We learned husband has diagnosed ADD 17 years in, I seem ok. By then we were on our #4 round of counseling and I shared this elsewhere, we are now on our 5th.. I want to share tools we used to cope long before we knew of it. I had been working part time as an organizer before we married, this was a huge help. Find help if you can't do it. Also previous to marriage I had been his boss at full time job so I knew him in a different area of our lives. He went on to a better job and we married a couple years later. He was often angry at me for these gentle suggestions but I would negotiate to try it 3x and if it doesn't work we move on. I had to remind him to try. I did not condemn fails and looked for other ideas. I felt for sure I'd married the absent minded professor and needed to put systems in place for when we get older. I needed things to be second nature in case life became more complicated and it has. Be comfortable with the negotiation, some worked, some didn't. Incremental progress is key. I introduced things slowly to promote success in the business part of our lives. Note that we do not have children so if you have children you will need to teach them these boundaries to get the rewards.
Praise and recognition: Early on I noticed my husband would beat himself up over things he'd forgotten even though he is high functioning with a very good job. All his focus goes to that job. I would tell him I appreciate it. I tell him thank you as often as I could and still be sincere. I realized that we all want to be someone's hero.
Reduce stress/distractions: Crowds, noise, small children bother him. We carry foam ear plugs with us and he now has earphones w/ calming music so he can tune out that external stimuli. Background music such as things by Sonic Aid both to calm and for focus. We also use an earplug at the dentist, doctors, tax person-situations wh/ have stress. A sleep machine from Bed,Bath & Beyond to help with sleep issues, same music each night to train brain. Homeopathic such as Hylands or Melatonin to help w/ sleep. He takes guitar lessons online (a Groupon) so as to tune out, focus on something and not have a time deadline (causes stress). Wireless headphones for the tv. 30 minute warnings for departures, 5 minutes out the door. The person needs a time to calm their mind. He uses music or kitten videos and I use music or mediation. I noticed he was calmer when he joined me for yoga, like within a week he was calmer. He didn't like the class (deadline) so we got him a video. Sometimes he just lies there on the mat and listens to the music...still helps. We buy cards bulk and set up 1 week alarm to reduce the stress of sending a card. This includes cards to me but it is up to him to send them (see errands note). Naps of even 30 minutes are good. Smells distract so less scents in the house, no perfume. Ex. a match in the bathroom vs. an air freshener We found vanilla to be a calming smell for him.
Simplify life: auto pay bills, live in a small space, rent until you get a grip on things, don't introduce kids, plants or pets until you are functioning as a team. Even things such as only 5 pairs of pants vs. 10 is better, more choices is overwhelming in every area of the environment. A job w/ a uniform helps. Create standard passwords (he always changes as forgot them). Created separate emails to avoid his signing up for stuff. get any bills via email or online billing so the paper is not lost.
Structure: We have a morning routine and evening routine. If we don't have this routine 30 minutes will take 3 hours. AM (sans PC or phone-make breakfast, put away dishes, wash face, brush teeth, hair goop, get out of jammies) PM (stop technology 1 hr prior, shower, brush, jammies, good deeds of the day, not good deeds mention to deal in the morning-release that guilt before bed) We agree before bed the time of the morning alarm. I set a back up.
We went through lots of devices but eventually found that a form of electronic calendar works good & syncs to my PC and a to-do list he can cross things off. Every morning after breakfast we go over what will be the agenda for that day and he writes numbers as to priority and letters for the order to complete. Leave room for notes/follow up. As long as he has done something I tell him I appreciate it. If he is having a rough day I check in and offer help to get him on track again.
I put labels on lots of things in the house. This not only help him find things (less stress) but also helped him put things away. I set up the paper filing system, we reviewed it and emailed him a hint sheet. I have scanned copies of all legal documents, licenses, passports and this has saved us many times.
I tried to figure out what house chore he enjoys. Turns out grocery shopping because he loves shopping and cooking. We must have a list and I must remind him not to buy anything other than the list. About 1x month I go with him and it takes 2 hours bec. we are not sticking to the list. When we run out of something it must go on the list or he will have to go to the store whenever something pops into his head. We have to agree that meal prep will only take 30 minutes or it will take 2 hours and the kitchen will be destroyed. Once a week he cooks as therapy. We make steal cut oats which easily keep a week in the fridge, breakfast done, change up toppings. We make a soup of the week. This eliminates 2 meal prep times. I would be very uncomfortable with him going to Whole Foods on his own $$$$.
My pace is much higher than his, that alone causes stress. We have a free days or jammie day which he is on his own time frame. These are discussed after dinner....are we caught up on things enough for a jammie day? Just the act of getting married (keep it simple) and being married was stressful on a whole different level.
Laundry is an issue. He has the need to reorganize his dresser every time he has to put clothing away. This is overwhelming and then nothing is put away. I put a laundry basket in his closet. I put clean laundry in it so as to not wait for it to be put away. Any laundry that is on the floor or other non storage location also goes in there so I don't have to look at it. It took a few times but when he thought he had clean socks to get out of that basket and had nasties his dirty ones somehow made it to the dirty clothes basket.
We only run errands on certain days of the week. This frees his brain and mine about things such as what day to take care of dry cleaning or groceries. We try to set doctors appointments the same way. Anything I can do to encourage him to participate is good. We cannot buy things without getting rid of things because he is an impulse shopper. He has to be responsible for getting rid of the items...this curbed the shopping.
Money: I am in charge of bills/finances and I give him a briefing monthly so he is not excluded. We use Quicken but anything with visuals will help. We set a limit on the amount to spend without contacting the other. It isn't permission it is a discussion. I seldom say no but that one step eliminated a lot of impulse spending. We set up an account and ATM for him to use. We agreed on the amount that is put into that account. He does have back up cards but they are back up cards. For some this may seem controlling but realize he told me he was going to buy a bicycle and called me at 2am to discuss how he wanted to buy a boat. I've had to sell two vehicles bought on impulse. It isn't control it is to delay the impulsive spending and it works much better to have an agreement up front. We put all paperwork into one place. I'm normally the one to process it but at least I'm not looking for a lost receipt for insurance or taxes. I scan/toss everything. Just for piece of mind establish credit in both names. We have joint cards with him as primary and one w/ me as primary.
Household chores: He has the option to say no but I have the obligation to ask not expect. I keep it to things that can be done in the now. "Would you change that light bulb? I"m too short." "Who is going to make dinner?" "Who is going to do the dishes?"
Addictive behavior: I'd noticed that drinking every day was too easy, socially too many. Internet could suck up hours of time. With smart phones and FaceBook those have become issues.
Exercise: It needs to happen every day, an hour is great for mood and confidence. Hanging out w/ friends at Crossfit for an hour every time is not. This has also become almost addictive.
We read a lot of books trying to help our relationship. Right away I thought he was passive aggressive. Sabotage, co dependency, healthy marriages... Then for years I dealt with anxiety and depression (still do). One thing I learned is that if he read them first he was the authority correcting me, if I read them he was angry. Conclusion was that knowledge must be shared maybe a chapter at a time so that perceptions can be discussed and it not be used as a weapon against me.
Don't get me wrong while we learned to get a grip on these things there are many more emotionally things we do not. Shortly after he was diagnosed I developed serious stress based health problems and that has been a defining moment for me. Two years of many medical tests and personal work led me back to the marriage, I must change my life. Please don't ever neglect your physical or mental health.
All sounds so familiar, I got tired reading this...
Submitted by c ur self on
Emily1997...You're efforts have been impressive...I would say mine were very similar during the first several years of our marriage....But the health issues you speak about at the end of this post (especially the emotional stress) are guaranteed when you can't step back and let an adult live their own lives the way they see fit....
I suggested all the same coping mechanisms you suggested...Some are working, but many are not...When consistency is your main struggle in life...Everything else becomes hit or miss...So no matter how concerned I am...No matter how much of my day is spent trying to help regulate life for another adult...If the inability to be consistent at anything is your identity...then for me to try and schedule a life for her and then hang my emotions (I've done this, not saying you do this) on her managing life for consistency in any area is fools Gold...When I already know the outcome...So after little to no changes, I had to back up and say...Who is the intrusive one here? And, What has happened to my own life?
Thank the Lord it's not my job to Organize her life!...But, it is my job to Love her....
Mama has no time to parent husband.
Submitted by MaineMama on
Your point about spending excessive time organizing another adult's life resonates with me. I am organized and in charge by nature (well, experience & nature). My husband rejects, argues, refuses gentle kind feedback, suggestions, discussions etc. He has been fired from every single full time job he has ever had with feedback such as " you are an argumentative person who avoids doing the most simple of tasks". He has been given coaches, therapists, extra supervision all with different styles but mostly of the supportive approach. I have been supportive, encouraging, pulled way more than my weight and am not turned off my negotiation and discussion. We do have a schedule that is electronic and shared that after much fighting about he finally agreed to just try. With coaching and me actually forcing him he finally gets it and is now in charge of creating the schedule himself each week. This helps him get the base line tasks done without me asking.
We we have solid routines, two kids and a busy household. I do 10 things to his 1 thing in every routine as I am doing things for the kids and I and he can hardly manage himself. A hungry baby or toddler has no time to wait for a grown man who needs to spend so much time attending to himself Becker he even considers the screaming child's needs! This mama is worn out, I do not have time to teach, coach, organize him. My entire life has slipped away from me and my health has started to suffer.
What at is helping me now is sticking to low expectations for him, sharing a solid schedule and routine and focusing on myself and the kids. I have started running again and I have forced that into the schedule. I have also started to so minimal volunteer work (a passion) and a few things with friends on my own without the kids. I struggle to make time and energy for these things but I am making them happen for me. I want something different and instead of putting so much energy into what u can not change or control I am directing my energy to things I can.
Submitted by dvance on
First of all, Emily--I am totally in awe of how much time and effort you have put into getting your husband organized. Hats off to you. Now, there is no way on gods green earth I would do that for my spouse. No way. That is not a marriage, that is parenting or nannying or some other form of high level babysitting. Not what I signed up for. My 13 and 16 year old boys are more high functioning than their dad for goodness sake. Who has this kind of time to keep that close track of another adult? And in my house at least, every effort I make at imposing some sort of order, logic, common sense, reasonableness on our lives is met with anything from active resistance to just plain ignoring. Twenty years of that, I quit trying. For example, if I ask oldest son to clean his bathroom and he does a terrible job but DH says it's fine, what then? Do I let the bathroom remain a pig sty or look like the bad guy and make him do it again even though dad said it's fine? That is a really small example, but it's what happens ALL THE TIME at my house. My idea of a good complete job and DHs are not even close to the same thing. He has virtually no follow through at all. He was supposed to set up meetings with two of oldest son's teachers, oh-three weeks ago and hasn't done it. So again--do I just do it and make him look even less capable or let it go, knowing it won't ever get done and they really have information that I need. DH emailed oldest son's HS counselor without telling me and so when I called to ask a question, I looked like an idiot because the counselor was like-wait, I just told your husband this-are you divorced? How do you function like that?
For All Newbies
Submitted by HeyMare1960 on
Emily, Your post should be read by all who find themselves in or contemplating a relationship with an ADHD person. And I mean as a cautionary tale. I couldn't get my husband to participate in the way yours apparently does, but I also don't know that I could live in such a controlled/controlling manner. I recognize so many of the things you are doing as things I tried at various times in my marriage. I do all the bills, but he felt like a failure so I let him handle the mortgage. It ended with him running up the credit line to $200,000 by robbing Peter to pay Paul. Thankfully we are not upside down and owe very little on the first mortgage, but he certainly blew any plans for a mortgage free retirement. Now I'm working on getting this house ready to sell and where we go will be determined by how much cash we get. He has been out of work for 5+ years and at 56 I don't expect he will ever work again.
Your sacrifices resonate with me, but I have to admit if I had it to do over again, I would never marry someone with his issues. Coming home to the back door standing open, the dog loose and running down the street, getting up in the morning and finding the milk has been sitting on the counter all night, finding the freezer door open and melting away...so many small things that are annoying, but luckily those are forgotten when you find out he is spending his days looking at porn and his evenings texting sweet nothings to some woman he met at the drugstore.
In December 2011, I found out all these things about the porn, the texting, the second mortgage, because he was nearly having an emotional meltdown trying to keep that many balls in the air. I knew something was up, snooped a little, and found it all. He confessed, blamed me, screamed at me, it was awful. I was so busy at home and work that it gave me time to think. Gave him time to think also. Bottom line: I don't need him, but he sure as hell needs me. I started counseling by myself and my counselor told me to live my life....let him crash and burn.....and see if there is anything left at the end. It's May 2015 and we are still together.
My counselor helped tremendously. If he started screaming at me or blaming me for anything, I walked away, went into my bedroom and read a book.It was hard at first not to try and calm him down, work it out, take the blame, but it got easier. I also worked on my finances, my interests, went out with my sisters for evenings....just started living my life as if it were normal! And guess what? He straightened up and is trying to live a normal life too.
Does he still have issues? YES, but we have separated the ADHD from the BS. Just because you have ADHD doesn't mean you can treat people like crap, force them to feel bad about themselves, act as if you are not responsible for anything you do.
Now he does the laundry. He won't clean the bathrooms. He cooks sometimes and cleans up. He is more willing to ask for help instead of letting things get out of hand ( such as reconcile a medical bill). I have given up on thinking that House Beautiful is on their way with cameras and to some extent with having parties at my house. I still have stomach aches thinking of what is going on during the day when I am at work sometimes, but I try not to worry too much. I used to be carefree...he ruined that part of me. I simply have to feel secure knowing that I could walk out (with the dog) and not look back.
I love him because I am responsible for him. I love him because I choose to love him. However, I refuse to be his mommy, his caretaker, his punching bag (figuratively). It works as long as he tries to be a partner. If he goes back to the way it used to be, I'm outta here.
Focusing on myself.
Submitted by MaineMama on
Hey Mare, one key thing you noted that really is validating to me (and I get so little validation in my marriage!) was how you focused on yourself. That is where my attention has moved to too. I can not control my husband but I can certainly set and maintain limits. While my husband does not yell/scream and has really strong feelings against infidelity he does not take responsibility for his behavior and he often (somehow?!?) blames me for things not working out for him. I have made it a regular thing for me to ask him to use I statements instead of you statements to me and to open with his own behavior versus excuses or blaming. He needs to reminder every single time but he does shift some of the time now (the other times I am still loosing my mind with).
Over the past six months I have become more committed to myself, not in an angry defensive way against my husband either. Running a few times a week for the first time in years, volunteering once a month for a cause I care about, making sure I have sometime each week with a friend etc. has helped me. The work I am trying to do now is to figure out how to recover financially when we are so tied together. He is helping in that area and just took the initiative (after many hours of me encouraging and reminding and helping him work through his questions and worries) to pick up more hours at work. That will take him away from our family more (he works the opposite schedule than I do) but it will help out financially towards addressing our basic needs. It will not however help to clear up the whole we are in....
how does one clean up a mess made by both of us without the help of the other?
Cleaning up the mess
Submitted by HeyMare1960 on
It takes time and a lot of discipline and that still may not be enough. I have worked out the finances so that he is no longer able to get credit that involves me (no credit lines, no dual accounts, no shared credit cards). If he takes out a credit card, that's on him not me or the family. I pay all the bills, I am the only one with a full time job, I carry the health insurance for us and the kids. Granted, I haven't bought anything other than necessities in the last three years...no clothes...give essentials as gifts to the kids (college aged)...and have told him if he is going to give me a gift I would like a gift card to the beauty salon that way I can get my hair done, pedicure every once in a while. We are in mortgage debt, but luckily I can make the payments and as I posted earlier, I'm looking to sell this house and move to something we can afford with whatever is left over from the sale. One thing that has helped me over these three years is thankfulness. I remind myself every day that I am relatively healthy, my kids are too, they are happy and getting college educations/out on their own working, I have a good job and am pretty well paid, I was born in the USA, I have good friends and family,...Make a list of positives and focus on those. I have made it clear to my husband that he better get with the program or I will throw him off the train.
Right now you are being extra nice, cajoling him into being responsible. Hopefully that works in the long run. I would take the extra income and assign it to something specific...better something that HE wants or needs...his car payment, his cable or whatever. It may be a longer term motivator for him to feel that his overtime benefits him directly. And don't be a martyr! I tried that for years and it got me nowhere. They don't care that you take on every responsibility in life. That all the burdens fall on you. That you are six inches from a nervous breakdown. They don't see it and they don't care.
Submitted by kellyj on
I was recently reminded that communication should be for the benefit of the listener.....and in this case, I listened. lol What you said really had a strong effect on me and I wanted to say something (this time) for you to think about....not as defense in this case....but for your own personal well being.
And don't be a martyr! I tried that for years and it got me nowhere. They don't care that you take on every responsibility in life. That all the burdens fall on you. That you are six inches from a nervous breakdown. They don't see it and they don't care.
This saddens me to no end. I would never wish this upon anyone, ever! But yet...when I read your comment and the many on this forum like it....it deeply depresses me. I feel that old depression starting to come on again every time I read these comments. It's a depression that comes from my wanting very badly not to be in a way that is such a struggle to stop and yet.....I still do the things (my personal version....not all things mentioned or even some, not at all) but that still doesn't' mean that the ones that I do are not having the same net effect on my wife or other people at different times in my life....because I already know that they are. I know this part quite well and it really bothers me....to the point of depression at times.
Why? Because it matters and I care. I have a conscience and it works very well.
If your H really doesn't care about the things you said.....that's an entirely different issue which means he doesn't have a conscience. I feel very sorry for you and him at the same time. I can't imagine being married to someone who simply didn't care about me....that would be horrible way to live and I would feel horrible about myself if that were the case.
I don't know anything about your husband so I can't speak for him. All I know is that he has ADHD which appears obvious from your description. But if he is anything like me......then I'd say he does have a conscience and ADHD at the same time.....he isn't the way he is ( or does the things he does) because he doesn't care about you even if it feels that way at times......without a doubt!
But if what I'm saying is true......you can do yourself a big favor in not believe something that isn't true even though it feels this way at times. Wouldn't the hurt you feel from last comments be lessened if you really believe that he does care, but he simply has not found a way ( or he doesn't know how ) to manage his ADHD better so it won't have this effect on you.
If I were in your shoes in that case......I wouldn't feel that horrible anymore. Frustrated and angry yes.....most likely......but not that the person I am with just doesn't care about me.
Here's the thing...
Submitted by HeyMare1960 on
we have developed a rule that works for us: it's not what you say, it's what you do. I'm not suggesting that all people with ADHD lie, or hide things, or have temper tantrums, but those are very common traits, if that is the correct term. Because those are the things that we are dealing with, we deal with how each person behaves not how they felt, or what they may have intended. For us, it is more helpful, more healing perhaps, to moderate the behavior than to constantly try to figure out the motivations.
Out in society, we are all judged by what we do. You yell at someone on the street, there will be consequences. You forgot to pay a bill, there will be consequences. You treat me as if I'm of no merit, there will be consequences. And what I mean by that is I'm not going to fix this. I'm not going to be the one to makeup with you, or makeup for you with other people in our life. You have ADHD or ADD. You are not deaf, dumb, or blind. You know that you are yelling at someone, you feel yourself being dismissive of another person, you know you were painfully rude to a stranger on the street....you simply feel that you are entitled to behave that way.
Im sorry that this is painful to you. And I know it is and I have seen my husband's pain and regret for the way he has behaved in the past. Keep in mind, the world will not adjust for you. Your spouse is there to be your helper in life, not your keeper, not your HR Haldeman (if you are old enough to remember him). It is not better or easier or certainly not more ethical to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.
Behaviors versus intentions.
Submitted by MaineMama on
Hey Mare, we focus on behaviors over intentions too. Over time I have come to believe that my husband wil do anything to avoid facing his insecurities and concerns, including watching me do the work while he rides my coat tails. My husband says just what the previous poster says too - that he is kind hearted and does care. I believe actions speak much louder than words, what is is what is. Nothing more, nothing less. I am willing to understand that he is forgetful, insecure, scared, and often frozen when he feels those things. I am not willing to understand or accept that he never tries anything out of his usual strategies that fail over and over to address things that are important to me too. If something matters work act it, even if change is slow and difficult it will happen.
Financially we have cut every single extra cost - he has NOTHING nor do I. We pay for our mortgage, student loans, childcare, food, utilities, transportation, and phones. That is really about it. With my salary and his part time earnings we can manage to meet our basic expenses, but we can not pay our credit card debt off. This debt has been incurred when he lost the first few jobs, until I started to see he was never going to work - that that was an actual pattern. Then I got rid of the credit cards and we only use the cash we earn each month - he follows the budget I made so there is no extra spending. Digging out of the credit card debt without his help seems impossible. We pay off my student loans in four years, his in ten years, childcare/pre-school stops all together in three years. Until then I feel like I am treading water (and even then there are no reassurances there will not be other unforeseen expenses).
And, I have no plan to be martyr. It was hard for me to understand this is how things were going to be, I kept believing him when he said he was going to change things. But, I get it - he is not. I am in full blown heart broken mode and wonder what it would be like it I was with someone who was a hard worker like me or a resolute problem solver too. I keep wondering why stay married to this man, I do not respect him and often I do not like him. Why do you stay married?
Submitted by HeyMare1960 on
I used to ask myself that every day. The answers for me are practical. Without me he wouldn't have healthcare. He couldn't afford it and he has some health issues. I stayed for our youngest child who is now away at college. I stayed because the cost of divorce may have put us both in the poor house a few years ago. And truthfully I wasn't going to pay him spousal support when he was the reason we were in a pickle. So I stayed. I wake up every day and live my life and after probably 18 months he really started to come around. As I described in earlier posts, I just flat out refused to put up with his crap. I walked away....I went to bed early....I went for a walk with the dog...I behaved as if we were cordial friends, but refused to get sucked into his drama. Was it hard? Oh my God yes. I was used to fixing things, running behind him with a tool kit, riding all the waves of emotion with him AND IT WAS KILLING ME. I suffered several stress related problems including shingles. My doctor even told him he needed to help me reduce my stress after I had some serious diverticulitis episode. My husband laughed and said he's the one with all the stress.
As awful as it was, he has turned around dramatically in the last two years. And so I stay because I married him, I feel responsible for him, I have decided to stay for now. I now I am capable of leaving if I have to. Tough love seems to have worked for us...for now...for how long, who knows?
Focusing on selfcare.
Submitted by MaineMama on
Well Hey Mare, I have a lot to learn in this arena and I am appreciative to hear your experiences. I am too new to this and have such a myopic understanding of the dynamics that I do not have a useful perspective on things yet. Seven years in and I too am focusing on taking care of myself and stepping back from running after my husband with that tool kit to repair things. Being less engaged around his challenges and putting safe guards in place so I do not get hurt from those challenges is my best bet for now. And you are correct, it is not easy - but like you I have felt it was killing me and needed to stop. On a positive note related to me stopping, I recently got some health results back that show an improvement in some areas that I have been giving focus too and that made me feel GREAT.
Glad you have improving health
Submitted by HeyMare1960 on
That's really important. You have nothing if you don't have your health. Now build from there!
I Hear You Hey Mare
Submitted by kellyj on
And to the point....I agree with on everything you said. I especially liked "to moderate the behavior than to constantly try to figure out the motivations." To moderate behavior I take that as setting boundaries. Along with the rest of you analogies to laws, rules and regulations including the Catholic school boy creed which, in itself is simply a more clever anecdote for excusing yourself for bad behavior. As it implies....school boy mentality. I've been there and I've used it too. All these things fall under one roof......structure. That's where we're lacking and need more of. That's why I agree with you. Another way to say this might be.....over compensating in the area that we struggle.....being punctual, organized, and orderly in an overall sense.
And the remedy for that is a well defined and obvious map showing us where all boundaries, borders lines, roads to take with a clear starting point and ending point to everything....painted in neon colors with mile markers and arrows.....even better. I definitely get it and need these things myself without a doubt. And just like my map example.......I'm great with maps.....I don't need anyone to tell me where I am, where I'm going or even the best way to get there as long as I've got a map to follow. And I don't need anyones help to show me how to use it or make sure I'm doing it right......as long as I have a map in the first place, you'll never hear from me again as far as trouble finding my way or getting lost....no problem!
The second part about trying to figure out motivations is great too. That's our job not yours. How could you possibly know another person's emotions or motivations for them? That would be sort of....impossible to do very accurately for another person. Even the best shrink in the world could only narrow this down to a very good educated guess but no one can really know what another person's feelings and emotions are and where their motivations are coming from unless they can tell you. Assuming that they know this themselves? And if they don't know then it's anyone's guess?
But my comment was not about motivation. Motivation implies intention and neither one of those are at issue here. That was the point I was trying to make with you and I fully understand this because it is what I'm up against with my wife. Every time she applies her own reasoning and attaches it to my behavior....she comes up feeling hurt in some way because she assigns a motive. One that would explain her own behavior as she's seeing me doing (whatever) it is. The problem is....there is no motive. The issue at hand (with us) is a lessoned ability to integrate emotions and logic together at the same time in the moment when needed....more one or the other in the moment because they didn't arrive together when they should have at the same time.....usually later, after the fact. Specifically....that's the problem....on a brain functioning fundamental level.
That's why your H is remorseful because it didn't happen in the moment when it should have.....stated differently but saying the same thing.....and further....making my original point in the previous post. This is what I have come to understand in myself too. I had to learn first what was happening, but once I could see it.....I see this happening everyday all the time meaning...the delay or un-integration of logic and emotion in the moment (using my own words ) the key is...in the moment...not at all. In short....that IS what's happening.
But as I have been continually reminding my wife in those moments.....this is nothing to take personally and no need for hurt feelings. Angry, frustration, irritation , annoyance etc......yes, absolutely. Who wouldn't be? (myself included here under the same circumstances with someone else) Those primitive emotions.....but not hurt. Hurt comes from taking things personally which is a set of way more complex emotions than just anger.....as an affront, betrayal, offense or disrespect...... which you really can't apply to a short circuit in some ones brain function if you see it from this point of view. There's nothing to be offended or hurt from this if you can follow what I'm saying?
That was where I was going with my comment to.....they don't care. And for you....so you can stop feeling hurt. That's why I made the comment....as means to possibly stop the hurt you are feeling and not take your H's behavior personally. which I'm assuming is the source for ......they don't care?
Is it logic or emotion? In this case it's purely logistical (brain functioning) and there is no emotion involved. Without emotion.....there can be no motivation or intent:)
J, I do understand exactly
Submitted by HeyMare1960 on
what you are saying. I haven't been on this forum long and I don't want to get into a running debate, but you seem to want me to get your point. I do. Oh boy do I. From the non ADHD spouse's viewpoint, you just told me I am not allowed to be hurt by anything you say or do because you don't intend to hurt me. And if I simply believe that you don't intend hurt, then I won't feel it as hurt but will feel it as pity toward you.
Direct, honest communication is extremely important in all relationships. In relationships disrupted by ADHD, etc., it is vital.
Me Too Hey Mare
Submitted by kellyj on
Thank you for your feedback. It is the essence of why I'm here. Test of fire. To the point....it allows a person like me to throw things against the wall and see if they stick....or not? In an environment where it's safe to make my mistakes instead of doing them at home with my wife as the only other alternative which has proven to be...less effective! lol Live and learn is the hard way. I'm trying to do that as little as possible;) It also allows me some insight in what it is like.....the experience and feelings expressed by different spouses under different (yet similar ADHD) circumstances....to help me identify the things that are not necessarily be said....in the moment or in general, with the specific person that you are with which without question in mind at this point.....can vary wildly from each other under the same criteria. ADHD, stress and the ability to cope and manage saying, on both sides which at this point.....do not see that much different in many regards to one another ADHD or not....including all the different variations. What I'm looking for at this point are only the similarities. The differences only tell me what I don't need to focus on based specifically on my wife since, she's the only one that matters in my particular case.
Your comment as I take it...from the non ADHD view point....does confirm the same response that I'm familiar with and also confirms to me a source of contention. As I read it...this is not a literal translation of what you actually believe WE are doing, but more what is feels like as it happens. I do understand. And again....this is really helpful to me as I can use it as needed with my wife.....and thank your again, for this feedback.
Direct, honest communication is extremely important in all relationships. In relationships disrupted by ADHD, etc., it is vital. Absolutely.
Objectively speaking for you ( in the same vain not as a defense ).....Argumentum ad Populum is a less effective way to debate or approach anyone you want to believe you as it dilutes credibility. My wife does this too and I tell her the same thing. Everyone else is not my concern....she is the only ONE person that matters since everyone including me....is different in the big scheme of things. I do this too at times without realizing it and I have to watch myself closely to make sure I don't do it either.
The other thing that I do a lot without question is is not speaking impeccably. Directness is an ADHD issue and I don't need to belabor that. Honesty is a relative thing but in context to the many posts I've read that most people would not agree with this and see this as more black and white. I see this differently and there is no need to defend or argue my thinking here. I think openness and authentic are a much better words since they cannot be loaded or attached with any perceived judgment. My language, using myself here, is loaded with negatively at times and a tendency for victim language from years of being raised with it ( I can speak fluent victim ) and it still squeaks out at times out of habit and it is one of (if not the hardest things) to break even if the thinking where it might have originated from does not exist anymore. It's very difficult for me not to join another person who only speaks victim as their only way of communicating. I'm learning and practicing all the time to rid myself of another completely ineffective way of communicating to another person if you want to be heard or believed as credible.
The word "disrupted" screams victim/negatively to me when I read that last comment. I've been trying to replace words like this in my own vocabulary with more neutral words like effected, affected, impacted etc....They tend not to hijack the other person in thinking you have a personal vested interest in what you're saying that is only specific to you (as a special interest group for example).....that and the argumentum ad populum.....
As I read your comment....I understood it as you stated it but went on in my own thinking that I would have changed it to...
" Direct, open and authentic communication is extremely important in all relationships. In relationships specific to ADHD it becomes even more important to help improve better communication and overall effectives."
Again...in light of what I said and what I came here in part to learn.....this is the same kind of feedback that I find invaluable to me. I hope you take it in the same that it is offered in exchange and not as a defense.
I hurt for some of you...
Submitted by Emily1997 on
Our marriage has always been a negotiating relationship so we agreed on the things above via negotiation. Neither of us felt control, we felt we contributed where we could balance each other via the agreements. It wasn't that time consuming but I took notes and if it wasn't written there could be an argument but not often because I took notes.
I have always had my own life and never thought I could control anyone over two. This is how we handle the business part of our marriage. I realized early on and he did too that the more I took on the more he would dump on me. This isn't just ADD it is also what a selfish person would do.
I've been in counseling for over a year now. He goes whenever. We have discovered that the ADD is but a contributor to the situation and a scapegoat since he was diagnosed. It was only in the last couple years (since diagnosis) that we have known the why. He chose to do nothing about it, he has stopped much of the anger directed at me. However in exploring that anger we discovered other deeper issues regarding our marriage. We can see the way ADD impacts his actions toward our marriage but it certainly is not the only issue. I think it is important that you examine these as different hats otherwise the ADD & associated conditions become the crutch for dysfunction.
I'm still working on keeping my life intact and myself healthy.
I now don't think anyone should get married w/ out a physical/mental evaluation and pre-marital counseling. We did get full medical exams but that was 20 years ago. We are working to help each other so far the friendship is solid.
Very Well Put Emily1997
Submitted by kellyj on
You summed up my own feelings very well and brought to mind something that is really important within the things you said about ADHD. Like you, my wife and I have a strong friendship together and we negotiate the business end (if you will) of our marriage without many conflicts. What you mentioned about ADHD contributing to your relationship...... people just being selfish......and ADHD being a "scape goat" within a relationship really resonated with along with tying in the other things that have been discussed in this thread. A part of this still hits up against my own misunderstanding in the differences that seem so apparent to me when I compare myself to other people who have ADHD. As I mentioned....I'm still trying to understand this part myself so I am in a sense asking you or anyone else to enlighten me if you think you have any thoughts to this? Please bear with me.....I'm still struggling with processing and writing to other people succinctly at the same time (a work in progress) so I will apologize up front for my inability to keep things shorter:)
Despite having ADHD...I have been financially responsible my entire life as just one example of how I differ from many of the posts I read here on this forum. I had a savings account, that my parents set up for me from the age of 7 years old and have always saved money since that time. I paid cash for everything I had ever purchased until I was 32 years old when I got my first credit card and paid it down each month without fail( in reality...I rarely used it anyway and only got one so I could rent cars, equipment etc....). I have paid cash for nearly every car I have ever owned with only one exception ( and with protest ) from pressure from my ex wife who tended to squander every dime she ever made. I regret that decision as she ended up divorcing me and taking that car with her only a year later. That was the first and last time I will ever go against my own rules of saving until you have enough to buy what you want....and until that time, you find a cheaper or alternative route to get by until you have the money in hand first. I did the same thing with my house. I started out with what I could afford to pay in cash up front for the down payment by living frugally for years and cutting out other things to afford to do this. I did this without a credit card and had no credit history at all at the time. I purchased my first business with cash that I did borrow from my father when I was 25, but I paid him back in full in 6 months by working 7 days a week and living on a friends couch and eating Kraft Mac & Cheese and Hotdogs during that time in order to do this. Not the best diet I will agree...but you get the point?
Until I got divorced.....I had a perfect credit record (850?) and never missed a single payment on anything that could effect my credit rating. My business rating was net 30 and I never missed a single payment to any vendor I used for materials and parts. I will admit that many times I had close calls or had to rush to the post office or bank to not miss an important payment.....and tended to procrastinate and do things at the last minute in most things related to doing bills, taxes etc...but I always managed to make the dead line even it was made just barely on time. I did this before I was ever married and even while I was, saying.....I had no help what so ever from anyone in my previous marriage and even now to this day in being financially responsible from the time I was a child. Delayed gratification has not been an issue for me. financially is what I'm saying...but that's not saying that I didn't have the impulses and temptations that came from ADHD because this is not true. I had to learn to be this way and with that came a lot of frustration and self control at the same time.....it was a battle back then the same as it is now but.....I did have my own set of rules and boundaries surrounding these things that kept me in check. It is one just one of the things I can be thankful for my parents in teaching me how to do from a time I was a very young child.
The one thing that has changed with my wife now and I had no problem in turning over to her was in the actually paying of the bills themselves for example.....since she is much better with being consistently punctual in her routines and not waiting until the last minute like I tend to do. This is just one area that I am currently working on to improve for myself that is definitely related to my ADHD....being punctual. But in the mean time, I've gladly let her take that over after she expressed to me how stressed the way I managed the bill paying even though I always managed to pay on time at the end of the day. We had some angry moments and some heated debates in my relinquishing control over the bill paying, but we ended up negotiating this together since it really did make the most logical sense for her to do this part even if I maintained the actual management of the finances.
At the same time, I have never tried to control anyone else and how they spend their money. My wife works and has an income and has her own separate bank accounts. She contributes to the bills ( as she is doing them ) and keeps the rest for herself. I don't monitor her spending and I make sure that the differences in our incomes do not limit either one of us in our individual abilities to do things (or have personal spending power) either together or individually. In other words......I'm fair and equitable and make sure that there is a balance in things between the two of us which in my mind.......is the only reasonable thing to do?
I just gave you a snap shot or just one example that does appear to be my pattern in life that has not changed much going as far back as my childhood.....before and even after I was diagnosed with ADHD ( only 10 years ago ). And not to discount or minimize the part of being chronically...almost late....rushing to make payment dates at the last minute......and tending to put things off until the last minute as a chronic pattern. This of course is part of my ADHD without question including the stress that this behavior has created for anyone who has ever lived with me.
I also want to point out the comment I made about the frustration and struggle I have always had in maintaining a perfect credit record and never missing the actual dates themselves. I did end up over time even before I was diagnosed....managing this aspect a little better but only as an improvement to the pattern itself......the pattern still existed none the less but my stress surrounding it dropped dramatically. Saying...dramatically for me but, in the case of my wife (now)...her normal stress level increased dramatically once we started living together. This became just one area that impacted her negatively that was directly related to my ADHD....without question! And....it took some tense and angry moments.....some negotiating .....and some compromising in relinquishing control and division of labor in order to get to where we are now which does appear to be working for both us without any problems at this time.
Without belaying the point any longer ( yes, that is belaying not delaying...I know I have lots of typos just in case:) you can take this scenario that I just detailed fairly accurately. The aspects of responsibility to myself, my outside commitments and my wife would line up in the same way when it comes to being responsible, self discipline or self control and the struggles and effort to maintain my own values ie: fairness and being equitable with other people....and the willingness (even after being initially resistant at times to relinquishing control) out of respect that I realize and to the point....always have realized that my failings are not anyone else's problems before and after I was diagnosed with ADHD.
This is the part that I cannot understand when I read so many posts ( or even in the responses that I have received ) on this forum? Taking the personal connection aspect out of this for just a moment (not confuse things here).......I just can't see where not being responsible, not being fair or considerate to other people and not making an extra effort when needed in making sure you meet...at the very least....the minimum standards that most people would agree with has anything directly related to just ADHD by itself. I know how hard I have had to work at meeting these things...without question......I noticed for years that these things seemed much easier at times for other people than what I was experiencing.....but that never came with an excuse? Where does pity come into play here? How is this behavior associated with being irresponsible for yourself or other people? Any excuses, lying, rationalizing whatever in the past...would only come if people took exception to the WAY I did these things...not because I didn't do them at all or treated people unfairly or disrespectfully in these areas. And most of the time.....most people it seems, are pretty willing to forgive most minor infractions caused by ADHD as long as you are consideration to them and show the effort that say you are aware and willing to make up for it and take responsibility to the follow through at the very least, in making sure you never mess up on second chances if someone is generous enough to offer you one. Most people are pretty forgiving if you make just that one phone call to let them know. (even if it's a chronic pattern) as long as you are thoughtful enough to make sure to let them know that you are aware of them and you have not forgotten your responsibility to them even if you did in the moment when you should have remembered. Not saying this is an excuse or reason to be this way.....more, that this is my experience from being this way myself but not thinking that this is Okay in itself even in my past. Even in returning phone calls or being considerate out of respect, doing extra credit in school for late assignments, making up or doing extra work in general as required for the lacks that come with ADHD.
So Emily....after reading what you wrote about ADHD being a "scape goat" in a relationship. The last part is something that I know intimately since I was the "identified patient" in my family. That was my role and my ADHD was the easy target for this dynamic. I've already made this long enough so I won't explain what the "identified patient" is in terms of family dynamics but in short.....it's the family member where all the problems of the family get blamed or put onto because they stand out in some as a different or not falling in line with everyone else and gets the blame for the entire families dysfunction....and usually ( like in my case ) are pretty aware of this fact on a certain level even if they can't see it enough to understand exactly what is happening.
To summarize in my case....I now know that my ADHD symptoms were the focal point of this dynamic which I'm saying straight up without reservation I became the "scape goat" but the real problem or dysfunction was not ADHD....this as being told and explained to me by my therapist years ago. I was so ignorant and naive that he actually had to tell me that this was abuse because I was not able to see it even until that time. That is literally the case with me. To this day I'm still uncomfortable saying that I was abused because I never considered myself a victim of anything before that including ADHD which I discovered shortly after I made this discovery. Up until that time, the only thing that I would even remotely consider as being abused what from my father hitting my at times when I would speak out in any way of protest or dissension.....which, didn't happen many times because I learned rather quickly how to make that stop by keeping my mouth shut.
The point here is.....pity? sympathy? victim mentality? for what? Treating other people poorly? Being selfish or thoughtless in a chronic way? I had no clue that I had anything wrong with me until I was diagnosed and just did these things that every one else did in the manner as prescribed ( except took a different road from other people to get there many times) All I knew was things just seemed to be more difficult for me at times and I simply had to work harder and do things differently to do the same things? That's it? But none of that stopped me and it never occurred to me ( in a rather Forest Gump kind of slow to get it kind of way) me that there was ever an option NOT to do these things so I always have found a way....one way or another?
So...the bottom line here in relationship to what you and what others have said in this thread alone. The fundamental difference it seems with me and other people with ADHD on this forum appears to be more a problem in getting them to take responsibility in the first place ( in the overall sense) and then to keep on them doing it and all the issues that go along with that. It appears how I see this from my perspective.....I learned that you HAD to take responsibility when I was a child and there was no options outside of this.
Pretty much....throw that kid into the deep end of the pool and yell "swim" as means to teach you to swim.....do or die. Not the best method but it apparently worked to a certain extent. In my case I guess...I didn't die so I must have made it this far even well enough not to drown....including, paying my bills on time without anyones help....and I have ADHD? Of course there are the other facets to ADHD and marriage that I haven't forgotten about but I'm specifically curious about this concept of personal responsibility?
Emily.....I'd be really curious in light of your comment, any thoughts to any of this in relationship to what I said and your experience with your H since you mentioned other things outside of ADHD that you discovered in your relationship and trying on different hats. And again I'm sorry for making this so long but I felt that I had to at least contrast these differences in myself enough to get the picture? Again....I'm still trying to understand this myself because I'm still at loss in some ways to explain these differences?