View Full Version : non-ADHD partners being scared, too


VeryTired
10-29-13, 08:38 PM
Hi, all--

In another discussion, in a different part of this forum today, there was a discussion about what happens when moments of misunderstanding and conflict suddenly break out between couples where one partner has ADHD and the other doesn't. And these situations, which often have relatively unimportant causes, can be devastating for both parties, leading either or both to curl up in a ball and feel totally out of resources for handling anything.

In that discussion, I pointed out that it is not only the people with ADHD who can feel terrified, hurt, overwhelmed, wounded, etc. And I tried to put it out there that life is often scary, out of control and hard to manage for both partners. Now, most people who know me would say that I am tough, calm, sturdy, steadfast--those kind of words. I'm not a wimp. But I have to say that I have more often felt scared, helpless and overwhelmed when up against the challenges ADHD brings into my partner's life--and thus my life. I have a feeling that this isn't just us, so I'm asking what it's like for others.

I've been learning a lot from reading here about what it feels like to be in the other role. I am increasingly able to see my partner's perspective as a result of learning from what people with ADHD write here, and I appreciate that insight so much. But an open question for me is how much the non-ADHD partner's point of view gets understood by the ADHD partners. I'd be interested in hearing what people on both sides of that situation experience. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance for your replies--

dvdnvwls
10-30-13, 12:00 AM
It seems to me that a few important parts of this are

- removing, as best we can, all implications from our speech in such sensitive situations. That is, remember that no, he or she doesn't know what I mean, and we don't share the same ways of perceiving;

- really hearing the other person's words as they were spoken - no attempts at mind-reading;

- asking questions if anything seems unclear or weird...

... what else have I forgotten or am not seeing?

Hangingon
10-30-13, 12:59 AM
I am not sure how your spouse responds to significant conflict. Mine is awful at first, but settles down after a bit, even forgets. I deal with it by removing myself from the situation and texting with him to vent my emotions; he seems to pretty readily respond to this initially when I am upset. It does get emotions expressed. I get that he does not verbalize as well as I do, so texting helps with that, even though he is not all that expressive there either.

I feel like my husband just becomes agitated not so much because of me, but just because he feels the need to be agitated. Do you get that? And if I can step back and take an objective look and say, oh, okay, this doesn't have so much to do with ME as with his need to just be stimulated, it helps a bit. Don't know how to say it delicately, but "don't take it personally." I've found over the years that an ADHDer just needs to be wound up at times. Even confrontational. Take it for what it is. But don't get sucked in.

As I've said elsewhere also, remaining calm is crucial. Not overreacting. Not yelling. Calm and rational. Without a sparring partner when needing stimulation, the ADHDer really has little reason to continue with the conflict. So it usually ends without fanfare.

My ADHDer has been incredibly forgiving with me over the years. One of their greatest attributes, in my opinion. Having been blamed, ostracized, excluded, ridiculed, misunderstood, and God knows what else during his lifetime, I will say my husband is one of the most tolerant people I know. And for good reason.

We generally act like nothing happened after a day or so. I know brushing it under the rug may not be the best tactic, but it works for us. An implicit "let's not talk about it and move on" philosophy.

dvdnvwls
10-30-13, 01:28 AM
I've recently experienced the end of a relationship in which we were both in chronic low-level emotional pain for many years, punctuated by nasty flare-ups. The last few months of it were absolute torture for me, and they must have been for my ex as well. The trigger for the months of torture appears to have been actually knowing that I had ADHD.

I believe that for years while I was un-diagnosed we were each waiting for the other person to finally see "the truth"; me waiting for her to see that I was in fact incapable of becoming normal and for her to adjust her expectations to reality, my ex waiting for me to see that I couldn't carry on forever being immature and unfocused and for me to become an adult. We had no information and no resources to help us bridge that gap in our knowledge.

I believe the aftermath is easier for me because ADHD mercifully allows me to forget some things; my ex is extremely bitter and hostile, to the point of still refusing to speak 6 months later.

dvdnvwls
10-30-13, 03:00 AM
We generally act like nothing happened after a day or so. I know brushing it under the rug may not be the best tactic, but it works for us. An implicit "let's not talk about it and move on" philosophy.
Sometimes that really works. Good if it does. Sometimes those things turn into festering wounds, however, especially for the one who doesn't have ADHD and therefore remembers them all. If you do have a "let's not talk about this and move on" philosophy, then the challenge is to NEVER ever talk about those things. It's too easy to pull them out during an argument as a "stick to beat the other person with".

amberwillow
10-30-13, 05:52 AM
There is no non-ADHD partner in our relationship. There is merely a more functional and less functional partner... Even that is subjective.

Fuzzy12
10-30-13, 06:07 AM
Tired, I can imagine that all of this might be scary for you too. Not fully because I don't think anyone acan ever really know what it really feels like to be another person. But i think living with someone with a mental health disorder might be the next quest thing to actually having a mental health problem. Or maybe it's worse, i don't know.

I guess my husband is scared too though I'm not sure if his fears are similar to yours. I think he's scared of wastimg his life, scared that his life nmight never be the way he would like it to be and I think he is scared of the compromises and sacrifices he has to make because of me. We will never be very rich, he will never get to live in a neat house, we will never have children, at least definitely not biological ones. It's a constant exercise in settling for less.

I think he is also very scared of losing me, of US just not working out. I think he's also worried that I might be too consumed with my b own problems to every really be supportive of him. He probably feels as alone and misunderstood as I do. Maybe more. He doesn't have a forum to support him.

I also think he's scared of the kind of person he might turn out to be. It's easy to have a high opinion of yourself when you aren't tested constantly but living with me is a constant test, a test of patience, tolerance and fire fighting. Every day is a new challenge. Every day I push his buttons and every day he is reminded of the fact that his patience and tolerance are limited.

Then there are also more practical things to be scared of. Will I burn down the house done day because I've I've again cforgottem to turn off the gas? Will I have an accident while driving maybe with him in the car? Will I lose a large amount of money some day?

When you are living with someone with adhd it's rather difficult to not assume the role of a carer, of the parent. But then no one wants to be in the role of the parent to an adult partner. It happens naturally I guess because someone needs to keep the house from falling down, needs to keep both lives from pfalling apart. I guess life isn't simple even without adhd. Everyone s got their own problems but you need to deal with the problems of two people. And I can imagine how overwhelming that must be.

I always thought marriage should be an asset, that I'd be an asset to my husband and he to me. Ideally id like to be with someone because ultimately in some way I make their lives better. I always wanted to be with some one who was happy to be with me and who was a little but more appy because of me. Now my husband is trying hard to be happy in spite of me. Not a nice thought. For neither of us.

apologies if none of this is relevant. What are you scared of?

VeryTired
10-30-13, 01:52 PM
Hi, friends--

Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies so far. This is a valuable dialogue.

Hangingon, I am interested by what you say because you are talking about survival skills and lessons learned, not about fears. So I what I tentatively infer from this is that fear isn't a significant part of the mix for you. If so, my congratulations, and either way, my thanks to you for the comments on the merits of letting go of those situations where the conflict develops.

dvdnvwls, thanks for your several thoughts. I have followed your story with great interest over the past many months. Who can ever know about stuff like this, but your description of the end of your marriage sounds to me something like what happened with my partner and his first wife. So I ponder that, and I notice that my own relationship with my partner is very different, as we didn't have those many years pre-diagnosis. It seems to matter so much in relationships what expectations are initially set. But here again, not a lot of talk from you about fears. You have done a brilliant job elsewhere, however, of explaining the nature of your fear/pain in various situations with your ex, and that's what made me start thinking about my own fear/pain with my partner. I don't know if I will ever be able to tell him about this, but maybe this is a start.

amberwillow: I always feel sort of foolish, but very appreciative when someone points out to me the deep, and utterly final subjectivity of human relations. Oh yeah! Humans are involved--we must therefore be in the palace of infinite subjectivities!

Fuzzy--special thanks to you. What a gem of empathic writing. I hope your husband appreciates your sensitivity to his situation. He's a lucky guy. I really admire your clarity and your courage in saying hard things and facing tough realities. I don't know why, but the worse things are, the more it always comforts me to hear truths. Just the act of someone naming realities for what they are invariably encourages me and gives me hope that truths are what set us free.

Since you asked, I have so many fears right now. I fear that always being tired is making me fail in my career, that always being tired is making a less good person that I would like to be. I fear that without intending it, I have somehow signed on to be someone's support person without our relationship having reciprocity built in. I fear that my partner's needs will keep me from doing the right thing when other people need me, or I need something for myself. I fear that he will never find work. I fear that I will lose the apartment I finally managed to buy because he is not bringing in an income. I fear that I will never be able to retire, because my income is what supports us both. I fear that I will never travel again, or be able to give significant gifts to my nephew and nieces. The money-related fears go on and on and on. I fear that if I ever become seriously ill, my partner won't be effective taking care of me.

My darkest fear is that if I ever decide that I can't continue in this relationship, I won't in fact be able to end it, because my partner is not able to support himself. And I fear that if I did end the relationship, it would mean that I had become a bad person. I fear that if I needed to end it but couldn't manage it, I would be a failure at taking care of myself.

These are the most private thoughts and feelings I have ever in my life shared with anyone. It feels strange. It's very scary even to type these words. I thank anyone who is reading them, and everyone who is here, for the privilege of using this forum for my own urgent personal concerns.

Fuzzy12
10-30-13, 02:31 PM
Tired :grouphug:

I think, my husband has all those fears too. Thanks for sharing. I almost wish, the two of you could sit together and talk about this, have a good rant about your crazy partners and you know, just understand and comfort each other. I've got this whole forum to support me. I don't think my husband has anyone to share his particular problems with. (And I'm not sharing this site with him....)


My darkest fear is that if I ever decide that I can't continue in this relationship, I won't in fact be able to end it, because my partner is not able to support himself. And I fear that if I did end the relationship, it would mean that I had become a bad person. I fear that if I needed to end it but couldn't manage it, I would be a failure at taking care of myself.


One of my biggest fears is that my husband will stay with me just for the sake of duty and obligation (even if stems from love). (Another one of my biggest fears is that I will stay with my husband just for the sake of duty and obligation (even if it stems from love)). I don't know what the answer is to that except that I hope more than anything else that this is not and won't ever be the case.

I am not exactly sure what your partner's situation is but though it might feel like that, he probably will find a way to survive. Even if you are not in a romantic relationship, that doesn't mean that you can't be in any form of relationship. I remember, once when my husband and me were discussing divorce, he said, he'll help me set up and everything else I need. He said that he'll always be my friend.I mean, you could still support him even if you aren't together. You could still be there for him. Maybe not in the same way, or to the same extent though I wonder if a bit of distance might actually make it easier to support him at least with certain things.

Not that I'm advocating that you should leave. Not at all. I'm just saying that if you really have to separate, he might be ok.

You are not a bad person. Living with someone with ADHD or any other disorder might be almost as bad as having it yourself. My depression brings down my husband. My ADHD impairs not only my life, it impairs his as well. And if things are that bad that you think the best thing for you is to leave then probably that also means that that is the best thing for him.

Even if you left, you wouldn't be a bad person, just a very tired and unhappy one. Someone who has had to be tired and unhappy for no fault of her own. Someone who has tried, tried and tried and has perhaps realised that sometimes no matter how much you try, the best of intentions, compassion and love just aren't enough.

I hope you'll find a way to make this work. Well, I hope both of you will find a way to make it work and I hope it will work without too much of frustration and unhappiness. Actually, I hope that for myself as well. For all of us.

RedHairedWitch
10-30-13, 10:06 PM
"A successful marriage is basically an endless cycle of wrongs committed, apologies offered, and forgiveness granted, all leavened by the occasional orgasm."~ Dan Savage

dvdnvwls
10-31-13, 01:53 AM
Hi, friends--

Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies so far. This is a valuable dialogue.

Hangingon, I am interested by what you say because you are talking about survival skills and lessons learned, not about fears. So I what I tentatively infer from this is that fear isn't a significant part of the mix for you. If so, my congratulations, and either way, my thanks to you for the comments on the merits of letting go of those situations where the conflict develops.

dvdnvwls, thanks for your several thoughts. I have followed your story with great interest over the past many months. Who can ever know about stuff like this, but your description of the end of your marriage sounds to me something like what happened with my partner and his first wife. So I ponder that, and I notice that my own relationship with my partner is very different, as we didn't have those many years pre-diagnosis. It seems to matter so much in relationships what expectations are initially set. But here again, not a lot of talk from you about fears. You have done a brilliant job elsewhere, however, of explaining the nature of your fear/pain in various situations with your ex, and that's what made me start thinking about my own fear/pain with my partner. I don't know if I will ever be able to tell him about this, but maybe this is a start.

amberwillow: I always feel sort of foolish, but very appreciative when someone points out to me the deep, and utterly final subjectivity of human relations. Oh yeah! Humans are involved--we must therefore be in the palace of infinite subjectivities!

Fuzzy--special thanks to you. What a gem of empathic writing. I hope your husband appreciates your sensitivity to his situation. He's a lucky guy. I really admire your clarity and your courage in saying hard things and facing tough realities. I don't know why, but the worse things are, the more it always comforts me to hear truths. Just the act of someone naming realities for what they are invariably encourages me and gives me hope that truths are what set us free.

Since you asked, I have so many fears right now. I fear that always being tired is making me fail in my career, that always being tired is making a less good person that I would like to be. I fear that without intending it, I have somehow signed on to be someone's support person without our relationship having reciprocity built in. I fear that my partner's needs will keep me from doing the right thing when other people need me, or I need something for myself. I fear that he will never find work. I fear that I will lose the apartment I finally managed to buy because he is not bringing in an income. I fear that I will never be able to retire, because my income is what supports us both. I fear that I will never travel again, or be able to give significant gifts to my nephew and nieces. The money-related fears go on and on and on. I fear that if I ever become seriously ill, my partner won't be effective taking care of me.

My darkest fear is that if I ever decide that I can't continue in this relationship, I won't in fact be able to end it, because my partner is not able to support himself. And I fear that if I did end the relationship, it would mean that I had become a bad person. I fear that if I needed to end it but couldn't manage it, I would be a failure at taking care of myself.

These are the most private thoughts and feelings I have ever in my life shared with anyone. It feels strange. It's very scary even to type these words. I thank anyone who is reading them, and everyone who is here, for the privilege of using this forum for my own urgent personal concerns.
Brutal honesty: I blame my ex for treating me like s#t. She did truly evil stuff and I have not forgiven her for it. But I do not blame her for deciding to leave. I got very angry, desperate, and sad when she decided to sneak out without saying she was leaving, and I stayed angry at her for her various modes of dishonesty and deliberate cruelty - but my anger and desperation at her actual departure faded very quickly, and I see that it had to be done, and I'm glad she left.

Being in a bad relationship is so stressful that only someone who is really truly day-to-day incapable (e.g. can't go to the bathroom, can't walk, can't read or count) would have any benefit from their bad-relationship partner's staying.

dvdnvwls
10-31-13, 01:55 AM
"A successful marriage is basically an endless cycle of wrongs committed, apologies offered, and forgiveness granted, all leavened by the occasional orgasm."~ Dan Savage
I think when that last bit is consistently missing, it makes the rest much more difficult. :(

VeryTired
10-31-13, 07:54 AM
dvdnvwls--

I think pretty much the same as you regarding bad relationships, actually. The thing I am wrestling with here is the to-me paradoxical situation of a relationship which feels bad to one person and quite good to the other. I wouldn't have thought it could be so, but apparently it is.

You only hear my side of this story, of course, but I think if he were here, my partner would tell you that I am consistently pretty good to him. He tells me that, he tells therapists that. He biggest grievance against me is that I am often unhappy, tired and frustrated. Those aren't very nice things to be around, but I am guessing they are somewhat different from what you're telling us your wife did. No evil is involved at our house, and the most disturbing and unfortunate violations of trust between my partner and myself have all come from his side ... part of why I have ended up tired.

Our situation is probably somewhat unusual. Anyway, we have been through a lot of very very tough stuff and I have played a big role in supporting his movement toward better choices, getting his ADHD diagnosis, re-starting his life after a huge mid-life meltdown, etc. So my situation is one of exhaustion over a long haul, coupled with dawning recognition that much that I originally hoped for in a relationship probably isn't ever going to be possible in this one. It's a lot to process.

I'm really glad my partner's life is getting better and better, and I have great hopes for his future being all he wants and needs to be. I also have great fears that this may not all work out. And greater fears that my life doesn't have enough space in it for me anymore. In another thread, you just spoke about real love allowing individuals to be themselves. In my relationship, I'm the one who's mindful of that and always pushing for recognition of separateness and difference. My partner is less clear on this. It's very complicated.

Anyway, thanks for your input here.

dvdnvwls
10-31-13, 02:39 PM
dvdnvwls--

I think pretty much the same as you regarding bad relationships, actually. The thing I am wrestling with here is the to-me paradoxical situation of a relationship which feels bad to one person and quite good to the other. I wouldn't have thought it could be so, but apparently it is.

You only hear my side of this story, of course, but I think if he were here, my partner would tell you that I am consistently pretty good to him. He tells me that, he tells therapists that. He biggest grievance against me is that I am often unhappy, tired and frustrated. Those aren't very nice things to be around, but I am guessing they are somewhat different from what you're telling us your wife did. No evil is involved at our house, and the most disturbing and unfortunate violations of trust between my partner and myself have all come from his side ... part of why I have ended up tired.

Our situation is probably somewhat unusual. Anyway, we have been through a lot of very very tough stuff and I have played a big role in supporting his movement toward better choices, getting his ADHD diagnosis, re-starting his life after a huge mid-life meltdown, etc. So my situation is one of exhaustion over a long haul, coupled with dawning recognition that much that I originally hoped for in a relationship probably isn't ever going to be possible in this one. It's a lot to process.

I'm really glad my partner's life is getting better and better, and I have great hopes for his future being all he wants and needs to be. I also have great fears that this may not all work out. And greater fears that my life doesn't have enough space in it for me anymore. In another thread, you just spoke about real love allowing individuals to be themselves. In my relationship, I'm the one who's mindful of that and always pushing for recognition of separateness and difference. My partner is less clear on this. It's very complicated.

Anyway, thanks for your input here.
I believe we did have a long long time of exactly what you describe. I remember thinking, in that stage, "This is not really a good relationship anymore, but I guess we can temporarily go on like this until we solve some problems". But solutions never came, because we didn't understand what was wrong, so we just stagnated and rotted in place, waiting. And when we found out it was ADHD, I guess my ex decided it was too late or going to be too difficult - or now that I had an official excuse there would be no chance for her to fix me. Something.

Even when she left, I was protesting that we could make it work, that it could be OK, saying "Now that we actually know what's going on, we can find good ways to work around the problems" - but my ex had already "checked out" and resolved to not come back.

I hear you on the what-is-love thing; that one was a big hairy mess here as well.

amberwillow
11-01-13, 12:42 AM
There is no non-ADHD partner in our relationship. There is merely a more functional and less functional partner... Even that is subjective.

What I didn't express here very well Verytired is that in my first marriage I believed I was the non-ADHD partner, but as things turn out, I was wrong.

I left that marriage... I ended it... I put it off though for about 3 years, working on solutions, looking for help, trying to change the patterns of our interactions.

I was terrified. Sick to my stomach. Wasting away in that power struggle, the person I was becoming, living this sick life with our children watching... Scary stuff. Then on the other hand leaving, with small children - terrifying.

I entered another relationship with a close friend of mine. A really lovely, caring guy. I never thought he may also have ADHD (because he was very different to my ex-husband). As it turned out, I was diagnosed first...

VeryTired
11-01-13, 01:32 PM
Amberwillow--

That's quite a story. So you've lived this from both sides--I think you may win the prize for having the most perspectives on this issue of any of us!

dvdnvwls
11-01-13, 02:21 PM
One of my (NT) ex's long-standing fears (which she identified very early in our relationship when I was un-diagnosed, and which she maintained till the end) was that my lack of a vision or plan for the future would cause us to stagnate socially and financially.

Fuzzy12
11-01-13, 02:23 PM
One of my (NT) ex's long-standing fears (which she identified very early in our relationship when I was un-diagnosed, and which she maintained till the end) was that my lack of a vision or plan for the future would cause us to stagnate socially and financially.

Yes, same here. My husband used to tell me that I'm screwing up all our common relationships and friendships and financially I'm of course, a completely loss making venture. He finally accepted that I might never be a high flying career woman but then he expected me to be at least a very good home maker. Which again, I'm not. Slowly he seems to be resigning himself to the fact that I'm neither.

(Though he does seem to be happy that I play the piano fairly well ;) )

VeryTired
11-01-13, 08:25 PM
Social and financial stagnation sounds like troubling prospects. I suppose that would be a way of describing my fears, too. So, are dvdnvwls and fuzzy's partners and I all in the same boat? And if so, what is that boat?

Is it a lifeboat that we're scrambling into after passing through stormy seas and shipwrecks? That is, do we have those fears because we are in danger of bad things happening to us? Sometimes, fear is useful and protective. Or is this boat a prison ship in which we ourselves are stuck, and which also imprisons our partners in bitterness and negativity?

dvdnvwls
11-02-13, 12:15 AM
My ex came with these fears built in; her father had financial problems all his life, failed businesses, moving from house to house, etc. She was actually much more stable and secure with me; but it wasn't good enough. (and in the "standard-issue NT context", I am certainly inadequate financially and socially - it's impossible to blame my ex from that perspective.)

Drewbacca
11-02-13, 02:03 AM
My ex came with these fears built in; her father had financial problems all his life, failed businesses, moving from house to house, etc. She was actually much more stable and secure with me; but it wasn't good enough. (and in the "standard-issue NT context", I am certainly inadequate financially and socially - it's impossible to blame my ex from that perspective.)


This had a lot to do with the ending of my marriage as well... unfairly I might add. I knew ahead of time that I wasn't going to be able to go to college full time AND hold down a job. That's why I saved up a lot of money before going back to school. That's why I had some financial support worked out through my mom. I fully intended to get a work-study job, but it had to be a college created job that would give me time to get some homework and reading done. Any job that expected my full attention, would just get in the way of my finishing a degree and I was fully aware of it.

My partner couldn't grasp this and was annoyed and angered with me for not doing things "her way." The sad thing is, the extra pressure from her had a lot to do with my eventual falling apart. As someone with ADHD, we know our needs and our partners need to be willing to trust our own judgement. If they aren't, they aren't our partner, they are just another obstacle.

It's up to us to do our best, but it is up to them to trust us to do our best and not make things even harder than they already are. It's not easy for us or for them. *sigh*

needserenity
11-02-13, 05:33 PM
My add partner is also an alcoholic so i am often overwhelmed, frustrated and scared. He drinks every night to "quiet his thoughts and get some sleep." Most of the time this doesn't effect me, except that I wish he would learn different ways to cope. Last night however was one of those dreaded nights.

Now he normally struggles with blurting out inappropriate comments but add alcohol and and he becomes down right nasty. I kept my cool the best I could... I was asleep when i got hit in the head with the tv remote and him babbling about how clint eastwood was on. Needless to say I wasn't happy and being jolted awake I wasn't exactly understanding of his lack of consideration or his saying I didn't mean it. I grabbed the remote and shut off the tv at which point he let out a barrage of insults. Guess who slept on the couch last night? Me.

This morning he couldn't understand why I was upset. Rolled his eyes, told me to get over it and then proceeded to ignore me.

It's not easy trying to be so understanding of him when I don't get the same in return. I can't feel hurt?
thanks for letting me vent

dvdnvwls
11-02-13, 09:18 PM
My add partner is also an alcoholic so i am often overwhelmed, frustrated and scared. He drinks every night to "quiet his thoughts and get some sleep." Most of the time this doesn't effect me, except that I wish he would learn different ways to cope. Last night however was one of those dreaded nights.

Now he normally struggles with blurting out inappropriate comments but add alcohol and and he becomes down right nasty. I kept my cool the best I could... I was asleep when i got hit in the head with the tv remote and him babbling about how clint eastwood was on. Needless to say I wasn't happy and being jolted awake I wasn't exactly understanding of his lack of consideration or his saying I didn't mean it. I grabbed the remote and shut off the tv at which point he let out a barrage of insults. Guess who slept on the couch last night? Me.

This morning he couldn't understand why I was upset. Rolled his eyes, told me to get over it and then proceeded to ignore me.

It's not easy trying to be so understanding of him when I don't get the same in return. I can't feel hurt?
thanks for letting me vent
That was stupid behaviour on his part...

Everybody has the permanent automatic right to their own feelings. Everybody else has the automatic right to not share those, and sometimes that can cause conflict or misunderstanding.

It can be difficult to tell whether he's trying to be understanding of you. We can't see into each other's minds. He sure doesn't look like he's trying, and that will be hurting you I'm sure.

You are both overwhelmed, frustrated, and scared. He gets drunk to escape from exactly those things. I know he described it with different words, but it's not different. The "thoughts" he means, are simply all those things together.

How do you know that he has ADHD?

needserenity
11-02-13, 09:55 PM
He hasn't been officially diagnosed. The doctor who is treating him for anxiety and deppression acted offended when we brought the subject up and although he questioned Joe as to why he thought he had add the doc just brushed it off. Said it's just deppression and anxiety and I'll see you in 2 months. I was horrified.

This was just last week so still working on finding someone who is qualified and who"ll listen.

As for the drinking.... it's been a long day of being ignored and I've had a few good cries while contemplating if I can keep living like this....

dvdnvwls
11-02-13, 10:20 PM
As for the drinking.... it's been a long day of being ignored and I've had a few good cries while contemplating if I can keep living like this....
The answer is "of course you can but for exactly how long".

I apologize - I forgot that you were the same person with the brush-off doctor.

One potential conversation-killer is that if you say "living like this" to Joe, he won't know what you mean. He will maybe hear that phrase from his own point of view, thinking about the things he's not satisfied with, and miss your real point. Plus it's too easy for him to take that phrase as a personal insult rather than a description. If you are very specific with what's not right, and doing your best to be "charitable-sounding" as well - making the bad stuff sound like "just stuff" and not like a disaster - he will have more power to do something about it.

One of the many problems with ADHDers is that we tend to be over-sensitive. (Joe might sometimes seem just the opposite of that, but non-sensitive Joe is just a front he puts up.) And nowhere is our over-sensitivity worse than when handling complaints and blame. Stating your concerns clearly, but as if they're about a quarter as bad as they really are, can give him something closer to the right idea, and not cause him to go into a mental spiral. (My experience: when my ex commented about something in an accurate way, I was immediately filled with fear and withdrew. She misinterpreted my fear as not caring, and stepped up to exaggerating her complaints, which made me more scared and more withdrawn. She escalated even further, and we would have a fight. [I am not physically tough, and we were never violent, but few people enjoy verbal fights with me because when I'm hurt and cornered I magically transform into something resembling a drunk angry lawyer. :( ] I tried to tell her what was going on, that I was afraid and hurting and couldn't handle the way she was telling me things, but she believed she knew better, and continued her same plan indefinitely.)

needserenity
11-02-13, 10:40 PM
I'm sorry you went through that. It sounds like Joe and I exactly. I'm trying to be more "charitable-sounding" but I'm new to this way of doing things and I know when that first tear fell his defensives went up.

Thankyou for sharing with me, it helped

VeryTired
11-03-13, 08:57 AM
I'm just reading this intense dialogue between needserenity and dvdnvwls, and a thought occurred to me.

It's super-helpful to me to hear about how dvdnvwls' wife's criticism seemed to him. I think that's something that happens at my house, too, so I am learning a lot. But dvd, you characterize your wife as believing she knew better and following her same plan despite your explanations. She's not here to speak, and I can't know anything about her. But I read this and think it's possible that in the painful hot emotions of your actual disputes, your explanations may have been a lot harder to follow than your cool, clear explanations here. We don't ever see you being the "drunk angry lawyer"!

And returning to the original theme of the thread, might it not be the case that your inability to hear her full-strength criticisms could have been a very scary thing for her? We on the non-ADHD side have lots of fear as well. I'm throwing this out there because sometimes in discussions with my partner, I feel a kind of claustrophobic terror of being trapped in an alternative universe that doesn't match what I know of reality.

I am not at all saying that this is what you do, but my partner sometimes feels the need to insist that black is white, that problems don't exist, that he did not do things we both know he did. I'll spare you the details and examples, but there have been notable occasions when this caused spectacular damage in many peoples' lives. So when I see it happening, I have some PTSD-like panic reactions, some sense of oh-no-where-we-go-again, some desperate need to get to the bottom of everything because until I am clear what's going on, I don't have a clue of how to cope. And usually when we're in this place, it's pretty certain that soon enough I will have to be coping with some difficult thing or another. My heart rate changes, it gets harder to breathe, and I wish I could go far away and hide in a safe place.

Needserenity, sorry, I don't think anything in the above comment from me will be useful to you. But I am sending lots of sympathy your way, it sounds like you're in a tough situation. Good luck on getting a diagnosis for your husband. If he does turn out to have ADHD, maybe that will help with sorting out the drinking problem.

There is an awful lot of substance abuse among undiagnosed ADHDers, which in a sense can be unsuccessful self-medication. That was true for my partner (though it wasn't alcohol in his case). And as it happened, we discovered the ADHD only after he got off the drugs he had been abusing. But I have sometimes wondered if it all would have gone easier if he had gotten the ADHD diagnosis and treatment first.

Anyway, it's a brutal thing to live with someone else's addiction, so my biggest advice to you is to take care of yourself in all ways possible. How you feel and what you need are very important too, and you may be the only one in your relationship right now who is able to take care of you at all.

needserenity
11-03-13, 10:31 AM
Thank you Verytired your words do help. It's comforting to know that I am not alone and you're right I do need to take better care of myself.

Thankyou too Dvdnvwls for giving me some valuable insight into how Joe might be feeling. I am trying to change my reactions and not take it all so personally... easier said than done but I'll keep on trying

I know it won't be an easy road but I feel better and more hopeful today. Thanks :)

dvdnvwls
11-03-13, 12:48 PM
I'm just reading this intense dialogue between needserenity and dvdnvwls, and a thought occurred to me.

It's super-helpful to me to hear about how dvdnvwls' wife's criticism seemed to him. I think that's something that happens at my house, too, so I am learning a lot. But dvd, you characterize your wife as believing she knew better and following her same plan despite your explanations. She's not here to speak, and I can't know anything about her. But I read this and think it's possible that in the painful hot emotions of your actual disputes, your explanations may have been a lot harder to follow than your cool, clear explanations here. We don't ever see you being the "drunk angry lawyer"!
Absolutely true that you never see that guy. I was going to say that in a couple of my posts I have come close, and then I realized that even in those few very angry posts I've made on this board, I was free from fear and able to think things through and be honest, luxuries I didn't have at the time. And I'm not even sure I would have been able to type my messages in this thread if she still lived with me. The maze of fear and confusion that I was caught in was incredible, and even the potential for her presence would freak me out and stop me from saying what I'm saying to you.

Her decision to leave me came a short time after my ex sat in on an appointment with the psychiatrist who diagnosed ADHD. It was as if reality finally sank in, after 20 years of poor lame explanations from me had missed the mark. Nothing new was said, it was simple external authoritative confirmation.
And returning to the original theme of the thread, might it not be the case that your inability to hear her full-strength criticisms could have been a very scary thing for her? We on the non-ADHD side have lots of fear as well. I'm throwing this out there because sometimes in discussions with my partner, I feel a kind of claustrophobic terror of being trapped in an alternative universe that doesn't match what I know of reality.

I am not at all saying that this is what you do, but my partner sometimes feels the need to insist that black is white, that problems don't exist, that he did not do things we both know he did. I'll spare you the details and examples, but there have been notable occasions when this caused spectacular damage in many peoples' lives. So when I see it happening, I have some PTSD-like panic reactions, some sense of oh-no-where-we-go-again, some desperate need to get to the bottom of everything because until I am clear what's going on, I don't have a clue of how to cope. And usually when we're in this place, it's pretty certain that soon enough I will have to be coping with some difficult thing or another. My heart rate changes, it gets harder to breathe, and I wish I could go far away and hide in a safe place.Yes, exactly, everything you said is correct as far as I can see - we are both doing that to each other because we cannot comprehend the difference in the other person's brain that is causing them to react in what we see as an irrational way.

Once I (the ADHDer) get on the track of "Oh, whatever it is, I'm to blame as usual, right" - then the conversation is pretty much doomed, unfortunately. The black-and-white sets in, I didn't do that, it's not my fault, blah blah blah. That puts my spouse in the horrible position of having an urgent complaint and having to find a way to make it not sound like blame - an apparently ridiculous requirement, but analogous to the way that PTSD has triggers, "feeling blamed" is a trigger for many ADHD adults, and drives us into the bad stuff you described. And there's no doubt that the ADHDer in that situation needs to change the way he views the situation - and the non-ADHD spouse does as well - the point is not who's right, the point is understanding that each other's brains process differently and learning to "speak the other person's language".

I guess in an ideal world the ADHDer would learn "normal people language" and normal people would stay as they are. However, in real life, the one who is more flexible and more in control of their own s#t ends up bearing an unfair share of the burden of having to understand the one who is less flexible and less in control. I don't think there's a practical way around that.

VeryTired
11-03-13, 08:44 PM
dvdnvwls said:

"I guess in an ideal world the ADHDer would learn "normal people language" and normal people would stay as they are. However, in real life, the one who is more flexible and more in control of their own s#t ends up bearing an unfair share of the burden of having to understand the one who is less flexible and less in control. I don't think there's a practical way around that."

Indeed. And you have phrased this in open-ended terms. It isn't necessarily going to be the non-ADHD partner who is more flexible and in control. But, that's usually how it is at my house. WHen my partner and I have a bad encounter, I think we are usually equally devastated in the moment. But he seems to bounce back a lot faster and be less enduringly depleted than I. EM\motional balances and daily life logistics get tangled up here.

I rely on my partner for almost nothing, as a result of many dreadful experiences of frustration and disappointment. He relies on me for many many things. It's hard to find a way to reconfigure this.

But the positive thing I am thinking now is how much I value these Forums. They are a place where we can show up and--reliably--be our best selves, no matter how hard or rare it is to do that in our real lives. Everyone here knows the uber-reasonable, smart, helpful, generous dvdnvwls. And when I'm here, I have the energy to write long posts, and so am less tired than my names says or than I am at home. I don't believe I've ever raised my voice here to anyone--and that's how I like to be. Also, and for me best of all, here is where I can learn about what it's like for someone to have ADHD, without my own feelings getting in the way.

It's a few weeks early for Thanksgiving, so I won't go on about my gratitude more now. But when I gather my family around my table for a giant meal in a few weeks, I will be saying a silent thank you to everyone I learn from here at the Forums.

dvdnvwls
11-03-13, 11:02 PM
Thank you Verytired your words do help. It's comforting to know that I am not alone and you're right I do need to take better care of myself.

Thankyou too Dvdnvwls for giving me some valuable insight into how Joe might be feeling. I am trying to change my reactions and not take it all so personally... easier said than done but I'll keep on trying

I know it won't be an easy road but I feel better and more hopeful today. Thanks :)
About not taking it personally - you're right, that's exactly what's needed.

"Taking it personally" has a very special meaning here though - it means "imagining that he is doing things on purpose to hurt you". And to be perfectly honest, it's possible that sometimes he is. In my worst times, I've done it.

You have to become extremely educated about how ADHD works and what's going on in his mind, in order to tell the difference between "He can't help it when he does that, it's ADHD" and "He's probably doing this other thing on purpose."

A bit of a tangent: People's actions often show what's in their minds. Anyone watching will interpret another's actions, developing an image or idea of what's inside the other person's brain that made him do what he did. For example, if you see a person pacing repetitively back and forth, you probably sort of know what type of thoughts he's thinking to make him do that; if he's sitting down with his head in his hands, it's also pretty clear. If your boss smiles at you in a certain way, or yells at you, you can usually be fairly sure what those actions mean as well.

The reason that your interpretations of someone's mental state according to his actions are fairly accurate is that you can use yourself, your own feelings and actions, as a guide. On the other hand, when you watch whales and hear the sounds they make and the songs they sing, it's foreign to you (unless whales are your area of study, but I'm sure you get the point...) - and, more importantly, you know ahead of time that whale brains don't work the same as human brains - you don't seriously compare the whale's song to Abba or Beethoven and judge a winner, because you know whales are different from humans.

Interpreting an ADHDer's mental state by observing his actions (and hearing his statements) is also not easy for you, because you and he are "wired differently". But unlike with the whales, it's easy to forget this fact with an ADHDer, because you're both human beings. When you hear an ADHDer speak about something, or see him acting a certain way, he doesn't look like a different species. (Well, not usually... :) ) And because he looks normal, it's too easy to assume "this person must think just like me - after all, we're both human". That leads to sad situations and costly mistakes. Learning exactly what ways ADHDers are weird - and speaking for myself I certainly am weird - allows you to interact better. But there's another way that doesn't require as much education, which it would be good for you to start using: Don't interpret your ADHDer's actions! You know that when the character in the movie is pacing the floor, he's worried about whatever happened in Act 1 Scene 3. But if your ADHDer is pacing the floor, assume nothing. If you assume he's worried about that thing you're thinking about, you're probably wrong; his brain has gone fifty different directions since then. If he drinks - he's not necessarily drinking for the same reason you would. If he sulks, or yells, or runs away - it doesn't mean what it means with your other friends. If you want to know the reason for his actions - or his words - it's important to ask him. The normal clues will give you so many wrong answers that you won't be able to even get started.

He really needs to do the same for you. Is he going to do that? I doubt it. But one person knowing what's really going on is far far better than no one knowing.

Hangingon
11-06-13, 12:32 AM
"I fear that without intending it, I have somehow signed on to be someone's support person without our relationship having reciprocity built in."

This is a very real, valid fear and one that I often have myself. However, not sure if your husband is like mine, but he tends to pull me out of my comfort zone and I have done MUCH beyond myself that I would have not done without him. There must have been SOMETHING that made you go with him. Look at his positives and not the negatives, just like you want him to look at you.

"I fear that if I ever become seriously ill, my partner won't be effective taking care of me. "

I think about this all the time. But you know there is absolutely no guarantee that when you become seriously ill, your spouse will be with you or still be alive. Chances are, you will end up by yourself anyway since females live longer, so don't get hung up in those thoughts.

"I think about this a I fear that he will never find work. I fear that I will lose the apartment I finally managed to buy because he is not bringing in an income."

This can't go on too long. There is always some job somewhere he can be taking on to help with the load, no matter how crummy. Otherwise, you are in a co-dependent situation. You would likely take on s**t work to help out. Just my opinion.

VeryTired
11-06-13, 08:45 AM
Hangingon--

You're right, of course, that relationships begin with real attraction to good qualities and positive things. But for me, at least, the purpose of this thread was to look some very real fears and dark feelings right in the eye, and not to reach for the usual upbeat solutions and responses.

Also--and I'm sure this isn't true for everyone--one of my great concerns is that my relationship with my partner changed so dramatically after the beginning. There was a very intense thread on this some months ago, started by Kylief8, which explored the bewildering transformation of our partners when the initial new-relationship hyperfocus ended. A quick read through that will showcase the staggering difficulty of that situation, so I won't repeat here what has already been said there.

I am daily mindful of my partner's good qualities. That's not the issue. The question is, how do good and loving people manage themselves and their lives under the growing realization that one person's needs aren't being met and are likely never to be met. Successful partners don't need to be twins or mirrors, but they do, in my opinion, both have to support the other when difficulties arise. If not, is it really a partnership?

You are right as well that women often outlive their partners, but health issues come up all the time throughout life, even long before the end-of-life stuff. I am constantly called upon to take care of my partner in relation to his health issues, great and small, but it has become clear that it is either extremely difficult or possibly even impossible for him to reciprocate for me. This is a real issue of considerable concern, not a hypothetical about a distant future.

As for the employment issues, well, those are complicated by questions that extend far beyond my partner's ADHD. It is no picnic being unemployed in one's mid-50s, regardless of disability. This is not a great moment for employment in the nation overall. Also, my partner and I have learned, through a lot of pain and work, that a job search process is exactly the kind of thing that's likely to be disproportionately hard for someone with ADHD. It requires detail-oriented follow-up, deferral of reward for effort over time, effective analysis of the impression one is making on others, excellent listening skills, awareness of a bigger picture than one's own concerns, refusal to become discouraged by negative feedback, and a whole bunch of other things that are hard for anyone, and particularly punishing when ADHD is in the mix.

Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. I post here to learn other people's perspectives, and yours differed from mine. That's interesting. I'm just reiterating my concerns here because I think maybe I didn't explain myself clearly the first time.

This thread has covered a lot of ground already, and I appreciate all that has been posted here. But if anyone else is still reading, I wonder if there are other people out there who have fears which their ADHD-partners may not recognize. And I wonder if there are other people with ADHD who have thoughts about their non-ADHD partners' fears.

To me, at least, there is power in just hearing the experience and perceptions, without necessarily reaching for solutions right away.

Hangingon
11-07-13, 06:13 PM
Thank you for your very real perspective of where you are at. In our mid-50s, such life situations are indeed trying and forgive me for being glib about it, if that was the perception.

I will say that perhaps my experience differed from yours. My husband was always ADHD, but undiagnosed. He compensated over the years. When we first met, he was dashing and charming, but I didn't sense the hyperfocus that many with AHDHers notice. It was more a gradual awareness that, well, yes, he kept getting those speeding tickets no matter what and he resolutely refused to help with the laundry no matter what and . . . you get the idea. Nothing drastic, just a gradual realization that he was not as, how do you put it, conventional as most husbands.

I am not sure how long you have been married. I met my husband in our 20s when I was likely as impulsive and spontaneous as him, but as we have aged and the inevitable crush of real life has pressed upon us, I have found myself increasingly taking on a larger and larger role in our marriage and becoming increasingly resentful as a result.

"The question is, how do good and loving people manage themselves and their lives under the growing realization that one person's needs aren't being met and are likely never to be met." You don't know what life is going to throw at you and my guess is you have a long way to go. Even though you don't see it at present, your ADHDer may be a true God-send in a crisis situation. He may meet needs of yours you don't really know you have.
As for health issues, I will say that my husband has not been very "conventionally" good about dealing with episodes I have had in the past, even so far as to want to leave the emergency room and go home and sleep when it was suspected I had had a heart attack after an episode of irregular heartbeat. I know that sounds incredibly awful, but frankly, I pretty much felt I had not had a heart attack, he pretty much felt I had not had a heart attack, and he was very tired. The truth of the matter is, since we are pretty much polar opposites, if he had gotten in a wad about me having a heart attack, I would have gotten in a total wad about having a heart attack, which would have likely made my blood pressure rise to unprecedented levels. WE BALANCE EACH OTHER. When he spins out of control, I step in to stop that. When I spin out of control, he does likewise. The end result was . . . I had not had a heart attack. I'm not sure about you, but I find my ADHDer pretty stable, calm, and solid in times of crisis (unlike me). When I say look at the good parts, look at what brought you together, I am thinking there is something very basic that you each saw in the other that drew you together, that made you think, I can be stronger with him than without him. And I don't think it was just inordinate attention he paid to you at first.

You are right. I can't imagine my ADHD husband having to deal with the details of trying to find a job in his mid-50s. A daunting task. Prayers given.

Hangingon
11-07-13, 08:43 PM
My add partner is also an alcoholic so i am often overwhelmed, frustrated and scared. He drinks every night to "quiet his thoughts and get some sleep." Most of the time this doesn't effect me, except that I wish he would learn different ways to cope. Last night however was one of those dreaded nights.

Now he normally struggles with blurting out inappropriate comments but add alcohol and and he becomes down right nasty. I kept my cool the best I could... I was asleep when i got hit in the head with the tv remote and him babbling about how clint eastwood was on. Needless to say I wasn't happy and being jolted awake I wasn't exactly understanding of his lack of consideration or his saying I didn't mean it. I grabbed the remote and shut off the tv at which point he let out a barrage of insults. Guess who slept on the couch last night? Me.

This morning he couldn't understand why I was upset. Rolled his eyes, told me to get over it and then proceeded to ignore me.

It's not easy trying to be so understanding of him when I don't get the same in return. I can't feel hurt?
thanks for letting me vent

I totally emphasize with this. My husband did the same. This is ADHD out of control. Alcohol flames it into intolerability. Not sure how old you are, but his age/menopause may be entering into it. My solution was to find a corner of the house where I could exist without him bothering me. Sounds bad, but let's face reality.

It's HIS issue and not yours, remember that.

Hangingon
11-07-13, 09:28 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXFyUNEXJp0

Please watch the ENTIRE video regarding Amen's very progressive and beneficial ideas on ADHD. It's not all just Ritalin and Adderall.

dvdnvwls
11-07-13, 10:13 PM
It's not all just Ritalin and Adderall.
Nobody but you ever said it was.

Hangingon
11-07-13, 10:35 PM
Nobody but you ever said it was.
Really? Seems like all I got from this forum is medicate, medicate, get treatment. Even though I repeatedly said we had tried that route. Get your facts straight.

Hangingon
11-07-13, 10:44 PM
Nobody but you ever said it was.

Why are you threatened by the fact that maybe Ritalin and Adderall aren't the answer?

VeryTired
11-07-13, 11:03 PM
Hi, again, Hangingon--

To me the great value here is when we all share details and specifics of our situations. It never fails to interest and help me when I can see familiar and unfamiliar aspects of these problems reflected in someone else's experience. So what you wrote about how your relationship with your husband changed over time from your 20s until now seems to me valuable, significant, important.

My partner and I (we're not married) have been together only a few years. He was previously married three times (!), and I had one very long-term marriage-like relationship previously. When we first met, there was that dashing-charming thing going on with him for sure. It didn't last well, however, and it happened that my partner's life long problems (most grounded in his then-undiagnosed ADHD) rapidly spiraled out of control in dramatic ways after we met. Almost the whole time we have been together, we have been addressing some spectacular life crisis of his.

These included a terrifying crisis of substance abuse (ill-considered pre-diagnosis self medication), a crisis of career change and extended unemployment, crises based on lying about all the other problems, a period of dissociation and an imaginary alternative life, a crisis of infidelity, and one regarding his then-troubled relations with his children. That's just some of the story. If I explained it all, no one would believe me.

But if you met my partner today, sober, honest, diagnosed, medicated, in therapy, trying hard, newly self aware in many ways, working hard to restart his life and career--well, you'd think he's a good guy, smart and capable. And you'd be right. But it's also true that his mental and physical health is fragile, he is coming very late to realizations and capabilities that most people master by the time they're adolescent, he has been employed for so long that he has devastated my finances supporting him, and we have no idea if he will be able to find work when he graduates from the grad school program he's presently in. He does only a small percentage of the household chores, he drives me crazy with mess scattered everywhere, he routinely throws garbage on the floor immediately after I mop the kitchen, and he's constantly in trouble of various kinds owning to ADHD lack of focus on one practical thing after another.

Here's what interests me. In some of your posts, I think you sound angrier or more frustrated than I usually do. But you're the one who says your husband compliments you. Both are true--you really are frustrated AND you really are balanced by your husband in many ways. You've been together a long time, so obviously something is working for you both. Whereas I feel I've been through several decades-worth of crisis, forbearance, slack-taking-up and arduous challenge in a very few years, and it's utterly depleted me. And while I have lots of good things to say about my partner, I can't possibly say that he balances or completes me. And it's very possible we won't stay together.

These things are very complicated. I know--that's nothing new about that thought. But the truth isn't always original, is it? Managing these relationships, especially with the stresses that this stage of life brings, is confusing and no picnic.

Hangingon
11-07-13, 11:59 PM
Oh my God. Thanks for the very candid reply finally, thanks.

I think us non-ADHDers have to finally admit to ourselves that we like the excitement, sponateaity, etc., that a non-ADHDer provides us. We can help, we can solve, we can fix, etc. Then it gets overwhelming.

I don't expect you to get into specifics, but it sounds as if your ADHDer has been struggling for quite some time, but that you are on the right path. It also sounds as if you have been on a much more stressful path than I have been with my ADHDer.

But it sounds as if he is sincerely trying, and for an ADHDer, that says volumes. You know already he is not all that vocal, but his ACTIONS speak tons. He is TRYING, so don't give up on him, please.

You know he is fragile: that is where you come in. You can handle that.

I can't determine if you complement each other still. There is a thread, a bond, with my husband that cannot be broken, try as I might. Call it the sacrament of marriage, whatever. I always come back to, would he leave me if I got weird/sick? And I know he wouldn't. I owe that to him, that promise I made that I would stay with him, no matter what. Old fashioned maybe, but it is what it is.

RedHairedWitch
11-08-13, 12:04 AM
FYI: many of the ADHDers on this board, who have been participating in the same threads as you, are not medicated for a variety of reasons. Myself included.

When we say "treatment" we don't only mean "medicated"

BellaVita
11-08-13, 12:05 AM
I can't determine if you complement each other still. There is a thread, a bond, with my husband that cannot be broken, try as I might. Call it the sacrament of marriage, whatever. I always come back to, would he leave me if I got weird/sick? And I know he wouldn't. I owe that to him, that promise I made that I would stay with him, no matter what. Old fashioned maybe, but it is what it is.

Awwwww. :)

dvdnvwls
11-08-13, 02:47 AM
Why are you threatened by the fact that maybe Ritalin and Adderall aren't the answer?
Do I look like a fish to you? ;) Look it up.

Why are you threatened by finding out that your husband has ADHD? It isn't as evil as you're imagining it... but it is very strange, and very irritating sometimes, and requires significantly more flexibility and understanding than you seem willing to entertain the thought of right now. Treating your husband as a normal person who's intentionally sabotaging your efforts is a method that has certain pitfalls involved, pitfalls with which I am only too familiar. I'm doing my best to try to alert you before you fall in one that you (and your relationship) can't climb out of.

VeryTired
11-08-13, 12:36 PM
Hangingon--

I'm sorry that some of the discussions haven't been what you're looking for. I am reluctant to repeat myself about all the details of my situation because--as you can readily understand--this stuff is panful to talk about. But I have repeatedly bared my soul here, talking about things that I would never say in "real life" about both myself and my partner.

But I do think some of the previous dialogues I've taken part in might be of real interest to you. Here's what I'd do if I were you. Go to the search tab atop the page. Click, then select advanced search. Then put in my name in the search box and find all my posts--not because I'm so fascinating, just because I am telling you I have been part of a lot of discussions which would have interested you, but which occurred before you got here. Scroll down the list, because lots of them are from quite a while ago.

Also, put in Kylief8's name. She started some intense threads.

all good wishes--

dvdnvwls
11-08-13, 03:01 PM
I've recalled another particular fear my ex had, one that I'm sure is somewhat ADHD-specific, though maybe having a female/male dynamic to it as well: she was baffled and somewhat threatened by my response to stressful situations. When I've had too much stress, or when I'm in a stressful situation that has an easy escape route, I tend to "go into my shell", go off by myself, and essentially hide. This made her worry in a number of different ways, which caused her to question me and try to get me to not do that, causing me significantly more stress, making me retreat further and for longer periods of time, and thus became part of a depressing "dance" or ritual of escalating misunderstanding and increasing alienation. My explanation, something like "I'm sorry, but I'm hiding in the basement because I'm stressed out, please don't come and get me, please don't try to talk me out of it, I'll be back sooner if you don't do those things" was apparently incomprehensible to her.

TLCisaQT
01-01-14, 06:24 PM
Tired, I can imagine that all of this might be scary for you too. Not fully because I don't think anyone acan ever really know what it really feels like to be another person. But i think living with someone with a mental health disorder might be the next quest thing to actually having a mental health problem. Or maybe it's worse, i don't know.

I guess my husband is scared too though I'm not sure if his fears are similar to yours. I think he's scared of wastimg his life, scared that his life nmight never be the way he would like it to be and I think he is scared of the compromises and sacrifices he has to make because of me. We will never be very rich, he will never get to live in a neat house, we will never have children, at least definitely not biological ones. It's a constant exercise in settling for less.

I think he is also very scared of losing me, of US just not working out. I think he's also worried that I might be too consumed with my b own problems to every really be supportive of him. He probably feels as alone and misunderstood as I do. Maybe more. He doesn't have a forum to support him.

I also think he's scared of the kind of person he might turn out to be. It's easy to have a high opinion of yourself when you aren't tested constantly but living with me is a constant test, a test of patience, tolerance and fire fighting. Every day is a new challenge. Every day I push his buttons and every day he is reminded of the fact that his patience and tolerance are limited.

Then there are also more practical things to be scared of. Will I burn down the house done day because I've I've again cforgottem to turn off the gas? Will I have an accident while driving maybe with him in the car? Will I lose a large amount of money some day?

When you are living with someone with adhd it's rather difficult to not assume the role of a carer, of the parent. But then no one wants to be in the role of the parent to an adult partner. It happens naturally I guess because someone needs to keep the house from falling down, needs to keep both lives from pfalling apart. I guess life isn't simple even without adhd. Everyone s got their own problems but you need to deal with the problems of two people. And I can imagine how overwhelming that must be.

I always thought marriage should be an asset, that I'd be an asset to my husband and he to me. Ideally id like to be with someone because ultimately in some way I make their lives better. I always wanted to be with some one who was happy to be with me and who was a little but more appy because of me. Now my husband is trying hard to be happy in spite of me. Not a nice thought. For neither of us.

apologies if none of this is relevant. What are you scared of?

Wow, I thought this was very insightful AND relevant, thank you for sharing.

Rebelyell
01-01-14, 06:29 PM
I have the perfect solution! Stay single!:D

TLCisaQT
01-01-14, 06:29 PM
Hi, friends--
Since you asked, I have so many fears right now. I fear that always being tired is making me fail in my career, that always being tired is making a less good person that I would like to be. I fear that without intending it, I have somehow signed on to be someone's support person without our relationship having reciprocity built in. I fear that my partner's needs will keep me from doing the right thing when other people need me, or I need something for myself. I fear that he will never find work. I fear that I will lose the apartment I finally managed to buy because he is not bringing in an income. I fear that I will never be able to retire, because my income is what supports us both. I fear that I will never travel again, or be able to give significant gifts to my nephew and nieces. The money-related fears go on and on and on. I fear that if I ever become seriously ill, my partner won't be effective taking care of me.

My darkest fear is that if I ever decide that I can't continue in this relationship, I won't in fact be able to end it, because my partner is not able to support himself. And I fear that if I did end the relationship, it would mean that I had become a bad person. I fear that if I needed to end it but couldn't manage it, I would be a failure at taking care of myself.

These are the most private thoughts and feelings I have ever in my life shared with anyone. It feels strange. It's very scary even to type these words. I thank anyone who is reading them, and everyone who is here, for the privilege of using this forum for my own urgent personal concerns.

Verytired,
I have always valued what you have posted on this site and your words of support to me and others. I appreciate your courage in being able to share with us your fears. Many of which I can relate to. HUGS

TLCisaQT
01-01-14, 07:04 PM
What a very inspiring and insightful thread. I learned a lot. As always, DVD I always appreciate your candid and open responses. They truly help me get some understanding into something I will never truly understand in regards to life for my husband and my daughter.

As for my fears?
1. Always stress about how my husband (and daughter) will react when they get overwhelmed or angry. The other night I had a dream and in it, my husband was getting so mad at everyone and he was punching people and throwing them into walls and hitting cars etc etc. I remember in my dream (or nightmare rather) yelling at him to stop and he wouldn't (or couldn't?) and I just kept saying "why are you doing this?"

2. I stress about would he ever get mad enough that his outbursts would go from just yelling rages to hitting me or my kids. I know he wouldn't "mean" to or want to, but...

3. I worry that I don't know how long my sanity will last dealing with ADHD and the outbursts, the melt downs, etc. I have a lot of patience, but after 10-12 years... how much is left?

4. I fear that I am not going to find the energy to reach my full potential and the goals I want in life, as I seem to exhaust a lot of my energy into this relationship. I definitely had huge expectations of what a marriage and family were supposed to be like and I've had to adjust that. Unfortunately I struggle with my own MH issues of anxiety and depression, which don't mix well with AdHD :)

5. Fear of the constant threat of instability. Will he do something to lose his job? As of today his contract job ended, and I'm so scared, he won't apply for unemployment like last time, and he won't do what it takes to put in resumes and find another job, and we will get back to the state of hell we were in for 10 months the last time he was out of work. I try to be positive and have faith/hope; however, the fear is there! He was offered a job in North Dakota, but we'd all have to move there. No way, was I going to leave a stable job of 9 year with benefits on an unknown-I felt bad, but...just couldn't do it, especially for North Dakota???? lol

I read an article about how "marriage is not for me." In the end it's about expectations and how we shouldn't go into a marriage with an attitude about what it will do for us, but about what we can give for another. Something like that. Anyways, I really try to remember this, when things get tough or rough. Of course, there are dealbreakers and limits as to what I'm willing to endure or let my kids endure, but I will do my best to help my partner as long as he is trying.

things go alright when I learn to keep my mouth shut and try not to take things personally. All hell breaks loose when I don't do so well in this area :)

VeryTired
01-01-14, 09:37 PM
TLC--

I really appreciate your thoughtful, brave, candid contribution to this thread. This stuff is very hard to talk about, but I do think these are important questions. I am especially struck by your points #3 and #4. I am sending big sympathy your way. I know these fears well, and they are challenging. You show great strength in the face of your challenges, and you always sound so fair-minded and patient. I admire that so much!

Here's hoping the new year holds lots of great things fro you and your family--

TheBadGuy
01-03-14, 09:46 PM
Fuzzy12 - Wow. this all rings true. Haven't been on here in awhile and forgot just how similar some of these stories are. thanks for sharing...

TheBadGuy
01-03-14, 10:02 PM
"I feel a kind of claustrophobic terror of being trapped in an alternative universe that doesn't match what I know of reality."

Whoa. I'm stuck in that universe quite a bit...

Stevuke79
01-03-14, 10:06 PM
GREAT THREAD! I only just discovered it now. I have pretty severe ADHD; my wife is classic brilliant super-focused from birth academic superstar. I didn't graduate college until I was 29.
Ummmm....:umm1:I must have been very charming:rolleyes:

What's more, our daughter who is an only child, is my neurological clone. So she has her hands full. But more than that, it's been said many times on this forum that learning to cope with your ADHD can change everything about you.. even to the extent that you may need some new friends. Well what about your best friend for life?

I know the changes I've gone through have been very difficult and sometimes painful for my wife. Probably more so than than putting up with the untreated disorder itself. I would like to hear more from you about what that's like and what you think we should know. Anything that you would like to add to our perspective. Not necessarily in regards to treatment; that was just my example.

TheBadGuy
01-03-14, 10:41 PM
VeryTired - "...how much the non-ADHD partner's point of view gets understood by the ADHD partners. I'd be interested in hearing what people on both sides of that situation experience. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance for your replies--"

I have had a lot of time to reflect on my past relationship with an ADHDer. It seems that a great percentage of our fighting was from a complete lack of understanding and misinterpreting.
For over a year we tried and failed many times to really listen, ask questions and repeat back to understand. Without judgment and defensiveness.
It was difficult for each of us to listen to the other because it was as if one of us had blacked out and missed an entire portion of the situation we were discussing. Rarely did we interpret or "hear" the right thing. The scariest thing for me was having her finally understand something. She would repeat it back and clearly state she understood how I felt and how her actions were interpreted that way. Days later it would seem as if that conversation of understanding never took place. Hurt feelings and resentments would come hurling my way. Any attempt to remind her of the discussion we had and the understanding we came too only enraged her.

This process caused me to repeat a lot of what I said. Thinking it would somehow get through. It only caused more confusion because she would admit to zoning out when it was my turn to talk.
To the point of your question - I don't think my point of view ever really got across. And from her perspective I don't believe she would say I fully understood hers.
this caused a lot of built up resentments and unfortunately contributed to the downfall of the relationship. It was very difficult for me to let mine go. We couldn't discuss anything without her throwing old feelings of resentment in my face. Resentments which we discussed, she understood to be misunderstandings and not really intentional acts of wrong doing on my part. It didn't matter. Whatever we were discussing would get ignored and she would focus on anger about something that was "resolved" a long time ago.

After she calms down she recognizes the resentment and that she needs to let it go. She does this after every one of these outbursts. It never changes. this last time she admitted to having the resentments and then said she could never let them go until I changed my behavior and then maybe she wouldn't have them any more. I asked what I was doing to cause them. She said she needed to feel protected by me. And because she doesn't she gets angry and throws past resentments at me knowing it will upset me. ??? I have NO idea what the point of view is here. I tried very hard to understand. For this and many other reasons laid out on another thread, we are no longer together.

the advice here is find a way to really understand each other.
My questions to understand were often interpreted as condescending or bullying. So as I became confused and asked questions she would get angry and short with me.
Its all patiences and understanding. And we both ran out unfortunately.

VeryTired
01-03-14, 11:00 PM
Hi, Stevuke!

I am so glad you came across this thread and shared your thoughts. I am fascinated by what you said. I wonder if there is a widespread pattern of opposites-attract couples with differences like yours and your wife's?

Anyway, I'm sure you were and still are very charming! But you should see the charming guy with whom I live--he's really something. I'm a professor and he's been more a man of action for much of his life, so we are pretty different from each other. Interestingly, though, he's now in school for a late-in-life career change, studying to be a librarian. (So maybe I will have to start working on becoming more charming now that he is becoming the information-science star!)

Seriously, though, I think you really put your finger on a great topic for discussion, so I hope more people will see this and jump in with their points of view. I mean, what you said about how learning to cope with ADHD changes everything. My guess is that people who get their diagnoses as adults, or in mid-life like my partner (in his 50s when we cracked the code and got the diagnosis) may have quite different experiences than people who grow up with this knowledge. Both are probably hard, but I think the former is WAY more confusing than the latter.

This gets very complicated, but I hope you'll bear with me. My partner's ADHD is like a volatile and sometimes dangerous thing we both live with--a little geological fault line running through our living room, both our lives, and his mind. We never know when there'll be a tremor or a giant quake. That's one level of complexity, because we are both living with something that only he sees and feels from within. So I am often confused, exhausted by attempts to get info, catch up, figure out what is going on let alone enforce boundaries, manage schedules, budgets and plans, etc etc.

Now logically it would seem like only a good thing when he got a diagnosis, we both got a lot of education about ADHD, he got medication, and he started going to group therapy for adults with ADHD. And indeed these all have been enormously positive for us both. But--and here's the unexpected part--these things are sometimes also part of the problem. That much change and re-imagining of a life that's already established is quite an upheaval. It's not a common experience for people in their 50s to be tearing down their own foundations and putting up new structures in their lives. We're not now at the age when that feels normal, exciting, inevitable.

In effect, we're not currently at the same life phase. I am not now redesigning my whole self and way of living in the world. I'm going through changes, sure, and reacting to the giant reno project that my partner has made of his life. But it's an awkward disparity that I did most of my life-sorting-out in my 20s, and he is doing that vital work now. So we aren't really in synch, and even when we both love and admire the progress and changes he's making, it is confusing to figure out how we can stay connected, focussed on each other, and partnered given all the basic seismic activity of the ADHD itself plus the scaffolding, excavations and construction cranes he has in play all over his life.

OK, that was a tangle of mixed metaphors, but I hope the idea comes across. So, anybody else out there have thoughts? Or, Stevuke, maybe you could be a little more specific about the changes you've been through?

all good wishes--

VeryTired
01-03-14, 11:14 PM
Hi, BadGuy--

Thanks for your very clear description of a pattern that I think many of us may know well. What you wrote feels so, so familiar to me. In particular, we have that thing where I ask questions and my partner can't bear it. It's a dreadful cycle--the more upset he gets, the more I need/want to understand, and the more questions I ask and the more upset he gets. You're right, it all boils down to patience and understanding. The problem is, knowing that isn't the same as knowing HOW to get more patience and understanding ..

GRbiker
01-03-14, 11:18 PM
We couldn't discuss anything without her throwing old feelings of resentment in my face. Resentments which we discussed, she understood to be misunderstandings and not really intentional acts of wrong doing on my part. It didn't matter. Whatever we were discussing would get ignored and she would focus on anger about something that was "resolved" a long time ago.

After she calms down she recognizes the resentment and that she needs to let it go. She does this after every one of these outbursts. It never changes. this last time she admitted to having the resentments and then said she could never let them go until I changed my behavior and then maybe she wouldn't have them any more. I asked what I was doing to cause them. She said she needed to feel protected by me. And because she doesn't she gets angry and throws past resentments at me knowing it will upset me. ??? I have NO idea what the point of view is here.

This sounds just like my partner, only she is the NT! (she is just like Stevuke79's wife) I know that I've let her down, that she has a lot of justifiable resentments, I have betrayed her trust, etc. She has put some big life goals on hold because of my previously undiagnosed ADD. I am only now learning how to listen to her without going into the long strange trip of guilt I used to think she was sending me on. Listen to her and then really understand how she feels. (I've heard we ADD'ers have trouble with empathy.) Medication has helped immensely.

We are in couples therapy, and working out some big issues while learning how to enjoy each other day to day. Might not keep us together, but at the very least it will let us split on friendly terms.

TheBadGuy
01-06-14, 07:40 PM
GR Biker - congrats on recognizing this and making the effort to get help. EACH of you doing that. I have found so many ADHDers on here that have benefited from recognizing the patterns in behavior brought on by ADD.
Even after being diagnosed and seeing the symptoms, my girlfriend just wasn't ready to face the reality of it. I say this to you in hope that you and your partner can find a happy middle ground of communication.

Because my GF continuously slipped back into denial about the behavior we spiraled into a pretty bad place. I'm still having a VERY hard time moving on because I know how much we loved each other and wanted things to work. It was like seeing her trapped behind a wall of glass. She would be yelling in an effort to be with me. But we couldn't communicate through the glass or get close enough to be with each other. I know there is nothing I could do and it is not my responsibly to force help on her. But seeing someone in need - she would admit often to the frustrations of ADD in work and our relationship - and not finding a way to help has been extremely painful.
You have made a great effort and I hope your GF sees that you are doing your best to meet half way.
Best of luck to you guys.

TheBadGuy
01-06-14, 07:51 PM
VeryTired - I really wish we had found that patience and understanding. I know my girlfriend does too which is why this break up has been so awful. Being self aware of why you are feeling a certain way and the ability to clearly express that would have saved us a lot of trouble.

After a fight she would often tell me - I wasn't really mad at you - I was frustrated because of - a friend, work, family, etc... And it was easier to get mad at me for past resentments then to deal with the real feelings she was having. I'd tell her that really isn't fair to me and asked - what can I do to help in those situations? Or what can I say to slow things down so we can assess what you're feeling? She just said there was nothing I could do or say. She was just going to get mad. She said I just needed to take it easier on her. I would ask for the same from her and it just started another fight...

the power of understanding... Ugh...

dvdnvwls
01-06-14, 10:23 PM
Understanding each other's explanations is only the barest of beginnings.

Understanding each other's behaviour is much larger and much more important. It is often un-related (or only loosely related) to what gets said in discussions.

If "she always..." anything, then right or wrong she is almost certainly going to keep at it. When a person "always" does x, then explaining, questioning, cajoling, threats, discussion, therapy, are all pretty much beside the point. You (and I and everybody) must learn to take the other person's always'es for granted, and learn to work around them.

I am generally not aware of how my behaviour appears to others. I am not aware of all of the reasons behind it. I can change some parts of my behaviour; I cannot switch selves and start an all-new mode of thought without years of intensive therapy, medication, and support - and even with those things it's not guaranteed at all.

VeryTired
01-06-14, 10:31 PM
Hi, BadGuy--

Coincidence: today my partner told me, after a very hard day, that it's the first time he has ever been able to tell me that he is really hurting because of something that happened to him, without getting mad at me. We talked about how he always needed to use me as a target for anger rather than accepting fear or pain when he felt them. He's in bad shape today, not feeling good at all--but I am astonished that he has made this breakthrough, and was for the first time able to do something other than make me the focus of anger about things that had nothing to do with me.

I realized for the first time how hard it must be for him to do this--obviously it would have happened years ago if it had been easy or possible then. Trying to sustain a relationship with someone who can't do this probably isn't possible in the long run. I'm so sorry it hasn't worked out for you and your girlfriend, and I sympathize with you regarding how painful breakups can be. I think you've done the right thing, though, so I hope the healing process will begin soon and you'll feel more peaceful.

Stevuke79
01-07-14, 03:41 PM
..today my partner told me, after a very hard day, that it's the first time he has ever been able to tell me that he is really hurting because of something that happened to him, without getting mad at me. We talked about how he always needed to use me as a target for anger rather than accepting fear or pain when he felt them...

I realized for the first time how hard it must be for him to do this--obviously it would have happened years ago if it had been easy or possible then.

To me this is central to ADHD. This is my little theory, not well researched or well informed :umm1: :giggle:, that NT people have this automatic day to day happy medium with emotions while for ADHD'ers it must all be deliberate and heartfelt.

This fits with theories I find compelling, that ASD and Autism are related to emotional and sensory hyper-sensitivity related to an inability to automatically filter and modulate our senses. An NT person can feel something, address it, .. and do so quickly and superficially as part of a prefrontal filtering process. NT'ers have to face the big stuff, but day to day stuff can be felt and dealt with without diving into excruciating feelings.

Someone with an ASD doesn't filter and nothing is automatic. Social gestures, tone of voice,.. we have to practice these and do them deliberately. To interpret them we cannot filter or react; we must analyze. Same goes for ambient noise, feelings, etc. For all this we have two choices: 1. Ignore or 2. Proactively sort and analyze. Hence, if we don't ignore our feelings the we have to analyze them and bring up all of the associated feelings which may include hurt, failure and innadequacy. Otherwise we ignore which really means "bury" or "misdirect". That's what we usually do.

Have you ever said: Well I didn't really think about it until now, .. But I think I did that because I felt... I hear it all the time; I always found statements like those very strange. How exactly did you feel something without knowing it?

Now this next part of my theory will be construed as gifter and will no doubt earn me some "hate". (It's not gifter, but no one listens to me when I say that.) If someone with an ASD learns to address those feelings, process deliberatly yet dispassionately and move on, they will have a leg up on everyone else. Whenever ego and pride would have shackled someone's thinking, whenever a latent assumption that "I'm right" could hold you back, an ASD'er can become very practiced at identifying and noticing and uprooting that stuff. I think it can be very powerful.

Of course, what's much more likely is the exact opposite; we'll never see our faults or mistakes and we'll avoid our feelings completely and forever; the happy medium is impossible for us. Btw this isn't "gifter" because the ADHD doesn't help us do anything.. any more so than living in the jungle helps you climb trees.

Whoa thread hijack! If this doesn't seem related, ignore and move on please! :)

dvdnvwls
01-07-14, 05:03 PM
Stevuke79: I think your idea has merit. I disagree about it being central to ADHD. It may be central to ASD, I don't know. I do have an automatic emotional day-to-day happy medium, and can often say "didn't think about it till now, but I think I did that because I felt..."

Stevuke79
01-07-14, 10:44 PM
"Central to ADHD" was grandiose and a bit silly... Kind of presumptuous too.

Yup... I know that I should read stuff over before I push "post"

VeryTired
01-07-14, 10:47 PM
Steveuke79--

Hmm I think I am getting what you are saying, but I'm not sure. Can you explain a little more? What about this filtering/not filtering? I'd like to understand what you are saying, but it isn't completely clear to me yet.

Thanks!

Stevuke79
01-08-14, 12:36 AM
Yup, rereading that post and looking at the time of day, I think I wrote that just as my Adderall was wearing off; it apparently shows. :) Also, psychology is not my subject and I only half understand what I'm writing. I know for sure I must have some misstated facts here; anyone with corrections - fire away!

I'm a fan of the idea that ADHD is related to hyper sensitivity and some lack of development in our prefrontal cortex which leads to impaired executive functioning and filtering of stimuli. I can provide more references if you like; for now, here's one (http://www.alasbimnjournal.net/contenidos/frontal-and-temporal-lobe-dysfunction-in-autism-and-other-related-disorders-adhd-and-ocd-80) that I pulled off a Wikipedia reference. By the way, this to me is fascinating; the more common (or used to be more common) understanding is that we're not sensitive to our surroundings and that we're unemotional; this suggests we're hyper sensitive and hyper emotional. I've only known a few autistics and of course my experience is anecdotal, but to me the idea that they're not emotional seems unlikely and small minded. People have told me my whole life that I'm cold and unfeeling; those who know me well will say that's not at all right so I can see how the mistake is made.

Now if I understand correctly, the prefrontal cortex is is involved in choosing between stimuli, thoughts and behavior. It's where we weigh our considerations and choose a course of action or train of thought. So think about reasoning and behavior with reduced prefrontal cortex. Everything would be unprioritized, and unfiltered and thus very intense and immediate. To sort things you would always be starting with first principals to reason it all out. We would sense emotions in others and know that we must account for them, but the accounting couldn't be immediate; it would have to be higher level, more deliberate and it would take longer.

So now, let's say I do something wrong. I want X and I yell at someone to get it. (I just yelled at my daughter, so it's on my mind). The person disapproves. Someone who is neurotypical would take in the stimuli and feelings. There would be sorry, sadness, regret, a bit of failure, and a desire to improve. The prefrontal cortex distinguishes the stimuli and emotions and prooritizes them. We would remember we want X, determine to focus on getting it, and decide to take care of the self loathing and self improvement once we've obtained X. And while most people are way too hard on themselves, in the moment they generally can deprioritize hurt feelings and focus on the task at hand. And I suppose I've already painted a picture of what happens if you have less of that function. Personally I am ALWAYS scrambling to sort everything that's going on and everything I'm feeling.

And my theory, which seems to be helpful so far is that I might be able to develop a more deliberate way of sorting my emotions. Obviously when I make a mistake, the blow to the ego is still there, but I'm very accustomed to dismissing that particular emotion as soon as I identify it. I have less to sort.

And ADHD aside, a vigilant sensitivity to one's own ego and other indulgent emotions can be helpful.

janiew
01-08-14, 12:55 AM
I'm the one with ADHD in my relationship / marriage - but sometimes I wonder about him. He diagnosed me early on and then I found out how ADHD fits me to a T...

He is more focused than I am generally speaking. But on the weekend after laying out a plan he doesn't always follow through. I get it because he works hard too.

This is fine with me as long as the minimum stuff is accomplished. And it usually is...

BALANCE is key...

VeryTired
01-08-14, 08:58 AM
Thanks, Steveuke--

I get it now and what you say sounds reasonable enough. The idea that an exterior appearance of no emotion actually masks a great deal of confused/confusing, unexpressed emotion sounds very right to me based on what I see in my partner. There are certainly hyper-sensitivities in play, but often beneath the surface.

And various links between autism and ADHD seem to pop up in what people report in many different contexts. The difficulty with attunement to others is certainly similar, and as you say, the apparent emotionlessness/actual high sensitivity. Also, hyperfocus has some parallels with the fixed attentions seen in autism.

The idea of always starting from first principles to reason thing sour also strikes a chord--I think I see that happening a lot with my partner. One reason I feel tired a lot is that I feel he is always reinventing the wheel, something I don't need or want to do, yet repeatedly get drawn into doing with him.

Your mention of blows to the ego is intriguing. That sounds to me like what my partner seems to feel all the time. I think there's maybe a whole topic of its own right there.

All of what you are saying is very interesting, but I wonder if maybe you should make a new thread--maybe even cut and paste what you already wrote here to start it. If you start a new thread and give it a new title, more people will see it and be able to respond. I think you are talking about something important, and it deserves fuller discussion than it may get here.

And now, just because this thread was originally about non-ADHD partners being scared, also, I'll pull this back to that topic by saying that for me, as a non-ADHD partner, one of my big fears is the perennial disconnect between my partner's surface and what's beneath. I always wish he could just tell me what's really going on, but there is a ton of confusion or disinformation. He reliably says he's fine when he's most upset. He gets irritable and picks fights when he's scared. He usually says he's happy when he's really in pain, or else defaults to fighting. I hate living in confusion, and I feel walled out, and the idea of a lifetime of this scares me.

So if anyone is still reading in this thread and thinking about the fears and challenges of non-ADHD partners, I'd be curious to know if what I just said is familiar to anyone else.

Fuzzy12
01-08-14, 02:19 PM
Thanks, Steveuke-

And now, just because this thread was originally about non-ADHD partners being scared, also, I'll pull this back to that topic by saying that for me, as a non-ADHD partner, one of my big fears is the perennial disconnect between my partner's surface and what's beneath. I always wish he could just tell me what's really going on, but there is a ton of confusion or disinformation. He reliably says he's fine when he's most upset. He gets irritable and picks fights when he's scared. He usually says he's happy when he's really in pain, or else defaults to fighting. I hate living in confusion, and I feel walled out, and the idea of a lifetime of this scares me.

So if anyone is still reading in this thread and thinking about the fears and challenges of non-ADHD partners, I'd be curious to know if what I just said is familiar to anyone else.

I often say I'm fine when

1. I'm not exactly sure what I'm feeling or why
2. I think I'll be criticised for the reason I'm feeling bad, e.g. when I've made some mistake or messed up.my husband is bery helpful and very resourceful. If it's a practical problem he usually is able till help our advise but usually his help comes after a long lecture and at the cost of falling like crap
3. I think I'll be criticised for my feelings (e.g. for over reacting)
4. n I'm too tired to talk about it
5. I'm afraid that my husband is fed up of my depression in particular and my issues in general
6. I'm afraid that the reason that is making me upset will hurt him too.

VeryTired
01-08-14, 03:19 PM
Fuzzy,

That's super-helpful. Thanks! All of your reasons make sense and most of them are ones I have suspected at one time or another are in play when my partner can't be direct with me. The too-tired to talk one is particularly resonant. You really make me see this much more clearly than I ever have before.

Here's what I can say to you in return that might possibly be of help to you. Saying you're fine when you're not is exactly like buying things you can't afford on a credit card. It's what my grandmother used to call "borrowing trouble." You are without question piling up distress for the future, and what seems desirable, easy or safe now is probably only causing worse difficulties or confusions later.

I know there can be a lot of issues for you as regards talking directly to your husband and family, and it's far from easy for you. But think about what I am saying here and see if you can imagine sometimes, in some situations, giving them the gift of truth, wrapped in the blessing of clarity. I tell my partner all the time that "I don't know" "I"m confused" and "That's too scary to talk about now" all actually are answers, and are often better that what he does tell me, like "Everything's fine."

Fuzzy12
01-08-14, 06:02 PM
Thanks tired. I've tried saying that I'm too confused or stressed to talk and I too used to think that 'I don't know' is a valid answer but apparently it isn't. :(

Sigh@safe and easy. .. that's exactly why I do it.

Another thing is and I doubt this applies to you is that the qestion: what's wrong didn't always seem like a genuine enquiry to me but more like An accusation. As in: shady the he'll is now ahain don't with you You whiny ungrateful woman!!! Not that he says these words but that's how I often interpret a simple : what's wrong. So it seems to me like the safest easiest answer is that everything's perfect. And I'm fully aware that I might be misinterpreting but I rarely have the energy or nerve to find out.

VeryTired
01-08-14, 06:36 PM
Fuzzy--

This is a tough one. In moments of great frustration, I find myself telling my partner that he has an automatic translator in his brain that turns everything I say into a criticism. He literally feels that anything I say ending in a question mark constitutes and attack. It can get very fraught, when I am desperately trying to find out what's going on, and he is recoiling in horror from every word I say.

You know I'm with you whenever you talk about being too tired. I know what's that like. But I think the goal is to learn to do differently, so as to prevent these too-exhausting situations from arising. And the dis-information perpetuates bad cycles rather than opening the door to greeter clarity. That's how it seems to me, anyway.

dvdnvwls
01-09-14, 12:28 AM
VeryTired:

Reading this most recent post from you I had a sort of "gut reflex", highly irrational and extremely fast. It was "Why are you desperately trying to find out what's going on?" - because when 'she' is desperate to find out what's going on, it means I'm doomed.

And that sense of being "doomed" - one of my greatest fears, maybe of some other ADHDers as well, and one that I was always really afraid to admit I even had - is simply "she will find out".

Find out that I'm incompetent, find out that I lied to try to cover my incompetency, find out that I'm not good enough for her, find out that that thing last week was really my fault, etc etc etc.

This may drive you crazy. Sorry. But it's in there, and I'm not married to you and so it's safe for me to tell you secrets that I couldn't tell when it mattered.

RedHairedWitch
01-09-14, 01:21 AM
"What's wrong?"

"It would take three hours, sock puppets, the Klingon-English dictionary and an interpretive dance to explain. Let's just not make this a thing shall we? How about we just agree everything is fine and go make dinner?"

In other words, answering such questions takes far more time and energy than I am even remotely capable of, ever. It ALWAYS turns in a A Thing.

VeryTired
01-09-14, 01:52 AM
gosh, dvdnvwls--

This is such tough stuff. You and I have had a good shadow dialogue going for a while here, both in what we say directly to each other and what we can learn from each other's postings to others--I think we can talk to each other via this safe forum in ways that it isn't/wasn't possible to talk to the people in our real lives. I find it moving and useful, and as I have said before, I learn from you enormously. I admire you for your honesty, clarity, persistence, and general smartness of insight and perception. So I take what you are saying now seriously, and feel it's a gift of insight into exactly the kind of things my partner is least able to say to me.

I have a feeling that you are speaking for a lot of other people here. I am certain that you are speaking for my partner, without his knowing it. And you are telling me something so important, so painful, so scary, so huge. To say thank you seems very thin in comparison, but of course I do thank you.

Here's what I feel when I see my partner in the throes of the feelings you just described: I feel rising anxiety about how I am going to have to figure out what problem we really have when he is lying nervously and implausibly to cover up something that may or may not matter I feel defeated and lonely that he is leaving me on my own when trouble arises rather than facing it with me, as partners . I feel mistreated that suddenly I have somehow apparently become the enemy and the bad guy to him I feel scared that I will never again get to live in a world that makes sense to me because these moments keep cropping up without my being able to understand them.

And then I feel numb exhaustion--here's where "very tired" comes in--because as a result of my partner's sudden pre-emptive panics, I am never allowed to be the one who panics, I don't get to be scared, and defeat is not an option for me. I am defined as always responsible, always trying, always handling things. And sometimes I hate it. Never getting to show weakness is a miserable situation to be in.

So now we've both told the secrets. This is all sad stuff, but it's always better to know, so I am grateful for what you've told me.

dvdnvwls
01-09-14, 01:55 AM
Yes. Exactly. My ex said the same thing - except she was forced by circumstances to say it in such an angry and demeaning way that it made us both worse.

Mittens
01-09-14, 01:19 PM
gosh, dvdnvwls--

This is such tough stuff. You and I have had a good shadow dialogue going for a while here, both in what we say directly to each other and what we can learn from each other's postings to others--I think we can talk to each other via this safe forum in ways that it isn't/wasn't possible to talk to the people in our real lives. I find it moving and useful, and as I have said before, I learn from you enormously. I admire you for your honesty, clarity, persistence, and general smartness of insight and perception. So I take what you are saying now seriously, and feel it's a gift of insight into exactly the kind of things my partner is least able to say to me.

I have a feeling that you are speaking for a lot of other people here. I am certain that you are speaking for my partner, without his knowing it. And you are telling me something so important, so painful, so scary, so huge. To say thank you seems very thin in comparison, but of course I do thank you.

Here's what I feel when I see my partner in the throes of the feelings you just described: I feel rising anxiety about how I am going to have to figure out what problem we really have when he is lying nervously and implausibly to cover up something that may or may not matter I feel defeated and lonely that he is leaving me on my own when trouble arises rather than facing it with me, as partners . I feel mistreated that suddenly I have somehow apparently become the enemy and the bad guy to him I feel scared that I will never again get to live in a world that makes sense to me because these moments keep cropping up without my being able to understand them.

And then I feel numb exhaustion--here's where "very tired" comes in--because as a result of my partner's sudden pre-emptive panics, I am never allowed to be the one who panics, I don't get to be scared, and defeat is not an option for me. I am defined as always responsible, always trying, always handling things. And sometimes I hate it. Never getting to show weakness is a miserable situation to be in.

So now we've both told the secrets. This is all sad stuff, but it's always better to know, so I am grateful for what you've told me.

Wow
Really wow...

Funny enough the other night bf and I get into a bit of a discussion and by the end of it I was just numb. He kept asking me what was wrong, and I just said I can't talk about it. Or more so I guess won't - I couldn't imagine verbalizing those thoughts to him, but what you wrote is literally verbatim what goes through my head.

Thank you so much for having the articulation and courage to write but went on in my head that I couldn't even really translate to myself.

And *big hug*.

I know we can't help our feelings - we don't control them, nor does logic come into into play, but if you are like me there's the other non-logical part that feels like a monster for having those feelings.
If that's the case - you are a wonderful person, and I hope you know, but also *believe* that.
If it's not - teach me your ways, sensei! Lol

Thanks to everyone who posted on this thread. It has a lot of valuable insights from both sides.

VeryTired
01-09-14, 10:47 PM
Hey, Mittens--

It always interests me when other people have similar experiences--it is very validating to learn that the strange and difficult things in life ave causes outside of myself, and maybe typical of many other people's experiences as well.

I know what you mean about sometimes feeling like a monster. I used to feel that way sometimes myself, but not anymore. Nowadays, I feel so pleased whenever I look around and realize that I'm still standing on my own two feet that I declare success and don't worry as I used to about whether what I think and say and feel is OK or not. It's a combination of the profound exhaustions and--more positively--of learning from book's like Gina Pera's. I used to be willing to believe everything is my own fault; now I try to be my own best friend whenever I can.

I love it that we all can be our best selves here and speak without fear. What a beautiful thing.