September 6, 2010 at 1:57 am #88519
AnonymousInactiveSeptember 6, 2010 at 1:57 amPost count: 14413
Hi . . . I am a wife with a husband who has ADD. I’m not going to write this post venting about how bad of husband my partner is… I love my husband, and he tries hard 90% of the time life is decent…. its the other 10% of time that I’m seeking out stratagies that others have used to generate sucessful marriages. I have read in many other posts that its difficult to maintain what some would consider a “normal” life…. and I can related to many of the frustrations that those individuals who do have partners with ADD have…. but what is or hasn’t been working for your relationships???
My biggest struggle with my partner has been trying to get emotional support from him. Every time I try to express what I need, it becomes too abstract for him to follow. What I find most frustating is the lack of emotional connection in the relationship. Are there others who find a disconnect in their emotional relationships with partners who have ADD??? And if so what are some of the stratagies that you have utilized to help understand the concept of emotions?
Below is an example of my frustration that I have been dealing with. I am frustated with my inability to explain to my partner that its not what he does that I need, it what he gives me when doing stuff…. for example, a little background informaiton: 9 out 10 days I get up with our kids in the morning… I don’t asked him to get up, and I let him, so called sleep in…rather than my husband just doing something or getting up with our kids, i have ask him if he can get up in the morning I want to sleep in… okay no big deal, i understand that he needs “notice” to feel prepared to get up with the kids, but there are some nights that i have bad nights, and i just want to catch up on a little extra sleep because i’m exhauted and when I ask him in the morning after those bad nights he blows up…. For example I had been up at 3:30 am, then again from 4 am to 6 am with our son(4months old) . . . I was exhausted and really just needed to sleep, so when our son woke up at 7 wanting to get up, I asked my husband if he could please get out of bed with him… he grumbled… i asked him again, and again he grumbled…. then when i said i had been up at 3:30 I mistakenly told him 2:30 and he got mad that I had “lied” to him because he had been up at 2:30 wiht our son… anyways the battle went on… and when I tried to explain to him, that his reposnses like “grumbling” and getting mad at the idea of getting up, hurt me and I feel rejected, and it feels like I don’t matter to him, and his sleep is more inportant,. when he reponds to me like that, he doesn’t get it…. he gets angry and focuses on the “ACT” of getting up…. he will say something like ” well i got up didn’t i” . . . . to me its like “whoopie, big deal you got up “(sarcasticly)… it is how he treated me that scars me emotionally … and he just doesn’t get it, becuase the emotions are too abstarct. Why can’t he understand that I need him to be more aware of how his actions and words make me feel????
Thanks for reading, I look forward to hearing what others have to say. Cheers.REPORT ABUSESeptember 6, 2010 at 3:00 am #95229
AnonymousInactiveSeptember 6, 2010 at 3:00 amPost count: 14413
Emotional distance sounds more like Aspberger’s than like ADHD, as does the blowing up over a disruption to his routine. Does he have both?REPORT ABUSESeptember 6, 2010 at 3:00 pm #95230
AnonymousInactiveSeptember 6, 2010 at 3:00 pmPost count: 14413
Thank you for your questions. Some research has indicated that 60-70% Asperger’s syndrome is comorbid with ADHD. Probably becuase Physicans are hesitant to diagnosis Aspies because of the severe consequences that such a lable can have, but Aspies is not what my husband has. My husband presents clearly as someon with ADD. . . . for your information, here is the difference between Aspies and ADD…
Those with Attention Deficit Disorder respond to behavioral modification. With Asperger Syndrome, the syndrome is the behavior. Both kinds of individuals can tantrum, talk too loud and too much and have problems modulating their behaviors and making friends. Both are social failures but for different reasons.
The individual with Attention Deficit Disorder knows what to do but forgets to do it. Aspies do not know what to do. They do not understand that relationships are two-sided. If an Aspies talks on and on in an unmodulated voice about his particular interest, he simply does not understand that he is boring his friend and showing disinterest in his friend’s side of the conversation. On the other hand, the ADDer cannot control himself from dominating the conversation. An Aspie appears unfocused, forgetful and disorganized like a ADDer, but there is a difference. The ADDer is easily distracted; the Aspie has no “filter.” The Aspie sees everything in his/her environment as equally important. The ADDer understands the rules but lacks the self-control to follow them. The Aspie does not understand the rules.
The emotional distnace that is fostered in my relationship with my husband is created by the stress of his ability to cope with the distractions of the stimulie around him. Emotional distnace can be difficult due to the barriers of ADD becuase the ADD symptoms can suck the life out of any promising relatioship. I am looking for information on how others have dealt with this emotional distancing in their relationship.REPORT ABUSESeptember 6, 2010 at 7:37 pm #95231
Patte RosebankParticipantSeptember 6, 2010 at 7:37 pmPost count: 1517
@A3d, take a look at the “Straight Answers” category in the “Videos” section of this website. It has several videos dealing with relationships. Some are funny. Some have the most up-to-date clinical information. All will help you to understand your husband’s ADD, so the two of you can work together on coping strategies for that 10% of the time when it causes problems. http://totallyadd.com/difference-diagnosis-makes/
I understand how frustrated and hurt you are. People with ADD/ADHD tend to have a history of difficult relationships, because of exactly the sort of things you describe. I’ve seen them between my parents (Mom has ADHD), and I’ve experienced them myself. Heck, Mom’s ADHD sometimes drives me crazy, and I have ADHD too!
First, I need to clarify something. Maybe it’s your frustration, but it sounds as if you feel that ADD is a failure to exercise (or remember to exercise) self-control. As though it’s something your husband could do, if he’d just try harder.
ADD isn’t a matter of “understands the rules, but lacks the self-control to follow them”. It is a genuine difference in the brain. Specifically, the right pre-frontal cortex is not being properly stimulated, so it isn’t firing properly. This is the part of the brain responsible for the executive functions of judgment and control. And for filtering out the important information from all the unimportant information that’s coming at us—just like someone with Asperger’s. It’s not that those with ADD have a filter but forget to use it; it’s that our filter is not fully developed. We can no more choose to make it work better, than a blind man can choose to see. I know you just want to scream at your husband to stop being so unreasonable. But I can guarantee you that he’s screaming it at himself far louder than you ever could, even though you can’t hear it.
Adults with ADD really internalize things, because we’re so used to misunderstandings that we’re afraid to open up to someone else, especially someone so close to us. We have no trouble at all with engaging a huge group of strangers whom we may never see again, but have a terrible time with close, personal relationships. This makes us seem emotionally distant, but we actually care very much.
You see, we’re so used to being blamed for our frequent screw-ups, that when others aren’t blaming us, we blame ourselves. We’re so creative, and so caring, but all we remember is the criticism, never the praise. And if someone does praise us, we feel like, any moment, they’ll discover that we’re a fraud and don’t deserve that praise, or any of the good things that happen to us. Your husband knows that you and your children are the very best things that ever happened to him. But he sometimes fears that he doesn’t deserve all of you.
Is he on any sort of medication for his ADD? Medication is just a treatment to help control the symptoms of ADD (which is incurable), but by controlling them, it makes it easier to make the behavioural and organizational changes that will help smooth out the difficulties, and make the most of the good points. You and your husband will need to make these changes together. If your children are old enough, they can help too!
Here are a few things you can do:
People with ADD really need structure. It helps us to focus, and to get things done. We thrive on immediate gratification, and tend to put off anything with delayed gratification, or requiring a lot of intensive, long thinking because it’s so hard for us. So work together to set up a system/schedule for yourselves, using similar methods as you’d use for your children.
Break big tasks up into smaller chunks that can be fairly quickly and easily accomplished. Instead of asking him to, “Clean out the garage,” divide the garage up into several areas, and ask him to spend half an hour tidying up just the first area, or helping you to tidy up the first area. After all, it’s just a small area, and it’s just half an hour. When it’s done, let him know that you really appreciate his help, and then move on to something totally different.
Time management is also an issue for us, so it’s helpful to set a timer, so that your husband can focus on the task at hand. A timer also makes it easier to ensure he leaves on time for appointments or to catch a train, as well as preventing him from spending six hours on the computer without being aware of it.
If you ask him to do multiple things, write them down in a list. We have trouble remembering more than a couple of things at a time. Especially when someone is telling them to us. Or when we go shopping. For that, we absolutely need a list; otherwise, we’ll come home with a carload of stuff we didn’t need, and forget the thing we’d gone out to get in the first place!
Big wall calendars & charts help too. If something is up there, we know it’s important, and we know when it has to be done, and there it is, staring us in the face, saying, “Get on with it!”. This is also great for helping us to remember recurring tasks, like taking it in turns to tend to the baby during the night, and to get the kids ready in the morning. If you schedule your “duty roster” ahead of time, it’ll make it much less stressful for both of you, because you won’t have to sort it out when you’re half-asleep and exhausted.
I hope this helps both of you. You have three very stressful things going on in your relationship right now: young children, a new baby, and your husband’s ADD. You’re on the right track in saying that 90% of the time, things are great. Just keep reminding yourself that your husband is trying really hard; it’s just that his brain is different. And that, if you work together, your lives will be much, much better.REPORT ABUSEFebruary 28, 2012 at 8:01 pm #95232
AnonymousInactiveFebruary 28, 2012 at 8:01 pmPost count: 14413
Larynxa, thank you so much for this post. My husband has ADD and I have been feeling like he’s disconnected lately. I grew up watching my parents sit for hours on the patio drinking their morning coffee simply talking and enjoying eachother’s company. I have always wanted moments like this with my husband. I found that I was getting upset that he wasn’t capable of sharing moments like this with me. There always seemed to be some distraction to pull his attention away (TV or computer). After reading your post I realize that he does try to connect with me but it’s in different ways. He does make efforts to spend those moments with me. They aren’t as long as I would like but I need to appreciate him for trying. And we can build on those moments. Thank you for your perspective and for sharing your thoughts and feelings.REPORT ABUSESeptember 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm #95233
Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADDParticipantSeptember 4, 2012 at 10:07 pmPost count: 473
Larynxa is awesome. The book that made the most difference for Ava and I was Gina Pera’s comprehensive guide for couples, “Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?” She has worked with a lot of couples in her local support group, and her journalist background means she’s a sharp writing with a lot of insight. The book is available in the shop. I should probably link to it, but I forget how and Ava’s not here. Anyway, it’s good. And so is Melissa Orlov’s book, “The ADHD Affect On Marriage”.
They both help make it less personal, painful, hurtful or look like one partner is trying to mess with the other.
A lot of what Larynxa is talking about is that dance you go through to figure out what’s going on.REPORT ABUSE
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