Want to separate from ADHD husband...struggling...need advice!

My husband and I have been together for 8 years, have one 3 yr old son. My husband has never been diagnosed with ADHD as he has never sought out any help, doesn't think he has a problem. His father mentioned to me years ago that my husband should've been diagnosed with ADHD as a child. He also has a head injury from a bad car accident he had in his teens. All thru our relationship and marriage there has been emotional /verbal abuse. He has had numerous screaming fits, tantrums if he lost something or couldn't fix something. I've left many times only to come back and try again after all of his promises to change. He has stopped calling me names and having huge tantrums but I'm afraid the damage has been done...been called every name in the book, had things thrown at me, seen him punch holes in the wall, he's spit in my face, the list goes on. I have no trust in him and have shut down emotionally, although now a lot of that behavior has stopped, things have changed. He is now hyper focused on me, saying " I love you" ten times a day. He calls me constantly when he's at work ,he always has. I feel so smothered and yet there is always this weird, indescribable distance between us, he is always in his own world. When I try to communicate with him about my feelings or we have a disagreement he always blames me, says I just want to fight, that I'm the unhappy one, i'm too critical, I want too much ,etc. He is impossible to get through to! I feel so lonely even though we spend a lot time together because he has no friends and doesn't care to have any. He is very dependent on me for everything...emotionally and physically. The intimacy has stopped because I feel no attraction...we have a parent/child dynamic and it's a huge turn off...he pressures me all the time for sex,etc which makes me not interested even more. He has started to as me if I'm cheating on him.  He's very responsible with work and helps care for our son although he is often "tuned out" to our son's feelings.  I am at the point where I don't think I can take anymore. I feel I have totally lost myself and everything with him is so confusing. In the last year my physical health has been awful, stomach problems, severe dizziness, anxiety....been thoroughly checked out and I'm fine "physically". I feel so depleted and exhausted and fear that if I don't get out I'm just going to deteriorate and that it will affect our son. I'm very isolated , have become isolated since being with him. He makes me feel guilty for spending time with others or trying to do something I enjoy that doesn't involve him. He doesn't even really seem to know who I am as a person or seem interested in my past, or my dreams, etc. I pretty much have decided I want to separate. I'm just afraid to take the step. I just started working part time again, I've been a stay at home mom for 3 years....I feel bad for our son who will be another child with divorced parents but I also want my son to see me happy and healthy. I haven't mentioned to my husband that I think he has ADHD recently ,in the past he's gotten really mad at me when I've suggested it or seeking some help..tells me I'm crazy,etc. I want him to leave our house and let me stay with our son. He has a full time income and can afford to leave but I'm worried he is going to make it difficult, I also fear he may get really angry and react, say horrible things, I just don't trust him based on the past. Any suggestions on getting him to leave, telling him I want to separate?? I really need advice from those who have been there...I really want to get "me" back again, get out of this deep, confusing fog I've been in with him,  and make a healthy and happy life for my son and I. Please help!

He probably won't leave

My husband wouldn't. He allowed me, of course, to take things from the house that were mine before, but it wouldn't all fit in the truck, and he refuses to respond to my calm, reasoned emails and phone calls about when I'd like to make a trip (90-odd miles) to get the rest of my stuff. Everything we acquired together, dog, cat, furniture, appliances, etc. he kept. He said it was as much his house as mine and "If you want to leave, I won't stop you, but you aren't taking anything that's mine." I paid the security deposit, I paid all the household bills, but he feels as entitled to it all as I am. So you will probably find yourself taking your child and all you can carry and finding an inadequate apartment and struggling for money always, but at least you'll have a life free of worrying about his ADD behaviors.

Sorry I can't give you a more hopeful response.

Sounds more like narcissism

You may not be dealing with someone with ADD/ADHD, but a narcissist.  I would get advice from a therapist.  The isolation from family and friends, the abuse - these are all hallmarks of a narcissist.  Please be very careful if you think he could get abusive toward you.  Get some good advice from professionals.

Codependency and...?

You have already determined that your relationship is not healthy...it also sounds as if it's co-dependent.  The "I have lost myself" idea is a common thread in struggling relationships, but it also is a clue towards co-dependency...  If you need a resource to find out more about that, read "Co-dependent No More" by Melodie Beatty.  Your fear of how to leave your husband is concerning, as is the fact that you have "diagnosed" him.  Don't assume he has ADHD - there are lots of other issues that mimic it.

There is a section in my book on how to "get yourself back again" that may be helpful.  You are responsible for making the changes necessary to do that - looking at who you want to be, and starting to act in that way.  It's always unclear how a partner will respond when you start to act quite differently...if you see evidence that your husband might become violent in response, please seek assistance.  You might also see him lighten up and be better to be with.  When you read about co-dependency you will find out that it is NOT in your best interests to give in on all that you need...

If you wish to separate, do your homework about what that means in your state and what your rights are.  You can expect that if you want to have full custody of your son your husband (who seems prone to anger, and possibly revenge) will possibly fight that - if for no other reason than to hurt you.  So be prepared, and talk with a counselor about the best plan to follow if you are going to do this.


csidra, I am so sorry you are going through this. I had a verbally abusive spouse with some serious anger management problems myself. It sounds like you understandably may be struggling with giving yourself permission to do what you really want. 

Have you considered counseling for yourself? It sounds as if you could have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (I did). Living with abuse for a long time can do it to you, even if it has been over for a long while. A therapist or psychologist may be able to help you prepare yourself for the separation, too. 

Be ready for it to be difficult--I hope it wouldn't be, but he might make it so. I agree that he may not want to leave (mine didn't so I left with the children instead). Mine also dug in his heels and gave me a pretty hard time about money and custody. I realized all the security and living space in the world wasn't worth my own health and happiness. And he gave in on the visitation as soon as the reality of it set in--he liked the idea of having our children half the time, but not the consistency of it. If I were you, I would visit an attorney as soon as possible and find out what your options and rights are. 

Mine also changed his behavior significantly and wanted to reconcile after I left. But I realized that it was too late. He had blamed me, and been too mean and abusive to me for too long. He had killed any love I may have had for him. There was no way I could reconcile being intimate with someone who had thrown a glass of juice on me, told me he hated me, and called me terrible names for years. I feel fine about it. You deserve to be happy. And you are right--you are not only thinking of yourself, but your son as well. Better to be from a broken home than to be living in one.

New to ADD spouse in the marriage.

My husband has been a a$$hole for 17 years, we have been married for 14 and have a 12 year old daughter.  The house has not been a happy place to be for at least the last 10.  He has just been diagnosed with ADD.  Most of the time he is a miserable jerk........I have just figured out that all this time while he was blaming me for his behaviour and inabilities it wasn't me!!  I thought I would be a good wife and stick around to now help him deal with this new discovery (not sure he won't be diagnosed with something else yet), but really it has been 10 - 15 years of hell and now that I know none of it was my fault, I am TIRED and ready to go.  The problem is that he is still as he always has been playing the blame game.  He could use me as support but I am probably not good enough to do that for him, he is so out of touch with the reality of things, I just don't care anymore and want to start being in a happy place for my daughter and I, she has seen and heard way too much!  How do I go forward with this new diagnosis...........for a very very old problem.

Also he has started Concerta................trying to figure out how our family is ever going to benefit from him taking that when he takes it at 6am before he goes to work in AM and by time he comes home it is out of his system and he is same old same old - can't function and is a jerk at home.  He also works shift work 2 days, 2 nights so this makes it all screwy.........he gets weekends one month out of 3...........and I work Monday to Friday same schedule as our daughter and school.  So from what I can tell I will get him acting normal once every three months.........as when the stuff is not in his system he cannot cope, function or see our reality!!!



Thanks for posting!

It's posts like yours that give me strength in the days I am down.  Like you, I took 15 plus years of nothing but blame, blame, blame and he never took responsibility for anything.  He eventually walked out on me and our family.  Two weeks later of him leaving I find out about an affair.  About a year after that, I realized ADD was what we had been dealing with and got the opportunity to tell him in a nice way.  He even said to me "I wonder if i have it".  The minute I started to say it affects relationships and not just focusing his defensiveness went up.  That is what to this day kills me.  I never got an apology for all the things he said to me and the years I put up with it when most of it wasn't even my fault.  It hurts!!!  All I can hope for is that the woman who hooked up with him from work, knowing he was married, gets what she deserves when his true colors show as the relationship loses its newness, she starts to tell him off and then and only then will he MAYBE think he's not perfect afterall.       

Newly diagnosed ADD husband

I hear ya!  You have broken free from it all and he initiated it, so to me that is great.  I keep being told what a horrible wife I would be if I left now.  As far as I can see I have done more than my fair share over the years of trying to make things better.......I can't bang my head against a wall anymore!  I heard from the psychiatrist that Risky Behaviour (extra marital activity) is a common ADD trait, and my husband has always been a really good flirt, with how much I have been shut out I wonder too if this is what may be going on..........and the only thing that makes me feel better is thinking that if he has something on the side...........she can have him!

Concerta wearing off

"Concerta................trying to figure out how our family is ever going to benefit from him taking that when he takes it at 6am before he goes to work in AM and by time he comes home it is out of his system"

Is he on Concerta because it is long-lasting as opposed to plain-old Ritalin (lasts 4hrs, so some people forget to take it regularly or can't fit it in with work etc)?  Have you explained, to his prescribing dr, the problem of it wearing off when he needs to be on-the-ball with family ?  His dr might easily be unaware how much of a problem this is (especially if your husband is self-reporting that all is ok, as he might).  Make sure the dr knows, maybe they can switch his meds or add a different one.

My husband takes Adderall and specifically not an extended-release formulation because it didn't get him through 16 hrs days - but he had to explain the problem. As soon as he did (explain), the psychiatrist understood and switched him right away.  Since many people like the extended-release formulations it might have been your husband's dr's usual prescription.  It's got to be worth a try?

Concerta vs. other long lasting drugs

Thank you for your reply.  You are exactly right, we called this morning to the GP but he is on holidays as we knew we need to discuss the whole med process.........and you are right.........he needs to be on the ball for family more importantly than work as far as I am concerned and these meds make no sense in this respect.  We will do some searching on Adderall, thanks so much for the info.  His psychiatrist appt is not for a month and that is too long to wait!


So I just get home from work expecting to have crockpot supper started as discussed on the phone with ADD husband.  So if you don't know if you can remember what you just spoke to someone about you are supposed to write down right away, correct?  Him not me correct!  So I get home as usual and nothing has been touched as far as the 5 min job to get dinner started in crock pot, he seems to be absolutely clueless about this whole matter..................can I please walk away now without feeling bad?????????  Too many of these little things add up to really big things.