View Full Version : Feel like we missed our chance


megan42
03-04-14, 12:51 AM
Tonight my husband finally agreed to go to see a psychiatrist to get evaluated for ADHD. I guess, $450 and a conversation later, he "doesn't have it". The problem is I didn't want something to be wrong with my husband, I wanted something to help us get better! I read the Gina Peri book and attended some sessions of CHADD support group meetings for spouses of ADHD partners and it was like looking in a mirror. I thought I'd found something to help.

When my husband told me the Dr. thinks he doesn't have it, I asked what diagnostic tests he used, which I know is hard since adult ADHD is still getting standardized, but apparently it was just a conversation. He didn't seem to ask about things like eating, sexual compulsion, sleep patterns...and my husband is charming and smooth, when he thinks it matters and he stands to benefit.

The reasons I still think ADHD is hard to rule out are:
-Son with diagnosed ADHD (confirmed through testing and positive response to meds)
-Chronically late (misses maybe 15% of flights?)
-Sexual compulsion
-Hyperfocus (workaholic)
-No regular friendships
-Impulsive in business (this was how I got him to go, said I couldn't partner with him because of his constant risky investments, has been defrauded multiple times)
-Lack of empathy unless he's trying to get something
-Constantly loses things
-Binge eating
-Cannot deal with "boring" things like: taxes, licenses and permits, planning
-Sits at his laptop from sunrise to sunset, only exceptions are eating, running sleeping, yet is not particularly productive
-Some history of school and work performance issues
-Memory issues, constantly remembering things differently, from me at least

The thing is I told him I wouldn't partner with him unless he gets an evaluation and pursues treatment. I mean as a business partner, doing his taxes, letting his company have woman owned business benefits. In a way he did. But I told him I want him to get a more concrete eval.. Still feeling really frustrated. Like we missed the boat.

dvdnvwls
03-04-14, 01:37 AM
It seems clear that something major is going on. Whether it's ADHD is another question.

I would say (in general) that lack of empathy is pretty far from ADHD. I have ADHD, and in me there's an excess of empathy if anything.

A number of the other things fit, in some way.

You've told him that unless he pursues treatment then you won't be his business partner? It sounds like there's no treatment being pursued, so the business partner thing is still not happening, correct?

Besides the business aspects, looking more toward "living together" aspects, how happy will you be with this relationship if he stays about the same, making minor improvements along the way?

What did your husband want out of the psychiatrist session? This may just be an example of "Trying to force someone into treatment is going to backfire". To make it clear, saying "I can't be your business partner until you get treatment" is perfectly legitimate and not forcing anyone to do anything; but there may be other things that were said leading up to this appointment. The fact that you're convinced he should see a psychiatrist now is not necessarily a point of view he shares. I'm not saying he'd be right if he thought that - but I am saying he's the one attending the appointment, so it's his thought process around it that counts.

sarahsweets
03-04-14, 05:28 AM
I have to say that alot of the things you mention do not sound like adhd to me. Did the doctor consider anything else and do an overall evaluation? If he went in to find out if he had adhd, then the doctor would only deal with that and nothing else. It would be much better if he went to the doctor with the idea that something is wrong and he needs to get to the bottom of it. Does he agree that all of the things you list are a problem for him? If its only you that has issues with it and not him, he will be resist getting to the bottom of anything.

RedHairedWitch
03-04-14, 07:35 AM
Here is a link to the diagnostic criteria:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/diagnosis.html

You'll notice some of the the thing you listed do not fit the bill (sexual compulsion and lack of empathy being the two that jumped out) and some do. He could have it, or something that presents similarly, such as Aspergers or Borderline Personality Disorder or Bipolar.

What kind of doctor did you send him to? Even a psychiatrist might not know much about ADHD.

People with neurological disorders are often very bad self reporters. To get a diagnosis you have to have significant impairment in at least 6 areas of life. We often miss how much we are affected. This is why having a partner along to the appointment is very important.

daveddd
03-04-14, 07:45 AM
sounds like issues that may be better delt with by a psychologist

Nicksgonefishin
03-04-14, 11:28 AM
Did you go to the appointment with him?

If he doesn't see the problem or doesn't feel there is a problem he isn't going to be open and honest with the doc. He has to want treatment. I wonder if it felt forced to him.

There is a YouTube video... by Parker or Barkley (don't remember which) but it covers this adhd subset (though I don't care for subtyping but this seems useful here). It was titled adhd or just a bad personality.

A lot of deniers fit this category.

Some of the things you describe are borderline traits but that may just be due to the adhd and not being aware of his actions.

VeryTired
03-04-14, 02:30 PM
This is complicated, and none of us can really understand your situation via a discussion board, of course. But I will tell you this--I went with my partner to his first evaluation meeting. He wasn't trying to slant things or avoid the diagnosis, but under the stress of the situation, he made many factual errors in reporting his history, he transposed info, left stuff out, and failed to include significant data. My role was to offer reminders, point out omissions, be an independent point of view. He often thought he was doing just fine as regards many things pre-diagnosis even when he was in real trouble, so it was hard for him to report what anyone else seeing him would have noticed.

All of which to say that it strikes me that ADHD is the sort of thing that could be hard to diagnose if all the input is coming from someone who has ADHD. That's just one more cruel reality of this complex and challenging disorder.

As to lack of empathy, no, that in itself is not an ADHD marker in itself, but for some people with ADHD at least it shows up very clearly. Think of it like this--if someone is having trouble attending to you at all, and literally cannot hear what you are saying and cannot focus on your experience, how empathetic is he going to be? Also, many expressions of empathy are learned behaviors over a lifetime that someone with undiagnosed ADHD may, for various reasons, never have picked up along the way.

I read your description and to me it is very clear why you feel your husband has ADHD. You and I aren't doctors, however, and we could be wrong. But it's also possible that the doctor your husband saw was wrong, especially if your husband didn't report clearly or correctly in response to some of the questions.

Advice: stick to your guns re business stuff. Whatever the issue with your husband is, if you feel you can't work with him in a business context, your intuition is probably right. Please make good choices for you--for both of you. Be protective of resources in any way you need to.

Let us know how you're doing and what happens next--

dvdnvwls
03-04-14, 02:35 PM
I think what someone's spouse deems "sexual compulsion" could easily be something very different, with a different name. (Don't diagnose your spouse using specific terminology unless you have the diagnostic criteria for that terminology at hand - and even then be very cautious.) There are so many potential ways to make one's spouse uncomfortable about sex, if one tries. :(

SirSchmidt
03-04-14, 02:37 PM
This is complicated, and none of us can really understand your situation via a discussion board, of course. But I will tell you this--I went with my partner to his first evaluation meeting. He wasn't trying to slant things or avoid the diagnosis, but under the stress of the situation, he made many factual errors in reporting his history, he transposed info, left stuff out, and failed to include significant data. My role was to offer reminders, point out omissions, be an independent point of view. He often thought he was doing just fine as regards many things pre-diagnosis even when he was in real trouble, so it was hard for him to report what anyone else seeing him would have noticed.

All of which to say that it strikes me that ADHD is the sort of thing that could be hard to diagnose if all the input is coming from someone who has ADHD. That's just one more cruel reality of this complex and challenging disorder.

As to lack of empathy, no, that in itself is not an ADHD marker in itself, but for some people with ADHD at least it shows up very clearly. Think of it like this--if someone is having trouble attending to you at all, and literally cannot hear what you are saying and cannot focus on your experience, how empathetic is he going to be? Also, many expressions of empathy are learned behaviors over a lifetime that someone with undiagnosed ADHD may, for various reasons, never have picked up along the way.

I read your description and to me it is very clear why you feel your husband has ADHD. You and I aren't doctors, however, and we could be wrong. But it's also possible that the doctor your husband saw was wrong, especially if your husband didn't report clearly or correctly in response to some of the questions.

Advice: stick to your guns re business stuff. Whatever the issue with your husband is, if you feel you can't work with him in a business context, your intuition is probably right. Please make good choices for you--for both of you. Be protective of resources in any way you need to.

Let us know how you're doing and what happens next--

I agree. Megan, I think it's important for you to be present at these sorts of Doctor/patient meetings if at all possible. It took me a long time to see the ADD(or rather, just the symptoms) in my past, but once I did, it is clear as day. It's possible that your husband is not quite to the point of really seeing it for himself. He will need some time, help and encouragement to finally see it.

dvdnvwls
03-04-14, 03:20 PM
My ex-wife attended a couple of my psychiatrist appointments. I'm not entirely certain how her thought process went, but it seemed to me that when my ex saw and heard that the psychiatrist understood what was going on and didn't blame me for ADHD, basically reassuring me that I wasn't lazy/crazy/stupid and here were treatment options including medication, and patiently began to help me through the process, then my ex felt that the lack of blame and the lack of "whipping me into shape" was so frustrating that she left me.

daveddd
03-04-14, 04:26 PM
You can probably eventually get a psychiatrist to dx him with ADHD

The problem. Is that meds don't usually give people empathy

You either have none. It does have a component at birth

Or you need a therapist to help u find it

Or do a lot work on his own

dvdnvwls
03-04-14, 04:44 PM
Further to the lack of empathy, and trying to make this all make sense in an ADHD context since you seem pretty convinced...

Does your husband really lack empathy for everyone all the time, and has never had any? Or is it perhaps something that's been happening to him inside your relationship, that he no longer seems to have empathy for you in particular?

VeryTired
03-04-14, 05:10 PM
dvd--

The story of your ex is such a sad one. We here all know you to be a prince of a guy, and it's hard not to think ill of her when we hear the tales of what she did to you. But I still do have to believe she had great qualities, also--after all, you loved her! you married her! And we know love is very very complicated, even without things like ADHD in the mix.

We are all like the blind men describing the elephant in the story--we each tell our own experience in response to every post as if our experience is all there is. And this is obviously inadequate--but it's all any individual here can do. So, of course your experience is real and valid and powerful, but I nevertheless do think there are also compelling reasons why spouses and partners generally can be very helpful in the process of establishing a diagnosis--because that's my experience.

I hate what you say about your ex's response to your diagnosis--I want to judge her harshly for that. But I know I can't ever know her truth and her reality, especially not when it's only reported via her ex, who I only know through a discussion board. I really feel for you, however.

As for Megan, whose thread this is, I would guess that someone who cares enough to be posting on this board is likely to have much more positive input at her partner's diagnostic appointment than your wife did. I feel for Megan, too. If I were her, I'd be at the end of my rope around now.

If my partner hadn't received his diagnosis from the doctor he saw at the first appointment, I would have been full of panic and desperation and despair. Wanting the diagnosis is a form of love--it's the desire for a pathway to better things for a loved one. It's not wanting something to be wrong with one's partner, it's wanting help for what is already painfully experienced by both partners as something wrong. A problem without a name is often one without a solution, and that can be scary and arduous.

dvdnvwls
03-04-14, 05:17 PM
There is indeed a lot of history, a lot of good, a lot that's missing from my post. And I always keep in mind that there are at least three sides to every such story - his, hers, ... and the truth. That last one is not really available except in hindsight, I think.

My intention was to highlight the fact that there's a fine line (or maybe a not-so-fine line... a line anyway) between "a spouse who's engaged with the process" and "a spouse whose aim is to dictate the outcome of the process".

kilted_scotsman
03-04-14, 05:28 PM
From the Op description, there may be ADHD present, there may not, it's impossible to tell and the list of symptoms do not match the diagnostic criteria....

However, it's plain that SOMETHING is going on....

you guys are talking about psychiatric diagnosis leading to medication....

My view is that this can wait.... the most important thing is for the husband to think that something is going on and then decide whether change is desired ....

My advice is for the OP to back off about "diagnoses" and encourage her spouse to go to a good integrative therapist..... so that he can explore how he feels about his life at present....

I found the support I got from my therapist CRUCIAL in the diagnostic process... OK so I ended up with an ADHD diagnosis, but it could have been something else.... or maybe not a disorder at all, but brought on by some form of psychological block or avoidance.

From what the OP says I would suggest that there are deep seated psychological issues present regardless of whether ADHD or another disorder is present....

and that continuing like things are is not an option...... and it sounds like if change is not attempted the relationship is likely to collapse at some point in the future.

daveddd
03-04-14, 06:41 PM
From the Op description, there may be ADHD present, there may not, it's impossible to tell and the list of symptoms do not match the diagnostic criteria....

However, it's plain that SOMETHING is going on....

you guys are talking about psychiatric diagnosis leading to medication....

My view is that this can wait.... the most important thing is for the husband to think that something is going on and then decide whether change is desired ....

My advice is for the OP to back off about "diagnoses" and encourage her spouse to go to a good integrative therapist..... so that he can explore how he feels about his life at present....

I found the support I got from my therapist CRUCIAL in the diagnostic process... OK so I ended up with an ADHD diagnosis, but it could have been something else.... or maybe not a disorder at all, but brought on by some form of psychological block or avoidance.

From what the OP says I would suggest that there are deep seated psychological issues present regardless of whether ADHD or another disorder is present....

and that continuing like things are is not an option...... and it sounds like if change is not attempted the relationship is likely to collapse at some point in the future.

absolutely, you say things well'

i feel the pressing desire for everything to be axis 1 (although i know the intentions are good) is counterproductive and almost enabling, it used to be for me in a way

megan42
03-04-14, 07:43 PM
Thanks everyone. I guess I should clear a couple things up. When I say lack of empathy I was just writing short-hand, I was in a hurry. My husband is ethical and loving but sometimes finds people's feelings boring or tries to push them away or change them. So if I tell him about something sad he wants to push through to the happy part and make it go away, not dwell, which feels unkind. But he's not like someone with autism who has a hard time imagining others' feelings.

But I feel very lonely and I think he loves me but doesn't show it. I just think if he doesn't get help then it will be harder to remember he loves me.

I guess sexual compulsion has a medical sound to some. I just mean he has a very high sex drive and seems to need it to feel calm. He's not abusive or unfaithful. But I do think insatiability is a huge ADHD trait. Addiction is often associated. To be quite blunt it's just a bit more self stimulation than you'd typically expect. I don't care. But it seems to help keep him in homeostasis, or running for two plus hours a day or binge eating, all satiate him. My ADHD ds started "self stimulation" at 4. A lot. For what it's worth. I think as long as they both respect boundaries it's totally healthy.

He saw a psychiatrist listed in our CHADD resource guide and published on ADHD but I guess no assessments were performed. The doctor felt nothing was wrong with my DH. My DH agrees. I wasn't there. But I will get him to go to someone for more formal assessments. I do think it's ADHD. I suppose that might be contentious but the puzzles fits and the spouse of ADHD's symptoms are certainly here =). So I think I'll at least push for real assessments.

As for therapy, I don't think that would make sense unless my DH admits he has a problem or is unhappy, which he doesn't do. He would not really be compliant. But I think if he can start to feel better and less ashamed and isolated himself he would be more open and I suspect the meds are the key to that.

Greengrasshoppe
03-04-14, 09:20 PM
Tonight my husband finally agreed to go to see a psychiatrist to get evaluated for ADHD. I guess, $450 and a conversation later, he "doesn't have it". The problem is I didn't want something to be wrong with my husband, I wanted something to help us get better! I read the Gina Peri book and attended some sessions of CHADD support group meetings for spouses of ADHD partners and it was like looking in a mirror. I thought I'd found something to help.

When my husband told me the Dr. thinks he doesn't have it, I asked what diagnostic tests he used, which I know is hard since adult ADHD is still getting standardized, but apparently it was just a conversation. He didn't seem to ask about things like eating, sexual compulsion, sleep patterns...and my husband is charming and smooth, when he thinks it matters and he stands to benefit.

The reasons I still think ADHD is hard to rule out are:
-Son with diagnosed ADHD (confirmed through testing and positive response to meds)
-Chronically late (misses maybe 15% of flights?)
-Sexual compulsion
-Hyperfocus (workaholic)
-No regular friendships
-Impulsive in business (this was how I got him to go, said I couldn't partner with him because of his constant risky investments, has been defrauded multiple times)
-Lack of empathy unless he's trying to get something
-Constantly loses things
-Binge eating
-Cannot deal with "boring" things like: taxes, licenses and permits, planning
-Sits at his laptop from sunrise to sunset, only exceptions are eating, running sleeping, yet is not particularly productive
-Some history of school and work performance issues
-Memory issues, constantly remembering things differently, from me at least

The thing is I told him I wouldn't partner with him unless he gets an evaluation and pursues treatment. I mean as a business partner, doing his taxes, letting his company have woman owned business benefits. In a way he did. But I told him I want him to get a more concrete eval.. Still feeling really frustrated. Like we missed the boat.Is it possible there are multiple conditions going on? Maybe ADD is only one of them.

My ex-wife attended a couple of my psychiatrist appointments. I'm not entirely certain how her thought process went, but it seemed to me that when my ex saw and heard that the psychiatrist understood what was going on and didn't blame me for ADHD, basically reassuring me that I wasn't lazy/crazy/stupid and here were treatment options including medication, and patiently began to help me through the process, then my ex felt that the lack of blame and the lack of "whipping me into shape" was so frustrating that she left me.Im sorry, dvd.

Nicksgonefishin
03-04-14, 09:32 PM
Have you read any books on the subject? Has he? I was a bit skeptical about my adhd until I read driven to distraction.

Also as for the sex a very high number of us ADHDers are sexually preoccupied. Myself included.

It's not that he lacks empathy.... Rather it is that he is spending so much time and energy keeping his symptoms in check that he doesn't realize what's going on. Daydreamin takes us out of the moment.

I would get a second opinion. Also.... i would recommend you go see a therapist ALONE. They would be very helpful in a situation like this. Maybe give you some insight in your own life. Nothing else someone to vent to.

daveddd
03-04-14, 09:44 PM
Thanks everyone. I guess I should clear a couple things up. When I say lack of empathy I was just writing short-hand, I was in a hurry. My husband is ethical and loving but sometimes finds people's feelings boring or tries to push them away or change them. So if I tell him about something sad he wants to push through to the happy part and make it go away, not dwell, which feels unkind. But he's not like someone with autism who has a hard time imagining others' feelings.

But I feel very lonely and I think he loves me but doesn't show it. I just think if he doesn't get help then it will be harder to remember he loves me.

I guess sexual compulsion has a medical sound to some. I just mean he has a very high sex drive and seems to need it to feel calm. He's not abusive or unfaithful. But I do think insatiability is a huge ADHD trait. Addiction is often associated. To be quite blunt it's just a bit more self stimulation than you'd typically expect. I don't care. But it seems to help keep him in homeostasis, or running for two plus hours a day or binge eating, all satiate him. My ADHD ds started "self stimulation" at 4. A lot. For what it's worth. I think as long as they both respect boundaries it's totally healthy.

He saw a psychiatrist listed in our CHADD resource guide and published on ADHD but I guess no assessments were performed. The doctor felt nothing was wrong with my DH. My DH agrees. I wasn't there. But I will get him to go to someone for more formal assessments. I do think it's ADHD. I suppose that might be contentious but the puzzles fits and the spouse of ADHD's symptoms are certainly here =). So I think I'll at least push for real assessments.

As for therapy, I don't think that would make sense unless my DH admits he has a problem or is unhappy, which he doesn't do. He would not really be compliant. But I think if he can start to feel better and less ashamed and isolated himself he would be more open and I suspect the meds are the key to that.

that makes sense , part of the empathetic problems in ADHD is trouble staying with negative emotion, with empathy we absorb the other persons, with what is questionably a overwhelming amount

so we avoid it any way possible

meds may clear up a few things at first


hopefully

Fuzzy12
03-05-14, 04:56 AM
ADHD is usually diagnosed through a detailed interview. Some psychiatrists use some tests in addition but the validity of these tests hasn't been conclusively proven. The interview, the conversation is pretty much the diagnostic gold standard as far as I know.

To me, some of the symptoms you've listed sound like ADHD symptoms, some others not so much. It does seem though that there is a problem. If it isn't ADHD, did the psychiatrist suggest anything else?

I can understand that you are disappointed. I remember when I first started reading up on ADHD, it felt as if I'd finally found the key to my entire being. It just seemed to explain so much. More importantly, I thought that maybe if I could get treatment, my life might finally improve a bit. I don't think you've missed the boat. Your husband might not have ADHD but you are obviously not very happy so it's worth pursuing this further to get to the bottom of his problem (or possibly, your problem?? Or a relationship problem??).

I think, ADHD evaluation or not, if you aren't comfortable entering a business partnership with him, then don't. It will just put more strain on your relationship and you'll probably both end up pretty frustrated and stressed.

kilted_scotsman
03-05-14, 06:40 AM
As for therapy, I don't think that would make sense unless my DH admits he has a problem or is unhappy, which he doesn't do. He would not really be compliant. But I think if he can start to feel better and less ashamed and isolated himself he would be more open and I suspect the meds are the key to that.

OK this clarifies things.....

You think there is a problem.... he doesn't....

This means nothing will stick.... dragging him to the doctors and forcing him to take psychoactive medication for a problem he doesn't think exists carries the risk of creating more problems than it solves....

I feel VERY strongly that the idea that medication of one unwilling partner will solve what are essentially relational problems is dubious in the extreme. The use of the word "compliant" is telling in this regard.

After reading the quote above my strong advice would be for the OP to find a good relational therapist so that she could explore setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries in her relationship.

My view would be that by doing this her partner would understand what is and is not acceptable behaviour to her and he could then decide whether to engage in a process of change or alternatively decide that his partners idea of what a relationship involved were so divergent from his own that an amicable separation could be discussed.

dvdnvwls
03-05-14, 06:49 AM
Thanks everyone. I guess I should clear a couple things up. When I say lack of empathy I was just writing short-hand, I was in a hurry. My husband is ethical and loving but sometimes finds people's feelings boring or tries to push them away or change them. So if I tell him about something sad he wants to push through to the happy part and make it go away, not dwell, which feels unkind. But he's not like someone with autism who has a hard time imagining others' feelings.

But I feel very lonely and I think he loves me but doesn't show it. I just think if he doesn't get help then it will be harder to remember he loves me.

I guess sexual compulsion has a medical sound to some. I just mean he has a very high sex drive and seems to need it to feel calm. He's not abusive or unfaithful. But I do think insatiability is a huge ADHD trait. Addiction is often associated. To be quite blunt it's just a bit more self stimulation than you'd typically expect. I don't care. But it seems to help keep him in homeostasis, or running for two plus hours a day or binge eating, all satiate him. My ADHD ds started "self stimulation" at 4. A lot. For what it's worth. I think as long as they both respect boundaries it's totally healthy.

He saw a psychiatrist listed in our CHADD resource guide and published on ADHD but I guess no assessments were performed. The doctor felt nothing was wrong with my DH. My DH agrees. I wasn't there. But I will get him to go to someone for more formal assessments. I do think it's ADHD. I suppose that might be contentious but the puzzles fits and the spouse of ADHD's symptoms are certainly here =). So I think I'll at least push for real assessments.

As for therapy, I don't think that would make sense unless my DH admits he has a problem or is unhappy, which he doesn't do. He would not really be compliant. But I think if he can start to feel better and less ashamed and isolated himself he would be more open and I suspect the meds are the key to that.
It sounds from this message as if you've decided your husband needs fixing, and that you are going to take him in and get him fixed.

If I was him, then as the situation progresses I would be feeling more and more offended by this presumptuous attitude, more and more resistant to whatever processes you might choose for him, and more and more resentful of you.

It may be that he has ADHD, or other things, or both. But he's a person, and you can't just drop him off at a repair facility and come back when he's done.

ApatheticLizard
03-05-14, 12:07 PM
I agree with this, my mother does this sometimes. She wants to just "fix me."

"Well can't you just do this little thing, it'll make you feel better."

Well how does she know?

VeryTired
03-05-14, 12:51 PM
I agree with dvd and the lizard that the idea of "fixing" someone is problematic and distasteful.

But I didn't get that sense at all from what Megan wrote. I'm not trying to start an argument here--I am sure you both have excellent reasons for taking it that way. I dunno--maybe I don't realize it but my partner feels that I m just trying to "fix" him also--although he's never said anything like that, and isn't shy about expressing criticism of my point of view as a rule. Anyway, I have a feeling we are right back at that place where the experiences we all have strongly shape what we are and are not able to see.

I don't know if this is Megan's experience also, but I find it mind-bending to live with a lot of serious problems adversely affecting my life, but they are all things I can't change. First of all, they're someone else's problems not mine. And secondly, they may or may not be changeable, and he may or may not wish to fix them.

If I were married to and raising a child with someone who had untreated ADHD, I think I would have a lot of anxieties and a lot of motivation to find paths toward change. With all due respect to the wonderful people with ADHD who post here and enlighten me about their experiences on a daily basis, I am not sure that all of you understand the searing pain and loneliness of being in a relationship where it's necessary to do all the handling of practical matters, where the biggest problems you face come from issues of your partner's, and where he can't or won't help address those problems. Sometimes I used to wake up in the middle of the night with my face wet with tears in my partner's pre-diagnosis days. It was sad, scary, lonely.

Anyway, maybe I'm wrong, and Megan is trying to "fix" her husband, and that isn't a good thing. But, this is her thread, and I hope we'll see more ideas for her about what to do, and continued support for her in her tough situation.

stef
03-05-14, 01:11 PM
That's just really interesting, because I also got the impression she is trying to "fix" him, but perhaps it's more like clearly stating the immense problems she is having and hoping for a true solution. But it really was my initial reaction, which is probably super defensive after so often having the feeling, or being told, that we (I mean those with ADD), are "wrong" .

Fuzzy12
03-05-14, 01:45 PM
I agree with dvd and the lizard that the idea of "fixing" someone is problematic and distasteful.

But I didn't get that sense at all from what Megan wrote. I'm not trying to start an argument here--I am sure you both have excellent reasons for taking it that way. I dunno--maybe I don't realize it but my partner feels that I m just trying to "fix" him also--although he's never said anything like that, and isn't shy about expressing criticism of my point of view as a rule. Anyway, I have a feeling we are right back at that place where the experiences we all have strongly shape what we are and are not able to see.

I don't know if this is Megan's experience also, but I find it mind-bending to live with a lot of serious problems adversely affecting my life, but they are all things I can't change. First of all, they're someone else's problems not mine. And secondly, they may or may not be changeable, and he may or may not wish to fix them.

If I were married to and raising a child with someone who had untreated ADHD, I think I would have a lot of anxieties and a lot of motivation to find paths toward change. With all due respect to the wonderful people with ADHD who post here and enlighten me about their experiences on a daily basis, I am not sure that all of you understand the searing pain and loneliness of being in a relationship where it's necessary to do all the handling of practical matters, where the biggest problems you face come from issues of your partner's, and where he can't or won't help address those problems. Sometimes I used to wake up in the middle of the night with my face wet with tears in my partner's pre-diagnosis days. It was sad, scary, lonely.

Anyway, maybe I'm wrong, and Megan is trying to "fix" her husband, and that isn't a good thing. But, this is her thread, and I hope we'll see more ideas for her about what to do, and continued support for her in her tough situation.

I agree that the idea of "fixing" or "repairing" someone is rather distasteful but I think, in many of these cases (Very Tired's at least), I'm pretty sure that they aren't necessarily trying to fix their partner but that they are trying to fix the problems that they are encountering on living with their partner. If the partner has ADHD, then a proper evaluation, diagnosis and treatment are important steps to take.

I'm not sure I fully understand the pain and loneliness of being in a "relationship where it's necessary to do all the handling of practical matters, where the biggest problems you face come from issues of your partner's, and where he can't or won't help address those problems" but I can see (from posts on here, from what my husband has told me and from my marital experience) that this pain and loneliness is real and immense.

If it's not ADHD, it's still worth getting evaluated and finding out what really is the problem.

And the problem of course might not just be the ADHD partner but could stem from the non ADHD partner or just the relationship. I guess, any relationship involves a lot of introspection, a lot of honesty, an openness to accept responsibility and a willingness to work on your problems alone and with your partner...from both partners.

acdc01
03-05-14, 02:15 PM
I can't know for sure your situation. But based on what you've written, I don't think you should go into business with him if it's going to cost you guys more money.

Even if a psych tells you he does have ADHD and he gets on meds and starts working on his issues - his problems are most likely not going to all be solved all at once.

So he'll still mess up his business and you'll still end up still losing money.

I disagree about the pushing husband to go to dr and try meds part. He may notice a striking difference right away with meds. Therapy, well that takes time (if it even works)and the person with the problem has to believe in it and try - something I don't think your husband will do.

dvdnvwls
03-05-14, 02:45 PM
I agree with dvd and the lizard that the idea of "fixing" someone is problematic and distasteful.

But I didn't get that sense at all from what Megan wrote.
The difference, for me, is between "I need to..." or "here's what I want" - which are fine - and "he needs to..." - which is never fine. As soon as a spouse is saying "he needs to...", then we're in "fixing him" territory.

RedHairedWitch
03-05-14, 07:10 PM
He saw a psychiatrist listed in our CHADD resource guide and published on ADHD but I guess no assessments were performed. The doctor felt nothing was wrong with my DH. My DH agrees. I wasn't there. But I will get him to go to someone for more formal assessments. I do think it's ADHD. I suppose that might be contentious but the puzzles fits and the spouse of ADHD's symptoms are certainly here =). So I think I'll at least push for real assessments.

As for therapy, I don't think that would make sense unless my DH admits he has a problem or is unhappy, which he doesn't do. He would not really be compliant. But I think if he can start to feel better and less ashamed and isolated himself he would be more open and I suspect the meds are the key to that.


It would be harder to get someone on meds than in therapy usually. Given the side effects etc.

You can lead a horse to water...
It sounds like right now he doesn't see a problem, so getting him to do anything is going to be very difficult.
See if you could get him to watch the documentary "ADHD and loving it" it's all about adult ADHD and is very good. Maybe that might turn on a few light bulbs. I'm pretty sure you can get it on amazon.

TLCisaQT
03-09-14, 10:47 PM
Sometimes thinking and saying "I need him to.." are born out of desperation because when nothing else seems to be working and IF that is the diagnosis, it's the only little bit of hope you sometimes have of a successful future or chance of things working out. I know because I've been there.

In the end, we do know we can't make somebody do something they don't want to, but we sure do hope that something gets through to them.

Megan, I can only imagine how devastating the news must have been to you, having him to agree to see someone, only to have them basically almost say to him (in his mind) "you are fine, nothing is wrong" and then a little part of you wonders... is it me?????

My husband was having a hard time, and he went to his neurology appointments by himself two times and I asked both times if his doctor made any changes and he said no. yet, I could see him going downhill and getting worse. Finally I told him, either you aren't telling the neurologist everything, or you need a second opinion. Basically our marriage as at a critical point and I told him I wanted to come to the next appt. Because I wanted to see which it was. we got in a huge fight on the way there, and then he threatened to not let me in the doctor's office. I told him that was his choice; however, that would then be a sign to me that he was not really invested in making our marriage work. He did let me come in, barely. due to all the conflict prior, the doctor saw how down he was and was able to see how deflated he was and prescribed him the med that really did save our marriage.

So yes, we can't force them, but we hope they are as invested as we are in making things work, and it sounds like that things as they are now, are not working FOR YOU! I remember having fights with my husband and crying and telling him how it was so difficult that I felt like I didn't want to stay with him. He couldn't even understand because he said he never felt like it was so bad that He ever wanted to leave me...it was the weirdest thing He said....especially because he was always complaining how horrible I was when he was in his "moods." I hope you find some guidance and comfort.

As for therapy, even with my husband on better meds, he refuses to go to therapy. He doesn't believe in it - and he/we could use some.

dvdnvwls
03-10-14, 03:42 AM
"I need..." is the truth.

"I need him to..." is never valid for any reason, not because it's unfair (though it's probably unfair too), but because needs are met by getting the need met, not by choosing which person will meet the need.

When it seems clear that "he or she needs to do [thing]", that's only a (probably unconscious) smoke-screen. The real need is simpler and deeper and not based on what someone else is supposed to do. The idea that my partner should be doing this or that about my need is nothing but being judgmental. Yes I need what I need - AND no I never need a particular person to be the one to make that happen.

TLCisaQT
03-10-14, 02:59 PM
Yeah, DVD I guess I meant, while it may not be expressed "properly" I get what the meaning behind it is :) That desperation that we don't want to have to make another decision that will inevitably come, that we don't want to have to make when you care about someone :(

dvdnvwls
03-10-14, 04:13 PM
Yeah, DVD I guess I meant, while it may not be expressed "properly" I get what the meaning behind it is :) That desperation that we don't want to have to make another decision that will inevitably come, that we don't want to have to make when you care about someone :(
I don't think an un-met need makes break-up inevitable at all. In the situation under discussion, it isn't clear what the actual need is that's being discussed, because the meaning is concealed behind a mistaken statement of opinion about what someone else ought to be doing. I'm not saying that anyone's deep private needs have to be stated on a public forum, but I am saying the following:

Any time the language "she needs to..." or "he needs to..." comes out, the speaker has a hidden secret need for something that's not being expressed. The speaker is (accidentally) not being honest - not honest with their partner, but more importantly not honest with themselves. The person who gives that opinion about someone else has blinkered themselves, seeing only their particular preferred solution to some problem, perhaps without even fully knowing what the problem is. Getting (privately) to the bottom of that hidden secret need can open up new possibilities; but even if new possibilities aren't opened, at least the truth will be known.

Following some set of "relationship rules", no matter how good those rules are, is no substitute for the truth - and the truth is "I need this", not "I need you to do this". (When things are going along nicely, it's probably possible to muddle through a relationship by remembering rules for "who does what when" - but rules don't work when it really counts.)

Desperately preserving the shell of a relationship by hiding from the truth, all the while believing "My partner must do X for this relationship to work", thinking that that was the solution when in fact it was the screen I was using to hide the truth from myself, is something I have long experience doing (and she was doing the same thing at the same time); I see now that if years ago I had been alert to the stuff I've just written, if I had been shown or told exactly how making this kind of demands of my partner was dishonest, and, most importantly, shown that beneath my unreasonable expectation was my real honest need, then it's quite possible that we could have found a better solution.

It can be surprising, when all the misguided opinions about others' responsibilities are stripped away, to find out what one's own real needs are. Sometimes, what an individual has been demanding from their partner has only a tangential bearing on what the real need is - it's necessary to introspectively "go inside and look", to identify needs for what they are, and to not make assumptions. For myself, I didn't even know until almost the end of my relationship that I needed what I needed. I had to be shown a chart or table of things that people usually need, and when I saw a couple of the items on that page I broke down crying. And those needs that I was crying about didn't seem to have that much to do with the demands I had been making - though it was very easy to see, in hindsight, that if I had known my own needs then I wouldn't have been making those demands.

(When it really mattered, when things were not that bad yet and could have been repaired, the marriage counsellors we saw concentrated on our communication styles and all that fluffy easy stuff that didn't really make much difference. What I've mostly learned from that experience is that if we communicate our fundamental mistakes clearly and compassionately, they're still fundamental mistakes.)

BellaVita
03-10-14, 05:34 PM
Brilliant post(and sad), dad. :goodpost:

megan42
03-11-14, 04:26 AM
Thanks for all of the above posts. I actually went with DH to the visit with his psychiatrist tonight (second appointment). I had asked DH to clarify which screening tools the doctor had used and it got into us having a conversation via email and the dr. saying an "objective" (hah! as if I could do that in my emotional state) perspective is sometimess needed for a clear diagnosis, so I went. He sort of thinks DH has adhd but doesn't think meds would help with a lot of issues. Maybe I can have trouble diagnosing his bill when it comes?

I don't really take issue with people accusing me of trying to fix my dh. If you assume that means I don't take responsibility, try to improve myself, have my own demons/baggage, you'd be wrong. But if you can just assume I'm right and it is ADHD and he refuses to get treatment, here's my take:

1. There are five people in my ADHD spouse support group. Four have spouses who only got treatment after they kicked them out or threatened divorce. I'm number five.

2. I respect deeply anyone dealing with mental illness or trauma by finding tools and support to thrive despite that, this includes people with ADHD. I also have great compassion for people who go untreated and suffer. But if someone is refusing treatment and harming others I see that as a problem that should be fixed, especially with little kids involved.

3. I think a lot of us spouses move and adjust and accommodate as much as is possible before we hit bottom, so it might look like I'm asking my DH to make all the sacrifices and change but that's just because I'm out of anything I can do. I can't do more.

4. I probably sound very cold but that's not how I really am. It's because I can't trust my husband. It's horrible. I tell him that and cry and he cries. He agrees to do anything I ask but then he just can't. And I thought we were closer to finding a way for both of us to believe in him a little more. And I have to remind myself to stay distant because I really don't know where we're headed.

I have an appointment with another psychiatrist in a couple weeks. I think the chances of DH wanting to deal with treatment right now, even if the other psychiatrist has a clearer vision, is not so high. Maybe coaching, which could be helpful, but we'll see.

RedHairedWitch
03-11-14, 06:33 AM
Makes me think of Dr. Phil and how he tells people they fight about topics, not the real issue. A wife needs more quality time with her partner, but instead of working towards that, she complains he spends too much time on the golf course.

sarahsweets
03-11-14, 08:53 AM
I understand what you are saying. I know its frustrating but at this point is it possible that your feelings and pain extend beyond lack of treatment? By that I mean are some things just beyond repair? If he made all of the changes you want him to and got treatment would you be able to move past your hurt? What if he got treatment and never changed? Could you live with that?

Thanks for all of the above posts. I actually went with DH to the visit with his psychiatrist tonight (second appointment). I had asked DH to clarify which screening tools the doctor had used and it got into us having a conversation via email and the dr. saying an "objective" (hah! as if I could do that in my emotional state) perspective is sometimess needed for a clear diagnosis, so I went. He sort of thinks DH has adhd but doesn't think meds would help with a lot of issues. Maybe I can have trouble diagnosing his bill when it comes?

I don't really take issue with people accusing me of trying to fix my dh. If you assume that means I don't take responsibility, try to improve myself, have my own demons/baggage, you'd be wrong. But if you can just assume I'm right and it is ADHD and he refuses to get treatment, here's my take:

1. There are five people in my ADHD spouse support group. Four have spouses who only got treatment after they kicked them out or threatened divorce. I'm number five.

2. I respect deeply anyone dealing with mental illness or trauma by finding tools and support to thrive despite that, this includes people with ADHD. I also have great compassion for people who go untreated and suffer. But if someone is refusing treatment and harming others I see that as a problem that should be fixed, especially with little kids involved.

3. I think a lot of us spouses move and adjust and accommodate as much as is possible before we hit bottom, so it might look like I'm asking my DH to make all the sacrifices and change but that's just because I'm out of anything I can do. I can't do more.

4. I probably sound very cold but that's not how I really am. It's because I can't trust my husband. It's horrible. I tell him that and cry and he cries. He agrees to do anything I ask but then he just can't. And I thought we were closer to finding a way for both of us to believe in him a little more. And I have to remind myself to stay distant because I really don't know where we're headed.

I have an appointment with another psychiatrist in a couple weeks. I think the chances of DH wanting to deal with treatment right now, even if the other psychiatrist has a clearer vision, is not so high. Maybe coaching, which could be helpful, but we'll see.

VeryTired
03-11-14, 03:15 PM
Megan--

I don't think you sound cold. I think you sound loving and compassionate but worn out by real and difficult problems. I feel your pain, as they say. I have no idea what your marriage is like or it will work out for you, but I can tell you that I am 100% certain that you are reporting accurately about real and very hard experiences.

Your husband agrees to do anything necessary, but he can't. That's so sad, for you both. It would be my hope, if I were you, that getting treatment would in fact be what it takes to make it possible for your husband to have successes addressing what he wants to do. Can't is not won't, and that's very important. But can't is also not can, and that's important, too.

I like to remember my partner's diagnosis as a huge relief, a vital realization, and an all around beneficial experience for us both. And it was. But the misery and drama and rage and illogic and lashing out and panic and fear and confusion and lies on the way there--well, that's not such a pretty picture. It's always darkest before the dawn, and the quest to find help is sometimes outrageously harder than it ought to be.

You sound pretty level headed and good-hearted to me. My opinion (and my bias) is that if a well-informed, level-headed, good-hearted person believes her partner has ADHD, even if a non-ADHD specialist doctor disagrees, she's very likely to be right. We know what we know, we know what we live. When love stops sufficing to solve problems, we have to look for other approaches and for real explanations.

To me it sounds as though your husband may not yet have seen the doctor who will really be helpful to hom. If you and he can hang on long enough to make it to that next doctor, maybe that will make all the difference. I admire your perseverance in what sound like painful, tough circumstances. Wishing you and your husband all the best and hoping things improve for you both a lot soon--

ToneTone
03-11-14, 09:55 PM
Wow, these are some of the most thoughtful, subtle, nuanced and incredibly insightful reflections on relationships that I've read in a long time. Brave to all the responders!

Megan, I just want to add that I am someone who married a woman with a different psychological condition (not ADHD) and I ended up initiating a divorce. And yes, I thought my partner was the main problem But as I was ending the relationship and later on as I began to heal and assess, I saw that my partner and all her deficits was only the latest in a series of severely wounded people I had dated and befriended. There was a huge pattern that I had missed, a pattern of me:

gravitating towards severely wounded people--my ex was not the first severely wounded person I had dated.
gravitating towards people with huge deficits in interpersonal skills--this included "friends" as well as romantic partners.
getting deeper into sometimes obviously problematic relationships by thinking more about the other person than about myself
me doing what DVD identifies, being completely clueless about my real needs.
me not being able to say "no" in relationships--and this wasn't confined to relationships. I'm a teacher, and OMG, I was terrible in setting boundaries with my students.


I think you are fine for having your feelings and I don't think you are being "bad" or controlling or even unreasonable at all I think your situation is extremely difficult. I'm simply saying that you probably would benefit from exploring how you missed these issues in the first place--and as part of that, you would probably strengthen and refine your skills at asking for what you want in a way that doesn't transgress boundaries. You can start that now. The result is not fully in your control, but you can get skilled at setting good boundaries and reasonable expectations.

On the issue of "fixing" someone, I want to share an observation. I have had partners and friends who (at multiple points!) have encouraged me to seek therapy because they thought my problems were interfering with my ability to reach my own goals and dreams. I can't say I celebrated when people made such recommendations, but I did not think they were trying to "fix" me. I thought that they saw my potential and also saw how difficult reaching my potential would be if I didn't work on my issues. Overall, I felt very supported and loved and fortunate when these friends made these recommendations--based on my own happiness.

Good luck.

Tone

dvdnvwls
03-12-14, 01:52 AM
Makes me think of Dr. Phil and how he tells people they fight about topics, not the real issue. A wife needs more quality time with her partner, but instead of working towards that, she complains he spends too much time on the golf course.
I think this is true as far as it goes, but there's also another level. It's truly not helpful to say he spends too much time with golf; it's somewhat (but only somewhat) more helpful to say she would like more quality time with him; the real issue is, which of her needs would that time together fulfill.

"I want you to spend time with me" is equal in weight and substance and importance (that is, basically none at all) to "I want to play golf". Neither golf nor quality time is in itself a legitimate need. Both of them may or may not fulfill legitimate needs, but until those underlying needs are known, the requests can seem obtuse to the other person. "How would it help you, to spend time with boring old me?"... "What good is hitting a little ball into a tree?"... - both are asking the same legitimate question - what inner need are you trying to get met.

VeryTired
03-12-14, 09:04 PM
Tone--

I just want to say that what you wrote seems almost over-stuffed with wisdom and clarity of perception. I think what you said could be very important for many of us to consider, and I really admire your generous spirit and thoughtful analysis. Thanks for posting this.

davesf
03-13-14, 12:42 AM
Fixing other people doesn't work, because no matter how much someone is convinced and cajoled to go to appointments, THEY have to care, THEY have to to do the work. The only person in this world we can fix is ourself.

My wife was strong enough to stand there like a rock while I crashed up against her and my own life trying to figure myself out. She didn't have to convince me to see someone, I was in therapy for a long time. It just took that long for me to realize they were not going to fix me either. The only person who was going to fix me was myself. Finally I did. Finally I figured out what was going on with the patterns. The labels don't help much, but there is a pile of ADHD-PI, OCPD, PTSD related symptoms. Medication helped me see it, but didn't fix it. My own efforts with mindfulness and stress reduction to stay "present" and keep my cognitive focus open are working much better. (see my sig)

I guess what I'm saying is, don't search for diagnosis-x-or-y because they don't fix anything. What fixes something is you fixing yourself and asserting your right to be with someone who makes you happy, and your partner deciding to figure themselves out to keep you before you decide you've exhausted your patience. Of course you don't have to agree, because the only person in charge of your life is you. :)

TLCisaQT
03-17-14, 12:59 AM
I venture to say that (what I findfrequently with me and my husband after debating/arguing for a time)... us adhd'ers and non adhd 'ers agree on this overall, we just explain it differently/semantics, etc :)

As to what Sarahsweets said:
"is it possible that your feelings and pain extend beyond lack of treatment? By that I mean are some things just beyond repair? If he made all of the changes you want him to and got treatment would you be able to move past your hurt?"

When my husband got meds that worked better for him after MUCH pain and grief and near divorce status.... He went into our next counseling session and said... "most problems in our marriage right now were due to me, I couldn't see it until after the medication. I put my wife and kids through a lot, and it embarrasses me now as I look back and see it....etc. One thing he also said, which sticks with me today was: He told the counselor, that as soon as his behavior changed, he noticed that me and the kids responded to him overwhelmingly quickly with love and forgiveness. He thought it would take us time; however, he was amazed at how quickly it happened." It wasn't until he said this, that I realized it was true. When things got really rough, I always worried that I would grow to hate him and then it would be too late to save our marriage. I realized once his behavior made great changes, that my attitude and behavior towards him really did shift as well and quickly too.

I wanted to have that closeness and reciprocity; however it's hard to have that, when someone else is frequently treating you poorly.

I truly hope you find somebody that can see what is going on with this "objective" clarity that actually helps your family.