Where do I go from here?

I am not a fan of throwing my issues out for all to see ... I have a strict rule on Facebook how our things stay our things.  However, I need help, and I'm really unsure where to turn next.

You know, I could take a collage of all the feeling here and throw them in this post, they're all so spot on (and I see people say that all the time, here, too!).

My DH has no real grasp of how much his ADHD causes pain and hurt and resentment.  It took a couple of years even to get him treated, and now on Celexa and Ritalin his moods have at least improved.  Supposedly, his focus has too.  But what about the habits?  What about having a job to do, and not putting quality into his tasks?  What about being asked to take out the trash, before I get home because he also scooped cat litter and the smells make me sick, means he doesn't have to do it until 5+ hours after I've been home, with 4 mentions of it since then.  Granted, I can't say "please get up and take out the trash now" because that's just rude and trying to make him feel like sh**.  But when he asks twice what he can do to help me out when my daughter and I are cleaning up the kitchen, and I tell him twice the Trash, and he doesn't do it, I'm still not allowed to be upset.  I've also asked twice tonight if he'll be able to do it tonight ... but I'm just a martyr, again, trying to make him feel bad.  He can do this whenever.

I could give example over example of this behavior.

I'm tired of crying myself to sleep.  I'm tired of the broken promises.  I'm tired of always feeling so lonely.  I'm tired of even my dreams leading to asking him for a divorce.

We've had the arguments about how his behavior hurts our family.  We've had calm collected conversations about it.  He claims he knows, but he doesn't take action to improve on any of it.  When called on it, he swears he is making improvements .. but if he were, then why do we always feel so hurt by him?  And, if I were to actually get divorce papers, why would I end up feeling so guilty?

I've asked for us to see a councilor together.  He's made it so clear he reserves the right to stop going or not go at all.  I think I'm going to have to see one for myself soon, with or without him.  I'm beyond the point of being able to handle this calmly.  I'm so full of resentment and stress at having to micromanage everything.  And yet, when I tell him how much stress that adds, he doesn't accept it.. I'm just being petty and mean again.  Maybe so, I'm at my breaking point.  I have been for almost a year.

I need someone who can be solid and reliable, for me and my 2 daughters (only the youngest is his).  From what I can see on these forums, it's nearly impossible for someone with ADHD to be that person.  To take on the weight of a partnership and help equally.  Some ADHDers here seem truly to want to be that person, so I'm sure some will achieve that goal.  I don't think my husband has that goal.

I honestly don't know what to do at this point.  I'm emotionally washed out.  I wish there was an easy answer.  I wish love didn't have to factor in ... I wish I had confidence that if I did ask to separate, he would be able to take care of himself.

I know this place you speak

I know this place you speak from. I have been dealing for years, did counseling to fix me and us for years, we did couples counseling, there can never be too much talking it out. The only way it will get better is for him to see it. My dh took a pill for 10 years and did not do the work. There is really nothing you can do unless they are ready. I finally lost it and have been in this angry, frozen position and NOW he is working... years and years and years of frustration, of defensive, belittling, antagonistic, "you, you, you show me nothing" behavior! So, now, after he see's, he wants to "move forward" - so, how does that take away all the frustration and how does that tear down all of those protective walls? I can only say, i still don't know... It's almost like i have to learn how to breathe all over again. I feel for you. Take care of yourself. Get help! Make sure it is a qualified counselor who KNOWS adhd - otherwise you will be wasting your time and money. It is a whole different ballgame.

My heart goes out to you!!


I know the place where you are right now. My marriage is like your description. I come from a different direction. Being in a marriage that is dysfunctional and out of control is very painful. I would whole heartedly recommend counseling and agree with pj, the counselor needs to know ADHD and have a good percentage of their practice with marriages with ADHD.

I have been married for 28 years. I was very accepting of counseling going into our marriage. I became depressed early in our marriage. My wife refused to go and when she went, she did not like the therapist, was critical and would not continue. It was not until she was totally exhausted from work, our family life or frozen relationship, did she asked me to go to counseling. This was after, I went for a good 15+ years. Our situation is like your description.

During counseling, I learned that my wife and I came from different family dynamics. For example, my wife was the first born, a splitting image of her mother (in behavior). She is a very dynamic Type A personality. I came from a alcoholic family. I learned that the hidden belief in both of us is "I'm defective or there is something wrong with me". My wife and I play this message out differently. ADHD is a strong dynamic but there are many other issues which cause problems in marriage.  

As pj said, take care of yourself, get the help you need to address your physical and emotional health. The more you get healthy, it will effect your marriage. Do not let go, hang on.   

Thank you Both

Thank you both for the words. 

Some days are worse than others.  I know I'm not a person who likes conflict... and sometimes it feels like that's all there is.  We go to his doctors appointments together, most usually.  That may be a good way to get him to consider the counciling without issue, is work it in to the doctor discussion.  Maybe he'll be able to refer us to someone trustworthy and knowledgeable.

Unfortunately, I see myself trying to vent a bit here to keep it from carrying over too much here.  Hopefully if I can be less critical of him subconsciouly it'll help.

I've asked him to this site multiple times.  he always forgets to go here.  He saw me crying the other night reading through the communication posts.  I think something set in... this weekend in general has been different.  Also, he picked up extra hours at work.  And starting in October he'll have for sure 20 hours per week.  He just started this job and got through training about 2 weeks ago, now they're just figuring out where to fit him in.  When he's got a work schedule to work around, it's amazing how much it helps him keep things on track.

Again, thank you for the words, they do help more than words in return can express, but thank you.  I have a lot to learn, and along road ahead (hopefully the rest of my life long).

Good luck with the doc and

Good luck with the doc and congrats on the new job for him. We'll both be reading and looking and learning. Keep up the good work!

Some thoughts after reading your post again


I know the place where your relationship and family dynamic is in the present.

I see that you are telling your husband the things that need to get done for the family or things he needs to do for himself. In all this, try to focus on the idea of partnering with him.

  • As a couple, consider after dinner or breakfast time your family strategy session. I would do it at the table. You go over the schedule and the appointments etc that need to be accomplished for the family, house, finances, repairs around the house, etc.
  • Give him small to medium size notes with bullet points for the tasks the he needs to do in a given time frame (that night/next day). Make it very immediate. At first, start short tasks that he can complete quickly and can come to you for more. If his depression is causing him to complete tasks during the day, the little success will help his confidence.
  • I would not recommend long notes with detailed instructions, his eyes will gloss over. Why, I learned in a business writing class, that the mind shuts down after certain amount of words in a sentence or lines in a paragraph. Now, knowing I have ADD, it makes even more sense. Unless I am hyperfocusing, I cannot read long articles, etc.
  • I know your are struggling with keeping it together and you are at your wits end. My wife was in the same place at one point. It started with her frustration over the kids behavior, she would yell very strongly. It became an issue between us. When my depression grew worse, I went into coping modes that were not healthy. She began to yelling at me. It caused me to totally shut down. Our therapist called it a parent-child communication. My wife took on the role of a parent, she is Type A.  She was communicating to me like I was a child. I was resentful and angry and shut down.
  • The way out was the idea that my wife would communicate with me like I was a colleague, what ever my response, continue to think through her response to my behavior as if I was a colleague. When she and I took it out of the context of our relationship and treated it as though we were dealing with people we considered our peers, It allowed us to take the heat and hurt out. We were able to think through what we would do with them. I am not explaining this in criticism of you. I am trying to paint a picture for you to grab a hold of.
  • As for your husband, in response to your request, discussion of family responsibility needs to commit to take on the task (s) and finish it to completion. Ask him for a commitment on completion of the task and the time frame involved. You do the same. Then, the next night come together update each other on progress. If there were questions, etc, you discuss them and come up with the next days direction.

As I mentioned to you in the last note, I think that you communicate your belief in his ability as a husband and a father. This is why I married my wife. I loved her but we believed in each other. I know that this is being tested right now. The questions come to your mind.  

On Job Hunting:

Discuss with him about volunteering or working with a non-profit or company related to his career or desired career. Also, encourage him to learn about the next step in improving in his job area. If he likes the area, it would motivate him. One of the issues I encountered was keeping up with my skills (for me computer skills) during my unemployment.

I do not know where you live, but during my recent unemployment, there were community/gov't agencies and even churches that developed job hunting curriculum, resume review assistances, etc. Connect him with job/career building advise websites. Even if your husband is in construction, auto mechanics etc, these jobs are changing too.  Try temporary agencies.

I monitored Tim Tyrell Smith's blog and writings. He is on the cutting edge of job hunting and job hunting with technology. The name of the game in job hunting now is networking with people you know and making it known what you want to be involved with. 

Your local library is a good place for him to review material about job hunting. It is very overwhelming. I experienced it first hand. I took one step at a time. In the end, it was networking which was the key to obtaining my current job.

I hope this helps. If you think another approach would work, try it. I am just brainstorming with you. I am praying for you and your family.