View Full Version : Is this typical for someone with ADHD


LiviaDrusilla
06-15-16, 03:51 PM
Hi everyone,

My spouse has ADHD, and we've been married for almost 3 years. Over the past 1.5 years, though, we've had some trouble. In particular, I was experiencing burnout to the point where I was having trouble getting out of bed and going to work in the morning and getting sick frequently.

At the time this was happening, I was commuting 52 miles one way for work each day and working on a doctorate in business. I spent months telling my husband i was burning out and needed help around the house doing chores because i couldnt keep the house clean, study, write my dissertation, and take the time i needed to recharge my batteries so i didnt crash.

He told me repeatedly he didnt believe me, his excuse being that i wasnt acting like he thought someone who is stressed should act. Fast forward to December of last year, and i had to drop out of my program because there were so many issues in our marriage and, despite changing to a job closer to home, couldnt find enough time and space to recover mentally.

This has left me with $40K in debt and no PhD. Pointing this out to my husband, he has no response most times, or simply says that neither of us should take on any activities that take attention away from the home.

This seems first like an inability to read people's cues. This could have been avoided if he had just believed what i told him, but because i didnt match some template of preconceived behavior, i was lying. Is this typical for people with ADHD?

aeon
06-15-16, 05:17 PM
Is this typical for people with ADHD?

It is typical for some people who have ADHD, but it is not a product of the ADHD itself, although the disorder surely contributes to the dynamics of the situation.

Issues regarding communication, such that each is heard and understood, exist within and among relationships of all kinds.

Many people have a problem reading cues, and the majority of them would be classified as neurotypical.

Expecting someone with a neurodevelopmental disorder such as ADHD to do so is open to question in terms of being reasonable.

Iím sorry to hear your husband did not take you at your word, but what he offered is a reason for his disbelief - he needs no excuse for his lack thereof.

Was that addressed, aside from the primary issue at hand, and if so, how? What were the results?

From first read, my sense is there are number of contributing factors, and ADHD is but one amongst them, and perhaps not the one of primacy,

You make no mention of the nature of your husbandís ADHD, or if he is being treated for it. Your question also suggests you are not au fait with the disorder. Consider that such an understanding on your part, absent any other changes to the situation, will have significant impact on how challenges are addressed in the future.

Iím sorry to hear about the debt, but more so that you did not reach your goal. I hope you are able to resume your progress and attain that which you desire as soon as you are able.


Cheers,
Ian

LiviaDrusilla
06-15-16, 11:34 PM
It is typical for some people who have ADHD, but it is not a product of the ADHD itself, although the disorder surely contributes to the dynamics of the situation.

Issues regarding communication, such that each is heard and understood, exist within and among relationships of all kinds.

Many people have a problem reading cues, and the majority of them would be classified as neurotypical.

Expecting someone with a neurodevelopmental disorder such as ADHD to do so is open to question in terms of being reasonable.

Iím sorry to hear your husband did not take you at your word, but what he offered is a reason for his disbelief - he needs no excuse for his lack thereof.

Was that addressed, aside from the primary issue at hand, and if so, how? What were the results?

From first read, my sense is there are number of contributing factors, and ADHD is but one amongst them, and perhaps not the one of primacy,

You make no mention of the nature of your husbandís ADHD, or if he is being treated for it. Your question also suggests you are not au fait with the disorder. Consider that such an understanding on your part, absent any other changes to the situation, will have significant impact on how challenges are addressed in the future.

Iím sorry to hear about the debt, but more so that you did not reach your goal. I hope you are able to resume your progress and attain that which you desire as soon as you are able.


Cheers,
Ian

Hi there,

Thank you for your response. To answer your question, I did ask him multiple times what I had done that made me seem unbelievable. According to him, it was because I did things he would not do when he was stressed. He saw me doing things like playing videogames, playing on the internet, reading books on my kindle, doing things like sudoku, logic puzzles, or crosswords, and he figured that because those things require mental effort I couldn't be stressed.

To follow it up, I asked him what would have made me more believable. He replied that when he is stressed he just likes to sit on the couch and watch TV, or have sex. He said that if I had acted like that, I would have seemed more believable. Unfortunately, I have never really enjoyed watching TV, and when stressed out my libido becomes non-existent, so just being me I would never be believable. The activities I listed above are actually very relaxing for me given the nature of my work. (I work in research and development.)

Also interesting, he told me that he thought the downturn in my physical condition and my increasing difficulty in daily functioning was me lying to get out of having sex with him. All of this was brought up with a marriage counseler, too, but she agreed with him that I seemed to be deliberately withholding myself from him and I did not seem stressed in any way. This was in contrast to an MD and a therapist who both said I was showing signs of burn out.

As far as the nature of my husband's ADHD, he has never really offered me specifics. I can tell you that he hasn't been medicated in years given the effect it had on him when he was younger, and he did have therapy. In terms of how he presents, he is mostly pretty mild. He forgets things, but it's really easy-to-fix things that you'd have to be a total jerk to get upset about.

He does have impulse control problems, though. He interrupts people, and he also says things at the worst times, though most of what he says you can just shrug off as it's usually something silly. Unfortunately, the impulsiveness comes out physically, and we had a problem where he would grope me in view of others and would not recognize that I wanted him to stop despite me telling him to stop and slapping his hands away.

Essentially, I'm trying to understand if his thinking I'm only believable if I match his perceptions is because of how he was taught to interpret cues during therapy in his younger years. I'm doing everything I can to avoid attributing that to a negative quality, if that makes sense.

Cyllya
06-16-16, 12:45 AM
I think ADHD folks are more likely to have difficulty interpreting social cues and nonverbal communication, but I don't think that kind of difficulty would create this kind of behavior.

If you were acting really stressed but never explicitly complained about it, missing or misunderstanding cues might cause him to remain unaware of your stress. Or, if you did explicitly complain about the stress, he might misunderstand your complaint and therefore remain unaware of your stress.

But if he's accusing you of lying about the stress, that means, one way or another, he received the communication that you were stressed. Even if he couldn't use your behavior to tell you were stressed, you straight up told him, and you know he understood because he acknowledged that you told him.

It would be understandable if he thought you only had a little stress and later had an apologetic attitude like, "sorry, I know you told me you were stressed, but I didn't realize how bad it was."

Maybe he could have this problem if he has a major issue with being able imagine another person's point of view or conceive that a person has different preferences than him. Poor "cognitive empathy"? I don't think that's a problem that is very common in ADHD though.

Also interesting, he told me that he thought the downturn in my physical condition and my increasing difficulty in daily functioning was me lying to get out of having sex with him. All of this was brought up with a marriage counseler, too, but she agreed with him that I seemed to be deliberately withholding myself from him and I did not seem stressed in any way. This was in contrast to an MD and a therapist who both said I was showing signs of burn out.
Well, that's more than a little concerning. Normally, wouldn't someone only lie to get out of something if they had an obligation to do that thing and needed some kind of reason to be allowed to not do it? Like, you wouldn't lie to get out of jumping off a bridge, you wouldn't lie to get out of eating ice cream, you wouldn't lie to get out of anything that no one's making you do. So, does your husband have the idea that you're obligated to have sex with him and you can only decline sex with his "permission"? And apparently the counselor too...

Tell the SOB to go buy a fleshlight and get over himself. I guess if you want to be a real sweetheart, you could buy the fleshlight for him.

This has left me with $40K in debt and no PhD. Pointing this out to my husband, he has no response most times, or simply says that neither of us should take on any activities that take attention away from the home.
Now, he says that says that neither of you should take on any activities that take attention away from the home, which might be reasonable, but... does he have to sacrifice anything to follow that policy? Or is he pretty much just saying you should give up on furthering your education so you can focus on things that directly benefit him?

Essentially, I'm trying to understand if his thinking I'm only believable if I match his perceptions is because of how he was taught to interpret cues during therapy in his younger years. I'm doing everything I can to avoid attributing that to a negative quality, if that makes sense.
I think it's good to be optimistic about the reasons for someone's behavior, and sympathetic about their difficulties, but be careful you don't get into a habit of justifying his mistreatment of you.

I know that topics like these often make the other person sound worse than they are, but I feel compelled to give this link (https://www.printfriendly.com/print/?source=homepage&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.psychologytoday.com%2Fblog%2 Fthe-mindful-self-express%2F201509%2F6-ways-tell-if-you-re-dating-narcissist) just in case.

LiviaDrusilla
06-16-16, 02:03 PM
Hi Cyllya,

Thank you for your response.

But if he's accusing you of lying about the stress, that means, one way or another, he received the communication that you were stressed. Even if he couldn't use your behavior to tell you were stressed, you straight up told him, and you know he understood because he acknowledged that you told him.

Yes, this is part of what I'm having trouble reconciling. He even commented that I was not my usual self multiple times, and I did tell him that I was very stressed and it was impacting my ability to function in terms of focus on important tasks and quality of performance. So, unless there is one universal way to appear stressed, and that is how he appears when stressed, I suspect I might be screwed on this point. We still argue over what it means for me to be stressed--just had one earlier this week, actually.

Well, that's more than a little concerning. Normally, wouldn't someone only lie to get out of something if they had an obligation to do that thing and needed some kind of reason to be allowed to not do it? Like, you wouldn't lie to get out of jumping off a bridge, you wouldn't lie to get out of eating ice cream, you wouldn't lie to get out of anything that no one's making you do. So, does your husband have the idea that you're obligated to have sex with him and you can only decline sex with his "permission"? And apparently the counselor too...

Tell the SOB to go buy a fleshlight and get over himself. I guess if you want to be a real sweetheart, you could buy the fleshlight for him.


You win the internet with that last line, by the way. But, in all seriousness, this has been another major point in the relationship, and again I'm not sure if I should attribute this to people with ADHD having the tendency to either lose interest or hyperfocus during sex, with him obviously being the latter. He has a very, very high libido, and during marriage counseling he constantly came back to the fear with the therapist that I was going to not ever have sex with him except for a few times a year. Not sure what to do with that, honestly, but it has led to some very desperate behavior directed toward me.

Now, he says that says that neither of you should take on any activities that take attention away from the home, which might be reasonable, but... does he have to sacrifice anything to follow that policy? Or is he pretty much just saying you should give up on furthering your education so you can focus on things that directly benefit him?

Well, it's not really a reasonable request from him--at least not from my perspective. Due to the nature of his job, he has 3 and 4 days off in a row because of the length of his workdays and how many days in a row he is scheduled. If I can prep things for him, and text him reminders through out the day, he can accomplish small things like throwing out a pile of old mail on the kitchen counter. In fact, I used to walk him through tasks like setting up food in the slow cooker or pressure cooker by phone or text, but he stopped doing that because he doesn't like cooking.

Taking your sacrifice question further, no. He is in the army reserves, but I have never asked him to resign his commission. In fact, we moved into a new home while he was deployed and I handled everything right up until he returned home so all he had to do was just walk in the door. I also gave up on building a business to take a corporate job as a technology researcher because it made qualifying for a home loan easier than going through all the vetting of being self-employed. Beyond that, I cut ties with a close friend and her family because he didn't like them, as well as gave up my interests in wine and food because he doesn't drink at all, and he is a very picky eater.

Also, I did check out your link, Cyllya. It was a very good read, so thank you for sharing it. I actually grew up with a single mother who was NPD, and there is a very distinct difference between her and how she treated people, and how my husband treats others. Much of my husband's behavior seems to come from him being unaware of what is acceptable, or having very specific expectations that he doesn't communicate clearly for whatever reason (not knowing how, assuming everyone would just do something, etc). However, there are some actions that I seriously question.

ToneTone
06-16-16, 10:36 PM
It's totally confusing when shortly into a marriage, we encounter such a major disagreement or sense that our partner totally "doesn't get" something we consider straightforward and easy to get. We are seemingly left with two choices in figuring out what to do:

1. Either I'm crazy and unreasonable ...

or

2. My spouse is a total jerk ...or emotionally damaged in some profound way ...

Most partners do NOT want to consider the second possibility ... of course there is another possibility:

3. My partner and I see the world and our lives very differently and we have different views of what is required in our relationship.

In situation #3, the partners need to get their differences out in the open, and figure out how they can adjust behavior that leaves both people more satisfied.

One thing that concerns me is that your post here has a bit of the tone of asking him PERMISSION to back off of not burning yourself out.

In hope of thinking through your dilemma here more clearly... I'll ask some questions:

1. What exactly did you want from him that would have allowed you to continue in school? Is it TLC or is it more practical help around the house. The importance of TLC, by the way, should NOT, be dismissed!

2. Did you want more TLC and more help with house duties? ... and exactly what duties? ...

3. Why did you need his permission to stop doing the house duties that you didn't have energy to do? ... Could you have simply cut back on the house stuff that was too much?

Anyway, interested to hear your response. I want you to get back to that degree! You are clearly a highly motivated person.

Tone

LiviaDrusilla
06-17-16, 11:36 AM
Hi ToneTone,

These are good questions, thank you for posing them.

3. My partner and I see the world and our lives very differently and we have different views of what is required in our relationship.

In situation #3, the partners need to get their differences out in the open, and figure out how they can adjust behavior that leaves both people more satisfied.

This is a very valid statement, and we did have some discussion around this particularly because we have some circumstances in our marriage that are different than what you see in most marriages (I'm the one earning the most & paying out the most for living expenses, we won't have children). For my husband, his number one concern is not having a stressful life, which I understand because not only does it make it easier for him to manage his ADHD, but who wants to come home to stress? When asked what that means, he said this means he needs to have fewer things to do.

Unfortunately, we own a home and have pets. These can give you many things to do. He often remarks that he gets done with one thing, and another creeps up. This is part of where the problem lays: He sees a mountain of things to do, and I don't always have the time to tackle these things until the end of the week. This, as you can imagine, allows more to pile up.

Anyway, to answer your questions...

1. What exactly did you want from him that would have allowed you to continue in school? Is it TLC or is it more practical help around the house. The importance of TLC, by the way, should NOT, be dismissed!

It was more practical help around the house that I needed. He is plenty affectionate, so I never had to complain there. For me, time was a very precious commodity. Commuting as far as I did for work, it was not unusual for me to have a 45-minute commute in the morning, but a 3 or 4 hour commute in the evening (in winter it could easily be 5 hours). So, I would leave work at 4 or 4:30, then get home at 7 or later only to be presented with a variety of issues my husband couldn't handle. These were things like prepping items to help me make dinner, putting dishes in the dishwasher, going through the mail and throwing out junk mail, cleaning up after a cat that threw up or cleaning litterboxes, or wiping down dirty and messy tables and countertops.

This does not take into account that I needed to spend time reading for class, completing assignments, working on my dissertation, and meeting with other students via webex or responding to their emails. Also, actually attending class or mandatory school events. Besides this, my husband had needs he wanted met. So, things pretty much blew up quickly with all of that.

2. Did you want more TLC and more help with house duties? ... and exactly what duties? ...

Just the house duties. I needed him to do things like chop up veggies for dinner or put things in the slow cooker or pressure cooker, pack things in the dishwasher, ensure the roomba ran in the downstairs, wipe off the countertops, throw out piles of receipts and other little bits of paper, organize his military documentation instead of leaving it lay around and potentially get lost (or peed on by a cat).

3. Why did you need his permission to stop doing the house duties that you didn't have energy to do? ... Could you have simply cut back on the house stuff that was too much?

I didn't need his permission, I just stopped doing them because I ran out of time and energy. I stopped making home cooked meals, and baking items for breakfast for the week. I stopped making homemade yogurt or cottage cheese. I stopped mopping floors, or cleaning tables or countertops. I asked for help with things. I said I was losing ability to focus and feeling constantly run down and frazzled, and that it was impacting my ability to actually do what I needed to do.

Anyway, interested to hear your response. I want you to get back to that degree! You are clearly a highly motivated person.

That is very kind of you to say, thank you! Sadly, I fell so far behind in doing my dissertation that my exit from the program was viewed as a relief by the school. They were on the verge of asking me to leave, anyway. So, getting back to that degree is not an option. And getting a PhD elsewhere is also not an option now. I have looked into getting a second MS, and thankfully that is possible, but it won't help me very much in my field. A hard learned life lesson, I guess...

IamHanSolo
06-17-16, 04:44 PM
Hi, I've been reading through this just now, and I have some ideas about whats happening, but before I say anything, I would love to hear about a few things:

1. What was your courtship and engagement like? How long was it, and also, how did you meet?

2. What is your husband's military history? So far all I know is that he is an officer in the Army reserves, and has been deployed. I was in the Marine Corps for eight years, and deployed to Iraq in 2003. Where and when was he deployed? What was his experience like?
3. Does he interact with the VA at all yet? What does he do for health care / Mental Health?
4. What does he do for work?
5. What is his ADHD history, and the story of his therapy when he was "younger"?

I hope to give you some insight into his behavior, but I need to know more about him, and the relationship he has with you and the people in his life...

ToneTone
06-17-16, 05:30 PM
Thanks for the response LiviaDrusilla. I want to affirm that you are not crazy to be having the feelings you're having---deep surprise that your husband says he thought you were lying when you said you were getting burnt out ...

It is extremely hard to have a healthy, reasonably happy relationship with someone with ADHD who is untreated for that ADHD and who is not conscious of the way ADHD affects their behavior and perceptions. But being married to all kinds of unconscious people is a challenge.

Being married to a workaholic (who doesn't really know they're a workaholic) can be a real challenge for lots of people. Being married to someone who invites their family into the home more than you want can be extremely difficult. Being married to someone with depression (without ADHD) can be hard. A friend of mine married a man with children who lived with him, and she said that being a stepmother with different views of discipline than her husband really rocked her marriage .... until she and her husband had several rounds of marriage therapy.

What makes these issues so difficult is that often a partner is exhibiting behavior that we find absurd or totally beyond the pale. People come into marriage thinking there are going to be conflicts that occur ... but we expect these conflicts to occur in the zone between say A and F ... People are shocked when it turns out that the partner's behavior is out there at Y or Z ...

There is a danger on focusing on his ADHD. You might consider looking at his behaviors more as a side of him that you don't like, his weak side that won't or can't be easily fixed ... What could he do in the relationship that would tap into his strong side? Working around someone's weak side is much easier if the person is aware of that weak side and if the person is themselves trying to compensate for their weak side. So in your case, you have a real obstacle there because it doesn't seem hubby is much aware of his ADHD.

Your husband most likely will never be a Martha Stewart of the house or the kitchen. ... Now, can he get better? ... Sure. But probably not to your level of expectation. So is there a way he can give you other things that would compensate for his lack of housework? ... Can you guys bring in a cleaning person for example? Will cost you money ... but the house will be in much better shape and you will feel a lot better when you come home.

Are you seeing your own therapist? ... I definitely recommend that ... because you are going to want to be at your best and to be aware of how your own issues might affect your reactions to him. And you want to build up the skill of being able to negotiate for what you really need ... while keeping the door open and the connection open with him. Presumably he showed his strong qualities while you guys were dating or else you wouldn't have married him. Maybe you can share some of those qualities here ... and comment on whether he has continued to display them.

Good luck.

Tone

LiviaDrusilla
06-17-16, 07:13 PM
Hi Han Solo :-)

I was in the Marine Corps for eight years

Right on! My dad is a Marine.

To answer your questions...

1. What was your courtship and engagement like? How long was it, and also, how did you meet?

The courtship was much quicker than I was used to. He said he loved me 2 months in, but two months in I was just getting comfortable with dating someone after having not been in a committed relationship for 9 years. (I had only dated sporadically during that 9 years as I was getting my education and trying to be successfully self-employed.)

As far as the engagement goes, he had asked me multiple times to marry him, but I didn't feel inclined to. (Not that I am anti-marriage, but I don't need marriage as a sign of my commitment.) Anyway, we met via match.com, we dated for 1 year before I moved in with him, and we lived together for 3 years before we got married.

2. What is your husband's military history? So far all I know is that he is an officer in the Army reserves, and has been deployed. I was in the Marine Corps for eight years, and deployed to Iraq in 2003. Where and when was he deployed? What was his experience like?

He joined the National Guard a few months before 9/11, and deployed to Afghanistan as a contracting officer from 2008 to 2009. (We actually met after he had been home for about a month.) He never saw combat, and the worst experience he had in Afghanistan was his helicopter being shot at.

Then, he deployed again a few months after we married to Kuwait where he worked as a logistics officer. He was gone for almost a year. Again, he never saw combat. Probably about 3 months ago his transfer from the Guard to the Reserves completed, and he is now up for Major. I think his job in the Reserves is to be a Training Officer, but I do remember him mentioning it was a staff position.

3. Does he interact with the VA at all yet? What does he do for health care / Mental Health?

He did interact with the VA briefly. While deployed he had a health scare and was misdiagnosed, but once it was corrected, he had to have a series of surgeries after he returned home from deployment. His regular healthcare is through his employer (he works for the state).

As far as mental health goes, he didn't see anybody until I told him I was considering a divorce. Then he fell into depression and had to take time off of work. During that time, I was in therapy, too, and he asked me to join him in marriage counseling. Interestingly, his therapist picked up immediately that he had ADHD--during the first session without my husband even offering it. The marriage counseler did not, and my husband never disclosed it to her.

We both eventually left all counseling.

4. What does he do for work?

Law enforcement. He does fraud investigations, background checks, and audits video gaming for casinos in our state. That being said, he only rarely interacts with the public--usually when someone pees themselves while sleeping in the bathroom, or when someone unruly can't be handled by private security.

5. What is his ADHD history, and the story of his therapy when he was "younger"?

I'll do my best here, as he doesn't always explain things in detail regarding his ADHD.


Diagnosed in junior high, around 11.
Underwent therapy to develop cognitive management skills.
Tried out multiple medications but was pulled off of them because he was actually incapable of getting out of bed (his parents and sibling corroborated this). He has not been on medication since.
He did mention that he had emotional problems as well, but he doesn't go into detail about them. I can share what I have observed in another post if you like, as that might give some insight into things.
He did also mention that when he was younger, in his 20s, he had problems with sex. His libido was very high to the point of having trouble managing it. Also, and this is where his explanation got very clouded, he had odd emotional connections with sex. (He had trouble elaborating, and was visibly upset talking about it. I think he did have to speak to a counseler at his university.) He still has a very high libido, and it is hard to keep up with.


Please feel free to ask me additional questions, or for any clarification. I can't promise I'll have good answers, but I can try.

Thank you!

kilted_scotsman
06-19-16, 02:06 PM
The way you describe your early relationship and his high libido/reluctance to discuss aspects of his life makes me suspect there's a relational/attachment issue going on underneath the ADD.

This means that people don't really "get" relationships and there's either a kind of distance/withdrawal and/or a deep relational neediness after the initial limerance process runs its course. This is common in ADDers.

Likewise there seems to be a rule orientated outlook, the symptom is lots of musts, should's and can't's associated with how to act in relationship (and elsewhere). This rule focussed approach helps someone whose intuitive or improvisational skills have been limited early in life for whatever reason. Again this is often associated with family dynamic and/or a series of events that made him build a set of rules to avoid future shame.

People like this often function well in military, law-enforcement and legal situations but find non-hierarchical relationships difficult. One symptom is a black and white thought process.

The problem is that the person has usually built a strong defensive psychological structure and process about how to get needs met and how to deny unmet needs.

I would be looking at Group type therapy..... possibly starting with one to one but definitely moving toward group therapy as one to one doesn't give the range of different levels of relational feedback needed to shift the relational ruleset.

Problem is that this requires the individual be willing to be vulnerable and show aspects of themselves, particularly shame, fear and guilt in the group setting which the inner self will find extremely difficult and will defend against. Developing trust in the process is essential thereby building "safe space". Unfortunately this is not something that you can do..... combining therapist & partner is not going to work.. though you can support him in the process you cannot lead it.

My view would be to look after yourself..... and remember that you have (and had) as much a part to play in the creation of this current dynamic as him.... this is why personal therapy would be very useful for you at this point.

I agree with Aeon that ADHD is not the primary issue here.... I would suspect some deeper relational issues either within his family and/or his experiences as a child or adolescent. My view would be that unless he is willing to enter long term therapy and become curious about himself then change is unlikely and you make your decisions on that basis.

TheFitFatty
06-20-16, 07:12 AM
I think the ADHD is a red herring. He's an abusive jerk and you should leave him.
ADHD is not a reason to not help you with chores, belittle your feelings or sexually assault you in public.

Fuzzy12
06-20-16, 08:19 AM
Some people with adhd are jerks. Major jerks. I haven't even read all your posts in this thread but adhd or not, it's clear that his behaviour is abusive.

LiviaDrusilla
06-21-16, 09:26 AM
Hi kilted_scotsman,

Thank you for your post. I tried replying to it yesterday, but I got sidetracked with trying to find a book. Anyway, it was a very insightful post, and much of it is very applicable to my husband.

The way you describe your early relationship and his high libido/reluctance to discuss aspects of his life makes me suspect there's a relational/attachment issue going on underneath the ADD.

This means that people don't really "get" relationships and there's either a kind of distance/withdrawal and/or a deep relational neediness after the initial limerance process runs its course. This is common in ADDers.

My husband lands solidly on the neediness end of the spectrum. It can be very overwhelming to someone like me because I'm used to doing things on my own. That's not to say I don't enjoy the company of others (obviously I enjoyed his at one point), but I am very much the introvert who needs solitude to recharge. Unfortunately, that sends off my husband's alarm bells, and he tries to attach more.

Likewise there seems to be a rule orientated outlook, the symptom is lots of musts, should's and can't's associated with how to act in relationship (and elsewhere). This rule focussed approach helps someone whose intuitive or improvisational skills have been limited early in life for whatever reason. Again this is often associated with family dynamic and/or a series of events that made him build a set of rules to avoid future shame.

This is also very true of my husband, especially regarding sex it would seem. If he does not have sex a certain number of times a week, then something is wrong. Example: I became very sick for almost 2 months a couple of years ago, and it made having sex almost impossible because I was having such trouble breathing. The lack of sex, despite my visible illness (coughing, 100+ deg. fever, missing work) made him explode angrily at me after two weeks because he felt I was trying to deny him what he wanted. In this circumstance he accused me of lying about being sick to get out of sex with him. So, he obviously felt entitled based on some notion he had of appropriate interaction levels between spouses.

I would be looking at Group type therapy..... possibly starting with one to one but definitely moving toward group therapy as one to one doesn't give the range of different levels of relational feedback needed to shift the relational ruleset.

Problem is that this requires the individual be willing to be vulnerable and show aspects of themselves, particularly shame, fear and guilt in the group setting which the inner self will find extremely difficult and will defend against. Developing trust in the process is essential thereby building "safe space". Unfortunately this is not something that you can do..... combining therapist & partner is not going to work.. though you can support him in the process you cannot lead it.

He was recommended to try group therapy by the very first therapist he saw but didn't go. His second therapist also mentioned it, but he didn't pursue it then, either. At the time he didn't feel comfortable making the leap from 1:1 to group, and I get that. I do wonder, though, if he would ever have gone. I think I mentioned this before, but he stopped going to individual therapy when he felt like he could talk to me again. I could be interpreting this incorrectly, but that's a pretty heavy reliance on me and on the now-broken dynamic we have.

I agree with Aeon that ADHD is not the primary issue here.... I would suspect some deeper relational issues either within his family and/or his experiences as a child or adolescent. My view would be that unless he is willing to enter long term therapy and become curious about himself then change is unlikely and you make your decisions on that basis.

That last sentence is my fear. He does have the capacity to change, but he won't take the steps to build toward change until he incurs a huge cost if past experiences are any indicator. I am very much at the end of my rope, and I cannot guarantee that I would stay in the marriage even if he and I did undergo counseling, and we both underwent positive change.

Again, thank you for your post, kilted_scotsman. It was very insightful, and very helpful.

kilted_scotsman
06-21-16, 05:00 PM
If he does not have sex a certain number of times a week, then something is wrong. Example: I became very sick for almost 2 months a couple of years ago, and it made having sex almost impossible because I was having such trouble breathing. The lack of sex, despite my visible illness (coughing, 100+ deg. fever, missing work) made him explode angrily at me after two weeks because he felt I was trying to deny him what he wanted. In this circumstance he accused me of lying about being sick to get out of sex with him. So, he obviously felt entitled based on some notion he had of appropriate interaction levels between spouses.

This behaviour has zero to do with ADD and may be symptom of a more pathological process. There is something disturbing about a man who believes he is entitled to sex regardless of the health of his partner and gets angry and accusatory if circumstances deny him what he sees as his "right".

From what you describe your partners "reality testing" ability is impaired and he has low empathy with others. Not good for someone in the military and particularly problematic in law-enforcement.

The way you describe this incident makes me wonder if there's some form of co-dependency going on.... that you are as locked into an unhealthy relational process just as much as he is.

Some psychotherapy models have a gradation in these relational patterns.......

1) First degree
Socially acceptable and often make up a proportion of gossip amongst friends. Limited and shortlived harmful outcomes, discomfort, embarrassment &c. Often regarded as a "normal" part of relational life. These are driven by what therapists call "processes", which everybody has.... the bread and butter of 99% of counsellors and therapists workload.

2) Second degree
Kept secret from most friends, longer term harmful and psychologically destructive outcomes. Here we're into "disorder" territory, moving beyond day to day counselling/therapy and into the realm of the clinical psychologist.

3) Third Degree
"Played for keeps" often ending up in the surgery, morgue or courtroom. Makes headlines in the local papers. This is the specialism of the forensic psychologist, called in to give the jurors/coroner some psychological background to the crux events.

From your posts I sense that you may be in Second Degree territory, with the potential for a move into Third Degree...... which makes me feel that there is something that is impairing your own relational reality testing ability..... well adjusted partners generally head for the door at the first sign of second degree behaviours.

Fuzzy12
06-21-16, 06:53 PM
Seriously, I think, the bottom line is that you need to end this. He may change but he won't change unless the status quo changes. Maybe the catalyst that he needs is you leaving. It doesn't matter if it's adhd or not. You are neither doing him nor yourself any favours by letting him abuse you.

sarahsweets
06-21-16, 09:09 PM
I tried really hard to pay attention to the adhd parts in your story but all I could do was think about how...obtuse can someone really be? Why the hell would someone invalidate the feelings of their partner in such a passive/ aggressive, dismissive way? Who gives a f**k about the adhd at this point, the real issue is much darker and deeper than the adhd.

When does he get to participate in his own healthcare enough to see doctors on a consistent basis, try medication and give therapy a solid shot?
Im furious for you!

The sex thing is making my head spin a bit too, because he makes it seem like your 'wifely' duty to have sex a certain amount of times a week, which he determines that amount, when and (i hope not) how the sex will happen.
And boy, talk about being ganged up on at the therapist!
I hope you find someone you can talk to that is for you only. Your therapist, someone who is being paid to help you find peace- not someone who makes money helping couples and presumably would not make as much should things get better?

I want to say more but need to gather my thoughts.

TheFitFatty
06-22-16, 01:48 AM
Hi kilted_scotsman,

This is also very true of my husband, especially regarding sex it would seem. If he does not have sex a certain number of times a week, then something is wrong. Example: I became very sick for almost 2 months a couple of years ago, and it made having sex almost impossible because I was having such trouble breathing. The lack of sex, despite my visible illness (coughing, 100+ deg. fever, missing work) made him explode angrily at me after two weeks because he felt I was trying to deny him what he wanted. In this circumstance he accused me of lying about being sick to get out of sex with him. So, he obviously felt entitled based on some notion he had of appropriate interaction levels between spouses.


He was recommended to try group therapy by the very first therapist he saw but didn't go. His second therapist also mentioned it, but he didn't pursue it then, either. At the time he didn't feel comfortable making the leap from 1:1 to group, and I get that. I do wonder, though, if he would ever have gone. I think I mentioned this before, but he stopped going to individual therapy when he felt like he could talk to me again. I could be interpreting this incorrectly, but that's a pretty heavy reliance on me and on the now-broken dynamic we have.

That last sentence is my fear. He does have the capacity to change, but he won't take the steps to build toward change until he incurs a huge cost if past experiences are any indicator. I am very much at the end of my rope, and I cannot guarantee that I would stay in the marriage even if he and I did undergo counseling, and we both underwent positive change.


This is abuse. There is no if, and's, but's or maybe's about it. You are in an abusive relationship and I suggest you begin planning a way out and away from him. He may well have the "capacity to change" but at the moment he's unwilling to do it, and you're risking your own safety and mental well being staying with him. You need to think about you!

This link is from an Indiana domestic abuse group:

http://www.icadvinc.org/what-is-domestic-violence/

I'm not sure where you are in the US, but there are hotlines and services that will help you make the break safely. Especially if he is ex-military, there are services available to you.

My ex-fiancee was abusive. He was very much like the way you describe your husband. After about 5 years the mis-trust, name-calling, accusations of lying, turned into hitting. He blamed his ADHD, but that's just ********. The bottom line is he was (and still is) an abusive jerk.