So a week of being around and connected (somewhat), ends badly w dh first coming home late without letting me know where he was- til he came home drunk, to last night just not coming home. I was up repeatedly once an hour calling but no answer til now when he states he "fell asleep in the car" because he was so tired. I believe him yet does that matter? He is disappearing! I also think he was drinking again- i know this is an issue and its not getting any better. Ultimately though, what happened, you ask? He started cursing at me - because I am all "controlling". Leads me to believe that he did this on purpose because I sent him some emails about some hard issues we needed to talk about. Knew he'd be angry though he surprisingly gave no indication of it when I spoke to him yesterday. I am so confused and dog tired myself. Need some clarity...feeling hurt yet again and dont know what to do with it...I know I need to place myself and kids as priority and that he (and only he) is in control of his actions. God given me strength!

Justified... And you don't deserve to be treated like that!

I read about the ADDers behaviors like this and it makes me mad to be represented by actions like this. Electronic Hugs from me this morning... Boundaries are talked about so often here on this site and I know they work. I believe the only reason I ever got myself together, before diagnosis, is my wife. She knew me long before we dated and I was the typical job bouncing, womanizing, terrible boyfriend, but was very convincing as to why all these things happened... When my wife and I started dating, her expectations were Quite clear... I knew any of the old me would kill this deal fast. Boundaries do work, but must be real hard to setup after the relationship is going on... I wish I could say something more to help. I read posts like yours and understand the sadness for sure... YYZ

Lulu, (First, let me


(First, let me apologize if I am off base- I just woke up and had a terrible night of rancid dreams and I am almost positive that I've fractured my ankle as well)

As a non ADHD spouse- I know that when you see smoke- you feel like there is a potential for your house/the neighbors house, and the entire block to be on fire. Why? Because it starts with one step before it becomes a dance of confusion and anger and frustration.

Let me start with his behavior- Avoidance. His staying out all night is clearly avoidance- whether or not he's able to clearly articulate it to you- in my opinion is suggests "oh god- she wants to talk about serious/hard stuff. This means I'm going to get to listen to what a bastard I am all evening- I'm going to say something wrong, we're going to argue and I am going to get to listen to a total character assassination about how I need to behave differently. His rage- clearly avoidance (remember- avoiding is a form of control)- if he can behave obnoxiously enough- maybe just maybe instead of a 3 hour character assassination he can make you angry enough to stop any discussion -right now-. In fact, you're thinking completely about what he did last-night- but are you thinking about the other things you wanted to discuss with him?

Your behavior- calling him every hour on the hour. Every call that you gave him let him know: 1. You're completely enveloped in wondering where he is- you're under his thumb, sitting at home, with your focus set intently on him. 2. Every call you made (the first one; the second were out of concern) but every subsequent call could only mean you were getting angrier and more resentful and he was in the doghouse. Even if he did fall asleep- the minute he noticed 5 or so missed calls- he probably thought "great, now I'm really going to hear it"

"Leads me to believe he did this on purpose"....probably yes- probably no. Did he intentionally stay away- yes- was it to upset you- not necessarily- is the result that his avoidance is "controlling" how you feel. Yes. However- consider this- his reaction is to avoid your discussion the same way that your reaction is to pursue him via hourly phone calls. You're both reacting this way because you're thinking of the negatives. He probably thinks your discussion will be negative- and you are concerned about where he is/if he's ok/ why he isn't home/ how malignant whatever he's doing is. However- both of these are reactions because you're both assuming the worst about what may/may not be going through the other person's mind and the effect that they intend to have on you emotionally. Cycle alert.

YYZ is correct in my opinion about boundaries on this one. Have a "no fuss/no detailed "feeling" discussion" ... "You staying out all night is not appropriate. You shouldn't be sleeping in your car when you have a bed. If you are drinking again- that is a problem for our family. You're slipping back into patterns that have been destructive in the past and you need to address that"

As for the other discussion you intended to have? I wouldn't pursue him to have it- although it's things you need to get off of your chest in order to feel like you're making positive progress and that is valid and a real need for you. Consider the best way to reduce it to bullet points if that's at all possible.

Thanks yyz and EW, you are

Thanks yyz and EW, you are both right. Setting up boundaries are difficult after a several decades long relationship. Its a whole new world almost now that we "know". And no, apparently no drinking was involved. Just spoke again- he is at work Again. EW, yes you have it right too. I feel played, but how can you not worry when you are told they are on their way home and then no-show? Intentional/unconsciously intentional/ unintentional the point is moot- and he actually just apologized profusely. Does not take away the worry and upset (anger and resentment?), you are correct. Will try to take both of your advice- though i am so mentally and physically shot. I am moving on from this and trying to remember Al-anons first precept: didnt cause it, cant control it, cant cure it. This is his rollercoaster. I can only control my feelings. Thanks guys. **PS: EW if you really think you fractured your ankle (sorry!), dont forget to immediately ice it, and elevate it above your heart and go to dr. Take care of yourself!

Good for you!

That is a great attitude to have... My ADD was discovered after starting a great new job that was paying me a lot more money and I was REALLY stressed because I had to prove to the new company I was worth it, when I always felt like I was great at Over-Selling my skills and waiting for people to figure out I was not really that smart. So I was working ridiculous hours, which was new to us as we also worked at the same company for over a decade. If I was going to be late I'd usually call an hour after my day was supposed to end and then get zoned in on my project and not call or text, because I assumed she was mad because it had been so long since the last communication. My anxieties which I had never really had before this period in my life were causing a paralysis. For years we had fallen into a not very close relationship and the new job combined with the dynamics of Not working at the same company together (Knowing all the same people we both interacted with daily). We really got more and more distant and my anxieties finally sent me to the doctor, leading to diagnosis. I guess the point of my ramble is that I understand the "Oh Crap" look how late it is, Again, and I would just feel guilty, mad at myself, mad at her for thinking she was mad at me for working hard to prove myself at a new job, mad because I never said a word all the years she would have to work late or on weekends. AND ADD exhausts you on a normal day, so working long hours makes everything worse... I guess it was a blessing in a way, because I was a pretty balanced ADDer for 43 years and nobody ever suspected I had it. Now I know and I feel so much better in so many ways like basic, obvious to NonADDers, common sense about checking in when working late, better at work, I get more done at home, I'm less worn out and grumpy. I feel pretty good most of the time.

I hope your husband can see the benefits of taking on the ADD and work to improving your lives.




It's not you... it's me. Maybe a little of all of us


I agree with the concept of the world you "know". Neither the non-adhd nor the adhd spouse has ESP- we react based on our own interpretation of "energy/tone/body language" and with two minds that see the world from such different perspectives- it's a recipe for disaster.

I don't think your reaction was wrong in any way- I hope you don't think that I'm being hard on you- I honestly am saying more about my knowledge of my own habits than anything about yours... I just hope that understanding what I feel are my mistakes might help you find a little peace of mind.

I taught dance a bit when I was younger- and just like dance- these emotions become so rehearsed that you don't even realize you're moving from "good intentions > feeling rebuffed> feeling angry > pursuing because you question what's going on > feeling rejected/ignored/rebuffed (which actually reinforces your pursuit) > real concern that something is horribly wrong/ mixed with concern that nothing is wrong and you're being taken advantage of > anger and distrust (when I say resentment- I mean that "i'm being played- this person is intentionally causing me pain" feeling). When someone is thinking only of theirself- they are by definition not thinking about you- and because of that- it cannot be a personal attack. It's unfair- it does have an effect on you- but that person caught up in self isn't "aiming" anything at you- you're just getting collateral damage. Intent and consequence are different.

This is what I think now (that i've read a little more and understand ADHD a little more as well as codependence)... if I start out angry then my need to know where my spouse is/what he's doing/ talk to him immediately is based in fear and self-interest- and if I'm doing it out of fear- I am trying to control whatever decision he's making that is making me so uneasy when what I probably need to be doing is finding something that makes me feel happy. Mysteries- unknowns, if they are truly a problem they eventually come out in the wash like a loud penny you can't ignore in the dryer. Seeking out the "problem" so that it doesn't catch you off guard (you being able to control when you find out)... if its unfounded you've wasted time and created distrust (even if your spouse is completely oblivious to what you're thinking- you've planted a seed in your own mind)... if it is founded- you're just going to hurt earlier than you would have otherwise- but it won't have any bearing on how LONG you hurt- emotional pain isn't something that you can "start early/finish early".

I'm glad he apologized! I myself had fallen into the habit of thinking that every hushed phone conversation- every time he left his phone in his car was an indication that the bottom was falling out- that this was this mysterious thing waiting to waylay me. It's not healthy- And quite frankly- most of the time I was wrong (but if 1/4 you are right- you make the mistake of feeling completely justified to freak out about 4/4 before knowing any details.

In Melissa's book- she wrote "trust but verify". When you're healing- if you're committed to healing- if you don't "trust but verify" - you've already lost. If yesterday's mistakes always poison today's miscommunications- neither of you (nor myself and my husband) can ever create change. Holding onto the hurt of the outworn patterns is creating a self-fulling prophecy.  Both of you need to get past your former "self" to have a chance to have a changed and happy "new self". I get in my own way of doing this far too often.

As for this ankle- I elevated and iced it all night- I can barely put any pressure on it- so I will shortly be taking myself to the minor-med. My priorities are straight though- Heal mind, have coffee and to not cause injury to anyone else's mind- heal foot. ;)

(I am convinced that this is the universe's way of saying "if you don't pay attention to yourself- I will make it so that you cannot possibly ignore it")

EW... This is Greatness! (Your observation)

You have put into words something I have been trying to express to describe what I have been seeing...

"If yesterday's mistakes always poison today's miscommunications- neither of you (nor myself and my husband) can ever create change. Holding onto the hurt of the outworn patterns is creating a self-fulling prophecy.  Both of you need to get past your former "self" to have a chance to have a changed and happy "new self". " 

I have felt, until I finally mustered the nerve to talk about it, that may wife had pre-planned the inevitable outcome of our divorce and was pushing me away to protect herself from the moment when "I" decide to tell her "I" want a divorce. I don't or never did want a divorce and we had a real good talk that day.





YYZ, Thank you for the


Thank you for the affirmation. (On second cup; I assure everyone I will be going to the doctor!)

Unfortunately- despite the fact that I know this to be true- and have tried to communicate it to my spouse (he can't get over the feelings of me hating him- therefore he hates himself in relation to me- which makes him want to be away from me).

My question to you (since you understand ADD yourself): Without me around to serve as a constant reminder (if even only in presence alone)- will he really not have to face it?

I've had conversations with him about "you need to forgive yourself so that I can forgive you, otherwise it will always happen again"... He never took that to heart. Same mistake would happen (creating a hidden e-mail address to talk to an ex girlfriend in our case)... the "dance" would start and that only reinforced to him that things couldn't and wouldn't change. Confrontation from me- avoidance/deflection from him- anger from me- and then escalation from him in an attempt to make me back down and stop the conversation (which inevitably would result in me feeling so helpless the only thing I could do was tell him that if he couldn't discuss things/ fix things with me that he didn't love me and shouldn't be here)... A day later it was as if "nothing every happened"... or he would apologize- but it was off the table for discussion because it was over and done with. No forgiveness- no healing- just stuffing it under the couch cushion for later.


EW, you are spot on. No you

EW, you are spot on. No you are not being hard on me. You are articulating everything exactly right, albeit the fact I am so freaking sleep deprived (lol, now that I can somewhat) I am having trouble following it all. I am giing to look at this again in awhile with a fresh eye. But the cycle, the dance of anger, the perceived anger and blame generating avoidance (spouse w adhd) generating more anger and resentment based on fear from perceived hurts (spouse who is nonadhd)... Yes, sounds vaguely familiar... Next stop: how to stop this cycle to everyone's satisfaction...hugs to you both, you helped me this am so I thank you... ***EW: in answer to your question, if I may guess: no with you NOT around, he has to face his ADHD more, not less. That will be the big surprise, yet blessing. Some of the awareness of how much his frustrations play out regardless of your presence or not is a good epiphany for him to have. Wont, unfortunately (or necessarily) remove blame from you, at least entirely), but forces him to realize that no matter where he goes, so does the adhd (tho with a little less stress from the relationship craziness. That's why your spouse's physical absence from the house, might be in one way, a blessing... Just a thought.... Xoxo

Ew, I agree with lulu, he

Ew, I agree with lulu, he will never be 'free' from dealing with his ADHD. You letting his suck you into his chaos 'helps' him...this is why it is so vital that you detach and remove yourself from his chaos. Refuse to be his emotional punching bag. ("I am happier without you", kinda crap). It DOES force him to face it head on...and not having you by his side, him 'controlling' you with his hurtful words, then he's definitely left to deal with it ALL BY HIMSELF. Do not doubt that he cannot fun from it...he will be forced to deal with it...and he'll also probably be more likely to deal with it if he DOESN'T have you. It's hard to explain...but my belief is that having us there, seeing us suffering and scrambling to fix everything, somehow 'proves their point', that WE are the problem, and when we just step back and say "screw it" and let them deal with it (acting aloof...or even better HAPPY really throws them off!!) then it is like all of the sudden they realize what they're doing. They blame us, but they WANT US IN THEIR LIVES. When they know that they are about to lose everything, then and only then does it seem they are willing to face their own demon. Also, another aspect of this, I feel, is that the more attempts we make..no matter how noble..to 'help'..the reality is that we are taking away their God given responsibility and right to make their own decisions and face their own consequences. You didn't make him 'panic'...his ADHD did. You can't make it stop...but you can behave in a way that either prolongs it OR forces him to face it on his own. ((HUGS))

EW's question

"My question to you (since you understand ADD yourself): Without me around to serve as a constant reminder (if even only in presence alone)- will he really not have to face it?"

I have exactly the same question.  And though I understand (and hopefully agree) with lululove and Sherri, I still wonder because when left to his own devices, my adhd husband often just zones in on the computer 24 hours a day or becomes a workaholic.  Although without contact and without being around, I really can't be blamed for anything anymore....

I think we're talking about

I think we're talking about two separate situations. EW's husband has left, they are separated, and he seems to be unraveling. There are inattentive ADHDers who really do seem to not need or want much human interaction with their spouses and stay enthralled in the computer, like you say. However, in this situation, what I am referring to is an ADHDer who is unraveling and who seemingly wakes up one day and decides he/she doesn't want their lives anymore and starts running away. I feel this is the "dark side" of ADHD. All of the advice I've given is based on dealing with someone in that situation...not necessarily with an inattentive ADHDer which I think you might be talking about.

Just like ice cream, there

Just like ice cream, there are many "flavors" of ADHD/ADD. Its expression is further affected by individual temperaments, experiences,..comorbidities (if applicable). The tuning out may be easier for a person with inattentive (for sure!) or the mixed variation (hyper/inatt)...but in my experience is that the motivation factor can drive a person to do many things, regardless. So whichever type of adhd your husband(s), his absence from home does change things up--it is a change in environment, requirements, stimuli. I would try not to overthink it though, as tempting as that is. You cant sit there wishing and wondering your time away.... I am starting my day, and my best efforts after this weekend (fun though it was, NOT), I am resolving to try to make it a happy and good one for ME! Hope you all have a good day!

The scenario you went through

The scenario you went through last night used to be an all.the.time thing here. He would leave, say he wouldn't be home too late and then it would be 4 a.m...or not at all...and mostly always drinking was involved.

Honestly, if I could go back in time I would have handled all of it so differently...including the incessant phone calls (with him not answering), the 'we need to talk's, the e-mails, etc. I know in your heart of hearts that you feel that the way to 'fix' this situation is through talking and e-mails, but lady it just isn't. I have spent a lifetime trying to 'fix' my marriage wtih the same kinds of efforts. What I feel is a much better approach is to handle things AS THEY HAPPEN...deal with it as quickly as possible...and move on. And by 'deal with it' I mean that you need to state your feelings, how it makes you feel, and then let it go. Eventually, he'll either start liking this new way of doing things and respond in a positive way, or he'll just keep doing the same things and you'll have some very hard decisions to make. I think his not coming home was a direct result of the e-mails, whether it was intentional or not (I believe it probably was very intentional), and that is because you do not handle problems in your marriage with someone who is ADHD through e-mails. My husband used to come unglued (he too would act like he was FINE when I would talk to him after sending one, but then just disappear later) when I would send e-mails. He admitted to me that he would do just exactly what I 'told him' not do to just to spite me even though he never would act angry outwardly, he would sure make me regret it with his actions..by not coming home.  I, too, got the profuse apologies (the next day..after the damage was done) every.single.time he did it. Just assume, no matter what he says, that he's home when he you see him pull in the driveway.

My new approach...that I am trying very, very hard to perfect...

-no checking up on him...if he wants to let me know where he is and what he's doing, I'm happy...but if it kills me, I won't check up on him. If I were you, and he doesn't come home, then I would go to bed and let him live with his decisions.

-no more 'talks' about our issues. If I have learned nothing else, I have learned that ANY issue can be resolved ONCE YOU REACH A POINT OF MUTUAL RESPECT and that will NOT be reached until the patterns are broken and the chasing/running (controlling/rebelling) game is stopped. Whether it feels like it or not, your e-mail was a form of you trying to control/fix him. The end result was him pulling away...and making things worse. If my husband and I don't get a place of mutual respect, of him carrying his own crap and me carrying mine, then we're never going to have good problem resolution skills. Me micro-managing him (e-mails, phone calls) IS carrying his burden for him. I'm not willing to do that anymore, and the more I manage to stop doing it, the easier it gets. If he behaves suspiciously during the day (like when he's supposed to be at work, but he's out running around) or when he says at 7 o'clock in the evening he's got to run to the office I immediately want to start questioning him and calling to check up on him, I tell myself over and over that if he's going to do something 'wrong' then me trying to control him will only make it worse. I'm letting him go and praying he makes the right decisions and I am slowly but surely coming to peace with the idea that I can accept whatever happens. I AM LETTING HIM LIVE HIS LIFE, MAKING HIS OWN DECISIONS, AND FULLY LIVING WITH THE CONSEQUENCES. This has been so freeing. Terrifying, but freeing. As a result, he calls and checks in frequently...and is never later than what he says he'll be.

-Dealing with issues as they arise and then letting it go. Accepting that some issues are just part of our marriage, probably always will be, and learning to minimize their effects. Starting each day with a clean slate. Instead of EXPECTING the past to repeat itself, and living accordingly, I am learning to FINALLY accept that it is all out of my hands (except my own behaviors/reactions) and having peace about that. I am no longer expecting bad things, hopeful for a better future, but accepting that no matter what, I will be OK and will be able to say I did my best. Another part of this is making a conscious effort to have more days than not that we don't focus merely on what is wrong about our marriage and trying to fix those wrong things. I'm so f**king tired of working hard at making this thing work, and having it just be barely tolerable.  He said to me in counseling once "can't we just have one day where we just enjoy being together and you not try and fix everything?" After I got past my initial reaction (easy for you to say, you're being a jerk!) I realized he was right. If he spent everyday pointing out to me my anger and how I needed to fix it and wanting to talk about it and sending me e-mail (I only keep mentioning this because I was FAMOUS for doing this CONSTANTLY..and he hated it!!) then I would just shut down too. So, dealing with things as they arise, recognizing subjects that are always going to cause a fight and saving them for later (or counseling), and just trying to wake up and smile at the day and think positively is where I am wanting to be.

I would just see today as another chance to do things 'differently'. Tell him you accept his apology, and mean it. Move forward. Learn. Try to create an atmosphere that he'll not be able to WAIT to get home to...and pray that he reciprocates with the same kindness.

((HUGS)) Sorry if this seems rambly...I've had 10 other things going and it has taken me forever to get it out. I lost my train of thought a few times too...May have to come back and claify things later, so take it with a grain of salt...




My hand is shaking and I can

My hand is shaking and I can barely get a grip. Embarrassed and ashamed but I know that is not rIght. My husband lost his temper again, he disappeared then came home at midnight. I asked where he had been and he answered with a profane comment. I said why do you have to be so mean and he said it was because it was my fault. His anger progressed and he was physically abusive again, grabbing and kicking me. He has left and now I am falling apart. Scary and he acted like it was nothing.... I dont know what to do...kids were asleep.so embarrased, hurt (emotionally). Afraid.

Lululove,  this is my first

Lululove,  this is my first post. I'm sorry for butting into your thread but I saw your message and it tore my heart. I think most regulars on this board have gone to bed.

I'm so sorry you're going through this tonight. I believe you should call the domestic abuse hotline in your area...right now. You are in danger. PLEASE do this for yourself and your kids. I will be saying prayers for all of you.


Lulu, Reading Codependent


Reading Codependent No More I realized something- as an individual who spent so many years dealing with the belligerence of other people- I had a stock reaction.

1. I would try to "fix" the situation- (you shouldn't say that/do that because it's hurtful).

2. I would internalize when I couldn't fix the situation. What had I don't wrong? Why did that person dislike me so much to treat me that way?...

3. If the belligerence continued- I would do anything to appease the person who was being belligerent (yelling/ crying/ begging). Whatever it took to make that person stop putting me through hell at that moment. This is fight or flight.

4. When the person disconnected- abandoned me because I was trying so hard to calm them down- I had a nearly PTSD response of crippling anxiety. (Sometimes this would make me pursue that person so that I could quiet the fear inside of my head. Obviously this just started the cycle of behavior over again.)

I'm sorry that your husband did that, he should never enter your personal space in an aggressive way. That is completely unacceptable behavior.

There is no reason whatsoever for you to be embarrassed by his behavior. It is not your responsibility to straighten him out or keep him on a healthy path. The only responsibility that you have is to make sure that you are healthy and that your children are healthy- those things you can own. His health and behavior are his responsibility- you may be able to influence him for a time- but his health is his responsibility- as are the consequences of his behavior.  ((hug)) I'm sorry you've had such a rough night.


I'm sorry about your night...

As an ADDer myself, I understand at least some of what must be going through the ADD brain here, BUT there is never an excuse for physical abuse from him. I cannot imagine what it must have felt like for you with your children asleep nearby. I certainly cannot tell you what to do, but please get help now, report this to the police. I think the police could be enough of a shock to wake your husband up to own his spiraling out of control behavior, before more damage is done.

Please get help...