Sometimes "nice" doesn't work

We are in financial tight straights at retirement.  dh pays for a warehouse/shop at $6,000/yr. He is not making a profit anymore with it. The majority of the space is storing junk that he doesn't want to see or cope with so he keeps paying the rent instead of clearing it out.  He has taken money out of his small retirement fund to pay for some of this and some other business debt.  I told him to cut the warehouse footage in half at least and get the junk out so he could pay half the rent for it.  He said he would make a call.  I said to schedule it right now (because he has been putting this off for YEARS telling me he was taking care of it).  He said he would call in the car later.  I said to call now while I was there.  Finally after much back and forth, he called and made the arrangements.  While he was talking, he said he would get it ready to dump things to the guy on the phone.  I said softly, maybe they could help you do some lifting. (We are talking TONS of metal and retirement age man) When he was done with the call he looked at me with hate and called me names, loudly,  saying I was rude and thoughtless for talking while he was on the phone. He doesn't take ownership that he, for YEARS, has been rude and thoughtless for letting our retirement years be filled with worry financially.    DON"T pamper your ADDer so much that he loses reality about what he contributes and what you have contributed.  If I am nice and helpful to dh, he takes it for a sign that he can "get away with" doing even less figuring he has "the upper hand" because he thinks he WON.  I like to be nice.  But that has not worked for me.  dh doesn't play "nice".  As I look back this was doomed.  I was nice and was used to cooperating and being open. He was playing games of winner/loser.  I have been the loser BECAUSE I was nice.  

This reminds me of one of my

This reminds me of one of my dilemmas concerning how to communicate with people who have ADHD.  It is often recommended, on this website and others, that one not mention thorny issues to the person with ADHD because the person with ADHD will think he or she is being "nagged" and will instinctively recoil and retreat.  But if one doesn't bring up thorny issues, the person with ADHD (at least my husband) will ignore the issue, either because he has forgotten about it or to take advantage of my silence on the topic.  Damned if we do, damned if we don't.


I have just contacted an auctioneer to sell the contents of our storage unit. We need the money from the sale as well as the reduction in monthly expenses from the storage unit. A good portion of the items in storage is mine, antiques, put there 'temporarily' 2+ years ago, when we moved in together. We were supposed to be consolidating. (I know that's not going to happen.)

My man is shocked, worried about what might be in there. I have told him he has until next week if he wants to go look. No, I won't go check for you. I know. I remember. 

I am letting items/memories/family history go. I am doing that for us. Moving. Somehow. Forward. I hope. But probably mostly for me. To feel like I'm moving. Somehow. Forward. I hope.

Moving. Somehow. Forward.

I like the phrase of Moving. Somehow. Forward.  Because it is the way life goes.  It feels like walking through thick mud sometimes.  But it is definately worth keeping on and looking forward with new information and faith and not looking backward with resentment or shame.  Moving. Somehow. Forward. This gives me peace to think of it that way.  I am usually a "get it done quickly" girl.  I want to tie my life in a big pretty bow and feel satisfied with myself already. I seem stuck. I can only hope that my constant learning, putting my time and energy into learning, will one day move me forward into a place where I can feel better about myself. I bear the consequences of his actions/inaction daily.

I hear you

Jennalemon, all of you, I hear you. I've had the yelling, too---it's just because he is mad that you are "forcing" him to deal with something that is very difficult for him. Nothing wrong with you doing that, and I am so sorry it is so hard. Get some perspective. You are not crazy or wrong to ask him to deal with this stuff. And if you didn't, you know it would go on forever.  

And unfortunately, even in separation, I am in this position as well. It sucks. I need my STBX to make some decisions and just move, just a little bit, and he really won't or can't. Let it go, and he floats in perpetuity, relieved that I am not bugging him and only living in the moment, barely dealing with even washing his dishes. (I don't care except that our children visit him in our former house--I do wash their sheets and do their laundry from it, but that's it, and it's just for them). Be assertive or repeat or ask that he deal with something or pay attention to it, and all hell breaks loose. He either screams or freaks out or usually, withdraws (literally walks away and closes a door and says leave me alone. I hear the lock click, and that is all she wrote.). We have tried everything--his family, me, intervention, final chance, everything. He is living in total squalor on disability at this point (physical illness which I think is completely tied into his mental state). 

So my choice? Not to be so nice, unfortunately. I have my entire financial future tied up with him and need to watch out for our kids. I can't even get him to decide to refinance or sell the house after four months of waiting, and him changing his mind every two days, or telling me he "can't talk about it right now," to just get my name off of it (either of which would require dealing with some rehab work that he never finished and sorting and cleaning. All of which I would do or take care of at this point just to be free). How many of us have been held "hostage" over the years by an ADHD spouse who won't let you do something, and freaks out when you do, and insists he will "deal" with it, and then never, ever does? We had a few moments when we were together when I had to scream and cry to get him to deal with or pay attention to something. At one point we had no sink in our bathroom, toilet training two toddlers, and the stove was broken. For weeks. I called a repairman and DH canceled it, saying he could do it more cheaply. After a few more weeks, I had to throw an absolute hysterical fit so that I could buy a sink and the kids could wash their hands in the bathroom.

It would really help him to deal with this--he is keeping the house and would have much lower mortgage payments. He can't deal with any of it. And still insists that nothing is wrong with him and he doesn't need help treating his ADHD or whatever is going on. And if he doesn't deal with it, he is going to go broke and then take me and our children down with him. Wouldn't that be motivation enough? 

Which brings me to: I can't take it any more. I can't be friendly or compassionate or help. I just get sucked in. I can't get our separation finalized because he can't talk and resolve or deal with anything. Currently several bills are in both of our names and I can't just keep paying them. So, I am going to have to lawyer up (which I can't afford) and serve him with papers (which I don't want to do) so that he has to deal with it. It just sucks. What a horrible thing this ADHD is. I lost years of my life trying to reach him. And I am still dealing with it. 

Best to you, everyone. If we lived near each other I would buy you a cup of coffee:-)


Lynninny, my dh is exactly like yours.  I have let this go on so long that I have come to accept it as normal.  The only thing is that now at this time of life, I am filled with anxiety and can't pay for and cope the way I used to do.  Everything I worked so hard for...keeping this all together while he schlepped around being Mr Easy Going going to come crumbling down.  I can't do what I have been doing....I can't keep this up. 

He just spent the entire morning signing us up to be a Nielson Family.  It took all morning.  He sat and talked to them most of time they were here.  He has a million things he should be doing knowing that his business is failing and in debt, losing our retirement money to finance "his business" but he chose to spend the morning with this Nielson thing in the house and entertain these installers while they took apart 3 tvs and installed their equipment.  Our house is going up for sale this month because we can't afford it yet he wants these 2 guys who he will never see again to love his wit and charm making their job take longer because of his conversation.  While I sit in my office working to pay the bills.  And he won't talk about the arrangements to sell the house.  I have to do that on my own without his help and he will take the story eventually that I sold the house from under him without his consent.....although he does not work enough to pay for the house's expenses. 

A cup of coffee together sounds good to me.  

Ugh again

Ugh...I deleted some of my ranting here.  Just a bad day I guess.


Jennalemon, the only thing that gets me through this is the knowledge that I have some peace now, living apart from him, and the idea that sometime, I will be past this. The rest of my life is definitely not going to look like I thought. I am in my forties with two children. I never for a moment thought my Stbx would pretty much wreck our house trying to rehab it and not finish it and I would have to walk away with almost nothing because I need to get out so badly to protect myself and kids. If we ever managed to sell it I would take a huge loss after paying the mortgage for years. Next week I will probably find out that I owe money on our still joint taxes. I never thought I would be broke with two kids at this age. The anxiety is huge sometimes. Being broke, like not filling up the gas tank all the way, because you can't afford it, sucks! I have worked and had a job every day of my life since I was 16. I work hard at my career and am good at it, but it is not a field that will ever let me live more than very modestly and I will always scrape to take care of my children as a single parent. It is hard not to be mad. This is his fault, I think, for not treating whatever is going on, even though I stood by him and begged for years. But, I will get through it. First I had to accept that my marriage did not look like I thought it would, and now I have to love a life that does not look like I thought it would. The freedom is pretty great. Jennalemon, I am sorry you are having to face uncertainty and deal with all of this stuff yourself. Hang in there! You are doing the right thing, and fixing it before it gets any worse. You may not feel this way, but it takes fortitude to do that.

And, lol, I have to laugh even as I wince. I know that the newness of people like the ratings guys coming over is stimulating to your DHs brain. And while the proverbial Rome burns, he is focused on talking to them and letting them install useless equipment.  If I had a nickel every time mine waylaid a repair person, teacher conference, doctor's appointment, etc. by chatting the time away. Like, repair people and a contractor who were charging by the hour! He would insist they liked him and would do a better job this way, although after 20 minutes or so I could see them looking at me like, "what?" It's awful, but I have to laugh a little bit. 

Do hang in there. You will get through this. Find a source of strength for yourself and practice acceptance and try to make a list of the good things that could lie ahead, maybe? I don't remember, are you seeing a counselor or someone? It could be a relief with the anxiety and stress you are facing.


llc's picture

being nice vs. tough love

Hmmm....I think being nice depends on the person with ADHD. One of the shocking things I have discovered in the short time since my diagnosis is that many e with ADHD don't seem to be affected by their failings. They are indifferent (at least according to the many fed up spouses on this forum). If they are this way, I see nothing wrong with the tough love approach. People need to be trying their best to get better!

PErsonally, I am WRACKED with guilt and tormented hourly by my failings and shortcomings due to this disorder. I am in constant state of apology to my wonderful spouse., if he were to use tough love on merit would to huge damage to me. He knows I am trying my best.

But if someone takes zero responsibility? Tough love away, baby.

I am so sorry for your struggles. Xo