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Old 11-18-17, 07:17 PM
Tired Wife Tired Wife is offline
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Unhappy My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

Hi, first post. Thanks for having me. I'm at my wit's end and need some support. My spouse knew from a young age that he had ADHD but his family did not get him good treatment so he has a lot of shame and maladaptive coping mechanisms. I'm a therapist so I am sure it is annoying to him at times to have a partner with that level of understanding. I try not to become a parent or therapist to him but it does still happen. I have done so much reading. By laypeople and experts.

I read how an ADHD person can create their own structure, ADHD ways to avoid being overrun with clutter, foods to eat and avoid, micronutrient treatments, etc. How a spouse can cope. How to not enable. How to ignore people saying you're codependent because some level of that is required for a functional marriage.

But what is my spouse doing. He is taking medication. He is finally in therapy at my request. I haven't always handled his symptoms well. It was important to have a reliable partner for my own anxiety. Guess how well that has worked with ADHD in the mix. But still I have worked so hard to manage my own reactions, work on my communication, try to be encouraging and not controlling but I still am the one making the task list, reminding him to check it.

This week he had a few days off and that usually means lots of wasted time. We are getting ready to move so wasting time is a problem. I made a "suggested schedule" for his day - big blocks of several hours, with just a few key points. I said he doesn't have to use it. I did this as a desperate attempt to get him to structure the day otherwise he just won't, things don't get done, and i end up resentful. I would rather he do this himself.

But I'm at my wit's end with the symptoms. He says that researching solutions may work for me but it doesn't work for him. I don't get that. Why not? Why isn't he taking responsibility? Is it shame? Learned helplessness?

After legal problems, employment problems, marriage problems, I really need some ownership here. I'm so tired. I have asked so much please learn some systems to use so I can back off more. Because the current way of me being his executive functioning for him frequently causes resentment for both of us.

There's no easy answers but I am wondering if any other partners struggle with this same thinking and what do you do? I have simplified so much already. Certain things like purging his things, I can't do for him. I work two jobs and we have a young child. There's only so much I can manage. I don't understand the resignation from him. I even said tonight you don't seem like you want to hurt people but this hurts a lot of people and I don't understand. How can I discuss this effectively?

I mean, there's all these coaches and experts writing for places like Additude magazine. If there weren't people with ADHD who are actually trying to manage their own behavior, there wouldn't be a market for that stuff right? What are we missing that he is resigned to the status quo? Any suggestions for how to elicit more ownership from a spouse in that sort of situation? I do already stay out of scenarios where the consequences won't hurt me or my child. I try to practice self care and focus on the positives. But you have no idea how much friction we have over task management and time management issues. Or maybe you do! I'm tired of things being one big conflict over what has and hasn't gotten handled, tired of chasing him, and being his secretary, but he won't learn to do these things. So what am I supposed to do? Thanks for listening.
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Old 11-18-17, 09:57 PM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

Wow, That makes me feel so bad for my fiancé. He deals with my ADHD all of the time and I'm sure he feels the same way. I wish I had answers for both of you.
Pray, that really does help
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Old 11-18-17, 09:57 PM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tired Wife View Post
Hi, first post. Thanks for having me. I'm at my wit's end and need some support. My spouse knew from a young age that he had ADHD but his family did not get him good treatment so he has a lot of shame and maladaptive coping mechanisms. I'm a therapist so I am sure it is annoying to him at times to have a partner with that level of understanding. I try not to become a parent or therapist to him but it does still happen. I have done so much reading. By laypeople and experts.

I read how an ADHD person can create their own structure, ADHD ways to avoid being overrun with clutter, foods to eat and avoid, micronutrient treatments, etc. How a spouse can cope. How to not enable. How to ignore people saying you're codependent because some level of that is required for a functional marriage.

But what is my spouse doing. He is taking medication. He is finally in therapy at my request. I haven't always handled his symptoms well. It was important to have a reliable partner for my own anxiety. Guess how well that has worked with ADHD in the mix. But still I have worked so hard to manage my own reactions, work on my communication, try to be encouraging and not controlling but I still am the one making the task list, reminding him to check it.

This week he had a few days off and that usually means lots of wasted time. We are getting ready to move so wasting time is a problem. I made a "suggested schedule" for his day - big blocks of several hours, with just a few key points. I said he doesn't have to use it. I did this as a desperate attempt to get him to structure the day otherwise he just won't, things don't get done, and i end up resentful. I would rather he do this himself.

But I'm at my wit's end with the symptoms. He says that researching solutions may work for me but it doesn't work for him. I don't get that. Why not? Why isn't he taking responsibility? Is it shame? Learned helplessness?

After legal problems, employment problems, marriage problems, I really need some ownership here. I'm so tired. I have asked so much please learn some systems to use so I can back off more. Because the current way of me being his executive functioning for him frequently causes resentment for both of us.

There's no easy answers but I am wondering if any other partners struggle with this same thinking and what do you do? I have simplified so much already. Certain things like purging his things, I can't do for him. I work two jobs and we have a young child. There's only so much I can manage. I don't understand the resignation from him. I even said tonight you don't seem like you want to hurt people but this hurts a lot of people and I don't understand. How can I discuss this effecti

I mean, there's all these coaches and experts writing for places like Additude magazine. If there weren't people with ADHD who are actually trying to manage their own behavior, there wouldn't be a market for that stuff right? What are we missing that he is resigned to the status quo? Any suggestions for how to elicit more ownership from a spouse in that sort of situation? I do already stay out of scenarios where the consequences won't hurt me or my child. I try to practice self care and focus on the positives. But you have no idea how much friction we have over task management and time management issues. Or maybe you do! I'm tired of things being one big conflict over what has and hasn't gotten handled, tired of chasing him, and being his secretary, but he won't learn to do these things. So what am I supposed to do? Thanks for listening.
Dear Tired Wife,
It sure sounds like your doing everything correctly. I think it's just very hard for ADD people to change certain things: time management being one of them. Remember family systems theory---don't pick up the slack or he'll never change. That being said, it's very hard not to do that when his behavior affects you and your child. Try not to hold onto resentment for your own sake, and for the sake of your child. Not much else I can say except I feel for you and hope things do change.
mikey
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Old 11-18-17, 10:51 PM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

I do understand what you're going through, but I'm afraid there isn't much you can do, other than create boundaries for yourself. You can't change another person's behavior, only they can do that. As you have seen, it just creates resentment on both sides and it's unfair for either person. BTDT.

As difficult as it is, you need to stop doing his share of the work. I've never heard that being a little codependent is necessary for a functional marriage, but by denying your own needs and trying to control your spouse's actions, it sounds like you may be more than a little codependent (I speak from experience). I'm not a therapist, so forgive me if I'm overstepping my bounds, but that is just my opinion based on what you have said.

I can't say why he is not taking responsibility, especially with meds and therapy, other than to speak from my own experience as someone with ADD, that it makes it extremely difficult to do everything. He has to have a certain level of self-awareness and really want to take responsibility. If he just started therapy, hopefully it will help him to develop some healthy habits and take more responsibility. Maybe he needs to try a different med if his current one isn't helping? But I think the best thing you can do for yourself and for him right now, is to stop doing his executive functioning for him. Create boundaries for yourself and stick to them.
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Old 11-19-17, 06:32 AM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tired Wife View Post
Hi, first post. Thanks for having me. I'm at my wit's end and need some support. My spouse knew from a young age that he had ADHD but his family did not get him good treatment so he has a lot of shame and maladaptive coping mechanisms. I'm a therapist so I am sure it is annoying to him at times to have a partner with that level of understanding. I try not to become a parent or therapist to him but it does still happen. I have done so much reading. By laypeople and experts.
It must be hard not to play therapist to him but you have to try. If someone is married to say, an orthopedist and the other spouse sees an endochrinologist the doctor spouse needs to back off and let the sick spouse follow their own doctor's treatment plan, hard as it may be.

Quote:
I read how an ADHD person can create their own structure, ADHD ways to avoid being overrun with clutter, foods to eat and avoid, micronutrient treatments, etc. How a spouse can cope. How to not enable. How to ignore people saying you're codependent because some level of that is required for a functional marriage.
What do you mean by foods to avoid? Does he have dietary restrictions?


Quote:
But what is my spouse doing. He is taking medication. He is finally in therapy at my request. I haven't always handled his symptoms well. It was important to have a reliable partner for my own anxiety. Guess how well that has worked with ADHD in the mix. But still I have worked so hard to manage my own reactions, work on my communication, try to be encouraging and not controlling but I still am the one making the task list, reminding him to check it.
And how is that working for you? It doesnt sound like it is working at all. When something doesnt work, no matter how much you try and want it to, you need to change your own approach to the situation. You cant demand he changes his because you cant control him.


Quote:
This week he had a few days off and that usually means lots of wasted time. We are getting ready to move so wasting time is a problem. I made a "suggested schedule" for his day - big blocks of several hours, with just a few key points. I said he doesn't have to use it. I did this as a desperate attempt to get him to structure the day otherwise he just won't, things don't get done, and i end up resentful. I would rather he do this himself.
If someone made big block of several hours for me I would be resistant as well. Small blocks of time with small achievable goals are what helps me, and having someone lay out a schedule based on what they want makes me resistant because it doesnt jive with what works for me. It could be the same for your husband.


Quote:
But I'm at my wit's end with the symptoms. He says that researching solutions may work for me but it doesn't work for him. I don't get that. Why not? Why isn't he taking responsibility? Is it shame? Learned helplessness?
This is a tough one. On one hand I see your point and frustration and I identify. I indentify because my husband and I both have adhd and our adhd seems different for each of us. When my husband starts something he becomes driven to get it done, even though he may work through lunch and exhaust himself. For me, I take frequent breaks because I will get overwhelmed and not want to do anything.

Quote:
After legal problems, employment problems, marriage problems, I really need some ownership here. I'm so tired. I have asked so much please learn some systems to use so I can back off more. Because the current way of me being his executive functioning for him frequently causes resentment for both of us.
What kind of legal and employment problems? Have you considered that he tried to take ownership but he knows that isnt good enough for you so he would rather not do it at all then disappoint you? I can understand the resentment but only you can control that part. Like it or not, you are choosing to feel resentful, and its liken poison.

Quote:
There's no easy answers but I am wondering if any other partners struggle with this same thinking and what do you do? I have simplified so much already. Certain things like purging his things, I can't do for him. I work two jobs and we have a young child. There's only so much I can manage. I don't understand the resignation from him. I even said tonight you don't seem like you want to hurt people but this hurts a lot of people and I don't understand. How can I discuss this effectively?
You certainly have your hands full but what would happen if you just stopped managing his life? I dont mean major things like not paying bills or caring for the child but stop telling him how you do stuff and expecting him to do that things the way you do them? Personally I have always been someone that learns through experience that encompasses pain and consequence. Part of that was because of my alcoholism and part of it is just me. When the pain gets great enough I change, and I have to be allowed to experience that pain and experience it on my terms before change happens. Its really hard but its worked for me. Like I said hubby and I both have adhd so I can identify with you and your husband. My husband is slower and more deliberate with all decisions and I am an action person. Moving forward and taking positive action is how I deal with discomfort and I had to learn to respect how he learns things.

Quote:
I mean, there's all these coaches and experts writing for places like Additude magazine. If there weren't people with ADHD who are actually trying to manage their own behavior, there wouldn't be a market for that stuff right? What are we missing that he is resigned to the status quo? Any suggestions for how to elicit more ownership from a spouse in that sort of situation? I do already stay out of scenarios where the consequences won't hurt me or my child. I try to practice self care and focus on the positives. But you have no idea how much friction we have over task management and time management issues. Or maybe you do! I'm tired of things being one big conflict over what has and hasn't gotten handled, tired of chasing him, and being his secretary, but he won't learn to do these things. So what am I supposed to do? Thanks for listening.
Time management can be in the eye of the beholder. Maybe he doesnt see things as a time waster or has a method to his madness but you cant force him to take ownership if he feels differently. And what is ownership? To me its admitting your flaws and trying to make them right but not trying to make them right according to what the other person thinks you should do.
What if he never changed ( and he might not change) could you stay married? Do you love him enough to work in those parameters or is it a lost cause. You have to do what works for you and you have to decide what you are willing to deal with and what kind of changes you can make. You just cant force him to bend your way.
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Old 11-19-17, 02:26 PM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denese View Post
Wow, That makes me feel so bad for my fiancé. He deals with my ADHD all of the time and I'm sure he feels the same way. I wish I had answers for both of you.
Pray, that really does help
I did not write that for anyone to feel bad. I'm sorry it happened for you. Thanks for your post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by allesandro1 View Post
Dear Tired Wife,
It sure sounds like your doing everything correctly. I think it's just very hard for ADD people to change certain things: time management being one of them. Remember family systems theory---don't pick up the slack or he'll never change. That being said, it's very hard not to do that when his behavior affects you and your child. Try not to hold onto resentment for your own sake, and for the sake of your child. Not much else I can say except I feel for you and hope things do change.
mikey
Thanks mikey. I do try hard not to pick up the slack for areas I am wanting him to deal with. But it's hard sometimes. We are up and down for the resentment on both sides. Last night there was a crisis and of course he was amazing in every way. But crises do not always happen, and shouldn't. I'm trying not to resent things he cannot help and to me seeking solutions is something he can do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteOwl View Post
I do understand what you're going through, but I'm afraid there isn't much you can do, other than create boundaries for yourself. You can't change another person's behavior, only they can do that. As you have seen, it just creates resentment on both sides and it's unfair for either person. BTDT.

As difficult as it is, you need to stop doing his share of the work. I've never heard that being a little codependent is necessary for a functional marriage, but by denying your own needs and trying to control your spouse's actions, it sounds like you may be more than a little codependent (I speak from experience). I'm not a therapist, so forgive me if I'm overstepping my bounds, but that is just my opinion based on what you have said.

I can't say why he is not taking responsibility, especially with meds and therapy, other than to speak from my own experience as someone with ADD, that it makes it extremely difficult to do everything. He has to have a certain level of self-awareness and really want to take responsibility. If he just started therapy, hopefully it will help him to develop some healthy habits and take more responsibility. Maybe he needs to try a different med if his current one isn't helping? But I think the best thing you can do for yourself and for him right now, is to stop doing his executive functioning for him. Create boundaries for yourself and stick to them.
I did not mean being codependent is necessary for marriage but specifically an ADHD marriage, picking up the other person's slack and thinking through their consequences is necessary to an extent. For example if he doesn't pay his bills, taxes etc. I have to manage areas that are really his responsibility to an extent.

For the current posting scenario I did try to set a boundary or rather come to a mutual agreement. We do not know exactly when we have to move and by the time we find out there will only be 30 days to pack everything, find a place, coordinate logistics etc. With a toddler and both of us working I need him to declutter his in stuff prior to that 30 day notice because we will need all that time for contingencies, planning, and packing the rest of the house since neither of us can take off much work and there's a baby to manage.

So I asked initially would he agree to donate anything he hasn't sorted when I get the 30 day notice so I could stop nagging him to work on it and he said yes. Then came back later saying he didn't realize that's what he was agreeing to. So currently there is no mutual agreement.

I'm about to say either get it all done before and donate whatever hasn't been sorted through, or pay for me to hire people out of your personal inheritance so you get more time, or just do not move with us. I don't know another boundary to have because he doesn't feel the strain, and he won't feel the pain from not managing the time better. Only I will, because more of the general household moving responsibility will fall to me if this project isn't completed in a timely manner. If you or others have suggestions for a better approach I would love to hear it. It feels like I have to use ultimatums or very strong boundaries to get him motivated and I kind of hate it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
It must be hard not to play therapist to him but you have to try. If someone is married to say, an orthopedist and the other spouse sees an endochrinologist the doctor spouse needs to back off and let the sick spouse follow their own doctor's treatment plan, hard as it may be.


What do you mean by foods to avoid? Does he have dietary restrictions?



And how is that working for you? It doesnt sound like it is working at all. When something doesnt work, no matter how much you try and want it to, you need to change your own approach to the situation. You cant demand he changes his because you cant control him.


If someone made big block of several hours for me I would be resistant as well. Small blocks of time with small achievable goals are what helps me, and having someone lay out a schedule based on what they want makes me resistant because it doesnt jive with what works for me. It could be the same for your husband.



This is a tough one. On one hand I see your point and frustration and I identify. I indentify because my husband and I both have adhd and our adhd seems different for each of us. When my husband starts something he becomes driven to get it done, even though he may work through lunch and exhaust himself. For me, I take frequent breaks because I will get overwhelmed and not want to do anything.


What kind of legal and employment problems? Have you considered that he tried to take ownership but he knows that isnt good enough for you so he would rather not do it at all then disappoint you? I can understand the resentment but only you can control that part. Like it or not, you are choosing to feel resentful, and its liken poison.


You certainly have your hands full but what would happen if you just stopped managing his life? I dont mean major things like not paying bills or caring for the child but stop telling him how you do stuff and expecting him to do that things the way you do them? Personally I have always been someone that learns through experience that encompasses pain and consequence. Part of that was because of my alcoholism and part of it is just me. When the pain gets great enough I change, and I have to be allowed to experience that pain and experience it on my terms before change happens. Its really hard but its worked for me. Like I said hubby and I both have adhd so I can identify with you and your husband. My husband is slower and more deliberate with all decisions and I am an action person. Moving forward and taking positive action is how I deal with discomfort and I had to learn to respect how he learns things.


Time management can be in the eye of the beholder. Maybe he doesnt see things as a time waster or has a method to his madness but you cant force him to take ownership if he feels differently. And what is ownership? To me its admitting your flaws and trying to make them right but not trying to make them right according to what the other person thinks you should do.
What if he never changed ( and he might not change) could you stay married? Do you love him enough to work in those parameters or is it a lost cause. You have to do what works for you and you have to decide what you are willing to deal with and what kind of changes you can make. You just cant force him to bend your way.
Thank you. Dietary meaning I keep reading white foods, simple carbs, are a form of self medication for ADHD but actually should be avoided because they don't feed the brain like a diet rich in protein and fats will. Also I read to avoid fake sugar and artificial coloring because some studies show these can exacerbated ADHD symptoms. But my spouse (perhaps like most men) isn't interested in changing his diet regardless of what research says about it.

Legal employment etc meaning he has been to jail 3x, once for several months, due to the ADHD and poor coping. He cannot see how some of that is director a consequence of the ADHD however. He got laid off and due to inertia had trouble looking for work. Also a friend told him she would help.him get work a couple months into being laid off but ADHD made him forget she offered so another 1.5 years went by before she told ME and I made it happen.

The schedule was like here's a three hour block of time, two tasks suggested and one can be fun. Here's another block for eating and a necessary thing instead of the playtime thing usually done during a meal, which I suggested at the end of the day after the 2-3 necessary things got handled. He actually followed the schedule, but I wish he would do this on his own. He gets lost in symptoms to such an extent he doesn't realize how much time passes, or how many days have passed since he agreed to handle something, so when the consequences do finally hit he doesn't understand it was a consequence if his poor time management. Or he does get that sometimes but is still resigned saying he has btdt with all the possible systems and everything takes work especially after 2 weeks and he doesn't see the value of doing that work even though I'm standing there saying this is hurting me. That's the hard part. He isn't motivated by trying to prevent my pain. He is sometimes motivated a little bit to prevent his own.

He's had so many late fees, garnishments, threatening legal letters, actual jail time, one divorce and a period of time where I threatened to divorce. I feel like if he would be motivated by consequences then it would have happened by now. That's a lot of consequences.

I do think there is something to your theory that he tries and it isn't good enough so he doesn't want to try anymore. I have been trying to watch out for doing that. Just like when he finally does anything I've begged him to do i try to show appreciation rather than anger that it took 3 months and some third party telling him for him to follow through.

But for something like needing the deal with his clutter by a certain time, if he doesn't see the need because he can't process how much work comes next or doesn't believe that it will take as long (because if time blindness etc) then how can I even get him motivated? From my perspective he doesn't care if his bad choice makes more work for me. Thanks for your post. If he had a fancy job and I were a SAHP I could just handle it all but I work so much, that isn't feasible.
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Old 11-19-17, 02:49 PM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

There is a lot going on in your post. The fact of your being a therapist might make it MORE difficult for you as you're way of looking at the world and his behaviour will be very different to his and anyone else he/you meet.

You can't therapise him......but your training will help you "meet him" where he is. If you find this difficult then use your own therapist to help you regain that posture. when you say that your own anxiety plays into the process it reinforces my view that taking this into your own therapy and possibly your supervision could be highly valuable, not just for your relationship with your spouse, but also your relationships with your clients...... as what is happening with him is likely to be playing out in subtle ways with your clients.

One of the most important things when dealing with an ADDer is to release your view of ho things "should" be done and develop ways that suit both of you. If this triggers your anxiety..... thats YOUR issue not his....... he's likely to have enough anxiety to power a small town.

Check out Kahlers Process Communication model. Kahler's approach is that we have to work out OUR OWN base communication style and how it changes with stress in order to understand how to adapt it to "meet" someone else wherever they might be in their own communication style/stress level.

Kahler's technique is also MASSIVELY useful for working with therapy clients..... you're probably already using it subconciously so bringing it into awareness and then using it may help.

In short.... maybe find a Process Communication therapist to go into therapy with..... or do a course in it. Unfortunately it's probably a bit complex for the layman which is why the alternative for both of you to go to do a bit of Rosenberg's Non-Violent Communication work.....possibly with a relationship coach/therapist might be the better option.

Both of you doing NVC would give both of you a new language.... and take away the therapist/"person who needs to change" dynamic that might be adding extra toxicity to your relationship.
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Old 11-19-17, 03:26 PM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

kilted scotsman, thank you. I will look that up. I agree being a professional who has read expert texts on couples and ADHD, understands the pharmacology of the meds and other treatments etc is a double edged sword. Especially when I'm also the wife, so his consequences and poorly managed symptoms still upset me a lot and he's like "but you're a therapist" as if that means he gets a free pass for empathy no matter what he does. I say yes, but I'm not your therapist, and can't be. The therapist just needs the person to show up with problems to be fixed. I need you to fulfill a role as husband. Very different things.

However I do try to understand and it probably interferes with forming healthy boundaries because I work to be understanding then my normal human reactions kicks in and I get upset. If I just drew boundaries instead of working so hard to be understanding and compassionate, then failing, I think it would work better.

I will definitely research the model you recommended. My therapist said he needs some time in individual therapy before we try couples again. I'm hopeful that individual therapy will help with some self awareness because he tends to think most of our problems are me rather than me responding poorly to things he could be handling differently despite repeated requests from me to deal with them. That said, I know my anxiety is a significant factor here as well and I could stay out of his bad choices and consequences much better if I didn't get anxious about it. So I'm also trying to work on myself.

I feel like at this point a lot of it is normal gender difference stuff, where I want some planning ahead and he wants to just react on the fly. Such as hurricane prep. Once recently we were in an area possibly getting a storm, but not definitely getting a storm. I got upset because hd procrastinated on bringing in all our yard crap and general prep. My male friend said that my expectations of following the city's guidelines to plan ahead were stupid because the storm wasn't actually likely to hit. So there's a lot of those kinds of things happening too where we don't agree that something is a potential problem until it's an actual problem and I don't like him waiting until something is blowing up to deal with it. It stresses me out. But I can't control him and do need to stay in my lane better. Thanks for your advice.
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Old 11-19-17, 04:02 PM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tired Wife
I did not mean being codependent is necessary for marriage but specifically an ADHD marriage, picking up the other person's slack and thinking through their consequences is necessary to an extent. For example if he doesn't pay his bills, taxes etc. I have to manage areas that are really his responsibility to an extent.
I don't think picking up another's slack belongs in any marriage, including an ADD one. I have ADD and my husband never picked up my slack, I was the one who did most things and picked up his slack. If/when I'm in another relationship, I will not be picking up their slack and I will be doing whatever I have to to manage my own ADD so they don't have to pick up my slack. I think that's how it should be in a marriage, both people need to do whatever they can to do their part, or else I don't see how it can work in the long run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tired Wife
I'm about to say either get it all done before and donate whatever hasn't been sorted through, or pay for me to hire people out of your personal inheritance so you get more time, or just do not move with us. I don't know another boundary to have because he doesn't feel the strain, and he won't feel the pain from not managing the time better.
That is exactly what I would do. He already knows what he has to do, I would leave it alone for him to do it. He may not feel the strain now, that's common with ADD to not feel the pressure until the last minute. But he will feel the pressure at some point and take care of it, unless he plans on staying there and not moving with you, right? The times where I left my husband to take care of his own stuff, he eventually got it done, even though it drove me crazy wondering if he was ever going to do it. It's easier said than done, I know.
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Old 11-19-17, 05:07 PM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

I think your therapist is correct in saying he needs time in therapy before you re-enter couples therapy. My experience is that the ADDer has to acknowledge they need to change before they can expect anyone else to change to accommodate them.

Unfortunately I've found there can be HUGE resistance to this in male ADDers as there is considerable baggage around mental health and vulnerability in being a male. We struggle sooooo much to keep a lid on thigs in life that going to a therapist can be terrifying. We know what lies under the hood and know how narrow is the line between keeping it together and losing what we've struggled to gain.

One of the tough things in your situation is that you are wanting him to be MORE together.... while he knows that therapy/introspective change might mean the opposite.... and you also know this because it's normal for therapy client to go through a period of pain and dissolution before the psyche rejigs itself in a new healthier and more robust form.

So maybe you ned to reassure him that he can let is all hang out..... AS LONG AS IT'S IN THE SERVICE OF GROWTH.

Another thing is that we guys are taught from an early age that we should be the dependable ones. WE also experience what happens in relationships if we "lose it". All around us we see that partners leave if the guy goes emotional and "can't cope"..... in my experience woment partners find this extraordinarily difficult to deal with as their cultural conditioning points them toward dependance on the male.

I suspect this is the existential root of what you are referring to as "gender difference stuff"...... and it's BOTH genders that have the scripting. Breaking free of this is very very difficult. My own process has taken many years and considerable therapy and going to relational workshops.
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Old 11-19-17, 06:27 PM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

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Because the current way of me being his executive functioning for him frequently causes resentment for both of us.
I think this is very important. That lack of executive functioning is/was compensated by you. Probably in the relationship part of the love language between the two of you gradually got based on "acts of service", where you compensated for your partners lack in organisation or decision making.

Ofcourse it gets so bad that it becomes exhausting for you, so you have to end the co-dependancy that developped. The other part of the solution is that the partner with ADD has to learn to cope with his condition himself, without being too dependant on their partner.

But this changes the dynamic within a relationship often so drastically, a lot of the old codependant "love language" could be gone, and there is sometimes very little that takes it place. And this could eat away the motivation on both sides to continue the "struggle" out of the ADD-dependancy. Strange as it may sound, you have to find new ways to motivate eachother and take away the built up frustrations.
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Old 11-19-17, 07:55 PM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

My husband I had a pretty good distribution of responsibility. But every so
often he'd be upset because I couldn't manage something that he thought I
should be able to.

Now I live with my adult daughter and co-parent my autistic granddaughter.
My daughter also gets upset because i'm failing at some responsibility, but
she understands better than her dad did and is able to let go of expectations
that are simply not realistic for me.

You wrote that you made a "suggested schedule" for your husband's day off
and you told him that he didn't have to use it, but it seems you were very
upset that he didn't use your schedule or come up with one of his own. That
may not be a realistic expectation. Watch some videos by Dr. Russell Barkley
to get a good idea what things adhd impacts and impairs.

Some people with adhd simply have to hire someone else to help them with
things that are just not realistic for them to handle (bills, clean house, etc),
or work out a system where each person in the relationship plays to their own
strengths and divides the responsibilities that way.

I was the main cook and bottle washer until recently, when my grandchild
was diagnosed with diabetes my daughter got more involved in cooking and
planning low carb meals. I'm still the chief bottle washer. My daughter is so
much better at making and taking phone calls that when I'm struggling with
doing that she will help me out. I alter and repair clothing because I can sew.

I did all the yard work until two years ago, when a car crash intensified a
pre-existing back injury. That's something my daughter has never had any
interest in doing, so I pay a guy to mow and trim as needed. It wouldn't
help for her to be upset because I can't do it now. This is something
physical, but there are mental things that I can't do either.

Dr Barkley says those with adhd know what to do but can't always do what
they know. It's like trying to run a PC program on a Mac computer. It doesn't
always work. It may work one day and the next time the system crashes.

Some things just aren't going to work on your husband's operating system.
You can either accept that and figure out how to manage the problem, or you
can find someone who doesn't have any problems. Good luck whichever way.
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ADD is not a problem of knowing what to do; it is a problem of doing what you know.
-RUSSELL A. BARKLEY, PH.D.


As far as I know, there is nothing positive about ADHD that people can't have w out ADHD. ~ ADD me
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Old 11-19-17, 11:07 PM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

I hate to tell you this ... but there's no way that he didn't exhibit these behaviors long before now ... Like many of us folks who struggle with boundaries, you most likely either missed the red flags, or minimized his behavior problems, or minimized and ignored your own pain ...

The issue isn't that you are a therapist, and the issue isn't even ADHD. The issue is that it is simply not your job to research his condition, figure out his condition, pick a doctor, arrange transportation, come up with plan for his condition, write out structures for his day.

All of that is HIS job.

Now on the other hand, let's say he came to you and said, [i]"Hey, I want your help in helping me figure out what's troubling me and holding me back ..." Or he came to you and said, "Can you help me with my schedule?" ... Those steps are in an entirely different universe ... because he would taking the initiative. You would be responding ... and thus well within your boundaries.

But unfortunately as I hear you, he's not taking any initiative like that ... and again, I hate to tell you this ... but there's no way this is new behavior--it was probably there from the start of the relationship. I'm not blaming you ... Lord knows I was in your position with a spouse with an entirely different disorder ... I'm just saying therapy would be good for you (and possibly for him_ ... and that you play a role in the marriage because you didn't object to this behavior for a long time ... and now you are ... and that's jarring for you and for him.

I have ADHD and I think ADHD people can be great partners for the right people, but those people need to be people who immediately see our issues and notice our issues and yet find our strengths to outweigh our issues.

Good luck.

Tone
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Old 11-20-17, 10:31 PM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

I'm guessing you've already researched every option but since you asked here, I'll give you my thoughts anyway.

Are you absolutely sure you've divided up tasks in a way where you're husband is responsible for the things he's most likely to succeed in and where you feel like hell be contributing as much as you are (and you aren't stuck with all the tasks you dread yourself)?

Are there any tasks he might be able to learn to consider fun or at least not anxiety causing? Are you discounting some of his contributions? Handling things in a crisis situational can be very stressful and he does sound like he's contributing there. If he repairs things for the family, thay takes time too and that time adds up ovee time. Maybe he's like me and he sets up all the electronics in the family. That would be a responsibility too.

The tasks I can handle are throwing out the garbage (have him set up an app reminder to throw garbage out), cooking, washing clothes, taking care of family electronic systems, repairs (well i don't do this but maybe he can).. These are tasks where either the world won't end if I don't get it done, which like with cooking have veey strict and frequent deadlines, alarms can be set on phones as a reminder instead of you having to remind him all the time yourself.

Just see if there is a better way to distribute work and if you are really counted all his contributions. I really think you shpuld add his time doing nonroutine tasks into your accounting of the time each of you spend on the family.

This will give him a pat on the back making him feel like you do recognize his contributions while at the same time hopefully lessen your frustrations.

I'm really a big fan of hiring out for help too. It sounds like you may be tight financially. Maybe you are too tight to do this but there are often ways to cut down on other costs if you get creative. It seems important to prioritize reducing your workload cause otherwise, the only other answer I can think of is divorce.
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Old 11-22-17, 02:38 AM
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Re: My spouse won't learn better ways to cope and I'm exhausted

It really sounds like you are over managing. I do get why, You want predictability, stability, and ability to count on a sharing of responsibilities.

A lot of the articles of glowing success are really over stated or we're hearing about someone who is not all that impaired If your partner has been to jail multiple times due to adhd I assure you his adhd is of the severe kind.

Managing my adhd is mentally exhausting. Help is nice but when I start to feel managed it is not helpful. It's like most advice, it doesn't fit, or work for me.

Diet is generally not a factor in adhd, even tho I do follow a low carb diet I do so for reasons other than my adhd. My adhd remains challenging as heck regardless of my diet

Having met and spoken with hundreds of people with adhd, I am extremely skeptical of all the glowing reports from those in the adhd satellite industries.

I manage fairly well, but It's a day by day, hour by hour struggle. Managing adhd doesn't get easier and it is bey9nd my ability to express how absolutely exhausting constant monitoring and managing is.

Around 45 years of age, (I was diagnosed in the 60's) I came to a huge realization ) i wanted to live, find fulfilment, be happy, and have enjoyment in my life. I discovered I needed to let go of trying to live my life and give up my energy making others more comfortable. There is more to life than just being on a treadmill of "wellness. It can become oppressive and certainly joyless.

Over the years, I have managed to work out how to deal with the essentials. All of my bills are paid automatically, savings are also done automatically.

I'm sick to death of forcing myself with should when it comes to managing the hundreds of thingss involved in dealing with household management. I work extra to pay for help.

I know a lot of spouses feel a need to set boundaries, but for people with Adhd, what often gets lost is our own need to set boundaries. I'd consider checking in with what causes him resentment. These may be areas where he nèeds to set boundaries as well A big part of managing life as an adult is knowing our boundaries, without them we do not grow as people, we never fully take reaponsability for our satisfaction and happiness.

Please do not think I am suggesting you having to take on so very much is anything but exhausting. I feel for you. "Help" often is another word for helping someone be dependent on you. It will take time for him to figure out what his priorities for his self management are but that is the place to start. They may be very different than your priorities but you can't even negotiate if his priorities are proxy from your own list for him. Ownership is a lot of work, and for me it was a revelation, and weirdly, the only way to begin was to stop caring about what others thought my priorities should be in order to give myself the permission to explore what mine might really be.

Best thing that ever happened for me Now, I'm not a project, I'm a person living my life, caring about me and others. Finally, I'm in the picture.

I can't say for sure, but I strongly suspect that my own experience is mirrored in others with adhd
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