Untreated ADHD leading my wife to want to run from marriage

Hello everyone I have been reading through these forums for about a month now trying to work up the nerve to make a post and ask for help or advice, but I'm at a breaking point in my marriage and really need to know what a community of people who have experience with ADHD to possibly sort threw some of this mess.

me and my wife have only been married for a year and a half, just had a baby girl a few months after marriage, I knew I had a problem with ADHD, but no money or insurance to go and get help. Long story short I have always had a short temper, just way to much going on in my head at any given time, and would react with the first thought or feeling I could get out. My wife constantly misunderstands what I am trying to say and takes it as a personal attack, and is now claiming that I was emotionally abusive and is in fear for our daughters safety. my therapist believes that because she has a previously diagnosed mood and anxiety disorder, she may be going threw a postpartum depression. I have been taking adderall for about a month now and my anger issues are under complete control. And I can think a lot more clearly then I have my entire life. I don't want to lose my wife, or my family any advice would be great, and I'm still working on getting thoughts out of my head clearly so any questions feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer. Thank you for your time.

It's great that you are aware

It's great that you are aware of you ADHD and taking steps to understand it and treat it.  That's more than many spouses/partners have been willing/able to do.

It sounds like the Adderall is working for you...I would suggest continuing to work CLOSELY with your prescribing doctor/psychiatrist about your dosage and how well things are working as well as continuing to work with your therapist (assuming he/she is well versed in adult ADHD) or coach for specific strategies and coping techniques, etc.  And it sounds like it would be helpful if your wife could join you at therapy...

In your boat

My situation is similar. My wife left with our daughter and I have been alienated from her for over seven months now. We are now in an unnecessary, expensive and painful legal battle and I have no idea when I will hold my daughter in my arms again. One more note, be careful with Aderral. It has a side effect of increased irritability, especially with those that had short tempers before. You may need a mood leveler like me. Consult with your psychiatrist if you feel more agitated. Read up on Aderral Rebound and make sure your wife understands it as well.

They put me on lexapro for

They put me on lexapro for anxiety and depression. My short fuse was usually caused by the millions of thoughts that would pop into my head when ever a situation came up, such as an argument, and I would go to a defense mode.

 my wife never had a problem with these things before she went and found a website for emootional abuse and all they keep telling her is run. And don't worry about what May have contributed to his anger. I'm so damn frustrated but don't want to take it out on her, I just want peace and my wife to let the past lay where it had been for along time until a few months ago, now that is all she sees and has been blowing things out of proportion when she talks to people. I admit I have made mistakes, but not to the extent she is trying make it seem. To her I am a monster bent on destroying who she is.

If Im reading this right, you

If Im reading this right, you really want to be acknowledged for getting help for your add, anxiety and depression and your efforts in wanting to control your temper. It seems also, from you saying "and dont worry about what may have contributed to this anger", that you'd like for her to acknowledge that maybe she didnt handle things in a way that was productive. This is a really normal feeling, because everyone wants validation for their point of view.

However, there are things that she needs to have acknowledged too, and I bet she wants to feel validated in her perception of the situation, even though you dont agree with it. Perhaps she wasn't fine with things before she found a site for emotional abuse. I mean, it would seem to me that if she was looking for such a site, things were very much NOT fine for her, even though you may have been under the impression that they were.

I have to tell you, as the non-ADD spouse, it's really hard to hear things like shes "blowing things out of proportion" and "I made mistakes but not to the extent she is trying to make it seem." because to me, those statements are pretty dismissive. Maybe it'd be like her telling you "You're blowing your depression out of proportion" or "your add isnt as bad as you make it seem"? I dont know you, obviously, and I dont know how youd feel about hearing that, but it doesnt seem like it'd be a very nice thing to say to someone who is trying to share a difficult issue and get compassion and support, you know?

The fact of the matter is that you both have an opinion. You both feel that your opinion and perception of the situation is right. She will not get anywhere if she insists that you drop your perception and see things her way, and likewise, you wont get anywhere if you insist that she drop her perception and see things your way. If that happens,. the only result will be further alienation.

Maybe it would help if you validated her feelings. You dont have to agree, but sometimes, a little validation and understanding goes a long way. There's no harm in trying it-- whats the worst that could happen? :)

Best of luck to you, to your wife, and to a new, improved marriage filled with the peace that you want.


No please don't get me wrong

No please don't get me wrong I have owned up to all of the things that have happened to her between us. I'm not trying to be dismissive in the least bit, she came to the web site while doing online quizzes, something she does on a regular basis. We had talked in the past about my behavior and hers and we were really working on things around the time my daughter was born, we both stopped calling each other names when we got angry and fought, we both had stopped arguing I front of our daughter, I made it a point to walk out of the room and cool off when I thought my anger was getting out of control and about to get me in trouble, so I wouldn't have to go back with my tale between my legs and apologize for being an idiot and basically tell her she was right anyway. I put away my computer and made more of an effort to do more house work and even tried cooking (she put a stop to that I'm not a good cook).

i have a hard time explaining things clearly, to anyone, and sometimes what I say is not how I wanted to say it if that makes any sense. I have been working on my self long before I went to a doctor and confirmed my ADHD. I don't really want validation from her so much as I just want her to stop only focusing on the bad things and see that good things are happening around her. But when she talks to people outside of us it's all about the negative and not even a breath of any positive. Again sorry I do have a reall hard time getting thoughts out of my head in a clear manor, so they don't always come off right.

Oh my goodness, I totally

Oh my goodness, I totally misread that, and viewed it through my own experiences and frustrations. Thanks so much for clarifying.

That said, I totally understand how it must be really hard to be making those positive changes and to be met with negativity. I have no advice at all... but my wish for happiness for you, your wife, and a good marriage between you still stands.


Also, taking Lexapro. My wife seems to have fallen into the same influences including her parents.

Some suggestions from a former ADHD domestic partner...

I was with my domestic partner for several years and just recently ended the relationship. After ending the relationship, I learned that a couple of years before we met, he'd been diagnosed with ADHD. Of course, he never disclosed this to me when we met. Furthermore, since he thought it was a "made up" condition, he never sought treatment although he would occasionally take prescriptions to get "focus". We were doomed despite engaging in marriage counseling for more than two years! I congratulate you on taking the necessary steps to try to save your marriage and your family by recognizing your ADHD and trying to do something about it.

In hindsight, there are some things that I think would have helped significantly and might have saved our relationship aside from the obvious 1.) medications 2.) therapy where we addressed his ADHD.

First of all, it would have been really nice if he would have "owned" his ADHD and would have acknowledged that his behavior was not normal. Having acknowledged this, he and I could have found ways to create functional workaround solutions. This is hard, I know. I was a very bizarre child and finally at 37, after the classical autism diagnosis of my niece, I learned that I have high-functional autism as does my father. When I told this to people that knew me as a child, they all shook their heads and said that it all made perfect sense, however, when I told this to people that had only known me as an adult, they were stunned. According to the psychiatrist, given my very high intelligence, I learned very quickly at a young age that society did not really appreciate my "quirkiness" and I quickly modified my behavior to adapt and conform to more socially acceptable standards. In fact, it was my ability to create these "workarounds" that led me to my success as an adult. I do not see why this could not work for someone with ADHD. For example, ADHD people seem to lack interest in others unless they are hyperfocused on an individual. Similarly, people with high-functional autism frequently find social relationships awkward, boring and many of us are extreme introverts. Given that my professional life required constant social interaction, I turned it into a kind of “data collection game” awarding myself points for every scrap of data I could pick up, process and retain. Although I genuinely wasn't interested in the manager's son's sports endeavors or his newborn baby being discussed at a company cocktail party, I would use that conversation as an opportunity to collect data for the strange little rolodex in my head. The next time I would see the manager, I would refer to the rolodex data in my head and our new conversation would focus around whatever we’d discussed previously - How’s the baby? How’s your son’s baseball team doing this season? What I found was that these people thought I'd really taken an interest in them, their lives, and their interests. The reality was that I hadn't, but the goodwill that was generated from my efforts was phenomenal! While some may take offense and claim that I’m a fraud, I don’t see it that way. I am capable of caring about those closest to me. In fact, I’m VERY preoccupied with the well-being of those whom I care about. I wish I cared more about extraneous people in my life and that I was an extroverted “social butterfly”, but I’m not. My actions made people feel the goodwill I would have liked to project more naturally were it possible for me to do so. The goodwill was VERY genuine on my part. I really believe ADHD people can do this too as they seem to be intelligent! Acknowledge your abnormal social behavior and work to modify it or create workarounds which normal people will find acceptable and may even find very agreeable. I regularly ask my normal friends and family for help. They all are on notice that if I do or say something weird, bizarre or offensive that they are to tell me about it and they do. They are my best allies!

Secondly, it would have been helpful if he’d communicated to me what things were like for him. There’s a lot of truth to the statement that one "should try to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes". However, for this to be most successful, it helps to know what those shoes look like, feel like, and what size they are. One thing that I was asked to do as part of my niece’s autism therapy was to journal. Specifically, I was asked to journal for several weeks about how my brain received information, processed that information, how I worked around challenges I encountered in day-to-day life, etc. The recipient of this gift was my sister so that she could better understand what might be going on in her daughter’s head. My sister has found this incredibly helpful (while also finding it all very perplexing. LOL!) Although my niece is more of a classical autistic case, there are clearly some similarities in our conditions. Frequently, when my sister has been struggling with my niece’s odd behavior, she will call me and I can explain what’s going on and offer an alternative behavior or solution. I think the ADHD partner should try to do something similar to convey to the non-ADHD partner what is going on. How am I to know that you cannot pick up the groceries after work because you freak out walking into the Wal-Mart? When you don’t do it and you give no explanation, I can only assume that you’re lazy and/or that you don’t care about the family getting to eat dinner. Keep a journal of a week in your life and give it to your partner. It could help her immensely in better understanding your situation. It would take a lot of the guesswork out of it for us. It hasn’t escaped my attention that most of the non-ADHD partners on here seem to be highly intelligent, capable and total Type A personalities. A little “manual” on how your brain works would really empower the non-ADHD partners to help you.

Lastly, check in with your partner regularly. This means both asking how she’s doing and listening to the reply. My partner, on the advice of our marriage counselor, would regularly ask how I was doing, but getting him to listen to my answer was like pulling teeth. Getting him to process what I’d said was even harder. I don’t know how to tell you to do this, maybe some ADHD person on here has been able to do this successfully and can offer advise. I can only tell you that it is critical. If my partner had at least listened and acknowledged that he’d heard me then the hit-or-miss attempts at trying to act to correct the problems might have been acceptable. Checking out and withdrawing is what finally prompted me to end the relationship. It was a F*&#^%g roller coaster. Some days he would pay a little attention to me, but then would ignore me for days on end. We would make plans to do something and then he would cancel at the last minute. The only way for me to manage my expectations was to not have any and that is not a life I wish to lead.

Sorry so long, but I hope it helps. Good luck!!!

I love all of these

I love all of these suggestions, and will be asking my husband tonight if he'd be willing to journal for a little while. As I am rapidly learning from being here, I really havent got a clue on why he does what he does. It'd be great to be able to KNOW for once.

Thank you thank you thank you!

You're welcome, pitypotpie

Not sure how applicable this stuff would be to ADHD since I never got to try it with the ex-ADHD domestic partner, but these things have helped immensely in our family dealing with our various types of autism. **I will warn you that my sister told me that the first time she tried reading my journal she was completely beside herself with frustration, anger and resentment toward me. Apparently, it flooded her with memories of me as a child before I'd figured out the whole "I've got to try to fit in and be socially acceptable" thing. She said it was horrible being completely flooded with such emotion. We spent a lot of time talking about her initial reaction after a few days and I think that in reading the journal it brought back all the ways in which I used to act those mental thoughts out and how much it frequently caused upheaval in our family and to her personally. Hopefully, you won't have quite the same response, but you might, so do be prepared. I'd be really curious how this works out with the ADHD husband so do please post an update. Not that it really matters at this point, but I am curious and I might mention it to him in passing at some point. 

So, one of the things which fascinated the psychiatrist I saw with my niece was that as a young pre-teen trying to figure out all my "abnormalities" (no one in the 70s had ever heard of autism - I was just weird), I had actually asked my close friends (I had all of three at the time) to make lists of all the ways they thought I was weird, strange, or unacceptable. I, too, made my own list of ways I thought that I might be different. I then studied these and started to come up with the workarounds I've been using and perfecting ever since. I had those lists well into my college years and would over time ask new friends to make lists. Would husband be willing to ask people to do this for him?  Maybe if everyone did it anonymously? I don't know. What I do know was that owning and addressing my quirks made all the difference and most people have no clue that I have autism. I still have a hard time looking at people in the eye and instead look at eyebrows or noses. LOL! There's always a solution if you can figure out the problem...


Thank you guys for your

Thank you guys for your input, and sorry if I rubbed anyone the wrong way, like I said above I would hyper focus into a computer game, so I basically put it away and kinda forced my self to do more house work by eliminating a big distraction, and when my wife gets home from work I always greet her and let her vent her night at work on me sense I know what it's like to be in high stress jobs, and you just want someone to listen to your day.  I have not vented my frustration about our situation to her or asked her to acknowledge my progress in any way. It is nice to finally be able to focus on her stories and carry on better conversations even under the circumstances.

It's a comunication & self awareness thing

I feel for you, I'm in the same boat except its 20 years and going untreated has laid waste to my entire life. I have always been excepted as a tough guy and a blunt instrument. I accepted this about myself and expected everyone to do the same because when I see myself I see (A GOOD GUY) that is misunderstood. Well the fact of the matter is I'm (A SCREWED UP GUY) that never faced his problems. I have the typical low self esteem, depression, anxiety, anger, BS that comes with having a shit storm fire off all day and night long in my brain. I have through the years of dealing with all my BS and how I think different than others come up with life systems to get threw (Fast temper, Face all conflict with anger, Face all anxiety with anger, Face everything with anger) well here I sit telling you to do some self reflection. I have lost my wife, kids, business, everything you can imagine including my sanity !! Here is what I have done lately to get myself going in the right direction. They are not in order, yea go figure....

1- I have owned my shit storm and have taken the stand point of wanting to hear everything I have done in 20 years from my wife and kids. It helps me see the things I see as (normal behavior) and puts them in the perspective of (This is how I have hurt my loved ones). You cant take offense to it, own it. It will be good for them to release their feeling they have been harboring for years.

2- Seek a Dr. who is knowledgeable in ADD / ADHD and all the off shoots it brings with it, get your meds straight. Then get a therapist who specializes in your type of issues as well as family therapy. The therapist may need to be your champion / advocate / voice to explain your issues to your wife. Your wife maybe in defense mode and not willing to hear you anymore, accept it, own it, and do what you have to do.

3- You are most likely living life on a foundation built of quicksand and the instability and it is making you crazy, learn how to build one for your own good and it will benefit those around you. You cant do any of this for anyone else than yourself because the second things go bad, and its life they do, you blame them and don't take responsibility for your actions.

4- I have come to realize that through self reflection I let my wife choose me because I was to afraid of rejection so I never dated. Now with that being said I never qualified her as a good candidate or a bad one, just as a convenient one! Listen up, If I was on solid ground and could except myself and was well or even semi-well adjusted I would have said to myself this is not a match, and funny enough she would have done the same thing too!! We are so far from complementary personalities that it's crazy that we lasted as long as we did, but to this day we still sit in limbo trying to make square pegs fit in round holes.

I think my best plan at this point at 45 years old, is to assess the life I have been living and build a foundation for myself, which in turn will help my children see there are alternatives, and that I do care about them and I am willing to better myself. As for my marriage, I have asked for a reprieve on the divorce my wife has been pushing for. I want to get my foundation built up before I make either a bigger problem or proceed with the right answer to a bad choice made when I was in a bad place. She has her issues that are so far from being a good match to my issues that divorce seems likely, but I also see a great person that I do love and have a lot of feelings for. So take it as you will my friend, it's your life but it has major complications for others to deal with.


Good luck !!