Unequal division of responsibility -- for worrying

People have been talking about anxiety quite a bit lately in connection with another topic.  I want to share my nonADHD perspective on anxiety.  One of the hardest things for me during my marriage, at least in the past few years, as our children have gotten older and had more challenging problems and our finances have gone south and other problems have popped up, has been that it appears that someone other than me decided that I should be the designated worrier and problem solver.  So, when one child almost failed a class, I worried and I dealt with the problem.  When she almost wasn't allowed to graduate, I worried and I dealt with it.  When a child got a drinking ticket, I worried and I dealt with it.  Most of the time, my ADHD spouse was not exhibiting any anxiety nor was he assisting with dealing with these issues.  Now, I am currently better understanding from reading people's posts that people with ADHD often are worrying, like about how their answers to questions are going to sound (and other things, too).  But hey, I"m over here worrying and then dealing with the problems and I DON'T LIKE IT ANYMORE THAN YOU DO! Worrying sucks!  And I know that no one HAS to worry, but I'm hardwired to be a worrier, too, and the difference between me and my spouse is that I accept that there are things to worry about, that it's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.

OK, done whining.  This is something that frustrates and saddens me.  Thanks for "listening."


I think most of us who are

I think most of us who are the nonADHD spouse feel like the resident worrier/problem solver in chief. I have often felt like I have to stay one step ahead of the next crisis. I feel like my husband's impulsiveness may create chaos at any given moment. I am the major bread winner. I am the mommy- so yeah I worry about everything. My hubby doesn't sweat ANYTHING! It drives me nuts. 

ADD worrier 2

My DW is a MAJOR worrier and has been since a child. For years, she would worry about everything and unless it was blowing up in my face I usually would miss most things. The Foggy ADD brain does not get called into action until either the issue is Right in front of you requiring Immediate Action or in my case, until my DW would get pissed off at me not noticing and blow-up at me. 

I would offer to take the load whenever I saw her stressing over stuff that I could do, but it was not enough. I know this know, because after my diagnosis and Adderall regiment I see so many things that require attention that it seems like no matter how much I get done the list will grow proportionate to any output. The blinders are off and I worry constantly. It is another new language I have to learn, like body language and tone of voice, that most people have a 43 year advantage to me. 

I do have a better handle on worries when compared to my DW, though... She worries about Everything to a fault. She is so critical of herself, I am pretty critical of myself too, but nothing compared to her self evaluation and impossible standards of Perfect Mom/Friend/Daughter/Sister/Employee/Hostess/House-keeper/Volunteer.  I worry about things that I CAN do something about and do not worry about the things that I have no control as to it's possible outcome. I understand that I may have to deal with something "If / When" it goes wrong, so I may ponder possibilities a little, but not make myself crazy over something I have Zero Control of. I do the best I can to be a great father, husband and employee and I give little regard to things much out of those areas. I will not worry about what others think I'm supposed to do or be the only opinions that matter are those of my family and close friends.

THAT is enough to worry about don't you think? :)

Your wife and I have the

Your wife and I have the worrying about everything to a fault in common. If we want to be entirely honest about it, that's why we picked the spouses we did! Initially, I was attracted to my husband's ability to not let anything get in the way of a good night's sleep. I'm sure my hubby liked how responsible and "on top of things" I was/am. I did learn from my husband to let some things go. So perhaps his ADHD had at least one positive effect on me!

THAT is exactly

THAT is exactly what my wife says! and I never wanted a wife who could not stand up for herself. We got Exactly what we ordered, for sure :) I always told my DW when I see her SO Stressed she seems about to shatter "I wish she could live with my brain for a day and not worry so much". Truthfully, if it were not her letting me know her expectations of Her Guy, I would have floundered around forever I think. Since my relationship began with her in 1992 my consistency and drive to succeed really began with her. I had to pursue her relentlessly to win her and bust my A$$ to keep her and so far, so good...

Job-wise, I did not start strong.

#1 - 1 year (Fired - 1st time ever, btw)

#2 - 1.5 years, HATED that place (Went back to school, powered by rage from being fired) 

#3 - took a job in my career field (6 months - Laid-Off)

Unemployed about 4 weeks

#4 - 12.5 years at the company where my DW works, with my income 3X by the end

#5 - a job offer for +12K, 3 years (Laid off 7/2010, thanks economy)

Unemployed 26 days, but had 2 offers working after 10 days, before current job

#6 - still looking good... 


The ADD Change has been rough FOR Sure, but we would be divorced if it had not been diagnosed and treatment been successful and both my DW and myself being patient "In-Transition". 


As to this:  The blinders are off and I worry constantly. It is another new language I have to learn, like body language and tone of voice, that most people have a 43 year advantage to me..  No!  No!  don't learn how to worry!   I like this much better:  I worry about things that I CAN do something about and do not worry about the things that I have no control as to it's possible outcome.   To me, the stuff you can do something about is just taking care of business, and thinking about stuff you can't control, or won't control, or choose not to change, is worry.  Mark Twin:  'I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened'  I used to be a much worse (better?) worrier than I am today.  I have gradually been learning to use the phrase "right now, I'm okay"  or "right now, we're okay" to talk myself down.  When I used to spend a lot of time worrying, I think I believed that worrying was actually doing something about a problem.  Wow, boy was I wrong.  So if my guy and I had a "problem", I was constantly picking at it, talking about it, thinking about... and my ADD guy would be shrugging his shoulders or leaving the room.  He knew he couldn't DO anything at that moment, so he didn't think about it.  I can even remember telling him, Well SOMEBODY has to worry about these things!!  I think what I meant was somebody has to do something, somebody has to fix this... wow, I  may be even more neurotic than I thought........

I've become better about not

I've become better about not worrying when I don't have to.  But unfortunately, I'm still the person who deals with conflicts, crises, problems, and so on.  I'm proud to be a strong person but I do wish that my husband would share the burden of dealing with the negatives, because it is a burden, and I think that part of the reason to be married is to have a partner who shares things with you, the bad and the good of life.

Shared Burdens

Several years before my diagnosis I grew SO Tired of the "Well SOMEBODY has to worry about these things!!" as Gardener states above, that I asked my DW to Just "Ask" me to do something if hints or lack of my observation did not work. She always assumed that I just figured She would handle everything not on my normal To-Do list. This actually helped. She asked if I would be offended by a list stuck to the refrigerator and I told her "Of course not, That is a great idea!" No deadlines, just items in sort of her order of importance. That way when I was doing stuff around the house I would know it was something she wanted done. I done millions of things and got the "That was not really bothering me, Why did you spend time on THAT?!?" 

It's never 50/50, but I guarantee I do my share of tasks these days. I Want to do my share. ADD or not, most Guys I know don't do crap compared to me ;) My DW does tell me every now and then that she appreciates how much I do compared to most husbands she hears about from her friends. THAT makes it all worth it to me ;)

Worry constantly maybe a bit Over-Stated

Over-Stated from an ADDer?!? What are the odds? ;) There were probably things I did not worry about that I should have at least had on the radar screen. The worry process used to start when the Worry "Punched me in the face" and Not before.

"I worry about things that I CAN do something about and do not worry about the things that I have no control as to it's possible outcome." is still my basic worry model. Maybe what I'm thinking of is worry caused by what I can Now See a little farther down the road from my prior Present Moment vision. I cannot tell you how may times I've heard these words in the last 20 years... "Well SOMEBODY has to worry about these things!!" my reaction pretty much a carbon copy of how you describe your DH's response. Not Very Productive...

I believe you can "Worry yourself sick", so turn the Worry switch off every now and then :)