Reply To: Feeling resentful about his ADHD

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Hi ADHDSpouse,

I’m so sorry things aren’t picking up for you. I’d really hoped that by implementing some new measures things could turn around for you relatively quickly.

You said last time we spoke that you could see GRADUAL improvement in your DH. Is that still the case, or has it stagnated? Or worse, gone backwards?

There’s a philosophy I ascribe to that helps me make most of my major decisions. I call it ‘The Dynamite Approach’. It is based on the wisdom of Mary Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. There’s an episode where she states “There’s only so long you can fish before you have to throw a stick of dynamite in the water. I’m done fishin’.”

My interpretation of this is that there is only so long that you can dance around a problem, trying to solve it in the most optimal way, taking into account all the factors, different potential scenarios, and what is best for everyone involved, before you just have to say “to hell with it”, and just conjure up A solution. It doesn’t have to be the best one. It doesn’t have to be the kindest. It doesn’t even have to make you happy. It just has to SOLVE THE PROBLEM. There comes a point where trying to strive for the best outcome, and the uncertainty, pain, and pressure become more painful than even the worst possible outcome.

In your situation, only you know where your limits lie. Only you know when enough is enough. If and when you reach that point, I would recommend following your self-preservation instincts, even if they point you towards leaving your DH for your own sanity.

Some time BEFORE you get to that point, however, I would recommend (if you haven’t already) talking with your DH about this situation. If he doesn’t already know that you’re considering leaving him because of how this is going, and that you can REALLY tell the difference between when he’s on and off meds, etc., tell him. I don’t like the notion of backing someone with ADHD into a corner like that, because it can just make them bite back before they stop to consider the consequences (so it might be good to discuss this on a medicated day), but if he doesn’t realise what the stakes are, he may just be going on as he always has because he’s never been given sufficient reason to change. This isn’t me blaming you, far from it, it’s just that he GENUINELY may not realise the precariousness of his situation. If he loves you, and knows you love him, he MAY just assume that that is enough to carry you both through anything, and that he is fine the way he is.
– As an aside to this, it should be noted that, completely devoid of malice, ‘other people’s problems’ aren’t nearly as
strong a factor in an ADHD person’s actions as ‘MY problems’. If you MAKE it HIS problem, not yours, that COULD,
POTENTIALLY, MAYBE trigger change, which is why I suggested telling him.

One thing you said above is that ‘this is my life now, if I decide not to leave’. That is simply untrue. If you decide to stay with your DH despite all the crap he’s putting you through, he is honour-bound to try to rectify these issues, and you have a RIGHT to complain about that crap. If at that point he’s unhappy with you trying to make your own life livable, HE can be the one to leave. It’s not like you’re asking much- “Take the medication for the condition that you have”, “Please don’t do this list of very reasonable things that drive me up the wall”, “Please let me have my own space when I need it”. These aren’t massive asks. They’re the type of lists that everyone in every couple has, bar the meds thing.

In the self-care category of advice I have, do you have any hobbies that are away from the house? If not, maybe starting one up, and actively TAKING that time to yourself would help with some of these issues? ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ isn’t just for ADHD folks 🙂 Something exercise-based will help most, not just with getting time away, but it’ll also boost your mood generally. I, personally, recommend martial arts as more or less the ultimate hobby. In addition to getting fit, you learn to defend yourself, gain self-confidence, improve your balance, improve your resilience to injury, reduce likelihood of GETTING injured, improve your reflexes, and a whole host of other things. Also, learning how to defend yourself in a combat situation makes you more likely to defend yourself in personal conflicts (I pretty much backed down from every confrontation I ever had before I learned how to hit things really hard. Now, I don’t back down unless I see a reason to do so, such as being in the wrong.).

As another suggestion, would taking a trip away, just you, or maybe you and a close friend, help give you some time and perspective to make the decisions you need to make in the coming months? Or even just giving you some time away to recharge your batteries, to better deal with your situation as it stands?

Given the way things are going, and that the current situation is untenable, it may even be worth your DH going BACK to therapy for ADHD, and perhaps learning new techniques and coping strategies. Alternatively, it could be worth investing in an ADHD Coach to help him learn some of these techniques. Unfortunately, his participation in these ideas is HEAVILY dependent on his seeing that there is actually a problem.

I’m sorry that things aren’t going as well as I know we’d both hoped, and I hope that my newest advice can be of some use to you in the new situation. I wish you the very best of luck, and whatever you decide, we as a community are still here for you.

Message anytime. I’m so sorry I took so long to reply this time.