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Old 02-02-09, 12:44 AM
Bywren Bywren is offline
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At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

Hi. I'm new here! Recently I've been wondering if the problems I and my stepkids are having with my husband, are his ADD (undxd.) I would love some direction, ideas, pat on the head, anything that might help me sort this out.

My story: met and married DH several years ago. He is handsome, super talented musically, and charming. Got stepkids in the deal , and after a few years the girls and I would joke that it was sooo nice of him to marry a "single mom" (I have no kids of my own.) Almost immediately in the relationship I became the primary parent. His disinterest and his ex's own issues, made parenting my job. I did it with total abandon, and for good or bad the nearly-grown girls are more my kids than theirs. He showed a total lack of interest in their classes, grades, friends. I had to constantly remind him what school they go to, ages, etc. I did all the extra curricular stuff. I have done all the social things for the family, reminding him of birthdays, events, etc. The girls seem to have some ADD issues as well, with disorganization to the extreme, bouncing their legs constantly when sitting still, bad memory, total lack of navigational skills, some impulse control issues with spending and eating. So, needless to say, this has been a tough journey to raise 2 kids and deal with DH all this time.

I started noticing problems over the past few years. He has held 8 jobs in less than 6 years. Had one job for many years when we met, because it was something he was very interested in, and had lack of structure he loved (it was a dream job in most people's eyes.) He has since been fired from other jobs, because he wastes time on the internet when he should have been telecommuting, etc., or thought he knew better than the bosses. I have held the family together financially through my financial dexterity and absolute devotion to keeping our credit scores together -- even through several periods of unemployment on his part. He has ZERO interest in our finances, spends on music equipment when he shouldn't, and cannot go to the grocery store without buying 10 times what I asked for. When I gently tried to mention the other day that we need to make sure "we're" not overbuying and wasting food, he accused me of not knowing how to write a list, and having no clue how to shop. argh.

He forgets things constantly, gets lost driving all the time, and calls me to navigate him out of it, by using my computer. Sometimes this takes an hour, and most of the time he is yelling or sniping at me. He tells me that he doesn't have to read how to do anything, like maintain the lawn or hot tub, because he'll just have me do it and tell him. Our lawns have died in all of our recent homes because he doesn't do maintenance on the yard or house, and becomes quite angry when he has to do anything in the house. His clothes are piled all over the room, and a suitcase he used for a trip 3 weeks ago is still sitting on the living room floor.

I have no idea who the people are at his newish job. I know the names of the bosses, but have no clue what he does all day or who anyone is. I ask but he's just blows it off... and never talks about his day. In fact, I rarely know what's going on in his life. You know, the way we might share that so-and-so called today, etc. He just doesn't talk unless you bring something up. But once I stop talking, so does he. Often when we're talking, I can see he zoned out, and I'll stop mid-sentence and turn around.. he doesn't notice! Or I'll ask him something and he won't answer. So I'll leave the room, and 3 minutes later he'll call out an answer to what I asked. Or if I ask him if he heard me, he'll say.. 'oh, I was just thinking of what to answer", or "oh, I didn't think you wanted an answer."

He is very uncommunicative with his daughters. They will drive together and he doesn't say a word. They will go out to lunch and he doesn't talk a bit. Took his older daughter out for a birthday dinner and they didn't say one word to each other. The girls have given up trying to interest him, because he seems to just say something very shallow in return, then stop talking.

My DH comes home from work and we get through dinner. Then he heads to the family room to watch tv, or play video games. Often he stays up very late, forgetting to come to bed until 1am, hours after I've been asleep. I wake up early ready to start the day (I"m pretty hyper!), and he sleeps in and then takes 2 hours to function, with coffee. He gets quite addicted to video games, sometimes playing for hours day after day (and that was one of the reasons he's been fired from telecommuting jobs.)

We have many communication issues. I try to talk to him about something and he gets so jumpy and defensive, even if it's not anything directly against him. Like if he tells me something won't work that I want to try, I'll ask why he thinks that.. because I want to know what he's thinking, and he gets very angry as though I'm challenging him.

He is so extremely moody. Can be jumping down my throat one minute, or being angry at his daughter, and then comes in and tries to be all jokey. Then sends a text of I love you, after he leaves the house. He tells me that I have forgotten things, when I haven't, then accuses me of being sensitive about it. Or harangues me in ways that are hard to describe. Like claiming that I forgot something (when it's he that has forgotten), and when I protest he tells me I seem pretty upset, because I'm obviously worried about my memory, and does this "are you okay sweetie?" thing that is meant to be mocking, not concerned.

I'm just really really tired of this stuff. He is not a bad person, and I know he loves me more than anything. I have broached the subject of ADD in a very very non-threatening way, because I've learned that I have to be careful how I say things to him, or he gets agitated and it starts a fight. He refuses to consider that he has ADD, though he tells me that he struggled in school, and go through because he excelled in sports and did just enough work to get by. He was disorganized and spacey. The subject of ADD, and having him see a doctor or take meds is out of the question.

In fact, he chides me all the time calling me "ADD" because I may change a conversation topic, or ask him something out of the blue. He also mocks me and calls me "Genius" if I don't remember something, because my memory is usually great. So here I am. My last daughter is graduating in June, I have an ADD husband who refuses to consider that he's ADD, and me and the girls are suffering because of his moods, his lack of attention and interest, and what feels like total selfishness because all he wants to do is watch tv, play guitar (he's a working musician and he's good), and play video games. He talks animatedly with his son, because his adult son likes all the same stuff.. they connect because it's something he's into.

He just tells me that he "hears music" in his head 24/7, and that's why he cannot focus or why he spaces out.

Help? Suggestions? Has anyone dealt with a spouse that refuses to even consider ADD? How about a stepparent that ends up being the #1 parent because of ADD? How do I cope? I've lost so much of myself in these past years because I'm doing all the house work, parenting, money stuff keeping our heads above water, pet stuff, keeping up on everything, and the worst: Feeling so darn lonely all the time in my own house. I work from home and find myself in my office, on the computer all day and night because I'm being ignored. I'd rather be alone than in a relationship alone.

Sorry this is so long, but I needed to really vent this stuff, and present it accurately. Any input is so very welcome!
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Old 02-02-09, 12:58 AM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

Have you told DH that there is a problem, the current situation cannot continue and has to change lest you walk?
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Old 02-02-09, 01:36 AM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

I'll second that, and the anger.. could be depression.
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Old 02-02-09, 02:38 AM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

well.. that's where the problem lies. I tried to talk to him about the ADD but he would hear none of that. Defensiveness is a major problem. Twice in the past few years I've told him that things could not go the way they have, or else I walk. He begged to give him another chance, and by chance we were virtually apart for almost a year (he had to work in another state), and I started to feel so good about myself again without having to babysit him or deal with the constant tension. Recently, he told me he was feeling good about things, and his good mood lasted until today, when he had to confront the messy garage because he wanted to part his car there later. And it sent him into a mood, as he does not like to do things that are not part of his music or interests, so he was less than easy to be with today.

And though he's been in a better mood this week, it does not erase the absolutely unfair balance of work in the relationship.

So, do you think I should try to bring up the ADD again? My oldest girl is graduating in June, and i'm trying to keep things together until we get through that. This summer, I have to have a talk with him and tell him that this can't go on like this anymore. But I'm really confused about whether ADD should be part of the talk, as he's quite defensive about it and accused me of having ADD instead (like it was an insult.), and considering it's his nickname for me but not in a flattering way. As I said, I've done the assessments and I'm not ADD. I am a bit hyper and very creative, but nothing else fits.

His anger... well ya, that is certainly on the surface very often. He can explode into a road rage, and sometimes has nothing good to say about other people. He says all the time that he's a positive and easy-going guy, but I just don't see that. But it's how he sees himself, for sure. That's part of the frontal lobe issues, often there is a disconnect in seeing how your affect others by your actions. Then other times, he can be sweet as pie and so caring. He has loyal friends, almost all are fellow musicians. He has little use for people that don't share his passion. It's his sole focus in life.

I don't see the depression in him at all. It's more of an ADD with anger issues (he's becoming very much like his Dad these past few years, with the mocking and "teasing") I just would love to know where I should go from here. I've ordered the book "Is it You, Me, or Adult ADD", and hope that will help. I'd love to hear from ADD and ADD spouses on how "the" discussion came about that got you or your spouse to get assessment and treatment for ADD. thanks. (sorry if I'm being wordy, this post has been 10 years in the making!)
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Old 02-02-09, 04:51 AM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

"ADD" is irrelevant at this point. He needs to acknowledge that there is a problem and want help.

If he doesn't see a problem, he won't solve it.
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Old 02-02-09, 10:48 AM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

Wow,
This could be my husband. He is also a musician, who swears he is a "nice" guy, but the reactions he gets from others is far from what a "nice" guy would get. He too is impatient, knows better than his bosses, blames others for everything that goes wrong and accuses me of not remembering things when it is HE who is not remembering. (That last thing is the issue we have argued about the most) It has been terrible being accused for so many years that "You don't hear things right", or "You don't remember anything I say". Most of the time, HE didn't say what he is accusing me of not remembering, or he said something else entirely and it didn't come out the way he thought it did.

-He too does music and works, plays, EVERYTHING music. He doesn't have any other hobbies except work which IS music. This has ruined many "vacations" and just plain down time.

- He has isolated our two girls from the years of being impatient, judgemental, saying hurtful things, and not wanting to be the one to "help make things better".

- He has dozens of unfinished projects around the house, and now he is on a new project. (I know it will only last a few more weeks, at the most a few months)

- He runs from room to room in the house, and can never sit still. The concerta has helped a lot with this, but when it wears off, he still does everything in "fast" mode.
I tried for years to keep up with him, but it physically wore me out. He used to yell at us for "wasting time", when what we were doing was "resting".

- I don't mean to make this sound like your husband can't be helped, because he can. If my husband can get better, than I know anyone can. (That sounds like a terrible thing to say, but no one knows what it's like to live with unless they have LIVED it.) The entire lifestyle can be very hurtful to the non-add person.

I have to say that my husband is getting better every day, and he is working hard. But, the years of defensiveness, ANGER, (lots of road rage) yelling at people calling them "morons", etc, has had a very negative effect on me.

These things and a ton more, got really bad over the course of being married many years. In 2004, he had an affair (that lasted 3 years) with a much younger woman. He REALLY got bad during that time with the accusations, the defensiveness, and he too moved to another state for a job. I was left behind to sell the house, etc. (He was playing house with the OW) It almost totally destroyed me emotionally, mentally, spiritually and even physically.
The only good thing about it was he FINALLY went to counseling when he got to the point where he knew his life was totally OUT OF CONTROL. The counselor immediately diagnosed the ADHD and put my husband on Concerta. My husband had all the symptoms of adhd. But, all the undiagnosed years left me as his wife; confused, hurt, betrayed, isolated, with no self esteem, and thinking that I had completely lost touch with reality.

I can say that he gave up the OW, and has been trying very hard to work on himself as well as our marriage, But it has taken 2 years of counseling and medication, plus a year of him trying very hard to make things up to me before I can even begin to say that I'm now believing in things again.

I don't know what to tell you about how to get your husband to listen about the adhd. But, I suspect he may already suspect it himself but just doesn't want to look at it. My husband suspected it too (many adhd'ers do) but again, the defensiveness about having something "wrong" with them may keep them from really looking at the issue.

I DO suggest that you read as much as you can about the add/adhd. It helped me a lot, and it STILL DOES. I can't go too long without outside help, and lots of support from others especially on this web site.
I'm still working on me. The pain and betrayal and hurt has changed me into a person I don't like very much. Trust has now become my biggest issue. The adhd on top of the affair makes me crazy at times. By the way, sex wasn't the reason for the affair. That is another issue of his adhd. He sort of turned the sex spigot off shortly after we got married, and he has a lot of sexual hang ups that he WILL NOT deal with. The OW made him feel young and attractive and again it was something NEW. He gets so excited about NEW things. It does make me still wonder if he will do it again, given the fact that he needs CONSTANT stimulation, new projects, and excitement. (but excitement on his terms) He doesn't get excited about "my" life or my things.

My husband is still going to counseling and the doctor has helped him deal with a lot of these issues, but I feel like I am going to need counseling forever. lol

Sometimes I wonder why those with adhd do the things they do when they know it hurts others. I've know that they can't help it sometimes, and they need help to re-train their behaviors. It is not an easy life, and there are days I really question, "Is it worth it"? But, that is me and my life, I'm not saying that about you.

I do know how alone and hurt you must be feeling. I have felt a lone for a very long time. The past year, with my husband working harder on our marriage, and with him getting help, I am beginning to come out of what seems like a "coma".

The people here are great and give lots of good advice. I hope you stay in touch with them.
dede
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Old 02-02-09, 12:33 PM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

Wow Dede,

As I read your post I was struck by the similarities! I could have written so much of what you've written. My husband has less of the hyper-ness, but everything else. Right on.

The odd thing is that last night, when he came home from a gig, I decided to bring up ADD with him. I mentioned that I think at least one of the girl has it (which it looks like they both to moderately), and he volunteered: "Yeah, I have ADD" Now I was so blown away because in the past he's been totally defensive and denied it could be possible. He talked about zoning out when people talk. However, he is not at a level of awareness that would make him want to get help with it. There is no way he would ever go to counseling or take meds; I know that much about him, even though he surprised me by mentioning he has ADD. The thing is, that not everything about him has to do with the ADD, he still has other traits that make meds and counseling out of the question for him.

Well, I have to say that the past 24 hours have been so enlightening for me. Once I really started reading this forum and recognizing what was going on for the past 10 years! AND.. in learning about him and talking to my stepdaughters, it's clear that they also have ADD, but not to the extent he does (in fact at least one of his other older kids may have it as well.) It's like I want to jump up and down and yell "EUREKA!!!", because I finally understand what has happened to me, moving into a life with 3 ADD people and no understanding of why I am the one that has to keep things together for them.

Dede is right, with no offense to ADD people, living with them wears you down. (Or should I say living with undxd ADD wears you down.) I often would look through my datebook and see entry after entry for everyone else's stuff, and nothing for me, because I've been busy helping them live their lives and keep it together. It's like part of me just disappeared. I've looked back in my journal and have seen entries about how I seem to be the "information storehouse" for everyone else so they could live their lives, and in the process I've lost mine."

OMG OMG OMG. The experience Dede shared with me from her own life is so incredible to me, because it could be me. The feeling of being alone, being accused of MY not hearing things right and not remembering, being a buffer for the girls, even down to the infidelity (though his was caught in time when I found that he's been cruising personals ads online on several occasions - and lied to my face repeatedly about it. I chose to drop it, and to this day he freaks out if I mention it.) The road rage, calling everyone else "morons" and worse, and having no hobbies or interests other than music (the video games and tv to me, seem to be a way to medicate himself. he stares at the tv and you could drop a firecracker next to him and I doubt he'd notice.) The job stuff, where he thinks he knows better than the boss, that's there too. It's just uncanny!

So where does this leave me? Yes, he's finally acknowledged that he has it. But, as someone mentioned to me in an earlier post, it's irrelevant if he refuses to do anything about it. Ah yes, but I have to tell you.. it makes all the difference to me. Suddenly understanding what all of this has been about, and why my own personal life and confidence has disappeared in the process.

Funny how you suddenly realize things... I'm thinking about his first marriage and how it ended. It all makes sense. He married young and they had 4 kids. She obviously took on the role of managing the money and household things (lucky she is OCD about cleaning.) He was the fun guy, playing video games with the kids, and occasionally being the big voice and disciplinarian to the kids when he got home and she told him they'd misbehaved. Other than that, he was pretty absent in their lives. Unfortunately, the strain of living that way and her own issues created a family where Mommy hid in her room and watched TV in bed most of the time, cutting herself off from the kids when he wasn't home. When she left him, she said she was just "tired" of doing everything for the past 20 years. Though she has other issues like depression and some alcohol stuff, I can see now how overwhelming that must have been with 4 kids and an undxd ADD husband.

So, when I married into the fam, there were 3 kids still at home. Well, one was 18, 16, and 7, respectively. Finally got the 18 year old out of the house (ADD and learning issues, and anxiety issues), and realize now I was plunged into a dysfunctional family looking for a new manager. Unlike their Mom, I did not retreat into my room, instead poured all of my own life into getting them on track, and keeping things together, without support from my husband. It's no wonder, now that I look back on things, why now I feel so isolated from the world, and feel that I've lost 10 years of my life. The girls and even my husband, are very grateful for everything I've done in their lives, but that's not enough for me.

I have a lot to sort out, but doubt I can stay if he does not get help. This is no kinds of life for me. And if he does get help, I don't know if I could stay, either, because after 10 years of this I don't know if I have it in me to go through all of that with him. Not saying that I'm throwing in the towel, because honestly, this is all such a new revelation for me. Finally seeing everything written down, and reading the experiences of others that are exactly like mine, has been pretty mind-blowing. Lots to process.

I do welcome all advice, comments, and experiences you can share with me while I figure it out. Once again, forgive my lengthy posts, but this is all coming out after 10 years of struggle. thanks
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Old 02-03-09, 12:41 AM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bywren View Post
Wow Dede,

As I read your post I was struck by the similarities! I could have written so much of what you've written. My husband has less of the hyper-ness, but everything else. Right on.

Dede is right, with no offense to ADD people, living with them wears you down. (Or should I say living with undxd ADD wears you down.) I often would look through my datebook and see entry after entry for everyone else's stuff, and nothing for me, because I've been busy helping them live their lives and keep it together. It's like part of me just disappeared. I've looked back in my journal and have seen entries about how I seem to be the "information storehouse" for everyone else so they could live their lives, and in the process I've lost mine."

OMG OMG OMG. The experience Dede shared with me from her own life is so incredible to me, because it could be me. The feeling of being alone, being accused of MY not hearing things right and not remembering, being a buffer for the girls, even down to the infidelity (though his was caught in time when I found that he's been cruising personals ads online on several occasions - and lied to my face repeatedly about it. I chose to drop it, and to this day he freaks out if I mention it.) The road rage, calling everyone else "morons" and worse, and having no hobbies or interests other than music (the video games and tv to me, seem to be a way to medicate himself. he stares at the tv and you could drop a firecracker next to him and I doubt he'd notice.) The job stuff, where he thinks he knows better than the boss, that's there too. It's just uncanny!

So where does this leave me? Yes, he's finally acknowledged that he has it. But, as someone mentioned to me in an earlier post, it's irrelevant if he refuses to do anything about it. Ah yes, but I have to tell you.. it makes all the difference to me. Suddenly understanding what all of this has been about, and why my own personal life and confidence has disappeared in the process.


I have a lot to sort out, but doubt I can stay if he does not get help. This is no kinds of life for me. And if he does get help, I don't know if I could stay, either, because after 10 years of this I don't know if I have it in me to go through all of that with him. Not saying that I'm throwing in the towel, because honestly, this is all such a new revelation for me. Finally seeing everything written down, and reading the experiences of others that are exactly like mine, has been pretty mind-blowing. Lots to process.

I do welcome all advice, comments, and experiences you can share with me while I figure it out. Once again, forgive my lengthy posts, but this is all coming out after 10 years of struggle. thanks

Hi Bywren,
I could have actually highlighted about 80% or more of everything you posted in all three of your posts but I might be writing all night. Still don't know how I can even begin to respond to everything as I have so much familiarity with most of what you've said and a thousand comments I could make. Where do I even begin?

I'm going to highlight some additional descriptions, phrases, or comments that I have also experienced (italics are my comments):
zero interest in our finances; accuses me of not knowing how to write a list or having no clue how to shop; yelling at me; ADD with anger issues; jumpy and defensive even when it's not directly against him; angry as if I challenged him (any opinion different than theirs is seen as criticism); being accused of my not hearing things right and not remembering; being a buffer for the girls; calling everyone morons; road rage; thinking he knows better than the boss; extremely moody; then tries to be jokey; sent him into a mood; dealing with the constant tension; have to be careful how I say things to him...

I also was the one who held it all together in the household--the kids, the house, the bills, the shopping, etc. Not being able to share anything about you with him, feeling alone....I could go on and on.

Some of what you've described is most definitely ADHD, some of it is somewhat related to having ADHD, and some of it is something else entirely. Oh, and my husband once told me (after I had commented to a joint friend of ours in front of my husband that he definitely had ADHD--big mistake!) that if I EVER said he had ADHD again, or if I even THOUGHT it, he would kill me! (Though he did briefly admit he had ADHD one day to my surprise also--but don't worry, he'll later deny he ever said that).

Let me throw out a few questions from a book called, "Stop Walking on Eggshells" and see if any of these resonate with you:

Are you accused of things you never did or said?
Do you find yourself concealing thoughts and feelings to avoid horrible arguments?
Do you feel that anything you say or do will be twisted against you?

Does this person have extreme moodiness that cycles very quickly (in minutes or hours)?
Do they act inconsistently or unpredictably?
Do they blame others for their mistakes?
Believe that others are either completely right or totally wrong?
Alternate between seeing others as completely for them or against them?
Express anger inappropriately or have unpredictable rages that make no logical sense?
Cut people out of their lives over issues that seem trivial or overblown?
Act verbally abusive toward people they know very well, while putting on a charming front for others? Can they switch from one mode to the other in seconds?
Do they remember situations very differently than other people, or find themselves unable to recall them at all?

They can act normal and loving at times and at other times you find yourself "walking on eggshells". If any of these sound familiar to you, I suggest you get the book, "Stop Walking on Eggshells" by Randi Kreger and Paul Mason ASAP.

The above descriptions are indicative of a disorder known as "borderline personality disorder". It only took 23 years of marriage and 4 psychiatrists who didn't have a clue before we found a doctor who correctly diagnosed my husband (he also picked up on my husband's ADHD in that first visit). A high percentage of individuals with BPD have ADHD also so you frequently see them together. They have some similarities as they both include impulsive behavior, can appear to be selfish and immature, feel empty and bored easily, etc. Here is my quick example of the difference between someone who just has ADHD and someone with ADHD and BPD.

A person with ADHD may constantly misplace/lose their keys. Someone with ADHD and BPD not only loses their keys but they may go into a rage over it and blame you for taking or losing their keys.

5.9% of the population has BPD, more than the combined number of individuals who have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, yet most people have never heard of it. And most of these people go undiagnosed, as even psychiatrists are not trained to pick up on it, unless it fits the stereotypical "textbook" example they learned about--usually one paragraph of information was all a lot of doctors learned about it.

Sometimes people refer to someone as having a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality where the person can be sweet and loving at times and at the drop of a hat become the Tazmanian devil, bringing destruction on whatever lies in their path. That would be an apt description of someone with BPD. There are other "types" in that there are 9 criteria and only 5 criteria need to be met to have the disorder. Just as there is a difference between the hyperactive-impulsive type of ADHD and the inattentive type of ADHD, there are differences in people with BPD.

In order to know what your next step would be, you need to have an accurate diagnosis of what all you are dealing with. If you are just dealing with ADHD, your choices and options are going to be different than if you are indeed dealing with ADHD and BPD. It considerably complicates the situation. I know you just started researching ADHD and learning all about it but you might want to start researching BPD as well, to see if that fits.

One piece of advice--I wouldn't discuss BPD with your husband. you need to learn all you can and decide what you want to do. If any of this sounds like a possibility and you have any other questions, I've seen a lot and could recommend a lot of other resources and tons of experience.

I wish you the best.

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Old 02-03-09, 01:06 PM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

Thanks ADDMagnet,

I read your post several times to really get a handle on what I've been describing. I'm familiar with BPD, because my sister has it (and no, no one has has the guts to tell her!) She is the walking, talking, poster girl for it.

My husband, when looking at the two issues side by side, is really much more ADD with anger/frustration issues that may come from his own frustration with ADD, and his father's influence. There is those issues of walking on eggshells, but it's much less acute. Perhaps he's mildly BPD. I had the book "I hate you, don't leave me" somewhere around here because of my Sis, maybe I should reread that as well. He seems more like just an aggressive ADD personality. Thinks he's always right, and will argue it forever, because he hates being seen as weak. He has never had a fight with a friend or family member, but has no problem describing people that are my friends or family, or strangers, in very derogatory terms.

Hard to articulate, but his issues are not that dramatic. Though I'd never say he's verbally abusive, he's more of a gaslighter preferring to mock, or play emotional games with you. And he's never wrong... even when he's wrong, all because he's trying to save face.

I will totally look up BPD again, and see if it fits. Thanks for the suggestion.

I do have to say that now that I've really explored the ADD for him and his daughters, so much is falling into place in my mind. And I'm looking at him in such a different way now. Where I'd spent so many years feeling overwhelmed, and feeling as though there was something wrong with me, or always feeling like something was "off" but I couldn't name it, now I have some peace. All those years of caring for these 3 people who seem at times unable to manage the basic tasks of life has drained me, but now I understand that this is not typical family stuff. The Mom isn't always expected to do all these things for people. I didn't know, because I'd married into this ready-made family, and thought this was what it's like. All this time of feeling lonely and out of place, makes sense.
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Old 02-03-09, 06:03 PM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

It's pretty tough for me to offer any real suggestions on what you can do since the crux of the situation is what you described below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bywren View Post
However, he is not at a level of awareness that would make him want to get help with it. There is no way he would ever go to counseling or take meds; I know that much about him, even though he surprised me by mentioning he has ADD. The thing is, that not everything about him has to do with the ADD, he still has other traits that make meds and counseling out of the question for him.
Like Driver said, he needs to want help in order for things to change. Without that, things are going to continue the way they are. Which leads me to another statement you made:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bywren View Post
Hard to articulate, but his issues are not that dramatic. Though I'd never say he's verbally abusive, he's more of a gaslighter preferring to mock, or play emotional games with you. And he's never wrong... even when he's wrong, all because he's trying to save face.
Any sort of mocking/emotional games, especially when the other person continually starts them unprovoked, is verbal abuse and a far cry from "issues [which] are not that dramatic."

I've got inattentive ADD and put up with the same issues as you did with some fellow ADDers (as well as non-ADDers). I also had the same behaviors (I'd like to think a little less stronger than your husband, but I doubt it) until a few years back, which certainly fed the fires.

In the end, the way I dealt with the people who were acting like your husband was, was to cut them completely out of my life. I found there's only so far I could go with pleading with them about how their behavior was taking a toll on me.

One of the books which gave me the most insight was "Healing ADD", by Dr. Daniel Amen. I highly recommend going to a local bookstore and reading at Chapter 14, "The Games ADD People Play". You'll see a lot of behaviors you described your husband doing.
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Old 02-03-09, 10:22 PM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bywren View Post
Thanks ADDMagnet,

I read your post several times to really get a handle on what I've been describing. I'm familiar with BPD, because my sister has it (and no, no one has has the guts to tell her!) She is the walking, talking, poster girl for it.

My husband, when looking at the two issues side by side, is really much more ADD with anger/frustration issues that may come from his own frustration with ADD, and his father's influence. There is those issues of walking on eggshells, but it's much less acute. Perhaps he's mildly BPD. I had the book "I hate you, don't leave me" somewhere around here because of my Sis, maybe I should reread that as well. He seems more like just an aggressive ADD personality. Thinks he's always right, and will argue it forever, because he hates being seen as weak. He has never had a fight with a friend or family member, but has no problem describing people that are my friends or family, or strangers, in very derogatory terms.

Hard to articulate, but his issues are not that dramatic. Though I'd never say he's verbally abusive, he's more of a gaslighter preferring to mock, or play emotional games with you. And he's never wrong... even when he's wrong, all because he's trying to save face.

I will totally look up BPD again, and see if it fits. Thanks for the suggestion.

I do have to say that now that I've really explored the ADD for him and his daughters, so much is falling into place in my mind. And I'm looking at him in such a different way now. Where I'd spent so many years feeling overwhelmed, and feeling as though there was something wrong with me, or always feeling like something was "off" but I couldn't name it, now I have some peace. All those years of caring for these 3 people who seem at times unable to manage the basic tasks of life has drained me, but now I understand that this is not typical family stuff. The Mom isn't always expected to do all these things for people. I didn't know, because I'd married into this ready-made family, and thought this was what it's like. All this time of feeling lonely and out of place, makes sense.
I have inattentive ADHD and so do both of our children (husband has the hyperactive/impulsive type). ADHD does affect behavior but it is not an excuse for being abusive. I know a lot of people with ADHD, including severe cases of ADHD, who are not abusive. Sometimes the line can be fuzzy but the more you learn about ADHD and the more people you know with the disorder, the more you realize that ADHD does not equal abusive behavior.

As Crackerjack pointed out, the mocking and emotional game playing are types of abuse. Gaslighting is a form of abuse that is also frequently connected with BPD. There were certain aspects of my husband's behavior that I didn't completely recognize as abusive until much more recently. Sometimes abuse can be so subtle and we've grown so used to it, that it is hard for us to see.

There are a lot of good articles at bpdcentral.com that do an excellent job of explaining aspects of BPD. "I Hate You, Don't Leave Me" does a fair job of describing BPD but there are many other books that do a much better job, in my opinion. There has also been a lot of new information since then. I have at least a dozen books on BPD and know quite a few people with the disorder, not just my husband. It can look very different in different people, not to mention the way it is usually presented in men. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with ASPD or "anger problems" than with BPD. They don't show "hurt" feelings in the same way as women. My husband had underlying chronic anger. When he was successfully treated for BPD and following all of the doctor's instructions, people could see the change in his face and demeanor. The anger and derogatory comments were gone. Even before the ADHD was treated, the difference in his behavior after treatment for his BPD was astounding. He stopped blaming me for everything and was able to finally take responsibility for his own behavior. No more mood swings and walking on eggshells. He was pleasant to be around.

Just FYI...Can you think of two women who are more unalike than Anna Nicole Smith and Princess Diana? Very different women with very different personalities. Yet both of them are cited for showing symptoms of BPD. The author of "I Hate You, Don't Leave Me" wrote a second book in which he refers to Princess Diana as someone with borderline traits and cites a book about her that documents her behavior.

You've gotten a lot of information in a short time. Give all of the information time to soak in. I remember well when I first started learning about ADHD and first realized how it explained so much of my husband's behavior. Just when you think you've learned all there is to know about ADHD, you learn about other aspects that you didn't know about.
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Old 02-04-09, 09:10 AM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

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And he's never wrong... even when he's wrong, all because he's trying to save face.
Oh, my. I think you may have married my ex. :-) Though he would never have bothered taking care of his children from a former marriage -- he's made no attempt to contact our son in almost 30 years. And mine was verbally abusive, moving toward physical (I left at that point).

But that never wrong thing! That is so wearing. I remember agreeing just so I could get a few hours of sleep, as he would argue the most ridiculous things far into the night. It didn't matter how much proof there was against his position. If it was what he thought/wanted/felt/desired, it was true. It wasn't enough for him to dislike something; he had to prove that it was bad for everyone and no one should ever have or do it. Foods, activities, colors -- argh!!!!

Anyway, as you've probably realized, this is not good to live with. Only you can decide if there are enough redeeming values in your relationship to make it worthwhile to put up with the (many) less pleasant aspects of it. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you will remain a part of your stepdaughters' lives. Their lives would have been very different without your influence.
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Old 02-02-09, 02:58 PM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

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Sometimes I wonder why those with adhd do the things they do when they know it hurts others.
Plenty of NT people knowingly do things that hurt others. What's their excuse? Humans knowingly do things that hurt each other.

*climbs off soapbox*



Good luck both of you with your relationships and new beginnings.
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Old 02-03-09, 04:51 PM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

Sorry to all add'ers. I didn't mean to imply that only add'ers hurt peoples feelings. I certainly do and have done my share. Please pardon an ill worded phrase.

Bywren,
It is amazing how similar our husbands are. (maybe it's a musician thing too) LOL

I am also a musician and even though my husband and I have shared a LOT musically (and enjoyed it), being around music ALL day and night, weekends, etc. can get to be too much.

You mentioned that your husband "doesn't" talk about things. I understand that too. My husband can talk my ear off, especially about every thought he is thinking. I can barely get a word in sometimes, and I have to remind him that he is monopolizing the conversation.
He doesn't like taking turns too much when talking, but he's getting a little better at it. He begins to fidget and starts to talk over me when he doesn't want to listen to what I have to say. But then there are times he WON'T talk about things that really NEED to be said. He has told me about this, and seems to have an attitude about it. He seems almost prideful about the fact that he "doesn't talk" about important things. I don't get that one at all.

I know that this "inattentive" stuff has caused him a great deal of problems in his life. He has gotten a LOT of negative feedback from others about him not seeming "interested" in what others were doing. I had to tell him to stop doodling on paper when other people are talking to him. (especially people in positions of power like bosses, co-workers)

-I know he is trying "not" to do some of the things that was hurting our relationship, but he's been doing them a LONG time. It's hard to break a habit, let alone a behavior that is controlled by the brain.
Anyway, other stuff;

- He is better about picking things up. For many, many years he would drop whatever he had in his hand, WHEREVER it would fall. I could track his path through the house just by the huge messes he would make and then just LEAVE. He would then complain about the house being messy, but he was the one doing most of the messing up. I picked up after him like he was a toddler. I've stopped doing that. I also explained to him that when he did that, it was being disrespectful of how hard I had worked to clean the house, cook, etc, and still worka job, raise kids and keep up with him.
He wants and needs respect so BAD (as he says) but was not giving it to me in ANY way. (he is now seeing that too)

-I still am grieving over the loss of a marriage that I thought that I was going to have, (and at times thought I DID have) but now know will most likely never be. I've had to re-adjust my thoughts about the give and take in the marriage.

There is another issue that sometimes makes me feel unappreciated, and disconnected from him.
I wish my husband would look me in the face (eyes) when he is talking to me, instead of somewhere else, or DOING something else at the same time. I never quite know if he's heard me. Plus, it is important to feel validated in the relationship at times. This, doesn't really happen too much.
My counselor said that most of the validation that spouses get needs to come from "outside" sources. Then there are those like MadMike who realize so MANY things, and they do what they can to make their spouses feel special. (I love that)

-Today, my husband is driving my car because it is clean. His car is ALWAYS a mess. Papers, fast food bags, trash, music, garbage and dirt are ALWAYS in his car. We have to always move whatever is on the seat to be able to get in.

There are others on this site that have overcome the "small stuff" as they say, or they've learned not to let things like this bother them any more. I have let many things go, but have a lot more to let go of.

Another big issue for me is this: I have gone numb emotionally and have stopped desiring much of anything. This is not good, because it has led me to be too isolated. The undiagnosed adhd caused us to become more and more isolated as a couple, but the effects have had a more profound effect on me, long term.

I used to smile most all the time. People used to compliment me on how encouraging I was, and that they loved being around me.(I haven't had a genuine smile in a long time) If I do, it's with a lot of effort. I used to be positive and upbeat and would try to be encouraging to my husband when he had his "depressed" or "down" moods. But, I can't do that so much now.
I feel like there is an entire chunk of me that is missing. I don't know what that is yet, and/or how to get "me" back. Maybe, it will come with more time. But, the happy go lucky, upbeat, smiling, positive person I used to be just isn't there anymore. I can't blame EVERYTHING on my husband, I know, but there is a lot that came from the undiagnosed adhd. My husband's siblings are married to people who exibit many of the same symptoms that I have. I've kind of related it to being an enabler to an addicted person (of sorts) It sort of feels like that. I've had to learn to stop enabling.

Again, I don't want to sound like a complete wet rag. It's just that I'm still coming out of my own junk. It's taking time, and I've lost patience with it.

Anyway, I wish you the best.
Dede
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Old 02-03-09, 07:44 PM
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Re: At wit's end with DH's ADD (?) - input needed.

Dede, I wanted to respond to this part of your post in particular:

[quote=dede4004;695383]

<>>

Numb. That is exactly what I feel. I've given up trying to talk about things that matter to me, and chosen, more often than not, to not even bother discussing important things with him. He does not know how holds our mortgage, our electric company, his daughter's ages, grades, etc. He can probably name a friend or two of hers, but always says disparaging things about them and their parents, so I rarely discuss it with him. I used to do all the talking at dinner and in the car, but now have decided to just shut up and we eat or drive in silence. I rarely even wear my wedding ring anymore... I'm just unmotivated. He has to go on a biz trip for a big upcoming anniversary and I'm like.. "yeah, that's fine, whatever." As I mentioned in my other post, I feel as though I am having trouble relating to people now, because of all these years of.. of.. I'm not sure what to call it. Feeling as though I'm living in a blender? An echo chamber?

Thanks for understanding. We have a lot in common!

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