kollasch40MemberJuly 5, 2016 at 12:20 amPost count: 1
At age 38 I have been recently diagnosed with ADHD within the last 4 months and have been taking adderall 20mg which has seemed to help with my focus a little, and my fidgeting. My larger issue is I am dealing with is my relationship with my wife. We have been married for 3 years now. Of course when we first started dating I was hyper-focused on her and made her feel like she was the most important person in the world, and she is. But now I have found myself being distracted by many other things like work etc. and I haven’t been able to get my focus back on her. On top of it she has had to deal with my un-diagnosed self for the past 3 years. So seeing me get distracted and be late or just flat out forget things has brought a lot of stress on to her. She suffers from anxiety and also a little OCD so you can imagine the stress I put on her with my lack of attention to details or not following through with directions. My concern now is that I am starting to view her approaches to help correct my actions as nagging. I start to lash out at her and get defensive. When she confronts me about not taking the proper time to clean the dishes again, as she had asked me to do hundreds of times. I get flat our angry. Mainly because I know I did a poor job and rushed through them and I am embarrassed. But also because I take her justified frustration as a personal attack and try and fight back with an argument or flat out made up excuse as to what happened. I will elevate the situation into an argument or other times I just button up and don’t say anything. I tell myself I am doing it to avoid an argument but I am fully aware it is passive aggressive behavior because I know it makes her upset that I won’t talk to her. I have allowed my condition to give me a poor perspective of my wife, who does and has done so many thoughtful and nice things for me throughout our relationship. But now it just feels like any criticism from her at all will get blown out of proportion as a personal attack in my mind. We are at the end of our rope. I create a large amount of stress for her that is just not fair. I don’t talk to her partly because I have “created” this monster in my head and also due to the guilt I feel inside for how I mislead her. I often after an argument would sit later at night and reflect and more or less hyper-focus on our relationship and give her a well thought insightful response to our situation and list all the things I needed to improve on and then I would feel great and motivated, and she would feel like we turned a corner. Only to have me turn right into the same ruts again. I don’t know if all of my issues are ADHD related, but I have this feeling of being two-faced as I can be this really self centered cold-hearted jerk on the surface ignore her needs and even abandon her emotions as if she doesn’t even have any. Then I reflect on what I had done and feel terrible and apologize and have overwhelming lows of guilt. I cannot imagine what she is going through and how tired of seeing me not change she is. I truly believe I can and do want to change but I just keep falling into old patterns. I am looking for any advice anyone can give me. I have tried some therapy, but it is expensive and also the last therapist I had enabled me and basically allowed me to use my condition as an excuse and put the blame on her for not understanding. I just have such a hard time getting the motivation I need to get out of the gate. You would think losing my marriage would easily be motivation enough to get moving but I still will most likely end up doing the same thing tomorrow. I can’t keep dragging her into my misery. It isn’t fair to her or our son, they deserve better then this.shutterbug55MemberAugust 9, 2016 at 3:39 pmPost count: 454
Do you think counseling would help? A neutral third party could identify what is bothering you and give you ideas to constructively redirect your reaction patterns to something more productive. I did this almost 5 years ago, and my wife went from a roommate/PITA nag to being my best friend/wife/biggest fan.
Understanding your condition cannot be cured, but it can be treated and worked around, might help you both. Counseling, medication, and life coaching might help you too.klmillscatsMemberJanuary 29, 2017 at 6:39 pmPost count: 27
As a non-ADHD wife, married 35 years to an ADD husband, I can relate to a lot of what you said. And in many ways, the earlier years of our marriage were the most difficult. Under the best of circumstances, marriage is an adjustment. Season it with ADHD, and it’s even more of an adjustment. My husband was not diagnosed until our 8 year old daughter was tested. When she tested to have ADD, and the counselor spoke with us, we quickly learned that my husband had it too.
There were two huge things that helped immediately. First was to adjust our expectations and recognize both the strengths and weaknesses in each other. A seminar helped us work through some of that, as well as simple life experience and not sweating the small stuff.
Second, I can really relate to your reference to nagging. I never wanted to be perceived as a nag, but I often felt in a catch 22 if he, for example, forget his cell phone. Should he be angry at himself for forgetting the phone, or angry with me for reminding him to pick it up? At the seminar, they urged the ADHD family member(s) to “give permission” for the non-ADD member(s) to remind them of things. Once he gave me permission to remind him of things he identified as weak areas, I was no longer a nag, and he wasn’t as often troubled by not having it all together.
Finally, any marriage needs respect, humor, and identifying that line you don’t cross. Knowing that ADHDers can have anger issues, it’s even more important to identify that line, take it VERY seriously when the line is crossed, and act promptly with damage control when it happens. It’s also important to remember that ADHDers feel things deeply, and silence/sulking is your enemy. Calm conversation is a balm in any marriage.
I wish you and your bride the very best, and congratulate you both on researching ways to make your lives better.
Bless youThat Guy with ADHDParticipantFebruary 5, 2017 at 9:45 pmPost count: 47
Much like Kollasch40 I am in a particularly troubling point in my relationship with my wife of 21 years. She is sick of being my “Mother”, having to remind me to do things all the time and feeling rejected when I don’t do things she asks me to do (or doing things she asks me not to). I, too, have been feeling angry about her nagging and have been lashing out lately. My depression and anxiety have hit an all time high. Have I reached the “Tipping Point”? It’s not the first time I have read comments like these about ADDers. Klmillscats has some good suggestions. I think that I have to get formally diagnosed so that I can get proper treatment/meds. I think that if I can get my ADD symptoms in check things will get better for us. My wife deserves so much better from me. Although we have brought up devorce neither of us truely want that. If I did it would be to let her go so she could persue a better life somewhere else. It’s hard to say but there have been many times when I have thought to end it so she could be happy again.
Thanks to those who have and will post to this tread. I wish you all the best.
RichardklmillscatsMemberFebruary 5, 2017 at 10:35 pmPost count: 27
Clearly you and your wife have a good marriage, or it wouldn’t have lasted 21 years, and you wouldn’t be in this forum if you weren’t looking for answers and council. I certainly don’t have everyone’s answer, and am not qualified to council, but I can speak of my/our experience.
Communication in a calm setting is probably the most beneficial thing we’ve done, and we do it often. After that, is realistic expectations. Our conversation often revolves around discussing the strengths and weakness in our mutual characters. For example, when both of us identify a weakness in the other, it allows us to work out how the partner can help fill a void caused by weakness. I know I’m very weak understanding anything mechanical, but with a photographic memory, I know where my husband dropped his keys. So we recognize that my husband can fix darn near anything, and I know where the screw driver is! Neither of us feel like we “mother” the other, when we accept our roles.
Early in our marriage, we used to agree to meet for lunch. After he lost track of time on several occasions, and stood me up, I learned I needed to adjust my expectations, or be repeatedly disappointed. Knowing that time management is a weakness for him, we work within that understanding.
You are wise to go for an official diagnosis, and I’m sure the counselor will make recommendations for you and your wife that will make your marriage even stronger than it obviously already is. Keep in touch, and I wish you both all the best!
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