Non-ADHDers: "Why can't he try?"

"you made my cry.  why can't my H TRY ?????  I'm proud of you, let me give you a virtual pat on the back. keep it up !"

Thanks, FF...  I can't possibly tell you how much that means to me.

Much of my progress is due to you and the other non-ADHD spouses on these forums.  You've all given me insight into what my wife is feeling and thinking, and have been able to explain, at least in part, way she sometimes acts and reacts the way she does.  You've all been helpful and supportive and understanding and encouraging at the times I needed it the most, and despite the all the troubles and frustrations that you have with your own spouses. That's been a bigger help than you can ever imagine.

"Why can't my husband try?"

I've seen so many of you post that, or something similar, somewhere on these boards.

And that's just it...  Right now, he quite literally can't.  Or rather, he could try, but circumstances are such that he will always fail, and so there doesn't seem to be a point to it.

This going to be a rather exaggerated comparison, and a bit of hyperbole, but bear with me...

Imagine asking a paraplegic to run across the room. Everyone else can, why can't he?  But every time he tries to just stand up, he falls on his face.  Why doesn't he just try harder?  He could do it, if he wanted to.  What is he, lazy?  He won't even help out around the house... He just sits in his chair all day long.

Silly isn't it?  You'd never treat a paraplegic that way, unless you were a colossal asshole.

Imagine the supreme discouragement of constantly being encouraged to do something you can't, failing every time, and then being ridiculed and belittled for your failure.  Imagine the humiliation of having to rely on others to accomplish simple every day tasks that others take for granted and can do without thinking.  Now, add into that the confusion and frustration of not understanding why you can't, when others can.

Like I said, it may sound like a ridiculous exaggeration, but in a way, this is very much what it feels like to have ADHD...  especially if you haven't been diagnosed.

In the real world if the paraplegic, with the help of crutches and months of physical therapy, managed to stumble through a few faltering steps on their own, then we'd celebrate it as a miracle!  A triumph over adversity!

Think about how much courage and confidence it takes to take those very first steps...  How much pain must be endured and how much hard work must be done just for the least success...  How much time it takes to turns those small squicks of progress into something significant...  How much patience and tenacity and endurance it takes to continue after all that time with so little progress.

We generally don't get those celebrations.  The focus is rarely on our successes, and more often on our failures...  You can see that here on these message boards.  The "Anger & Frustration" forum has nearly twice as many posts in it as all the other forums put together.  Nobody cheers when I clean the house, or cook dinner, or get the kids to school on time.  Nobody congratulates me when I pay attention through an entire conversation, or when I manage to remember the details of that conversation days later.  Nobody throws me a party for paying all the bills on time for an entire year in a row without going overdrawn.  Completing a home improvement project on schedule and under budget is not a reason for celebration.

All this is to say, on any given day we like shit about ourselves.  And we feel that way because of something we cannot control.

Many of us seem to fall into unhelpful, unhealthy, often damaging habits to try to regain control in some way...  We bully, or play the victim, or withdraw, or simply give in and indulge our impulses.  We feel worthless, useless, unloved, and alone -- undoubtedly, you feel many of the same things as a non-ADHD spouse, but for very different reasons.  We get stuck there and can't get out, because we don't have the self confidence to overpower the sense of inevitable failure.  We're too scared to take that risk, and are mentally and emotionally paralyzed into doing nothing and stay in the "safest" place we know.  The inertia of those emotions combines is hard to overcome on your own.

Oof...  I've got cut myself off, here...  Writing this was surprisingly exhausting.



Poor you....

Sorry, but that is what your post sounds like to me. Nobody congratulates ME for cleaning house, getting kids to school, etc. In fact, my Dex-H would not even acknowledge that I had done it at all!

Herein is the rub for me -- If you are a "paraplegic", stop acting like a 2 year old, throwing tantrums, denying the truth about your disability, trying to regain "control"--and show a little appreciation for the people that help you out! Either by choice or by necessity! We all like some praise for what we are doing. It is NOT easy for us to get the kids off, clean the house, pay the bills, etc. EITHER!!! Especially with an ADHD spouse working against half of what we do!

The ADHDers in my life sometimes insist on "doing it myself", but the people who help them are the ones who have to do twice as much to make up for the messes they make trying to get control of something they clearly can't control.

So my point is, why not make it easier for the person who has to help you? Be a little humble. Admit you aren't as good at doing some things and accept that. THANK the spouse who is doing twice as much because you are not capable. Smile at them. Congratulate them for being so helpful and understanding. If they remind you of something you said you would do, SAY THANK YOU! And do it right away! Don't call them a nag, don't tell them they are parental. They undoubtedly do not enjoy having to run half of your life either, especially with absolutely no appreciation coming their way. But they usually marry you all because they are helpers and get pleasure for solving problems. Give them a little credit too instead of trying to force them into pretending you are normal.

I'm sorry you are humiliated. I'm sorry you're confused. I'm sorry you have to take meds to feel normal. I'm sorry you are scared to step out. But I'm not. And we're here to help. ADHD spouses, quit cutting off your noses to spite your faces!!!!

I'm sorry for the rant, Pb. Obviously, this is generated toward ADHD spouses in general (and mostly towards the ones I know), not specifically at you. This hit a real nerve.


Pbartender's picture

I thought it might sound like that, but...

Yeah, I know...  I completely understand where you're coming from.

Nothing pleases me more than when my wife gives me a nice little reminders for something I've forgotten or misremembered.  And I always make certain to thank her when she does (it's happened twice this week :P ), because I know how much it can bother her to do it.  I try (but admittedly don't always to succeed) to regularly thank her even for the ordinary regular day-to-day tasks she takes care of.

I know that now, especially, it's tough for her to do it, because she's emotionally in a bad place and it's tough to break out of that.  She has to overcome that ingrained stereotype she has about me -- that I'm uninterested in her, that I willfully don't pay attention to her, that I don't respect her, that I don't care about her, that I'm selfish, that I'm completely unreliable, and so on -- before she can really forgive me for all the inadvertent harm I've done, and truly begin to help and support in my efforts to improve myself.

All I'm asking that you guys understand that we also have to overcome that same sort of ingrained stereotype about ourselves, before we can make those improvements.  If you can understand that, if you can also recognize that we won't be as good at some things as you are, if you can give us a little support and encouragement for our efforts and successes, and if you can let us be ourselves without making us feel that we must be pretend to be "normal"...  even in the smallest way, that makes trying infinitely easier.

So, really, we're both kind of asking for the same thing...  Only, since the ADHD partner is also generally viewed as the cause of the problems, we don't always seem to get the sympathetic support that the non-ADHD spouses tend to get.  If you want your spouse to try and to keep trying, and he's willing to try, please just make sure he's getting support and encouragement too.

No worries about the rant.  I truly do understand how rough all this can be for you.  That's one of the "benefits" to my particular brand of ADHD...  the ability to understand the opposing points of view of a situation.  My post, too, was just a general plea to non-ADHD spouses in the hopes that it might help you understand how difficult it can be for us to get self-started on our necessary self-improvements.  It wasn't meant as a rant or a "poor me" pity post, by any means, though after re-reading it, I can see how it could come across that way...  sorry about that.

Again, I really want to give all the non-ADHDers on these boards my sincerest thanks...  You guys have given me insights into what my wife is thinking and feeling that I never could have understood on my own.  You've helped me through times when I was this ->||<- close to giving in and giving up.  You guys, collectively, have been giving me that support and encouragement at a time when my wife isn't quite emotionally ready to do it herself.  Thanks again.



Thanks, lynnie, for saying

Thanks, lynnie, for saying what I was thinking.  

Also, when you get married to a paraplegic you know what you are getting yourself into.  The agreements are up front before you walk down the aisle and you are agreeing to it.  With inattentive ADD and hyperfocus, a wife has been given overly-positive promises and the expectation is that you are who you are and you ask her to trust you - to put her life in your hands.  Not that later you will show your disabilities AFTER the promises of commitment have been made and not be able to make good on those promises.  So you didn't know you had ADD before the marriage.  In my case it was not known.  BUT the hyperfocus was there.  The promises were there. AND the coping tools used to cover up the deficiencies in my case turned out to be verbal abuse of denying, distracting, lying, discounting, all the sales tools used to make the sale but then not come through with the product he was selling - his overly exaggerated competence rather than truth of his vulnerabilities.  THAT is the betrayal that is a relationship based on covering up and withholding rather than truth and sharing. That is what makes it demeaning and difficult to trust.

Pbartender's picture


"Also, when you get married to a paraplegic you know what you are getting yourself into.  The agreements are up front before you walk down the aisle and you are agreeing to it."

This actually brings up something else I wanted to talk about...  You're right.  ADHD is practically invisible.  Especially in someone who hasn't been diagnosed and who hasn't been put in a situation that overwhelms their natural compensations for it, and even to the person who has it.

You make it sound like undiagnosed ADHDers purposefully hide their symptoms and lie about them, just so they can get married into a relationship in which everyone ends up unhappy?  How does that make sense?  How does somebody lie about something they don't know about?  Why would anybody go through so much effort to get into a relationship that they know won't work?

I can't speak for all ADHers, but I made it all the way through college with no problems...  And certainly none that I'd have attributed to ADHD at the time.  I was occasionally a little absent-minded, and hot tempers and alcoholism run in my family.  I knew about those, so did my wife.  We both thought I had them well under control.  I was very up front about my personal shortcomings and so was she.  At the time I asked her to marry me, we both thought we knew what we were getting into.  I never exaggerated my competence.  I never covered up anything.  I never withheld anything.  I gave her the truth of my vulnerabilities, as far as I knew them, then.  I simply didn't know the whole of it myself.  Neither of us did.  And neither us recognized the early warning signs for what they were.

So, when I married her, I made promises and commitments that I sincerely thought I could keep.  How could either of us possibly have been prepared for how things actually turned out?  It was nothing that I'd ever planned on. 

I understand how you can feel the way you do, but I'd wager most ADHDers don't feel much differently.  I was just as frustrated and disappointed and shocked that our marriage didn't turn out as we expected as my wife was.  I know that if there was any way to go back 15 years and warn pre-marriage us of what we were in store for, I would...  I'd do anything to change the last 14 years so that she could have been happy all that time.  Even if it meant not marrying her.

We were happy together once.  I truly want us to be happy together again, and I hope she'll give me that chance now that I understand what's gone wrong.



PB.  I really am getting it.

PB.  I really am getting it.  I am sorry that we ALL are going through this. Thanks for hanging in there amid my angst and keeping on letting us know yours as well. It does everyone good to be heard and learn.

Pbartender's picture

Keep on ranting...

Keep on ranting...  here, at any rate.  Get it out, because it doesn't do any good to hold it in.



MagicSandwich's picture

to thine own self be true

Please understand I'm coming from a good place when I challenge you on the point that ADHDers don't purposefully hide their symptoms and lie about them. That's just not true. ADHDers can and do turn away from passing moments of acute self-awareness in order to cover up whatever crazy thing is happening. Part of dealing with ADHD symptoms is knowing difference between real ignorance and the willful un-truth that can serve as the bedrock for many ADHD coping mechanisms.  After all, in your original post beginning this thread you seem to be talking about the art of denying self-awareness. You say, "Many of us seem to fall into unhelpful, unhealthy, often damaging habits to try to regain control in some way...  We bully, or play the victim, or withdraw, or simply give in and indulge our impulses." 

So, with your own words in mind, I encourage you to go back and reevaluate what you wrote most recently. Are you really REALLY certain that you made it through college without any problems? Would your college buddies agree with your self-assessment?  How about the claim that you never exaggerated your competence or covered up anything before marrying your wife, or if you did you weren't aware of it.  Is that 100% absolutely correct? 

I guess what I'm saying is - to thine own self be true. That's the key to everything.

Pbartender's picture

"Please understand I'm coming

"Please understand I'm coming from a good place when I challenge you on the point that ADHDers don't purposefully hide their symptoms and lie about them. That's just not true. ADHDers can and do turn away from passing moments of acute self-awareness in order to cover up whatever crazy thing is happening."

I won't dispute that many ADHDers fall into denial of one sort or another.  However, that's not exactly what i was talking about just before...

My point was that a lot of ADHDers don't get diagnosed until long after they've been married.  How can a person be up front and honest about something they are completely ignorant about?

Certainly, in hindsight, there were precursors in high school and college to my current full-blown ADHD.  But had other personality traits that more than adequately made up for them, so they weren't a problem then.  And even then, most of those early symptoms were written off by me and my friends as me just being the weird, quirky, science geek goofball that I've always been.

Also, at that time, ADHD just wasn't quite so widely known -- at least not in our circles -- was something that only really being looked at in younger students in grade school and high school, and was often scoffed at as an excuse for kids being kids.

It simply wasn't anything that ever occurred to me or anyone I knew, until very recently.




LOVE every word that you've written (wanting to reply to everything individually...starting with this)...

I truly believe that my DH entered into our marriage fully expecting/wanting/thinking/having no reason to doubt that we'd 'live happily ever after'. (we married in 1997, he was diagnosed in 2010). His ADHD was under better control when we fell in love...and he was flying high on dopamine...because we were 'falling in love' and the happy chemicals were abundant. Who he was when we were dating is exactly WHO HE WAS when we started dating. I don't think there was a cover up, intentional lies, hiding of faults, or anything along those lines. Even though it was as if a switch was flipped 6 months into our marriage (I found out I was pregnant..."trigger" for DHs ADHD to kick into overdrive), I still do not think he was intentionally keeping this from me...I truly just think his brain chemistry changed, the dopamine rush of 'falling in love' was over powered by the fear of the added responsibility of another child, and what came next was truly out of his control. Six weeks of flailing and he was back to himself...and life was good..for a while. 9/11/01 happened...long story short, he was very affected by it (got stuck in CA, was the first time he had flown, was terrified of flying to begin with...etc) and he got home 2 weeks later and was in ADHD overwhelm hell again. Six weeks or so later, he finally got his head on straight and, once was pretty good for many, many years. Perfect? Heck no. I can look back and see exactly where his ADHD was a BIG part of our lives...spending too much money, hyperfocusing on one hobby after the other, not being able to get much done with his job until it was 'crisis' time, broken promises, repeating 'hurtful' behaviors even when I truly felt he was remorseful, etc. In 2009 he had just lost 3 jobs in a row, he was told his mother was dying (the only person to ever "truly accept" him 'as he is', in his words), and he took a job he loathed. The next 3 years (until Feb 2012) were ADHD HELL.

I think life has certain 'triggers' for many with ADHD. My DH was somewhat inattentive when our daughter was an infant (I only remember because I remember asking him frequently "why am I even here??!!") but as a whole, that hasn't been a problem in our marriage. I cannot even wrap my mind around the inattentive types...and how hurtful that must be. I think devastating might come close to describing what it would be like to be married to someone who did not show any real interest or spend any quality time with me. So, that part of ADHD I really do struggle to understand...but the rest I am doing my very best to truly believe in and grow my compassion for.

Where I think REAL change needs to be made, especially in my marriage, is in the area of 'coping'...which you mention more than once. This is where he and his counselor are focusing he most attention...because life will always throw curveballs and we will always have pain and suffering, stress, and have fears we have to face. I have to believe that with awareness of the shitty, hurtful, and inappropriate ways he's been 'coping' can come better, less destructive ways. What is your opinion? He fully admits that he shuts down and copes in horrible ways...and makes this the focus of his counseling.

The feeling is mutual....your posts help me (and I'm sure others) tremendously as well. As much as I don't want my husband to do some of the things he does, I want to have compassion for the parts that he truly cannot help...because I believe with love, compassion, and acceptance will come the desire for us both to do 'better'.


Linsy's picture

all very familiar

Hi Sherri

Sounds like my life. We married in 1987. Neither of us had jobs when we married, both freelancing, too busy doing up our flat and getting ourselves sorted out. But the idea was we would work as soon as we were wed. I went straight back into freelancing, then got a permanent job. He didn't even try. Eventually getting a job (poorly paid) six months later after causing me a lot of stress. We were fine for a while after that, but first baby sent him into meltdown. Second baby brought out the worst in him - he started bullying. I left him then. Went back because my father was worse. Wish I hadn't now, except that I eventually relaxed enough to have my beloved third child, and we did in fact have some good years while the other two were young. Still, little or no empathy, and poor response to my grief over my mother's death. The birth of child 3 (which he had absolutely promised would be completely different, he would support me etc) was actually much worse. He came to me a month after the birth and announced his business had gone bust. Then he sat back and waited for the rescue package.

I wish now I had 'broken down' - lain on the floor and cried and refused to do anything. But I didn't. I went out to work to pay the interest on his debts so we would not lose the house and disrupt the children's lives. He did little or nothing, and never even applied or a job or tried to get training.

I hoped he would be the 'parent at home' when the children came home from school. But I realised he neglected our vulnerable young teeanage son, only turning on him when he was disobedient - never spending time just hanging out and enjoying themselves. Teenage son got into trouble online...  In 2007 I had had enough and suggested there was something not quite right about the way he thought and behaved, and he saw doctors who diagnosed him with 'depression' - the odd aspect being he did not feel depressed. I was going crazy with stress, two redundancies and difficult adolescents not helping. He continued to do as he liked, but with added out of control rage. I had to get him to leave in 2010. The relief was intense, but so was the grief and mourning, feeling of failure and griping loneliness. Now we are at last on the verge of seeing the psychiatrist who failed to diagnose him (no one asked for my input). I need to know how to 'be' in this situation. Husband appears to blame me completely for everything, unable to see his part in any of it.

He has accepted the idea of seeing the psychiatrist together though. Maybe there is a chink in his absolute, rock like denial...


HI PB,  Thank You, you have also helped me (as well as other ADHD people on this site) to see what its like from your side.   I first read your post and understood completely where you are coming from, then i read the Non-ADHD post and can understand completely where they are coming from too. ADHD SUCKS for everyone affected.  I have often used a very similar example about having a Physical disability and not expecting someone who cannot see or use their arms, to do what everyone else can, BUT i have used those examples when talking to teachers in regards to my children.  Teachers are always saying he isn't reaching his potential or he needs to try harder, he needs to remember his homework, etc...all the things you have heard I'm sure...and I say to them, please take of your glasses and read this for me...UH I can't i need my glasses to see they say..and I say exactly. My son forgets to bring home his homework, because HE FORGETS...he isn't doing it on purpose, his short term memory sucks, and he knows it, he hates it about himself. Why do we expect a different outcome from our spouces..because they should know better by now...or thats what we FEEL.  What I KNOW and how I FEEL unfortunately aren't always insync.

Unfortunately when you Marry someone until death do us part and agree to be partners, there are some expectations..... that We wont have to raise our kids basically alone, or do ALL the chores, go into financial debt, or constantly be yelled at, etc...all the things you never knew before you agreed to that union. Because everything was unbelievably perfect.  I admit, I KNOW what you are saying, but it is much harder to accept in your spouse when you are also fighting battles for your children and you don't have that support from your spouse..and they often make things even worse. 

My H has also said on the rare occasion when he does the dishes that he doesn't get any appreciation, and that just fuels the fire in me...what about the other 364 days a year that i did them, or that your laundry is always done, or dinner is made, the bills paid, the house clean, you have NEVER taken the kids to a doctor appt..and the list goes thanks there, it goes completely unnoticed.

I'm not ranting at you, please don't think I am...I understand both sides of the ADHD coin, and both sides SUCK.  BUT what gets me is he Could be trying to treat it, but he doesn't. he has meds but takes them 50% of the time...not that meds are the magic cure but he does nothing else to try either, coaching HA ! Not going to happen.   Before kids ADHD was not that big a deal, yes there were some annoying things that i wish were different, but throw 2 ADHD kids into the mix and everything becomes SO MUCH more exhausting. I don't have time for ME. Ever.

In the middle of typing this message my son calls me on his phone crying...who is on vacation with his Dad, dad gets on the phone and says what our son has done, son gets on the phone and says what dad has done. ARE you kidding me!!...its like two 10 years olds pointing fingers at the other and expecting Mom to referee...that happens alot in this house, how can I not feel like a parent to husband & child ?  Even when I am home alone I have to mediate. Its INSANE.   We can put a man on the moon but can't figure out a better solution for ADHD...   

OH and the people that say ADHD is a gift. HA !  I don't know anyone who feels its a gift. If it were most people would like to return it. Would creative people be less creative without it ? Would genius people be less intelligent ? probably not... but without it they may actually be able to get out of their own heads to let it shine.  My son is gifted at least as far as his IQ goes, but without his ADHD meds he can't even talk in complete sentences...the ADHD needs to 'get out of the way' for his brilliance to be able to come thru.  Oh the things he could do if he didn't have this thing called ADHD.  Sorry that was a complete tangent there but i had just read something about ADHD being a gift, sorry thats just BS.


AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I get it

AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I get it from all sides.   I hear you and understand all sides.  AHHHHHH!    I have spent the night doing a special dinner, inviting on a cell phone, keeping it light and breezy, talking about things lightly that don't matter.  I did the bills today.  He doesn't know.  We talked and joked.  At the end of the night. I was doing a project.  He came and hyper-focused on my project and took it over from me and turned his back to me in the middle of my sentence and IGNORED me after taking away my project. What was so angering to me is that he had this "aura" about him like HE was superior to me because he was happily doing his (my) thing and I was upset and being my usual ANGRY, unseen, unappreciated person.  AHHHHHHHH!!!!! I get it on all sides. It is so maddening to me. I hate myself when I am with him because I don't exist!!!!!!!

LOL.  Thats happens to me

LOL.  Thats happens to me too.  If I am doing something I feel like doing, sometimes he comes to 'help' me, but what he is really doing is completely taking over. If I say I wanted to do that myself, he will get mad "i was only trying to help', damned if he does damned if he doesn't I'm sure he feels. Its sort of funny, but not.  Its the WAY he takes over, and it always on things i wanted to do myself, not like here honey let me do the laundry for you, or the dishes. Thats statement i just made gets me too...he will say I just did the dishes for You... really you did that FOR me ?? I didn't realize XYZ was MY about you did them because they needed to be done and I because cooked.  I'm laughing at myself as i type this...its sort of funny or maybe I'm just too damn tired.

Yeah, I saw the weird humor

Yeah, I saw the weird humor in this too.  The funniest things can be the things that strike a chord and hurt the most.   But since I "get" that he does this (like Tom Sawyer painting the fence) I start a job that I don't like to do myself.  I get all the paint and rags and project out and put it right out in the open and talk it up what a great "project" this is going to be SO FUN for me and quicker than a flash, he has taken it from me and is doing the project. 

Are you sure it's ADHD or is it a man thing?

Okay, I have ADHD and so I will admit from the start that I haven't read this whole forum from the beginning.  I probably should but it is too late at night and I think that several of the last responses are very funny!!!  Because I didn't read everything (it would take me an hour), I don't know if I am out of context here but here goes, I do the dishes and the housework and do 90% of the child care, and cook the fancy dinners and have the fun parties and even remember to pay the medical bills because he is to "lazy" to write the check and would rather pay it online.  I get the same response from my very loving, nonadd husband..."I did help you with the dishes"  (what that means is that he carried a few plates from the table to the sink)..."I bathed the kids" (meaning, I rubbed soap on them and rinsed after you got them in the tub...oh,and bathing doesn't include drying off and getting them dressed).  My husband actually hand selected the dish towels from the laundry basket...that was his attempt to help with the laundry...he even missed some...I do have to say that when I brought the rest of the basket over and set it in front on him, he got the hint.  "why can't you do these things during the day when I'm at work?"...he found out the minute he was done folding all the clothes and the baby came over, tipped the basket and sat right in the middle of the now unfolded laundry!! 

I'm not trying to offend any men here...My intention isn't to "Men Bash", I just wanted everyone to know that it is not always the ADD that causes the obliviousness!!! 

I apologize to all ADDers who

I apologize to all ADDers who are helpful, considerate, trying hard, have manners, are sincere and working to be financially, emotionally partnering with their spouses.  Some of the things I come here to vent about are not just ADD inattention but are a combination of a little ADD and also bad habits, lack of upbringing and a lack of love.  This community does seem to have similarities in our relationships and that is the common denominator that we are all frustrated in trying to partner. I heard a quote that I am pondering lately, "I am not crying because I am weak.  I am crying because I have been strong too long."  What happens when there is no growth, or change or hope for the future after 30 years of trying is that you go a little crazy.  You have had the "chair" pulled out from you so many times. You have sat a waited too long so often. You have listened to an empty promise again.  That eventually you just don't trust life anymore and you want to stand up one last time and shout to the world, "I AM A PERSON TOO!" - but you forgot who that person was and lack the confidence to trust yourself.   This is how you get after doing all the compromising and making adjustments and trying to understand, love and support someone who is constantly "doing their own thing" and brushing you off. I could be sane if the work I had done, the support I have given, the compromises I have willingly made were at least remembered if not appreciated but rather turned around and called "enabling" and "co-dependent" like all the love you tried to give was all a mistake now.  In lots of relationships there is one partner who is a little louder, talkative, fun loving, in your face and the other partner tends to "stand behind" and quietly do the work to make it all work and no one has ADD.  My part in this is that I have not shouted, "I AM A PERSON TOO" loud enough, often enough to be heard and seen.  I guess that is why I appreciate this site.  I feel heard sometimes.  I can let that free person out with all the ugly pent up emotion spill out of me.  I am trying to stop all the stuffing I have done all those years. And people respond positively or negatively, it doesn't matter as long as it is real and honest and there is some back and forth earnest, informational dialog. 

no need to apologize


no need to apologize to us ADDers.  I don't give my husband enough credit for all he does for me and our family!!!  I think when your knee deep in it, it is hard to separate the ADD from the attitude. 

Just so you know, I didn't really decide to get help until my husband let out the "ugly pent up emotion" in him.  He needs to be free from it and so do you.  Let it out girl.  The world needs to see who you are.  You're a hostage to your husband's ADD.  Fight it for yourself and let him fight his own battles.

Will keep you in my thoughts,

Hard to function

Linsy's picture

I made a funny little crying noise when I read this

The air came up not like a sigh, but like a small cry. Of recognition. If only he can be diagnosed and go into proper treatment, I do feel it won't all have been in vain. But it has been exactly as you describe - with the added misery of his family gathering around him protectively (treating him like a little boy, keeping him rent free etc) and either saying they can do nothing to help, or blaming me for the fact I went to boarding school too young (7) (???!!!) When I pleaded with them to pay for private treatment, they looked at me as if I was mad.

No growth, no change or hope for the future - he constantly burrowed back into the dysfunctional warmth of his  birth family even when we were together. Who wouldn't? He can be a 'child' there, albeit one who was belittled for not being an achiever. That may have been the way his father liked it though - no need to feel his son was any competition to the alpha male of the pack. 

Oh grief. I don't cry nearly as much now, 2 years after it broke down finally. Being able to make my own mistakes, solve my own problems, work hard for myself and the children and control my own budget has been good. Exhausting, but good.


",,,he constantly burrowed back into the dysfunctional warmth of his  birth family"

This is exactly what DH has been doing.  He constantly talks about when he was a kid and things were so much easier.  This is why it feels like he is a juvenile delinquent to me and he seems to have no guilt or shame.  His family believed in unconditional love and clung together like it was them against the world no matter what was right or wrong.  He could just "get away with" anything and have no accountability and believe he needn't try or grow or make effort to connect outside of it. It seemed their main goal in life was fun and sticking together. Building a life, supporting a family, nurturing his own children to navigate the world, integrity - not in the dialog. Their own brand of love had more to do with keeping it light and hilarity.  So now he doesn't get it that I can't just be happy while I take care of everything family-wise and he "does his own thing" soothing himself happily drinking, smoking and games and jokes - flirting. He only takes part in family activities when all the work is done and he gets to be invited for the fun. Even during family activities at our house he retreats to his garage to drink beer, smoke and do crossword puzzles by himself for way too long.   "Where is Grampa? Oh is he in the garage again?"

Linsy's picture


The old mary jo was husband's mind number of choice. I believe it makes the symptoms, particularly memory and motivation, much worse. Anyone have a view?

All you say is so familiar. Retreating, hiding, not participating, never ever moving forward with the view of taking us with him. Nothing, nada, all negative and self focused. Maddening. Thank you for replying!

yes, I do believe some of his

yes, I do believe some of his lack of helping with domestic chores is just the old mind though that its not a mans job and he simply does not want to do it. I know he doesn't do things that he doesn't want to do, is it ADHD, selfishness, laziness....honestly I think its a little of all of it.  I don't feel like doing the dishes either but if he doesn't do them then I feel i have to...well i have to if i want to cook dinner the next night. If he doesn't do them he knows i will, he isn't stuck doing them the next day...  i did try one week NOT to do 'his chore' (it was the ONE chore we decided he would help me with) so day one the dishes weren't done, day two i made dinner with the pots/pans that were clean, again after dinner he disappeared to do his thing, day 3 there was no room on the counter and no clean pots/pans i did not make dinner, i ordered out, he still didn't do the dishes, day 4 when he came home and said whats for dinner i said nothing i have no pots/pans to cook with so we ordered out....he finally got the message and did the dishes, yeah. next day the dishes went undone. WTF.

Agree with hard to function's point!

As the WIFE with ADHD- all these scenarios about domestic disputes are familiar to me. I do everything (and I work a full time job)- and my husband thinks he is 'helping me out' if he does dishes or laundry or grocery shopping... Ugh. I also think this might be more of a function of traditional gender stereotypes than ADHD itself. Maybe it's compounded by the ADHD...



Can we be friends!!

Nice to have someone understand!

hard to function

Do I ever!

There are maybe 4 or 5 of us ADHD wives here... and then a few more that have ADHD and their husbands do too... which I almost envy, because It think there might be more understanding there, if not more organization! :)

Pbartender's picture

"Trying to help..."

If I am doing something I feel like doing, sometimes he comes to 'help' me, but what he is really doing is completely taking over. If I say I wanted to do that myself, he will get mad "i was only trying to help', damned if he does damned if he doesn't I'm sure he feels. Its sort of funny, but not.

Oh, boy...  Yeah, I used to do that one ALL the time without realizing it.  I still have to put the kibosh on it occasionally, when I find myself headed that way.  "Sorry, you've got a handle on it.  I'll go find something else to do, now."  Now, if it looks like she might need or want help with something, I just ask if she wants a hand with it...  And then I let her tell me what kind of help she wants.



You are definately making

You are definately making great progress PB. Its so good to see it IS possible to change.  I have said to my H many times when he does this  - Thanks but I want to do this by myself, and he just gets ripping mad. so when he 'takes over' I tend to just put down the garden rake or whatever and walk away from the project, which also gets him mad... sometimes you just want some space and do some theraputic manual labor.

Pbartender's picture


"I'm not ranting at you, please don't think I am...I understand both sides of the ADHD coin, and both sides SUCK."

You've got that right.  As my father used to say...  "When life gives you lemons, shut up and eat your goddamn lemons."

"OH and the people that say ADHD is a gift. HA !  I don't know anyone who feels its a gift. If it were most people would like to return it. Would creative people be less creative without it ? Would genius people be less intelligent ? probably not... but without it they may actually be able to get out of their own heads to let it shine."

Absolutely...  You'll noticed I called it a "benefit" and not a benefit, when I mentioned it above.

It's like I said in another post, if I may be so bold as to quote myself...

"There are a lot of personality traits that ADHDers tend to share...  creativity, spontaneity, mental flexibility, so on and etc...  but these are not traits of ADHD.  Rather, these are traits that most (semi-)successful undiagnosed ADHDers inadvertently develop to compensate for the numerous drawbacks that arise from ADHD.  For example, when an undiagnosed ADHDer must solve a problem, they cannot always rely on the memories of past solutions or lessons.  Instead, they often must have the creativity and ingenuity to create a solution whole-cloth from what knowledge and tools are immediately at hand. Just because these sorts of traits don't come from ADHD, however, doesn't mean they should be discounted.  On the contrary, because those are traits that belong to him and only him, they make him who he is, they make him stronger, and they make him all the more likely that he'll be able to succeed at improving himself, despite his ADHD."



Can't we all just get along?

I just finished reading this post and all the comments. I wanted to add my two cents. I am the wife of an ADHD man. We have ADHD kids. Here's the catch. *I* have ADHD, too. So, if think your home is chaotic, and I have no doubt that it is, just imagine what things are like in my world. I read PB's original post and saw so much of myself in there, but also so much of my amazing husband. And I read the frustrated, and in some cases angry, responses from the non-ADHD wives. And I can relate, in part, to some of their feelings as well. Some of the most mundane, "normal" things are SO hard for me to make happen, even with a knowledge of ADHD and medication and all kinds of other tools at my disposal. ADHD people aren't all exactly the same. We all have individual strengths and weaknesses, same as the rest of you. My husband and are both ADHD, but some things that are hard for me are not so hard for him, and vice versa. And some things are just miserable for both of us. With both of us being caught in this thing that is ADHD, we face some challenges that most others don't face. But, we also have some advantages that others don't have. We can be understanding and forgiving with each other when one of us is being particularly ADHD. We can laugh about it. We can see the good in each other, and how there is so much more of the good than the bad and the frustrating. The thing is, although my situation lends itself to deeper real understanding of each other's weaknesses and shortcomings, it's something we all can and should have.

I am pretty new to these forums, but it seems to me that there is a lot of hurt and frustration and anger and bitterness here, in what should be a safe place. And I truly do get that you need it to be a safe place to vent your pain, as well. I get that ADHD can really take it's toll, believe me. And I know how helpful and strengthening it can be to read other's stories that are so much like your own. So, when your ADHD spouse is causing you pain, there is solace to be found among other in the same boat. But, what if when your ADHD spouses do things that are so upsetting, you let them know, but with love and humor instead of anger and frustration. It's hard to so often be the object of so much frustration to the one you love. By sheer fact of them having ADHD, they likely don't see how their actions or words are wrong. Or, maybe they know they are being really ADD at the time, but they don't see clearly how their actions make you feel. Tell them. In the moment, not later when it's all over and you are hurt and upset. Help them really themselves and you. Help them learn to recognize the things they do that make trouble. And then remind them time and again, because it will take a really long time for the correct behavior it to become an automatic response, no matter how much they understand what you're telling them and want to stop being frustrating. They will appreciate you for it, if you do it with love and even humor. Chances are good that your partner isn't meaning to be upsetting and would feel bad knowing that they have been. So, love them and help them see. Many things that you think should be automatic responses and just basic life or social skills that any adult should have will be foreign to the one with ADHD. Rather than these things coming naturally to us, they have to be learned and mastered through practice and loving correction.

Life with ADHD is full of opportunities to laugh about yourself and at some of the situations you get yourself into. But, only if you feel safe doing so, and not be worried that you will be put down or made to feel like a burden or a child. (And those ADHD-ers who say they want to do it on their own, even when they aren't very successful in doing so, are possibly doing it out of the desire to not be a burden to their loved ones.) It's not always easy. Very often it is hard. And if there have been years of built up hurt and resentment, there will undoubtedly be a lot of work that needs to done to get to the point where you can both really own yourself and your part in the relationship (be it the ADHD spouse who needs to step up and humbly ask for help and do what it takes to be less of a cause of turmoil and more willing to accept reminders, or the non-ADHD spouse who needs to work through the past and forgive and accept their partner's limitations as well as their talents and strengths and maybe be more able to see and appreciate those little successes as they come.) But, if you really love each other, work as a team to see the good and the humor. Because, to the person with ADHD, when you have so many bad feelings built up about ADHD they see it and they feel it. And it is because of them, because THEY are so horrible and upsetting. ADHD can so easily lead to destructive patterns, and those patterns are really hard to break, for both parties, ADHD or not. But, it's worth it if you still love each other and want to make it work. Embracing what is right will make it easier to overcome what is wrong. 

When I see so many posts about the horrible way that so many spouses of us ADHD-ers are treated and all the neglect and abuse they live through, it is frustrating and upsetting. Yes, ADHD IS HARD. And can leave a lot of wreckage in it's wake. But, when things are so wrong in a relationship, even when it is because of the actions (or inaction) of one partner, it is not just that one person's fault or problem. Don't let them get away with such abuses. They need to be accountable for themselves and not be allowed to use their ADHD as an excuse to shortchange themselves and their family. But, if you want things to be better, don't be mean about it. Be loving. And helpful. Because you also need to be accountable for treating your loved one with kindness so that you can both be happy and successful. Work together to help them learn how to better cope with their weaknesses and embrace their strengths. Make this ADHD thing the grand adventure of both of your lives.

PB, I really appreciate what you are trying to say here...

and think there is a lot of good to it, but here is why your analogy is so hard to accept at times from the nonADD point of view.  Many of us are trying very hard to get it and to adjust what we can to make things easier in our families for every member.

You say:

Imagine asking a paraplegic to run across the room. Everyone else can, why can't he?  But every time he tries to just stand up, he falls on his face.  Why doesn't he just try harder?  He could do it, if he wanted to.

As you are trying to say........ADD is a disability in some ways and it can be very invisible, unlike the paraplegic.  Ok I accept that and no one expects a paraplegic/blind/deaf and any other way disabled person to be able to do the things their disability makes impossible.  Absolutely correct.  Anyone pushing those issues is out of line and unkind and not compassionate at all........accepted.

But what if your mate or child sometimes acted like a paraplegic and couldn't walk across the floor, and sometimes could get up and walk across just fine.  I am sure the spectrum is different for everyone but in my case, my husband walks that floor more or less like a champ more times than not and then sometimes he just cant seem to get anywhere.  Now I KNOW he isn't a paraplegic because he walks just fine much of the I know he CAN walk but sometimes he CAN'T seem to walk........and here is where my confusion comes in. 

No one expects a blind person to see.........but what if they are only blind randomly?  So very confusing at times.

Where do I adjust my expectations to tell myself that is something isn't possible for my mate? --Seriously with my mate there is very little to nothing that has fit clearly into this category.  Where do I adjust my approach to encourage him differently to do things he struggles with doing but is definitely capable of with the right stimuli?  Where is that taken as telling the paraplegic to walk or encouraging the blind person to just try harder to see?

What if they always seem to be able to walk across the floor when there is something they want on the other side, but the times they can't walk usually seems to coincide with things they don't want to do on the other side of the room? 

What if they can see just fine when they are doing what they like, but seem to go blind when it is something for you?  How would you handle that situation?  I mean seriously the core of almost all my issues with my husband's ADD has to do with having no idea why he can do what he can do and not do what he can't seem to......and he is often a poor explainer when I ask.

If he could never walk or see...........there are things about it that would be easier if you know I mean because I would NEVER expect him to do the things he couldn't do.  NONE of us are in that position though.


Aspen, you hit the nail on

Aspen, you hit the nail on the head.  Thanks for explaining this phenomenon so accurately and clearly.  

Pbartender's picture

I'll admit it wasn't a perfect analogy...

...and in some ways, it's a bit of and exaggeration.  The idea was to try to explain how it all feels from the ADHD point of view.

I can't explain why sometimes we get motivated and other times we don't.  What your husband says is right...  we don't understand it any better than you.  That's part of all the frustration and self-doubt we have.  You may not be able to trust your husband to get something done, but we can't even trust our own brains!  I'll think about it some more...  I'm not certain if I can come with a better way to explain that.

And that's part of the insidiousness of ADHD...  To every one else, it LOOKS like we should be able to do all those things we can't (after all, sometimes we CAN do them). 

Plus, many of the skills a person needs to self-start treatment and improvement for ADHD -- and stick with it -- are exactly the abilities that it tends to kill.  We're stuck in a kind of Catch-22, there.




Hard to understand

Dear Aspen,

I have ADD.  You are so right in what you say.  My husband has voiced the same issues to me over the years.  I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to not be able to rely on your partner.  Using the paraplegic analogy, if, as a spouse, you gave your paraplegic husband or wife a wheel chair, physical therapy, occupational therapy, a room designed for him/her to get around in, and all the possible inventions and interventions, and that person still said they couldn't do it, you have to question what is true and what is chosen.  

I can only offer a little insight from my perspective.  For me, at least, I can accomplish most of what a "normal functioning" person can on a regular day.  But, sometimes, my brain builds a wall of emotion that blocks my ability to walk across the floor.  I only have so much to offer in one day.  If the wall is blocking something that I feel is important (like taking care of my children or being successful at work, I will use all my energy to chip away at that wall until it falls and I can once again get across the room.  It takes time to chip away at it and time has always been my enemy.  It isn't fair to my spouse, I know, when I feel that what is waiting on the other side of the room isn't worthy of the effort.  But, I have to save that energy for things that are essential.  (not an excuse, just an explanation).  I feel that there are things that ADDers can do to be able to "knock down the wall" everytime:  1) Learn about the ADD and listen to those around them.  2) Understand what triggers the emotional wall and avoid it.  3) Take meds and seek counseling to build the strength and energy to knock the wall down with less effort. 

In my case, emotions and clutter are the walls that block me.  I'm trying to declutter my house and keep my emotions in check.  But it has taken me a while to figure this out.  Now that I know some of my triggers, and I communicate them with my husband, he helps me overcome the the piled up laundry, the toys on the floor, or the memory that stirs up emotion. 

Thank you for sharing your frustrations, they help me help my husband.

Hard to function

Hard to function, thanks for

Hard to function, thanks for sharing this.  I'm the non-ADHD spouse.  I'm fully aware that there are things that I can do more easily in some situations than in others, and I assume that this is true for my ADHD husband as well.  What frustrates me is that he will never or rarely acknowledge that his behavior and actions differ in some contexts and situations.  For example, I have told him that I struggle with controlling anger and that sometimes it's harder for me to control my anger in situations involving him than in other situations because of pent-up resentment (and other things).  But my husband never acknowledges that his behavior varies depending on who and what are involved.  It's very frustrating.  

Hold him to it.

He is in denial.  It is something that he is able to recognize even with his ADD.  He just has to decide he wants to and that is a big risk for him.  He has to acknowledge that a lot of his world isn't reality.  It is a little scary for the ADDer but once your through it, you no longer feel like you have a serious mental illness and you can move on and have a more fulfilled life.


Hi Aspen! i just found this

Hi Aspen! i just found this site today and found it to be very interesting and informative! I read your post and thought I'd tell you a lil about me, with hopes that it will help you understand why you're hubby can do what "he wants" with no problem, but when it comes to him doing what "you want" he all of a sudden forgets how to! I am 27 and have just recently been diagnosed with adhd, although I knew I had it for years, I was unfortunately misdiagnosed over and over again! Since being put on medicine for adhd I've been able to actually think about myself, my life, my reactions to things, my choices, etc., and start to understand why it is I do the things I do, and start to work on solutions to fixing "my problems!" One of the things I've thought about and been able to come up with an answer and solution to, is what I believe to be similar to that of your husband! Growing up, my Mom would always say to me, "You know Elizabeth, I understand if you're depressed, and having some head problems and it prevents you from doing things, but I think it's kinda funny that you always seem to be just fine when it comes to you doing something that you want. It seems like you only have a problem when it comes to doing the things that your father or i need you to do!" That is something that I have always had a problem understanding!! For example my Dad works 2 jobs and mows grass on top of it!! He busts his butt to take care of my Mom, my brother and myself! He wakes up at 4am and is non stop working and doing everything for everyone else until 11-12 at night. He never has enough time to himself to do the things that he enjoys, because he is always doing for others!He has sadly, probably knocked years off of his life because of how hard he has pushed himself to provide, since he was 21 when I was born. My opinion of my father is, that he is the best man I know!!! He deserves anything and everything he wants!! So, with that said....Why in the world would I moan and groan when asked  to help him mow the grass when he came home from his 2nd job?? This grass that only takes 25 mins to mow?? After moaning and groaning, I would then procrastinate and take forever finding my work clothes, and my grass mowing shoes, and then I would have to look in the refrigerator, get a drink, get a snack, take a pee, check the messages on the phone, etc., all the while my Dad would be out there mowing, and have it almost finished by the time I got out there! Then i would yell at him for mowing it without me, like it was his fault!! Now, this is an example of just 1 of the many things I did or "didnt do" when asked to help!! It has baffled me for years as to why I am this way!! I hate it!! In my mind,  I would want to have the entire yard mowed and house cleaned by the time my parents came home!! They are the 2 most amazing people I know!! I want to do everything i can for them!! They deserve it!! But when it actually comes down to "doing it" when asked, it's like my mind switches over to another person!! I have tried to break down how I think when occasions like this arise in hopes of changing this "selfish" pattern of mine!! The first thing I've realized is how I look at the situation, obviously if it's something that I don't enjoy doing, it automatically feels negative. Then I start to think of how  much time I'm going to have to spend doing this undesirable act. The adhd mind already has problems with understanding time, so when I try and think of doing this task, I have a huge wave of negative time consuming doom!! (even if this task may only take me 30 mins. In my mind, it feels like an eternity of yuck!) Another problem I've realized when being asked to do something I don't necessarily prefer to do, is when how soon I'm asked, before it needs done!! How much time do I have to prepare myself mentally for it? If it's just sprung on me at the last minute, I actually start to have a panic attack, because I'm not prepared!! So, I have asked my family and friends to please bare with me a little longer while I figure out this "crazy thinking" head of mine! So, my advice to you is to talk to him, ask him what he's feeling, tell him to try and explain from the second you ask for his help, how he's feeling. And then ask what he thinks would help, him help you!! I have explained to my loved ones, that it really helps me, if they give me a heads up!! Give me at least a day or 2 days notice if they need me to do something, or even to go out to dinner! (the thought of spending time riding in a car gives me horrible anxiety) So, I mentally prepare and make sure I have a car to drive so I dont have to be put in the situation of "never ending riding." Another thing I have found to help is separating the task into sections. If I think of having to do 4 smaller sections, instead of one huge section, sometimes it's easier to prepare for! Setting timers!!! When it's something I don't enjoy doing I can't spend alot of time doing it, and the thought of that time is horrible!! It's what makes me procrastinate and end up not doing it at all!! So, I've explained to family and friends when I help out, we have to take breaks! Ask him what times work for him! 25 mins of work and then a 10 min break is what works best for me! Sometimes I can even work longer that 25 mins, once I get started, and realize it's 'not that bad I like to push myself a little longer! (but don't tell him that, because he may feel as if he's failed you by not doing better) You just have to figure out what makes his brain tick best!! He may need a couple days to do it, or a few extra breaks! Whatever it takes, be supportive of him, tell him thank you and what a great job he's doing, how much you really appreciate him helping you! Remember, he's learning how to use his brain completely different than he has for his entire life! I know it sucks to have to do this, just to receive the help that you deserve. My boyfriend is also add, and I have to remind myself quite often that his brain works differently than mine and anyone elses for that matter! It can be very frustrating at times, I know!! But it's worth it! Our brains work differently, we think, and look at situations completely different than the "normal" brain. So when we do things, it's just a matter of finding out what works best, to help us do our best!! I don't personally know you're husband, so I can't say that he thinks and feels like I do, but if he is anything like me, I'm sure he hates the fact that he isnt there for you when you need him and his help!! I hate myself every time I let anyone down, especially people closest to me! There have been times I have wanted to be there for them so bad and do the things they've asked of me! But couldn't mentally process what i needed to do! I have literally lied in my bed and cried myself to sleep, because my anxiety is so bad about "helping"!! It's crazy how our minds work!! I understand how it comes off as selfish or lazy, that's one thing I hated about myself!! I couldnt figure out how I could be so selfish! Little did I know, I had no control over my actions, it was a disability in my brain. It wasn't that I didnt want to help, it was the way my brain thought of the "never ending time" I would spend doing it. I now have the right medicine and the tools to help me learn myself and what works best for me all over! I hope that this can help you talk with your husband and hopefully get him thinking about things a different way, so you can finally get the help that you deserve!! ~Eizabeth~

great point on the warning!

You made some great points in there!

The best one, in my opinion, was about how much benefit we ADHD-ers get from a head's up about what the plan is, or what's expected of us.

In my case, I used to be very spontaneous and fun- but since I've had a job, husband, kid, house to manage- I've become quite stressed and rather rigid. It's kind of like- I built up a schedule that works for me- but if I get off my schedule, I feel extremely stressed. Like one more little thing will tip me over into madness. That's how it can feel. I also have OCD- so maybe that's part of it as well...

For example- sometimes when my husband will propose something on the fly, my default will be 'NO', immediately. This is because I panic... I have a bunch of unspoken thoughts and worries about why the proposed activity won't fit in and why other important things will be inhibited...(ex- if we go to the tool store, my kids dinner will be late, there will be no time for bath and my kid hasn't had a bath in 2 days, my kid will get all fussy and give me a hard time at bedtime, bedtime will occur at 9 instead of 8, I will be all raggedy and stressed, then I have to clean the kitchen, then there will be no time for a workout, then my kid will be tired in the morning...) and then I come off like a grumpy lunatic. In reality, I can either feed an earlier dinner or skip bath time... no kid ever died from 3 days of no bath- as long as you wash his hands and face and brush teeth... but I can't think that clearly in the moment. And I can't articulate my jumble of worries... It's SO MUCH better if he calls me earlier in the day and suggests it- I can then think through how to accommodate the idea and not have stress or arguments over it.

I've told my husband this- but he keeps reverting to "why are you so anal? It's not normal to be so concerned about the damned schedule", which I agree with- but my answer is- I can't f**ken help it! The best I can do is manage it!

So in my case, I am meeting most of my commitments- but I am incredibly anxious and stressed and sometimes not a lot of fun to be around. Ugh.


You know MissE, I've been on this website since March trying to explain my brain to others and figure out how to change it.  I've never been able to express it as eloquently as you just did.  You literally have me in tears.  You get it.  I hate myself sometimes for all the screwed up, obnoxious, backward things I do or don't do.  I have to like myself again and you have just helped.  Thank you.


Thank you so much ​HARD TO FUNCTION! I was a little nervous about posting on here! I have never been one to post on the internet, not even FB (due to the inability to sit still long enough to read other peoples information and then actually focus even longer to write any of my own thoughts!! lol) I thank God daily for my new medicine!! ;) You responding to me in such a positive way was the BEST first experience I could have asked for!! I am so glad I could help you in any way possible!! :) For so many years I have tried to figure out what my "purpose" in life is!! God gave me this big old heart, a bubbly and accepting personality, with a palette full of creative tools! I have asked him so many times, why?? As I have repeatedly let down my loved ones, and pretty much watched my life swirl down the times not even capable of answering the phone, when I knew how important it was!! I always said, "you've got to be kidding me, right? Elizabeth Marie, seriously?? Get it together! How hard is it to pick up the phone for 30 seconds, especially if this call is not answered and dealt with, you will not have the money to feed yourself!!) HA!!! pretty darn hard!! Actually horrific!! I didn't have food in my cupboards for weeks!! :/

I totally get your name, hard to function!! I always told the Dr, and my family... all I want is to "function" that's all!! Go to bed at a decent hour, wake up 'early', go to work 'on time', not rushing in at the last min. like a chicken with my head chopped off', come home, make dinner, 'clean up my mess', cuddle with my man, go to bed at a decent hour, wake up, and do it all over again!! While staying organized, and having less drama in my life, (which I had once thought was caused by everyone else! NEVER ME!!! ;) HA!! WRONG!!) I now have figured my "purpose" in life!! I was misdiagnosed for years, by the poor selection of so called psychiatrists around my valley!!

To the FRUSTRATED WIVES who feel as if they were pretty much 'tricked' into false dreams, of a great marriage and a wonderful husband. First off, I understand how you must feel! Completely, used and abused, taken advantage of, no one likes being played a fool!! I want to tell you about my horrifying experience of seeing my true self, for the first time!! When I was finally prescribed the 'right' medicine for my chemical imbalance. No one could have even began to prepare me for what I was about to experience!! Unlike some people who have no idea they have lived their entire life with ADD/ADHD, I did know!! I have had my fair share of psychiatrists starting from the age of 10, when my first panic attacks started. (although not knowing that they were actually panic attacks until years later, when i found a shrink who was able to tell me what I was experiencing "wasn't a physical stomach problem" or that "I wasn't making them up for attention, or to skip school"). I had so many horrible head doctors through out the years, repeatedly I would go to a different Dr., explain how I felt and they all said the same thing, "you're depressed" and would write me an antidepressant, which never helped and made things worse more often than not! I told them ok, fine, lets say I am depressed,.......WHY?? I had absolutely no reason to be depressed!! I knew there was something a lot more complex going on inside my head than being depressed. As I approached my 20's, my promising bright future I had once known was gone. I was excessively drinking and using other street drugs to compensate for this horrible imbalance in my brain. I would tell the doctors, it's like i "slow down, focus, I am more myself" when I am under the influence! But why?? I didn't want to "party" like I was!! I hated it!! I hated myself!! I hated how my lifestyle killed my parents!! I just wanted to be normal!! For sometime I had thought I had ADHD. I heard a commercial on TV and could relate to every symptom they listed. I went to the suggested website and took an add/adhd test. It had a series of questions which i had to rate from 5-1. 5 meaning it described me a lot and 1 not at all. I answered a 5 on all of the questions! :/ Long story, somewhat short, I finally found a good Dr! He diagnosed me with severe ADHD! Finally, I was going to get the help I needed! Fix the problems I had dealt with. Live up to my potential! Little did I know how many problems I actually had!! After 3 weeks of being on the "right" medicine, I couldn't believe the difference in my thought process!! It was amazing!! I was finally able to sit down, focus, read, and actually comprehend what ADHD was!! I was in total disbelief!! I was shocked, amazed, dumbfounded, confused, happy I finally found an answer, but at the same time FURIOUS that no one was able to diagnose me earlier!! I was speechless and in tears, sobbing as I read my entire life story through other ADHDer's life experiences. Every negative thing that has happened in my life, every mistake, EVERYTHING BAD all stemmed from ADHD!!! I had no idea this disability had had such an impact on my life! I couldn't believe the way I had perceived, life, myself, and everyone else!! I hated the person I was!! For years, I blamed everyone but myself, for everything!! I honestly thought, what i thought was right!! I was so obnoxious!! I can't believe how blind and oblivious I was to my I "saw" life!!  The "fog" has been lifted!! A fog that I didn't even know existed!! The best I can explain it is, "pretend a person is almost blind their entire life. Never knowing what 20/20 looks like, they have no idea how much they can't see, what they are missing and confusing, because it's just blurred together!" That is how I feel!! I feel as if I CAN SEE FOR THE 1ST TIME IN MY 27 YEARS OF LIFE!! I agree with you, everyone has to know if something is wrong with them. But after putting on my "ADHD glasses" I can swear to anyone, that there is no way to even begin to prepare yourself for exactly how messed up and whacked out the ADHD  brain is!!  I believe your husbands had an idea they had ADHD, but they had NO CLUE WHAT EXACTLY ADHD WAS AND IT'S IMPACT ON THEIR LIVES!!! If they are still behaving the same as they did before and not taking responsibilities for their actions, perhaps  they have not found the "right medicine" for them yet! I hope they too get to experience this jaw dropping, eye opening experience I did. It was a very humbling awakening! I am doing all that I can to try and fix all the wrong I had done before to the people who mean most to me! I hope you too, get to experience your husbands "new found vision" like i have! You will have the men you fell in love with!!! Everyday I wake up I am feeling more and more like my old self!! I thought I had lost the best part about myself!! I am remembering more and more about my life growing up! Memories I thought I had lost forever. My short term memory is better. I haven't had a rude defensive outburst in so long. I am appreciating all of the things my family and boyfriend have put up with and done for me!! I have started to sing in the shower again! :) I don't know why we change so much after years of untreated ADHD., Or how we lose ourselves in the static without even knowing how much of us is lost....but what I do know, is that we can find our way back!! We can be that person we promised to be!! It takes hard work, dedication, an understanding and loving support system, the 'right' medicine, a great doctor, and many tools. But it is possible to beat our ADHD and be the people we were intended to be!! :)

So HARD TO FUNCTION, I was saying, I figured out my purpose...I don't want anyone to have to go through the hell I've been through, the horrible "shrinks" who not only medically, but ethically do not have a right to practice and teachers who punish kids for being "bad" but never think to tell the parents about the problems. To inform parents the importance of getting their child help at a young age, before the ADHD has a chance to have a negative affect on their lives. I figure this, My life has been confusing and hard to understand....sometimes really hard for me survive....but my life has been laid out perfectly to help other people!! Of all ages...I know through personal experience, I'd rather get advice from someone who has been through what I'm going through, themselves!! It makes it easier to connect!!  I am so happy I found this site!! It is so encouraging to hear from other people like myself. As well as how my actions negatively affect the people around me. I hope to continue to learn more about why I am the way I am and to receive more tools to help me become a better me! :)  ~Elizabeth~

Linsy's picture

Thank you

At last after years it looks like we may be going to see the right doctor. Not so advanced in UK, so praying we can get the help we need. If and when he is diagnosed, I will show him this post. He is in such deep denial now that I cannot have a conversation of any kind with him, and avoid him at all costs (we parted two years ago before I went crazy). He has made a terrible mess of his life, and nearly dragged the kids and me down with him. The constant hauling the other way has worn me out.

Hi Linsy! :)

 That sucks, that he is totally oblivious to his behavior!! And it sucks even more that his parents enable him to live a destructive life!! I was fortunate that my parents werent the kind that thought their child did no wrong!! When I was younger I always used to wish that they took my side, but I now know that they were just helping me, by holding me accountable for my actions!!

Your situation sounds just like my girlfriend Alisha and her very much in denial, adhd boyfriend!! First off, good for you for getting away before he drove you crazy!! I know how hard that must have been!! Over the past 6 years, I have watched Lish go from, being my positive, confident, free spirited butterfly, to a soulless zombie!! :( It makes me so sad to see that he has taken away every single piece of her sanity, spirit, confidence, and soul!! For the longest time I despised him for what he had done to her!! I know him personally, but never talked to him one on one. I just knew how "crazy" he was, and so destructive to Lish and their little boy, from what she told me about their fights!!! I begged her to leave him, oh so many times!!! He was obnoxious, controlling, overbearing, so impulsive that I believe they will be bankrupt before they are 30! I honestly thought he was a sociopath, and feared for Alisha and her son's future!! 

One day, Lish called me up and asked me if I could give her boyfriend a ride to the store for her, because she was working. It wasn't until spending alone time with him that I realized, he wasn't a sociopath at all!! Actually, it was crazy how much we were alike!! He was so upset when I picked him up. I asked him what was wrong and he unleashed everything he was and had been thinking for so long to me!! He was so depressed that him and Alisha fought all the time, he loved her so much and couldn't figure out why they just couldn't get along!?! It was so crazy listening to him, as he spent the entire day telling me the same stories and fights that Lish had told me previously! He explained everything from start to end. The things he did for her and how she rejected him, and how he tried this, and that etc. He was so hurt, lost, and confused himself!!! He had NO IDEA WHAT HE HAD DONE TO HER!! How he drove her crazy!!

It was so weird, because I had just went through the biggest break through of mine and my boyfriends relationship and the problem we had was the same as theres!!! I believe it is the BIGGEST PROBLEM THAT EVERY ADD/ADHD RELATIONSHIP HAS!! IT IS OUR PERCEPTION!!! My boyfriend and I always got into these huge fights, and could never figure out what it was we were fighting about!! We literally were driving each other absolutely insane!!! I thought he was nuts, and fighting for no reason, and he thought I was nuts and fighting for no reason!! After finally receiving my "ADHD Glasses" and starting to see things in a new light, I was able to figure out that me and my babes were on the same side of every fight and trying to argue our point across, like we were on opposite sides!! lol, how crazy!! It was the same with Alisha and her boyfriend!! 

So, my advice to you, if you guys do start to work through things, is start out with seeing someone together!!! Have an interpertator!!! Whenever me and my Larry cant seem to see eye to eye on a topic, we bring in a 3rd, non-bias party to listen what we are both trying to say! She then explains to each of us that we both just said the same exact thing!! lol It really is crazy how ADHD make us perceive what people are saying to us differently than what was actually indented!! 

Linsy's picture

Thank you!

For replying. We have tried third parties, but even in the presence of old and trusted friends and even marital guidance counsellors, he is in complete denial. He cannot see that doing nothing all day and refusing to take any responsibility for anything, including his own actions, is going to destroy a marriage. He thinks I am entirely at fault and unreasonable not to accept him 'warts and all'. I had to do everything, from working through all organisation of family life, and even 'keeping him happy'. I would come home from exhausting ghastly job to find the house in chaos, the children fighting, no food, and everything in a mess every single day. It is much better to have to take full responsibility without hope of help! This is why we argued. I could not bear it, and my children were suffering so much from his complete inability to discipline himself. I am however fairly convinced that he has ADHD, and not a narcissistic personality disorder, at least I am hoping so because ADHD can be helped and the other thing can't. He appeared though to feel he was entitled to be 'kept' and became very angry when challenged. But in fact his behaviour was a lot more irrational than that, and he said and did very strange impulsive things which caused really terrible problems for himself, let alone anyone else. I do still hope, but am so much calmer now. The endless shocks had given me such bad stress, that it was physical and uncontrollable, and it has taken me nearly two years to recover (much longer because no support with children, house, money etc - no time to rest). Your input is invaluable. Thank you so much.

Hi Linsy! :)

That sucks you have had to go through so much! The most important thing for someone to change, is they have to want to!! Even though I had no idea how bad my adhd was, or how I perceived life was so ass backwards, I did know, that something wasn't right about me!! I thought that obviously I had to be doing something wrong. I was open to the possibility that "everyone" couldn't be "out to get me"! Little did I know how many of the problems were caused by me and my crazy way of thinking though!! I was fortunate though that my parents didn't think that I did no wrong! If you believe anyone, your parents you know you can count on! That sucks that his parents are so crazy and enabling him to behave the way he does!! My boyfriend has a family like that!! They would never ever imagine telling him he's wrong, in fear of hurting his feelings and upsetting or making him mad!! So, he meets me, and I tell him the truth about everything!! He says to me, "oh yeah? if that's true about me, then why are you the only one who says it?? Why wouldn't my mom tell me?" I tell him, I'm not the only one who says this! Other people do too!! Im the only one who will actually tell you! Everyone else is afraid that you'll flip out on them, and they don't want to deal with it! I tell him, "I love you, and I want the best for you!! I want you to be your best! Why would I ever want to tell you something just to make you feel bad?" I've tried to explain to him, that I know, I am to blame for many things, and I'm not denying it! That's why I go to therapy and take medication and doing everything  I can to not be the person I used to be! I tell him, I'm not denying my faults in things, but he's not accepting of his faults!! I feel for ya Linsy! I know how ya feel!! How do you try and make someone believe their mom isn't telling them the truth? 

Linsy, if he's not willing to see that he has a problem, then you deserve better!! He's put you through hell, and not even appreciative of all that you've done!! How strong you've stayed for him and the sake of your family!! I told my boyfriend, I love him and want to be with him forever (luckily we don't have kids!), but I've worked so hard on making myself better, trying to be the best I can be, and I know that I still have a ton to work on! Possibly more than I'm even aware of yet! But, I can't continue to be blamed for his wrong doings! Im already owning up to so many things and people I've done wrong in my past! I don't deserve to be blamed for his actions and not even be appreciated or acknowledged for putting up with his crazy thinking!  I told him if he can't even be open to the fact that he has a problem then I can't continue to stay in our relationship! I tell him, you know, " ive been there, I acted and thought the same exact way as him! I understand why, he does what he does, because I did the same thing! I still do sometimes, but am lucky that thanks to my medicine, I am able to tell myself, hold up, Elizabeth, am I thinking this way because of ADHD, is what I'm hearing or seeing true? or the way that ADHD has twisted it in my head? I know, that without the right medication, therapy, and many tools, he will never change! I promise that! I have been there!! You can't change what you don't know exists, or have any control of! The medication is what changes what you have no control of! The way you think!! The therapy and tools then teach you new ways to "live life"! But without medications to change that thought process, to realize that you do have a problem, it is impossible for someone to change! It's like you change you're thinking so much on medicine that you are able to compare your old way of thinking to the new way of thinking!! That's how you are able to see what a huge problem you had!! It's amazing that there is such a difference! I couldn't believe I was unable to see how my thinking was so different than a "normal" person's thinking! That's how I know it is a chemical imbalance, that a person has no control over!  So if he's not willing to admit that he might have a problem, and willing to go through the process to find the right medicine, then you deserve better!! Because, even though we have no control how we are, or treat people, it's not our fault!! It is our fault if we are not willing to try and get help! It is not fair that anyone stay and be treated poorly by someone with ADD/ADHD! If they are willing to get help though, bare with them and I'm sure they will feel horrible for how they treated you! Push them to go to appointments, and remind them of them! Remind them to take their medicine! Don't wait for them to screw up and be mad that they weren't 'responsible enough to make it to one appointment' or take meds, once a day! (the deficit, makes you not want to go and also easily forget bout it!!) You just have to know, when enough is enough!! I am begging my bf to just go and see someone, I said i'll pay for it! because, I know if he doesn't fix his imbalance, he will never change and I do deserve better than that!! So do you Linsy!!

Good Luck! :)




I can hear it in your voice!!!


I'm so excited for you.  I'm glad that you are enjoying life.  You have so much potential and the world needs you.  Don't get ahead of yourself...take it slow and focus on you for a year or two first.  I had a very similar experience when I started on my meds.  It was like my whole reality changed...very,very scary for me since I have two kids and a husband who was at his wits end.  I had to admit over and over and over again that I was wrong.  I preface everything now by saying, "look, sometimes my brain doesn't remember things the way they really happened".  I've also stopped myself from going off on people since I'm really not sure what the initial expectations were.  Over the last five months, I've started to settle into this new world.  It  is a relief to be more open with my husband.  We still don't get each other a lot and I still make lots of parenting mistakes but my little one and I have a saying "tomorrow is a new day".  That is my motto.  Has to be.  I think we are all a little more forgiving of each other in our house now. 

Unfortunately, I have to be very careful around my extended family.  No one there understand ADHD and no one gets that it would be a bigger relief to me if they would say,"how are you doing with your ADHD?  Are your meds working?"  instead of "You don't have ADHD.  I hope you are not taking any of those mind altering medications. You just need a break once in awhile."  Since I know that a lot of them probably also have ADHD, I have to be very mindful that their realities are different also.  They are as supportive as they "understand" to be though and for that I am grateful.

I bet we could compare lots of stories but I promised myself when I sat down at the computer at 11:00 tonight that I was just going to read and not reply to anyone.  Now it is about 1:10 and I haven't stopped typing...The meds don't really help the "lost time" issue I have!

God bless you,

hard to function

P.S. my little girl's middle name is Elizabeth.  I love that name but it was my husband's ex-girlfriends name so I couldn't bring myself to call it out everyday!!! So, I made it her middle name instead!

Hi Hard to Function :)

Hi there Hard to Function! :) Lol, You sound like I do!! Everytime, I get on here, I tell myself, "Not too long, Elizabeth!!! You have so many other things to do!!" lol, "Lost time" that's the story of my life!! I hate to go shopping, and so does my boyfriend!! The craft stores are the worst!! I get "stuck" in them for hours!! When I go to Walmart I plan on spending at minimum, 2 hours there!! My average time is around 3-4 hours, looking at EVERYTHING!!! Even if I set a time to be out of there by, I always surpass it!! I hate it!! I really do!! I know how annoying it has to be for anyone with me!! It's annoying to myself to waste all that time!! I can't image how my boyfriend Larry feels!!  I told him, "nagging" after I've already spent hours lost in time doesn't help me! I recently thought of a new idea. I told him maybe if we first acknowledge the exact time when we walk in the store. Then, if he can keep me posted through the time there!! Not, "hurry up", or "you've been in here for ever", or what he usually does, moan and groan while silently getting furious at me, for being so selfish and wasting his entire night in a store(which is understandable)! But instead, tell me exactly what time it is, at the 30 min mark, 45 min, and so on.  The only problem is, he has add, but hasn't been diagnosed (no insurance), and usually forgets to remind me of the time!! Any suggestions on how to make me more aware of that "lost time"? It's so not fair to anyone around me!! I know how annoying and frustrating I find it to be!!! I can't imagine having to be Larry! Another example, is never being ready on time, and always making people wait on me. I am ALWAYS late!! It's like I can't relate how much time it takes me to get ready to how much time I should take doing the things I do to get ready!! Any tips would be very appreciated!! :)

Yeah, I am definitely going to spend at minimum, a year on my medication and using my new tools, before I jump into another one of  "Elizabeth's Great Ideas" !! lol I cant afford anymore school loans!! I have enough college credits to have 2 degrees! Too bad they all range from mental health,business, nursing, cosmetology, just to name a few!! LoL I am definitely going to make myself be the best that I can be, before jumping into another non thought out idea of mine!! That's what makes me feel the best I have about this, because I've never thought anything out before diving right in!! 

I was thinking about how you said your extended family is pretty much in denial!! I agree, it would definitely be better if they were accepting of it!! My family is very supportive, and I couldn't ask anything more of them! Especially because it is so rewarding for them to tell me the difference they see in my behavior!! How proud of me they are!! It makes all of my hard work worth even more to me!! They also do things to help me improve myself!! So, I was wondering, I don't know how you're family does things, but with mine, we have gatherings quite often! We get together quite often for dinner, ( at home or we go out). So, I was thinking, could you maybe sit them down together and say listen here, "I love you guys, and I know you love me, so if you love me please, it would mean so much to me if you would try being a little more open minded to the idea that maybe, just maybe, I might have adhd, not that I need a break! So I thought maybe you could read this information I've brought for you! After reading it, if you still just think that "i need a break" then I will be perfectly fine with what you think!" 

I know, any piece I've read about adhd, is like a definition of my life!! LOL So, maybe get them a copy of your favorite reading!! Then, not only will they hopefully be more accepting and supportive of it, but maybe (hopefully) they will be able to see that the information they read hits a little too close to home! Maybe they will begin to ask some much needed questions about themselves as well??

Thank you!! I really like my name as well! When people ask me if they can call me Beth or  Lizzie, I always say, I prefer Elizabeth! ;) lol, Yeah, I don't think I'd be able to bring myself to yell out my bf, ex's name all day either!! Shoot, I couldn't even get Ashleys furniture when I was with my ex, because he dated an Ashley before me!! hehehe



Wish you lived in Ohio so we could shop at walmart together! I hate that store. Yet, I keep going back! Thanks for the input!

Hard to Function, I DO!!

LOL, That's funny, you say ohio!! I do live in Ohio!!! :) Across from wheeling, wv!!