Survival in an ADD relationship…

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Survival in an ADD relationship… 2010-05-07T04:01:20+00:00

The Forums Forums For The Non-ADD I Married An ADDer Survival in an ADD relationship…

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  • #94048

    kc5jck
    Participant
    Post count: 846

    A couple of things I have heard in the past that may help.

    If you believe in God and the Bible, then you have to believe in the devil. He is, I think, the third character introduced. He is either front and center or hiding in the pages. (I don’t understand how people can believe in the devil and not God.)

    The devil doesn’t have to go after the non believers, criminals, drug addicts, etc. He’s already got them. He goes after the good Christian family. If he can bust up the parents, then he’ll get the kids in the process.

    I play the concertina. One time my wife arranged a lesson with a fabulous concertina player in attendance at an old time music festival. Its the only lesson I’ve ever had. I had met the man for the first time the previous day. Quite randomly, in the middle of the lesson, he stopped and said, “You know, your wife really loves you.” I’ll never forget the moment.

    When my wife gets angry and (fill in your own blanks), I don’t see her, I see the devil speaking through her like he did with the little girl in the Exorcist. I don’t take the bait.

    Know the truth and don’t listen to the “Father of Lies.” See the assult for what it is.

    Everyone has their own demons and handicaps. For some its ADD. I suppose that the non ADD person in a relationship combines their misunderstandings and mis interpretations with their own fears and demons and things can go to hell in a handbasket in a hurry.

    Know the truth. Don’t take the bait. Listen to the Holy Spirit and not the evil spirit.

    I think I’ll go learn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” on my concertina now.

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    #94049

    Cat Alberts
    Member
    Post count: 32

    kc5jck, I am not sure your latest post is a helpful contribution.

    Anger is not a sign of a devil, but an expression of defense when personal boundaries are crossed, an expression of despair or sadness, of personal needs in a relationship not being met, or many other normal human emotions. Maybe an attempt to coerce the other to change. Trying to figure out which of these are at play in that moment can shed a light at what is going on inside the other person.

    Please don’t dismiss them by seeing the devil in them, it will widen the gap between you untill it is too wide to connect across.

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    #94050

    kc5jck
    Participant
    Post count: 846

    Clearly, your are right, Cat, in what you say. My wife seldom, if ever, gets angry or upset without cause. People should be heard and not dismissed for being upset over valid concerns and I’m not the best qualified at determining what is valid.

    There are times, however, when the ensuing discussion degenerates into a senseless harangue with her saying things which I know she does not mean and fall far outside the bounds of “the rules of fair fighting.” (I don’t think she has ADD, but she, like most people, has her own demons to wrestle with.) This usually happens in the evening and goes for as long as three hours, stopping only when she is too exhausted to continue. My ADD and responses do not help. I often find myself at a loss and find that whatever I say to clarify or defuse the situation only fuels her escalating rage. I believe that there are others who may find themselves in similar situations.

    My above post describes one way that I am able to cope without becoming hurt, angry, or tempted to respond in kind. I hope that It might be helpful to others.

    Thanks for allowing me to try to clarify.

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    #94051

    wolfshades
    Member
    Post count: 211

    Interesting conversation! Kc5jck: the arguments with your wife that you describe so well resonate with me. My wife and I used to get into some rip-roaring fights too. Occasionally she would flip out completely and end up on her back on the floor, throwing a tearful, agonizing tantrum. It was those times I realized something else was wrong, quite apart from whatever issue was at hand.

    Of course, the first person you check is yourself: how have I caused this? Can I reverse it somehow? What’s going on? At the time I wondered if there was a spiritual element….

    We went to marital counsellors, spoke with folk at church, all of whom tried their level best to help us. (I still believe in God but not church, long story that is irrevelent to this discussion).

    Long story short: she had an illness that for so many years I tried to help, to no avail (not realizing an illness was involved). It took me a long time to realize I wasn’t equipped to help her, or to be her psychologist. It wasn’t spiritual at all. She had borderline personality disorder. We found this out long after the marriage was over. This is not in any way meant to suggest that I did not instigate many of our fights. I had my share of issues too.

    This is shared with all, in case our experience can help shed light for others. If not, that’s ok too. (Very thankful for the anonymity of this forum too.)

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    #94052

    Cat Alberts
    Member
    Post count: 32

    kc5jck, Thank you for explaining some more. It sounds like a difficult situation. How does she describe the anger she experiences?

    Maybe Wolfshades has a point. I know someone with borderline, and the completely unfair fighting, together with extreme and intense anger, were certainly present. She was my neighbour and at one point it was directed at me, for offending her in some way. We both moved away and are no longer in contact. From what she had told me about the things she had done in the past, it scared the shit out of me when it became directed at me. Thankfully she told me I wasn’t worth stalking! Yey!

    But I think her decision not to was more motivated by me telling her previously that I had no qualms of immediately calling the police if she would ever do any of that stuff to me (stalking, anonymous phone calls, threatening with bodily harm, breaking windows, etc).

    K, I can’t tell if this is a contributing factor for your fights, ofcourse.

    Separating her anger from her personality seems like a reasonable way to get to grips with it, but maybe there is another cause.

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    #94053

    caper
    Member
    Post count: 179

    Wolfshades, I’ve posted earlier about my wife with BPD traits. For adrenaline-seeking ADD guys, a BPD woman can be quite a ride (and I’m not just talking about the sex!)

    For a long time I knew I shouldn’t engage in the arguments, but until I got my ADD diagnosis & started taking medication it was quite difficult to suppress my emotional urge to react to her behavior.

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    #94054

    wolfshades
    Member
    Post count: 211

    Caper: yeah, I think in a lot of our cases, we walked into these relationships with absolutely no clue of what was going on with our partners or with ourselves. Innocently-intended, but with disastrous results. The lack of knowledge certainly worked to our disadvantage and, by the time it was all over, any sense of relationship had long since fled.

    The good news is that my kids know the story, and my daughter in particular is aware that she likely has ADHD (and will have to get checked out for that, for sure). At least they can live their lives and make healthy choices a little more readily than their parents did.

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    #94055

    kc5jck
    Participant
    Post count: 846

    And now to change the subject somewhat, my wife and I (probably ADD) have several ongoing problems on which I would like comments and suggestions.

    First, we preceive things differently. For example, our son (21, ADD, and struggling through college) or daughter (24, not ADD, and graduated college) will say something that usually but not always goes completely by me. My wife will immediately pick up on it and take the offspring to task for being impolite, disrespectful, or overly reactive. Then she will be upset with me for not speaking up in the first place and/or not actively taking up and supporting her position on the matter. Usually I am just quiet, I am a quiet person, wait for her to finish, and try to move the conversaion on to other things. She feels that my reaction undermines her authority and by my reaction am siding with the kid against her. So she feels betrayed by me. I am wondering if this minimizing or inability to pick up on this is ADD related or some other personality defect unrelated to ADD.

    Another thing is sometimes when we are out among people together, I will say something about her or perhaps act in a way that is at best uncomplimentary and cruel at worst. I think sometimes I am not aware and sometimes I am. I suppose is could be ADD related, it could be passive aggressive behavior related to the above, or something else.

    The last thing I can think of right now, is although we will agree on how to manage/discipline our son, left to me, it just isn’t a happening thing. Maybe I’m overly patient, maybe its an ADD thing, maybe I’m just disconnected with reality.

    Any comments?

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    #94056

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Post count: 14413

    kc5jck: I am new to this board. Found it in desperation after a rough week out of many in marriage of over 20 years. We just got my husband diagnosed with ADD a couple of years ago, which explained a lot, but the coping is still difficult. The not disciplining our kids (13 and 16) on his part leaves a lot of burden on me. He’s the “nice guy” and I’m the mean old Mom who holds them accountable to doing a few chores. He’s usually off in his own world and is completely unaware of the struggle I’m having with the kids going on just 2 feet away from him. When he does involve himself what’s going on – even if I have to ask him to — he at the least chimes in something supportive, even if he is just parroting me; and in some instances he gets a bit more involved and has a talk with the kids to calm them down if they get to screaming.

    Because you are even aware your wife is struggling with one of the kids, that is a first good step. Also, could you ask for a few moments with her privately to let her know you are willing to support her and provide a unified front to the kids and ask if there is anything in particular she’d like you to do? I would talk to her about this strategy ahead of time because if she already feels betrayed by you, she may be in shock from your unexpected offer of help in the heat of the moment and you might not accomplish much the first time. Explain about the preooccupation you have with your own thoughts and how that relates to your losing focus on the conversations going on in the room. Apologize for how it has made you less available to your family, even if they are in the same room with you. Let her brain storm: “If you could wave a magic wand — how would you make me different about how I helped you with x and y?” Then agree on 1 or 2 priority strategies, put them on your bathroom mirror and review daily.

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    #94057

    wolfshades
    Member
    Post count: 211

    kc5jck: I have so much to say in response to your comment, but would rather not do so here (even though it’s fairly private). I don’t honestly know how to get hold of you. Suffice it to say: I don’t see you doing anything wrong, and certainly your situation doesn’t’ appear (to me) to be anything ADHD-related. Much (most?) of what you’re going through, I’ve gone through, so I’ve had time to not only go through it all but process it as well.

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    #94058

    kc5jck
    Participant
    Post count: 846

    Wolf,

    If you like, you could email me at [email protected]. Its an old account named for a cat. I’ll keep an eye on it in case you respond.

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    #94059

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Post count: 14413

    You know I feel, ADD is sometimes used as a catch-all for sorts of behaviors..and, I fear at times it is used as an excuse for certain behaviors………and if an excuse is strong enough we call it a reason???? From my experience, interpersonal relationships go poorly for many many reasons…. most that I have encountered (which is not all) are due to a lack of interpersonal skills. Most people I know ( friends) are divorced and not ADD at all!!! What does that say….????

    I’m afraid I’m going to catch hell for this next one too, but…….I have found most folks fall into relationships adhoc…..and stumble around without ever having made an attempt to acquire the tools required in today’s complex relationships. Granted some relationships are wonderful and work like crazy BLISS abounds. A huge number fail (see divorce rates), sad but true.

    Myself…..I’m married 38 years, to a Linear thinking partner…..I myself am ADD, as our children are. We had our difficulties to say the least!!! After hmmmmm…..8 > 10 years, I went to see a counselor. We had children by year 6 or7 , and boy the “anti” goes up then….yes it does, or , I should re-phrase, it did for me. Things got pretty rock-bottom-ish (for me ) around then. So off I went to see a counselor…. because she was making me “CRAZY”. I was at the “if only” stage……”if only she”, then things would be better……”if she would just”……”we would be fine”……”if she”…’if she”…. right…….familiar???

    Well that didn’t last long…….if I wanted to be happy, I quickly found out, it was up to me, not her. I stayed with my counselor for aprox. five long years….best thing I ever did….EVER. I never will regret it. My life changed and changed for ever. It changed to the way I was, I found where my heart really lay. My guide (or counselor) was wonderful, my work over those years was exhausting, frightening, exhilarating. What an experience, as I said, my perspective didn’t change……I just let it out and let it guide me. My guidelines for life didn’t change either, I just uncovered the ones inside me, in my heart and let the rest go. I re-learned acceptance, humility, empathy, patience my gawd….above all patience. I went for her………I stayed for me.

    We are still together my partner and I…our children a 26 and 30…..we are retired and as different as night and day…black and white…what ever, you get it!!! The thing that have changed are within me……my expectations, and my acceptance of who she is and of our differences. Funny thing also happened, when I changed so did the old patterns within our relations. I didn’t change to change them (that is controlling) …I changed according to my heart and the old patterns either dissolved or evolved.

    Oh….by the way……my counselor never ever counseled me for ADD…….it really had no bearing on anything. He counseled me for my heart and to learn what that was, and how to follow it, always.

    Soooo…..If there is anything here for you please……..take it and use it….. if not, I’ve enjoyed the time.

    toofat

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    #94060

    kc5jck
    Participant
    Post count: 846

    A year ago, my son was given a Test of Variables of Attention, TOVA, to check for ADHD. He was twenty years old. The test showed that he did indeed have a high degree of attention deficit. His counselor recommended a book “Delivered from Distraction” which I ordered from Amazon and began to read. Not only did I see him in the pages of the book, but also myself.

    So now I’m in this psychologist’s office about to take the TOVA. Basically, a black square within a white square is flashed on a computer screen for about half a second every two seconds. The black square will be placed either at the top or the bottom of the white square. If it’s on the top, I am to press a button. This goes on for twenty minutes.

    After a brief practice run of about a minute, the test starts and the psychologist leaves the office. “What’s that about?” I wonder. Flash, click, flash, flash, flash, click. … This isn’t hard. I sit for hours at home doing boring stuff on the computer for work, this should be no problem… Flash. I’m probably going to only screw up once or twice at this. Flash. Flash. Click. …Maybe it was stupid of me to come here for this…. Flash. Click. …The psychologist returns and sits down in a chair behind me. Flash. Flash… I hear him shuffling some papers…. Flash. Click. Perhaps he’s trying to distract me. Flash. Perhaps it’s part of the test. Click. …OOPS! I didn’t mean to do that. Flash. Flash. … Well, nobody can get them all correctly. … Flash. Click. …That’s better… I better try to pay attention… Flash. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Click… What time does that clock say?… Flash. Flash. I guess it doesn’t matter, I don’t know what time I started. Click. OOPS! Flash. Click. OOPS… Well, I am still doing pretty good, that can’t be more than four or maybe five… Flash. Flash. Click… Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. … This must be the second part of the test… Flash. Click. Flash. Click. …I wonder how significant a quick response is… Click. OOPS. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. …I guess James must have gotten really bored doing this test… Flash. Click. Flash. Click. … What did he get. 70?… Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Flash. … I bet this next one will be a clicker…. Flash. Click. OOPS….Focus, this thing has to be over soon… Flash. Click. Flash. Click. …I wonder if the sequence is randomized to a predetermined statistical … Flash. Click. .. or if it’s the exact same sequence every time… Flash. Click. Flash. Click. …Maybe it’s the exact same each time… Flash. Click. …Otherwise it introduces unnecessary variables to the test… Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. …

    Well, I glad that’s over. I think I did pretty good, CONSIDERING IT’S ONLY NINE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING!

    I talk with the psychologist about Celtic music in which he has an interest, go back up front, and gobble down the amphetamines needed for the second part of the test. I sit and read, play with my phone, make a few calls. After an hour, I go back for the second test. I feel no effects from the drugs.

    I sit down. Flash. Flash. Flash. Click. …WOW… Flash. Flash. Flash. Flash. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Flash. Flash. Oops. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Flash. Click… Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Flash. Flash. Oops. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Flash. Flash. Oops. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Flash. Click…. …. … Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Flash. Click. Flash. Click. IN THAT ORDER! FINISHED.

    Like father like son.

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    #94061

    Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADD
    Participant
    Post count: 473

    It is amazing the range of experience and different needs. Or pathways. Too Fat says he never got counselling around his ADD, but clearly had it around other areas and that made the difference. Others found getting the diagnosis hugely helpful. Or have self diagnosed and feel certain it’s the issue. (And in many cases what you’ve shared does sure sound like it. My own suggestion is just to eliminate other issues like thyroid problems that can look like ADHD.)

    The anger issue is really interesting.

    If you have trouble regulating attention, input from your senses, ideas, complex tasks… it’s hardly surprising that you’d also have trouble regulating emotions.

    I could go from zero to FULL BLOWN PANIC in about 10 seconds. Five on a good day.

    One of the few pleasures of aging is that eventually, if you take the time, you can look back at all the terrible things you scared of, convinced would be the end of the world, and went into a panic over. From thinking you’d lost something valuable to not hearing from a loved one and assuming the worst.

    And then whaddya know, they turn up fine. Again. And the next time they are late… it’s like the previous time is forgotten, and panic time!

    Until eventually, at least for me, I developed the ability to recognize the rising panic and stop it quickly, by asking, “What are the odds?”

    As for anger? Well, I can still go there, but in my case, the anger is almost always because I expected someone else to do what I thought was fair, correct, responsible, logical, doing what they promised… while conveniently overlooking the thousands of things I did that were irresponsible, illogical, not what I promised…

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    #94062

    Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADD
    Participant
    Post count: 473

    And Too Fat, what you’re saying about ‘I know people who are not ADHD and divorced’ is true. So do I.

    The issue is not whether you divorce or not, it’s the rates. And the best studies done show that people with untreated ADHD/ADD have between 2 times the rate of divorce. Compared to their peers they have struggle in academics and social skills. A study done by Russell Barkley and others in 1990 found 46% of ADHD kids have been expelled. And 35% drop out. Brutal.

    Numerous studies on our driving skills show that compared to our peers we have 2 to 4 times more automobile accidents than our peers. And are far more likely to be at fault.

    A study in Minnesota showed we cost the health care system twice as much. The list goes on and on. Much higher rates of unplanned pregnancies, STDs, getting tested for AIDS, fights with siblings, bankruptcies, suicide, being fired, being unemployed, being ‘under-employed’, drug abuse, gambling, prison.

    Not everyone with ADHD goes to prison. But if you’re conservative and say ADHD individuals make up 4% of the adult population, it’s shocking to learn that a study by Biederman et. al. in 1996 found ADHD make up 35% of the prison population. Nine times the rate! Impulsivity… Anger…

    Anyway, I know we have all used it as an excuse. It’s hard to find the right balance between explaining where you mess up, and using it to excuse what you’ve done. But there’s a funny tone in what you wrote, or it felt like it to me, which may be why you’ve said you’re going to catch hell for it. It feels like you’re suggesting that ADHD is something you should just be able to manage. That it’s an excuse. And you did it and others should too. Or maybe I’m just reacting poorly. Dunno.

    It’s just in the past few years I’ve seen enough MRI images and PET scans comparing ‘Non-ADHD brains to ADHD brains’ to know our minds are wired differently and work differently. We are different in what doctors call structure and function.

    The good news? You can change that and develop new pathways, new wiring.

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