Hi all! This is my first post here. I'm in the midst of reading THE COUPLES GUIDE TO THRIVING WITH ADHD and almost every page relates to my relationship. It's been a long road of difficulty for me and my husband - been together for 18 years, married for 11 with 2 kids. My husband was diagnosed with ADHD about 17 years ago and has been on meds since. He also has depression anxiety, substance abuse issues and more.
sleep had always been a HUGE issues for him, intially an insomniac, then sleeping too much. It never used to bug me until we had kids really - then his sleep patterns became problematic as he wasn't living up to the normal expectations of"people with young kids". He would often be up till 4am then sleep till 12 or later when he has obligations to attend to, other times be in bed at 9pm and still struggle to get up the next day. He's ranged (typical inconsistency) from thinking his sleep is an issue that needs addressing, to thinking this is just normal for him and it's "fine" despite how it effects anyone else. I've ranged from waking him up, fighting with him to wake up or go to bed, leaving him be and not waking him even if he had something he needed to be up for, helping him set alarms to go to bed, suggesting "ideas" of how to structure his sleep etc.
In my journey to be less codependent and "mothering", I try not to get involved anymore. I don't bug him to go to bed and I try not to get angry when he only gets 2 hours sleep (then thinks it's ok to drive the kids to school.....) . I only wake him when I have to (eg. I'm going to work and he needs to take kids to school).
the thing is - I don't really know where the line is in the "mothering" . For example - on the weekend - if I don't wake him, he's unlikely to get up. I feel resentful (getting up every morning with the kids early) and I get angry, which leads us to fight. He doesn't usually get woken by his alarms (if he sets them) or even the kids jumping on him and so if I don't wake him, I spend the day angry at him. But I'm "mothering" him by letting this whole dynamic happen.
What's worse - sometimes when I try wake him it takes a while for him to get up - and he resists often by saying annoying things like "what for" or let me sleep another hour (at 9am when I've been up since 6am and we all want to do things as a family). Again what's worse is that I KNOW that he IS SOMETIMES capable of getting up on his own (with an alarm) if it's important and he's motivated - like when he had a new job. So this just makes me more irritated.
I used to ask him to write on the whiteboard in our room the night before if he WANTED to get woken up and at what time, that way it wouldn't be MY responsibility but I would just be aiding him (probably mothering I'm sure but maybe less so???) but of course he never did this. I guess the whole issue never really effected him enough to want to work on it - but for me it's huge. We've discussed it in therapy - a lot of times - but still nothing sticks or remains "remember or changed" for long. This is just one of many many issues that are chronic and utterly frustrating. I'm reaching the point of separation being a real option.
so what am I supposed to do? I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.....
thanks for listening ;)
If he does not take
Submitted by Will It Get Better on
If he does not take responsibility for managing his ADHD symptoms and behaviors then yes 'I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't..... '. That will remain true no matter how aggravated you get. You've jump through all the hoops for years so you know this to be true.
Submitted by AdeleS6845 on
I think that all you can do is lay the responsibility in his lap. He needs to figure out something that will work for him, because if it's something you suggest or come up with it's not going to work. I believe that c ur self told his wife that her alarm was too soft and that's why she couldn't hear it, that she needed to come up with something obnoxious in order for it to wake her up. All said, it is not your responsibility to wake him up. If it was important to him he would figure out a way to solve this problem.
yes how much mothering
Submitted by Desparate-Exhausted on
I struggle with this question as well. When the severe procrastination, lack of responsibilities piles up.....and the consequences affect everyone in the family.....do we just stand by and watch the easily observable results just come our way? How hard is that? Yes, I get that I can only "do" me, not him. But "him" is really "us" when we are doing life as one, eh? If someone is blind and walking unaware towards a cliff, do you step in and prevent the obvious consequences? uuuuhhh yeah. Still confused. We are reading 1Cor. 13 aloud every day. Seems to be helping, at least on my end. DE
The insidiousness of ADHD
Submitted by Will It Get Better on
You have touched on the insidiousness of ADHD. You will do anything you can think of to 'help' (see the ADHD symptom-bowling ball hurtling toward you and yours), endure the consequences (crash! - pins go flying), scramble to find and restore your lives (reset the pins), and, as you finally restore some semblance of order, from behind you hear another ball crashing down the alley of your life. Regardless of how earnest and loving you remain, you can not stop the balls from coming (no matter what YOU do). It is a hard truth (and forget trying to explain to anyone who has not lived it.)
Hi Janine Diamond....Same her.....
Submitted by c ur self on
This is what I know after 12 years....Many of us are married to a person who's life doesn't work in a marriage....So lighten up on yourself....You are married to an adult person, (just like me) who can only, and will only, be responsible under heavy pressure, (no option) and at the last minute....And will be ugly and disrespectful if you press them at times...So this type person's words are mostly useless...They have big plans about getting up doing stuff, but, can't make it happen...Never wait around on them, always have a plan with them, and one w/o them...And make sure you calmly tell them that...Never let them being a crying victim bother you when they didn't get up...Just smile and tell them it's your choice, big man...No mother here!
I also know, that the more you mother this type, the worse they get, and the more they depend on it....You become the enemy to their life style, mothering instead of accepting....See my wife, and probably your husband think they are fine, maybe not totally deep down, but not enough to care to pursue help, for all their bad habits...They aren't capable to large degree, and they show you and me, but, we want believe it...But, our lives get great, when we believe it...Let them alone to be themselves, plan responsible living without someone you know you can't trust!....The only time they speak of change is when their life style causes them enough pain....But that is where you and I and so many more co-dependent and mothering spouses come in....Every time they are fixing to learn a life lesson...We step up and change their diaper, and even accept their abuse for thanks?? See how that works??
A few things I do....I have a lot of boundaries that I place on myself just to live with her in as peaceful existence as possible....No sharing finances, separate taxes, I do my own grocery shopping, I do most of the cleaning, we each do our own laundry...I want ride w/her (no place to set if I wanted to) due to iPhone use...I want go on family vacations with her...Because if the grown kids and grand kids are there, I don't exist, it's total hyper focus....She controls the sex, and anything else that takes two people to willing share in....I'm available, she's a excuse making put me off a day or two, of course I still have to remind her.....I've about stopped, I'm afraid if I totally stop, I will leave....
Another thing I do to make myself allow her to get up on her own, is I leave, I plan things for when she is suppose to be getting up...I will go shopping, I will go walking, I go visit one of our children, A movie (before covid)....Because if I'm here, it's hard to not call her when she is over sleeping for work...So I do things out of love...But in order to make sure it's love only, I make sure her get up time, from time to time, falls on her....Mine starts hearing alarms 45 minutes before she jumps up....I wear ear plugs, and I just get on up if it's in the AM, or lightly touch her and she will silence it...She works nights so she has to be at work at 7:30 pm...
Her adderall is like speed...She can't fall a sleep easily, and she can't get up, (hung over from the meds)... I feel for her, but, she makes it double tough because she want recognize it and discipline her life...
We are married to people who's lives work ok alone, because there is no one to run interference for them (no one to depend on)...But they aren't equipped to share in many of life's responsibilities, they aren't equipped to keep their word about getting up, leaving, showing up, etc etc....On any regular basis you can trust....
So just expect it....Your life will get better when you live like he doesn't exist in the area's you can't count on him or trust him...That's my reality also....
Submitted by 1Melody1 on
I just want to mainly echo what curself said. I have been married to my ADHD husband for 18 years, together for more than 20. We have one child.
My husband also has a sleep schedule that suits him, regardless of family responsibilities. It leaves me with all the parenting and household duties. I have tried to explain how this impacts me several times and it is not something he can comprehend (the impact of his choices and actions on other people). Or perhaps he chooses not to understand because to admit that he gets it would mean he might have to change... and he is HAPPY going to bed and getting up when he wants to. He does not care that I am burnt out or angry as long as he can keep doing what he wants.
This is a hard truth that has taken me a long time to swallow. In my particular case, nothing is going to change. That isn't to say it won't change for you with some hard discussions/therapy, etc. Nothing has worked for me except what curself said... acceptance. Honestly, I plan to separate eventually, but in the meantime, acceptance has allowed me the smallest bit of relief. I no longer consider my husband in my daily plan. I act as though I am a single mom because I essentially am. The reason this helps is because I no longer assume I will have help so I don't take on any more than I can handle all by myself. I am proud of myself for doing so well instead of upset that "we" as a couple are not keeping up like everyone else seems to be. (When two parents act as equals, their households are bound to run better... when I consider what I am able to accomplish alone, I can be proud of that). I am also no longer as angry that he slept all day because I didn't expect him to get up and help me. I still carry resentment, but by expecting nothing, I'm not disappointed. If this sounds awful, it is, but it's a little less awful than constantly trying to work with him to change or having promises broken, etc.
I guess another way to go would be to set a loud alarm for 6 in the morning and start telling them that THAT is when the children and you get up, so that is when HE gets up from now on. If he wants more sleep, it is his responsibility to start going to bed earlier. Period. Of course you can try to have a nice, assertive conversation about this before taking the action. For me that never works because my husband ignores me. But in normal relationships, this would probably work. I force accountability in these ways sometimes and don't consider it mothering. E.G. If he knows we are leaving at 6 to go somewhere, but he is just jumping in the shower at 6:05, I will leave and he can take the other car when he's ready. That forces him to be accountable for being ready on time and he either has to walk in late and manage the embarrassment/excuses or start being ready on time so he can come with us. No longer giving your husband the option to sleep in may force him to be accountable as a parent and partner. He will be angry at first, no doubt, but if he sees you won't relent on the wake-up, he may also fall into line and start going to bed earlier out of necessity.
Neither of the above two solutions are ideal. In a normal relationship, you would be able to talk about these issues and reach a compromise or resolution. For me, at least, thousands of attempts at normal relational conversation has proven that this is impossible with my ADHD partner, so I've had to resort to the above for survival.
Wishing you the best and sorry you are dealing with such a difficult situation.
Submitted by c ur self on
(I am proud of myself for doing so well instead of upset that "we" as a couple are not keeping up like everyone else seems to be.)
You should be <3....and the seems!...Is a big seems for many;)
It's such a blessing to stop self persecuting over the actions and in-actions of another human....