Wife of an ADHD husband desperately seeking help

I'm 31 year old female recently married to my 28 year old husband who suffers from ADHD. He suffers from baaaad anxiety, anger and outbursts, impulses, addictions (both sex and drugs). He admits he needs help but refuses to beleive therapy or medication will help him.  He says I keep him prisoner but he's a prisoner of his own mind.  I've told him this...sometimes he agrees and sometime more often than not I'm the root of all his problems.  He says I need medication (FYI, I only started taking antidepressants to help me not react to his madness and cope with his behavior...I thought it would help numb my emotions).

I've been 100% selfless and supportive but his verbal and emotional abuse is breaking me.  I'm trying to be strong and I love him so much but I'm losing all my self worth.  He's heartless, cruel and mean.  I'm a doormat, punching bag...whatever you want to call it.  I constantly walk on eggshells and can't EVER express my feelings or defend myself.    

With him the world is black and white...he tears me down and throws me into a tornado that is his mind.  I'm human and I have no one to turn too.  I've never cut myself until I met him.  He hurts me so bad that I can't deal with it that physical pain of cutting my arms takes away from the pain I feel inside.  When I cry he yells at me so I cut myself to stop crying and he yells or even ignores me saying I'm selfish.

I reached out to a doctor to help me and she demanded I stop cutting.  I did it like 10 times...it's something I don't want to do and have no intention of doing but I can't make any promises considering my situation and the mental state I'm suffering from when he's in his rages.  He is unstable and this is making me unstable.  I ride his wave. 

Why would a therapist put demands on me or add to my stress considering my situation? I feel very hurt that I turned to someone and they tried to control me and not help me when I reaching out for help.  I'm a really kind person but why won't someone give me a break. My husband already controls and manipulates me.  Woudln't a therapist realize her approach is counteractive. 

I've tried and tried again to manage this on my own but I'm not getting any better and my husbands ADHD is spiraling out of control and I'm being blamed.  What is the dysfuntion in his brain?  I want to also add he was born addicted to drugs and his biological mother neglected him from birth to at least the age of 5.

Of course I don't blame him for his condition and situation.  I also forgive him for anything that he has done that has hurt me.  I don't ever want to be spiteful or be negative...all I ask is to be able to have my moment to cry, be sad or be angry without reflecting on him or causing a fight. He wants me to be perfect and has superficial expectations of me.  I need a break, I need a hug, I need a friend or simply support.   

As you can see from this post my mind and emotions are scattered.  I don't know if I made any sense but all I do know is that I really love him and only want the best for him, me and us as a team.  Any advise would be helpful. Thanks for listening.

Please take care of yourself

  I am so sorry for you, I am in a similar position and I know how much it hurts, how defeated and hopeless it can feel. Please take care of yourself first, he is unable at this point to take care of you and treasure you the way a husband should. You can not change him you can only change the way you react to him and believe me I know how fustrating that can be. Please find a therapist knowlegeable of ADHD, someone who will support you. Cutting yourself is not the answer as I am sure you know but I do understand the need for a release. I don't want to come off "preachy" but my personal relationship with God, giving my pain to him helps me tremendously. My heart goes out to you, and I will pray for you.

Thank you

Thank you for your support.  

For snugs

In the last two years I have read many posts from many distressed people.  I can honestly say that yours is one of the most desperate.  You may love your husband, but I suggest that you work with a counselor who knows about ADD right away to understand WHY you love your husband, and why you are willing to submit to this type of mental torture.  Quite frankly (and I almost never say this type of thing) I wonder if you shouldn't move out for a while.

It is not good for you or for your husband that you are in a situation in which he is controlling and manipulating you, nor is it good that you are getting blamed for his many, many problems.  By moving out you may inspire him to look at his life in a more concrete way.  You can forgive him and understand that he has issues, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes even when you love someone it isn't healthy to live with them.  Cutting because the pain is so great is a cry for help, as well as an indication that you need to take better control of your own life.

Rest assured that you are NOT the root of your husband's problems - anxiety, addictions, outbursts, ADD issues - these all belong to him.  But now, because you are married to him, they are yours too.  Do you want them?  Do you wish to continue provide him with an excuse?  As long as you are there he can say "it's all your fault" rather than face up to the fact that it's actually HIS responsibility to take care of himself better.  Do you want to continue to live a life in which you are SO MUCH A PRISONER that you cannot even express your opinions?

Please find a counselor immediately so that you can let that pain out and start dealing with the idea that the only way you can help yourself is to be more in control of your life...The BEST thing you can do for yourself, for him and even for the two of you as a couple is to not continue in the direction in which you are going.  It is destructive to you and your relationship.

You DO need a friend and a hug (wish I could give one to you!) and furthermore, deserve one.

Thank You

Tonight was a rough one so I don't have the energy.  Thank you for your reply, you are right and I'm trying to seek help.

Advice...a little...

Hi Snugs,

Thank you so much for sharing your feelings.  I found this website close to a year ago, and have read all of the topics faithfully since that time.  I have never posted on this site, but when I read your post, I felt compelled to reply. 

One thing that I find common on this website is that all of us (whether we are the non-ADD spouse or the one with the illness) who happen to stumble across this site feel that we have finally found a place where we are understood and validated.  Such an environment is difficult to create and sustain, especially online (eternal gratitude to the Hallowells). 

I believe one reason why this site is so effective is because most of us lack true education regarding what ADD/ADHD truly is and how it affects the lives of its victims.  Since we are unable to identify the "core traits" of this disease, we start googling ourselves sick until we find something that provides an explanation to what is happening to us as individuals and in our interpersonal relationships.  And, it is always so much easier to share our stories without having to have the anxieties and fears of being in the physical presence of others.

For those of us who come here in search of comfort/validation/reassurance/understanding and are the spouse of a person plagued with ADD/ADHD, we know that something is undeniably wrong in our home and our marriage. 

Many of our stories are the same.  I myself have been married for one very long year and eight months.  After we were married, I felt as if someone took me away from my life of being at the beach with bright sunlight and the beautiful sand and whisked me off into a dungeon with absolutely no light.  I only found light when I found this website.  I can't begin to tell you the number of times I have been completely blown away by reading stories that mirrored my own.  Its because I never knew such a life even existed.  I'm not a naive person.  I just never knew that these kind of challenges existed in life.  My experience wasn't your average "wake up" call.  It was like being awakened by a grenade or shelling.

At any rate, when I read your post, I found similarities in my own expressions.  There is one expression though that I absolutely have to mention.  You said that "he's a prisoner of his own mind".  Snugs, that expression gripped my throat.  Before my husband was diagnosed, that was the only way that I could explain to his parents that something was wrong.  I would always repeat that expression to them.  It was all I knew.

Of course we all have advise for you Snugs.  However, the one thing that has helped me tremendously is reading all of the entries on this website.  Just knowing that I am not alone and that others understand is helpful.  Overall, we express ourselves constructively (I'm not sure how we can do that at all times in the face of disappointment, anger, hurt, resentment....and quite frankly hate).  Sympathizing with others takes away part of the focus off of ourselves.   

Sometimes I just lie in bed at night and read post after post.  Then I come back and reread them.  I look for parallels in my own life, but I'm also just trying to understand the pain and experiences of others. Surprisingly, this approach quiets me and the restlessness I have from the severe anxiety of my marriage and the ensuing depression.

One key point that I wanted to mention is that each of us are in a different "life cycle" of the disorder, our marriages and in our life.  Some of us have been coping for many years.  Some are new to this world of ADD/ADHD (my husband was diagnosed ADHD, OCD and Tourette's...the therapists were specialists and said they hadn't seen a case as bad as his for quite some time.  I'm suspicious that he's also BPD).  Some have been married for twenty five years, others for twenty five months.  That means that we all have differing approaches and viewpoints as to how to manage the disease.  The main reason why I've never posted is because I was so angry, bitter and resentful that I didn't want to be negative in my post.  I feel healthier now (somewhat) and am able to express my negative feelings much more constructively. 

My husband and I have been separated for five months (maybe that explains to you my construtive abilities and feeling healthier lol).  Being away from the illness has helped me to understand how much I was affected.  I never tried cutting, but I will be honest and tell you that I considered it.  In the first months of our marriage I contemplated a lot of self harm. 

From what you have posted, it seems that your husband is unable to provide you with the support that you need.  I had to learn not to rely on mine for support.  He was unable to provide it.  I had to look elsewhere, my family, his family, my friends and spiritual support. 

I would just advise you that instead of riding his wave, that you learn to ride waves of your own.  In fact, get in a completely separate ocean.  One woman mentioned that she lives in the real world and her husband lives in like a fantasy world.  That has been true in my case.  I shut down completely and stopped participating (even before we were separated...so you can do this now).  Not from life, but from him.  That may not always be the recommended approach, but you have to start somewhere in all the madness.  This approach worked for me because it allowed me to see that it wasn't me.  Also, that he didn't need me to participate in his illness.  He was perfectly fine continuing to be ill on his own....lol. 

We can try to help our ADD/ADHD partners.  Ultimately however, they have to seek help to live their own "authentic" life.  You have to do what is necessary to protect your own sanity and self respect.  Do not allow his illness to consume you and threaten your happiness or even basic daily functioning.  And besides, lets just face it.  We're all teetering on the brink of some form of mental illness or another.  We need to do what we can to protect the little sanity that we do have :)

I can go on longer but its very late for me. 

I assure you that you made COMPLETE sense. 

Take Care

Thank You

It's good to know there are people out there who understand.

sad for u

hi i have never posted before and iam new to this but these specific topics really made me feel really sad and i wish u all the best iam a mother with depressio anxiety and undiagnosied disorder.my husband has had adhd since a child ive been with him for 26 yrs married for 10 yrs he has been on medication for a year and a half its been a challenge but we have had help with councelling and medication and we still struggle but i see life in future much better we have 3 children with adhd since they were 4 and eldest has depression and youngest has odd.they are very hard to handle and parenting i sthe hardest job when adhd is involved with spouses children and my illnesses im going to say i thought i had ahard struggling life but you all inspire me and i relize there are other families and marriages that r sruggling and must fell like why am i here u will find your purpose and u will be happy u all have done your best it is a vey emotional journey and  feel for u all good luck with all your decisions in the future thankyou for making see my life isnt all together crazy

I, too, am thankful for this

I, too, am thankful for this site. I am separated from my husband for almost a year now after 25 years of marriage. At first, it was hard. All of my dreams were gone, and now I have to start over. I wanted to take my own life because he had beaten me down so much emotionally and mentally, and I just didn't think I could do it anymore. I am now starting to laugh again. I am finding my sense of humor again. I do not focus on him very much anymore but on my own life, and how I am finding it again by doing things I used to enjoy doing. I found that I had become so isolated in his insane and distorted world, that I had started losing touch with what was normal and what was not and wondering what I had done for him to be so cruel to me. I had done so much for him and given so much of myself for him to try to make him happy , that I almost completely lost myself. When I first found out a few years ago that he had ADHD, I was thrilled. Finally we could get help. I cried for all of the lost years. We had a long, deep discussion about his behavior and how he was treating me. To my shock, he acknowledged that he knew he was treating me badly but didn't know why. He assured me he loved me. But the medication and counseling was only a temporary plug. In fact, he got worse and worse. He stopped counseling saying that the psychologist said he was fine. And, of course, he blames me or others for everything. I read everything I could on ADHD to try to understand and support him. I read how ADHD people were wonderful, creative, loving. I saw a little bit of that in my husband, but I also saw the mean person who was impossible to talk to about anything he didn't want to talk about. I saw the person who showed no compassion for me when I was upset. I saw the person who didn't want any responsibility in the marriage. I saw the person who would drink himself into a mean stupor every night. I saw the man who would spend money we didn't have for things we didn't need or on women. I saw the man trying to pick up any and all women on the internet and in real life. I saw the man lying to me. I wondered where this wonderful, creative, loving ADHD person was. I am glad to be out of it and away from him. I read this board everyday to remind myself what it was like. I wonder what it is like to have a "normal" marriage as this is all I have known. My heart goes out to all of you who are still struggling to live with someone with ADHD and those with ADHD who are truly trying to do better.

I know that there are many of

I know that there are many of us that are thankful for this site.  While my husband and I are still married (27 years), I have been able to divorce, if you will, myself from the stronghold of this disorder.  It is truly his responsibility and I only try to help when asked.  I am laughing again and have found my sense of humor again and it is wonderful.  I enjoy doing things I want to again and if he wants to participate fine, if not that's fine, too and the same goes for me when husband does things he enjoys.  Sometimes I participate and sometimes I don't.  Finally, he has realized that I am my own person and was not put in his life to keep him happy.  He must struggle to do that himself.  He does go to counseling, most of the time by himself but not sure if it is doing any good.  I'm not convinced that he opens up as much as he should, therefore, the counselor is not fully aware of what many of his issues are.  Maybe I'm wrong but it just seems like, from what he tells me, they talk about the same things over and over everytime he goes!!!!!  Yes, I would like to experience a "normal" marriage, too.  I guess that isn't the case.  GOD has me here for a reason, like other people have said on this site and I try everyday to keep my faith, hope and patience.  My heart goes out to everyone, as well.     

i know how u all feel

i could see our marriage getting stronger then bang ny husband said that hes going of is meds (which has been a godsend while is been on them) now hes going to try natural remendies ive surported him with adhd and dont so much work he has with me to in otherways but now iam scared what happens now i have to learn to know him again off meds and what is it goin do to

im scared i dont want him to change anymore because i satified the way it was and now i cant do anything hes made a decision i cant change what he wants but i really dont know how he will be i dont know whats next anymore i should have surported him more on meds and let him now how much different it did to our  marriage.i was getting to a really understanding our marriage and i unerstood him and overnight its gone i should have left him alone and told him how graet he as on them but that is to late ive learned so much about adhd and i know now meds is best but hes decided its really his life

i can only be there and surport him when he wants me and just cope and get used to the new husband but if when he fulls and his world callapes i hope he cames to me before he crashes

maybe with hope he may be happier of them i dont know he needs to do whats best for him now i can just be there and when he needs me ill be there and when he doesnt need me then i dont know ill keep u posted but i really want my husband to be happy but i want be happy to is that so selfish i dont know lets just hope he still wants to be married to me and love me and treat me has good has he has cause ive really thought he made it on meds and he was so much better i should have ignored the small silly things that bothered me and coped because now i dont know our future i hope to got im in his............


OK, did not read the comments of others. As a married man I tell you that you give him a month to seek real help or you get the hell out without thinking. What the hell are you on, cutting yourself to kill another pain? Unless you want to seriously injure yourself including mentally and that could last a lifetime of struggle, get out unless you are willing to die for him, you are hurting yourself for somebody who will not see a Dr. at least to please his wife who is cutting herself. Out before you call yourself stupid for the rest of your life. Not here to be nice, just replying the way I think I should.