Reply To: Feeling resentful about his ADHD

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Spaceboy 99

Hey again ADHDSpouse,

To start off with, I’m going to focus on the positives that you mentioned in your posts- that your husband is starting to improve, and he’s recognising (albeit after the fact) that he’s being disruptive. These are EXCELLENT things. The process of getting to a ‘manageable’ state IS a long one. To dredge yet another example from my own experiences, I get compelled to repeat amusing or interesting phrases from movies, literature, or music, and I will begin to spew utter tosh forth in an unrelenting torrent long before I begin to think about what I’m doing. The thing is, this drives my other half crazy, particularly as she’s heard them dozens of times before, and some of these things include making sounds that she finds particularly unpleasant. She first started telling me about this a year and a half ago, and I’m only just getting to the point where I can stop halfway through, as opposed to in the beginning where she’d ask me to stop, and I’d just keep going until I hit the end. Occasionally, I even have bouts of realising that I’m ABOUT to do something irritating, and can stop myself beforehand. I then ruin the effect by proclaiming proudly that I stopped myself, even if she’s trying to sleep.

It’s a bloody long and irritating process, and I can’t speak for your husband, but I know that my every failure drives me up the wall, because I feel like I’m letting my other half down. Every time I don’t manage to NOT do the thing, every time I forget TO do the thing, or make a mistake in the PROCESS of doing the thing, I beat myself up about it massively, but I don’t ever blame her. She gets frustrated, and that hurts, but it only hurts because I know that I’m the one who’s done that to her, not the other way round. Admittedly, quite often, in the heat of the moment, I will feel like I’m being unfairly blamed for things that are out of my control, but when I actually have the time to take a step back and detach, I realise that it’s all me. Every time she gets upset, it’s a reflection of my own behaviour and failings.

What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t feel guilty about your own frustrated emotions, and how they relate to your Husband’s ADHD. It’s natural to get frustrated when others struggle to seemingly comprehend basic requests and instructions, particularly when they cause deep-seated irritation each time they occur. If you keep giving your husband the nudges he needs, and if he keeps on his medication, and he keeps trying in his own way, you’ll both, hopefully, come to a situation you can both manage.

Please don’t take any offence at this, but I would also maybe recommend having a word with a counsellor or psychiatrist. Not because of your frustration, but because of the negative emotions you direct at yourself as a result of your frustrations. I’ve been through counselling before for social anxiety issues, and it did me a world of good. Perhaps talking through your emotions, and the root causes of your emotions can help you gain mastery over them, or at least ameliorate them.

I won’t tell you to stay with your spouse no matter what. Perhaps there are a lot of people here who will consider that bad advice, but I’ve been through my share of bad relationships, and I know that sometimes people demand more of you than you’re actually capable of giving, and during those situations, you NEED to escape in order to preserve your own sanity. His ADHD is not his fault, but that doesn’t make you honour-bound to capitulate for the rest of your life. But what I will say is that, before all of his symptoms and the manifestations of his symptoms wore you down, you fell very firmly in love with the man, enough to marry him. That man hasn’t gone away. Underneath everything, he’s as warm, romantic, quirky, and funny as he was when you first started dating. it’s just buried under his ADHD symptoms right now.

So, to the final summary of my advice- His improvements WILL take quite some time, and unfortunately that’s just a fact of his situation. The fact that he IS improving is proof that he wants to, because if he didn’t want to, threat of a nuclear apocalypse wouldn’t make him change. As long as these improvements keep coming, try to remain optimistic. Don’t feel guilty about your frustrations. It’s natural to get annoyed at the customer service representative that the delivery guy is running late with your order, even though it’s nobody’s fault that the traffic is bad. Same issue here. Just try, when you can, to remember that he’s trying, and that he sure as hell doesn’t WANT to make you unhappy. Consider talking to someone about how strongly your guilt affects you in response to your frustrations, to see if you can make that more manageable. If you do all this, and then, after some time, still decide you just can’t handle it, and something has got to give, you can make whatever your final decision is, knowing that you did everything in your power to make it work. There’s nothing worse than wondering ‘what if I’d done better?’. If you do everything you possibly can, then you don’t need to ask that question.

I apologise that my advice got darker towards the end, but I believe that a person should never feel that they are entirely trapped in their situation. I’ve been there before. Not to go into too much detail, but I had an ex-girlfriend who was extremely abusive. I forgot that I could leave her, internalised everything she said and did as my fault, and it almost cost me my sanity. There was one incident where I could actually feel myself losing my grip on reality. Feeling trapped is not good for anyone, and as such, I refuse to entrap you with my advice. Despite this, try very much to focus on the positives. Your husband is still there, and he wants to do right by you. He’s improving, however slowly, and as long as he continues, try to maintain your hope. I hope that this can be of some help to you 🙂