View Full Version : Dealing with Multiple ADD personalities

08-14-15, 02:31 PM
If you have read my thread about dealing with my wife and my suspicion that she has ADD you can understand more of my story. I thought I would start different thread about dealing with her and the kids.

She has a 13YO diagnosed ADHD son who I discussed before and a 25YO son that has been in another state since we have been together. The 25YO has moved in with us and is going back to college. It appears to me that the older son is also ADHD and may be the most severe case. Gets bored, completely zoned out at times, closing a door, drawer, turning of a light or even flushing the toilet just does not enter his mind. Not interested in getting a job and has just holed up with the 13YO like peas in a pod. They have different fathers.

Anyway, I am now living in this pod with these three people trying to figure out the interactions and how to fit in and be part of the family. I can relate to all of them most of the time individually as they are always on different tracks unless they are playing a video game together or watching a movie but those times are short lived.

I'm just curious of others who have been in similar situations and wondering how this interaction plays out. It does have the wife doing more work around the house as she is constantly picking up after both of them. I attempt to avoid the boys messes as much as I can tolerate so she does pick up after them and then of course is exhausted.

Thankfully, school starts next week, so it should get better.

08-14-15, 06:49 PM
Consider the possibility that "individually" might really be the answer you're after - maybe you've answered your own question by your natural reaction. Not necessarily true, just don't throw out that option.

If cleaning up messes exhausts her but doesn't exhaust you, consider trading her for some other task - one that she has an easier time with, but that you don't necessarily like much. Having her frequently exhausted is not an advantage for you either.

08-14-15, 07:22 PM
I edited my post extensively, so much so that the editing time limit expired. Here's the new (and hopefully improved :) ) version.

Consider the possibility that "individually" might really be the answer you're after - maybe you've answered your own question by your natural reaction. Not necessarily true, just don't throw out that option.

About the other stuff, here's an example to think about: By conventional fairness standards, an elderly man in a wheelchair should get up the stairs by himself; after all, everyone else does.

Conventional fairness isn't useful anymore when people's ability levels are significantly different.

With ADHDers, having the tasks distributed in the "right" or "fair" or conventional way (as determined by neurotypical standards, that is) is often a big mistake. Instead, the tasks have to be distributed in some way that ends up being both successful (i.e. the stuff that needs to be done gets done, somehow) and not unnecessarily difficult or tiring for anybody. Most of the time, everything that needs doing can be divided up so that no one has too hard a time with it.

If cleaning up messes exhausts your wife but doesn't exhaust you, consider trading her for some other task - one that she has an easier time with, but that you don't necessarily like doing. Having her frequently exhausted is not an advantage for you or for her.

(In my old-man-in-a-wheelchair example, maybe that old man is a good cook or a reliable financial manager. Surely someone else can help him up and down the stairs so he isn't wasting all his energy on something he's no good at. Whatever the situation, as far as possible, get people onto the tasks they can handle, and off of the ones they can't.)

In any case, it doesn't matter that they're "her kids", and it doesn't follow that their messes would be "hers to clean up". For one thing, when you marry somebody who has kids that live with them, then for day-to-day purposes they're your kids too, like it or not, legal adoption or not. Grown children who have moved away and then unexpectedly moved back after you got married form some kind of grey area I guess, but certainly a 13-year-old isn't like that.

Calling them "my kids" or "our kids" instead of "her kids" might actually go a long way toward answering your main question of how to be part of the family.

08-15-15, 06:39 AM
DVD makes a good point. I am sure your intentions were different then how it sounded but looking at them as her kids keeps you a bit separate from the family. You all live together and you are married and that comes with responsibility, joint responsibility. You both are now responsible for how things run in the household. Avoiding the kids messes sends the message that even though you married her, you didnt agree to take on the kids 100%. Marriage is a partnership that covers all the bases. Why not help her with this stuff? With the son thats an adult, have you thought about talking to him and seeing if there is anything he can do to help? Yes he has adhd, but that doesnt mean he cant do a single task in the house. Maybe you could find out if he can do something to contribute. You didnt mention that your wife was resentful about your lack of help but I can tell you that she will feel that at some point.
Imagine if you had a dog, and you got married and she didnt ever take the dog for a walk, clean up after it or feed it? She may not have explicitly said she would help with the dog, but the marriage implies joint responsibility. Just food for thought.

08-17-15, 08:43 AM
I guess that was misinterpreted. I think I was making the point of her kids for clarification purposes in talking to others on here so everyone understood the situation. But it is true that I should not even be thinking in that realm. I do consider them my kids too and part of the family.

I guess I was not too clear on how everything is functioning. I am picking up and cleaning up after them quite a bit. My mistake may be that I wait until she sees the messes before I do anything because there have been times when she gets on to them for making such a mess. Since there are two involved now I don't believe she can discern who made the mess so there are no consequences so I might as well clean it up and move on with a happier home.

I know its not an ADHD thing, but more of a Mom thing, that keeps me from feeling comfortable providing consequences to the kids. She makes it clear that that is only for her and I shall remain silent.

The main question I have is, out of curiosity of how all the interaction works. They seem to all get along fine, then there will be a blowup and no one is talking and then everything is great again.

Thanks for pointing out my oversights in how I am looking at things. That is obviously something I need to correct in myself.

08-17-15, 11:35 AM
As a full-time step-mom of two kids, who are now grown and mostly moved onto their own lives, I'd like to offer you a supportive hug in your attempts to make sense of it all by seeking advice.

From my experiences, they all speak a common familial language that I don't, even in my best attempts at trying to translate. Their maternal side of the family included. The only language we all have in common is love.

I nearly drove myself crazy leaving their messes, etc. for their dad to see and evaluate so he could take the biological parent reigns and deal with it, discuss consequences, etc. for what I felt were necessary learning experiences. But, at the time, I didn't realize I was creating much more stress and chaos for myself and everyone else.

It was a tough learning curve, but I became more forgiving of what I perceived as messes and worked harder at discovering whose strengths could be best utilized where, and in a much more user friendly way than just because that's how I thought it should be. Demonstration and trying it together was typically the most helpful in helping to learn better ways of routing energies, etc.

There's still a clear language barrier between me and them, and that's true with most any other individual I encounter, but I've been able to relax more into acceptance of the things my upbringing and life experiences had made me unaware of until I was living in my own ready made family scene.

08-17-15, 02:27 PM
Thanks Unmanageable. That really helps so much. Gives me plenty to think about in my efforts to work through these issues.