As I've mentioned in many of my posts, I am by nature an impatient, angry person, not at all shy of conflict. I've always felt that there was so much that I needed and wanted to do with my life, and nowhere near enough time to do it. I like people and having a good time, but to enjoy myself and fulfill my life responsibilities, I needed everyday life to move right along. I had a fairly short fuse, and anybody who got in my way or made it more difficult made me mad.
When my husband and I were first married, his ADD was "in remission" (in his extended family, those with ADD are affected by hormone levels -- their ADD abates in puberty, then returns in middle age). Neither of us knew he had ADD. Years later, when his ADD reasserted itself, his behaviors began to create a lot of problems. It all took time and energy that I didn't have to spare. We'd talk about the problems, but they kept happening, nothing got fixed. My natural impatience came out in force and I became more and more strident and angry. By the time he was diagnosed with ADD in his early 40's, I was constantly frustrated and yelling at him a lot of the time. Even though his medications and counseling helped, there were still plenty of problems, and I wanted them fixed right away. When that didn't happen, I was angrier still. Even though over time, I came to understand more about the natural constraints of ADD, my impatience and the anger that grew out of it remained. Finally, a few years ago, we separated, but we both still wanted to fix our relationship if we could.
My husband's counselor suggested that since we had so much trouble communicating anymore, and it was so stressful, we should set up formal meetings several times a week to discuss whatever household matters, chores, responsibilities, issues or conflicts we needed to talk about, and leave all the rest of our time for pleasant non-controversial talk. Along with the expected results of creating a structure for discussion, and making more of our time together pleasant, it had the unexpected result of concentrating all the yelling into this zone of interaction. The concentrated yelling was producing such a strong emotional reaction in my husband that he literally couldn't think at all at these times, and so our discussions weren't making any progress. It became obvious that only way we could hope to get anywhere was to stop the yelling.
I'm incapable of being angry without expressing it -- if I had to keep my feelings all to myself, I'd explode. So, it seemed to us the best way to try to cope was to learn to express my anger without yelling. But in order to express myself calmly, I had to keep a firm lid on my anger. I still felt it, but I had to stop it from running away with me. This was extremely hard for me to do. My natural habits often kicked in -- sometimes I would catch myself and stop, take some deep breaths, and then continue as calmly as I could manage; other times my husband would say (calmly, non-accusingly) "You're yelling again" and metaphorically throw cold water on my fire. Mostly I was just very determined to do my part and make this change. Much of my motivation came from my conviction that if I couldn't change *my* behavior to benefit my marriage, I had no business asking my husband to do the same.
For me, this effort had an unexpected result: I couldn't tap the power of the anger if I was expressing myself calmly! This helped me not yell, but the feeling of powerlessness that I experienced during this time of re-training my reactions was devastating. I felt like I had no control over anything; but in reality I was giving up the illusion of control that the power of anger had given me and instead was gaining real control -- over myself. After a surprisingly short time, we began to make real progress in our meetings, as well as in his followup after the meetings. The better the meetings and followup went, the less anger I felt, and the less I was inclined to want to yell. After a little less than a year, we ended our separation.
An additional benefit of these efforts was that my husband could see how hard it was for me (since despite my efforts, at first I would periodically start an angry outburst and have to stop myself, not infrequently dissolving in tears), and this brought home to him far more than my anger had how upset I was over his behavior. (I believe this occurred because my high degree of emotion was evident, but it wasn't directed at him, so he didn't throw up any emotional or mental barriers to block its impact.) It also helped him feel more a part of a partnership to see that I was working on my part of our dynamic just as hard as he was on his. For my part, it brought home to me how hard it is to change lifelong deep-seated behaviors! And it made me more tolerant of his sometimes slow progress.
I'm still trying to find a new balance and solutions to deal with the conflicts between the time imperatives of fulfilling my own goals and ambitions and my marriage's need for me to be more patient with the problems that still arise at times from my husband's ADD behaviors. But now, since I spend less time and energy fighting my husband and instead working cooperatively with him within his abilities, I'm actually more likely to achieve more of my aspirations.
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I appreciate your thoughtful
Submitted by Clarity on
I appreciate your thoughtful posts Arwen. Sharing the similarities and strategies we face in having to come up with ways to optimize communication with ADD is somehow comforting.
Your statement in bold struck a chord in me as I remember when I first made the consious mental effort to respond and not react. I resented the fact that I had to change to accomodate my husband. Especially before he was diagnosed. Frustrated with his relentless demands and feeling as if my needs were not even considered I was often angry as well. Now, the mental effort continues as I try to keep myself from falling into despair and self pity. It's an uphill battle for sure and there is just no end in sight.
There's got to be a way for us women to find some down time and recharge. I find myself ever consious of the fact that I will always have to work around the ADD in one way or another. Have you gotten to the point yet where you can let your guard down? Can you ever just relax?
Dr. Phil once stated on one of his shows that we all need a soft place to land. Ideally, in the comfort of home. I'm not sure I have a place like that, do you?
can you ever relax?
Submitted by arwen on
Yes, and no.
My husband and I have gotten to the point where there are lots of situations where we *can* relax. The formal meetings we have three times a week really help with that, I can't emphasize this enough. We aren't relaxed at all in the formal meetings, but because we put all the tense stuff in one bucket, so to speak, it did make it more possible to relax at other times. Also, over time, we've managed to establish some new habits pretty permanently. I no longer have to be the last person out of the house each day because he can't remember to lock the doors. When he stops at the grocery store on the way home from work, I don't have to check that he has put the frozen stuff away. There are many many more situations like this where we have been able to change his thoughtless habits into better habits. It did take quite a while to establish them solidly (usually a couple of years each), but it means I don't have to sweat these situations anymore.
Because my husband also has SAD, I definitely can't be relaxed about anything seasonal. I can't rely on him to remember how the grass should be cut (to avoid spewing grass seed into the planting beds and increasing the need to weed a hundred fold!) or where to dump the raked leaves (to avoid killing nearby plants with a too-dense moisture barrier of leaves). Because he doesn't do these things all year round, it doesn't get into any kind of permanent memory. I also can't be relaxed about anything that's a special project or event, or really anything out of the norm. I can't be relaxed about anything financial --- so we limit as much as possible his involvement in anything financial, to limit the stress on me. My husband also enjoys (aside from his ADD and SAD) incredibly good health (as do most of his blood relatives -- I've always thought there is probably some connection), so he doesn't really understand health problems and it is very hard to get him to give health issues the concern and attention they truly merit. I'm the one who has to be "on the hook" for anything health-related. But generally, we've succeeded in reducing the things I can't relax about to a manageable set.
So, I've been able to get to a place where I can relax *enough*. That's good enough for me.
soft place to land, escaping despair
Submitted by arwen on
No, I don't really have a soft place to land. That's why I still don't sleep well, even though we've resolved a lot of our problems. I've tried to create such a place at home, but I'm one of those people who when I look at a room in my house -- any room -- it screams a gazillion problems at me that I ought to be taking care of, many as a result of my husband's ADD, and just shutting a door doesn't get them far enough away for me to escape the screams. For me, I have to get totally away in order to be able to ignore all the reminders of all the various ADD-related stresses and problems that my home evokes.
My husband and I take a vacation every year at a cottage on a lake, far off the beaten path, where there is no phone, no TV, no relatives and no close neighbors. It is very restful and beautiful and soothing. We eat very simply at the cottage rather than go out for dinner, and amuse ourselves with simple outdoor activities like fishing and boating, or reading on rainy days. Many people would probably think it dull, but for me it is heaven on earth. Although my husband functions very poorly when he's on vacation, because he's out of his normal context, there are so few demands on anybody that I am able to really relax and "recharge my batteries." But of course that is only once a year (or maybe twice, if I am very lucky).
Even so, it often has helped me just to know that this special place is there for me. The flavor of the peacefulness is something I can recall and cherish and restore myself with a little even when I'm not there -- this despite my husband's poor functioning. I'm sure I would have lost my mind long ago without the recollection of this haven and the reassurance that I would be able to return to it again.
As far as despair goes, there are two things that have helped me when I was in the depths -- neither having anything whatsoever to do with ADD.
These two stories may seem contradictory -- after all, the Dutch women were sent to concentration camps, where one of them died -- wasn't she at least overcome? But the truth is she wasn't -- to her last breath she resisted the Nazi cruelty and hatred, and was always kind and caring, even to the Nazis, whom she pitied. They may have deprived her of her life, but they could not conquer her soul.
Maybe these beliefs aren't exactly a soft place to land, but they certainly have helped buoy me up in need!
Thanks Arwen. I know as a
Submitted by Clarity on
Thanks Arwen. I know as a Christian I should hold fast and not vacillate like I do. This has been the longest amount of time I have stayed away from my ADD husband and I'm still trying to recover. It's been quite a fight. It doesn't help that I'm overextended and just plain tired. I can't physically get away right now so, guess I'll have to find a soft place to land in my head. I've read "The Hiding Place" and I'll look into the other book you mentioned. Maybe music could calm me like it has before...
I really appreciate you writing about your experiences, you could probably write a book!
Submitted by brendab on
I just wanted to share what I did when I was at my wits end. Fortunately we had an extra bedroom in the house and I moved all my clothes, etc into this room. I decided to find little things that visually made me restful like small memorabilia, pics of the kids, my favorite quilt, soft lighting, some library books, my rocker, etc. I also bought inexpensive spa and sleep music to put me to sleep. For some reason when I entered this room and shut the door behind me I felt like I had entered my safe little cocoon. I can't begin to tell you what it meant for me to go into that room, crawl into bed and just read.
FLY BE FREE
Submitted by reecer on
Upon coming across this website site I have to say I am in total shock when I see how many women are forfeiting their precious lives for a glimmer of hope that their ADD or ADHD partner will snap out of it. There is a soft place for you to land and that is far, far away from this person who continously abuses you. We can sugar coat abuse however we like. Having ADD or ADHD is not a free ticket for bad behaviour or treating someone badly. So where is it written that he's problem has to be your problem. My husband of 5 years has ADHD and I have spend my valuable time researching and studying to find ways of helping this man. Truth be known, it has all been for not. Think about it, if Neuroscientists are not able to get a grib on this, what makes you think you can do it? It is very noble of all us women to try to be the heroin and help these people - but trust me there is nothing in this for you and there will be no thanks in the end. The only thing that you are going to come away from this relationship with is stress related illnesses, which by the way may kill you. People with ADD or ADHD are hard wired you can not and will not change them. I have decided I need to love me and take care of me and so I shall fly be free. I was not put on this earth to be abused or to fix something that I did not break. Life is short and you must find happiness how ever you can and it is not pussyfooting around an abuser. Many of the abused will stay because of finances. I personally will live in a tent before I put up with one more temper tantrum or get yelled at one more time. We all decide what we are willing to put up with so if our lives are garbage it is because we are choosing that. No one holds a gun to anyone's head. Don't be a martyr, learn to love yourself and give yourself the kind of respect that you deserve. Whether the abuse is intentional or unintentional - it is irrelavent, you are still being abused. Only you can STOP it. ADD or ADHD people could care less what you feel they simple need to stimulate their brain and they will do it at any cost. You are simply an outlet and a kicking post for their frustration. Sorry, that does not feel like love to me. Remember happiness starts with you. LIVE, LAUGH, ENJOY, this is your life so drive your bus where you want it to go. Don't allow an unhealthy mind to decide how you will spend your life.
My thoughts exactly, at one
Submitted by Clarity on
My thoughts exactly, at one time... The hard facts are that I am trapped in this situation because I cannot support myself financially and there isn't any family or friends to help. I've said that I would rather live in a box under a bridge but the spare room upstairs is really nicer. We've been separated this way for six months now. He's made a mess of our finances so there is lots of debt and no savings, I can't get very far on nothing. Believe me, I'm feeling trapped because I am trapped. Unfortunatley, I have to make the best of things and hopefully, I'll get through it and all this effort will work out somehow and I will have a more positive post one day whether I stay or manage to get away...
I respectfully disagree with your some of your generalizations.
Submitted by ADD.divorcee on
It's clear that ending your marriage of five-years to your ADD husband is the appropriate thing for you to do. You've done research and have tried to help him in relation to the challenges ADHD brings, not only to him, but to you, as his wife. You've tried; you've had enough; now you need to do what's best for you. I wish you the best as you go forward.
As a female with ADHD, I am concerned with some of the generalizations and oversimplifications concerning ADHD people that you make in your post. ADHD has many facets to it, and it is not "a one-size-fits-all" disorder. My ADHD is severe enough that it negatively impacts many aspects of my life. I may share some ADHD traits with your husband, or I may not. I do know that I am not abusive; I do not use others for my frustrations, (though they may feel frustrated when I don't conform to their standards), I care deeply what people close to me feel. It's difficult enough struggling with my ADHD brain, especially as I get older, but I don't think of it as an "unhealthy brain".
I do hope that my taking issue with a couple of your points doesn't offend you; however, I feel strongly that they must be made to give others who come to this website a different view. (As an aside, my ex-husband was quite abusive, so I understand how awful abuse is. I may have been the ADHD person in the marriage, but I would have "taken one like me" any day - and I'm still a work in progress - as opposed to "my extremely abusive ex-husband".
reecer, You appear to be at a point in your life where you are not only able and willing to leave your husband, but you appear to possess the strength and confidence to go forward. Not everyone is able or ready to say that at this particular time. And the reality is that finances do play a major part in decisions to leave one's spouse.
- Being ADHD doesn't mean one is an abusive person. It appears to me that you are equating "being ADHD to being abusive". Some of your feelings may have been due to the fact that your husband is ADHD and is an abusive person, but they are not the same thing.
- A person with ADHD doesn't expect "a free ride". In a well-functioning marriage, partners are able to help each other. In a marriage where one has ADHD, oftentimes things aren't 50/50 between the partners, but hopefully, that equals out over time. If one partner refuses to help with a certain project or chore, perhaps it's because that chore is really "not easy to do for the person". In asking the partner to handle the project, it doesn't imply that the person is looking for a "free ride".
- I do hope that the following statement is based on your particular situation. Although many women on this site are struggling with their ADHD male partners/husbands, I wouldn't want everyone to think the following is a fact, as opposed to your personal opinon. "ADD or ADHD people could care less what you feel they simple need to stimulate their brain and they will do it at any cost".
P.S. As usual, this took longer to write than I anticipated. The formatting may not be correct. I'll post this now and fix it later today if it's hard to read.
No Offense Taken
Submitted by reecer on
First of all, allow me to extend my best wishes to you in your challenges living with ADHD, and if you have a significant other in your life I do wish you both the best. Indeed, some of my comments were purely related to my relationship however, I have read Dr. Daniel Amen's (Neuroscientist) books from cover to cover and some of my comments are what I have learned from his writting's about ADD and ADHD. My point is simply this; and it may sound harsh but, sometime reality is harsh. Abuse comes in all forms, be it intentional or unintentional. Which ever it may be does not negate the fact that abuse is abuse is abuse. Generally, most partners of ADD or ADHD people will suffer emotional and verbal abuse. Emotional abuse encompasses many things including yelling, ignoring, isolating, belittling, dismissing, withholding, controlling conversations and situations, failing to share responsibilities, and much, much more. The abuse will be determined by whether the person is either overfocused or underfocused. My husband is overfocused. In the calm after a fit of rage he has no clue why he has done it. There is no intent - he simply must do it. He can not come up with a viable reason why he repeatedly does the same thing over and over and over. He will say he knows that it is not right but he simply must do it. Dr. Amen states that an overfocused brain simply must do something to stimulate the brain. The stimulus can come from starting an argument or imaging that he has some type of ailment in which he must visit the doctor. He is a full blow hypocondriac which is very common in overfocused ADHD. Being overfocused also means that he is a perfectionist. If there is one thing out of place or one speck of dirt in the house - he may loose it. However, if there is a nice part to any of this, there is never one bill that goes unpaid. The bills are paid on the day they are recieved (nothing can be left undone). One the other hand, my girlfriend's husband is underfocused, so absolutely nothing gets done. As you can see one is no better than the other. People with ADD or ADHD should not be throw to the wolf; I do not mean to imply that. They deserved to be loved like anyone else. However, partners of ADD or ADHD must learn to be very thick skinned in order to tolerate the rollercoaster ride. I personally, feel my health failing due to the constant emotional abuse. I am a Sagitarius and we are very upbeat, optimistic people. In saying that, I feel the optimizim slowly being sucked out of my body and if I am to remain healthy I simply must separate myself from this toxic environment. As a side note I would like to add that I have raised a child who has Tourette's and OCD (he is now grown up and functions very well as a Police Officer). If you know anything about those two afflictions it requires the patience of Jobe to deal with the dynamics of this disorder. So, I wouldn't want you to think that I am an impatient, insensitive person because the exact opposite is true. It has taken 5 years of my life for me to face the fact that I can not help my husband and it is not my job or my place in life to solve the mysteries of ADD or ADHD. That job is up to people like Dr. Amen. I feel that I have done my part in doing these readings because if I hadn't I wouldn't feel that I have given it my all. His books have helped me too understand how very complex and far reaching this affliction is. I would love to think that if I just hang in there long enough the mysteries of ADD and ADHD will be resolved but that is for dreamers, not for me.
In regards to finances. If someone wants to be FREE bad enough you will always find a way. In no way, shape or form am I a rich person; but forfeiting my health for the sake of a dollar makes absolutely NO sense to me. Ending up with high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, or a breakdown due to stress simply is not a trade off. I wish everyone luck - the afflicted and their significant others.
That's the bottom line, isn't
Submitted by Clarity on
That's the bottom line, isn't it? I've come to the same conclusion through experience more than books. I'm convinced that the mysteries of ADD will not reveal themselves to me either. This is definitely not the type of relationship I would recommend pursuing and I have encouraged others on this site to jump ship before things get too deep, especially if an ADD SO refuses to persue treatment. Thankfully, mine has made a good effort to do what it takes to better himself, we'll see how it goes...
Flybefree, I agree with your
Submitted by LaTuFu on
ADD can contribute to denial
Submitted by arwen on
LaTuFu, I agree with a lot of what you say, but my experience with ADD (not just with my husband, but also with my father-in-law, son, brother-in-law and others I know who have ADD) strongly indicates that the synaptic activity problems in the brain can affect one's perceptions and therefore one's ability to recognize that their disorder requires treatment. It's not necessarily *refusal* to get treatment, it's a failure to see the need. Look at it this way: if someone told you that you had a skin infection on your arm, and you could not see it, would *you* feel any need to go to a doctor? When this kind of thing happens -- and I know it sometimes does, I've seen it -- I don't think it's unreasonable to "blame the ADD", not the individual. And unfortunately, when ADD is untreated, it can often cause behaviors that evolve from inability to control impulsivity or inability to remember and learn, that can lead to serious marital problems. So I also don't think it's too far a stretch to blame some portion of the marital problems on the ADD rather than the individual as well. I'm *not* saying that the individual doesn't ever bear any responsibility for the problems -- I'm saying that sometimes *both* the individual and the disorder deserve a share of the blame.
All that said, I absolutely agree that there is no justification, or rationalization, or excuse whatsoever for abuse.
Arwen, I understand where you
Submitted by LaTuFu on
Arwen, I understand where you are coming from. I agree completely that ADD has some very frustrating and debilitating issues. I can't tell you how many times I confront something I've done, which in hindsight, I need absolutely no one to point out to me was completely irrational and inexplicable. But it happened anyway.
My larger point is that ADD, like many disorders and diseases, if its left untreated and undiagnosed long enough, can instill a sense of "I don't have a problem" in the person afflicted. Societal and generational attitudes, particularly in men, can aggravate this as well.
Anyone in denial of a condition, be it cancer, addiction, or ADD, is going to leave disappointed and devastated family members and loved ones behind. Its not just ADD that does this.
Blame the ADD?
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
While the ADD may make it hard for a person to understand that they need treatment (because denial is a coping strategy that many with ADHD use so they don't have to - once again - tackle something at which they will likely fail) nonetheless, it is the person with the ADHD who is responsible for taking care of it. This site talks almost incessantly about the need to set priorities, set boundaries, make decisions that take ADHD into account while minimizing the damage to others. But it's unfair to hint that the person with the ADHD gets to not treat his or her condition because they don't choose to believe those around them when they say it causes everyone pain.
Even in denial, a responsible SPOUSE faced with significant turmoil would pursue getting another opinion about whether or not ADHD was an issue - perhaps consulting a therapist, marriage counselor or psychologist. ADHD can be a reason people might not "see" at first, but it shouldn't be used as an excuse to continue to ignore the needs of family members in pain. Most non-ADD spouses here aren't looking for perfection, just acknowledgement that there are problems and a willingness to explore effective ways to treat the problems (including their own). Without that, there's not much to hang onto and, quite frankly, we shouldn't ask them to. "Devastated family members" is an apt description.
Unhappy spouses who have hit their heads against the wall for years want to categorically demonize ADHD and all who have it. LaTuFu and Arwen are both right - it's not fair to do this. They explain why in two different ways.
Demonization is abusive. Abuse goes both ways.
Submitted by ginniebean on
Some of these unhappy spouses are so unhappy they in fact are abusers themselves. There have been comments on this site that could be likened to hate speech.
I understand that living with someone with a disability is no bed of roses but there is not ONE article on the net for an ADHD spouse relating to the difficulties faced by the ADDer living with resentment, unrealistic expectations or any of the other number of abusive behaviours of the non-add spouse. Yes, there is abuse on both sides but only one side seems to be getting any support.
When the marital impact checklist was created did anyone notice that none of the non-ADD spouses behaviours were listed? There are common behaviours and they do have an impact too. It was completely assumed that it was the ADDer who was the cause of all impact on the marraige? Have experts taken the "spouse as innocent victim narrative" too far? I think so. It's become an excuse to make vile universal statements about those with ADHD. What message does the complete absence of literature for the ADHD spouse send?
Clearly the holy victims here all have halos and people with adhd all have pitchforks. I won't lay the responsibility for this solely on the spouses, they're being coached by well meaning and sympathetic experts.
Thank you, GinnieBean
Submitted by Dan on
I'm an ADHD male, getting divorced because of it. My thread: http://www.adhdmarriage.com/content/find-volunteer-slapper-your-husband-and-reason
I've read your comments... thank you for saying that. It's not helpful for anyone when ADHD'ers that finally see what they've done to be constantly reminded of the wounds they've caused to their non-ADHD spouse. I have ADHD and know it causes divorce, I feel now I have a pitchfork in me, and it's getting twisted..... thinking... is this truly how my ADHD marriage ends, a wife (and her clan of one-side-of-the-story supporters) so cruel and unforgiving towards me? If so, so be it... but God, I'll never forget it, allow me to forgive it, and please help me never let this happen in a relationship again.
Abuse from Non-ADHD spouses
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
Hmmm. I've written about the abuse that non-ADHD spouses heap upon ADD spouses quite a bit at this site - see my blog postings. It is very clear to me that even though it is tempting to demonize folks with ADHD, doing so is unfair. It always takes two to create a difficult relationship. Hence why I write about the action-reaction-reaction sequence one sees in these relationships. Generally, an ADHD symptom creates a problem or misunderstanding of some sort. The non-ADHD spouse reacts negatively, then the ADD spouse reacts to the negative response and on and on it goes. Things get worse and worse as anger and frustration mount in both directions.
Also, please don't demonize the non-ADHD spouses, either. These people are in lots of pain, just like their ADHD counterparts. Often, they don't understand how they got to the point they got to. Many are angry and feeling completely out of control. They lash out as an expression of that.
Empathy, and trying to be in the other person's shoes works well all the way around. I don't like that such a large proportion of the posts in the forum are so deeply negative, either. But it does offer insight into the deeply troubled lives that these people are living - as well as the utter distortions of people and marriages that ADHD symptoms can introduce into a relationship.
I think you are reading different books than I am
Submitted by Aspen on
if you can't find any literature for the AD/HD spouse! The vast majority of books that we have in our personal AD/HD library as well as the ones I read about online and see at bookstores are all for the AD/HD partner. I think perhaps far too many people spend way too much time feeling like and acting like victims. We are all responsible for ourselves and our happiness; and we're all dealing, with varying degrees of success, with behavior that can be extremely challenging, frustrating, and infuriating.
No one asked to deal with this syndrome. We all need to do our best to understand our partner and where they have been hurt and disappointed by things that we've done whether we are the one with AD/HD or the nonADD partner.
Should people with AD/HD be demonized? Of course not! It has to be realized though that many AD/HD behaviors are toxic to relationships and both sides need to find healthy ways to cope with these before the relationship is ruined.
I've read a lot of hostility toward those with AD/HD, usually unmedicated & untreated, and I'm sad to see this, but who doesn't feel hostile toward bad behavior? The hostility I keep reading lately toward those without AD/HD who are legitimately trying to learn how to deal with this disorder and have happy families is something I really don't understand.
I have an allergy to a common food that when I have it, on purpose or accidentally, makes me fairly cranky. I appreciate when my husband understands that something else is at work here as to my crankiness...same when PMS times rolls around....but I don't think that gives me a free pass to act however I want while he has to put up with it because something beyond my control is at work here. I am responsible for making sure I am not eating what I can't have (though I LOVE it in all its forms), and when I have it, I am responsible for doing my best to control the reaction and minimize the discomfort to other people. I don't get to say "this is how I am and it isn't my fault, so deal with it".
temporary vs permanent
Submitted by arwen on
Aspen, I understand what you are saying about having a responsibility to do your best to control whatever problem you are having and minimize the negative impacts on others. But there is somewhat of a difference between your PMS or allergy situations and the situation of folks with ADHD. Your situation is temporary, and once you are out of it, you can remember it and see if you did not behave well. (Once one has acquired this ability, one may even sometimes advance to the point of recognizing one's bad behavior while it's happening, because at this point one knows what to look for.) You can see the cause-and-effect relationships, and you can identify what corrective action might be possible.
The ADHDer, by contrast, never comes out of their problem situation, and even if they should somehow do so, they can't always remember how they behaved because of the way their synaptic activity forms/stores/retrieves memories less well (or because of synaptic interference due to emotional upheaval during discussion of their behavior). These aspects of ADD make it very very difficult for them to see why their behavior is having a negative impact on others even when it's pointed out to them, and it's virtually impossible for them to see it if it isn't pointed out. The more emotionally volatile their situation is, the harder it is for the kind of synaptic activity to occur that enables any degree of learning from their situation. They don't necessarily remember their behavior, they don't necessarily recognize that it is a problem, they don't necessarily remember why that behavior happened, they can't necessarily deduce why that behavior happened, and so they really can't necessarily know what kind of corrective action might work. Well, golly, if I had the deck stacked against me like that, I don't think I could figure out any answers either. I don't have ADD and it *still* took me a long time to figure out any answers!
By saying this I do not mean to excuse ADHDers who don't take responsibility for their actions. I'm simplytrying to explain why it may be very challenging to do so, much more challenging than it is for you in the PMS or allergy situations you have described.
This is also exactly why I keep saying that meds and counseling are both so critical in dealing with ADHD. The meds impact the synaptic activity to create a mental environment where learning is much more possible, but the counseling is then needed to overcome the habits of a lifetime that were developed when learning was so much more of a challenge -- including the habit of not taking responsibility and the learning habits that might have seemed to work well to the ADHDer but didn't work out very well for those around them.
Like you, I'm also disturbed by the hostility that some posters express (regardless of whether they have ADHD or not, and regardless of who they are hostile to), but I do understand their frustration. Anger and pain are signals to our bodies and minds that something is wrong. Unfortunately, they are "dumb" signals -- they don't tell us *what* is wrong. In my experience, a person with a healthy ego who is in pain or upset/angry will consider the possibility that they themselves could be responsible for whatever is wrong, but it's also typical of a healthy ego that if it doesn't discover any clear evidence that the problem is internal, it will conclude that the responsibility for the problem belongs to somebody else. (Please note that I don't say that this is the ideal or fair solution to the conundrum, but it is fairly normal.)
Now, if someone with ADHD has trouble remembering/reviewing/evaluating their behavior, how likely is it that they are going to conclude that whatever is wrong is their responsibility??? Typically, ADHDers are not going to find any evidence of that, because of the synaptic constraints I mentioned above. Thus, it's very easy for them to conclude that the responsibility lies with others. And when others don't seem to be "fixing" their problem behaviors, it's very easy for *anyone* to become angry.
In some respects, this actually seems to me to be a good thing. It indicates that these ADHDers still have healthy egos, which is actually a pretty important factor in any kind of improvement (if you have an unhealthy ego, you may either see no need to improve, or you may see such a huge need to improve that you are overwhelmed). It also indicates, I think, a soundness of mind -- it's completely appropriate to be angry when someone you believe to be responsible for a problem isn't doing anything to fix it. So, as contrary as it may seem at first blush, it has been my experience that ADHDers who behave in these ways are actually in pretty good shape for making progress -- maybe slow, maybe not always willing, but progress is possible. (I've seen ADHDers whose egos have been crushed, and they couldn't make any progress at all -- I can't tell you how sad this is, they are like lost bewildered children.)
Still, the hostility also gets in the way of progress from everything I've ever seen, which is why it disturbs me. To address that, I've tried to learn to be less externally reactive, to be more conciliatory and placating, temporarily, in order to create an environment where progress can be made. I can't count the number of things that I've apologized for to my ADHD relatives when I really didn't think the primary responsibility for the fracas was mine, even though I would agree that I could have contributed to it in some way (a conditional apology can sometimes do wonders without actually admitting fault -- "if I wasn't clear about what I wanted you to do, I apologize"). It almost never fails that by doing so, I overcome their hostility and create an opportunity for real discussion that frequently ends with their agreeing that I really didn't do anything significantly wrong. When I make these apologies, I'm creating a situation whereby I can't hurt them with my words without simultaneously hurting myself (my believability), and that usually engenders a certain amount of trust which usually lowers the hostility level . [Of course, there are some situations where I really am quite in the wrong -- those apologies are not made to be conciliatory but to sincerely offer my regrets.]
I know some non-ADHDers feel like I and they shouldn't have to do something like that. I used to feel that way myself, until I seriously asked myself where it was written that I shouldn't -- what authority determined what I "should" and "shouldn't " have to do in this regard? Now I figure that as long as I haven't besmirched my integrity, the thing that matters most is that progress is made.
all well said...
Submitted by Dan on
Well said. The biggest point for many is getting anyone past the denial, or even knowing they have ADHD/ADD. One cannot begin the path to recovery, until they acknowledge, then choose to address the disorders and diseases they have. Will power helps a lot and it doesn't come from a pill, it's something people have or they don't, depends upon circumstance.
respect your experience, mine is different
Submitted by arwen on
Reecer, you say:
trust me there is nothing in this for you and there will be no thanks in the end.... People with ADD or ADHD are hard wired you can not and will not change them.
I understand this may have been your experience, but it was not mine. My husband and I were able to work through and resolve most of our issues to our mutual satisfaction. There is a great deal for me in the relationship we now have, and my husband has thanked me many many times, in both words and actions.
I understand you may believe that people with ADD are hard-wired, but not only is there no proof of this, but some of us have seen evidence to the contrary. It's my belief, based on what I have read and my experience (including with many ADDers, not just my husband) that *nobody's* brain is hard-wired -- but that people with ADD *may* have *differently* wired brains.
I suspect that one of the reasons that the neuroscientists find it challenging to get a grip on ADD is because there is so much variation on how the disorder manifests itself. You had one set of experiences -- mine were different. It's true that I didn't make my husband change -- *nobody* can *make* another person change. But I did do things that motivated my husband to change himself.
ADD or ADHD people could care less what you feel they simple need to stimulate their brain and they will do it at any cost.
This just simply is not true in my relationship with my husband, and it never was. My husband did not always notice what I felt, or understand what I felt, but he *always* cared about what I felt. He didn't always show his caring, but he still had caring feelings. And he definitely worked to suppress his "need to stimulate" his brain in many many situations, it was almost never on an "at any cost" basis.
While there are many traits that people with ADD tend to have in common, each case is unique and each relationship is unique. I'm sorry your relationship did not work out, but it doesn't mean that no relationship with an ADDer can work. It took a lot of time and effort, on both my and my husband's part, but we now have a pretty happy marriage -- not perfect, but certainly better than any number of marriages I know where neither partner has ADD. I certainly don't claim that therefore *every* relationship can work! All I can do is offer my experience, and let the readers decide whether it has any value for them in their own unique situations.
Koodos to you Arwen
Submitted by reecer on
Great for you - I wish you the best. I would love to hear your update two, three, five, ten years from now. You obviously have a stronger constitution than I do. My life is just far too precious to get up everyday and have the challenge of working around my husband's various moods and quirks of ADHD. I wholeheartedly understand that my husband does not choose to have ADHD any no more than my son chooses to have Tourette's and OCD. But, I choose to not make it part of my life. When things are really bad all he has to say is "I don't realize I am doing those things", then proceeds to blame me for finding faults in him. He also says that he has been like this all his life and admits that chances of being different is highly unlikely. I guess I can't fault him for his honesty. I am at a point where I treasure my sanity, my peace and my physical health far too much to want to continue this facade. I will repeat, there may be no intent in his actions but that does not negate the scars that are left on my heart everytime he hurts me emotional. As I have said "we all decide what is acceptable in our life and what isn't". Being ignored, belittled, criticized, and yelled at is not something I look forward to everyday. I manager a health centre and I work 6 and 7 days a week and have had him call me lazy. Does my schedule look like I am slacking to you? We do not have conversation, we have dialogue - he talks, I listen. If I try to talk he either ignores me or cuts me off. So, guess what, I simply stay as far away from him as I possibly can. If I am not important enough for him to hear what I have to say then I guess he is not important enough for me to listen to him ramble on for hours. For me there are deal breakers in a marriage. What I have listed above are deal breakers for me. I truly play no part in our marriage. It is all about him from morning to night. He knows very little about me because he is not interested. The only thing that interests him is himself. If I am willing to talk about him and his life - he will listen to me for hours but, if I mention anything other than him - he just turns his head and ignores me. You are right about the quirks of people with ADD and ADHD and the varying degrees of severity. Some may be severe and some not so severe. Nevertheless, I find it all a little disconcerting. I measure my life in days of peace and contentment and I honestly don't have many of those, but I will have. Again, the best to you. Your husband is a very fortunate man.
value your life
Submitted by arwen on
Reecer, I also value my life, and it's very possible that had I been in your specific situation with your spouse, I would have made the same choice as you -- I know even in my own situation, I considered giving up many times. I did not stay because I have a strong constitution, or even because I greatly loved my husband, I stayed for my children's benefits. I know a lot of people with kids in an ADD marriage feel that staying would be worse for the kids, but I could see I could establish enough control to protect them from the worst aspects of my husband's behaviors and use the other behaviors as object lessons for my ADD son. Contrariwise, I was not at all sure I would be able to handle my son and his ADD all by myself when he got older (physically, he was bigger than I was by the time he started high school), along with being a single mom and supporting my kids financially. Yet if my husband's behaviors had been much worse than they were, I doubt I could have stayed. So, although I appreciate your kind words, I don't feel I deserve any special credit -- I love my children more than life, and I couldn't possibly have made any other choice under the circumstances. And it wasn't like I didn't contribute anything to our problems myself!!!
My point with my post was that because of the varying nature of ADD, it is not really valid to paint all ADDers with the broad brush of remarks like "ADDers will never change" or "ADDers don't care". Undoubtedly this is true of some people with ADD, just as it's true of some who don't have ADD. I certainly do think it's fair to say that ADD tends to promote certain behaviors that are not helpful in a marriage and that it tends to inhibit certain other behaviors that would be helpful. But it's been my experience that it is also true, as LaTuFu and Melissa point out, that each individual's character or nature plays a role in how they behave as well. My husband may be lucky because I was capable and motivated to work with him out of my love of my children, but I am also lucky that he was the kind of man who didn't engage in some of the really pernicious behaviors I read in other posts and who was willing to accept his disorder and shoulder the hard work of dealing with it when push came to shove.
Obviously, I don't know your specific circumstances, so I can't possibly judge the choice you made, and I hope you understand that I have absolutely no criticism of your individual decision. Some relationships just can't work. Each partner must be true to his or her own core values (if they aren't, the relationship is almost certain to fail), and sometimes these turn out to be in opposition. My husband and I were fortunately in accord on our most basic values, and so had a basis for repairing the damage in our relationship.
Woah, I can't skim by this
Submitted by mklmsw on
Woah, I can't skim by this without responding. Your statement quoted below - is too much.
"ADD or ADHD people could care less what you feel they simple need to stimulate their brain and they will do it at any cost. You are simply an outlet and a kicking post for their frustration. Sorry, that does not feel like love to me."
I understand that this comment is stemming from your own very negative experience in your relationship, but this type of generalization is not good. What you state is wrong. I am very sorry that this is how it has been or was for you in your relationship.
But as an ADHD woman, I care a huge deal what my man feels and thinks! I've never used him as a kicking post for my frustration - far from it. He is a wonderful and patient man who does not let the more obvious annoyances of my ADHD traits bug him, (at least not too much!) He is a calm, rational steadying force on me. He is truly a blessing in my life, going on 10 years. He loves me, we never speak harshly to each other, we never put each other down or call names. But he listens, he listens so well. He puts up with my tearful moments when ADHD foibles have made me feel stupid/foolish/inept, knowing that in a 1/2 day I will sound "normal" and upbeat again. He encourages me - reminds me when it's time to thing about getting to bed (and getting off the computer), and makes sure that my alarm clocks have woken me each morning. He puts up with my piles here and there in the house and does not criticize my housekeeping. I am truly blessed, and hope that in some way I have served to reduce the entrenched stereotype that you purport.
Wishing you well,
Thank you, mklmsw
Submitted by Dan on
I agree with you, MK, many ADD or ADHD people are the most caring people in the world. This stereotyping that she is using, is unfortunate and is damaging to the awareness of ADD/ADHD. I can understand her pain, it's much like what my soon to be ex-wife has gone thru, therefore I can forgive it.... but I don't respect it. I respect knowledge, and knowledge comes from learning EVERYTHING about a condition before making hasty conclusions.
"ADD or ADHD people could care less what you feel they simple need to stimulate their brain and they will do it at any cost.
"Alcoholics could care less what you feel they simple need to stimulate their brain and they will do it at any cost.
In her current state of mind, the millions of alcoholics are selfish, unloving, sob's too. That is unfortunate... it shows ADHD awareness has a long way to go. I'm sorry what she went thru, it's not what she signed up for in a marriage, so I understand as I'm getting divorce because of the undiagnosed ADHD and blind pain it causes.
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
...for writing this and for writing about your supportive relationship. Anything else that you would like to add to these pages about things that really help you in your relationship would be appreciated by the non-ADHD spouses here who are looking for ideas and perspective.
But this is one of the very things I fight against......
Submitted by Cinimonstyk on
It's really great that your husband is so wonderful in in your perspective, but I would love to know how he views it from his. What I hear all over your post is the fact that he (and my husband hates this word) "BABYSITS" you. But afterall, who wouldn't want to be relieved from some or all of their responsibilities, waited on and reminded of all the things that they need to do? Reality is, this appears to be the life of a union between an ADD and a nonADDer. This is my life.
My husband was diagnosed 3 yrs ago, but we've lived with the unknown for 14yrs now. I HATE BABYSITTING HIM. I'm sick of being responsible for everything, I'm drained from having to remembering everything for him and our 2 children. I feel like the only adult in the family, and that's taking a toll on me physically, emotionally, and mentally because my cup runneth over. BTW, my son also has ADD, and it was through him that we discovered his dad's due to the same patterns of behavior.
My point however is, from the ADDer vantage point, it's wonderful to have a caring spouse that keeps everything on track, but the other side of the coin for us, it's like having another child. I TOTALLY understand receers perspcetive because I live her story and am equally frustrated with my life.
I read these posts and have to say that internally, there's a battle going on within me. The angry side of me wants to bail for my own sanity, but the other side is enamoured by the way arwen phrases her posts because she paints for me a silver lining that I keep looking for but can't find.
Please know that I don't want to walk away, but as receer, I also realize that this is not my issue, and I can't fix it...and I feel helpless. My husband and son are on meds, but honestly, though this does help (I would never discount it) there still are many issues in which I feel like I'm the babysitter in this home for 3 children. I read something the other day about how this really messes up the intimacy in a marriage because you can't be intimate with a child....it's just wrong. But if your husband's acting that way and causes frustrations and unnecessary situations in the home that bring about constant confusion, INTENTIONALLY OR NOT, then seperation on all levels, is oftentimes what you're left with....there is no intimacy.
I really wish I knew how to fix him, because I do love him and our family.....but I've tried so long to be understanding, and sympathetic, and remind, and refocus, and undo, and fix to no avail that now it's affecting me. I'M GOING CRAZY IN MY OWN HOME, and I'm begining to feel like receer, like why am I putting myself thought this..... Every year longer I sit in this mess it becomes more clear that I care a little less, and wan't to leave a little more. But I stay for my children and I'm sure if they were not here, I wouldn't be either.
He tries, he really does, but he still misses the mark and creatse SOOOOOO much confusion in our home.....financially, I can write a book. He could be a millionaire by now for all the money he's wasted in our 14yrs of marriage. I'm tired of crying, I don't feel anymore. It's not his fault, it's never intentional, but what does any of that matter when the outcome is the same.
I always wondered why it's considered abuse and you are told to leave when there are visable scars, but when the scars are emotional you're told to stay and work it out..... Isn't abuse abuse after all and shouldn't be tolarated either way?
Funny how we evaluate things.....
fly be free, thanks so much I needed this!
Submitted by sandune on
I have been married now for almost 5 years. My wife is adhd and life as I knew it during the "dating hyper focus days" started to unravel 6 months into our marriage. I didn't know what the change was all about as a non and thought it was just a need for marriage counseling...........wow, was I ever wrong. Three counselors and mort fertel marriage fitness program later we are at the same place we were 4 plus years ago.
Thanks so much for the info....she said it was me....I moved out 6 months ago to literaly save myself. I became depressed, my cancer worsened, my spirit and love for this person diminished. She lives in a minute by minute, hour by hour chaotic mess. Thanks again for your post..............I look forward to the day I re-gain my self-respect, love for myself and happiness. I gave it all up to re-marry at 59 and literally started over 6 months ago at age 59. I can honestly say I will not miss what I didnt have (but thought I would have) as well as the pain and suffering I received from my spouse whether it was intentional or not, she has absolutely refused to take ownership of her diagnosis and medication prescribed. I embrace this is our problem and feel it is "dual" responsibility, I am willing to do what ever has to be done however, there is absolutely no interest on her part.
Her family history involves adhd, bipolar, depression and shock treatments. I look at it as an opportunity to have this information and she remains in denial even though she deals with her families problems day in and day out, she is not able to see and acknowledge she is heading down the identical path.
Please what can I do then?
Submitted by Cheetarah on
@ Reecer: I'm single with ADHD and what you seem to be saying is that no amount of treatment, no strategies, nothing I do to change will make any adequate difference whatsoever. If you have adhd you're doomed to be abusive. Is it even worth me making an effort then? There's someone right now who I care deeply about. I want and need to be able to express it. Is there any hope? Am I, as many posters on here seem to make out 'hardwired' to hurt anyone I enter a relationship I'm in, to the extent that whatever I do they are going to regret they ever met me? I'd move the earth to manage, but what you seem to be saying is it's not one individual's untreated adhd that's the problem, people with adhd per se are abusive because that it always how the condition will always make you whether you like it or not because there's no hope.
Submitted by simora on
I know 2 people who have and still are changing;my husband and me. Each person is different, there are lots of ways to improve, it is a life long journey, just like it it for normals. There are books, therapists, classes, coaches,family etc. like I have said in posts on other forum topics, it makes me sad when a person, like myself has ADHD, gives up before they start trying, especially because I can see what CAN be done. Shall I start singing ant song now?
Thank you for your post
Submitted by Laurie1213 on
Arwen it sounds like you are where I want to be. I'm trying very hard to release the anger. My ADHD Husband is, of course, already past it. He can't understand why I'm not over all of the anger yet. I've had a problem trying to figure out how to heal myself and move forward. After 6 years of marriage to an undiagnosed ADHD spouse (He was just diagnosed a few months ago at age 40) my level of trust has been greatly diminished. I have dealt with alcohol abuse, pill popping, a series of infidelities, run-ins with the law, financial impulsivity that threatened the financial security of the family, continued unemployment, hypersexuality, lack of emotion or empathy (on his part), lack of intimacy...etc...etc. I have questioned why I would want to stay with such a man. I kept thinking that something must be wrong with my self-esteem to want to stay with someone who has been like this. But the truth is, underneath the ADHD is a good guy. I just wish that I could see more of him. I truly HATE his ADHD! But in order to make the marriage work, I have to deal with it. I just don't know how to rebuild my trust for him, heal and move forward. What part of healing am I responsible for? What part is he responsible for?
As far as he is concerned, the only problem in our marriage is that I'm not "hypersexual" in the way that he wants me to be. He wants to know when I will be that way (he actually wants me to give him a date!). I can't even see my way past the anger. How can I desire him in the way that he wants me to. This is what I'm dealing with. I just don't know where to begin. But it's good to hear stories like yours. It gives me hope that it's possible to move forward.
"The only problem with our marriage is..."
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
My heart goes out to you. That statement..."as far as he's concerned, the only problem with our marriage is..." sucks. It doesn't actually matter what the next words are after that statement, unless they are "that my ADHD symptoms are not yet under control." I used to tell my husband that it didn't matter if he thought we didn't have very many problems. A marriage is made from TWO people, and as long as one spouse thinks you have significant problems, then you BOTH have problems. By default. And since you BOTH have problems, you both need to work to understand how to fix them. (NOTE - understanding how to fix them, and understanding what underpins the problems is NOT the same as both being responsible for fixing them. Ultimately, your anger is something you must deal with...but he needs to acknowledge its importance and your pain and anger in order for it to be easier for you to do this.)
In this case, your anger is his problem as well as yours. He just isn't quite seeing it that way (he moves to the sex part without looking at the underlying anger as the issue in the sex.) Perhaps the two of you can have some learning conversations about your feelings in a way that help him understand the pain...and in a way that let you mourn with him for all that you have lost. Mourning for what you no longer have is an important first step in the forgiveness process that starts to let your anger abate. (Some examples of what you might mourn: your innocence about relationships; your thrill at being in bed with him; the effortless way you were together when you were younger; an ability to trust him without thinking)
I remember having a number of conversations with my husband where I said "In order to start to deal with my anger I need you to acknowledge the validity of my anger - to show me that you have given some thought to where it has come from - to apologize to me for the pain you've caused me - to show me that you care in a new, and better way than the old way!) These conversations take time, but they can happen if they are done carefully. Obviously, if you can talk about your anger without getting angry, you'll be more successful. Give him some opportunities to show you the good guy underneath.
Also, don't be afraid to tell him that old adage "trust takes years to build, but only days to destroy". He needs to earn your trust again over time. If he doesn't like the concept of "earning your trust" (sounds like he has to work for earning your trust rather than you just giving it to him) it's fair to say "look, I'm able to forgive you, but that isn't the same thing as trusting you. Trust means believing you won't mess up again, and the only way to believe that is to see it over time. It's an unhappy consequence of all of the problems you've had in the past that my trust is diminished. While neither of us had a label for what was going on as we do today, the actions were the actions. They happened. Now you are starting new and, hopefully, won't have those types of issues. With positive interactions over time my anger and hurt will diminish, but it does take time and better results."
I Tried Again
Submitted by Laurie1213 on
Melissa, thank you for your comment. I tried to talk to my husband again last night. I read some of your comments to him in hopes that he would understand how I felt (he never seems to understand it when I say it). It didn't work. He got defensive. He has no real interest in going through the "process" of healing with me. He wants to get to the "quick" solution and move on. He views my anger as a power trip. His response to my telling him that we still need to rebuild trust is "You just want me at your mercy. This is going to go on and on just so that you can punish me". I've tried to explain that this isn't a power move, this isn't about punishment. All I want is his understanding. Then, he quickly (too quickly) tells me that he understands everything that I've been through as a way of telling me to move on. He really doesn't get how his ADHD affects me. He kept telling me that he's taking the medication and is "normal" now so I should have nothing to complain about. I'm so frustrated! He thinks that we should all just be able to turn our emotions on and off as he can. He wants me to write down a list of things that he needs to do in order to gain my trust and get the type of sex that he wants from me. I'd like to make some type of concrete list of actions that need to be taken. I have to make sure that it is complete because he will hold me to whatever I write down. I can't miss a point. I also need him to understand that this will be accomplished over time. He seems to think that trust should be restored if he's consistent for a week...maybe two. I am trying very hard to speak his language & communicate with him, but failing miserably. I can't hold on much longer...
understanding ADD is not the same as understanding non-ADD
Submitted by arwen on
Laurie, I ran into some of the same problems with my husband that you are having. Although most of our discussions weren't revolving around sex, my husband definitely had the same attitude about the time it was taking to rebuild trust -- he believed I was holding a grudge. It took me a long time to get across to him that just as I should not expect his brain to work like mine, he should not expect my brain to work like his. Just as he cannot remember some things without a lot of time and effort, I cannot forget some things without a lot of time and effort. Just because I cannot forget does not mean I am harboring a grudge. In fact, there's a lot I'd like to forget, but for my own self-preservation from the consequences of his behaviors, I don't dare. My husband needed to understand that just as much as it's hard for him to learn from past experience, because he can't remember it, it's hard for me to not learn from past experience, because it's hard for me to forget it. He would always say to me in excusing his behavior, "Well, this is the way my brain works, I can't help it." And so on this topic, I said the same thing right back to him about me. This was a really radical idea for him to digest, but because he is at heart a reasonable guy, when he's not being defensive, he was finally able to accept what I was saying.
As far as the "quick solution" syndrome goes, I go through this with my husband a lot too. What I told my husband at one point was that this was no different or better than putting a bandaid on an skin ulcer. It might patch things up temporarily, but it didn't deal with whatever disease was going on under the skin inside the body that was making the ulcer appear. I said I didn't want to just keep putting one bandaid after another on our marriage, I wanted to cure the underlying problem, which was the way we were not understanding each other -- I couldn't understand where he was coming from and it seemed to me he didn't understand my motives and feelings and thoughts, either, and this misunderstanding was causing eruptions in our relationship.
One of the persistent myths that I have had to combat with my husband is his perception that everything is easy for me, so when I ask him to work on problems, it's an unfair request because he feels it is so hard for him. I've had to show him that while it's true that some things, like communicating, are easier for me, many other things like exploring our problems are just as hard for me as for him, that our minds work so differently that it is just as hard for me to understand his point of view as it is for him to understand mine. Just because he doesn't perceive my effort doesn't mean I'm not making it! He complains that it's easier for me to remember, ignoring the fact that I use many support tools like checklists, post-it notes, a computer calendar with alarmed reminders, and other techniques to help me remember, that he often has refused to use in the past. I've had to point out that these things are only easier for me now because I've developed the habits of using them, that they weren't easy for me to learn to use back when -- and that he will probably also find them easier to use with practice, which means he has to give them a fair trial before rejecting them. This was very difficult to negotiate with him in years past, but with his new level of commitment after our separation, he was willing to try, and has found that while it's not a cakewalk, it has definitely become easier for him to do the things he's been practicing over time.
For my part, it was important to substitute the word "different" for "bad" in my thinking about how my husband thinks while I was working with him. He comes to inappropriate decisions and behaviors not because his brain is "bad" but because it is different from the norm. The problem really was not in the way his brain worked per se, but with his difficulties in perceiving that the context he had developed in his brain as a working environment was an inaccurate and artificial subset of the real world. Actually, we all build "models" of the real world in our minds, because obvioiusly the entirety of the real world is more than any of us can completely comprehend -- but the model that the ADDers build, in my experience, are simply less complete and less internally interconnected than the norm, so that it ends up being less accurate and thus less useful. I found that the more I could (gently, if possible) highlight to my husband the inconsistencies and gaps in his thinking and show him a broader view of the real world, the better we were able to understand each other.
I guess if I were in your shoes right now, I might say to my husband, "I understand that our sex issues are really important to you. Going through this healing process is just as important to me. The anger I am feeling is getting in the way of any other feelings. I don't like the anger that I'm feeling, but I don't have any way of turning it off like a switch -- I wish I could, but I don't know how. The only answer I know of is to go through a period of healing that will take a long time, because it took a long time for my anger to build up this much. And I can't make the anger go away by myself -- your ADD behaviors were the triggers for my anger, and I can't make my anger go away is without different, better behaviors to erase those triggers. We both unintentionally damaged things in our marriage, and we now both need to spend time and effort on fixing them. That's not a punishment, that's just a fact of how relationships work. I'm willing to work hard with you to get what we want. Are you willing to work hard with me to get what we want?"
I don't know if any of this helps -- I have to tell you that my husband *still*, after everything, gets defensive at times and we get caught in these kinds of unproductive talks from time to time. But mostly we are able to work through these issues. I must confess that although my husband did make efforts before we went through our separation, they were impatient and half-hearted efforts a lot of the time on his part. It wasn't until the shock of my asking him to move out, and the period of our separation, that he decided he really trully did want to work on these things, even though he didn't like the process and it was difficult for him.
making a list
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
Trying to get to the quick solution is an unfortunately common ADHD issue (but not for all people with ADHD). It's part distractability, part need for speed, part discomfort with reading emotional cues. Plus, for many men, talking about something is like hearing nails on a chalkboard. Again, this is a stereotype and not always applicable, but in general, men want to "solve problems" and move on while women want to "talk them out" and understand nuances. These are very different approaches that don't mix all that well. His idea - put together a list - is typical of the "solve the problem and move on" approach. He gets something concrete that he can put check marks next to and "bam", all is solved. So perhaps it would help if you said something like "look, a list isn't going to solve the problem here. First, it will reinforce to you something that I don't want to reinforce - that you should be at my beck and call. I don't think that, and I don't want to act in a way that might make you think that. Second, I couldn't possibly put together a list that would help you understand the nuances of what I need right now. Third, the things I need are pretty overarching in their nature. I suspect you aren't thinking of a list that includes things such as "always show respect to me and my opinions, even if you disagree with me". I am responsible for overcoming my anger, but I'm asking for you help, and I'm asking you to take this journey with me to our mutual benefit. You want me to stay with you, but then refuse to participate in a way that is meaningful to me - and in fact to most women. I need you to listen. I need you to acknowledge the legitimacy of my feelings. I need you to be responsive to me even if it's inconvenient. I'm not asking that you always agree with me. I don't want a slave. I want a PARTNER - someone who demonstrates his interest in me as a person. If you want to gain my trust again, you need to start to act like a partner. We can spend lots of time defining what that looks like for each of us if that interests you (assuming you would like a partner, too). It doesn't look like a list."
I think trying something like this is worthwhile. But I'm not convinced he'll get it, either. Is there another outlet you have for starting to get your anger under control? Also, how much of your anger is mutual? If a good deal of it is, then I would recommend that you read "Dance of Anger" by Harriet Lerner. One of the best books out there for how to change anger patterns. Another good one is "Dare to Forgive", which takes a different, but complementary approach.
I'll Try Again
Submitted by Laurie1213 on
Thanks Arwen and Melissa. I'll try one more time. He text me today saying that he loved me and was looking forward to connecting with me tonight. Maybe something is beginning to sink in. I can't help but be cautious because we've been here before. But I'm going to go with it.
The anger and frustration is mutual. I have been in counseling separate from my Husband. In fact, it was my therapist who first suspected that he might have ADHD based on what I'd been telling her. I appreciate your book recommendations. I will definitely read them as I don't want to be angry anymore. I'm ready to move on from anger and return to myself. I don't know whether he'll get it or not, but I'm doing everything that I can to make it work. If it doesn't end up working out, I'll know in my heart (for myself) that I did all that I could.
Thank you both again for helping me try and communicate with my husband. I'll keep you posted.
I'm tired of banging my head against a brick wall.
Submitted by Laurie1213 on
I feel like it's hopeless. I can't get through to my husband. He is convinced that I'm trying to punish him because I'm still hurt and angry about all that we've been through with his infidelity, Alcohol abuse, and untreated ADHD. We fought again last night because he tries to justify his affairs by saying that he only did it as a response to me mistreating him (which I never did). He says that I laughed at the way he dressed, I said that he could only get women who had low self esteem (obviously not true because he got me). He says that I withheld sex from him. I've never denied him sex. I just stopped performing in the way that he wanted me to because I he wasn't meeting my needs as well. I felt like a sex toy. He never saw me. He never displayed me any intimacy or affection. I tried over and over to discuss it with him, but he basically said that I was a trouble maker and wanted drama.
Now he keeps asking for some sort of timeline or date for how long I will continue to be angry. He tells me that I need to go and deal with it, as though it has nothing to do with him. He is insisting that I write down a timeline and steps needed (a checklist) to get me past anger. I tried reading some of your posts to him. Each time he seemed as though he understood, but eventually he forgot everything that we discussed. I can't get him to truly accept his responsibility in this marriage. He blames me for everything. Yet again, his take on the marriage is..."if I would just stop being mad and give him "over-the-top" sex" everything would be ok. I've come to realize that we're never going to make progress. I'm tired of banging my head against a brick wall.
He is unmovable. Just when I think we make progress we end up back at the same stale mate. It feels like he doesn't care about me at all. It feels like all he is concerned with is himself. He says that he tries to give me intimacy and affection. But that it's difficult to do because of my anger (I can understand that). But it's hard to accept his attempts at intimacy when he has said, on more than one occasion, that he thinks the whole thing (intimacy thing) is bullshit. He's very good at going through the motions but not the emotions. He says that I want him to be up and down emotionally, but that it's not him to be that way. I'm at the end of my rope.
I'm just starting to read "Dance of Anger". I'm hoping that it will help me to get back to the woman that I used to be before I married. That's when I was at my happiest. I don't really want to put anymore energy into this marriage. My husband can't deal with my emotion. I'm at a point where I don't want to give him any emotion (good or bad). I feel myself pulling away from him and my walls are getting thicker. I've tried so hard to communicate with him! I'm slowly coming to the "true" realization that this is as good as it gets.
when is his timeline to change?
Submitted by Dan on
He's asking for a timeline from you... but have you asked him for a timeline to change? It seems that he hasn't accepted his responsibility to the problems. Infidelity, alcohol abuse, and untreated ADHD.... has he written those problems down, so his family, peers, his church or whoever can help him acknowledge and understand these problems too? Is he man enough, smart enough, and caring enough to do that for himself and for you? It sounds like you are a very forgiving person, more forgiving than average... he doesn't know how lucky he has been so far... but one can't keep forgiving and also be miserable the rest of one's life. Multiple affairs? OMG... I'm getting divorced because of my undiagnosed ADHD and we argued. If I tossed in a few affairs, plus alcoholism... I wouldn't want to live with myself, let alone expect anyone else too. I feel bad for you and for him... but please look out for yourself... ADHD'er are survivors and apparently he has no problem in finding a mate... he'll be okay and even better when he wakes up on day and finally gets it. Give a deadline, protect yourself and/or be with someone you trust when giving it, and be prepared to act if deadline passes. Don't cheat yourself. Take care.
He thinks he's already changed
Submitted by Laurie1213 on
He thinks that his work is done. He's taking his medication, he attends a mens support group (not necessarily one with an understanding of ADHD), and he's been going to AA meetings (court ordered due to DUI, eventhough he's still drinking. I smelled liquor on his breath the other day). He says that his mens group thinks that I'm the problem...of course they do...God knows what he tells them! I asked him what he thinks his deadline should be to find a job. He turned it back around on me and asked me what I thought it should be. He says that he is not in control of the job market or economy and therefore thinks that a deadline would be unreasonable. He's still denying that he's drinking. And, in his mind, I am the problem.
I finally realize that nothing is going to change. And therefore, I will put no more energy or time into trying to get this marriage back on track. I'm done.
Be good to yourself...
Submitted by Clarity on
Be good to yourself...
he's got a great job already.
Submitted by Dan on
Sounds that he already has the perfect job.... where can men sign up for: over the top sex, affairs, drinking, discussing national economic issues (plus sports I'm sure), while hanging out with like minded guys, and doing other guy stuff only God knows about, then come home to the wife's paycheck and blame & complain to her "oh, poor me, my life is so hard"? Who would ever quit that job? That is a gravy job only to be fired from.
By the way, taking meds doesn't mean they work for everyone. To beat ADHD, one need's both meds AND will power/desire to improve. He has no will power to make something of himself. Jobs today don't look for people... people need to look for jobs... but jobs do exist everywhere! If he spent more time researching and going after jobs, and less time at his current... ah, um.... "job", he could have found one by now. No will power to find a job, no will power to stop the other negative traits that destroys a marriage. Will power, that is something taking a pill cannot provide.
Sorry, I'm getting a bit annoyed with your husband and just want to reach thru this computer, into your home and slap your husband upside-his-head. A good shock, would be doing him a favor. Seems that the only shock he's ever gonna get would be from you. If you do, be careful, have a plan and supporters around you. Take care.
I know there's no answer to this, but---
Submitted by LeeAnonymou on
How many times do we have to have this conversation? How many steps forward to we have to take, only to have him snap us back to the bad place again?
Thursday: he mentioned a business associate with whom he had an affair, and I went silent. He recognized it, came over to me, kissed me and whispered in my ear, "Don't. It's nothing. You and I are in a good place, a really good place. I love you." My heart warmed and I took a deep breath, keeping my mouth shut. We've been doing better.
Saturday: We're invited to a party together, one of his co-workers whom I know (we got a Christmas card from her the day before), but he established a week ago that he doesn't intend to go. Then he tells me that another co-worker has called and asked for a ride to the party. I say, "that's cool, but I thought we weren't going."
"Well, I want to go, but you weren't really invited. The invite said me and a guest. So I'll take xxx (male co-worker)."
Huh? I'm stunned and hurt by this statement, all of which of course is taking place in front of my kids. He proceeds to tell me that he doesn't want to take me because I'm not a fun person and he wants to just be with his friends and have some fun. They don't really like me anyway. I'm an embarrassment to him.
Definitely not in keeping with my world view. Usually it's "Oh, good, Lee's here!" when I walk into a party. But this is in keeping with a previous episode where he wanted to go out to a dance club with friends and told me I wasn't the right demographic (too old, too fat, too average-looking and too white) to join him.
When I step back, I see that it's a pattern. He has to pick a fight with me before he goes out without me. He doesn't know how to ask to go out without me, so he has to insult me and hurt my feelings to make me angry enough to tell him to go to hell. Then he feels justified in going out and having a good time without me because I've been "so emotional" about it.
However--- it lingers with me. A week later, he's apologized, apologized, and apologized, and I'm moving on because I have to. 2 kids in the house, one of who has begun characterizing his father as an asshole. I'm sure it confuses them when I try to smooth things over, but I don't know how to protect them any other way. Yet that sends them a message I don't agree with, either.
And, as soon as he apologizes for whatever horrible thing he's said to me to get out the door, I'm supposed to let it go like it never happened, or there's something wrong with me. I've told him so many times to please just leave and let us both be, but he refuses to. He can't live without me.
I let him make me believe that stuff about myself. Two things I can't change are I'm the age that I am and I'm white, but I'm working on the weight part (it's not that bad---5'8" 165; it's not like I'm morbidly obese). The night before this confrontation, someone at a party I attended alone complimented me on my sense of humor, saying I ought to write comedy for a living. But according to the man who's supposed to love and cherish me, I'm not a fun person; now it's in my head. I doubt. I replay the compliment and think, "maybe they were being sarcastic. Maybe I really am a drag. Maybe they thought I was obnoxious." Makes me not want to go out in public.
Now I'm back to the place where I am lost. I see my life sliding away. Nothing I do is important, nothing I say is right, nothing I give is appreciated. My talents and achievements are mocked or superseded by his. His problems---he has a cold today; we are on red alert--- are more important than anything in our family life. Anything we want to tell him better be condensed to a sound bite and it better be important. Our children barely matter to him, except as annoyances.
I DO NOT matter.
This week. Last week I was the love of his life. Does it ever stop?
adhd, PLUS something else
Submitted by Dan on
from what I read.... he may have ADHD, but something more than that too. ADHD alone usually doesn't make people a jerk to their spouse... ADHD definitely makes people not see that they are a being a jerk to their spouse. Find out how his parents or other important role models were in the house-hold he grew-up in, were they bad to each other or was there alcoholism or other abuse in his household? Don't look at his parents now when they are sweet, old and inactive... how were his parents when they were in active 30's/40's/50's? He may have picked up being a poor husband from some important role model that he looked up to as a child/teen and his ADHD now compounds it. He may not even liked and disapproved what he saw from this role model(s), but he was immersed in it since he was a child and now he is acting like this person(s) subconsciously, thinking it's normal. He thinks all what he is doing is normal/acceptable since likely he saw it growing up as "normal", he knows of family life no other way. This is a theory.
I am a man with ADHD and other issues... here is my thread: http://www.adhdmarriage.com/content/find-volunteer-slapper-your-husband-and-reason
Sounds like your husband had never been figuratively slapped up-side-his-head. If you want to save him and your marriage, he needs a shock to his system to snap out of his ADHD la-la-land. Else I know...it will never stop. Men think: don't fix what's not broken... why should a man change when there is no pain to do so?
Believe me, you do matter... all spouses matter. It's his ADHD, plus something else very engrained in him that has him in the dark. Only a huge shock, then theropy, will get him to finally see what his problems are. Best of luck to you and your husband... he doesn't know how lucky he has been so far.
Submitted by LeeAnonymou on
Mother: alcohol & drugs, many sexual partners, bisexual partners. Used to go into the bedroom Friday night and come out Monday morning. Pretty much raised by his older sister (6 years older). Believe me, Mom's no little old lady. The day I met her, she asked me directly if I was giving her son enough of a particular sex act, and if not, I should be. She's suffering from dementia now, in her late 60s.
Father: left on husband's birthday. Reentered his life in adulthood.
He doesn't have any memories before age 12. He thinks he might have been sexually abused by a female relative (deceased from a drug overdose), but he really can't remember. He just remembers her telling him all the time how pretty he was.
He's been working on improving his relationship with his parents as adults. Ironically, at my encouragement. I had a pretty decent relationship with mine, both deceased, and I miss them every day in a good way, if you know what I mean.
As I said in another post, we did okay for a while since the above posting, up and down. However, he texted me this afternoon in the middle of a huge snowstorm that he was spending the weekend with his mother to take a break from our marriage. Didn't intend it to be a separation, mind you, just a break. "I'll call the kids if I get a chance." Phone off/calls from me blocked. I'm frankly relieved to have him out of the house, and I would like him to just stay away. I don't think he's going to let go of me, though.
Yeah, I think he's got a bigger problem than ADHD--- or me, for that matter. Appreciate your insight--- it begins to make more sense. I don't think I can help him anymore, but I can begin to concentrate of helping my boys.
That's not ADD...
Submitted by LaTuFu on
Your husband is a jerk. Period. ADD has nothing to do with demeaning you so he can "go out without you."
Your child's instinct is correct. He may be suffering from ADD, but your husband's got a serious case of Butt for a Head moreso than ADD right now.
The color of your skin and the curves on your roads have nothing to do with it.
Submitted by LeeAnonymou on
your response made me laugh, and I thank you for that. Butt-for-a-Head is now his code name.
You matter very much, you are
Submitted by Rosi on
You matter very much, you are very important, never ever ever doubt yourself. You know what is right and what is wrong - even your child can see it. Look after yourself and your children. You deserve to be happy. Never ever doubt yourself.
and thank you---
Submitted by LeeAnonymou on
I'm reaching for a better place... kind of like myself again.
Funny, I just mentioned this,
Submitted by Cinimonstyk on
Funny, I just mentioned this, maybe you will find it usaful, not so much to solve your situation,but maybe to help understand it:
I read something the other day about how this really messes up the intimacy in a marriage because you can't be intimate with a child....it's just wrong. But if your husband's acting that way and causes frustrations and unnecessary situations in the home that bring about constant confusion, INTENTIONALLY OR NOT, then seperation on all levels, is oftentimes what you're left with....there is no intimacy.
Though I don't believe it is right (smile), I guess this is where we *fake it* (sexually I mean, since there is no intimacy, which is where it begins in our heads are women). That's not advise, so don't take it, I'm being facetiuos....sometimes I have to try to laugh to keep from crying...
Hope it at least made you smile!
Hi everybody. The
Submitted by Lost1972 on
The discussions here are very interesting, as always, and I can associate me and my relationship to much of what has been said.
I really do understand the problem faced by many, to get their spouse to acknowledge the impact the untreated (in my spouses case) ADHD has on the relationship. I have found a lot of valuable advice on this website on how to approch this.
In my case, my spouse has broken down and has been submitted to hospital, mainly due to depression and anxiety. My spouse, does want to get things under control but says that he has given up and that he can't live like this. My spouse had before this happened said that it was a relief to get the ADHD diagnosis, as it explained so much. My spouse has talked alot about getting his ADHD under control, but has in 9 months since diagnosed done nothing himself to adress it, educate himself or seek info on the ADHD and how it effects his and our way of living (ADHD traits). In order to be fair, he did soon after the diagnosis find a doctor, specialized in ADHD, but it took almost 6 months to get an appointment.
I´ve been at the point of giving up for a long time. If we didn't have children and I could walk a way from this, without ever having to look back or have any communcation again, then I probably would. I feel terrible saying this, but I have thought about this. Even though I find great comfort in reading many of the posts and discussions here, because they explain and put things into perspective for me (something that I've not been able to do myself), all of this just seems and feels too much to handle. I feel and imagine, that IF we will ever be able to work on our problems and the ADHD issues, that this will be a hell of a lot work - and frankly I'm not at all sure about my spouses willingness, ability and committment to adress the ADHD issues.
I've been feeling bad for a long time (to make a long story short, I've been carrying all the burden of working, household, trying to minimize the impulstivity damage, keep the peace within our home, etc.), but due to the situation (depression and anxiety of my spouse) I don't want to express how I feel to my spouse, beeing afraid of that will only make the situation worse for him. I know he is afraid that I'm at the point of giving up, which scares him. I have gotten the advice, that if I've decided to leave him, to tell him now, since he is in safe hands at the hospital. I admit I want to, but I somehow can't get myself to take that decision and I write that on the fact, that I'm a very co-dependent person, but not due to the fact that I love him. Because at the moment, I have no clue what so ever, if I love him or not but I do know that I care for him deeply. We have split up temporarily before and when I look back I see that he has been able to manage in those situations even though it has clearly been difficult for him. But when we are together, he dosen't seem to function at all. Which has made me think: do I basically make him "sick" and disfunctional? Or does he know, that he can allow himself to be disfunctional when we are together, because he knows that I will be there to take care of things? This again has made me sort of come to the conclusion, that he will not be able to make any positive steps forward regarding the ADHD, if we will be together. And this scares the hell out of me and makes me think that we at the moment, don't have a future together. Things just have to change. But his condition, makes it even harder to come to a conclusion.
Thanks for allowing me to vent a bit :)
Any ideas or suggestions on my / our situation, would be greatly appreciated.
So sorry for your situation
Submitted by Aspen on
My main question is whether there is any possibility of him getting diagnosed & possibly starting meds while he is in the hospital? It seems like the perfect place to start addressing this issue when he likely already is dealing with therapists and trying to get a handle on his other symptoms.
We are about 2.5 years in since my husband's diagnosis. Is it a lot of work? Yep, for both of us definitely....for me it is more about patience and support. The meds go a long way toward making focus possible, but my husband really wanted that to be all he needed. Working on the skill set needed to accomplish the things he's responsible for has been the much harder battle. For me it's been a lot of research and offering to try different things, but for us the outide help of his therapist and coach have been invaluable.
Firstly, he takes suggestions much better when they don't come from me(a major issue for me but I'm working on not taking it personally), Secondly, he needs someone checking up on his goals and keeping him on track but it negatively impacted our life when we tried to put me into that role--too parent/child for us. We tried family members, but they didn't really hold him to any schedule or committments, so for us it's needed to be the professional route. He is currently in group counselling (seriously only 1 session in) because we can afford that out-of-pocket easier than one on one, and his new therapist is trying to get him into coaching with someone who'll work together with both of them--perfect solution in my eyes.
I can see why you have a terrible time making this decision in your life with your husband in such a difficult place and also children to care for, but I'd talk to his therapists about whether it honestly is the best thing for him to be in the dark about all the compensations you're having to make for him. For my husband, it was seeing my pain and frustration level over his unkept committments that made him willing to start the process of getting help. It is slow going as far as my patience level with the swiftness of change, but I keep reading that slow change causes behaviors that stick, so I am holding on to that idea for right now.
I also know that for my husband one of the things that made him more willing to work on things, was my telling him flat out that this is something I NEEDED from him, but that I wasn't leaving either way. I love him truly for HIM and his ADD is part of that, but this is a challenge like any other we face in marriage, and we needed to get a handle on it together. Now many others post that their spouses only woke up after they were truly at the end of their rope and required a seperation or the real threat of divorce. It truly does seem individual.
I wish you and your husband all the best! If you stay, it really does need to be long haul type thinking though.
Submitted by MelissaOrlov on
My suggestion, if you can afford it, would be to "invest" in talking with a counselor yourself to try to address some of these issues. Try to find someone who understands ADHD so that you get good advice. It's possible, from what you describe, that you are doing too much for your husband (and certainly for your own sanity!). A counselor can also help you make decisions about when/what to discuss with him.
If he fears you'll leave him (the signs are usually there) then he may be paralyzed by this thought - unable to take the risks that are necessary to change things. It could be that untreated ADHD contributes to this. Look at Arwen's post about coaches, and about the process her husband took to change things around. It takes quite a while, usually.
Submitted by Lost1972 on
Thanks very much for the comments.
We went to a family counselor yesterday (been there once before a few weeks back). They are actually 2 women, that specilize in family therapy. They have some knowledge of ADHD, mainly with children.
It has been very good seeing them, because both of us feel it is much easier to talk about our problems when guided by a councelor. They "control" the conversation so that it has some structure. And they ask the "right" questions. Usually when we try to talk together the conversation just goes in circles without results.
We talked about how things have been the past year or so and especially the past 2 months. I was able to say exactly how things have been, from my point of view. About how I've been afraid to talk to him about what I've been feeling, due to his condition. That I had basically given up since he had in the past few weeks often said that he himself had given up all hope of getting better, and if that was the case, then obviously our relationship couldn't work. I said that positive steps would have to be taken by him to adress the ADHD issues, when he gets released from the hospital (most likely in late February or early March) otherwise I will not be able to continue in this relationship. My spouse is currently starting in a "rehabilitation" program at the hospital where among other things he will be treated by a psychologist (cognitive behavioral therapy). As I understand it, there will also be family sessions with the psychologist. My spouse says that he understands the situation. He says that he is feeling a bit better after the anti depressants have been increased, but when in a state of depression that it is difficult to see any hope or positives (e.g. having started seeing an ADHD specilaist, has been started on medication, has been to an seminar on how to live with ADHD). He even seems to have a problem with seeing the positives in beeing in the hospital and starting a rehabilitation program, to help him become fit to take on the tasks of everyday life, which for me is a very positive step, because hopefully that means that he has "reached" a certain bottom in his life and he is beeing offered the help to get on his feet again. But that will not have much meaning if nothing else is done when he is released from hospital. Further work on the issues has to be carried out.
I also said, as my spouse has noticed, that in the last 2 months I've been "withdrawing" myself from the situation, in a sense. By trying to set some boundaries, which I feel is even more important, due to my co-dependence. My spouse experiences that as a lack of effection from me, but from my point of view it is simply something that I've had to do, to keep my sanity!
I admit, as I said earlier, that at the moment I don't feel any love for him. I care for him greatly, but I don't really know if I love him. The most important thing right now (I feel) is that he takes effective part in the rehabilitation program, takes that forward after beeing released from hospital and that I take good care of myself. The reason beeing that whatever happens with our relationship in the future is not the main thing. The main thing is what George described so well in his reply undir this link: http://www.adhdmarriage.com/content/advice-adhd-man-set-new-course . This I tried to emphasize at the counselors. I.e. he basically has 2 options. One is to do nothing about the situation and look at what that has gotten him. Or work at making the neccassary changes in order to have a better life.
I'm gonna see what options there are about getting some counseling on my own. I feel that there are postive things happening and hopefully he will adress the ADHD issues when he gets released from hospital. I've mentioned the ADHD coaching to him in the past without any luck. Would ADHD coaching be the right way forward after he gets released from hospital? The reason that I'm asking is that I don't really know what is the "correct order" of things in dealing with ADHD or if there is something else that he should / could do to adress the ADHD issues before entering coaching? As strange as it sounds, eventhough his doctor is a specialist in ADHD for grown ups, the main emphasis seems to be on medication and everything else (rehabilitation, coaching, etc.) hardly gets discussed as options without me having to pile on the pressure and express my worries about my spouses situation (depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts). Which is why I'm wondering if ADHD coaching could be the next step forward, after hospital.
Many thanks again :)
Anger is not even a word
Submitted by rachtwelk on
Reading all of these post makes me feel so much more connected with fact that I am married to an ADD husband. I have been so bitter for so long with my husband and his ADD. I have questioned for years if this is a crutch and excuse to his irresponsible ways. He recently came off of his Adderall, because he states he was having some bad side effects from it(felt mean and drowsy on the weekends). I feel like throwing myself in a closet a squalling! We've been married 10 years and have 2 children. I am responsible for everything in this household. I feel like a single parent. I know he loves me, but sometimes I wonder what in the heck I'm doing with this person. He stays up late, sleeps in, doesn't put food back in the frig, doesn't lock car or house doors, not listening to me. Forgetful is not even a word to describe the things he does. Forgetting birthdays, our anniversary. I work as a nurse at a doctor's office and work with him at home. He is self-employed and works out of our home. Sometimes I question how he makes it owning his own business. I am so fed up with taking care of everything in our life and I am getting more and more bitter everyday! I find it so difficult to sympathize with his ADD because I am constantly questioning if he is naturally selfish sometimes or if he's really that severe. Our 5-year old son I am pretty sure has it also. He is starting to develop some of the same symptoms. Say a little prayer for me!
Get someone he trusts, to talk to him ASAP
Submitted by Dan on
Rachtwelk, before it get's worse for you and your children, get someone HE trusts and respects to talk with him ASAP. Here is my thread http://www.adhdmarriage.com/content/find-volunteer-slapper-your-husband-and-reason
He may know he has ADD, but he doesn't know the affects on his family. He needs to be "virtually slapped upside the head". He hasn't felt the shock yet of what ADD does to a family. He is so lucky to have you and you are still on board, but he cannot take that for granted. Get someone to talk to him, ASAP! He mentions of bad side effects of Adderall?? Oh, the poor baby. I sadly want to laugh at that, he has NO clue of real side effects. I want to tell to him "Side effects??!! How about a divorce as a side effect of NOT addressing your ADD??!!" He needs to be a man, address his problems, which is taking care of his family! I'd reach thru this computer and slap him upside the head if I could, to wake him up. Good luck, get him help! Else, someday, he's in for a real shock, a REAL side effect.
Maybe it won't help but ...
Submitted by shore on
... he doesn't know he's doing it. He won't remember having done it. And he's not exactly doing it on purpose.
Those aren't meant to be excuses, but realizations that helped me start in an entirely different place than I thought I should start. All the things you take for granted - that people know what they are doing, remember what they've done, etc - don't exist. So you can't start at a place that assumes all those things are going to happen.
That's exactly what it is. If
Submitted by Cinimonstyk on
That's exactly what it is. If mommy will do it, why do I have to. I'd rather do something fun rather than work that bores me to death! That, I think, is the thought process of my husband...because you're absolutely right. They know how to do it, and will if we step back long enough to let everything become chaotic and fall apart. ADDer oftentime perform better under stress that why they seem to only act when they are at the end of their rope. When it looks like you are gonna leave, they wanna fix it, do better. UNINTENTIONALLY OR NOT this is stressful for a non. Because prevention is better than cure for a person that is tracking properly. Why wait for everything to fall apart then fix it.....this is more work. Why not keep things in tact daily to avoid the firedrill.
Unfortunately, when you live wiht an ADDer, your life most times IS A firedrill.
It all comes down to making a decision as to do what's best for you, or what's best for them. I would like to say that most "caring" people opt to do what's in the best interest of others, but sometimes I don't think it has anything to do with that. It has to do with reaching the ultimate level of being fed up...which comes for different people at different times. I've seen some marriages last a few months, some only a few years. If you're like me, over a decade......and oftentimes I ask myself "how stupid am I to still be here?" Especially when I know that if it wasn't for my kids I wouldn't be.
I don't know, but what I do know is that there are many of us like this out there. Though I can take comfort in the numbers, and rest assured that I'm not alone, it doesn't make me feel any better about my situation!
So I've decided (within myself - and I guess now with all of you) that unless it gets unbearably worse, I will give it until my last child goes away to college. So technically, I'm serving a 7 yr prison sentence (because that's what it feels like). And after that time if there are no significant improvements, there will no longer be any reason for me to stay. So I guess I'm just kinda hanging out.....still going to counciling, he's still on the meds....I'm working on the relationship, hoping and praying for the best..... Best case scenerio, we can figure this thing out..... worse case scenerio, the glue will have dissolved and I'm out!
Many will probably ask why prolong it....especially since the kids are likely feeling the effects of a dysfunctional family anyway? I've heard it either way, "it's always best to have 2 parents in the home...." It's not like we're not trying....(it's just not working so well)...the other school of thought is, "it's better to have 2 happy parents apart than 2 unhappy ones together...." honestly, I buy that even more, but when 2 unhappy parents are barely getting by financially, and are living paycheck to paycheck, I don't see how you can have happy kids. At least together we are financially secure. They have a beautiful home, taken care of well, and two overseers that, for them, is a more ideal situation. So there you have it. It's a catch 22 either way. At the end of the day, I suppose I am making myself a martyr for the sake of my kids. I can't think of a better reason to be a martyr (smile). My day will come eventually with or without him.
Patience young padowan!
P.S. After I wrote the above, I found this video. Maybe I'm doing the right thing afterall:
Maybe the clue to staying to be a good parent and remaining sane is minimizing my footprint in the home, you know being there, but not allowing the confusion to affect me. I don't know. I'm open to suggestions, but I found the attachment reassuring in some ways concerning making this decision for my kids.
thank you for the link
Submitted by hope4myfamily on
My husband was diagnosed about 4 years ago and I completely feel your pain. I sometimes ask myself "am I damaging our kids more by having them around the negative behavior than divorce would? What's the lesser of the two evils? Divorce or an irresponsible, unreliable, inconsistent parent? To make matters worse I have a child with a disability who requires consistency and routine to make progress. It takes weeks sometimes months to see progress and I leave him alone with his dad for a couple of hours and have to start over. Some days I have the same light at the end of my tunnel I find my self counting down the days to when my youngest can be out on her own. Others I think maybe if we were to buy a duplex. Maybe we could live happily ever after if we each had separate living quarters. I love my husband, who he is and what he stands for. I just hate what this illness is doing to him and our family. I don't belive in throwing people away but sometimes it does feel like the only hope.
Good luck & let me know if you find your answer- your fellow martyr :)
It's great to hear
Submitted by shore on
It's great to hear you got to a better place.
There are lots of ways to get there. All of us assume, until we stop and think about it, that the way we respond is normal, natural, right, etc. But when you think about it, why would it be, necessarily? Why would this be: "I am by nature an impatient, angry person, not at all shy of conflict. .... I'm incapable of being angry without expressing it." That might describe me, too, but I realized it just wasn't helping anyone, it wasn't really necessary, and I had to find a way out of that.
Anger and frustration?
Submitted by WantingPeace on
I agree with the idea of changing myself, my reactions. For most all of our marriage, my H and I were in battle. Any conversation could turn on a dime and we'd be yelling, calling names, kitchen sinking every last slight. In the wake, so many things have happened, and H's ADHD is roaring loud with depression and anxiety and narcisisstic tendancies (and maybe other things that I don't know about). Nowadays, even a small slight gets blown out of proportion. I have a deep resentment toward H. I often feel like I have an unruly aggressive teenager in addition to my two smaller kids. It's hard to feel romantic toward someone who tantrums like a 6 year old. Therapy over the last few years has helped me to significantly improve my reactivity to his outbursts or hurtful actions. I don't bat 1000, and I still react sometimes. I still say mean spirited things. Here's my problem, I've gotten so much better, but when I do slip, when I am at my wit's end with his brooding, or feeling really sorry for the fact that my life is so affected by his depression or anxiety, and in those moments say something regrettable, well, he seizes on these episodes as if I committed a felonious assault.
I want to take responsibility for my behaviors and work on improving myself. I want to be able to put space between my feelings and reactions, and do the next right thing. And when I fail at that, I want to be with someone who cushions my fall--not someone standing over me with their arms crossed ready to pounce on that failure.
And so I struggle today. After days of H brooding and cursing me under his breath, yelling at me, slamming doors at me. And me leaving the room, telling him to stop yelling at me, trying to set boundaries, I made a comment that I wasn't suicidal over a broken phone (like he had been months earlier). It was mean. And when his lecture began about how mean I was, I did acknowledge that it was mean. But I felt myself wanting to put the comment in context. While I don't feel safe or comfortable acknowledging my shortcomings--at least not to him-- I don't want to defend what is indefensible. I simple told him I'm sorry. It was over the line. But when he went on about how it is me that was "abusive" to him for days, I stopped him. I said that I saw things very differently. That attempt came off as defensive and he seized on it.
I am tired of trying to interact with someone who is doing battle with me. I don't want to fight. Does anyone else feel resentful toward their ADHD spouse? What do you do when you act out inappropriately from that resentment? Does anyone have a spouse who takes out his anxiety and depression on you? I struggle with doing the right thing. And after re-reading this post, it's clear that I'm all over the place on this.
Submitted by mammadonna on
Your post hit so close to home for me. I'm a non wife of an ADHD Husband and I related to everything you said.
Did ANYONE respond with advice? Tips? Resources? I'd like to get in on that if so.
Submitted by godom on
My husband and I have been married for 9 years this May. We have a 7 year old daughter. I love my family very much. My husband was injured and let go from his job in Jan 2010. We decided it was the perfect opportunity for him to go back to school. One semester in we realized there was a problem. I saw a commercial for adult ADHD medicine and everything just seemed to be describing my husband. I suggested he get tested. He went and we could not believe how this seemed to fit every problem he had faced at his job, during his first try at college, and now that he was back in school. He was diagnosed and put on medicine. I guess at the time I just assumed that the medicine would fix everything. It has helped him tremendously with school. He is doing great and hopefully will graduate in another year. The problem is I just feel so lost in the relationship sometimes. Our whole life revolves around his schedule and what he needs. I experience all the things people say here, lack of attention, complete disregard for finances, refusal to help around the house. As long as whatever we are doing is something he wants to do our life is completely blissful. As soon as we need to do something for me or my daughter, he completely glazes over and checks out. Once he has had enough of something, it is finished. I'm trying so hard to keep things together, but I feel like I don't even recognize myself anymore. I have so much resentment that I lose my temper and let little things annoy me because I just can't find a simple fix for the bigger problem. I wish I could find a support group of people that I could join so that at least once in a while I could feel like I'm not alone with this. Finding this website has been a blessing and I hope I can learn from others who deal with these same feelings.
I totally agree with your Reply to "overcoming anger"
Submitted by lonelyandconfused on
"As I've mentioned in many of my posts, I am by nature an impatient, angry person, not at all shy of conflict. I've always felt that there was so much that I needed and wanted to do with my life, and nowhere near enough time to do it. I like people and having a good time, but to enjoy myself and fulfill my life responsibilities, I needed everyday life to move right along. I had a fairly short fuse, and anybody who got in my way or made it more difficult made me mad."
I have quoted your response: This is exactly how I'm. I do not possess any patient. Everything has to happen right away for me. I'm assertive and try to be perfect in everything i do. When i realized that my husband have ADD, I tried to change him; to me! but all i could get back was stress. I stumbled to this blog and your response to the post. Now, I'm more focusing on (only from today; after reading this blog) how to change my behavior towards my husband. Approach him from a different perspective, rather than trying to change him.
Thanks for this