Hi, I live in the Great Lakes area, am in a lengthy marriage with four children, and was diagnosed a few years back. Now we're in deep trouble and I just need some outside eyes.
Like so many others here, my condition, in combination with my wife's response to it, has caused serious difficulties for us and we are now on the brink of divorce. We have the typical parent-child dynamic going on where she is ultimately responsible for the big things in our household, and her (understandable) bitterness and resentment over this, along with a lack of respect for me is creating an unequal and destructive relationship. I also have not been as affectionate or attentive to her as a spouse should be, and she is (understandably) hurt by that as well.
Showing affection is impossible at this stage of our marriage (for both of us). But I am now working very hard at my ADHD treatment, having tried many different meds and doses, and having finally found a pretty good combination. I am also going to therapy/counseling about once a week. But my wife says she thinks things have gotten worse since I started my treatment and that I am now using my ADHD as an excuse. For my part, I am exasperated by her unwillingness to be the least bit empathetic or supportive of my treatment. She says that I cannot demand to be treated as an equal if I at the same time say that I am not an equal in pulling my weight at home. She says that if I were physically handicapped, I wouldn't expect to be treated as a person who can walk. She doesn't think I deserve respect, but that I must earn it. Her lack of respect for me, she says, comes from having seen me too often in a position of weakness where I am being pathetic. But when I say that I feel disrespected, demand that she stop cutting me down to size or directing her rage onto me, and when I ask her to be supportive of my treatment she accuses me of getting into a victim-mode.
I don't think that I am using my diagnosis as an excuse. From the first moment I was diagnosed, I never denied my ADHD. Instead, it has been a great relief for me to finally understand my repeated and demoralizing failures in life (despite being, on the whole, a very successful person professionally). But I haven't stopped trying to be a better person just because I got the diagnosis. I try to find workarounds for my deficiencies, using alarms, timers etc. And while I do not pull equal weight when it comes to the big things like doing bills or planning our family events etc, I have a successful career and am a loving and present father who picks up from school, takes the kids to & from activities five times a week and puts them to bed almost every night. (Of course, when I do this I am often late, stress a lot, and don't always prepare the kids' bags etc, and I know that doesn't stack up to all that she does. But I am far from a deadbeat dad or complete slacker.)
It's just that learning to do things differently as an adult, and to manage your ADHD symptoms is very very difficult, and I am far from having been entirely successful in my quest to do so as of yet. And when I get so little support from her, it's even harder. I easily fall back into self-destructive and negative spirals after she has yelled at me or we've fought. I know this is unproductive and that I can't put my possibility for improvement on her, but I guess this is one point where I'd like some input (beyond just venting):
I feel that I am making a reasonable demand that we both do our part to make things better, and for her that means that she should be understanding of my condition and supportive of my treatment and that she doesn't sabotage it with her rage and resentment. But perhaps I am just - as she claims - blaming her for my failure to improve and placing myself in a "victim mode". The latter is obviously wrong and I know I need to take responsibility for my own progress or lack thereof. But I find it difficult to determine if I am in fact standing up for myself when placing these demands on her (hence NOT being a victim), or if I am instead laying my treatment failures on her! What does it sound like to you all?
Input from both ADHD and non-ADHD spouses are welcome. (BTW, if anyone with ADHD made it through this essay of a post - you should be proud!!!)