View Full Version : War on routine


VeryTired
07-28-14, 11:56 AM
I guess in the simplest form, my question is: does anyone have thoughts about a person with ADHD who seems to have a positive war against the concepts of schedule, plan, routine? I don't mean someone who finds those things hard, but someone who doesn't believe in them, tries to avoid them, can't stop himself from rejecting or unmaking them?

It has begun to seem to me as though my partner not only cannot follow a schedule that allows others to make plans in relation to him, he actually feels compelled to undo any arrangements that do somehow get made.

Today we had a difficult morning in relation to these issues, and he told me that never in his life has he managed to operate on a real routine, be consistent about what he's doing, or follow a schedule or plan. Occasionally, routine has been imposed upon him (for instance, in the Army) but he has never embraced it, accepted it, created it for himself, or tolerated it unless under extreme duress.

So, I am trying to get my head around this, and wonder if anyone out there feels similarly, or has a partner who seems to feel similarly.

GRbiker
07-28-14, 12:26 PM
I know I was at my best when I kept a routine, and I was best at it when I was single, and only had my job, yoga classes and some volunteer obligations to get to on time. I could do that and I was at my best.

Since getting involved with my SO, owning a house and having a kid, any idea of routine is out the window, even though I really want it. There are simply too many demands on my time, and the need to be flexible. It really throws me off.

I have been able to regulate sleep times to some extent, but I'm all over the map in terms of work schedule. Arrive late, leave early, take days off mid week and work weekend days.

I have been able to work off of lists, and that has helped me be more effective.

I have had considerable resistance to making lists, but I have kept struggling with it and have found some strategies that work. Most of the time. That would be what I have been at war with, the concept of list making. My partner would be able to sympathize with you, because she has had to be on my case to keep me making lists. She has thrown in a lot of challenges in my having a regular schedule, though, but that is a separate issue.

Fuzzy12
07-28-14, 12:30 PM
no, i crave routine and hate when my routine is interrupted. I also need plans and schedules though i suck at both following them and making them. I do hate though when other people impose their routines or plans on me especially if it interferes with mine

stef
07-28-14, 12:54 PM
Sometimes I just hate the IDEA of having a routine, but I can't function at all without one; and even on weekends and vacation, I drift into some kind of a routine, naturally.

Anything can throw me off - they changed to summer programming on the radio station I listen to in the morning so there is no longer any "7:30 am news flash" and I was almost late leaving the house this morning.

GRbiker
07-28-14, 12:59 PM
Actually, I am just like you, fuzzy, I only rebel against the idea because I have wanted to appear like the free spirit I imagine myself being. I'm lousy at being a free spirit, too. The rebelliousness comes from that frustration.

It seems so dull to have to stick to a schedule, a plan, a routine, but it is essential to my well being.

ToneTone
07-28-14, 01:25 PM
VeryTired,

I'm sorry you're running into this difficulty with your partner. This behavior seems less like an ADHD issue than a willful refusal to cooperate with others and recognize how his actions harm others and harm himself as well.

Without routine, my life can seem shapeless and formless and chaotic. Yes, I resist routine, but not at the ideological or intellectual level. I just don't follow through on them as much as I'd like to ... But if I had a partner who was willing to help me and encourage me with setting up some good routines, I'd surely do my best to take advantage of their help. And if I knew my lack of routine was causing a problem for my family, I would certainly do my darndest to cooperate and make adjustments.

ADHDers absolutely need routines--though we may need more transition times and empty spaces in our routines than other people. Routines and rituals ease the burden put on our faulty working memories. So just looking at this from his self-interest, he's running in the wrong direction and he's bragging about it. He's trying to turn a real problem into a virtue ("I've never done this ...")

Something seems to be missing from your man here. I don't want to be closed-minded myself, but it sounds like he's acting like a jerk. I obviously can't tell you what to do, but I will say this: don't let him use ADHD as an excuse for being a non-cooperative jerk.

You might need to call him out on this.

Good luck.

Tone

Fuzzy12
07-28-14, 01:39 PM
tired..just wondering has your partner ever browsed through addf himself?

GRbiker
07-28-14, 01:40 PM
Without routine, my life can seem shapeless and formless and chaotic. Yes, I resist routine, but not at the ideological or intellectual level. I just don't follow through on them as much as I'd like to ...

From my experience, that lack of follow through and the reaction of other people/institutions to that lack, along with not knowing what the problem was pre-diagnosis caused me to resist at the intellectual/ideological level. It can be just that hard to fit in that there is nothing left to do but rebel. It is not a righteous fight though.

I'm not saying this is right, and Tone, you're right to call this out, but just trying to help with the understanding of where this might come from, speaking from my own experience. I was a jerk about it too, until I worked through this in therapy.

VeryTired
07-28-14, 04:04 PM
stef, hi--

Could you tell me more about hating the IDEA of routine? Please. That concept really rings a bell with me--I have for a long time believed that my partner needs routines badly, but hates the idea of them. This is hard for me to "get"--it's contradictory and far from what I feel myself. But I think it's a key concept here ...

VeryTired
07-28-14, 04:07 PM
GRBiker--

Same question, can you please tell me a little more about the feeling of being at war with the concept of lists? I think this is really something I need to understand more ...

VeryTired
07-28-14, 04:22 PM
Tone, Fuzzy--

Thanks so much for the replies.

Tone, I think maybe I did a poor job describing things today. Indeed, sometimes my partner does act like a jerk (as do we all, occasionally) and I have complained about it here. But I see what I am talking about today as different. It's weirdly as if he is somehow compelled to break patterns, prevent habits from forming, blow apart plans, resist scheduling.

Sometimes he is trying desperately to make me happy, or really wants to accomplish something that requires this kind of structure ... and he'll ask for my help, and I'll provide it, and a really clear-cut effective plan with be devised, or we'll find a routine that works very well ... but after a little while, he will feel irresistibly drawn to discontinuing or screwing around with it. And when I ask, he can't ever explain to me why he did this. He gets embarrassed and then angry that I am probing an embarrassing matter.

I don't understand at all what it feels like inside him, I am just reporting what I see from outside, and what he is sometimes able to tell me. On the rare occasions when we get a routine going without a lot of talk about it, or it somehow just falls into place, he immediately does way better and things work out well ... until the dreaded war on routine suddenly breaks out. This happens even with extremely high stakes stuff, like the routine for his getting prescriptions and doing pharmacy runs for utterly essential medication, for instance ...

Fuzzy, both my partner and I both discovered the ADDF at the same time. He took a look around, and didn't like it whereas I took a look around, and found an invaluable lifeline--all of you.

He says that going to his group therapy group for adults with ADHD is as much as he can stand interacting with people who have ADHD. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it kind of disturbs me. so I don't ask him more about that feeling ... Though perhaps he does read on the Forums and just doesn't want to tell me. (So, honey, if you're out there reading this, I hope you don't mind that I'm trying to get some insight by checking with other people ...)

stef
07-28-14, 04:30 PM
stef, hi--

Could you tell me more about hating the IDEA of routine? Please. That concept really rings a bell with me--I have for a long time believed that my partner needs routines badly, but hates the idea of them. This is hard for me to "get"--it's contradictory and far from what I feel myself. But I think it's a key concept here ...

really? it's very easy:
"life should be spontaneous and amazing and fun!
routines are boring and for people with no imagination!!!"

But that is very flawed of course. i'm twice as productive and happy when following routines. and it took me only 25 years to figure this out...

GRbiker
07-28-14, 04:46 PM
Maybe its not war, but definitely conflict.

It may have roots in envy, being envious of how easy it seems for other people to know what they need to do, when to do it, and what they need to get it done. Throw in the frustration at trying to use this technique and;
a. Forgetting to make a list
b. Not getting anything done on the list
c. Loosing the list and having to start over
then it becomes an alien taskmaster to be feared and reviled. But I don't want to appear weird, so I made up this persona of being someone who could operate without lists, some how above the mortal need of list making.

It also has possible roots in my propensity to divergent thinking, and the misplaced notion that making a list somehow squelches it.

Lists have gained a power over me that persists, because things are added to "the list" at a rate far greater than I can ever cross them off.

Chicky75
07-28-14, 04:53 PM
I also need a routine to function well, but am very resistant to others creating one for me and sometimes to creating one for myself.

Partly this is because my parents were very controlling when I was a kid, and partly I think it is because it sometimes takes me a few times to figure out a routine that is comfortable for me and I worry that switching routines a few times or not following ones that aren't working will make me seem flaky and unreliable. Another part is that I'm a little scared that I'll start to rely on the routine so much that if one little thing goes wrong or gets rescheduled, the whole thing will come crashing down and I'll be back at square one.

jende2
07-28-14, 05:00 PM
My boyfriend will not make a To Do list, or write things in a planner, or leave himself a voice recording on his cell phone. He says these things take too much time to do.

To me, this line of thinking is very difficult to understand. It would actually SAVE him time in the long run! He is medicated, but desperately needs an ADHD coach. But he says he doesn't have time for that either........

ToneTone
07-28-14, 08:24 PM
VeryTired,

Apologies--I interpreted original your post more harshly than you intended.

There a few reasons I can destroy routine. One is the feeling or fear that I will be bored (and maybe depressed) by following routine. There's a theory out there that says that a lot of risk takers (even successful ones, like investors and business people) are folks who need to take risk to stimulate themselves against sliding into depression. The impulse to break routine is like that for some people--it's a way to fire up some energy and to unconsciously push back against depression and lack of energy.

Strangely enough, breaking routine for me has also been a way to align the noise in my brain with my external actions. Some mornings I wake up and my brain is just buzzing with thoughts and chatter ... and one way to give myself a "tonic" is to just do something wild and crazy and out of the ordinary. It's almost a way of distracting myself from the noise in my head. I used to do this more than I do now as the stimulants and meds have quieted my brain quite a bit.

I'm a teacher and for years, I would get myself into trouble because I kept wanting to assign new books and readings for my classes, not for the students, but to keep me interested and stimulated. It was as if I needed to create a sense of panic in order to get myself motivated. I still fight off the impulse to add way too much material ... the idea of adding lots of material stimulates me. I remind myself these days that such stimulation is an illusion created far ahead of time, not any type of true insight into the work as it's taking place.

Thank God, a friend of mine, who is also a teacher, suggested that I keep the changes to a minimum and to over time experiment with altering my teaching style and technique. She said that could be a way of doing something "new."

So now, I make small changes each term ... But still I catch myself often wanting to add totally new materials to my classes, because newness (breaking routine) excites me. Of course, adding too much new material just adds to my workload and ends up wearing me down.

I'm not sure this is hitting on your concern. Can you say more about the routines your hubby breaks? And are these routines you suggest for him or routines that he develops himself? How long can he keep them? Is he able to think about getting back to them. That's the biggie, I've learned and it has required transcending all-or-nothing thinking. Of course, I'm gonna break a routine. Just get back to it ASAP.

Tone

Pentax
07-28-14, 09:26 PM
Sometimes I just hate the IDEA of having a routine, but I can't function at all without one; and even on weekends and vacation, I drift into some kind of a routine, naturally.

Anything can throw me off - they changed to summer programming on the radio station I listen to in the morning so there is no longer any "7:30 am news flash" and I was almost late leaving the house this morning.

My offline relationship fits with your second paragraph. Life tending to the wacked out, there are a lot of these disturbances for him. Is that your experience?

This thread is helping me a lot

Pentax
07-28-14, 09:42 PM
My boyfriend will not make a To Do list, or write things in a planner, or leave himself a voice recording on his cell phone. He says these things take too much time to do.

To me, this line of thinking is very difficult to understand. It would actually SAVE him time in the long run! He is medicated, but desperately needs an ADHD coach. But he says he doesn't have time for that either........

Hi Jende. Glad to see you. I've been thinking about you. Best to you

dvdnvwls
07-28-14, 10:10 PM
VeryTired:

Surprise! I'm a lot like that. :)

Trying to come up with the right words to express what I think is going on inside me... not sure if I understand it. I'll come back when I think I have anything potentially useful.

Stevuke79
07-28-14, 10:19 PM
I think most ADHD'ers (and this is definitely the case for me) have a strange love-hate relationship with routine.

One the one hand we're TERRIBLE at creating routines and sticking to them. On the other hand, most of us will tell you we love routines because as hard as they are, they are our only prayer for functioning. So when talking strictly about what I personally "enjoy", I don't enjoy routines. Who does? But maybe I enjoy it less because it's a challenge, and also ADHD'ers tend to only want to do what we enjoy (video games).

But it's been my experience that when an ADHD'er is committed to meeting obligations, they appreciate and value routines.

daveddd
07-28-14, 10:25 PM
I guess in the simplest form, my question is: does anyone have thoughts about a person with ADHD who seems to have a positive war against the concepts of schedule, plan, routine? I don't mean someone who finds those things hard, but someone who doesn't believe in them, tries to avoid them, can't stop himself from rejecting or unmaking them?

It has begun to seem to me as though my partner not only cannot follow a schedule that allows others to make plans in relation to him, he actually feels compelled to undo any arrangements that do somehow get made.

Today we had a difficult morning in relation to these issues, and he told me that never in his life has he managed to operate on a real routine, be consistent about what he's doing, or follow a schedule or plan. Occasionally, routine has been imposed upon him (for instance, in the Army) but he has never embraced it, accepted it, created it for himself, or tolerated it unless under extreme duress.

So, I am trying to get my head around this, and wonder if anyone out there feels similarly, or has a partner who seems to feel similarly.

i have my own routines , regarding a few things, nothing ridged

but like you say, i can't stand when others try to "schedule me" (sorry best i can think of)

and this is not any type of narcissistic or "screw others" thing

its a strange panic , avoidance thing

ill avoid answering people when they ask me to make plans. then the thought of it (wanting to please, but for some reason unable to commit) riddles me with anxiety

also ill often break plans that are made for me (or skip out early with some lame excuse)

hard to describe it really, it makes me feel trapped in a way i think

dvdnvwls
07-28-14, 10:29 PM
My boyfriend will not make a To Do list, or write things in a planner, or leave himself a voice recording on his cell phone. He says these things take too much time to do.

To me, this line of thinking is very difficult to understand. It would actually SAVE him time in the long run! He is medicated, but desperately needs an ADHD coach. But he says he doesn't have time for that either........

For ADHD, there is no long run! That's a big part of why it's ADHD, and not just being normal. Learning that your boyfriend has no ability to see or think about the long run might be one of the keys to living with him.

dvdnvwls
07-28-14, 10:34 PM
i have my own routines , regarding a few things, nothing ridged

but like you say, i can't stand when others try to "schedule me" (sorry best i can think of)

and this is not any type of narcissistic or "screw others" thing

its a strange panic , avoidance thing

ill avoid answering people when they ask me to make plans. then the thought of it (wanting to please, but for some reason unable to commit) riddles me with anxiety

also ill often break plans that are made for me (or skip out early with some lame excuse)

hard to describe it really, it makes me feel trapped in a way i think

Dave, you just described very well some of the things I was trying to think of.

Feeling trapped, panic, something being done to me...
Not reasonable looking on the surface, but the truth.

GRbiker
07-29-14, 12:59 AM
My routines develop organically, they are the ways I find to fit in and function in a world that often seems to pass me by, leaving me wondering what just happened. Routine keeps me centered and grounded. Except for training schedules for running races, I have not been successful at trying to shape a schedule or routine to achieve some goal, or strive for something better in life.

I get bored sometimes, and that is usually relieved by a dinner out with friends once in a while, or even the change of seasons. Life really passes by quickly for me.

I know that I've resisted someone else imposing a routine on me, but I've resisted even more someone or something that pulls me away from routine.

Stevuke79
07-29-14, 06:57 AM
i have my own routines , regarding a few things, nothing ridged
but like you say, i can't stand when others try to "schedule me" (sorry best i can think of)
and this is not any type of narcissistic or "screw others" thing
its a strange panic , avoidance thing
ill avoid answering people when they ask me to make plans. then the thought of it (wanting to please, but for some reason unable to commit) riddles me with anxiety
also ill often break plans that are made for me (or skip out early with some lame excuse)
hard to describe it really, it makes me feel trapped in a way i think

Dave, you just described very well some of the things I was trying to think of.
Feeling trapped, panic, something being done to me...
Not reasonable looking on the surface, but the truth.

I can totally relate to this. While I appreciate and need routine, I have a very difficult time when someone imposes a routine on me at the last minute ESPECIALLY if this is different than my normal routine.

My wife and I have an understanding about these things. I need advance warning, we have to talk about it, .. I don't like being "obligated" to last minute plans.

I think this is again one of the things that you can manage and handle if you guys set up expectations and have an understanding.

Fuzzy12
07-29-14, 07:07 AM
I do enjoy routines..once they have somehow become established (I'm terrible at forming habits or putting routines into place). They make life so much easier and most importantly they avoid me from having to think or having to rely on my thinking and therefore reduce the possibilities of messing up.

Like Dave said, I don't deal well with other people imposing their routine on me especially if it interrupts my own because that means again that I need to think more, reschedule, remember, deal with the unknown and uncertainty...

Pentax
07-29-14, 09:21 AM
It has begun to seem to me as though my partner not only cannot follow a schedule that allows others to make plans in relation to him, he actually feels compelled to undos any arrangements that do somehow get made. .

Thanks for starting this thread, VeryTired. What I've boldfaced in quoting you very nearly did in my relation with my partner.

I've taken some time writing a post about this, but it appears that I was logged out as I was writing. That happened once before, and (?) the post showed up later in the thread.

In case it doesn't, the thing that was doing me in was that he was doing to me the things that are so disruptive to people with ADHD. It's been quite an experience reading this thread. He was doing to me...I can see now, out of need, often... The very things that are disruptive to people with ADHD.

Well they throw me into chaos, too

I don't think he saw that. For the most part his attention was, and still is, on getting through his own day

I've shifted the way I schedule, becoming far more rigid with him that I won't abandon my day's order. He accepts that more than he did in the past. It took him awhile but he now doesn't schedule me to do something without telling me what he wants and me accepting it. And there are more parts to it. Yes to what you implied in your quote, as I read it, there does need to be dovetailing of schedules and sharing doing at least some things. If that were not the case, thanks, I'll live in my house and he can live in his


VeryTired, I'm glad that you and your partner can talk straightforwardly. Mine and I are learning. If we hadn't gotten better at it, I don't think we'd have made it this far. Mine's got a heart of gold.

Wishing you two well

stef
07-29-14, 09:28 AM
My offline relationship fits with your second paragraph. Life tending to the wacked out, there are a lot of these disturbances for him. Is that your experience?

This thread is helping me a lot

There aren't too many disturbances in my routine actually but some external factor can really affect things. (not necessarily from another person). For example they are doing lots of maintenace work on the suburban commuter trains so they are at different times, it's just strange and it took me a few days to adjust.
My husband doesn't like "unplanned things" too much anyway, so we don't have much of a problem with this.

Vivid_thoughts
07-30-14, 03:21 AM
no, i crave routine and hate when my routine is interrupted. I also need plans and schedules though i suck at both following them and making them. I do hate though when other people impose their routines or plans on me especially if it interferes with mine

Ditto - Once a plan has been made I find it very hard to change it. It kind of becomes emotionally stressful and makes me feel slightly autistic, but that's the way I am.

sarahsweets
07-30-14, 06:02 AM
I know I need routine. The only routine I have ever been able to stick with is one I've given myself. And it's lame. I set my coffee up the night before so all I have to do when I wake up is turn it on. It took me A year to build that one.

VeryTired
07-30-14, 09:06 AM
Sarah--
I think this is really it, the routines have to come from the person himself. And my partner doesn't want to build his own. I can't help him do it until he decides to do it. That is hard on me, but I guess I need to work on accepting it. Of course, our present routine is that I make his coffee for him, but he is always changing when and how he's like that done, which makes me frustrated …

Steve:
You said:
"My wife and I have an understanding about these things. I need advance warning, we have to talk about it, .. I don't like being "obligated" to last minute plans.
I think this is again one of the things that you can manage and handle if you guys set up expectations and have an understanding."

Alas, at my house it's other way around--I'm the one who hates last minute plans and is constantly pressured to make them, because my partner resists the concept of routine, or sticking with an existing plan. And I can't get him to grasp how hard this is for me, and how little I can tolerate it--or how constant it is. Maybe I need to work on communications about this.

Pentax:
What you said about your own scheduling becoming more rigid is exactly what's happening with me. To some extent, it's a good tool for me and probably it's the only thing saving me from having my life totally overwhelmed by my partner's chaos. But it is a very distancing, and we could well end up with two separate lives as you said. So that's complicated.

And here's my real problem: I don't WANT to have to be rigid about my own things. I don't need to be all or nothing: chaos or rigid order, but my partner's disorder seems to make those the only choices I can work with. I am uncomfortable having so much of how I do things shaped by his disability. It's way easier for me to accept that he needs to do things a certain way, that he needs support, that he can't can't cope with this or that. But when it comes to MY life having to change, and MY functioning being compromised, it really feels wrong and unfair. I guess life IS unfair, so this is just how it is if I live with my partner. But I am not in full acceptance of this, and it's hard to know what to do.

RobboW
07-30-14, 09:17 AM
I find that when I'm pulled away from my routine, it confuses my time sense (which is hopeless anyway), and I forget what I had to do, it makes me annoyed and affects my mood. I think ADHD people (and I have probably done it) will unconsiously sabotage these things because of this. Maybe as a protest?

With advanced warning and time to thus "get your head around it", it's easier to slot something in without getting all destructive about it.

I also think, sometimes we may say yes to do something but not really be paying attention, then sabotage it later because we don't really want to do it, or may feel anxious etc etc.

VeryTired
07-30-14, 09:34 AM
Tone--

Thanks so much, this is very interesting--what you said about your need for the new. I have a feeling my partner also feels that sort of thing often, and I plan to ask him about it.

The kinds of anti-routine situations he and I are having conflict about often dovetail with his regular problems about leaving the house in the morning (a huge issue!) What motivated me to write about the problem was a not-unusual problem morning we had related to how we started the day.

I am a planner and an organizer. This gives me freedom. Chaos and improvisation sap my energy and break my concentration. Sometimes I work at home, and I need calm to start working. Typically in the morning, my partner creates so much turmoil that I can't work or concentrate until he leaves the house. Because I need to know what I will do in a day before it starts, each evening I think about my tomorrow so I can wake up and just do whatever I planned the night before.

So I checked with him about his leaving time for the next day and he told me "9:00 sharp" and explained why. I said great, and made my plans. Next morning, however, he was deep in his computer at 9:15, not having even taken a shower yet. I asked him what was up and he got mad, panicky, told me several different things that did not add up and could not be true. He argued. Around 11:15, he finally left, after having talked loudly to himself, rampaged from room to room, interrupted me repeatedly, started high-stakes emotional discussions that had no bearing on the morning, told me I was taking up his valuable time and making him later whenever I responded to his conversation initiatives, lost essential items ...

He refuses to have a routine that he goes to work at the same time every day. He refuses to stick to what he has told me he will do. Although we desperately need the money, he can't organize himself to work a full 40 hours/week, because that means planning to stay late if he goes in late, or go in early the next day if he leaves early … He can't fit his household chores around his work schedule, or remember to bring the water he urgently needs (for many health reasons) when he leaves the house on hot days … His life depends on making regular monthly visits to his doctor, picking up prescriptions and going to the pharmacy on time, but he refuses to schedule the appointments in advance, put them at a regular time that's easy to remember, go from the doctor to the pharmacy immediately … and the amount of misery that results from problems with all that is off the charts. He can't follow his therapeutic exercise program even though not doing it quickly causes him terrible pain in his injured, arthritic ankle.

This list is getting too long and too picky. The problem is, as I see it, that he's the one who needs the routines. When somehow he briefly operates in a structured way, he thrives, is calm and happy and healthy, and it so greatly reduces my stress that it's good for both of us. But he won't seek out structure, and he has the constant impulse to overturn it if I try to provide it. The weird thing is, it doesn't matter if he forces himself to have structure, I try to create it, or it somehow comes from outside--the source is irrelevant. It seems like he still wants to interrupt it or abandon it as soon as it starts working.

RobboW
07-30-14, 09:42 AM
Is he hyperfocusing on things a lot? Maybe his time sense is really badly screwed up?

Fuzzy12
07-30-14, 09:45 AM
Tired, rather than a routine is it possible that he's trying to avoid work or particular tasks? Can he stick to a plan when it's about something he enjoys (immensely) doing?

VeryTired
07-30-14, 09:45 AM
Robbo--
Definitely yes to both. The hyperfocus causes the time screw ups--it makes time "disappear."

VeryTired
07-30-14, 09:48 AM
Fuzzy--
Good question, but not really. The weird thing is the chaos keeps him from doing what he loves. The exercise he can't get around doing makes him happy. The job he is doing short hours at is his happiest place to be. It's true that if he has a task he hates he will procrastinate and get anxious, just as anyone does. But the problem I am talking about is the normal, soothing, helpful routines that would help him get the things he wants and needs into his life instead of having it fill up with frustration, anxiety and disappointment.

Pentax
07-30-14, 09:52 AM
And here's my real problem: I don't WANT to have to be rigid about my own things. I don't need to be all or nothing: chaos or rigid order, but my partner's disorder seems to make those the only choices I can work with. I am uncomfortable having so much of how I do things shaped by his disability. It's way easier for me to accept that he needs to do things a certain way, that he needs support, that he can't can't cope with this or that. But when it comes to MY life having to change, and MY functioning being compromised, it really feels wrong and unfair. I guess life IS unfair, so this is just how it is if I live with my partner. But I am not in full acceptance of this, and it's hard to know what to do.

A great big yes, VT. I really don't think the man I'm with registers how much his behaviors produce the effects that y ou name. I have no desire to harass him or make him feel bad, and yet Yes, yes, His needs, problems and choices for how he manages or doesn't manage himself re his biological limitations nearly blew me out of the water.

My performance at work was going down the drain, my own house was in chaos, I couldn't trust that any days schedule that I made for myself wouldn't get aborted, because of the so frequent shifts and emergencies on his side. Which I've always seen were real and sincere.

And I felt pretty squelched saying, hey that created a problem for me, because he's had a lifetime of being told he's a screwup, or thinking in his dark hours that he is, so he was hair trigger defensive, if I said I had a problem, of ANY kind

Very Tired, this is no way for anyone to live.

I'm like you, I really don't like being this rigid about policing getting my own life from being thrown into chaos so often. Really don't. Where's relaxation?

About the unfairness, no pearls of wisdom. I guess at the moment I'm working on seeing how he and I can fit together. Hm....fair may be differently configured in a non ADHD/ADHD couple than between two nons. Maybe an ADHD /non ADHD couple have to make up their own fair....don't know

But I've had a lot of years to think about this one, and believe this for my life: a relationship, as different from two people living merely for individual convenience, like renters or roommates, ONLY works if both are trying their hearts out, in real action for the good of each other or at least not harming the other; not just talk, which is only half way

I'm absolute on this. If mine didn't try, too, he and I would be sunk

VT I sure read that you love this guy a lot. You're very much wanting to be with him. Will hold you in my thoughts. You take care

Pentax
07-30-14, 11:43 AM
If mine didn't try, too, he and I would be sunk

I mean try, using the capabilities that he's got. Not my or others' capabilties.

VeryTired
07-30-14, 02:04 PM
Pentax

Thanks so much for what you wrote. For me one of the hardest aspects of all this is how lonely it is. My partner can't see how he's affecting me and I can't really complain to anyone else about it. Most people wouldn't understand, and if you haven't lived it, it sounds as though I making weird excuses or blaming him for what's wrong with me.

I've read about non-ADHD partners ending up feeling as though they have ADHD-by-proxy. At first I didn't understand, but I've begun to see it happening to me. A person only has so much energy, and much that I would normally allocate to keeping myself on track gets siphoned off by my partner's needs and the environment he generates. I find it scary when I suddenly find myself having unfamiliar problems with deadlines, remembering stuff I need, losing objects. And I really hate it.

Anyway, I am so sorry that you have all the problems we are talking about, but it does make me feel better to know that it's not just me--to hear someone else singing the same song. So thank you very much for sharing. This stuff is very hard to figure out, but for me the first step in solving a problem like this is recognizing that it IS a problem, and describing it clearly. And hearing you talk about what is very familiar to me helps me with that.

I like your word "squelched". Not a good way to feel, but a great description of what it's like!

ToneTone
07-31-14, 09:01 PM
That is a tough situation you're facing VeryTired.

The only thing I can think of is that when he gives you a time to leave in the morning, I know this about myself: I used to make up any kind of answer.

In other words, it sounds like when he gives a time he's gonna leave in the morning, he's doing the quintessential ADHD thing ... he's in his head, but it has not gotten down to the implementation level ... The motivation and planning and focus has not been engaged.

Question: I wonder if you can read his body language at this point to distinguish between when he's being "real" and when he's just giving a "proper" answer to you ...

Sounds as well like his defensiveness is getting in the way ... That is, if he's really judging himself harshly--and pretending NOT to do so--it would explain behavior like his ...

At the very minimum it is certainly not too much to ask of him to avoid disrupting your work and routine. That's unfair to you and quite thoughtless. If he's going to disrupt his own routine that's one thing, but to do so loudly and in a way that distracts you, that's another issue ...BTW, this is the sense I picked up and commented on in my original post ... I do think he's being thoughtless here in addition to having his own ADHD issues ...

Those of use with conditions--all human beings with flagrant weaknesses and flaws--are better off to acknowledge these and to work around them and to work like the devil to wall off our partners form the bad effects of our condition/weakness. If he's going to break from the plans, it would be well for him to do this without troubling you ...

Tough tough situation you're in ... Hang in there. As I have said before, he is quite fortunate to have you ... and I wish that he would work just a little harder to work with you.

Finally, I wonder if he would be better off in a job with less flexible arrival times.

Tone

GRbiker
07-31-14, 09:19 PM
I second the idea of a job with less flexibility in work time. I am largely self directed at work, and while we have a general time that each person intends to be present, we have no set schedule.

This has been exploited to the maximum with me. It started when I was taking courses at the University, I had to arrange my schedule to get in 40 hours. Now its "rearranging" my schedule and using a lot of PTO to fit the needs of an increasingly chaotic home life.

I functioned quite a bit better when I had less flexibility.

VeryTired
08-01-14, 10:53 AM
Tone--

As always what you say is so thoughtful and illuminating.

I'd be on my knees giving thanks if my partner had a job with an inflexible schedule--but of course he wouldn't want such a job or be effective in sticking with it if he had it. This makes me crazy, but it is what it is.

I think perhaps the place where my partner is really at fault is his consistent, life-long failure to register how overwhelming he is: big personality, rampaging habits, loud voice, lots of acting out. It's not his fault or mine that I am a serenity-craving introvert who is way more affected by stress, tension, noise, and chaos around me than the average person would be. We are at opposite extremes from each other in how we fundamentally are.

As for the morning departure times, his defensiveness is indeed more toward himself than toward me. So believes what he's telling me and it's too easy for me to believe it because I sense his sincerity. His whole life pre-diagnosis was faking it, pretending he had answers, telling people stuff to make them go away. These are hard patterns to un-make, although I do believe it would now be possible for him to try.

I'd give a lot for him to be able to say "Hey! I just realized that yesterday I said I was leaving at 9:00 but now I realize that wasn't ever possible. I made a mistake--I won't be out of here for a couple hours. I'm so sorry if that messes you up." I'd still have a disordered schedule then, but none of the anxious, resentful, miserable exhausted feelings that come up when he panics or argues with me rather than acknowledging. He pretty much cannot ever say the words "I was wrong" though--they trigger flashbacks of his lifetime of shame and guilt feelings from pre-diagnosis problems. I am very sympathetic to him about that in principle, but I still feel that he does have to say things like "I'm sorry" and "I made a mistake" to me. We aren't in agreement about this, so it's kind of a stalemate.

dvdnvwls
08-02-14, 01:00 AM
The following is just my personal experience/description of something I think I see. Professionals may disagree, or may describe it differently.

I think sometimes paralyzing shame and/or anxiety can create a sort of "black hole in the conscience", where the person suffering from them feels truly justified in no longer accepting blame or responsibility for the things that he knows are going to produce them. The pain of the shame or anxiety might cause total avoidance of any related topic.

Pentax
08-02-14, 09:13 AM
So blanking out, because it's too painful.

I can see that, if there's been a lifetime of being criticized, by someone else or oneself, or of doing something, then seeing a reaction to it that one fears or presumes is criticism.

Just to get on the wavelength of what you're saying, that paralysis and going into a black hole...there was a lot of attacking and criticizing going on in the household when I was growing up. When I was attacked and couldn't get away from it (always, with one parent) I'd do what a therapist once called splitting, just as you say, mentally freeze and go into a black hole

Thanks D. If something this profound is going on in these situations, that's a very old, deep need to get away from pain at being trapped. Something only my partner can do anything about, because it's in his mental and body history That predates me.

But that still leaves the need to get through one's day and to treat one's family well unaddressed

d if you were having the freeze-black hole reaction, how would you or do you get re stabilized and back to moving forward with what you decide you need to do that day?

VeryTired
08-03-14, 07:35 PM
dvd--

As usual, you bring a wealth of insight to a difficult topic. I think you are speaking for many people with what you said here, and I'm sure I see my partner experiencing exactly what you described. I can understand how this would happen, and I can empathize. That's not hard at all.

But what is hard is that this reaction often seems to occur when I am not blaming, when the history of previous painful experience didn't occur with me, and when the reaction is causing new wounds--for me. It's a bit of an over-simplification, but it's kind of a question of where does your PTSD from former life traumas generate my current traumas?

I think the answer to this is being able to talk openly and honestly about how things are for both of us, without judgement. But my partner keeps defaulting to the idea that he fixes problems by himself, without communicating with me, without checking to see whether what he is trying to do for me is actually helpful or desired. I feel that if we could just face it tougher, in partnership, it would be so much better ...

Pentax
08-03-14, 09:23 PM
I think the answer to this is being able to talk openly and honestly about how things are for both of us, without judgement. But my partner keeps defaulting to the idea that he fixes problems by himself, without communicating with me, without checking to see whether what he is trying to do for me is actually helpful or desired. I feel that if we could just face it together, in partnership, it would be so much better ...

This, offline.

If he thinks he's the only one to fix things, that's lonely for him all right. Here I am.

Mine' s at it with me.

But his first move is what VT describes. To the letter.

Pentax
08-03-14, 09:36 PM
Mine' s at it with me.
.

Meant the older meaning: working hard