Reply To: Married to ADD

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I am a 50 year old male, husband, father of 4 who was diagnosed with ADD only after finally realizing that 2 of my children have the same condition. I can tell you with little hesitation that if (your husbands perception is that) you are lecturing, nagging, treating him like a child, then things will not improve. I can promise you he isn’t doing this on purpose. If you continue the road you’re going down, there is little hope. If you meet him where he is and somehow muster the wherewithal in your own neuro-typical capacity, then you will most likely see a marked improvement in daily life. I can’t explain it, but the added stress of an ADD’er feeling like everything they encounter is somehow being “screwed up” only makes things worse. It creates resentment and causes the person with ADD to dig their heels in. From an ADD’ers standpoint, it feels like an injustice – as if the neuro-typical people are making all the decisions, never making mistakes and blindly walking the road of clear and quick thinking – only to create a scene every time we ADD’ers forget, neglect or seemingly are not “trying hard enough”. I would be willing to bet that if he criticizes you regarding something you’ve forgotten or not gotten quite right then you are overly defensive back to him – thinking “how dare he criticize me with all of his screw-ups”. Again, yet another frustrating thing from the ADD’ers point of view. The ADD’er thinks “wow, I get criticized seemingly all day long, and I somehow don’t have the ‘authority’ to criticize”. You have to ask yourself why that is. There’s a deeper psychological aspect going on here – its called subconscious authority or the unwritten alpha complex. I’m not an MD; unfortunately in-spite of having an IQ over 130, I couldn’t complete the curriculum necessary for such a degree. It basically took everything I had to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business. I do have a PhD in observation, however – and the added benefit of having inattentive ADD my entire life. If you think you’re frustrated, you should live a day in your husbands mind. If you think it boosts your husbands self-esteem by forgetting the things described in your post – you are truly delusional. There is simply no way a person would intentionally do the things you’ve described.
Having said all of this, if you don’t meet your husband where he is, then there is really no solution. If you meet him where he is, then there exists the potential for improvement.