Sad & Angry, the changes never came

 

I.m a non-add spouse, been married 18 years.  Despair is the only word that describes how I feel.  He was diagnosed 2 months after we married -  I thought 'ok, we can do this.  Lot.s to learn we.ll work together'.   He is a very kind & sweet man, is good father, a really good guy.  Nothing could have ever prepared me for living this way.  I have read everything, tried to help, organize, plan, ignore, let natural consequences happen, I.ve been direct, I.ve been accommodating.  I tried to be encouraging & patient (not good at this at all)   I begged, asked, screamed for him to do something differently.  To get help [more than medication alone, not enough].  The 'help' we got dismissed his Add/inattention & basically said 'You just need to lighten up, he.s a good guy.  You.ve got it pretty good'. I was always very open about the fact that at some point I wouldn.t keep living this way.  Then about 3.5 years ago - I. Gave. Up.   The pain I feel is not because I love him or want his companionship it is because of the rage I feel for being tricked/lied to/deceived because he said 'I know I have some things to work on, I understand, I.m going to start making changes, you wait & see'.  I foolishly believed him & that was sick.  No more.

ENDURANCE

My first day in the forum.  I have a 17 year old Grand-daughter with ADHD.  My husband has ADD. I knew nothing about ADHD until my Grand-daughter was diagnosed.  I got on the Internet and read

what I could to get knowledge of the disorder.  Then, I remarried my first husband in 2008, not knowing he ADD and in 2009 diagnosis with Diabetes 11 and had a shoulder and hip replacement.

My Life totally changed  over the past eight years.  I came into the situation no knowledge of Chronic Diabetic Illness and ADD disorders.  I never had Professional Training. My Father, in 2005 had a severe

stroke and I took care of him 1 year in his home and 1 year in a nursing home. Then, My brother,2003-2013, A Cancer patient for 10 years. My twin brother died of Cancer in 2011. I helped him for 2

months. In the meantime, I helped my husband, with his Mother in her home from 2007-2012 she is now 91. I would say I JUST WANT MY LIFE BACK. Now, my Husband and I, are renting a home.

The Endurance of being a Care Giver of diseases, disorders, afflictions, and your put into the position that you didn't ask for is really challenging! Then, when married, without the knowledge of the hidden

health issues you, start looking at the cost of care for the person who suffers with the afflictions.  My husband, has VA benefits, so, his med's are covered. But, he has never taken Med's for ADD or ADHD.

He is 70 and has function in his life without addressing the disorder ADD with doctors. He has been married 3X's and I remarried him so, he's married 4X's.  I did not know he had the medical issues.

I just step back and tell him to deal with his Doctors, I am, not a doctor or a nurse and he has dealt with this disorder all of his life. I refuse to allow this to take over my life and consume me.  I am, not

the one with the disorder.  They have to be willing to seek help from a Doctor and Professionals to LEARN TO COPE with their disorder as they age.  You can't be all things to that person!  They, need others

in their medical health journey to give support and Doctors help be your advocate when, dealing with the PATIENT.   

 

IO's picture

Changes that never happen

I am also a non-ADHD spouse. My husband and I have been married for 4.5 years now, and although he was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, I guess he thought he'd outgrown it. Until recently. I certainly didn't realize when we met, and I initially felt kind of deceived - before I found out about the ADHD. I was really upset about the fact that THE NICEST, most AWESOME guy I'd ever been on a date with was no longer getting me flowers or little gifts, wasn't making me my favorite breakfast anymore, didn't want to take me out at all. I couldn't figure it out. Now I know what is up, and some of the things I have learned make me feel a little better - for instance, apparently, at this point, he feels SO connected to me that I am like an extension of himself. I guess that is why he doesn't feel like he has to talk to me, or impress me, and why he can sometimes be overly critical.

One of the toughest parts for me is that I also am not patient, and have always been easy to anger. I had gotten a lot better over the years, but when the ADHD stuff started creeping in, I started getting angry. Just a little at first, I tried to be reasonable, tried to keep it to myself, but it builds up, and finally I can't take it anymore, so I turn into a normal sized, not green, female version of the Incredible Hulk and rage and smash. So, for a long time, *I* have been "the problem", because of my anger. We still feel like this is a problem (and I am working on seeing someone myself), but after all the reading I've done, I now realize that a LOT of non-ADHD spouses get angry. I feel you on the screaming.

What is making me crazy is that we've got all of these doctors, therapists, counselors and coaches for the ADHD people, but there isn't anyone out there specifically for US. The providers for the ADHD people (as you mentioned above) seem to feel like we just need to "lighten up". While I get that the ADHD people aren't doing these things maliciously, I do NOT get how it would not be okay for someone who does not have this behavior, and no one would ever ask you to excuse it in other people, but just because a person has ADHD, their behavior is "excused". If they choose to not follow through with making changes, well they will suffer the consequence of their spouse divorcing them.

But what about us? Divorce is a consequence for us as well! I don't want to get a divorce! I like my life(for the most part), I like where I live. I even like my husband, I just don't always like some of the things that happen. So, I don't want to suffer the consequence of negligence, I want to figure it out and learn how to live together functionally. Why isn't there anyone that does that? All the books I've read are very vague, or offer solutions that don't work, the websites all seem to just be to sell products or services, and a lot of the blogs and forums are just full of angry rants.

I don't want to rant angrily about my husband. I want to find solutions. I'm sorry that it seems like things aren't working out for you. 18 years is a long time.

A manual would be nice

I agree with you that the books out there aren't much of a guide to figuring out how to deal with the day to day stressors. Melissa's I thought was better than most at that aspect, but the suggestions aren't a great fit for all. And that's the problem with self help books, they can't be tailored to the individuals involved. We are similar but not the same. So much about dealing with the symptoms you seem to do already. And not getting angry is about learning to respond differently to input and adjusting expectations to what's reasonable given the condition. Perhaps that level of connection just isn't possible. What if that doesn't change? 

Anger, frustration, and disappointment are perfectly valid and reasonable responses to the input we get. Responses based on our typical brains and environment. But the input is from an atypical brain and different ways of getting through the world, so it's perception is completely different. And every bit as valid to them. It takes time, practice, and willingness to retrain our brains, but it is possible. 

Its great that you two still derive joy from the relationship. My dh still makes me laugh too. It's not all bad. Cheers to remembering the good!

Changes that never happen

I agree there is not much out there to support the non-ADHD spouse.  I am hoping Melissa's seminar helps me more than him, I can at least determine whether he will ever change or get better with the tools I learn for my own part.  I will be doing a lot more for myself and less for him, as I know most of the effort will be on my part.

I'm So Exhausted's picture

But what about us? Divorce is

But what about us? Divorce is a consequence for us as well! I don't want to get a divorce! I like my life(for the most part), I like where I live. I even like my husband, I just don't always like some of the things that happen. So, I don't want to suffer the consequence of negligence, I want to figure it out and learn how to live together functionally. Why isn't there anyone that does that? All the books I've read are very vague, or offer solutions that don't work, the websites all seem to just be to sell products or services, and a lot of the blogs and forums are just full of angry rants.

I don't want to rant angrily about my husband. I want to find solutions. I'm sorry that it seems like things aren't working out for you. 18 years is a long time.  

I am reading your post, and I saw myself, some 10-15 years ago.  Hoping beyond hope.  Trying everything I could.  Dr. Phill's Relationship Rescue, counseling with an ADHD specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, Melissa's Couple Seminars, and other various counselng.  

I do not want to rant about my husband.  I need to share what I experience so I can know I am not alone.  I need to verbalize my frustration so I can hear someone say, "No, you are not crazy."  What I see and feel needs to be validated somewhere, by someone.  

I want to find solutions.  I do want to find solutions.  I really want to find solutions.  My spouse gets very frustrated - he tries so hard.  How to help him see that what he needs is to try DIFFERENT.  If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got.  

I certainly struggle every second of every day in untangling how I feel - I feel like I am abandoning him, leaving him behind, in his anger.  He told me he is happier outside in the barn with his stuff than trying to be around people.  I am 'people' too.  I feel angry he can't seem to choose me.  I don't want to get a divorce either.  It is so difficult to live with an angry man, who is so prickly to try to converse with.  As long as everything goes his way, he gets to lead in everything, and I never challenge anything he says or does, then he appears happy. 

I have one really close friend, not someone unknown on a forum, who I can share my frustration.  She keeps me on track so I do not say anything disrespectful about my spouse, do not blame him for all our woes, nor belittle him as a man.  But she does understand my struggle.  She loves my spouse and she loves me.  She gets it.    

     

rage!

Wow!! I feel the exact kind of rage. I waited on the "right" guy for me and got tricked! 

Our "help" said the same thing even though he said my husband was 4 out of 5 for ADD. Getting "help" made my husband worse! Now I was the real problem in his mind:/ Mine knew I wouldn't continue to live like that, but no change came even though he screamed that he wanted it. I am so glad I gave up early. I told him he wouldn't see change until I did. He went down fighting. He couldn't understand that after 2+ years of putting up with his crap, I couldn't praise him for every "one step forward" because I knew the two steps back was coming. He wanted automatic rewards. I required long term change. 

We barely get along as friends now simply because of his untreated ADD. When I complain about him to anyone, they are usually appalled at his behavior, so I inevitably say "but he's a good guy". Yeah, just good at heart is not want I want to grow a family with:/

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Why am I still confused. . . . .

Hello,

This ADHD stuff boggles my mind.  I am the Non-ADHD spouse.  I wake up every day to a totally new life.  Sometimes it feels like the movie Groundhog Day.  I wake up to a new day - but all the lessons learned and agreements made yesterday are gone.  It is like I am living with a person with  Alzheimers/Selective-Memory.  

Very oddly, any of my actions that caused my spouse hurt are never forgotten by him.  But his actions that cause me frustrations - well, those were "In the past.  Don't hold them over my head."

Whew - I really need a step by step "DO THIS" guide.  Yes, I know happiness comes from inside.  The only person in this marriage I can count on is myself.  

I am slowly realizing I am holding myself hostage by guilt.