View Full Version : Mother may have adhd

05-25-16, 10:23 AM
Hello first I myself do not suffer from ADHD. My Mother I believe does which is why I am here looking for advice.

My Mother mentioned in passing once that she has mental health issues at play that cause some of her day to day issues. When I asked what she meant she vaguely implied ADHD.

I need advice as to how to approach my Mother with some issues she has had for her ENTIRE LIFE. Her problems have progressively gotten worse over the years and I feel now is the time to speak up.

My Mother has sever problems with keeping her house organized. She also can not keep it clean or do basic things like putting away a suitcase/clothes after a trip, putting trash into a trash bag and then outside.(she will use a box then it will sit there for a year until I do something with it) Or if something in the house breaks like a cabinet cupboard or a facet handle it will never get repaired. Random trash that I would consider easy to deal with will sit on her floor, counters, or garage for months. Old food will be forgotten about in the fridge and so on. There are worse things but I won't go into that.

There is even times that I will come home to my own house and find that my mom cleaned out her camper and left all her items and garbage in my garage for me to deal with saying its my problem now because she doesn't want that stuff anymore.

The issue now is my Mom is in the habit of demanding that us "children" (not adults) come and clean her house before company arrives to stay. In the past we have helped out of embarrassment but now its tiresome. When we do help she either gets distracted on her phone and refuses to get off, she will start on one project and next thing I know shes off on 3 more and none of been complete, or she will blame us later on for something being thrown out or missing. Once the house is done she will then take credit when company arrives and has the habit of turning the conversation to how her children are ungrateful and treat her poorly considering all she does for us. I will say my mother has helped us out a lot when we were first establishing ourselves but the conversation is rude.

I have tried to talk to my mom many times about getting her help. When I do she gets offended or will say her mind doesn't function like a normal persons. Often times to get off the topic she will turn it onto me being a bad daughter. My Mother constantly talks about how unhappy she is with how she lives but refuses to get help to better it.

Does this sound like some typical ADHD struggles? If so what have some of you done to help the situation and how would you want to be approached on the subject?

05-25-16, 01:49 PM
Hello and welcome to the forums! :)

The things you listed in the paragraph describing symptoms could very possibly be ADHD. It could also be other things like depression, hoarding, etc. or a mix of ADHD and another disorder(s).

Okay but the next part where you talk about her having you all adult children clean her house for her, then her taking the credit, THEN turning the conversation about how ungrateful you all are, what sounds to be smear-campaign and then placing herself up on some high thing like she does so much for you all and the whole "poor her" thing....and then saying you're a bad daughter?

That's not ADHD. It sounds like she has much more going on than just possible ADHD

She honestly sounds toxic and she is being emotionally abusive to you.

My advice would be to stop cleaning her house for her. She clearly is the one who is ungrateful. You are not obligated to help her just because she is your mother, no matter what she might try to convince you or manipulate you of.

It sounds like she currently isn't interested in help and/or won't accept that she has some serious issues.

Perhaps you could try printing off a list of ADHD symptoms and give it to her - although she might find that offensive too.

I hope you don't mind me asking - does she treat all of her adult children this way? Or does one get treated better?

I hope you can find the support you need.

05-25-16, 04:23 PM
We (her children) are all treated pretty equal. We can get along great and typically have each others back but when it comes to her needing help that is when things can get sensitive. The only time she needs help though is with her cleaning/organizing. She can not maintain it on a daily level like most people do. No matter what she does she gets sidetrack or easily distracted. She can never complete the task start to finish. When we bring this to her attention that's when her anger can set in or her getting offended.

I recently told her I couldn't help anymore because of what always happens but I did say WE needed to figure this out. If she needs help getting help then that I will gladly take part in. BUT I can't keep being TOLD I have to help then having the situation turned on me like I am the bad guy.

My main problem is if she does have ADHD I want to be sensitive to that. I don't know what thats like personally. I also don't want every tense conversation to get turned back onto me being the mean one. So that is why I came here because if perhaps the oranizing/cleaning issues is common then maybe I can approach them differently to help her.

05-25-16, 06:07 PM
Ah, okay. Thanks for explaining.

Maybe she feels like if she has a disorder then it means something is wrong with her - as in, maybe she is assigning a moral component to it. She might have even heard negative things about ADHD since it has a stigma.

You are not her parent - it's important to remember that. Good job telling her you couldn't help anymore. You don't "have" to help her - and the whole situation getting put on you is pretty manipulative.

I appreciate you wanting to be sensitive to someone who might have ADHD. But really - from what you have written so far it sounds like she treats you like crap. It's important to think about YOUR own mental health even though you don't have a disorder - ANYONE being exposed to that type of toxic behavior would take its toll on them.

Can she hire someone to help her? Like to come in and clean once a week/month. That would probably help everyone, and take pressure off of you and your siblings.

05-26-16, 02:14 AM
I have to agree with Bella, there is more going on than adhd. Unfortunately the symptoms of adhd tend to pop up in a lot of different diagnosis.

Your mother does have motivational and organizational issues and they severely affect her life and her relationships.

The part where she blames her adult children and takes credit, that is not adhd. I can't say what it is.

If this is the big issue is it not possible to get bi-monthly house cleaning help?

05-26-16, 04:39 AM
Bella and Ginnie beat me to the punch. She may have adhd- but she has obviously had years to practice emotionally manipulating her children-eoough so that they go over and do her bidding and then watch as she becomes a bystander in her own life. Honestly it sounds like there could be a little narcisism going on. Does she treat all of her children the same way or pit them againt each other?

05-26-16, 10:23 AM
Yes as other's mentioned it sounds like ADHD plus other issues as well..

When/if you mentioned to her, in the past, that you get offended and/or hurt when she talks negatively about her children with company around,how does she respond? Also, when it is discussed with her, when you or siblings mention how it bother's you, it is it in the form of attacking her, or in the manner of "we feel hurt when you speak of us about us negatively?

Outside if these issues, how is your relationship with her? Has something changed over the years or her behavior declined recently?

The "taking" credit part, I can honestly see as her way of covering up/ hiding her own shame/guilt for her impairments. It's possible it's part of the problem, though taking she seems to take it step above into the "victim role"is bothersome..

I know for me, I hide how impaired I am to others quite often. To most people, I appear to have my act together and I'm not impaired by ADHD and my other issues, to my immediate family( mostly in the past only my mom truly knew, and was helping me with how much I struggled with things in my life.. now my sister and dad are much more aware, of my limitations and struggles since my mom isn't able to help me anymore:()

05-27-16, 04:14 PM
Oooh man this sounds soooo much like my mom who is undiagnosed (and it also sounds like me too :(, certainly me pre-meds and ADHD specific therapy) I think my mom has inattentive ADHD and she has a serious problem with hoarding. There's a lot of emotional attachment/anxiety involved with hoarding, that can be CRAZY to deal with, and also undiagnosed ADHD can cause really low self esteem so it sounds like she's trying to protect herself from criticism, which also means needing help AND being defensive and taking things out on you guys. Also a symptom of ADHD is poor self observation, so she actually truly may not realize how little she does to help when you're there or that she consistently ends up doing some other unhelpful activity. And she may have a general sense of being unorganized without realizing exactly where her weaknesses are - not that any of these things is an excuse, she could learn to notice this stuff with help and more information about the disorder. The short temper about things going missing could be ADHD/anxiety as well.

I feel like with my mom, she's only going to be able to get help for a problem when she is able to admit to herself that she has a problem. (Which she doesn't do so I steer clear mostly, and my siblings steer even more clear.)

I mean there is the self esteem issue, like, not wanting people to know exactly how bad it is or how bad you feel, so someone with low self esteem may also not want to reach out for help...but I guess if you let her know that when she does XYZ things it makes you feel XYZ, and you support her but you can't feel that way anymore...then the ball's in her court. Do not go over and help her anymore though, she will never realize she has a problem otherwise.

I feel like cleaning services could be a great solution for you, as someone else said, then there's no family tension involved.

05-31-16, 12:00 AM
I don't get what is really bothering you, if she asks for help then throws it in your face , don't help.
My mother is like this.
All her other bad habbits I have, but I don't ask people for help because I don't want people to work it out, a bit chameleon like.
Sarah summed it up well.

If your wondering why she doesn't want to get help. Imagine regraphing a new set of habbits and behaviours over old ones, plus dealing with the emotional turmoil that comes with it.
In this respect put yourself in her shoes. But don't let her tear strips off you.