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Old 06-24-09, 08:51 AM
mADD mike mADD mike is offline
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Acceptance And ADD - My Story

"
There's a few things the add'ers really don't understand about us non's. (Please Adder's do not take offense)

After reading many posts, it hurts us to read that MANY add'ers tell us things like they know ALL ABOUT US. It stll seems like they are still not understanding US.

I am telling you, that WE AS NON'S DON'T GET MANY OF OUR MARITAL AND EMOTIONAL NEEDS MET, AND THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN REALLY GIVE YOU THOSE SUPER INTIMATE MARITAL INTIMACIES IS OUR PARTNERS.

When we then find out that our partner CAN'T give these things to us, and then BLAME US for even FEELING NEEDS. We feel, guilt, embarrassment, shame, anger, hurt, and WE ARE DYing inside IN our emotion SELVES because it often looks like it's going to be
like this forever. It's SAD, and makes us FEEL sad. Then the add'ers jump down our throats for "not being more add sensitive". Man, I would LOVE IT, if my husband WOULD OR EVEN COULD be a little more SENSITIVE towards the "non" me. (like reading about what happends to me in this type of marriage) (Especially after all the reading, counseling and work I've done to learn about HIS condition) Marriage is hard enough as it is, without knowing that the person you want to connect the MOST WITH IN LIFE, either CANNOT connect with you, OR resists and blames you for being "..........fill in the blank".

We get sad and overwhelmed with "not feeling loved". And, on top of it we seem to ALWAYS be the ones who have to go "above and beyond" to be MORE understanding, MORE helpful, MORE hypervigilant, etc. (the list goes on and on), but many of our spouses either DON'T, or CAN'T do or be that for us. IT GETS SUPER OVERWHELMING FOR US. We love our spouses, but PLEASE, TRY TO UNDERSTAND. Sometimes I feel that you'd rather us non's go to some other site. But, I've spent HOURS searching for sites ONLY for "nons who have spouses add/adhd". There AREN'T ANY. If they say they are.....they really only talk about the one who HAS adhd. (they really don't spent the time on the souse, giving us tools to help us deal with, heal and support our spouses.

For those of you who ARE good to your SOUSES, WONDERFUL! WONDERFUL! WONDERFRUL! Maybe you can help teach the other ones who are defiant of doing such things, and show them how it CAN work. So many add spouses WON'T BELEIVE us nons when we tell them things. They (like my husband) will ONLY listen to an "outside" "expert" because I couldn't "possibly" know anything intelligent. How to you get around someone who seems just as narcissistic as adhd? It's been sad, I don't feel the same "love" I used to feel for him, and he doesn't understand why I didn't "wait" for him to get more "normal". We've been married now for 26 years, and he is JUST beginning to act more like a "loving husband". What do you think that has done to me as well as the thousands of other marriages like mine? We just "forget" all the years of pain? It's impossible. WE need JUST AS MUCH PATIENCE, just as much HELP, and adhd'ers do NOT like to spend TIME doing things that aren't as "stimulating", (like making their wives feel special)
And we need support from OTHER NONS who know what WE ARE GOING THROUGH.
IT'S NOT EASY, IT'S DAMN HARD.

Mike, I wish more husbands WERE like you. You seem to be VERY sensitive to your wife's needs. But, more importantly, you TALK about when you DIDN'T understand. THAT TO ME IS JUST AS IMPORTANT.....I would be SO GRATEFUL if my husband did some of that. He just DOESN'T, even though he KNOWS about his condition. He just doesn't know ENOUGH.

Sorry about the RANT. It's been over six months since my husband has even attempted to make love to me, regardless of many things I've tried to do. Patience wears thin, and even though I make myself attractive to him. (I've always worked at keeping myself in shape and well dressed, etc) He just won't approach me. Other than using the "cave man", dragging him my the hair to the bed approach, I"m feeling rejected, unloved and sad. Tell me what I can do at this point? I'm up for suggestions. I don't try to make my husband FEEL WRONG. I've tried to watch my word very carefully. I don't try to ACUSE, but to DO tell him what I need and what I would like. It doesn't make much difference. I do get stunned sometimes by his "interpretations" of what conversations have been about."


This thread is in response to a post in another, and not wanting to totally derail that thread, I wanted to post my response, and some more of my story, on my own thread. So, here I go:

The above is a great example of the problems that ADD causes in a marriage. Whether anyone feels like the person above is justified or not in feeling the way that they do does not matter, because those feelings are reality, and expressed so much on these forums that I wanted to give another side of things. I feel the pain, and I am an ADDer, that happens to be married to one myself. I'm much more hyperactive, she's much more inattentive. We both found out last year, me in June, she in the fall.

Now, I've posted on here in moments of excitement, telling my story to some extent, how I found out about my own ADD, and how the undiagnosed ADD almost killed my marriage. It has been a year now, so let's talk about reality of life with ADDers, and acceptance, and how that can help.

A common complaint among NT partners of ADDers is that they don't get the time and attention that they need, whether it be emotionally, just basic conversation, sexually, etc. Just as the poster above feels a disconnect between herself and the ADDers that post on here, I see that there is a disconnect right back the other way, between ADDers and the NTers on here. Just as we are accused of not understanding, I could say the same of NTers. This post is a shot at putting my story out there more, and my wife's, to maybe bridge a gap a little bit.

Let's talk about needs not being met. I've been married 10 years, and something I've never publicly divulged on here is much about my sex life, or lack thereof. My wife and I love each other deeply, but when it comes to sex, we don't have a sex life. After year one of marriage, that pretty much disappeared. I hear people on here complaining about it all the time, how their ADD partner just isn't there sexually for them. They hold tons of resentment over it. You know what? I did too. In fact, that was the primary reason we almost broke up last year. Other than very minor acts that were our attempts at getting back to being sexually active, we have not had sex (actual sex) in probably 8 years. It drove me literally insane at times to sleep right next to a woman that is very affectionate, that wants that affection (hugging, holding her at night when we sleep, playing around physically, etc.), but didn't show any interest whatsoever sexually. It robbed me of my own sexuality, killed my drive, and took any confidence I ever had sexually away. At times, I've pretty much written off ever having sex again, because the lack thereof made me feel so bad that I didn't even see myself ever being able to.

So yeah, I know a thing or two about things that are often seen as disrespect. I'm a very thoughtful, and expressive guy. Heck, last week I surprised my wife when she came home with a newly decorated bathroom. She works hard in our businesses, and I had the day off, so I wanted to give her something showing my appreciation. She loves to relax and take a bath, so I put up shelving units, got a new shower curtain to match a picture she put up in her bathroom (we have 2, one for each of us pretty much), put in a radio that will play her mp3's from her portable player, room for all of her products (you ladies boggle my mind with your millions of cleaners, scrubs, lotions, etc., lol) with new caddies and such, a bathmat, etc. I noticed her eyes light up over a watch at a local store, and one day when she was taking a shower I ran to the mall by our house, and got back before she was out of the shower with said watch and surprised her with it. I write her little notes and letters, tell her that I love her several times every day, etc. I am very attentive to her. So please don't judge me like your ADD partner and say that things aren't working sexually because I'm not attentive. That couldn't be farther from the truth.

Conversationally, I crave stimulation. I like to talk, to think out loud, to exchange ideas, and my wife, not so much. Another need that isn't met.

I had to pretty much raise my wife as a father would a daughter. Not only is she an ADDer, but she lived in a sheltered family, with no tv and few friends. She had very little experience in anything in life, especially adult life, and I had to teach her just about everything. Literally. I was her gateway to adulthood. So again, I know about living with someone that takes from you, but doesn't always have a lot to give back.

In a hormonal outburst a few weeks ago, she told me that I didn't care for her anymore. Sure, I know why she did it, that she has been having problems regulating birth control pills (going from one to another due to such side effects), but it hurt. I'm a guy that lives with her without any sex, much conversation, and taught her most of what she knows, and stick by her side, but I don't care about her.

When there is a problem, she used to lie to me about things. She would say whatever it took not to be in "trouble", or not to seem weird or out of place. She would alter my reality by not telling me the whole story, so I didn't know where things really stood. Over the years, though, she's seen that it is safe to tell me the truth, and that things work out better when we work off the same page together, an honest and upfront one.

I could go on and on. Heck, I could write a book. All of this that could be perceived as disrespect, all of this that could easily break up a marriage, why in the world do I stay? Why do you NTers stay?

Well, because my wife is sweet. She's a beautiful person inside and out. She takes care of me when I feel bad, even if in her own way at times. Where I falter in life, she picks up if she can. I'm not perfect by any means, not even close, though as a perfectionist I do try to analyze myself all the time to see what I'm doing, why, how it might affect another person, etc. (My perfectionism drives us both crazy at times.)

Most of all, I now how an understanding of something. Look at the things above. Lack of interest in me sexually for many years, lack of much to talk about, lack of many things the average person "NEEDS" to be given to them in a supposed healthy marriage. How do I get around that? Why am I not incredibly resentful anymore? BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND, AND I ACCEPT HER. She is an INATTENTIVE ADDer, so what do I expect? Sure, I didn't know this at first, anymore than she knew that I was moreso ADHD. Neither of us knew. It caused tremendous pain in our lives for many years. It almost broke us up.

Maybe the reason that I can see and understand and accept her for her ADD, is that I have it too, and therefore I have an advantage that you NTers don't have. I know what it is like to fight my own brain day after freaking day. I know what it is to not be able to do things that I want to do, no matter how beneficial they may be for me, my wife, or someone else. I have that mental block, that wall that I run into. Whereas I'm incredibly self-aware, my wife is not at all, or at least she wasn't. I've been able to basically be her therapist over the years (not the healthiest thing for a marriage, but without the money to pay for one, better than nothing) and, although I'm grossly unqualified, she's made HUGE strides in life. It doesn't look like that based on the picture I painted above of just a few of our problems, does it? If I only focused on those things, got wrapped up in them and my own "needs", then I wouldn't be very happy. But I try to find the good in my wife. Really, it isn't even hard to find. It is right there on the surface. Other people see it as well. Sometimes we, as spouses, see the bad that others don't. "If you only knew the real him/her", we might say to ourselves. Sure, we see the negatives that others don't because we're closer to the situation, but are we so close that we've lost objectivity, and cannot see the good anymore?

Another thing that helps me gain understanding and acceptance is that I confront issues as they come up. There isn't so much room for resentment when we are up front, open, and confront issues without letting our minds go wild as to why they might be doing something. We talk about these things right then and there. My wife wouldn't be as likely to do so in the past, in fact, she would never bring up even her own needs. I'd have to ask and pry and drag those things out of her, because I knew she needed to express them. In our MANY THOUSANDS of conversations, many of the repetitive, one thing is clear. When my wife's eyes well up with tears as she tells me how she thought she was doing something, or how she wants to be able to do something, that speaks to motive. My wife has nothing but good and pure motives. She isn't trying to manipulate me. She isn't trying to disrespect me. She doesn't want to hurt me. Deep down, she wants to be everything to me. But she can't. She has a problem, one that we share, though in totally opposite ways in most cases.

Maybe if you NTers can see the motives, what is behind your perceived disrespectful partners, or their flaws, maybe if you had the same issue yourself and could see through their eyes better, maybe, just maybe, you could accept them for who they are. Now, I'm not talking about blatant abuse, but heck, when needs aren't met for long enough that's kind of like abuse, right? No, not really, because it isn't intentional. My wife is an inattentive ADDer, and that lack of attention resonates through our marriage, in the lack of sexual attention, emotional attention, etc. But I love her and accept her and think she's the greatest person I've ever met, despite the ways she's hurt me. She didn't know for many years why, I didn't know why, but I knew that she loved me, and that got us through to the time where we could start working on things with greater understanding. I will not bail on my wife. She wouldn't bail on me. We both filled roles, we both contributed to problems, and we'll both work on them, in our own ways, to fix what we can.

Please, try to remember why you married your ADD spouse in the first place when you can. Look for the good qualities. Realize that they didn't ask to be like this. Realize that they may be unable to pay you the attention that you say you need, and that you may have to accept that with understanding of where it is coming (or not coming) from. Your expectations may have to be lowered for a time. A person may be working on something so hard mentally that you may not see visible, physical action on some front, but that doesn't mean that they aren't trying their best. Let things go when you can. I've let not having my wife's lack of interest in me sexually due to inattention, when I'm incredibly attentive, go. In the most intimate of marital intimacies, I've been able to let go years and years of neglect. Okay, actually I don't know if neglect is the right word, as it may speak to motive, and there is no bad motive, just a lack of ability to pay attention and act that comes from ADD and other factors. But if I can let go of that, and see the reasons behind things, and accept and love my wife despite that, what can you let go of? What can you accept about your ADD spouse? What can you adjust your expectations of? Can you see where your spouse is trying, in THEIR own way? Can you HELP, rather than judge and criticize? When is the last time you really had a heart to heart talk about things, not accusing or creating conflict, but both praising your spouse for what they do, and at the same time addressing what they don't do that you need? What about you might they have to be accepting of, or what are your faults in the marriage? Have you contributed to some things that are now seen as problems?

I hope you NTers that post here can find happiness. I hope that you can find acceptance, as another poster pointed out that acceptance is the cure for resentment. I loved that point, and it is so very true. I accept my wife, I accept our problems, they are what they are, and as long as we're both trying in whatever way, what more can I ask for? My needs may never be fully met. Never. And I'm okay with that because some of my others are, and I'd rather love my wife for who she is then try to make her be someone she's not.

Hope that wasn't too random. Just writing from the heart.

Mike
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Old 06-24-09, 10:04 AM
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

Thank you so much!! You are a gem! I'm so lucky to have an understanding and forgiving one at home like you! Good luck and much happiness along with the frustration for you and yours!!

katts
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Old 06-24-09, 11:27 AM
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

chellechelle and I have a good relationship, both ADHD, both OCD (her moreso we think), and I have tourette's, and we both have depression and anxiety to varying degrees that changes daily as you'd expect.
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Old 06-24-09, 11:58 AM
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

Well said Mike

Acceptance does not mean "This is how things are and I have to learn to like them"

it means

"This is how things are, and I have to learn to deal with them, and sometimes I can't change them, I just have to work with or around them."
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Old 06-24-09, 02:43 PM
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

Acceptance also means being flexible enough to adjust your expectations when they are obviously doing nothing but causing harm to yourself and whomever you have placed said expectations on.

I was raised to understand that we cannot expect others to fulfill us, satisfy us, make us happy or meet our needs. That we must do that for ourselves.
That we do not enter a relationship to have our needs met, but to share our lives with someone.

But then, I come from an ADHD family. Personally, I do think that this is a much more healthy way to have relationships.

I don't need anyone to make me feel good or sexy or happy or fulfilled, what a load to place on another person! Especialy one with a disorder that causes them to strugle to meet thier own needs and get by in the day to day world!

If you can't be happy on your own, for yourself, by yourself ... what are you doing getting into a relationship with someone?
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Old 06-25-09, 02:15 PM
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

Just a note - I've written this response 3 times and am having issues with staying logged on once I hit "post". So I may not say everything I originally wanted to say.

Hey Mike -

First off, thanks for the kudos in the other post. You should have seen the look on my face when I saw that! I was just reading thru posts and boom - there's my name.

Thanks for sharing your story. I see what ya'll are saying about 'acceptance' - but at what point is acceptance become settling for the unacceptable? Let me clarify...

I do not look to my partner to validate my feelings of worth or beauty or sexiness or whatever. I had those when we met and, like you stated, looked for a relationship to further enhance my life, not to meet any deep psychological need that wasn't currently being met.

Unfortunately, being with my ADD partner has NOT enhanced my life. It has made it more difficult with very little payoff. I have become a parent to a 33 year old man. I have tried to accept the role of non-ADD person by following suggestions in the ADD books about how to discuss things, how to outline tasks, how to help my partner remember things, spelling out my feelings, etc. These things have felt like parenting to me, but once we got the ADD diagnosis, I said "I love him...I'm down for this...We can do this". This has all backfired.

Because, while my partner was claiming to be on board with trying to manage his symptoms with these kind of techniques...he wasn't. He was defiant, resentful...and here's my favorite...did (or didn't do things) just so I wouldn't "win". He, of course, was unaware he was doing any of this at the time. I became quite the basket case of depression (since this all happened AFTER I let him come home after kicking him out) which prompted him to decide, on his own, that I had clinical depression and needed medication. On my birthday, he launched his one-man intervention because he was so "concerned" about me. He stuck with this for 2 days until I finally had my sponsor intervene and tell him he was full of crap. Luckily, his "depression intervention" snapped me right out of it...I was now so angry at him that I raged for days. (the good news was that in my rage I couldn't sit still or eat...so I cleaned the house non-stop and lost 5 lbs). :-)

Mike - He has continually ignored my feelings and concerns and efforts and hard work for 8 months (like it sounds like your wife does). Ignored would actually be an improvement because what he hasn't ignored he's downright sabotaged. All the while he thought he was doing the right things to improve our relationship. Each time I said he wasn't he just didn't believe me. He was trying so hard, so it MUST be working, despite what I said.

My heart is completely broken. My will to continue working on this relationship is gone. I've taken off my engagement ring, moved his crap into the other bedroom, and stopped speaking for the most part. Yet, I can't completely let go. I went to therapy with him and per the therapist's suggestion, we spent 1/2 hour talking last night. Most of which I cried while he admitted he now kinda sees what he was doing. I also can't stop myself from reading the ADD books and looking at this site.

I love him. But I don't feel like I can accept certain things just so I can be with him...frankly, NO ONE is worth compromising yourself that much. For me, your sex issue with your wife would be unacceptable. In my situation, me being the only one to work in a PRACTICAL AND POSTITIVE way on the ADD strain in this relationship is unacceptable. I feel stupid, taken advantage of, ignored, belittled, humiliated, unvalued...frick...you name it. But I'm still here and I can't figure out why.

According to the subject here - I either have to accept that his dysfunctional behavior is "who he is" and it won't change OR leave.

I wrote so much more earlier that made a heck of a lot more sense. But can't think of it now. (figures) I guess my gist is - at what point is acceptance letting the other person off the hook for responsible, mature, adult behavior and letting yourself settle just so you can be with this dysfunctional person???
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Old 06-25-09, 03:25 PM
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samantha1875 View Post
Just a note - I've written this response 3 times and am having issues with staying logged on once I hit "post". So I may not say everything I originally wanted to say.

Hey Mike -

First off, thanks for the kudos in the other post. You should have seen the look on my face when I saw that! I was just reading thru posts and boom - there's my name.

Thanks for sharing your story. I see what ya'll are saying about 'acceptance' - but at what point is acceptance become settling for the unacceptable? Let me clarify...

I do not look to my partner to validate my feelings of worth or beauty or sexiness or whatever. I had those when we met and, like you stated, looked for a relationship to further enhance my life, not to meet any deep psychological need that wasn't currently being met.

Unfortunately, being with my ADD partner has NOT enhanced my life. It has made it more difficult with very little payoff. I have become a parent to a 33 year old man. I have tried to accept the role of non-ADD person by following suggestions in the ADD books about how to discuss things, how to outline tasks, how to help my partner remember things, spelling out my feelings, etc. These things have felt like parenting to me, but once we got the ADD diagnosis, I said "I love him...I'm down for this...We can do this". This has all backfired.

Because, while my partner was claiming to be on board with trying to manage his symptoms with these kind of techniques...he wasn't. He was defiant, resentful...and here's my favorite...did (or didn't do things) just so I wouldn't "win". He, of course, was unaware he was doing any of this at the time. I became quite the basket case of depression (since this all happened AFTER I let him come home after kicking him out) which prompted him to decide, on his own, that I had clinical depression and needed medication. On my birthday, he launched his one-man intervention because he was so "concerned" about me. He stuck with this for 2 days until I finally had my sponsor intervene and tell him he was full of crap. Luckily, his "depression intervention" snapped me right out of it...I was now so angry at him that I raged for days. (the good news was that in my rage I couldn't sit still or eat...so I cleaned the house non-stop and lost 5 lbs). :-)

Mike - He has continually ignored my feelings and concerns and efforts and hard work for 8 months (like it sounds like your wife does). Ignored would actually be an improvement because what he hasn't ignored he's downright sabotaged. All the while he thought he was doing the right things to improve our relationship. Each time I said he wasn't he just didn't believe me. He was trying so hard, so it MUST be working, despite what I said.

My heart is completely broken. My will to continue working on this relationship is gone. I've taken off my engagement ring, moved his crap into the other bedroom, and stopped speaking for the most part. Yet, I can't completely let go. I went to therapy with him and per the therapist's suggestion, we spent 1/2 hour talking last night. Most of which I cried while he admitted he now kinda sees what he was doing. I also can't stop myself from reading the ADD books and looking at this site.

I love him. But I don't feel like I can accept certain things just so I can be with him...frankly, NO ONE is worth compromising yourself that much. For me, your sex issue with your wife would be unacceptable. In my situation, me being the only one to work in a PRACTICAL AND POSTITIVE way on the ADD strain in this relationship is unacceptable. I feel stupid, taken advantage of, ignored, belittled, humiliated, unvalued...frick...you name it. But I'm still here and I can't figure out why.

According to the subject here - I either have to accept that his dysfunctional behavior is "who he is" and it won't change OR leave.

I wrote so much more earlier that made a heck of a lot more sense. But can't think of it now. (figures) I guess my gist is - at what point is acceptance letting the other person off the hook for responsible, mature, adult behavior and letting yourself settle just so you can be with this dysfunctional person???
I can't speak too much to your relationship, but you mentioned that he hasn't done much to enhance your life. When I married my wife, I knew that I was getting things that I didn't previously have introduced into my life. Those things aren't always measured in terms like income, responsibility, experience, etc. I would ask you, what does this guy have that attracts you to him?

Myself, I was attracted to my wife because she was things that I was not. She was fun, and I was very serious. She was irresponsible and inexperienced, and I was all about responsibility and putting myself out there to do things that needed to get done. We both had things that the other needed.

(On that note, let me say that I've noticed a couple responses allude to not needing another person to make you feel sexy, wanted, happy, or fulfilled. I guess maybe I'm lacking something that you guys aren't, but I knew that I needed certain things from another person. I needed help where I was weak in life, as did she. Maybe you don't have such weaknesses, or maybe don't see them, I don't know, but I would think that we all have them, and that another person might be able to help us in that regard, thus "completing" us. Not in the romanticized movie type of way, but in a practical way.)

My wife brought out things in me that I enjoyed. She taught me how to let go and be happy, something I had never been allowed to be growing up. I was the oldest child, told to grow up since I was a little kid, and never really allowed to be me. She helped bring out who I could be. I did the same with her, teaching her values and such in life that she didn't learn earlier in life. We both enhanced each other and made each other better people.

You say that you don't need, for example, your feelings of being sexy validated. I'm picking that because it is something I always struggled with, and I needed from someone else. I would think that you have something like that yourself, maybe in another area of life. Myself, I grew up a very skinny kid, with poor parents that couldn't afford anything but the clothes that nobody else wanted, with nobody to tell me how to dress or what to do with my hair, etc. I often went to schools in higher income neighborhoods because I was very smart. Oh, and I wore glasses too. Might has well wore a "kick me" sign every day of my life. I stood out as different, and not in a good way. I was constantly made fun of, often based on appearance, and there wasn't a thing I could have done about it. So, I always had problems in the area of self-image. When we got married, I was 6'0" and 125lbs. I worked out, took weight gainer, did anything I could do to be more "normal" physically. My wife made me feel like a million bucks. I was actually attractive to someone on this planet. It was an awesome high.

Unfortunately, it all came crashing down. We can't figure out what exactly happened, but let's just say that 2 people with undiagnosed ADD at opposite ends of the spectrum, and that work with each other in their business and are together 24/7, will set up horrible patterns of dealing with one another. That takes a toll on things like sexuality. Throw in being a father figure to my wife, boss at work since she had little experiences in the working world, etc., and it killed things. Along with that, the momentary high of actually feeling attractive to someone was killed. At the age of 27 or so my metabolism that had been so high all of my life came crashing to a halt, and I went from 125lbs to 235lbs now. Of course, that took many years, but to go from the skinny guy all of your life to being almost stocky, and having a gut to some extent, is quite the change.

So, I know that you would find the sexual frustration in my marriage unacceptable, but we both did things that played into the death of sex in our marriage. I once talked to a therapist, a sex therapist online, and explained our situation. He made a good point. Every marriage is going to have problems, weak areas. Would I rather have great sex with a person that I don't get along with, that doesn't bring things to the table that my wife does? Heck no!

It isn't as though my wife and I don't try to reestablish that aspect of marriage. We work on it, and are currently. She does her best to work on it, as do I. There is no perfect marriage or relationship out there. It will always have struggle. Combine 2 imperfect people, and that's what you get.

Maybe I'm jaded or just wrong, but in my opinion, we all have to settle to some extent in any relationship. Nobody out there is going to have the total package and be everything we want in a relationship, all the time throughout the course of a lifelong commitment. Sometimes we have to accept that we don't always get what we want in life.

Whereas you can't accept things from the guy you're presently dating, maybe someone else could. We all have different levels of tolerance. We all bring good and bad to anything we do. For you, clearly the bad seems to outweigh whatever good he brings. To someone else, they may not see some things as being as bad as you do, and may find more good with him. My wife came from an abusive home. Had I not married her, I know that (as does she) she would have likely married an abuser. I actually wanted to marry someone that I could help in some way. There are lots of people out there that would love to get in a relationship with someone that they can hurt. The latter would have loved my wife. Because that was the pattern in her life, she almost asked for it at times, all the while I was trying to teach her how to be a stronger person.

I don't think that there is any rule as to when you say it is reasonable to accept something versus when you should say something is not acceptable. I think that it depends on you and what you want to accept. For me, I draw the line at effort. My parents raised me to believe that as long as I did my best, it was acceptable to them. That is how I see things to this day. As long as my wife is doing her personal best, that is what I accept. In turn, I give my personal best. My best is better than hers in some areas, and her best is better than mine in others. We help each other and feed off of each other in ways. Unfortunately, sometimes we take from each other in a negative way as well. Life with another person is a power struggle, not even necessarily an intentional one. Decisions that affect the couple will have to be made, and sometimes someone isn't going to get what they want. Again, we can't have everything.

You said that your guy has ignored your efforts and pleadings for 8 months, as you suspect my wife does with me. That couldn't be farther from accurate. My wife has grown immensely as a person in the past years. Heck, in just the last 8 months or so since learning about her own ADD, she has changed so much for the better. She is being her own person, a leader moreso than always a follower. She's being more open and honest. I could go on, but she, and we, are constantly making changes to try and make things better. She does a lot for me, and I do a lot for her. Heck, the reason I can be on here writing today is because she's out working in our cleaning business. In fact, we are separating that to what extent we can to avoid the boss/employee relationship pattern that we fall into when working together. I'm more aggressive, she's more passive, neither of that is going to change, so we're working to what our strengths are. She loves cleaning, and I find it boring and want to shoot myself, though I'm good at it. So, she'll do that alone except on days when I am needed due to the volume of clientele those days. I will try to find my niche, whatever that may be. She is one heck of a hard worker. I am too, but I need something to use my brain on because I can clean with my brain off, there is no challenge, and I'm finding that I need one more and more. Life is a journey of discovery, and sometimes we find good things, sometimes bad.

You know, it just hit me. You asked at what point is acceptance just settling for the unacceptable. Like I stated above, you'll have to determine what is personally acceptable to you, and what is not. If your standards of what is acceptable is too high though, you'll have a lonely life. I'm a perfectionist, and it would be easy for me to set a bar so unreachably high that nobody could hit it. Instead, for me, I settled for being happy most of the time. I don't think it's reasonable to find happiness in a relationship all of the time. Sure, my wife can't meet some of my needs to the level that I want, but she tries, and we get better as time goes by. The goods far outweigh the bads. We've overcome so much together, that I'm sure the things mentioned in my OP will get better and better as time goes by too. We are still working through a lot of damage done by years of undiagnosed ADD while literally being together 24/7. Most people would remark that they couldn't see how we could work together and be together all the time without killing each other. Well, we got along well enough to not kill each other, but we killed parts of each other in the process, and now we are finding ways to resurrect those areas of life that were damaged.

Ask any questions you like, or make any comments you feel are appropriate. I hope that you can find an acceptable relationship with your own personal needs and desires, and that you are able to overcome problems in the future, with this guy or someone else. It sounds to me like this guy just doesn't meet your needs. I'm curious as to what you find so attractive, so much that you have a hard time leaving him behind. At times in my life, I've forgotten those things and focused on the negative. Even if the good outweighs the bad, if you only focus on and become wrapped up in the bad, then you will only see a bad relationship and totally overlook the positives that are right in front of you. Been there, done that.
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Old 06-25-09, 03:55 PM
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

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love him. But I don't feel like I can accept certain things just so I can be with him...frankly, NO ONE is worth compromising yourself that much.
You know what Samantha you are absolutely right – you are talking boundaries and those are necessary for any relationship to be healthy ESPECIALLY one with an ADDer. I do not have any problems with the actual issues of dealing with ADD I deal with an ADD spouse myself and you are right they can act without thinking thus be insensitive. It is okay and probably healthy to be angry. Angry is what healthy people do when their boundaries are violated and ending the relationship is what folks do when their personal boundaries are repeatedly violated without regard.

Acceptance is not about being a door mat it is about realizing we can’t be any thing but what we are and realizing the same holds true for our loved ones. Some ADDers are ******* just like some non-ADDers are but some ADD people are relay nice folks just like some non-ADDers are. ADDeres like other people come in a variety of “flavors” and temperaments.


Quote:
According to the subject here - I either have to accept that his dysfunctional behavior is "who he is" and it won't change OR leave.
While this is correct it is important to realize you are ending the relationship because he being abusive and refusing to respect your boundaries not because he is ADD.

You are considering splitting up because deep inside you know you can not change him only he can change him. Ain't nothing wrong with saying enough of your crap good bye.

If he is unwilling to make noticeable changes for the better yes you may be forced to end the relationship to remain healthy your self but this isn’t because you are NT – it is because your boundaries are being violated and you have a right to be treated with respect.


If your husband is being emotionally abusive then by all means I agree separating IS the right thing to do because no one deserves to be treated with disregard. ADD is NOT an excuse for abuse, any more than being non-ADD is.

Of all the posting I have read here by NTer I really feel for your situation. You are genuine and willing to listen Man you do not deserve to be hurt or emotionally manipulated. Some times ADD do not realize they are doing this but the ones who are really willing to work on it will listen eventually {as in hours maybe a day, but not years we don’t remember that long} The most common scenario around here is Gary’s hoof and mouth problem He says things that are hurtful before he knows they are coming out. I have seem him literally try and suck the words back in.

When I say blame is a give and take thing I know exactly what I am talking about I don’t just write crap to see words across the paper – actually writing is hard for me so I do try to offer folks practical help Some times I help other times I miss the mark.

Just because he blames you does not automatically mean you have to accept said blame – nor are you required to feel the guilt that comes along with “fault” It takes a bit of practice and a decent amount of insight{as in objective decision as to weather I was at fault or if spouse is attempting to abscond} but one can actually achieve “blame refusal” and mean it emotionally. It will work with a habitual blamer as in ADDers suck at boundaries by nature but we can learn really fast However no amount of blame refusal will be effective enough to live life with a habitual abuser, or narcissist Blame refusal works wonders when dealing with these types in public and in social situations but home and spouses should not be painful places all of the time. I mean there should be some genuine good going on He should be attempting to give back in a noticeable way. Gary doesn’t always give back in the way that is “normal” but it is obvious it is more than just suck up to get over the hump because there is literal progress. The improvements are slow but also definitely noticeable and lasting = how you know the difference between actual trying and BS!

I know you love your spouse and it seems like you want to do what is right – I wish I had a magic word that would make this all go away but I don’t. You said sponsor and it reminded me of a really neat guy who once frequented these parts. I think his wife was about where you are Here are some words he posted in the ADDers relationship section a while back that I think may apply to your situation and perhaps give you the strength you need to make the choice that is right for you



Samantha THIS is what this section is for, genuine exchange. Most of us ADDers know we are hard to live with but acceptance doesn't mean we should be a proxy door mat any more than being normal means you should. There is a difference between your post and others.



...
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Old 06-25-09, 04:09 PM
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

My AHDH mother never shuts up, she talks and talks and talks. I love my peace and quiet. But do I berate her, blame her, pick on her, nag her ... do I tell her to SHUT UP? NO! Because that would only hurt her, and I know she can't help it.
Instead I say “5 minutes Mom” and she knows to go keep herself busy and give me 5 minutes of quiet, because if she doesn’t I leave, go out for dinner, go for a walk or whatever. I reach my limit, but I don’t take it out on her, I remove myself, or her, from the situation. I tolerate and accept this is the way she is, and when I simply can’t anymore, I call a time out.

My Inattentive Father couldn’t figure out when someone needs a hugs if you had a flashing sign over you head saying so. Do I call him callous, insensitive, unfeeling, or uncaring? NO! Do I expect him to change to make me feel better? NO!
I just walk up to the man and HUG HIM, then he happily wraps his arms around me.
 
My ADHD brother is a total arrogant show off, he always has to one-up you, be the center of attention. Do I expect him to change because this irritates me? NO! I simply say "That’s enough for now Craig" and he knows I mean bussinees, because if he doesn’t quit, I do.
I reach my limit, but I don’t take it out on him, I remove myself, or him, from the situation. I tolerate and accept this is the way he is, and when I simply can’t anymore, I call a time out.
 
I can’t remember to bring the milk home unless its written on a list, and I’m phoned twice while in transit to be reminded to look at said list, and still I will forget sometimes. Does my family berate me, expect me to change, nag me, make me feel like a a stupid piece of you-know? NO!
They just give my a pat on the shoulder and say “Its alright” and send me back to the store.
 
My NT brother berates us, nags us, picks on us and expects us to change to suit him and his expectations.
He tells Mom to shut up, he calls Dad insensitive, he hollers at Craig to knock it off, he nags me for forgetting things.
And we simply smile and say “That’s perfectionist Aaron for you”
And when his picking on us get to be hurtful, we ask him to leave, and don’t invite him back to any family functions for a while.
Until he begins to get sad, lonely and guilty, and he offers the olive branch “Sorry I lost my patience with you”
And we say “that’s alright, we love you anyways”

Acceptance and boundaries

The end.

EDIT: And you can't just call "I QUIT" and divorce your family, you know!
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Old 06-25-09, 04:20 PM
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

It's funny, RHW, that "Perfectionist Aaron", is an NTer. I just kind of realized in the past few days that the perfectionistic ways I've always looked at myself were very "NT", and made me miserable. I guess I could have very well written this thread about acceptance and myself, as much as acceptance and my wife. If NTers look at us through the perfectionist lens that I got when growing up from my family, then no wonder NTers and ADDers don't get along. I can't stand myself when I start down that path to unachievable perfection with all of the stupid condemnatory statements like "If I just tried harder", or "Anything is possible if you want it bad enough", or whatever the case may be. I've had to learn a LOT of acceptance since finding out about ADD, in how to accept myself, accept my wife, and not be insanely judgemental of others. It has been a humbling and eye opening experience to learn that I'm an ADDer.
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

Women marry a man expecting he will change.
Men marry a woman expecting she will never change.
Both are wrong.
hehehe
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Old 06-25-09, 05:03 PM
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

Thanks, Meadd. Detaching with love is actually something that has come up recently. Oddly, he brought it up. He gave me a letter the other day that is the longest I think he has ever written. In it, he finally claims (again) responsibility for some of his hurtful actions. Although the therapist and I have been trying in vain to get him to go to alanon meetings, he now claims that he understands that he belongs there and really gets it. He claims that he is understanding what "Let go and let God" means even tho previous discussions about God sent him into an anti-church tirade. I say "claims" because each thing he says has been said before. And like before, he now says "I didn't REALLY get it then...I just thought I did".

I agree that its boundries and how I'm treated that's the issue. And yes, it's all getting blamed on his ADD. (and I'm SO stealing your word - ******...LOVE IT) Mike, we've talked perfectionism and expectations before. I honestly don't think that's it. Whatever "expectations" I walked into this relationship with were shot down immediately. Then it was a matter of boundries ("okay, I'll accept this...but NOT this!") Then, next thing you know, he had crossed that boundry too and so what did I do? I moved it back further...all because I believed him when he said he accepted his ADD and was doing all he could to work on it - and because I love him beyond measure. He treats me TERRIBLY all while claiming how well he treats me. When I voice any concern or complaint - it's MY fault. That's just emotionally. Whenever I complained that he didn't pay ANY of the household bills - he denied, ignored, and got defensive. Fine. After his little intervention I took out all the bills since October. I paid $3000 worth of shared bills...he paid $600. I emailed the proof to him. He took it to an Alanon meeting where they told him that I was "treating him like a roomate" and my addiction made me super controlling. We make about the same amount of money by the way. And he rarely pays for groceries...instead always insisting on how broke he is. AND he lies. On one Thursday he told me he could pay his half of the rent. The following Monday when it was due and I had to go hand it in...he was $150 short. When confronted about 'lying' he said he THOUGHT he could pay the rent when he said that. He checks his account Literally 5x a day. He was lying.

Now I'm just rambling. These are all boundries I've allowed him to cross over and over because he was recently diagnosed with the ADD and this was an ajustment period and he was TRYING so hard and blah blah blah.

I KNOW what I have to do. I have to leave. I have to let him figure this stuff out on his own - I have to detach with love. I think what I'm really having the most trouble with is detaching from the life we were building together. I adore his large, eccentric family (I come from a VERY small, VERY dysfunctional one). I love his large base of friends. I love the moments when we were getting along and everything felt right with the world cuz we were together. But he's hurt me so much and I am so devestated. The therapist keeps saying that it's "more than the ADD" - i.e., he's never been responsible or communicative or whatever and lots of stuff stem from his childhood. I guess I WANT it all to be the ADD so we can find the tools to fix it. A lot of it is the ADD but I was the only one trying to work on it. He wouldn't read the book I bought for him (I'm not Stupid, lazy or crazy). The therapist said perhaps he's an auditory learner (he's a musician). So I suggested I read it aloud to him. That lasted two days before his attitude got in the way. And then he blamed me for 'over-reacting' because he had something else he wanted to do besides sit there and listen to me read his book and made it really obvious.

The point is...I guess I was hoping he would be like Mike & his wife. Get diagnosed, get educated, work toward becoming healthier. Same as when I got sober. But even with that it was a VERY rough road...and I wasn't in a relationship. But with getting sober - drinking was NOT an option. For his ADD, falling back into old patterns does seem to be an option. And I said "work at becoming healthier"...not GET healthy. This is a journey - one I was willing to take with him. We all have "issues"...but with the ADD and the defenses we couldn't even get to a point where we could work on our 'normal' issues.
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

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Originally Posted by RedHairedWitch View Post
Women marry a man expecting he will change.
Men marry a woman expecting she will never change.
Both are wrong.
hehehe
I used to have that posted on my refridgerator. Funny how when it comes to practical application it gets fuzzy.
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

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Originally Posted by RedHairedWitch View Post

EDIT: And you can't just call "I QUIT" and divorce your family, you know!
Yes you can. The word "estranged" was invented for a reason, you know. Sometimes, family or not, people are toxic and unhealthy for you to be around so figurative and literal separations can be best for all those involved.
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Re: Acceptance And ADD - My Story

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Yes you can. The word "estranged" was invented for a reason, you know. Sometimes, family or not, people are toxic and unhealthy for you to be around so figurative and literal separations can be best for all those involved.
I agree. My wife "divorced" her family. They live in their own little world, and in doing so have created this almost completely narcissistic environment where everything revolves around them. Her parents were physically (not severely, but still physically) abusive, very manipulative, and they have many problems of their own. Everything in their home revolves around what her father wants, and if he isn't around, then it is whatever the mom can guilt or manipulate her way into. My wife would be great at home, and then once she got around them, it messed with her badly. I always called it the "voodoo mind hold", because they were totally in her head. She completely cut off all contact for several years, and just lately started talking with them a little bit. She tried to confront the abuses, they refused to talk about them, so she cut them off altogether. Now, as she's a stronger person herself, it just so happens that her mom called and wanted to make things right, so they talked. It went better than expected, though not great. Her dad still refuses to talk about anything.

Sometimes you have to leave people behind to make progress yourself.

Oh, and I noticed above where you thought I was talking perfectionism aimed at you. I've talked about a lot of things here, and maybe I did, but I think I was talking about me. It is a problem that I personally struggle with all the time. Please don't take offense. I remember talking about it with you previously.

Samantha, it does kind of sound like your boyfriend may not be the best for you. I worry because of your addictive past, and don't want to see you get hurt more than you've already been. I could even see how we, as somewhat needy ADDers at times, could become like an addiction to you. Maybe I'm very wrong, but some ADDers, particularly inattentives from an article I read that pointed squarely at my wife at the time, look and act like codependents. Actually, they take it a step farther to total dependents at times. In trying to find out what the deal was with my wife, we both kind of thought she might have been a codependent person, but I always said that I thought she was moreso just totally dependent. It is actually a symptom of inattentive ADD, and was a key in noticing what was going on with my wife. I think getting wrapped up in that kind of life, as a person that has had their own addictive issues, could become a recipe for disaster. Your sobriety is more important than any relationship.
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