View Full Version : dealing with spouse recently diagnosed


davida
12-22-14, 09:49 AM
My husband was recently diagnosed with ADHD

This was after we had 2 kids diagnosed and now another ADD also put on ritalin.

I have been married for over 15 years but with the last 5 being very difficult which I think finally pushed my husband to get help and he was told he was adhd. (I thought it was depression)

Now he is beginning to learn who he is himself.
In the process he is rejecting me. I have been his support this entire time and now he keeps putting me down. He keeps saying i'm adhd or depressed or forsure something. (I honestly don't think so and I work a full time in addition to taking care of kids including adhd so of course I am sometimes overwhelmed) He is constantly putting me down and showing 0 patience for anything (or even time to hear my opinion)

I think it is related to this recent diagnose (and he is taking ritalin for about 6 months now)

He functions much better with the ritalin but by the time he comes home it has warn off and I don't think he even realizes that he is being so irritable and so difficult to be around.

Any suggestions? I really think this is adhd related especially with coming to terms with it.

jende2
12-22-14, 12:01 PM
My boyfriend takes Vyvanse in the morning, and an Adderall booster at 4:00 P.M. The Adderall booster - for him - is a MUST. He would come home from work, and absolutely be a BEAST to deal with. Next visit to the psych, see about a booster.

My boyfriend, too, puts me down. This is something I have been dealing with a lot lately. I think that you may need to put some boundaries in place. As my therapist told me, "ADHD or not, your boyfriend is absolutlely NOT to treat you this way, and you need to tell him this."

So perhaps look into how to set boundaries for yourself. There are a lot of intelligent people on this board - I'm sure that they will chime in here soon. But for now, a booster and setting boundaries would be some advice from me.

Hugs! This is tough stuff. :(

davida
12-22-14, 12:39 PM
Thanks for your reply

The problem is he thinks he only needs the ritalin for work and not for home

I am the entire problem at home (according to him)
I am at a loss of how to deal with it - it's almost worse then before he was diagnosed - at least with how our marriage is

anonymouslyadd
12-22-14, 02:25 PM
Now he is beginning to learn who he is himself.
In the process he is rejecting me. I have been his support this entire time and now he keeps putting me down. He keeps saying i'm adhd or depressed or forsure something. (I honestly don't think so and I work a full time in addition to taking care of kids including adhd so of course I am sometimes overwhelmed) He is constantly putting me down and showing 0 patience for anything (or even time to hear my opinion)

I think it is related to this recent diagnose (and he is taking ritalin for about 6 months now)

He functions much better with the ritalin but by the time he comes home it has warn off and I don't think he even realizes that he is being so irritable and so difficult to be around.

Any suggestions? I really think this is adhd related especially with coming to terms with it.
Thank you for having the wisdom to come here and find advice and comfort. I wish more spouses and had your insight into your SO's issues.

It's very difficult for a man to have to seek help. We are taught to be strong. We are taught to be emotionless. We are taught to deny our humanity. These societal norms bear down on us ADDers, as we grapple with juggling multiple emotions at once, feelings of inadequacy and multiple events of failure.

He may resent you for your support even though he may have needed it. This may seem odd, but ADDers are highly independent by nature. It's difficult to accept help and be of this independent mindset.

Don't let him put you down but never talk down to him.

Have you considered writing him a letter in which you describe some of the things he says? He probably doesn't know he's making mean comments, like you've already surmised. If you do write a letter to him, make sure you use "I" statements in writing how his words make you feel. Also, don't be condescending, tell him how proud you are of him and reassure him of your love.

In my relationship with my ex-wife, I was being blamed for everything, as the focus of our issues was always on what I did or didn't do. I'm not saying you are doing this, but make sure you're aware of your role in the relationship. ADDers are bombarded by blame at work, home and school, and we blame ourselves, incessantly. If he comes home to blame, he's probably not going to be a very happy person.

davida
12-22-14, 02:38 PM
I tried a letter but it was taken all wrong -- again if I put anything on him (including asking if he will go to counseling with me for me) - he says i'm the issue not him.

I'm not saying i'm perfect but I am keeping myself quiet and not responding to constant criticism.
I feel like I have 0 emotional support - I can't express any feelings of complaint or I should just be at the physiotherapist.
I think now that he is healing he is doing better himself but feels he needs to be put me down to make himself better. It's very frustrating - I just want a bit of appreciation and not constant criticism.
I have been managing the house and full working support of the house since we are married.

jende2
12-22-14, 03:10 PM
I don't know if this would work for you, but this is what I did: I started going to see a therapist who speciialized in ADHD. Just for me, to get some support because the situation at home was very bad. My boyfriend saw me going, and I know he took note of it.

At one point, the therapist wanted to see him AND me together. After MUCH push back, he went. The therapist (as I had hoped) turned her focus totally on him, and told him that he HAD to take his 4:00 P.M. booster. She basically read him the riot act.

After that session, my bf has been taking his booster without faill. And a bonus - he really liked the therapist, and now he goes to see her a few times a month.

anonymouslyadd
12-22-14, 04:26 PM
I'm not saying i'm perfect but I am keeping myself quiet and not responding to constant criticism.
I feel like I have 0 emotional support - I can't express any feelings of complaint or I should just be at the physiotherapist.
Obviously, you've done a good job. You don't have to listen to the constant criticism. I wouldn't back down from that. If you do confront him about the criticism, be careful not to share how much you've done for the relationship.

dvdnvwls
12-22-14, 04:34 PM
I tried a letter but it was taken all wrong -- again if I put anything on him (including asking if he will go to counseling with me for me) - he says i'm the issue not him.

I'm not saying i'm perfect but I am keeping myself quiet and not responding to constant criticism.
I feel like I have 0 emotional support - I can't express any feelings of complaint or I should just be at the physiotherapist.
I think now that he is healing he is doing better himself but feels he needs to be put me down to make himself better. It's very frustrating - I just want a bit of appreciation and not constant criticism.
I have been managing the house and full working support of the house since we are married.

A man with ADHD is not going to know what you mean by "emotional support", until you tell him in excruciating detail step by step, probably many times. Imagine him learning how to give you emotional support to be like that girl in 8th-grade math class who doesn't get it until the fifteenth time and still has to be reminded how it works. It isn't her fault that math isn't easy for her to understand, and it isn't his fault that your style of emotional support isn't easy for him to understand either.

Someone just beginning to learn who he is himself has a whole lifetime of being "stepped on" and forced to be someone else to contend with. Again an analogy: Imagine that a female friend of yours has been in abusive relationships all her life, and after getting out of yet another bad situation, she finally sees the reality of what's been happening and begins to truly turn her life around. Can you blame her if she goes through a stage of "I hate men, all of them are jerks"? At some point, she's going to have to see that that's not true, but at the beginning it's not easy. The adult who has recently been diagnosed with ADHD is in a somewhat similar position, having been told over and over throughout his life that he's wrong and no good - by relatives, teachers, employers, ... more or less everyone. His reaction when he finds out that he's not "lazy, crazy, and stupid", that there's a good reason why things have happened in the way that they have, often includes an initial period of anger at everyone for having treated him so badly for so long.

He is never ever going to manage 50% of the household. However, with thoughtful planning around the effects of ADHD, he can manage a lot more than zero. But the key is making sure he doesn't have jobs arbitrarily assigned to him that he can't do, or that take him a hugely disproportionate amount of time and energy to accomplish. Traditional male/female roles, and normal ideas of fairness in dividing up the work, must go out the window forever.

anonymouslyadd
12-22-14, 04:40 PM
A man with ADHD is not going to know what you mean by "emotional support", until you tell him in excruciating detail step by step, probably many times. Imagine him learning how to give you emotional support to be like that girl in 8th-grade math class who doesn't get it until the fifteenth time and still has to be reminded how it works. It isn't her fault that math isn't easy for her to understand, and it isn't his fault that your style of emotional support isn't easy for him to understand either.
Great points, dvd! Although, I don't know that anyone would know what "emotional support" means.

To the OP:

Assume that the obvious is not obvious. Assume that the known is not known. Do you know what you want in terms of "emotional support." Is it through listening or time? Know exactly what "emotional support" means is critical to the process of receiving it.

ADDers require each intricate detail, regarding a task, explained to them in order to achieve a goal. It doesn't mean that providing you with emotional support is a task, but for the sake of argument, it is a task and should be treated as one.

dvdnvwls
12-22-14, 05:05 PM
Great points, dvd! Although, I don't know that anyone would know what "emotional support" means.

"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'" :)

It's clear that there is a group of women (I've never heard it mentioned by a man, and it seems to me that these particular women may even share similar personalities), who know exactly what they mean by "emotional support", and who unfortunately tend to blame and shame the rest of us when we sincerely ask them to explain what they mean by it. I'm happy to support someone, but I need to know how first, in a way that I can understand.

VeryTired
12-22-14, 05:14 PM
davida--

Welcome to the Forums. I hope you will find this place as usual as I have. It can be a real life-saver! When I first discovered it, I read every single old post in the Non-ADD Partner Support board, and learned a lot. Then I started reading as many of every day's new posts in all the boards, to learn how people with ADHD see their own situations. All this has really helped me.

I think that there are several different issues mixed together in what you've told us here. First, there's idea of medicine only for work. People often liken ADHD medication to insulin for diabetics or glasses for near sighted people. Both are good analogies. I need my glasses for home and for work--for anything I do with my eyes open. Diabetics need their insulin every day--the diabetes doesn't skip a day or stop in the evenings. My partner needs his ADHD medication just as much to deal with our home life and relationship issues as he does to handle work. A doctor or a therapist or a prescribing psychiatrist needs to explain this idea to your husband. It's not an opinion and not your point of view or mine--it just is.

Next, to address general frustration and tensions coming from your husband's diagnosis. I suggest that you order yourself a copy of Gina Pera's book "Is It You, Me or Adult ADD?"--or get it from the library. This books will help you a lot--it is one of the few written specifically for the partners of adults with ADHD. I think it will give you context and positive but different ways of seeing your situation. Getting an ADHD diagnosis can be very overwhelming to the person who has it--and there can be lots of spillover to partners as well.

Third, as jende wisely said, pay attention to boundaries. You need to be clear about what yours are and should be, and how to get them respected. For many of us, the only way to do this is by getting some help through therapy for ourselves. Your husband should not put you down even if his medication is wearing off too soon and even if he isn't feeling well.

This is a lot to handle! It's great that your husband was diagnosed however, and that you are seeking info support here. Good for you.

Good luck with everything, and let us know how it goes--

davida
12-23-14, 04:28 AM
thanks to all of you for your help

I don't need him to take on more but it's the constant critiscm that is bothering me

He doesn't even realize he is doing it -- I think it's just because he's finally feeling better about himself he has to bash me so I am lower then him.
A few times he told me I like him better when he is down. It's not true at all - I'm very happy that he is healing and doing well -- I just don't need to be knocked down for him to go up.

sarahsweets
12-23-14, 04:45 AM
Davida- I get it what you're saying. There are many things he may not ever be able to do well but being cruel to you is not a part of adhd.

davida
12-23-14, 04:48 AM
but he is not being cruel because he is cruel

that is not him at all

it's definitely something related to recently starting treatment for adhd and starting to get to know himself

davida
12-23-14, 05:24 AM
the other thing about medicine in the evening is he's afraid it will keep his awake?

He is also scared to take too much as it he is taking 20-30 mg of ritalin very 3-4 hours.

sarahsweets
12-23-14, 05:30 AM
I understand what you mean and I didn't mean to imply that he is a cruel person just that his actions are cruel. All the household stuff aside, he doesn't get to be mean or condescending just because he has a disorder. Things may never be divided up equally but emotional abuse is something different. Just remember: you are NOT lazy,crazy,stupid,dumb,useless,worthless,unworthy, unlovable,evil,horrible,terrible or ugly. You are a human being and a spouse deserving of love and respect.



but he is not being cruel because he is cruel

that is not him at all

it's definitely something related to recently starting treatment for adhd and starting to get to know himself

VeryTired
12-23-14, 11:17 AM
davida--

Your husband's medication dosage and timing is something he should discuss with his doctor. Everyone's metabolism is different, and he may need to experiment to get the optimal timing and dosage, but that's not something to be fearful about. It shouldn't be a relationship issue with you.

My partner often tells me that although the effects of his medication have been amazingly good, it wouldn't be able to help him much at all if he wasn't also in therapy, learning, growing and changing. The medication clears space for him to do that work, but he has to do the work himself--the medicine doesn't do it for him. It's not always easy to figure out that to work on: he also says he wouldn't have been able to reach the understandings and make the progress he has without the benefits of his group therapy. So medication + therapy were what was needed for him to address the challenges of his ADHD.

I do remember, though, that after his diagnosis and before he started therapy, he suddenly had a lot of criticisms of me that didn't really make sense. So I think I know what you are talking about, and my advice to you is to remember that it isn't actually about you. Get that Gina Pera book--it will make you feel much better about all this--and help you to learn more!

dvdnvwls
12-23-14, 02:42 PM
Too high (or too low) a dose of Ritalin - or basically any ADHD medication - can make a person anxious, edgy, and quick to anger.

And yes, taking it too late in the day might cause insomnia or poor sleep.

Correct dosage, and effects on sleep, differ widely from person to person.

jende2
12-23-14, 04:24 PM
That was exactly why my boyfriend would not take his 4:00 P.M. dose - before the therapist got ahold of him, that is. He said it would keep him awake at night. So the psych gave him something to take before bedtime, to bring him back "down".

You and your husband do need to go see the psych about all this. But there ARE solutions. You DO NOT have to live this way in the evenings with him! I know how horrible it can be - I was at my wit's end and ready to walk out.........

Pilgrim
12-23-14, 04:41 PM
It's no excuse for his behaviour.

I would say that initial period of diagnosis and medication there is extreme upheaval.

Try to support him but point out his attitude.

anonymouslyadd
12-23-14, 04:45 PM
That was exactly why my boyfriend would not take his 4:00 P.M. dose - before the therapist got ahold of him, that is. He said it would keep him awake at night. So the psych gave him something to take before bedtime, to bring him back "down".

You and your husband do need to go see the psych about all this. But there ARE solutions. You DO NOT have to live this way in the evenings with him! I know how horrible it can be - I was at my wit's end and ready to walk out.........
My Adderall dose doesn't impede my sleeping ability. I sleep like a lamb. I believe it depends on the individual and type of medicine and dosage.

Mittens
12-31-14, 09:08 PM
:)

It's clear that there is a group of women (I've never heard it mentioned by a man, and it seems to me that these particular women may even share similar personalities), who know exactly what they mean by "emotional support", and who unfortunately tend to blame and shame the rest of us when we sincerely ask them to explain what they mean by it. I'm happy to support someone, but I need to know how first, in a way that I can understand.

This is 100% me.

My husband and I had our first counseling session and as simple or obvious as this may seem - one particular part was a HUGE game changer.

Emotional support is a big issue with my husband and I.

I know logically my husband*needs* specifics and tangible and play by play. I can't tell you how guilty and inadequate I felt because I didnt know... I couldn't for the life of me explain what I needed, all I knew was what was happening wasn't working. As a result we got to a bad place - I was a horrible wife and an idiot because I didn't know how to tell him what I need, and he didn't know what I needed (obviously) so he felt frustrated and inadequate and it was just bad.

When we spoke with the counselor she brought up a few things. Some people naturally are fixers and intuitively know what to say or do and can read people well. That's me. Unfortunately that also means because I don't know how I do it, I don't know how to communicate that to my hubby - and he can't read my mind so understandably cant give me what I need. Someone wrote about explaining the color blue to someone that has been blind since birth - both explainer and explainee are kind of screwed.

So - individual counseling for *me* to help me communicate and give my hubby the information he needs, and cognitive behavior therapy for him so he can understand and help him recognize and get it in away he can understand.

Then hopefully we get together and are able to help each other and speak the same language.

Not sure if that is any help, but it was very encouraging to to know I wasn't a horrible monster / idiot not knowing what I need and that's not for lack of trying on my part, and he heard that he wasn't a monster or idiot for not knowing and it's not lack of trying on his part - and there is hope and ways to workaround it.

Anyhow sorry if this is long winded.

Happy New Year.

ToneTone
01-02-15, 01:27 PM
Davida,

Just to back up some others here, it does NOT MATTER why someone is being cruel to you, even if it's for five minutes. You have a duty to protect yourself and say no.

It's easy to forgive a one time thing. I shared a vulnerable story with a friend of mine about a difficult time in my job--in order to give the friend some support as he faced the threat of being fired. He took what I told him and used it to knife me in the gut. That was cruel. I pointed it out to him. He apologized. I let it go because the friend is under enormous stress because he is in the process of being fired. And letting go was easy because he apologized and didn't do this again.

You owe it to yourself and to him to say no to his ongoing criticism no matter if it's "caused" by a drop in medication, no matter if it's caused by the death of his mother, no matter if it's "caused" by a diagnosis cancer. Otherwise, you will end up resenting and hating him.

You might need to tell him that you are willing to hear criticisms and take suggestions, but only if a formal meeting is scheduled and he talks about his issues with you at one time. Or tell him you will listen to this stuff one day a week.

Here's my understanding of emotional support:

a. Partners really like acknowledgement for their hard work around the house and for dealing with any number of issues that come up.

b. Partners who are parents who have to make difficult decisions on their own--with little help or input from their partners--tend to feel abandoned.

c. Partners appreciate encouragement and a hug when they have their own problems with bosses, with their self confidence, when they feel ugly or unsuccessful, etc.

Unfortunately, in order to give such support, you have to be aware of all that the other person is doing at their job, with the kids, with the kids' teachers, with the kids' doctors, with the kids' activities and clubs, with bills. ADHDers have enough trouble dealing with their own work, that it's easy to tune out the work others are doing.

Probably ADHDers need a weekly ritual in which they stop to acknowledge all that their partners are doing to keep the boat afloat. One of my ADHD struggles has been to learn how to give support AND pay attention to my own needs at the same time.

Tone

FellowADDer
04-03-15, 11:51 AM
Don't know if anyone is still reading this thread, but wanted to add an observation. But first, I agree - no excuse for being mean, and we all need to be accountable for how we treat others whether we have ADD or not.

First, there are some interesting dynamics in relationships. I'll speak to the man with ADD and the woman trying to hold everything together in the household (especially if there are young kids or special demands at home).

It's really about a vicious cycle that need to be broken...
1) The ADD partner is overwhelmed by the new level of demands and planning, and the invasion of others into the carefully ordered life that he needs to manage his ADD challenges. He can't seem to contribute like he feels he should around the home, and feels guilty about it.

2) The non ADD partner is overwhelmed by the demands of holding together the household, and is infuriated by how the ADD partner doesn't seem to even care or be trying to help out. A level of chaos ensues because things just don't get done, and it feels like too much for one person to carry the load essentially by themselves. "If only my ADD partner would just help out. I don't understand why he won't try to do more, or why he's so mad at me - doesn't he realize I'm doing everything? He's clearly the problem here." She doesn't feel like he's really in it with her.

3) The ADD partner feels frustrated or mad at his non-ADD partner because she's always on his case and he never feels supported. Doesn't she realize what he's struggling with? He keeps telling her but she doesn't seem to want to understand, she just wants to be angry at him for not doing better. And yet she's so kind and supportive also.

So the ADD partner feels like he doesn't feel like he really needs help, he just needs for his partner to stop "messing him up" because if he can order his life and mind again, he can be more capable again. It feels like she just won't allow him to function and then she gets frustrated at him. He's in a lose-lose situation.

This cycle and strange dynamic is not understood by most counselors so they just make it worse. Both partners are frustrated with each other... why can't he/she just XYZ? Can't he/she see what her/his behavior is doing to me?

So as a partner, I'd recommend taking a step back from the anger and accepting that the ADD partner is way different in some ways than you are. Keep an open mind about his motives, and don't assume he doesn't care. Realize that he is fighting a crippling battle every day to order his mind and his world in a war that you will never have to fight. Treatment and counseling is a great step if it can help to mitigate the effects of ADD. But he needs an environment that allows him to survive and prosper, and then he can be better at meeting your needs when he's not drowning himself. He's (probably) not trying to hurt you - he's probably doing his best and suffering, and feeling all the more pain when he tries and you are mad at him for not trying more. Talk about how you can help him survive, and in the areas where you want his help take baby steps and ask him what he needs to be able to help, and in what way he can do it. I know it sounds unfair that you have to be so accommodating, but aren't you both in this together?

For the ADD spouse, he needs to not just withdraw or turn on his spouse. It may feel like they are crippling your ability to function and then adding to the problem by having an attitude toward you and claiming you are not trying. But in reality, they are just viewing you with their own perspective of the world. They are doing everything they can, and are probably feeling like they are an island, holding together the home all by themselves. They feel like all they are asking is some simple things that anyone could do, and yet they don't see you doing them. And they have no idea that they in many ways they are the reason you can't function. But if you try to explain that, all they see is that they are only asking trivial things from you, and are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders, so it doesn't seem fair to them.

So the ADDer needs to acknowledge that burden the non-ADD spouse faces. Try to find ways to help in small ways. Be appreciative of what they are doing. Don't take the criticism and frustrations they display as a personal attack, but just as their way to trying to deal with their burden. Find small ways to understand and meet their needs. Work on getting healthy enough to explain and talk with them about what you need.

For me, I need to have order in the areas of the house where I need to function - office, laundry, bathroom, etc. I need to be able to control my sleep hygiene. I need to have the anger toward me minimized, and see grace. You probably know what you need as the ADD partner and think it's obvious. But it's not!!!! The neurotypical partner DOESN'T understand your battles and what makes things hard for you because it's foreign to them. And on top of that, they are picking up your slack so they are overwhelmed and the last thing they want to think about is "coddling" their partner with these ridiculous requests/demands.

What's the answer? I firmly believe that it's love, kindness, graciousness and working hard to understand each other's needs without judging. You are together because you love each other and have positive intent toward each other. You just need to figure out how to help each other prosper without beating each other up too much in the process.

Note: My opinions expressed in this post are based on my own life experience. And I don't hear experts or anyone else expressing similar views, so I may be way off base for the "average/typical" ADD/non-ADD couple. Take it for what it's worth. I just know that I wish I knew I had ADD and had heard this kind of perspective before I got married. It would have saved us a lot of grief that we had to learn (and are still learning) the hard way!

Mittens
04-04-15, 03:01 AM
As a side note about the Ritalin - my husband started on Ritalin and the first few months he felt amazing. It was tough because it wore off by the time I got home from work / he got home, but during the day he would talk about what a difference it made, etc etc...
A few months in the changes started. My husband started having atrocious mood swings, a light-switch temper, etc etc. He went in to talk to his family dr and the dr said he was basically going through 'withdrawal' every evening and the higher he increased the dose, the worse it got. He was changed onto Concerta and it was like night and day. Immediately noticed a difference and my husband said he still got the benefits but without the nasty withdrawal.
Not saying this is the case, and there is absolutely no excuse to be cruel, but something to think about?

Hope this helps
Mittens

InvitroCanibal
04-06-15, 01:08 AM
My husband was recently diagnosed with ADHD

This was after we had 2 kids diagnosed and now another ADD also put on ritalin.

I have been married for over 15 years but with the last 5 being very difficult which I think finally pushed my husband to get help and he was told he was adhd. (I thought it was depression)

Now he is beginning to learn who he is himself.
In the process he is rejecting me. I have been his support this entire time and now he keeps putting me down. He keeps saying i'm adhd or depressed or forsure something. (I honestly don't think so and I work a full time in addition to taking care of kids including adhd so of course I am sometimes overwhelmed) He is constantly putting me down and showing 0 patience for anything (or even time to hear my opinion)

I think it is related to this recent diagnose (and he is taking ritalin for about 6 months now)

He functions much better with the ritalin but by the time he comes home it has warn off and I don't think he even realizes that he is being so irritable and so difficult to be around.

Any suggestions? I really think this is adhd related especially with coming to terms with it.

Sounds like he is depressed as well. I get agitated when im depressed too. Lash out at those closest to me. Although I am bipolar.

Best thing he can do is talk to a doc about it. Men handle depression with anger because its often the only feeling that feels socially acceptable. Pathetic I suppose, but its a scary thing feeling depressed. I get agitated against the people around me because I start to feel incapable of helping those that depend on me for support. I can feel like I am letting everyone down and push people away to deal with that.

The two disorders of depression and adhd almost always co-occur.

The mood swings with the meds is often a sign of unstable moods.(not surprising I suppose) He gets relief for a bit and then it counter swings causing worsening moods. You should see a psychiatrist if possible. GP's just don't always have enough time for these if/then scenarios that often occur on meds.