I don't know if I'm in the right place because I'm not here due to my husband. I found this forum after months of searching online for tips to deal with the frustration of my ADHD boss. Of course, I don't deal with a lot of the issues that a spouse of someone with ADHD deals with but honestly, I don't know where else to turn. For reasons that are too long to explain, my choices are either to start my own competing business or to just keep working with my boss. We are both attorneys and he owns the very small law firm where I work. I'm not in a place to start my own business right now, but I don't really know how to process my anger at my boss and continue to work with him. For the sake of anonymity and clarity, I will call my boss Bob.
To be very blunt, Bob not only displays extreme impulsivity, distraction, disorganization, and hyperactivity but he is downright abusive. He will berate employees for not writing the area code for a local number he knows by heart in a phone message and then he will give me a message from "some guy who sounded really happy." He will then scream at me for not calling clients back any time anyone tries to talk to him about an issue. Many days, I have to pass along a message from a disgruntled client (because he is somehow never in the office when they call for him) and I feel like I am walking on eggshells. We constantly get calls from unhappy clients due to his disorganization, poor work product, missed deadlines, etc. I even get phone calls from judges wondering why he is not in court and I have to tell them that I don't know where he is, even when I suspect that he is probably just at home in bed. At 10 in the morning. He actively makes my job more difficult and he refuses to listen to reasonable requests such as please don't take files out of my office (he will lose them or important documents in them) or please get a correct name and/or phone number when you take a phone message. Or just, you know, don't delete a saved voicemail for me and then tell me that you couldn't understand the person's name or phone number.
It is pretty clear that Bob has extremely low self-esteem and I can't say that I blame him as he is rarely successful at anything he does. He fails to finish about 90% of the projects that he has at any one time, he loses most of the cases that he does complete, most of the people who work with him are angry at him for failing to follow through on his promises, and he barely makes any money. I don't say that to blame him for any of these things as I see them as the inevitable result of his poorly treated ADHD. He has mentioned starting to take "medication" again recently, but I don't know what he is on or his treatment plan. To be perfectly honest, I feel like whatever he is on is NOT the right medication for him as his mood and behavior took an absolute nosedive in the last year, though he denies that anything is wrong or different. His behavior is bizarre and his moods are cycling up and down at the speed of light. He lies almost constantly about the most unimportant things and I can't think of a single client he is "working" with who he has actually done anything for in the last few months. He disappears from the office for hours at a time or finds 12 little reasons to leave throughout the day. He will call everyone to a meeting and get up at least 7 times before he even finishes a single sentence about why he called the meeting. He has screamed at clients who have confronted him about not doing the work he promised and he makes all of us in the office incredibly uncomfortable and/or distracted on a constant basis. He literally has entire conversations with himself all day long that are so loud I can't concentrate on my own projects.
My anger stems from the fact that his ADHD is so extreme and he is not seeking any sort of therapy or ADHD coach, nor is he even receptive to our concern that his medication is actually making things worse. Even when the other employees and I try to approach him in blameless, supportive ways, he reacts with extreme anger and blames us for every single problem in the office. He calls us bullies and when I calmly ask him for examples of the ways in which I have bullied him so that I can evaluate my behavior and make changes, he will not ever give me a concrete example. I am a fairly organized person and I struggle a great deal with inconsistency, so it is very emotionally taxing for me to work for someone who will change policies at the drop of a hat, create extra work for me for no logical reason, refuse to clarify any aspect of the new policy which I don't understand, and then yells at me when I fail to follow the policy perfectly 1 time out of 100. Meanwhile, he never follows the policy and if you try to bring it up, he will act like he forgot he even made that policy. Or the conflicting policy that he also expects us to follow simultaneously. In short, I never know what my work expectations are and I am always in danger that Bob will do something that will severely and negatively impact one of my clients or cases, but I don't feel that I have any way to manage those situations. I have worked for Bob for over 5 years and I feel like I have had to become an expert in communicating with him while he appears to make no effort to truly change any of his behaviors. Granted, he reads a lot of self-help books and has "life coaches" but I think he avoids actively seeking help for his ADHD because he feels like doing so would be like admitting he is the problem, instead of the world around him. He reads these books as though they contain a magic quote or idea that will just somehow change everything for him without having to do any work. He has also made many statements over the years that he thinks everyone else is crazy and that he is the only one who thinks or does things the "right" way.
I just don't know how I can go on feeling so abused and knowing that, financially, I don't really have any other choice. I am so angry at this point that I honestly don't even know if I can respect the fact that a lot of the disorganization and chaos stems from a legitimate medical issue. I truly feel like I hate Bob and that he chooses to act like a lazy, dishonest, tornado; wreaking havoc on the lives of everyone around him and not caring. Most days, I feel like he doesn't even really see me as a person with feelings or needs of my own, but an object to be used and ignored when I am not around. (Not trying to toot my own horn, but the fact is that I earn the majority of the revenue in our office and I think Bob only keeps me around because he needs me to make sure his paycheck is high enough.) How can I let go of that anger? How can I deal with the constant abuse? Am I right in holding Bob responsible for managing his ADHD or should I just accept that I have to constantly change my behavior to accommodate his whims? Do I really need to become an ADHD expert on top of staying up-to-date with a complicated area of law? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!