View Full Version : ADHD and finances don't mix!!!


exhaustedNT
09-07-16, 12:38 AM
Hey, I'm new. Lots I could say, but I'll get straight to it.

DH works in finance. He loves it. Prides himself on knowing everything there is to know about investing. As such, he manages our money. The problem is he really, really sucks at it when it's personal. It's like he understands all the principles in his head but cannot stick to them.

Recently: We have two kids. Public schools here aren't great, so the older has been at a private Montessori. This year the younger started also. I questioned the wisdom of sending both at once. It's pricey. Our house is tiny and we'd like to upgrade. Older is in elementary now, could switch to the public G/T program. Nope, DH insisted. Said it was best for the kids, we'd have to be careful but we could make it work. I believed him. It is a great school, my first choice. I'm happy to sacrifice so they can both attend.

A few weeks into the school year, it's clear that we cannot afford it after all. Not because we don't have the money, but because DH can't stop impulsively buying stuff. Payday comes, he goes to the store and buys $300 worth of mostly junk food, mostly for himself. The next week we have no grocery money. And he won't admit it. I tell him we need food, he says make me a list and I'll go tonight. Great, I think, I'm exhausted and I don't want to drag the kids to the store. Except he never goes. He says he forgot, or whatever. He promises he'll go later. I end up stretching one day's worth of food into three or four. This continues until Friday evening when his paycheck hits. Then he goes on another spending spree. As of this moment, Tuesday night, we have no bread in the house, no fruit, nothing for the kids' lunch boxes tomorrow. And he's asleep. He swears he'll get up early and go to the store but I know he won't.

Problem #2: Buying random animals. This summer he decided we needed a puppy. I tried to talk him out of it. Remember, I said, our first tuition payment hits in a month. He insisted it would be fine. Found someone on Craigslist with a litter and drove to see them. I had a bad feeling. Made him promise he was just looking and we'd discuss it together before he bought one. He agreed. We get there, all kinds of warning bells are going off in my head. These folks are clearly running a puppy mill trying to make fast cash. They live in a small apartment and have two litters born two weeks apart. No papers, clearly some pit bull in there. They won't let us meet the parents. And they want $400 apiece. So we look, DH says why don't you take the kids back out to the car and I'll be right down. Five minutes later he comes back WITH A PUPPY. I was pretty mad. Spent the drive home listing all the reasons I would've told him not to do it, and he just looks at me sheepishly and says you're probably right, I didn't think of that.

So we have a dog. Luckily he's done a good job with her and she's sweet so far. No big deal, right? Except a month later, he finds another guy with a litter of hound puppies. It happens to be our son's birthday, so without consulting me he says hey, let's get you a dog! Of course DS is ecstatic. Again, I try to reason with him to no avail. We get to breeder #2's house - again, big red flags. This guy lives in a neighborhood on a 1-acre lot and has approximately 16 dogs in the yard. "Puppies" in question are actually almost full grown and have not been socialized in the slightest. This guy bred his female to get a new hunting dog, ended up with a huge litter and couldn't get rid of them all. They've been cooped up in a tiny pen for the last half year, not potty trained, no manners, absolutely freaking out to see us. Guy says hey, I have two left, I'll give you both for the price of one! And DH agrees!

So now, three dogs. We have a few acres, but our yard is not fenced, and we do have neighbors who I'm guessing would like to sleep. Let me tell you, hounds are loud. And they roam. They will not shut up, and they will not stay in our yard, and they're not well behaved enough to come inside.

Oh, and then to make things fair, he went and got our daughter a kitten. Surprise!

Four animals to feed, four animals to spay/neuter, four animals all due for their shots. And of course the kids are in love with them, and I hate it when other people abandon animals.

How do I get this to stop??? Things that will probably be suggested but aren't options:

- I cannot take over the finances myself. He's so proud of that role, there's no way he'd let me.
- I cannot just take his wallet and go to the store. I've learned that I have to set boundaries. If he promises he'll do it, I'm holding him to that.
- Along those lines, I will not assume responsibility for the dogs. I made myself clear from the beginning that they were his to deal with. But at the same time, I feel a certain obligation to make sure they're well behaved and have had vet care, because I can't stand neglectful owners.
- I will not be the bad guy and insist we get rid of the pets my kids have fallen in love with. I'm not the one who got us into this mess.

Anyone with experience? Ideas? Help!

aeon
09-07-16, 01:50 AM
How do I get this to stop???... Ideas? Help!

Set personal boundaries that include what is and what is not acceptable to you, and maintain them.

Let DH know there will be consequences for certain behaviors...not punitive ones, but ones that come out of you taking care of yourself.

Counseling time!

Tell him exactly how you feel, and what you think, and do not downplay it or backpedal.

Don't judge him, but do tell him what you have witnessed in his behavior.

Is he on meds? Because if so, they need to be changed, adjusted, or both, because he seems to have impulsive presentations that are severe.

I'm speaking for myself here, but I would be heartsick over no longer having an equal partner. And for sure, I would not parent my partner.

If a talk isn't heard and understood with demonstrable follow-through, there needs to be some kind of consequence that cannot be missed.

Ultimately, you have to know and see that he wants to rejoin the family he has willingly left.


Well-wishes,
Ian

exhaustedNT
09-07-16, 09:52 AM
Is he on meds? Because if so, they need to be changed, adjusted, or both, because he seems to have impulsive presentations that are severe.


It's been over a yearlong struggle now to get him on the proper meds. ADHD, depression, and sleep issues combined, so lots of meds interacting. It's better now than in the past. He does take them. And he's trying.

Yesterday he promised the kids they'd read some of the book they're working on before bed. Bath time rolls around...hey, I could go hunting! He got 10 minutes down the road, realized he was breaking a promise (which we'd literally just talked about an hour earlier) and came back. So I appreciate that.

He also did get up early and go to the store after I woke him up and told him the kids wouldn't be going to school otherwise. Got back 5 minutes before I had to have them out the door, so I was scrambling to put lunches together, but at least they went.

It's just frustrating. I never know whether we really don't have any money or he's just being lazy. Nothing is an emergency until it affects him directly.

Anyway, thanks for your response.

Little Missy
09-07-16, 09:57 AM
My mum had an interesting take on this. "You can be as addicted to saving money as you can be to spending it improperly. Choose the former."

My mum always took care of all the money. My dad said she was the one good at it, so he "let her."

Do it now before all hell breaks loose. We all have our fortes.

Dachshund
09-07-16, 10:05 AM
I second the idea of counseling, perhaps even couples and individual if you can. A neutral third party can give him some insight into his impulsive behavior without the emotional strings of the marriage coming into play.

Besides that, I don't have much advice to offer. But you do need to do something. The longer this goes on, the harder it will be to break later. You may need to take control of the finances, even if he is proud of it. He may be crushed at the idea, but the reality is that he is crushing you right now. From my own experience, your husband sounds a lot like my dad, and he ran us right into the ground. It was not pleasant, it caused severe arguments between my parents, and my mom left a few times. We never learned how to have a healthy relationship with money, which still causes a lot of stress in my adult life. This is also one of those cases where you need to think of the kids. I was also sent to a private school with my brother, one that we could not afford. As a kid, I blamed myself for my parent's financial problems ("My education caused my parent's problems, so I am a bad child") and it caused some major emotional scars. Same with the pets ("My beloved cat is too expensive, if only I could love it less, mommy and daddy would be less angry")

He needs to feel the natural consequences of his actions, which is much easier said than done in this case. If he doesn't feel those consequences, then he has no reason to see what he is doing is wrong, and he has no reason to change his actions. This is where counseling would be extremely important, for both of you, and perhaps medication for him if he isn't already on any. If he isn't open to the idea of couples counseling, then at least go on your own.

You also might want to consider the idea that he just might not be able to go to the grocery store. If he cannot do it in a timely manner and without spending loads of money, then perhaps just make it your chore. That way, it gets done without any bad feelings involved, and you both have an understanding of what is expected.

Cyllya
09-08-16, 12:55 AM
He is mistreating you and your kids pretty badly. Not really doing right by the pets either.

ADHD doesn't automatically entail being a huge jerk. It explains the impulsiveness (going from idea to action without stopping to realize it's a terrible idea), and the forgetfulness, and the failure to do tasks he intended to do. ADHD does NOT explain why he refuses to take reasonable measure to minimize the harm his impairments cause to his family members, such as by giving you control of most of the finances other than a safe allowance for himself.

I cannot just take his wallet and go to the store.

This stood out to me. Hypothetically, if you were going to go to the store, why would you need to take his wallet? Do you mean to say that you do not normally have any access to the money, even when there is some money?

If that is the case, read this (http://www.bwss.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/BWSS-Economic-Empowerment_2.pdf), and also do a credit check on yourself.

DH works in finance. He loves it. Prides himself on knowing everything there is to know about investing. As such, he manages our money. The problem is he really, really sucks at it when it's personal. It's like he understands all the principles in his head but cannot stick to them.

How's this relevant? You guys don't even have any money to invest. Does he do stuff like grocery shopping for his clients? Being in total control of all aspects of the family finances just because he works in the finance industry makes about as much sense as deciding he'll do all of the family's hair cuts because he works at a store that sells shampoo.

I cannot take over the finances myself. He's so proud of that role, there's no way he'd let me.
He's proud of hurting you.

What is stopping you from taking control of the finances without him letting you? Do you have any of your own income?

acdc01
09-08-16, 09:34 AM
When I think of dealing with finances, I see it as calculating what you can and can't spend. He's capable of doing that isn't he? If so, he could still do that like he can do one calculation showing how much you guys would have extra per month if you got a dog versus how much you would have on average without a dog. Then he can share with you those calculations so you guys can choose together which option it is that's the best for your family.

So he can still do financing which he loves. Problem seems to be, not only does he like dealing with finances, he also likes to spend impulsively. Why do you think he feels such a drive to do that? Is there a way to direct that drive to something else?

I myself am the opposite of your husband sort of similar to what Little Missy mentioned earlier. I don't get a rush from spending impulsively. I like it when I'm able to creatively figure out a way to save money. If he likes finances, perhaps you can get him to think of figuring out ways to save money as an exciting challenge. He can feel a sense of accomplishment every time he figures a way to do that that works. You can even reinforce that feeling by praising him when he does figure out a savings solution.

Diverting his drive so he no longer feels the need to impulsively spend would be the most ideal solution though it may be the hardest to accomplish.

Another solution is to figure out a way to prove to him that he has a spending problem so he can get help like joining a support group or something.

Beyond that, if he lives in denial, you need to keep him away from temptation. So yes, you have to be the one to go to the stores and when he wants to see puppies just to see, well you need to put your foot down and say no.

Cyllya made a good point about the wallet thing. It's really odd you don't have your own credit card or cash. You should have your own wallet, credit card, and cash.

exhaustedNT
09-08-16, 12:15 PM
He needs to feel the natural consequences of his actions,

You also might want to consider the idea that he just might not be able to go to the grocery store. If he cannot do it in a timely manner and without spending loads of money, then perhaps just make it your chore.

Ok, question: natural consequences is exactly what I'm shooting for. If he promises he'll go to the store, I hold him to that. If he doesn't go, the kids can't go to school because they have no lunch. How does me taking over help him learn anything?

We went through quite a stint of me just sighing and doing it for him because he wasn't going to follow through. It wasn't good for either of us.

exhaustedNT
09-08-16, 12:38 PM
Hypothetically, if you were going to go to the store, why would you need to take his wallet? Do you mean to say that you do not normally have any access to the money, even when there is some money?

You guys don't even have any money to invest. Does he do stuff like grocery shopping for his clients? Being in total control of all aspects of the family finances just because he works in the finance industry makes about as much sense as deciding he'll do all of the family's hair cuts because he works at a store that sells shampoo.

What is stopping you from taking control of the finances without him letting you? Do you have any of your own income?

Yeah, he controls the money. He'll give me some anytime I ask, provided we have it. I'm not a spender, never have been. Groceries, gas, the bare minimum. He's approached me several times about wanting to open an account for me to have spending money, etc. that I can manage. It's one of the things he means to do but never gets around to.

We SHOULD have money to invest. He has a great job. There's really no reason we shouldn't be able to send both kids to school, plus move like we want to, on his salary alone. The problem? We're almost always in debt. Again, we shouldn't be. Every time we nearly dig ourselves out he gets us right back where we started. It's like he gets excited about being debt-free and celebrates with a spending spree.

Our credit is as good as it can be, considering. He never misses a payment. Again, he knows exactly where the line is, exactly what he can get away with without driving us into bankruptcy. I'm starting to think he gets a thrill out of it, the same way he does with risky investing.

And no, I don't have an income currently. I've been at home while the kids were little and was hoping to start work again soon now that the youngest is in school. From experience though, he could easily use that as an excuse to 1) spend more or 2) quit his own job to "find something better"...and then fail to apply to any job for the next 18 months.

kilted_scotsman
09-09-16, 06:47 AM
Working in finance isn't the same as handling personal budget.

Handling other peoples money responsibly and and professionally is different from handling your own money.

One reason is that working in finance isn't really about working with money in any direct form....one is disconnected from it as someone's "money"...... it's just a number.... and one works to get that number to grow bigger.I've worked in the banking and pensions industry and it's a strange world.

I can empathise with "knowing" lots about finance but being unable to handle my own personal finances.

There's a lot going on that seems to indicate there's a kind of gender conditioning going on.... he makes decisions, you live with them. One of the most important thing about ADHD is that one throws out all those culturally conditioned ideas about who does what.... and reset to a place where you both have input and power of veto.

The problem lies with BOTH of you, so you BOTH have to change. People have mentioned counselling and I think this is a good idea..... but not just for him..... for you too.... because there's an aspect of you enabling this process which needs to change..... and change in a way that helps him change.

I've experienced the roller-coaster of impulsive spending. I used the previous posters method of becoming as addicted to saving money instead of spending it as a route out of my behaviours. This process was initiated by and supported by my partner.... who was very skilled in how to do it...... and it wasn't anything to do with being good at finance.... it is a state of mind.

There is another thing to bear in mind.... I found the financial sector VERY stressful.... how stressful I didn't realise until years later. I am pretty sure that working in it compounded my ADDery addictive tendencies as a way of self-soothing..... and one problem was that I felt "locked in" because of the good salary. The more things I bought or committed to the more I increased the pressure to keep working and the more I bought stuff to make me briefly feel a bit better. Not a good feedback loop.

There is also an issue around "manic defence"...... the way impulsivity and ADDery behaviours can be a "defence" against a psychologically disowned/feared part of the self... for guys this is often around shame/vulnerability/lack of control.....

So I'd be looking at subconscious manic defences, high subconscious stress levels and gender orientated rulesets around how to be a man/woman. This stuff is almost impossible to explore without professional help so I'd advise couples or individual counselling for you both.

sarahsweets
09-09-16, 01:51 PM
I know you may not see this my way- but I look at it as a little abusive- that he would not provide enough for his kids have lunch- that he wouldnt go to the store so they have stuff to pack for lunches.
I know its not physical abuse and verbal abuse per se, but these are non-negotiable's as far as I am concerned. Taking on pets when you cant afford to care,feed or train them, not being concerned with the welfare of your family- these are all red flags.

acdc01
09-09-16, 03:58 PM
Ok, question: natural consequences is exactly what I'm shooting for. If he promises he'll go to the store, I hold him to that. If he doesn't go, the kids can't go to school because they have no lunch. How does me taking over help him learn anything?

We went through quite a stint of me just sighing and doing it for him because he wasn't going to follow through. It wasn't good for either of us.

You can't use anything that involves your kids to teach your husband about "natural consequences". The reason for this is the people that get the consequences isn't your husband - it's your kids.

If you both sit on your butt not doing anything to make sure your kids go to school or get fed, well this is absolute child neglect. And it wouldnt just be your husband thats neglecting your kids. YOU are also neglecting your kids.

One of you guys has got to make sure your kids are taken care of and obviously your husband isn't doing it so you have to do it.

aeon
09-09-16, 05:55 PM
I tried to be gentle in my response, but because I was, I may not have said what I really wanted.

You have to look out for yourself, and you have to look out for your children, because he has abandoned the family in terms of being a member of it, and he is only around now as a platform for his adventures and flights of fantasy and whim.

He is not choosing to be a partner, and he is not choosing to be a father, and frankly, I am worried for you, him, and your children. Take care of yourself, and take care of your children first.

I don’t know what need he is trying to meet, but it is clear it is not working, not in a sustainable and nourishing way.

Appeal to that part of him, if you know of it, that will compel his attention, what there is of it, and speak to his heart and mind. Tell him how you feel, every bit of it, but own it so it is yours, and so he does not have to defend. Ask him what need he is trying to meet. Try to understand him. Do not judge, do not blame, and do not raise your voice. If you can, create an intimate space where he feels safe to share with you what is driving his behavior. And if he doesn’t know, that is OK, because he was still willing to sit down with you.

There are so many hearts in danger of being wounded and broken in your situation, and that even includes the pets. This is not something that can be dealt with by degrees, or a little at a time. This is a crisis situation, and it requires the kind of engagement and action on your part that will test everything you are.

If there is anyone you know you can ask for counsel and/or help, I urge you to do so.


I Hope the Best for You,
Ian

exhaustedNT
09-10-16, 08:49 PM
There is also an issue around "manic defence"...... the way impulsivity and ADDery behaviours can be a "defence" against a psychologically disowned/feared part of the self... for guys this is often around shame/vulnerability/lack of control.....


This makes a lot of sense. Manic is sometimes a good way to describe him. I'm not sure what it's a defense against, though.

kilted_scotsman
09-12-16, 02:02 PM
This makes a lot of sense. Manic is sometimes a good way to describe him. I'm not sure what it's a defense against, though.

Exploring this stuff in a way that helps reduce unhealthy behaviour requires relentless curiosity and courage, plus a really good professional counsellor who's got their own stuff sorted.... it's not something a psychiatrist will sort because they focus on quickly sorting symptoms not dealing with the underlying issue.

It also requires great faith from partners/family etc as the individual may well have a lot of soul searching to do..... which can look a bit weird from the outside. This is best initially explored in some form of "safe" space.... and there aren't many of those around either.

It's a bit paradoxical..... in that trying to find out what is being defended against can be counter-productive..... because that results in the creation of more defences. It's more about developing inter/intrapsychic trust so that the defence isn't needed any more...... a sort of deep sense of "OKness" with oneself and one's place in the world.

_Karen_Cee_
09-18-16, 03:56 PM
You can't use anything that involves your kids to teach your husband about "natural consequences". The reason for this is the people that get the consequences isn't your husband - it's your kids.

THIS is the part that I struggle with when it comes to not "parenting" my spouse. I do think letting him deal with the consequences of his actions (or inaction) is great, but not when it directly affects the rest of us. I did this... letting him reap the consequences - as a result, we're filing bankruptcy. HIS inaction has led to us losing our house, can't pay bills (mostly medical) and have had to move into this rental.

When I ask him if he wants me to take the finances over and be responsible for our expenses he balks at that, says it makes him feel inadequate (well? isn't this a good example of that?) and he says it hurts his feelings for me to say that which means I probably don't love him. Sigh, in fact, it hurts his feelings that I even HAVE feelings about anything at all that isn't just sunshine and roses all the time...but that's a whole separate issue in and of itself. BIG SIGH.

So I get it, exhaustedNT...and I so agree with your initial thought - ADHD and finances do NOT mix. At least not in my house.

kilted_scotsman
09-19-16, 06:17 AM
When I ask him if he wants me to take the finances over and be responsible for our expenses he balks at that, says it makes him feel inadequate

It's essential to keep a roof over everyone's head and food on the table, and it's not acceptable for an ADDer to say that it hurts their feelings if someone else takes this over.

This seems to be a dynamic where the man feels that being a man involves handling finances, doing the driving etc. for women it's nice for the guy to do these things until she realises the guy can't drive.........

Then there are tough choices, particularly if there are kids in the back seat.

what does she do.....
1) Stay in the car and hope the crash is survivable??
2) Leave the car taking the kids and her wallet and hope that strangers are kind??

We each make different choices, but there are ALWAYS choices.

In psychotherapy there is a process called "Discounting".

A simplified summary is that we discount on several levels....
1) the existence of stimuli....... the increasing pile of unpaid bills
2) the importance of stimuli..... threats of eviction
3) the existence of options...... we could stop smoking, sell some stuff, stop buying stuff.
4) our ability to act on those options..... "I could never do that"

It's worth remembering that in a partnership BOTH parties will be discounting in some way. The woman is often discounting the option of her taking over the finances and her ability to run them effectively.

ie... the ADDery man is often discounting at all four levels, his non-ADD partner at levels (3) & (4)

The reasons for this are often associated with culturally embedded gender roles.....

sarahsweets
09-20-16, 04:43 AM
THIS is the part that I struggle with when it comes to not "parenting" my spouse. I do think letting him deal with the consequences of his actions (or inaction) is great, but not when it directly affects the rest of us. I did this... letting him reap the consequences - as a result, we're filing bankruptcy. HIS inaction has led to us losing our house, can't pay bills (mostly medical) and have had to move into this rental.
The time for waiting on him to understand the consequences is over. You need to leave him for now until he gets help and is willing to let you take care of things. Its harsh advice, I know, but he is running you and your lives into the ground. You dont need to put up with this and you shouldnt. Its a drastic move to ask him to leave or leave yourself but he has proven that he cant do this money thing the right way, at least not now.
"nothing changes, if nothing changed". He is not willing to change, so you must.


When I ask him if he wants me to take the finances over and be responsible for our expenses he balks at that, says it makes him feel inadequate (well? isn't this a good example of that?) and he says it hurts his feelings for me to say that which means I probably don't love him.
So what? Feelings can be repaired-being not being able to provide food and shelter can not be negotiable. Maybe right now you dont feel love for him-and with good reason. Who would? It doesnt mean you dont love him at all but right now, you dont even like him.

Sigh, in fact, it hurts his feelings that I even HAVE feelings about anything at all that isn't just sunshine and roses all the time...but that's a whole separate issue in and of itself. BIG SIGH.

He needs to get over it. So what about his hurt feelings an ego? Having your feelings not hurt doesnt provide food. It doesnt give you shelter and its a play on your emotions. He is used to the script where he tells you that it hurts and you feel bad and question yourself-and give in. Feelings are not facts.

So I get it, exhaustedNT...and I so agree with your initial thought - ADHD and finances do NOT mix. At least not in my house.

I am usually not the one to go off on the adhd partner because a lot of the time spouses and partners are expecting things that arent possible but this is too much.
You need a bottom line that you can stick to, and now I think that bottom line should be him leaving until he gets help and turns things over to you.

Valleyview
09-20-16, 07:09 PM
My thoughts, if you're not willing to do anything or set boundaries don't complain.
Now here me out, I'm speaking from a personal experience that is pretty similar. I have ADD but my partner is probably ASD.
We have a business and he is **** at it.

I would complain and nag and ring my hands. Took five years of the same **** to decide I'm pulling out of the business, stricking myself off the company board and getting a job. I will work for the family business if needed. Like open the door for someone locked out, meet a delivery driver etc.

It's been amazing, the only way I could get to that point was figure out my limits. Because he was never going to change, me on the other hand, I changed, I have a job where I pay half of the house hold exspenses and we have split our money.

This really has nothing to do with him, it's you. What will you make a stand for, the best thing for you. Then your children then your spouse, your spouses pride in this situation is a distant 4th or10000th
And I wish you all the best.



(I will finish with I'm shot with personal money but I kicked business ***, I feel bad that he lost me but I gave big neon signs, we are happier for it though) you will be happier for it too!