying again and failing.  No amount of reading or talking will convince them otherwise.  For them, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

The best we can do is to make the changes, make them consistently, make them without showing off to our spouses, keep them up long enough for our spouses to notice, keep keeping them up long enough for our spouses to realize that the changes are permanent, and by then it should all be ingrained habit and we can enjoy our new, happy marriage.



Response to ideas from Melissa


Forgive me if I seem a little star struck a this moment, but to draw your attention and response has been one of the greatest rewards of my efforts to improve so far. My first post several weeks ago went without comment, and just yesterday I removed its content after emailing it to myself. I know it was a long and personal rambling of a very sad and heartbroken woman; a bit much for anyone to be able to respond to.

The lessons you have provided me in the bulleted list of your response will guide me from this point forward. I was thinking a lot about the non- ADHD husband that I responded to yesterday, and what his perception of his wife's efforts are versus his perception of what my efforts are. Maybe we are both working from the inside out so intently, but what our spouses see on the outside is limited. I am going to review SMART, and set some specific, measurable goals ... Up until now I have just been monitoring my own changes, but not placing goals upon myself. Goals are scary ... anything that can be be measured for success can be held accountable for failure ... Right up until my ADHD diagnosis, I had reached a point where I could not cope with any more failure in my life, but as I gained knowledge and understanding of my disorder, I gained the compassion and commitment I needed to improve myself with less fear of failure.

If I was to pick one thing that is important to my husband, I believe that he would want me to address the issue of being rebellious. My husband tends to dwell in negative thought, and it frequently causes him to think the worst of the actions and intentions of people. He often sees manipulation, or preplanned defiance when there is none. This is something he needs to work on, but I understand where this way of thinking stems from and how deep his thinking goes.  A few days ago he was insistent upon me admitting to being rebellious, even though I do not believe that I am. He thinks not admitting my rebellious nature is continued rebellion and defiance, therefore not showing effort to comply or improve myself where it matters the most to him. This is a real tough one, because I don't think with evil intent, plot, or intentionally rebel against people; it is not part of my character and never has been. I can continue to work on something else, but this topic comes out of nowhere, whenever I do something that he thinks I set out to do against his wishes. It is one of our proverbial buried hatchets that we left with the handle sticking out of the ground we walk on, and so we continue to trip over it ... These can be very short handles too ... Case in point, the other night I baked these experimental cheesy parmesan and olive oil encrusted Italian crab cups in spring roll wraps. Prior to tasting them, I did make a negative comment about them probably being awful. He called me on it, and I apologized and changed my negative thought behavior immediately. Apparently, my mistake was not stopping to taste the food when he did. I proceeded to put ingredients away and wipe down the counters, so that I wouldn't have to later. As a result, because I didn't choose to try them when he did, I was being rebellious. Apparently, I was supposed to read his mind, and know that he was "testing" me to see if I was going to be rebellious. I just wanted to sit down ... It was after 10 pm, I was tired, hungry and wanting to relax. Instead, it turned into one of our biggest blowouts, and after 20 minutes or more of trying to reason with him, I retreated to the RV where I have been sleeping, and pathetically cried myself to sleep. No, this wasn't about sampling the food, this was about his perceived interpretations of my rebellious behavior of the past two decades. I have been real good about listening and refraining from being defensive, but some topics go against my core beliefs about myself, and I struggle with letting him continue to think poorly of me on these issues.

Thank you for taking time out of your incredibly busy schedule to address my post. So many posters hope for the opportunity to hear from you directly, and I am truly grateful to have your insight on my marriage. It is too bad we have to suffer such intense pain to learn, grow and help each other through similar experiences.

Warm regards,


Pbartender's picture

I'm right there with you, Pepper...

I had to come back, and reread both this post and the one you wrote below.  I had a hard time getting through them, not because they're so long (phew! the second one was a novel!  ;) ), but because your story is so eerily familiar to mine.

On these forums, you'll see a lot of the non-ADHD spouses say these words...  I could have written your story almost word for word.  And I could have, though you've done it so much more eloquently than I ever could.

In another three weeks, my wife and I will have been married for 14 years.  We have two children in middle school, one of them mildly autistic, and the other I'm beginning to suspect could have ADHD.  All along we fell into the typical ADHD marriage traps...  The extra stresses of marriage, parenting, my job (a rotating shift!), bills and such brought out my undiagnosed ADHD in a way that it had never presented itself before.  I made unintentional mistakes, she'd react, I'd react in kind.  We both made mistakes big and small.  And all that time, we kept hunting for the reason...  Sometimes we thought it was her, sometimes we thought it was me, but we never figured out the real reason and so any of our solutions were only temporary.  It kept building, until everything started falling apart this last year.  My wife mentioned divorce, and moved into a separate bedroom in May.

That was led to my diagnosis...  At one point, she said simply that she didn't know why I'm so absent-minded and inattentive, and she knew that it wasn't my fault, and she knew that I couldn't change it, but that she just couldn't deal with it any more.  I realized that I had been dealing with it for twice as long as she had been, and that I was tired of it too, and that I'd never really bothered to find out if it actually was something that couldn't be changed -- I'd always assumed that it was just the way I was.  That's when I went to my doctor, who told me I had ADHD.  I did a little research, and everything going all the way back to my childhood suddenly made sense.  I started figuring out meds with my doctor, and started seeing a therapist-coach who specialized in ADHD.

Since then, I've had similarly profound changes in the way I'm living my life.  My wife is still friendly toward me on a daily basis, but nothing more than that.  Like your husband, she's emotionally walled herself in with old expectations and beliefs about me to protect herself against all the frustration and disappointment and disrespect and anger and hate that she doesn't want to feel about me, because deep down, I think does still love me and she understands forgetfulness and distraction that underlay all our problems aren't really my fault.

So, I'm patiently and quietly going through that same lonely and slow process.  I'm hoping that someday, she'll notice that the storm is no longer raging around outside her walls, and she pokes her head out.  In the meantime, I'll work on myself.  I will be someone I can be proud of again.  I will live my life happily.  I can't ever again be exactly the person my wife married, but I can return to the qualities and values that first attracted her to me.

If I can do that, then it will be up to her to decide whether she wants to take one more chance and rebuild a new, better marriage with me.  And if I can do that and she decides not to, I'll be able to move on and build a new, better life on my own.

So, I don't if I can give you a whole lot of advice just yet -- you're already on the right track, so keep it up -- but you've got all the support I can give.  Look up YYZ and ADHDMomof2, and read their old posts...  They're both farther along this trail than either of us, they both work hard to manage their ADHD and both have gone through much the same.

You're not alone in this.  I'm right there with you.



Response to Right With You ...

Hi Pb,

This will be brief, as I have work to do that cannot wait for me to fix myself ;)

You spoke eloquently yourself, and without having to fill in all the white space this domain can hold. Hearing your words in my head, clarified some of my thoughts that I haven't verbalized or committed to text, and seeing that you are on the same path at the same time as me was a surprise.

I hope that someday, when our posts are buried under years of newer posts that someone can drill down to the last one that each of us made, they will find happy endings for us both.

Off to get some work done ...



I hope that someday, when our

I hope that someday, when our posts are buried under years of newer posts that someone can drill down to the last one that each of us made, they will find happy endings for us both.

I hope the above is true for ALL of us. I don't want to be on here a year still crying about the same things.


No one does.  I made a commitment to this man, 25 years ago.  He was just diagnosed a little over a year ago, and he began his medication in January.  If you read any of my old posts, you will see that when initially diagnosed, we were fortunate enough to meet Melissa in Chautauqua, NY at an ADHD and Marriage seminar.  Though we got alot out of it, part of me thinks it was a little early on in the process and we didn't get the full effect that we might have gotten had it been say, this February.  If you ever get a chance to attend on of her small setting seminars, I suggest you do a word....amazing.

NO ONE....NO ONE.....not the ADHD partner, nor the NON ADHD partner wants to be on here crying about the same things a year later, but sometimes it just happens that way.  Things were going so well for well and then just like the flick of a light switch it stopped.  I don't know how/when (exactly)/or why, but my last chance at "us" just seems to have faded away.

I wish us all happy endings.

Response to NJTWINMOM

I'm sorry that you are at a low point right now. You've been married a long time, so you know how our marriages ebb and flow ... Sleep easy tonight and wake up with renewed hope. Take some time to do something good for you. Schedule some time for the two of you to have fun, then maybe another time to talk about your progress over the year, both of your needs and hopes ... Consider approaching things as you did when it was all on the line last year, whatever you did worked ... just do it again. Read articles, post to forums, go on some dates and maybe have another talk with Melissa, now that you are further into the process. Try to trade that negative thought about no one having happy endings here into a realistic and positive one. I bet a lot of happy endings just stop posting and move on with their lives. I will go read your posts, as I care and wish the best for you. No doubt I will learn lessons from them too, so it will be good for me.


There's the problem.  How many times does one forgive and forget without feeling like a doormat?

I'm all for a marriage working out.  Obviously I took my vows seriously to still be trying to keep this marriage going, for whatever reason.

NEVER said no one has happy endings, because I know Melissa does.  I just see the odds are stacked against us.

I also read Co Dependency No More and WOW.....I'm realizing I too, deserve a life, that's all.

Re: NJTWINMOM doormats ...

I apologize for misinterpreting your comment regarding happy endings. I really get how you feel about the doormat comparison. One thing that got me thinking in regards to the doormat comment ... Feeling like a doormat isn't limited to the non-ADHD spouse. I think it depends an awful lot on the responsibilities and expectations of each relationship, and the roles that have always been played within the dynamics of the relationship. For example, in my case, I may be the ADHD partner, and I know my husband feels walked on a lot, but I am the doormat in our relationship. He would probably disagree  with my statement, but some things you just know in your heart, and there isn't much room for argument in those situations. Like me not believing that I am rebellious ... I do not believe that I am, but he does. I take accountability for my actions and thoughts, and I try to be very mindful when accused of something, but in the end, there are some things that I feel so strongly about, especially when it brings my character into question.

I'm all for marriages working, take my vows very seriously and want the happy ending too, but I am realistic about it. I know that if we do get through this, there will be times that we hurt each other, disappoint each other, neglect each others needs. For me, I am willing to take all of that on because I love him so much. I don't know if he is willing to commit on the ...

Well ... I was interrupted during the typing of this response. We just had it out because I told him he needs to at least talk to me and let me know where things stand. By backing him into a corner, he says we are done. "Done, done, done, done".

I am lost ... he didn't want to try anything at all. Not one little effort since my diagnosis. It just doesn't mean a thing to him. He blames me for everything, doesn't let me say ADHD had anything to do with the way I handled things, that's just who I am. He says there are many good things about me, but he is burnt out. I said a lot ... much of what I wrote to him at one time or another over the past few months, but that he didn't read. I confronted him on his feelings for all of these years, and his actions. I told him he owed me some set aside time to talk, without interruption and at least one meeting with a counselor. He said no ...

Now what? Do I let him have his way entirely? Do I just drive away because he insists on staying? Do I stay, and make him go if he isn't willing to try? There is so much I could say and so many questions that I have ... I can't bombard you all with them, and I don't have the strength to anyway. He is taking my perception of the past and re-writing it with a negative, dark cloud of suffering he has endured. He is hurting me every day in the present by his inaction and now, his statement of being done. He has stolen my dreams for the future.

He's in the house again. So posting. Bye.

My Heart aches for you

My Heart aches for you pepper. Seems just as you realized what some of the issue were he was done and not willing to work with you. Unfortunately this seems all too familiar, a lot of us were married 10, 15, 20, years before the AH HA moment came, for many by then the damage has just been too great.  And some of us just keep trying to no avail it seems. this is true for both ADHD and non-ADHD partners.  If he is a pessimistic person he may truly be 'done', it seems that pessimistic people have the outlook that nothing will ever get better, what they experience as bad will never end. Optimistic people know there is always tomorrow there is always hope.  Wish I could tell you what you should do, in answer to your last question, only you can figure that out.   I've been on the 'I'm done" fence and on the 'I keep trying' fence, many times.  I was SO done a year ago, ready to move out, started looking at real estate for a new home for me and my kids, but I just could not make that move and split my kids from their dad. Only recently have I decided that If I'm not going to split the marriage then I am going to make it the best I can for however long we still have together. Right now I still don't think we will stay together for ever and ever, but going to make the best of what time is left.

Wish you the best pepper.

Pbartender's picture

A Two Week Echo...

We just had it out because I told him he needs to at least talk to me and let me know where things stand. By backing him into a corner, he says we are done. "Done, done, done, done".

I am lost ... he didn't want to try anything at all. Not one little effort since my diagnosis. It just doesn't mean a thing to him. He blames me for everything, doesn't let me say ADHD had anything to do with the way I handled things, that's just who I am. He says there are many good things about me, but he is burnt out. I said a lot ... much of what I wrote to him at one time or another over the past few months, but that he didn't read. I confronted him on his feelings for all of these years, and his actions. I told him he owed me some set aside time to talk, without interruption and at least one meeting with a counselor. He said no ...

Now what?

I had almost this exact same conversation with my wife about two weeks ago.  Check my profile for a thread that I started entitled "All for nothing..."  Read it through.  Chances are that a lot of the advice I got there could help you here, too.

And don't forget Epictetus.  ;)



Quick check-in to say "hi", "how ya' doing'?" and update

Hi Pb. et al ...

I know I left things hanging last time that I posted, so I wanted to check in with all of you and see how you are doing. I don't have time to be supportive or involved in other forum posts today, but I hope there has been some truly positive and hopeful sharing and support for each other. 

I am still drifting in Limbo Land, on Lake Hope. Occasionally skimming the surface with renewed hope and buoyancy, but often find myself sinking and taking on water fast. The waters change colors and transparency constantly, often becoming so murky that anything beneath the surface is completely unknown to me, but on occasion, I can see the light shining through the depths, revealing new wonders and abundant life. For now, my anchor sits topside, as the wind and waves are not pushing my vessel so far that I can't drift back with a little effort on my part. I still consider raising my sails and riding with the wind, but know that I am more likely to drop anchor and hope for calming waters rather than a perfect storm. Little changes from day to day here ... I rise up and down on the choppy waters, listen to the waves smack the side of the hull as I drift back and forth and watch others navigate their own course, not noticing the wake they leave behind rocks me violently, for they are oblivious that I have been taking on water and adrift for so long. When others pass me by, I feel as if I am watching silent movies of happy families and couples, without a care or concern in the world, even though I know they all have issues of their own that have brought them to this place. Most days I bail the water with my cup to keep from sinking into the depths below me, but often I throw things that I used to care about overboard to lighten the load. I feel the need to float on these waters alone in order to do my best thinking, and without the well-intended advice of those that don't give me the same answers that my heart does. Still, I grow more lonely every day, and increase the distance between myself, my lover and the life that I used to believe in. I long for new adventures with my best friend, and more so, long for his touch. The need and loneliness I feel helps me better understand those that made a choice at some point to reach out for the comfort of another, or that walked away from a love that they believed in, just to end the struggle and isolation. Still, I remain true to my course, only drifting slightly one way or another, but staying within sight of where I believe I should be. I have not drifted beyond the horizon, even though I have thought about the treasures that I might discover, for I would rather drift here, in my home waters, collecting the good moments that float by like fallen leaves on the waves. My collection continues to grow, and even though some days I suffer from the sickness caused by being carelessly tossed about, I don't head for unfamiliar shores. I simply wait for the winds to calm and the waves to subside, and then I begin collecting the passing treasures adrift to an unknown destination, and continue to be hopeful  that the current will eventually return me to his arms.

Okay ... enough trying to be clever. Honesty, everything is pretty much the same old same ol' here. Still staying in the RV, still trying to have  peaceful companionship in the house without the intimacy we used to share. Still not convinced that all he has said in the past three months is true, or even that he entirely believes his own words. The lack of intimacy is a shield to protect him from letting me back in to his heart and to protect me from false hopes, but we continue to spend a great deal of time together doing things that are safely void of too much fun or closeness. We have also talked about the future, as if we might share it ... now that is truly confusing, as he has said he is DONE, and makes no effort to actually work on our relationship or understand my ADHD issues that impact him. He has shouldered more of the blame for the past lately, but still does not give any consideration, understanding or forgiveness for ADHD behaviors that may have led to impulsive actions, words or bad decisions, and still judges them as if flaws to my character or moral and philosophical issues (note: I have really good morals). I try to suppress my growing resentment and anger towards him for giving up on us, for dishonoring our wedding vows by not standing by me through sickness and in health, especially now that "I" (wish "we") know that undiagnosed ADHD was the source of so many problems for us in the past, and by leaving me in such a predicament (too complicated to get into at this time) now that his career is really taking shape on a new level. I know this is really, really bad, and will talk to someone about my growing anger and resentment soon. If only he was willing to see a counselor or therapist, I think a lot of issues between us would be resolved, and I believe he would benefit personally too.

I really have to go now, even though I would like to catch up on posts and see how you are doing. Another time though :)

Meanwhile, stay strong and take care of yourself and those you love.


Pbartender's picture

“A ship is safe in harbor..."

"...but that's not what ships are for.”  - William G. T. Shedd

As I try to weather the storm by beating into the wind, close hauled with double reefed topsails, so I might avoid a lee shore and find some sea room...


We're in the same boat, so to speak.



  Well quoted ... Well stated


Well quoted ...

Well stated ...

Clever :)


Sometimes, it just doesn't take a lot of words to say what you want to express ...

I am forever grateful that I didn't miss the boat ride, but often wonder if I should continue to drift on these turbulent waters or if I should set sail for the new world.

(Not fooling myself ... I'm going to keep drifting along for a while)

Pbartender's picture

I've been reading too much C.

I've been reading too much C. S. Forester and Patrick O'Brian lately...  :P

The funny thing is, for a fictional character, Horatio Hornblower shows a surprising number of ADHD symptoms.



Seeing symptoms in fictional characters too!


The more I learn about my recently diagnosed ADHD, the more I see it in fictional characters too. Okay ... some non-fictional too. I'm not saying everyone that shows behavior characteristics of ADHD has ADHD, but my new found awareness and understanding seems to have put me on alert in identifying symptomatic behaviors, likely because I am constantly watching and evaluating myself.

Creative minds ... creative characters

I suppose in truth, if an author has ADHD, they would see the benefit of creating a colorful, creative character with lots of interesting behaviors and reactions. It makes for a good story.