View Full Version : Is this more than adhd?


bfwatts
04-23-14, 12:28 AM
Had long term relationship/friendship with man who has adhd. Last year got back in touch after long hiatus. (Four years) He claimed his GF had been pressuring him for marriage and trapped him by getting pregnant and he'd been with her since we lost touch. He claimed he disappeared from my life at the time because he was still in love with me and I was in a new relationship.

When we got back in touch long distance he hyperfocused on me. I told him I did not want to cause a problem once I found out he had a GF and child. He told me that he was absolutely never going to marry her for several reasons. I was standoffish because I had prior experience with him and his Adhd and knew of impulsiveness and not thinking things through.

He kept insisting he wanted us to be together. He guilt tripped me when I was second guessing him and trying to be cautious saying I must not think much of him if I didn't believe in everything he told me. I didn't want to regret not having a second chance so I arranged to fly and visit him.

Then he lost his job. We were making plans to see one another in hopes of reconciling and he told me he had broken up with his GF. Shortly after the job loss he got extremely stressed and paranoid. He did a 180 on me and started to treat me different. Which I understand he was overstressed. But he began acting secretive and not communicating effectively.

I then told him maybe I shouldn't visit because I felt something wasn't right. He was upset for literally one night and then abruptly told me if I didn't visit we would only be friends and he needed to get back together with his GF so he wouldn't end up being alone waiting for a "pipe dream".

I tried talking to him because he misunderstood but now I feel he just used my apprehension as an excuse. He then told me he had to stay with his GF because he needed the money to pay his mortgage. Anyway, he began saying he had to manufacture his feelings for her and said he had to act like a narcissist. He said he was afraid his GF would take his child away.

Then he began managing down my expectations, acting hot and cold, and not being honest. I dropped contact explaining that I felt hurt and used. He broke no contact three weeks later and said he wanted to mend our friendship. We barely spoke after that (Platonic conversations a few times a month) punctuated by him stepping over friendship boundaries and treating me like a back up plan.

In the end I found out not from him that they did get engaged. I felt really manipulated and used. When I confronted him he basically did alot of double talk, going as far to say he was not marrying her for love. Then he disappeared. Again.

Sorry for the length of this. I feel extremely stupid for trusting him. And sad he did this not only to me who he has known for 15 years, but his fiance. Is this all adhd? He was never like this before- the narcissistic tendencies, lack of remorse, etc. But he did disappear on me again. Which he swore he would never do again. I need some
clarity please.

dvdnvwls
04-23-14, 12:55 AM
Hello, and welcome to the forum.

I'm wondering what it is you need "clarity" about. You trusted him; you've been manipulated and used; he disappeared. What more clarity could you want?

bfwatts
04-23-14, 01:20 AM
My question is in my title. Does this behavior lie within the parameters of adhd which has been the "excuse", or does this sound like something else? I have a morbid curiosity as to why someone would knowingly hurt a longtime "friend"? He claimed he didn't realize he was doing it which sounds ridiculous.

dvdnvwls
04-23-14, 01:28 AM
Ah... I think there's kind of more than one way to answer that.

First: There can never be an excuse for treating you that way. It doesn't matter what conditions or difficulties he may have, what he did was just plain wrong.

Second part of my response to come soon - that takes a little more thinking.

bfwatts
04-23-14, 01:46 AM
Thank you. I'm just perplexed. In the end I felt gaslighted. Like he was in denial of his pursuit of me and he pitied me as though it was all my idea. When in fact I was the voice of "reason" pretty much voicing that this would be the outcome all along. One thing he kept saying was his coping mechanism was compartmentalizing. Ugh.

dvdnvwls
04-23-14, 01:57 AM
Had long term relationship/friendship with man who has adhd. Last year got back in touch after long hiatus. (Four years) He claimed his GF had been pressuring him for marriage and trapped him by getting pregnant and he'd been with her since we lost touch. He claimed he disappeared from my life at the time because he was still in love with me and I was in a new relationship. Do you doubt these claims he made, or do you accept them?

When we got back in touch long distance he hyperfocused on me. I told him I did not want to cause a problem once I found out he had a GF and child. He told me that he was absolutely never going to marry her for several reasons. I was standoffish because I had prior experience with him and his Adhd and knew of impulsiveness and not thinking things through. By "standoffish", do you mean basically not believing what you were hearing?

He kept insisting he wanted us to be together. He guilt tripped me when I was second guessing him and trying to be cautious saying I must not think much of him if I didn't believe in everything he told me. I didn't want to regret not having a second chance so I arranged to fly and visit him. Okay... the way I'm reading what you've written, so far it sounds like he said some things you didn't believe, and he gave you a guilt trip. Those are not very inspiring reasons to go and see him, so I'm assuming you went to see him based on what a good guy he was to you in the past, before the four-year hiatus. Does that seem right?

Then he lost his job. We were making plans to see one another in hopes of reconciling and he told me he had broken up with his GF. Shortly after the job loss he got extremely stressed and paranoid. He did a 180 on me and started to treat me different. Which I understand he was overstressed. But he began acting secretive and not communicating effectively. This is after flying to visit him once and then going home again? Or is this all on the same visit?

Here's one ADHD thing at least - it's no surprise that he would get extremely stressed and kind of "paranoid" at losing his job. It's much harder for an ADHDer to find another job than it is for most people, he's in a situation where he needs a good income, etc.

And maybe another ADHD thing - because of feeling "paranoid" and scared, acting secretive and not communicating effectively. That's not good, but it's pretty common.

I then told him maybe I shouldn't visit because I felt something wasn't right. He was upset for literally one night and then abruptly told me if I didn't visit we would only be friends and he needed to get back together with his GF so he wouldn't end up being alone waiting for a "pipe dream". I can see some potential ADHD impulsiveness in here... the short time being upset, the abrupt change of heart, the cutting off possibilities (part of "black and white thinking" which is common for ADHD especially under stress)... [Personal comment: I'm just another ADHD guy, but frankly I'm not so sure he was wrong to turn away from what he thought might be a "pipe dream".]

I tried talking to him because he misunderstood but now I feel he just used my apprehension as an excuse. He then told me he had to stay with his GF because he needed the money to pay his mortgage. Anyway, he began saying he had to manufacture his feelings for her and said he had to act like a narcissist. He said he was afraid his GF would take his child away. If he used your apprehension as an excuse (which I'm not really doubting he did), then what was it an excuse for?

I'm not understanding the part about acting like a narcissist; could you provide more context for that comment?

Do you really think he was afraid his GF would take the child away? Or does that seem like him making up a story to try to convince you of something?

(In the above quoted paragraph, I'm not seeing a whole lot that screams "ADHD" to me.)

Then he began managing down my expectations, acting hot and cold, and not being honest. I dropped contact explaining that I felt hurt and used. He broke no contact three weeks later and said he wanted to mend our friendship. We barely spoke after that (Platonic conversations a few times a month) punctuated by him stepping over friendship boundaries and treating me like a back up plan. This mainly sounds to me like bad relationship stuff but I don't see how it connects that much with ADHD. There is the hot-and-cold thing, which makes sense in terms of ADHD's emotional dysregulation - that influences the situation. And the back-and-forth with no contact and then contact again may have roots in impulsivity again...

What did "treating you like a back-up plan" turn out to mean? How did he do that?

In the end I found out not from him that they did get engaged. I felt really manipulated and used. When I confronted him he basically did alot of double talk, going as far to say he was not marrying her for love. Then he disappeared. Again.Confronting him would give him a massive jolt of fear and anxiety. I might have lied too, if I was him and stuck in the exact situation he was in. That doesn't make it right, but it's not a big surprise. However, consider the possibility that his "double talk" might have had more truth to it than you'd normally assume.

Sorry for the length of this. I feel extremely stupid for trusting him. And sad he did this not only to me who he has known for 15 years, but his fiance. Is this all adhd? He was never like this before- the narcissistic tendencies, lack of remorse, etc. But he did disappear on me again. Which he swore he would never do again. I need some
clarity please.I'm interested in just which narcissistic tendencies you saw. Maybe he's a narcissist... or maybe his behaviour just confused you badly. And there's a big difference between lack of remorse and simply being unwilling to admit things. Remorse is a feeling, and you have no idea whether he feels remorse or not, because he's hiding his feelings from you.

It sounds to me as if you were trusting the man you knew five years ago, and that a lot of bad changes happened to him in those years, and you weren't aware of that until too late.

:grouphug:

dvdnvwls
04-23-14, 02:10 AM
Thank you. I'm just perplexed. In the end I felt gaslighted. Like he was in denial of his pursuit of me and he pitied me as though it was all my idea. When in fact I was the voice of "reason" pretty much voicing that this would be the outcome all along. One thing he kept saying was his coping mechanism was compartmentalizing. Ugh.
Looking from another point of view, just from the messages you've put here which obviously don't tell the whole story, I thought "If I was her, would I have got on the plane to go see him?" - and I answered a pretty clear "No."

I think, after you got there, you probably were a voice of reason - but, trying to look at things in a voice-of-reason way as much as I can myself, I wonder if showing up in the first place was such a good idea.

It's hard for me to say someone was pursuing and someone else was being pursued... it seems a bit less clear than that.

Compartmentalizing as a coping system is pretty common for ADHDers in crisis, I think. Including keeping the people separate from each other (i.e. you on one side and the fiancee on the other side and not letting those two sides of his life near each other).

bfwatts
04-23-14, 02:25 AM
I never went to see him. I bought the ticket. But once he began acting erratic I didn't want to go and something else impulsive happen that would make matters worse/complicated. Like sexual contact thinking he was single when in reality she was there in his home.

He called himself narcissistic. The manipulation, gaslighting, triangulation of him complaining about her to me, etc, discarding me, minimizing my feelings. That seems narcissistic to me.

bfwatts
04-23-14, 02:31 AM
He was a good guy for ten years and acted like the same guy I knew at first when we got back in touch. Him losing the job and her supposedly pressuring him for marriage changed everything. I do not know what to believe anymore. But the whole time I was afraid he would do this. It's a cliche.

Nicksgonefishin
04-23-14, 02:37 AM
This lies in the realm of douchebag. You dated a toxic person. Grieve and move on. Trying to figure him out is pointless. He isn't in your life anymore(this is a blessing).

How would your future decisions be effected by the answer to your question?

Ponder that when you find yourself chasing his squirrel.

dvdnvwls
04-23-14, 02:40 AM
Ah, okay, sorry for my misunderstanding about the ticket vs the trip.

I'm pretty convinced that if he was "a real narcissist" then you would have seen that long ago - a narcissist basically just can't be a good guy for ten years straight, as far as I know anyway. That doesn't mean he didn't do the things he did recently, just that there are other reasons.

sarahsweets
04-23-14, 06:05 AM
sounds like he didnt have to put on much of an act to seem like a narciscist with the GF.

bfwatts
04-23-14, 08:53 AM
This lies in the realm of douchebag. You dated a toxic person. Grieve and move on. Trying to figure him out is pointless. He isn't in your life anymore(this is a blessing).

How would your future decisions be effected by the answer to your question?

Ponder that when you find yourself chasing his squirrel.


Honestly I need to hate him until it fades to indifference. And in order to do that I needed to make sure that this couldn't be justified as adhd behavior. I feel that it was a case of me knowing what would happen, him saying it wouldn't as I kept asking if he was sure. And it turning out how I thought it would, and him realizing I was right and then avoiding me aka being a douche. Disappearing again was the ultimate slap in the face. It's like he took everything he knew that would specifically hurt me and did them on purpose. Then acted like it all never happened. Thank you all for responding.

VeryTired
04-23-14, 10:31 AM
bfwatts--

We all have to do whatever we have to do to get over breakups, and your hate-him-until-it-fades strategy may be as good as any. So it's clear that you don't really seek understanding of your ex, you need an answer to a specific question that's part of your program of healing by hating.

The problem is, answers to questions like that aren't simple, and no one here can really judge. I feel huge compassion for you. I think moving on and not looking back sounds like a good choice for you, but I also think that how ADHD may or may not be in the mix for your ex is a very complicated question that may not even have a real answer.

Compartmentalization may just be a choice … or it may be part of borderline personality disorder or more loosely described narcissism. But it may also be the coping device of someone who isn't fundamentally bad or mentally ill in classic terms, but rather who is deeply overwhelmed.

What could make someone feel that overwhelmed? Possibly ADHD. But there's more. The kind of behavior you describe sounds to me like something that would track very well with various types of drug abuse--which could be plain old drug abuse or could be mistaken attempts at self medication by someone who has ADHD or other undiagnosed problems. It's very complicated.

My experience with my partner, who has ADHD, has been that a basically reasonable, good-hearted, nice middle-aged guy could get into a giant pile of trouble and destroy many lives (starting with his own) through undiagnosed and untreated ADHD, the pressures of many bad life choices stemming from undiagnosed, intreated ADHD, and a constellation of irresponsible drug use involving some prescribed and some illegal drugs. The whole thing built until two life threatening addictions, two households with two separate fiancees, two identities, seizure disorder, panic attacks, paranoia, financial ruin, unemployment, and a mountain of lies all collapsed on top of him. He ended up in the hospital not expected to live, with a a whole bunch of very angry people at his bedside.

OK, that's an extreme tale. But when the dust cleared and he got out of the hospital and started treatment of many much-needed kinds, by chance he ended up in a medical study about pain relief. (It tested the use of one medication in combination with physical therapy and group therapy for people who had gotten into serious trouble with addiction.) In that therapy group, he found that at least half the other guys were also diagnosed with ADHD, and all of them had previously compartmentalized their lives in terrifying ways, all involving multiple simultaneous families or relationships. That was a lot of guys in one place who all had essentiality the same awful complicated story of what went wrong in their lives. It's a tiny sample, but to me it suggests a pattern.

I'm not saying their experiences are typical of anyone else's. I am just saying none of them could easily tell you which of the bad and dangerous and dumb things they'd done were because of ADHD, or addiction, or character flaws, or PTSD, or other kinds of mental illness. Trouble often comes in confusing waves, and human problems can't always be neatly attributed to this or that cause. So blame isn't always so easy to apportion.

I doubt that your ex was specifically trying to hurt you--but the truth may be worse. He may be so wound up in whatever is afflicting him that he can't even think about you for more than a moment, and didn't notice the effects of his actions on you. To me that would be in some ways more hurtful than deliberate, conscious attempts to hurt me. When I finally understood everything that was going on with my partner at the height of his troubles, I just shook my head. It was amazing. I was totally wrapped up in the craziness he'd generated, and our relationship was very intense--yet almost nothing really had anything to do with me. I was astonished to find myself an extra in the movie of his life, not a co-star. Maybe something a little similar to that has happened to you?

Anyway, I wish you good healing by whatever means you choose, and i hope you don't carry the burden of hate longer than you have to.

bfwatts
04-23-14, 11:26 AM
I appreciate your thoughtful response. In the past he self medicated and that was why we broke up long ago. He was barely employed when we were together. I left because I was just enabling him by staying. This last time we were in contact, at first he seemed stable. Years of steady employment and purchased a home. I was extremely happy and proud of him and then just one month later he was unemployed again. The hate thing I am saying because I need to look out for myself and not fall into a co-dependency trap again. I was slipping back to that and unhealthy thinking making excuses for him when I truly feel there is no excuse for some of his actions. What I became privy to; the things he said about her sicken me. So in the end, it doesn't matter who he lied to or what about, they were horrible things. So there is no reconciling his actions that he didn't know what he was doing (his excuse) when he straight up told me his intent on certain matters. Anyway, I just feel stupid and need to just get over it and leave it behind. The person I knew is not who he is now. And seeing this side of him just put into question everything. Crazymaking and there is no point.

bfwatts
04-23-14, 11:36 AM
I also know he takes ritalin, drinks "recreationally" and smokes weed for "medicinal purposes".

dvdnvwls
04-23-14, 12:19 PM
I also know he takes ritalin, drinks "recreationally" and smokes weed for "medicinal purposes".
There is nothing wrong with those three things, if they are true exactly as printed.

However, everything else you've said about the way things work between you shows pretty clearly that it's a good thing you're not together.

Good news: You're done with him. You didn't get sucked into his situation.

Bad news: It's far far too easy for you to start a new relationship with another person who looks good at first and turns out the same as he did. It isn't your fault - it's just the way things are - but it is true that you really are the type of person who gets fooled by that kind of man. Again, it's not your fault - but it's not an accident either.

One of the only things that can prevent you from finding the same kind of relationship again is you going for some therapy and learning how to handle relationships in a truly different way. (And hey - after everything that's happened lately, no one could ever blame you for needing some therapy, right?) :)

someothertime
04-23-14, 12:20 PM
ADHD *may* intensify his emotions and lack of emotional clarity... ^ douchbagness drives his ideas...

I also urge you to take dvd's advice in exploring what drives you to want/need/desire men like this.

Greengrasshoppe
04-23-14, 02:42 PM
Mostly not adhd related IMO.

AshT
04-23-14, 09:27 PM
Had long term relationship/friendship with man who has adhd. Last year got back in touch after long hiatus. (Four years) He claimed his GF had been pressuring him for marriage and trapped him by getting pregnant and he'd been with her since we lost touch. He claimed he disappeared from my life at the time because he was still in love with me and I was in a new relationship.

When we got back in touch long distance he hyperfocused on me. I told him I did not want to cause a problem once I found out he had a GF and child. He told me that he was absolutely never going to marry her for several reasons. I was standoffish because I had prior experience with him and his Adhd and knew of impulsiveness and not thinking things through.

He kept insisting he wanted us to be together. He guilt tripped me when I was second guessing him and trying to be cautious saying I must not think much of him if I didn't believe in everything he told me. I didn't want to regret not having a second chance so I arranged to fly and visit him.

Then he lost his job. We were making plans to see one another in hopes of reconciling and he told me he had broken up with his GF. Shortly after the job loss he got extremely stressed and paranoid. He did a 180 on me and started to treat me different. Which I understand he was overstressed. But he began acting secretive and not communicating effectively.

I then told him maybe I shouldn't visit because I felt something wasn't right. He was upset for literally one night and then abruptly told me if I didn't visit we would only be friends and he needed to get back together with his GF so he wouldn't end up being alone waiting for a "pipe dream".

I tried talking to him because he misunderstood but now I feel he just used my apprehension as an excuse. He then told me he had to stay with his GF because he needed the money to pay his mortgage. Anyway, he began saying he had to manufacture his feelings for her and said he had to act like a narcissist. He said he was afraid his GF would take his child away.

Then he began managing down my expectations, acting hot and cold, and not being honest. I dropped contact explaining that I felt hurt and used. He broke no contact three weeks later and said he wanted to mend our friendship. We barely spoke after that (Platonic conversations a few times a month) punctuated by him stepping over friendship boundaries and treating me like a back up plan.

In the end I found out not from him that they did get engaged. I felt really manipulated and used. When I confronted him he basically did alot of double talk, going as far to say he was not marrying her for love. Then he disappeared. Again.

Sorry for the length of this. I feel extremely stupid for trusting him. And sad he did this not only to me who he has known for 15 years, but his fiance. Is this all adhd? He was never like this before- the narcissistic tendencies, lack of remorse, etc. But he did disappear on me again. Which he swore he would never do again. I need some
clarity please.

As someone who knows what it's like to be manipulated and drove themselves to the point of nearly crazy trying to understand:

Sometimes, we will never understand people who do that if we do not think like them. If we don't see the gain in manipulation, we won't understand why they do it.

Stay away from him. Move on. Don't let him get to you, don't let him change the person you are, don't let his behavior drive to insane trying to work him out.

bfwatts
04-24-14, 12:43 AM
Thank you.

TLCisaQT
04-26-14, 11:22 AM
Even though you have been through a horrible experience, that obviously drudged up a lot of feelings past and present, and then like a tornado, left you with wreckage to clean up (which you didn't ask for).... I congratulate you on being a strong person, and despite your tendencies you expressed to lean towards these type of a relationship, YOU WERE VERY SMART about it, and didn't go see him, and trusted your instincts!!!!! He did not make it easy for sure. I am sorry though that you have to now go once again through the grief and the loss of this BUT know that you did nothing wrong in this situation.

No one can know for sure if it's behavior that can be attributed to more than just ADHD. However, I tend to think that in any relationship when somebody starts to feel "trapped" or unsatisfied, one can tend to start to focus a lot on the past, and past relationships and what may have been, etc, and someone under a lot of stress may find that their usual coping mechanisms and/or medications may not work as well, and they may behave in ways that others may not .... thus.... acting impulsive, when that would not be the right decision and then that creates more conflicts, and then not being able to make good choices, or be honest in a current "relationship." And then this leads to a downward spiral....one that luckily, you chose not to get caught up in.

I hope you are able to receive any help and support that you need and know that there is someone out there, that can be in a relationship with only you, if that is what you want, and you deserve that. Good luck.

bfwatts
04-26-14, 05:14 PM
I very much appreciate your words of encouragement. Thank you.