Son of an ADD Mother and my marriage is falling apart.


I have been visiting this forum for about a year and after reading.listening to the book realized I should have posted a long time ago as people seem to have the same experiences. If you've been where I am, I'd  really appreciate your advice on what I can do t avoid walking away from my Marriage.

My wife was diagnosed with ADD (no Hyperactivity) when she was in grade-school and it was what I'd call a defining trauma of her childhood- she would stay up all night in 5th grade reading ahead in their classroom reading so she could fake the reading out loud when it came to her turn or would try to go to the bathroom anytime she had to do something in front of the class and was almost held back for learning disabilities that led to her diagnosis. She also had an SAT score in high-school that almost kept her from college until she found a way through U-Wisc Osh-Kosh which specializes in ADD accommodations and from there she transferred to Madison and went on to a Master's Degree. We met working in the United Nations in Pakistan and she is earning 6-figures and not even 30 yet! So definitely and over-achiever, but one who has had to fight 6 times as hard to get there. She will never let anyone tell her she can't do something and always reaches for her goals until she meets them. A very remarkable woman. Also a complete sweetie and one of the most sympathetic and socially intelligent people I have ever met. Actually, I have learned many of my emotional skills from her and for much of our relationship felt that if she said it was so I should probably defer as she would know better than me on anything behavioral, especially when it came to self esteem, relationships, and family.

If you can't tell, I have a lot of love and respect for this woman. She is the love of my life and the only person who has given me real happiness. Since I met her, I've gone from PTSD, Suicidal, estranged and angry from my family, and with poorly managed Diabetes, to someone who is relatively on top of those issues. I should say, I had some help from a very good therapist, a lot of Effexor, and what has been a lifetime of determination on my part to move past my past.

We have been married for 2 years and dated for 3, but we are both about ready to walk away from the marriage. As my wife would say 'change happens when the pain becomes greater than the fear'. My viewpoint on this is that basically my wife is not willing to acknowledge that her ADD has serious effects on our lives that could reasonably make an otherwise very supportive husband angry. She won't talk to me about it anymore because she feels it will all be blaming her and her self-esteem can't take that anymore. I also know she is half right about this. My mom had/has very bad ADD that she has never addressed. This means I'm walking around with a whole host of anger-towards-my-mom issues that spill over into our relationship. My mom was never reliable, would forget about me and my siblings, she once sat reading a magazine while my brother was beating me up, etc...) So seriously negative ADD impacts on me. So I'm wondering if our marriage is basically doomed by the fact that I had to step-up all the time as a kid to take care of myself when my mom would 'forget ----' which makes me take on the parental role in almost every situation.

I think this makes me extra judgmental and angry when my wife 'lets me down' in someway like forgetting to refill her medication on time, not remembering things I've told her (and blaming me for her not knowing), or lately over-focusing on work at the expense of things spending time on our move from the USA to France which I've shouldered in many ways 'to be supportive'. I know she loves that 'she can be herself with me' and that I am 'so understanding' which I definitely am, but the flip side is we've never had a system for me to say 'ok i need things to move back in the other direction now'. I feel like she'd do fine on her own, but when I'm in the picture its just assumed she shouldn't have to do much or worry much.

My wife and I both know I have these issues, and we both know she has ADD symptoms. What we break-down about is how I can ask her to take on more when she feels that no matter how much she does its not enough. She feels blamed and that her self-esteem is lashed constantly by my anger. And I feel that there isn't any validation of my anger or hurt so naturally it never gets resolved (let alone us agreeing to how to manage something differently).

I think we are both ready to walk away at this point, although its more likely to be me than her as inaction seems to be one of her major symptoms that we fight about. If anyone can give me a step by step on how to break this cycle I'd really appreciate it. She knows I've read this book, but she refuses to look at it as she says she doesn't need to as she's heard everything 'they have to say about ADHD'. I know I can't 'make her' do anything or be anything and am now just wondering if all I can do is walk away to escape the kind of angry projections and denial I get hit with every-time I say 'we need to be able to talk about how to deal with this without breaking up'.

This post looks way to long and rambling, but hopefully there's another Husband of a high-functioning ADD Woman out there who can explain to me how to pierce the denial-bubble...