View Full Version : Trying to accommodate ADHD in a partner who denies the problem.


giacomina
11-04-15, 12:23 PM
I'm new to this forum.

I was about to leave my Adult ADD partner of 13 years. We were both very unhappy. Until I started reading up on ADD on account of my kids both having it, I had no idea my husband had it, too. Suddenly I'm seeing the reasons behind all the questions I was having about him, and all the fights we were having. We are both reasonably intelligent and kind people. WHY couldn't we get along? Finding the ADD information was a breakthrough for me.

Now I *get* why he does or doesn't do certain things which make me puzzled and or drive me crazy.Our relationship has improved enormously because now I am coming at this from a place of understanding. With understanding I can empathize and let go of certain expectations. I can be less frustrated and start to love him again. Our relationship is worth saving. My working around the "brick wall"instead of smashing into it every day has helped me enormously.

The problem now? I have explained why our lives have gotten magically better because I *get* the ADD thing. He got angry. He thinks a diagnosis means he is a mental case. A mental disease is how he sees this and he is vigorously opposing the very idea. He feels that I am making him *less than* when, really I just have to be nicer to him! (trust me, he has it. I would stake everything I own on this as a real diagnosis) His sister also has it. As do ALL 4 of his sister's kids...his behaviour clocks in at over 80 % in those ADD surveys. But he's a high functioning ADD. You'd never know it until you live with him for several years. Then you go..what the hell??

So question: now what. He doesn't thjink he has it. He won't go get a diagnosis and he gets angry if I even talk about it. I'm doing ALL the accomodating. He's just being himself. This is making me angry. Advice?

daveddd
11-04-15, 06:24 PM
I'm new to this forum.

I was about to leave my Adult ADD partner of 13 years. We were both very unhappy. Until I started reading up on ADD on account of my kids both having it, I had no idea my husband had it, too. Suddenly I'm seeing the reasons behind all the questions I was having about him, and all the fights we were having. We are both reasonably intelligent and kind people. WHY couldn't we get along? Finding the ADD information was a breakthrough for me.

Now I *get* why he does or doesn't do certain things which make me puzzled and or drive me crazy.Our relationship has improved enormously because now I am coming at this from a place of understanding. With understanding I can empathize and let go of certain expectations. I can be less frustrated and start to love him again. Our relationship is worth saving. My working around the "brick wall"instead of smashing into it every day has helped me enormously.

The problem now? I have explained why our lives have gotten magically better because I *get* the ADD thing. He got angry. He thinks a diagnosis means he is a mental case. A mental disease is how he sees this and he is vigorously opposing the very idea. He feels that I am making him *less than* when, really I just have to be nicer to him! (trust me, he has it. I would stake everything I own on this as a real diagnosis) His sister also has it. As do ALL 4 of his sister's kids...his behaviour clocks in at over 80 % in those ADD surveys. But he's a high functioning ADD. You'd never know it until you live with him for several years. Then you go..what the hell??

So question: now what. He doesn't thjink he has it. He won't go get a diagnosis and he gets angry if I even talk about it. I'm doing ALL the accomodating. He's just being himself. This is making me angry. Advice?

well if he doesnt like the dx

i guess the best thing is just keep the reason for his behaviors in mind and do the best you can

maybe mention ADHD or the behaviors briefly and not directed at him occasionally, maybe plant a seed

what now may come across to him as an accusation may soon begin to develop into a life changing realization

good luck

Delphine
11-04-15, 06:52 PM
Hi giacomina,

Welcome to the forum. I think this is your first post and I am so glad you shared.

The difference between your husband and many of us posting here is that he did not come to this realisation for himself, or by himself.

It is human nature to resist something as big as this that is brought to you by another.

You say "he is vigorously opposing the very idea". - That suggests to me that he is still in the stage of figuring this out, wondering if it could be true - and what it means for him if it is true.

In a way, you could say he has become defensive, which is how everyone on the planet initially responds (at some level, outward or not)... to a perceived threat.

You sound like a lovely, compassionate person. You came to the end of your rope with the problems you were having and then a lightbulb went off for you where you understood what is most likely the underlying problem in your marriage and your family.

You responded with kindness and understanding, and it is natural that you would expect appreciation for your insights. It is natural that you would want this to be a big epiphany for your both, involving hugs and sweet relief - and appreciation of you.

I hear you, and I appreciate you, if that means a bit to you right now, today.

I hear your kindness, your willingness to put the past aside and work from here.
I wish that every ADHD had a partner as empathetic and as willing to let go of certain expectations, as you both figure your relationship out from here.

But..... I would advise you to perhaps let the subject drop with your husband for a little while, and allow him time and compassionate space to come to terms with what you have brought to him.

Big difference between someone who spends months pondering this for themselves, and someone whose spouse has brought it to them.

In the meantime, while you are giving him that space, post here as much as you like. You need support and compassion and understanding. You've been through a tough time, almost quit but didn't. Because you loved him enough to find ways to understand him and want to support him.

Please love yourself enough too - enough to give yourself time to regroup your own energies, to support yourself during this time (maybe weeks or months) where he is coming to terms with his own story....

It must be frustrating for you, and I completely get why you are becoming angry (Hey, you're willing to draw a line in the sand, put it all behind you and support him....and he is resistant!?) I get why that is a challenge for you.

Now it's time to focus on you. Find your own centre. Believe in your future, that it can and will be good. You obviously have tenacity and endurance, and lots of love.
Find what brings you alive for a little while, and take the focus off him for a little while.

He has a journey to make. Let him make it.

Love him and enjoy the things you've always loved together, without further mention of this for now. You're important too. Love and nurture you while he's ingesting all this.

That will take some strength and patience, but it sounds like you have that in buckets!

Hugs xxx

ToneTone
11-04-15, 08:29 PM
Delphine makes an excellent point about the shock and defensiveness that can arise when a person gets this new understanding from another person, even a spouse that loves them.

I started medication for depression in 2004 ... Before that, I had gone to therapy many times ... So when the ADHD realization clicked for me in 2008, it wasn't such a big step .... And as soon as I read that ADHD and depression often go together, I got a further realization ...

Not sure what to tell you. You sound positively lovely! ... So I imagine your husband has never been to therapy or been on any other medications, so he never got the chance to throw away the stigma about getting mental health treatment.

These days I experience great satisfaction in monitoring and taking care of my mental health and brain health. That's largely because my mother was a mental health counselor and she gave me a positive view of counseling from early on ...Two, because I know my life is 100x better than it would be if I were not getting treatment.

I tend to think that a person in your situation should NOT stick around simply because you're aware that there may be a "reason" behind some of his behaviors ... People come to this board all the time ... people who have spouses who are getting treated and still they are unhappy in key parts of their relationships/marriages. Treating ADHD effectively is actually more challenging than simply taking a pill ...Successful treatment involves a lot of energy on the part of the ADHDer ...

Adult ADHD is not a condition that can be treated well in a patient that doesn't accept the need for treatment. There is a lot of trial and effort in medications and medication dosages ... lots of meeting with doctors, preferably psychiatrists (they know a lot more about the condition than family doctors) ... There are huge lifestyle adjustments required on the part of the ADHDers. Furthermore, untreated ADHD basically leads to a history of failure often accompanied by a denial of such failure. So it often takes work for adult-diagnosed ADHDers to develop confidence and persistence required to keep moving forward.

Treatment is a journey, often a long and complicated one. I'm still adjusting meds and my lifestyle and I'm 7 1/2 years into treatment.

aeon
11-04-15, 09:46 PM
With understanding I can empathize and let go of certain expectations. I can be less frustrated and start to love him again.

That you have come to know this is a blessing.

That you have tried, in interest of the well-being of each of you, as well as the marriage itself, is something I want to acknowledge (aside from the rest of your post) because I value your choice to do so.

Not everyone who finds themselves in that place try. Some just walk away.

You didnít. :yes:


Much Respect,
Ian

sarahsweets
11-05-15, 02:59 AM
You have no idea how ammazing you sound.. So so often we get nonadhd partners who want to blame and belittle their spouse. Its great you dont want to do that. As far as he goes....you may just have to let it be for now. We can want help for our loved ones so much but ultimately we can only change ourseleves

VeryTired
11-05-15, 05:04 PM
Hi, giacomina, and welcome!

I hope that discovering ADDF will be very positive for you, just as it has been for me as it's helped me to learn about how my partner's ADHD affects many aspects of his, my and our lives.

I think what you said about being able to love your husband again is very powerful and important. And it's absolutely true what others here have said about how it it can be hard for someone hard to accept a diagnosis that he hasn't sought out himself. But I can tell you that it can also be very very hard to live with someone whose ADHD isn't treated. I don't necessarily mean treated with medication (although that can be beautifully life-changing), I just mean treated by recognizing the reality of ADHD and pursuing some approach to addressing the problems it causes.

Only you can say what's best for you, and for your family. But I have found that it wasn't sustainable for me to stay in a relationship in which I had to do all the accommodating, and where many of my needs didn't reliably get met, for reasons related to my partner's ADHD. So when I began to realize that ADHD was probably a factor for him, I sat him down and told him what I thought, and asked him, for me, to go and see a doctor about it.

What I was really thinking was "please do it FOR YOU," but he didn't want to hear that then. So I spoke about my feelings and my needs. And although at the time he was angry, scared, insulted, upset, confused and all sorts of not-happy emotions, he'd tell you today that it turned out to be one of the best days of his life. He went, he talked, he got diagnosed, he got a RX, he took the medication and eventually he started attended group therapy for adults with ADHD. These are the things that have helped him to build the life he'd always wanted. He says that his diagnosis helps him know and be who he really is, and that his medication lets him feel like his real self for the first time in his life.

My partner's diagnosis, meds, therapy and work at understanding himself are also things that have made it possible for me to continue in a relationship that wouldn't be possible for me otherwise. So my experience is that unhappiness and stress around suggesting seeing a doctor about possible ADHD has been completely worth it in every way.

Anyway, let us know how things go with you. Keep in touch.
Wishing you all the best--