Struggling to cope with my husbands adult ADHD/OCD

So for a very long time I have resolved that I was was stuck in an abusive marriage. I stumbled upon this site.  I had no idea that adhd had such devastating symptoms.  I don't want to go into too much detail about the dynamics of our relationship but I will say I am older than he by several years, been married before, and have 3 children from a former marriage. I knew something was different in our relationship early on.  He would bait me into arguments, use force to keep me engaged if necessary, use anger as a fear tactic.  I had always resolved that somehow I hadn't handled the situation correctly or that I caused him to react that way. Over time I have learned his "triggers" which honestly seems like everything these days. I call it the blame game, but every time I bring up my feelings "I am playing the victim".  Or every time I show any emotion or bring up any serious issues He runs to his shop and stays.  He doesn't want to see me, talk to me, and definitely not work on resolving the issue at hand.  He runs from any amount of confrontation and says I intimidate him.  He has little to no responsibility around the house. I hold all the financial responsibility for the home. He spends little to no time with me and the girls.  He owns his own business which he is always "waaaay" behind and says this is the reason he has to sleep at his shop.  After reading the forums I see that our 5 year relationship follows most typical adhd relationships.  The hyperfocus stage in our relationship is gone and I am left with the aftermath.  Several times in our relationship and marriage whenever life gets too real he will leave.  Pack all his stuff and be gone. He always claims to everyone else I kicked him out. I was really hurt by the fact that he moved in with friends once and paid them rent money!!!! He never paid me rent money!  I am at my whits end and feel the only way to salvage my sanity is to move on. With out him in my life.  We went to visit him at his shop the night before last and we interrupted a program he was watching, which set him off, then my youngest daughter was too loud in the hall which set him off.  We feel like we are a problem to him and cant do anything right. Out of hurt feelings and my frustration as well I decided to take the girls home.  When I get home I call him to tell him that he hurt my feelings and made us feel unwelcome. We just wanted to spend time with him because he's never home. He immediately gets angry and and says of course Im playing a victim. and I need to grow up.  He's not gonna do this with me.  blah blah blah. So he ignored me for the rest of the night. and the next morning texts me to tell me to stay away from his shop. So i did as he asked, stayed away, didnt call him, didnt text him. And this morning I wake up to see on facebook that he drove quite a few miles away to go have dinner with friends last night.  He cant even drive five minutes to come home. I am trying not to let his behavior hurt me but I feel he does this maliciously.  He has talked several times to me about medication.  He knows he needs it.  I feel it is the last option we have to save our marriage.  But I know him, If I tell him he needs to get on meds or Im gone....he will refuse out of sheer spite. And at this point he's not talking to me and probably wont even try to. Hopeless

He is hiding something

He is hiding something.  "Stay away from my shop" means, I don't want you to find out about something I am hiding. Does he drink? You might have caught him off guard.  This is totally unacceptable.

Not good

Hello. I'm very sorry you are going through this. It sounds like more than ADHD, although the more could be a result of how he was treated due to ADHD. Regardless, it's not acceptable behavior. ADHD meds will only help with the distraction issues. Maybe he will be able to manage his time better so he's not so far behind at work. They won't, however, help with the mood issues. There are mood leveling medications that can be helpful while he's seeking treatment to learn new ways of coping with stress and communication, but he will need to be willing to do so. Your description didn't seem real hopeful in that regard. Be realistic, if he's unwilling to seek treatment for himself the situation is unlikely to improve. I wish you and your family the very best. 

"whenever life gets too real

"whenever life gets too real he will leave"

I'm the non-ADHD female, married 12 yrs to ADHD male diagnosed 1 yr ago. My H has had the habit of running out if 'serious' things happen (I believe his father behaved similarly in situations of extreme stress but he we never diagnosed).  He usually would jump in the car and disappear, never left for the night except for the two occasions I practically forced him out to a hotel but that was years ago, before I knew it was ADHD,  I'm mentioning it just for context.

We had a recent conversation about this, one of those round-the-houses conversations where getting to the point is like water torture. Basically I asked him to explain what he is thinking when these situations occur. Firstly "I just need to get away".  Okay, from? "I don't know what to do". Okay. how do you feel? "We're not supposed to have any". This was a hard one. "Wou're not supposed to have any what?".  Sobs. "Feelings. We can't have any". Okay, who is 'we'? "We're not. You know". It's okay to say it. "You know". No it's okay to say it. "We're not supposed to". You get the drift. Finally, "Men". In real life this conversation took a lot longer than on the page.

I can perfectly believe that ADHD women may be feeling similarly when expected to be "organised" and naturally perfect earth-mother goddesses. That they are supposed to know what to do and don't have a clue because the nature of ADHD means that they have problems with perception of the non-ADHD world.

Significantly, I don't think this conversation would have been possible without the meds that my H is now taking.  He has become much more capable of productive discussions. He does have a lot of relearning to do but he acknowledges it.

"He has talked several times to me about medication.  He knows he needs it."

Take the idea of malice off the table. What if, what if, just what if, he is not being malicious?  He has talked to you about medication. That is a really big step - for him to admit that. He is possibly overwhelmed by the thought that something is 'wrong' with him and with fear that he can never be good enough.

"at this point he's not talking to me and probably wont even try to"

Let him be for a while. If he then acts as though nothing happened, well he knows that something did happen and he's wishing it hadn't and hoping that if he pretends it's not real then it isn't. But when you're speaking again, then consistently and in a friendly and encouraging manner bring up the idea of getting treatment.  Put it to him as something positive to help make his family happier and that you want to see him happier, not as something he must do or else. Don't use an ultimatum unless you really are prepared to leave.  I know, I really do, how frustrating these situations are.  (Frustrating doesn't sound anything like strong enough, is there such a word as 'enraging' :) )

he decided it was over

I was at work this morning actually just after i wrote this and he sent me a text saying he was coming to get his stuff. What do I say to that? I just said I have done everything I can to help him,  He has treatment options but he refuses, I love you more than the world, but you will never see that, to you I am the enemy. I told him his decision made me very sad. But if he thinks his life is better without me who am I to keep him from his happiness.  I said i was sorry that he thought this was the best option. and he has not responded to me...

I'm so sorry

I'm very sorry you are going through this. I hope the best for you and your children as you work through this phase and that you thrive in the next. Best wishes.

Utterly been there

Dear Utterly, I am so sorry for what you are going through and the pain you must be in. My almost ex was frighteningly similar, very emotional and high strung and angry. I know what it is like- I could not share feelings with him, ever, or he would freak out and turn on me. He finally also turned into a runner and hider-- like your dh's shop-- mine would get in the car or go in a bedroom and lock the door. Click. There was something there-- he could not handle or deal with any emotions, feelings, emotional stress or he idea of being blamed for anything, even if that wasn't what I was doing. If I ever told him I was hurt or sad he would call me a victim or tell me that there was something wrong with me. And if I pressed him or tried to talk about it, he literally ran. 

Your spouse's triggers may very well almost be everything-- the last few years mine seemed to be that way. I strongly suspected that more than ADHD was at play and his childhood must have done a number on him, too, and yours sounds similar. Mine also hyper focused in the beginning and I had no idea he had all of this going on. 

I know how painful this is and how much you want to help him. I know that you know you cannot change him or make him seek help. I begged, had an intervention, had family talk to him, tried to talk to his doctors, told him I would have to leave, and he would not seek any treatment (there was verbal abuse and some violence on his part, too, which I think was an escalation of this stuff). I absolutely know how soul crushing and devastating it can be to be married to someone like this. If I can be honest, I think it is wise you are accepting life without him as a prospect, because you and your children have to come first. I am so sorry from someone who stayed too long. His behavior is not a reflection on you.  I hope everything works out wonderfully for you and my best to you.

been there

your words are very kind, ty. Today is hard for me. I am starting to feel depressed.  I woke up throwing up and have very high anxiety right now. I cant stop the tears. I am devastated. He text me yesterday afternoon just to bash me.  Call me a liar and a cheat. Neither of those two things are true. I told him not to make HIS decision to leave me my fault.  This is going to be hard enough already.  Throughout the day the shock started to dissipate and my anger rose.  How could he do this to me? I was so angry! I text him and said "what grown up breaks up a marriage via text message?"  After five years I don't even deserve the decency of a sit down? I was so irritated. Anyway, he tries to backtrack as he usually does when maybe he is having second thoughts.  And he says "I did that so you could could read and double check what I say" Oh Really? I flew off.  I couldn't hold it in any more.  Told him he was a coward that lives in a fantasy world, he is a man boy that runs from any responsibility or real world problems, and that he had no balls to break off a marriage via a text message. He said "no I said I was coming to get my stuff".  (if he was "just coming to get his stuff" then he wouldn't have deleted and BLOCKED me from FB). Well at this point I realized what I was doing.  I was falling into the cycle of behavior that has always worked for him.  I get angry, then i start apologizing (for what I don't know), then I beg him.  I make the whole situation my fault somehow...and wham bam he is off the hook and home free to do whatever he wants. I stopped and told my self no, don't do this again.  And i simply text him back and said "i have some extra boxes, Ill pack your stuff and leave it in the carport for you.  Please leave my keys. I told him this was his choice and he would have to live with it."  I am finally done.  I realize now that I enabled his behavior  and treatment of me by basically letting him off the hook and and taking all the blame for every situation. Although my heart is very heavy today.  I know that this is the right decision. I know I tried. I know I love him. I know that its not my fault and it's time to let go.


Utterly, again, I hear you and I have been through it-- hang in there. When I left mine I asked if we could at least sit down and talk to our kids together, tell them we loved them, etc. and mine could not do that. There is something very, very off when a person has to work that hard to avoid, deflect, run away, and put it back on the other person. 

You are smart to avoid repeating patterns. As they say, the definition of insanity is repeating the same things hoping for a different result. I did it, too and all it did was raise everything to a higher pitch until I was literally pounding on his door and chasing him to try to get through to him. So much stress. If you can accept that he is not in your world right now, that he is wired in such a way that you are not going to be able to get him to "see," and that you need to disengage right now and worry about yourself, it will help immensely. I know you are grieving and that's ok, but just don't expect him to change or let his inability to do so make you feel bad about yourself. See a therapist if you can- it helps so much to have a good one. Try to focus on yourself. Letting go is hard but once you do you won't believe how peaceful life can be. Who knows, maybe he will come around but in the meantime, don't hitch your happiness to it. Try to look at some of his behaviors objectively. He sounds pretty damaged (mine was, lol). Once you accept the possibility of life without him, you can work on helping yourself, even if it is supposed to work out later. 

Hugs to you((()))


Thank you again Lynn, I am stuck at the moment because like you said I AM grieving.  I go back and forth between anger and sadness.  But I know it will get better soon.  I will most likely always love him so much but in the meantime I am just focusing on one day at a time.  You are such a wise person and your advice is beyond helpful. Today I am Hopeful!