Yet another husband/dad doing it wrong...

This seems unsolvable, but probably isn't.  I've been married for about 15 years.  We have a 12  year old son.  He and I were diagnosed with ADD about 4 years ago.   Just before this diagnosis, my wife was in therapy (and we had some marriage therapy) to deal with emotional and physical abuse from my wifes childhood.  Things got better for a few months.  

It's been a constant struggle with our boy, who is extremely emotional and strong willed.  My wife and I have similar qualities, or used to.   She has an exceptionally strong personality, and once her mind is made up, does not back down for anything.  In 20 years, I have never seen her waver on this.     The boy and I take Adderall.  His is a pretty low XR dose, mine is a high fast acting dose several times per day.

Lately, things have come to a head.  I'm to the point where I don't even want to share my feelings or opinions about anything.  They'll either be ignored, or shot down.  Without fail, if I respond to a "What do you think?" or if I offer my opinion about something important, the next thing out of her mouth is "But..." or "No..."  If I'm parenting in a way she thinks isn't right, or is a bad example, she'll take over, and I'm effectively one of the Children.  She agrees that she does this, but defends her actions because I'm teaching our son bad habits, which he then recycles at us.     

I'm to the point that I just want her to tell me what she wants so I can do it.  I don't want to suggest that I have ideas, or try to exert any authority because I'll be wrong.  She is in a few "Wives with ADD Husbands" support groups and makes good sense when she tells me that I don't see what the ADD is doing to me, or to our family.  She believes that she made enormous progress with her personal mud-puddles when her counselor, but that I'm still stuck and need to seek help.   

We do not communicate.  We don't fight much either, we just ignore.  When we do fight, we never make up.    We are no longer intimate (as of several years ago), and I (prefer to) sleep on the couch as of very recently.  She says she loves me, but I have absolutely no idea what that means.  

We have strong religious beliefs that tie us together, as does our son.  But, as she put it:  "I've always loved you, despite what the ADD does to you...but it's getting hard."

We do have a therapist that we use occasionally to help the boy with behavior goals he's working on.  He's the doctor that diagnosed us, and in my opinion, is quite perceptive and good at what he does.   I suppose that I should go to him alone, and start to work through my ADD problems...  I just don't know if 1) they exist in any form that can be dealt with, 2) they are all that is wrong with our marriage and 3) I could ever convince her (or myself) that I actually do want to be a husband/parent figure in our marriage.

I should probably feel more, but to be honest...I'm just so tired.     No responses needed really...just venting.  I'll read other posts...I'm sure I'll get some good information there.  

The non-ADDer

Hello Selflost,

i am quite new to this site...and struggling in a marriage with two young kids. I am the non ADD spouse but many times I few like that maybe I am. I currently not sure what I do is right or not. It seems that as soon as I wake up I am walking on egg shells. I am also dealing with emotional/physical abuse from childhood, yes, I saw therapist, and yes things seems to get better for couple of months but then what? Do we need to eternally see a therapist in other for them to help us see a better whatever in front of us everyday? It is a struggle for me because I wanted my DH to be the one helping me getting over, I wanted the support and I wanted comfort. But it seems that for him my past it is just a causality of life. And I need to accept that I need to overcome it myself. 

At least in my case, I am unable to bury the past...there are times that I wake and the middle of the night I have flashback...I cry...or there are times when me and my DH argue and I think of my past. It seems that it is constantly there.

My DH accuses me of unable to show love to my kids or being too strict with them. He is the fun dad....never have to call out my kids for not doing this or that, for him everything it is okay, like paint the wall with crayon, ballpoint and marker not a problem, we can always paint the wall (when? When they are done with 5 more years? Yeah, so what?) as a result my house now is like a battle zone and I don't  have the courage to invite none of my friends over but he is planning to have his cousin coming over for a two days stay over. The beige couch became rainbows brownish color, the walls are like graphite wall, toys, paper, crumbs, his clothes and kids clothes everywhere. 

I used to nag, nag, nag...then we get in arguments, and he tells me that I verbally abuse I stop nag (at least I think so) and we stop talking, stop communicating...and he slashes at me because I get upset at my kids for not eating fast enough (they can take up to 1.5 hrs). I wake up everyday 2 hrs earlier to get breakfast ready and still they still get late to school everyday because my DH doesn't have a control of time. 

And yes, we have no sex life either my DH rather sleep in the couch and watch TV every night and when on rare occasions he want it I don't get the meaning of "I love you" because when we argue he always tells me " I don't care about you and nobody cares". 

I think ur post kind of reminded me of my own life...yes, I am really tired of him and his "symptoms" also and I have no idea what he thinks or want to do, it wears us out... I feel like I can't count on him on anything, I feel like I am on my own financially, physically, emotionally and raising my kids alone and according to him not doing a great job! 

Well probably not the response that you might be looking for it, just felt the need to tell a little of the "other" side. 

Well, Selflost, since you asked.... :)


You wrote I suppose that I should go to him alone, and start to work through my ADD problems.   Yes, why not?  You're the only one you can work on, and you're the only one who can work on you.  Give it a try!

You wondered if 1) they exist in any form that can be dealt with.  Yes, they do.  2) they are all that is wrong with our marriage.  Most probably not, but it's a start.  And I could ever convince her (or myself) that I actually do want to be a husband/parent figure in our marriage.  Too soon to say, but start with you.  If you don't convince yourself, you can't convince her.  And if she is unwilling to be convinced, you can't convince her.  The key here is do what you know/believe needs to be done.  Just keep doing it.  Don't look for appreciation, acknowledgement, gratitude, an ah-ha moment from her or anyone else.  Things worth doing are worth doing, whether you get credit for them or not, right?  Do those things, for yourself, even for your son (cause that's what parents do) but not to effect change in her.  Yet, magically, changing what you do DOES change what others do.  You just can't predict how.  I'm just so tired.  Yeah, me too.  The important part here is self-care.  Sleep, nutrition, exercise, gratifying friends and hobbies, generosity within your ability to give -- these things can energize you when you are tired, and make you more resilient so you don't get "too" tired.  EVERY marriage is a partnership of some kind -- unfortunately most couples don't clearly describe what partnership means to them, talk about how to change the partnership as different life stages come and go, share what they are willing to invest or overlook to maintain the partnership.... throw ADHD, or aging parents, or financial troubles, or challenging children or climate change or ANYTHING into the mix, and marriage is just plain hard at times.  For everybody.

I am the non-ADHD spouse, married 37 years.  You sound like you're at that post-diagnosis point where you are "getting it" and spouse is "past it".  Very common feature of ADHD marriages.  For just a week, try doing what needs to be done without any credit other than self-respect, investing in your own physical and mental health with good self-care, and thinking about what partnership means to you.  Best wishes!

Thanks for these great

Thanks for these great comments.  I've spent a few days pondering them, and how I could possibly start this.  I'll get in tough with our counselor today and see where that takes. me...