So tired of being ignored!

My ADD husband is addicted to his laptop.  He spends hours a day on it arguing w/ people about politics, playing games, etc.  He rarely puts it aside in the evenings.  I might as well be on another planet.  I get so tired of being ignored for hours on end.  I have mentioned it before but it goes in one ear and out the other.  Does anyone else deal with this?

 

yes. very much so, but mine

yes. very much so, but mine just surfs the web, plays games, for hours on end...then when i say can you do X which will take 5 minutes he will say i don't have time...TIME ??? you have been playing on the PC for 6 hours straight! ugh

It is only obvious to me

It is only obvious to me behind closed doors since he acts perfectly natural most times in public. As soon as he gets inside, the tv goes on and most weekends I have clocked dh sitting or laying in front of the tv between 12 to 20 hours a day, on weekends. We once spent an entire vacation break with him in front of the tv set for the same number of hours every day. When the adhd gets really bad, he has the tv on, surfing the laptop and listening to a radio station, all at the same time! I don't know how else to call attention to the addiction.

Time

 

I firmly believe that the very next thing a person diagnosed with ADHD should do after some sort of initial medication is to start logging their time religiously.  With a timeclock smartphone app and a timer app (I think Pomodoro method timers are excellent for ADHD), it takes me about 15 minutes cumulatively per day to log everything within 6 minute increments.  I spend more time analyzing than I'd like, sometimes up to half an hour, but that's a result of not having a consistent method (I should probably write it all down like an operations manual to myself so that I don't have to remember if I tag 4 hours of golf with my brother as "Family Time"  or "Colossal Time Suck").  

There are several reasons why this is valuable to me:

1) Task durations.  Two years ago, I couldn't even accurately tell you how much time I needed in the morning between having my feet hit the floor and walking out the door.  Nor did I know how long it took me to unload the dishwasher- my perception was that it took about 45 seconds so I could put it off until the last minute.  I needed to be educated on how long it took me to do things so that I wasn't always late, or I ran out of time and didn't do something I was expected to do.

2) Identifying "time sucks".  I get lost in video games, back episodes of Breaking Bad, and internet research of the best movies starring Ann Margret, just as much as any other ADHD.  At least if I know where the time sucks are, I can be much more tenacious about putting time limits on these tasks.  It also helps to try and identify when I'm most easily lured.  The reality is that these tasks do not recharge, or give me joy and I need to replace them with anything that has even a tiny bit of value.

3) Documentation.  I know I did laundry recently....I FEEL like I did laundry recently.  But I can't tell you whether I did it two days ago, or two weeks ago.  If I were to get screamed at for never doing housework, I would swear that I just did laundry.  This isn't lying- I am being pressured to put a date stamp on something because "obviously" I should know when the last time I did laundry.  Whether it's a boss, a significant other, a life coach, or my daughter, it's much less stressful to be able to say "this is what I did."

4)Getting back on track.  If I have timers/alarms going off reminding me to log my time every half hour that might seem excessive.  But that is a system of checks and balances that forces me to at least stop for 30 seconds and acknowledge what I've been doing.  Now that I have broken focus, if I was going down the wrong path I can steer back easily.

One word of caution, this time tracking cannot ever, ever, ever, EVER be used by the non-ADHD partner or anyone else as a weapon.  There will be screw-ups; and if tracked honestly those screw-ups will be memorialized plain as day.  The VERY first time that time log is used to belittle, it will either never be shared again or it will be fudged to ensure it is no longer damaging.  It's a tool to improve, not a weapon.

Brickmuffin - this is very helpful

This is the kind of suggestion ADHD coaches might make and can be very helpful in terms of getting a real, objective view of how you are using your time.  Thanks for posting.

these are great ideas.  Your

these are great ideas.  Your comment on number three was an AHA moment for me...my H was saying the other day to our children about them needing to do chores and how one of his chores - is doing the dishes- and how he does this chore every day...and i thought what planet do you live on..(no i did not say this out loud). In actuality he does the dishes on average 1 or 2 nights a week, i usually end up needing to do them the next day in order to make dinner again. this is a big source of irritation for me, but maybe he does not realize he is only doing this chore once a week...ok i am going to give him the benefit of the doubt that it is his poor memory.   I know there is no way he will follow these tips and i'm sure if i write them down for him that will just make it worse, if someone IS willing to do this they are great suggestions.

I bought a book over a year ago 'ADD Friendly ways to organize your life',  also great tips on Many topics.  I have read it and do many of the suggestions myself to help keep the house and kids organized, My H wouldn't even pick it up or follow some of the simple things i tried to establish...like leaving your keys on a table by the door so you always know where they are. His therapist recommended the book so i went and purchased it...

There is a section on managing 'hyperfocus' on things like watching TV, surfing the web, playing video games... it simply says to decide a time limit for yourself and set a timer for the allotted time...seems simple enough, since many do not realize that hours and hours may have passed, the key is actually forcing yourself away when the timer goes off.

One way to identify an addiction

...is to try to go a day without it.  If you can't do that, you're addicted.  If your partner insists he's not addicted, ask if he might be willing to do that experimet.  If he can't make it through 24 hours without technology, then...There certainly is such a thing as a technology addiction.

squirts of dopamine

Melissa wrote a response once that addressed this:

"The video games are a form of self-medication.  The speed of video games actually encourages "squirts" of dopamine in the brain which address his ADHD and provide focus (for the games).  That's part of the reason he likes them so well."

My STBX could definitely hyper-focus on things like this. It seemed calming for him and more than once I would see him unable to focus to follow a conversation but able to focus on a video game all night (I would walk out in the morning and he would still be playing it). He often had the tv running constantly or listened to music with headphones on (the ultimate in blocking everything else out). 

It may help to research the "dopamine" phenomenon and ADHD. It did seem like a form of self-medication, or therapy, for my STBX, because he was very calm and happy when focusing on games or a social networking site like this, and would become pretty upset if I tried to interrupt or drag him off. Medication helped somewhat but it was not consistent (therapy and more oversight with his meds would have helped, I am sure, but...) It got worse when i would wait until I was fed up and then get mad at him for it--he felt I was constantly criticizing him and trying to take away this thing that made him feel better. It would really hurt my feelings when I would walk in after a long trip or something and he would not even look up from what he was doing when I said hello. In my mind, he wasn't even happy to see me. In his mind, he was, but he was in the middle of something, and the interruption was stressful for him, and he would acknowledge me later. I should have known he was happy to see me, in his eyes. 

Do you have a counselor or anyone you can talk to?  

 

the back of his head

It would really hurt my feelings when I would walk in after a long trip or something and he would not even look up from what he was doing when I said hello. In my mind, he wasn't even happy to see me.

Same here.

DH never turns toward me when I come home.  I have said hello and good bye to the back of his head more often than not. He does not come to talk to me. I am always the instigator of all conversations.  He ignores me and hopes to "get away with" whatever it is he does not want to take responsibility for....ususally paying bills....which he hopes I will just get frustrated and pay them myself for him.  

Lynnninny, What is your d's attitude toward you now that you are splitting? Is he acknowledging this will happen or does he deny himself the reality?

tough time

Hi Jennalemon,

Honestly, it varies from day to day. He has certainly accepted it, and on some level, I think life is much less stressful for him because he now largely gets to live alone and does not have to "deal" with as much with me and the kids out of the picture. There have been meltdown moments, like when I have had to order our respective finances just to make sure we don't go under until it is divided and he simply can't do it and cries from being overwhelmed. There have been moments of anger, and resentment, and of him bemoaning how alone he is. Just tonight we had a huge fight because we have not formally worked out visitation yet, and even though he cannot deal with making a visitation schedule, he complained that he hasn't seen enough of our children and I am "taking them away" from him and threatened to take me to court for the millionth time. Sigh. Still, living in my own space is the best thing ever. It is so great not to order my day around wondering what kind of mood he is going to be in, or how he is going to act. Definitely the right decision. Amen. And when he went really nuts on the phone tonight, I quietly told him I would talk to him later, and hung up on him, lol. 

Lynninny

It sounds tough but freeing. Stand firm.  It so many times sounds like we married the same man.  Don't give in to his tactics.  Good luck to you.

computer addiction

Even with our marriage in as good shape as it is now we still have this issue in a sort of ongoing way.  My husband is an IT strategist - the computer is his work life...plus he just loves browsing it.  We have some serious conversations about the difference in our lives when he's on the computer (in his own world) vs. when he's connected to the people who are actually around him.  I've found he is most able to see the difference between connecting with our kids (instead of being on the computer) vs. me - perhaps because they aren't around all the time.  We had a very interesting conversation the other night about how I connect with the kids vs. how he does and he admitted that he does miss out if he doesn't think about controlling his time on the computer.  Anyway, since we've been dealing with this for just about forever, here are some things that work in our household and with some of my clients who have the same issue:

  • set aside times of the day when you both agree that technology should be banned - a great time is the family dinner (no phones or texting, either!!)  This provides good time to connect.
  • consider a no-computer time for about an hour before going to sleep.  This can also help a person with ADD who has trouble sleeping get ready to fall asleep (note - we don't do this one - we like to read in bed at night and G reads on his iPad almost exclusively - I can't remember the last time I saw a book in his hand)
  • set fun date times when you are being active together.  This builds bonds, as well as naturally pulls you away from the computer - take walks, go exploring your town, cook together, take dance lessons.  You get the double benefit of getting exercise, too!
  • if you are a non-ADHD partner, remember that you will get much further if you are talking about this in a non-angry, non-hurt way.  This is a choice your partner makes - remember that you are asking that your partner spend more time with you, rather than demanding it.  Your partner is much more likely to respond to you if he doesn't feel as if you are trying to control his life (i.e. computer usage) and instead feels that you are wanting to spend more time with him because you miss him.

Hope this helps!