What should I expect?

I am not even sure where to start.  There is so much going on with my wife and me, but I am not sure I could get it all down in a logical way, so will start with the bare facts.

I am the one with ADD.  I am not overly organized, do tend to get sidetracked and have a hard time staying focused on something.  I forget things like if she asked me to get something from the basement, but first I put a shirt away and by time I head downstairs I forgot she asked me to get her something.  I realize that has caused problems.  I however do not have the impulsiveness with money and think overall I am a pretty well functioning individual.  I have always done well in school and work and do not think I have any sort of inferiority complex.  The exact opposite in that I may be a little to confident thinking I know best even if I am not good at communicating what is in my head.

My wife on the other hand is very organized, does a good job of keeping track of things dealing with the family and things that need to be done.  She remembers that the kids need to practice piano as well as the fact that we have to drive one kid to track right after school and pick the other one up for soccer tomorrow, so she has a dinner ready in the crock pot so we can eat when we get home.  Me, I realize that we are all starving on the way home and pick up a pizza.

However, she is also pretty exacting and has what I think are unrealistic standards.  Where I think cleaning/picking up the house when we have someone coming over is to put stuff away that may be out, sweep and wipe counters type stuff, she thinks that you need to wash the inside of the fridge, wash all the windows etc.  So we run into problems where I clean the kitchen and leave a sponge out and you can guess what she sees.

Yes, there is much more history than this, but as a typical ADDer, I live in the present and do not dwell on the past.  I used the get very angry/frustrated but I think I have gotten past that.  Yes I still get mad, but doesn't everyone?  I feel like I am not allowed to because of the past.  Any anger is seen as unacceptible

I admit my ADD has caused problems, but I feel like I am trying and have gotten better.  I also know that my wife is trying in her way.  She will find articles about my behavior (some on this site) and print them out for me or tell me of a diet I should try that may help.  I do not really find that helpful as I feel she is just passive aggressively pointing out my faults.

So we are at the point now where every time (yes EVERY time) that we try to talk we end up in some sort of argument.  This always seems to be because I failed some sort of test or did not meet her expectations.  She will bring it up with contempt in her voice, body language and word selection.  I have told her recently that I will not talk with her unless she shows me some common respect and talks to me and not the ADD.  So, when this happens and I just refuse to talk to her I am now to blame for the lack of communication.  She seems to view everything from the past and can not get over what I have done, weather I continue to do it or not (ex the anger issue).

So how can we move forward?  I hate this becoming about right and wrong, but I always feel like she is accusing me of causing all the problems.  She does not treat me with any decency.  When I point this out to her I get the argument that ADD folks are not good at self judging or interpreting others around them and are overly defensive type arguments.  When she send me an "I message" and I tell her interpretation is not how I meant it she pulls out the argument that even if I do not mean it "that" way, if that is how she interprets it that it is her reality so I should change what I am doing because she feels <insert emotion here>.  I follow up and ask what about how I feel she is treating me, and she responds with that it is a problem that when we try to discuss an issue she is having with my behavior, I am always trying to turn the blame on her.

So, tonight were were trying to talk, and again I felt she was treating me with nothing but contempt and unless she showed some respect for me, I would not talk to her.  Now I am accused of walking away.  Supposedly if I walk away I am supposed to initiate a follow up conversation.  But here we have two problems.  One, why would I want to start back a conversation where I feel she does little more than demean me and Two, I am living in the present and forgot about it.

I really do love my wife and want this to work, but it is hard when there are so many times I do not even like her.

How can I communicate with my wife where she talks to the present me, not the past me?  How can I communicate with my wife realizing she has good intentions even though she make me feel worthless.  How can I communicate with my wife when I am not good with words and can not get my meanings out in a way that she understands?  How can I ...?

Communication is hard

Hello. It is really hard to change relationship dynamics and truly letting go of resentment is also very hard. It seems to me that your relationship hasn't transcended these issues yet. I would suggest couples counseling with someone who understands ADHD. They can help provide a neutral setting so you can each make your points without blame. Walking away from a fight I think is useful. Us nons have our bad habits in how we respond to ADHD symptoms and sometimes do need to calm down. It is important to reschedule the discussion though, and do it before you leave. Then set yourself a reminder.  Or four. 


Ditto. My ADHD husband and I


My ADHD husband and I can't communicate our way out of a paper bag. Lol. Well we're better now and it was all because of counseling. Nearly 18 months worth and still going. I see it being indefinitely, but if that is what keeps us together, then so be it.

Resentment and anger in a non-ADHD spouse is tough. All of the emotions you expressed were the ones that my hubby did once upon a time ago, and sometimes now still (his biggest complaint is that I don't listen to him...guilty as charged though I still haven't figured out how to do better with this). But there was a time when I felt just like your wife--there was an avalanche of reasons why I didn't think he deserved respect or fair treatment because he had hurt me. Once we got into counseling and I began to see his side of things, I started cooling down. I began to realize that he really couldn't help some of his thoughts and actions, and how would I feel if I were in his shoes? Even now if I snap at him or feel out of sorts with him, I end up thinking, "How does he feel to have this totally crazy wife with all of her crazy mood swings." :-(

I think you're moving in the right direction. You're here and you're asking for advice. That over half the battle. Definitely ask her about entering counseling together and express to her that you want to get over these difficulties and be able to communicate better. Though she may be treating you very fairly, try to be innocuous and make this about the marriage and not about each other.

Best of luck.