Reply To: Raised 5 kids with ADHD husband.

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Spouses & Loved Ones Raised 5 kids with ADHD husband. Reply To: Raised 5 kids with ADHD husband.


Hi there,

I am in a similar situation, perhaps, but my son is only 5. I have a husband and a (just 1!) son, both with ADHD and even I am exhausted most of the time, so I can only imagine how tired you must be and how much you’ve managed with running a much bigger family!

I think the input of Chris (above) is very valuable. I find I constantly need to put myself in my husband and son’s shoes or otherwise I will say things that can be extremely hurtful, even when I think I am saying something very straightforward… I have to remind myself that they have gotten so much negative feedback from just about anyone (school, parents, friends, relatives: they’ve so often been “too much/ too loud/ too energetic/ too late/ too distracted/ too….!!) and therefore anything that sounds like criticism is very hurtful, much more so than it would be for me or you (and I am not a champion at ‘receiving feedback’ when it is negative myself!). And asking my husband to do anything to help/treat/fix his symptoms of ADHD are usually met with extreme defensiveness because I think it sounds to him like I am saying he is a bother for having ADHD, it is wrong, or the fact that I am tired and struggling is all his fault.
Once I started realising that self-esteem is an issue for people with ADHD I started noticing how negative feedback really affects my son and husband.

Like you, I am tired of feeling tired, I really am. However, I have noticed what NEVER works and always makes me and them feel bad: when I let my crankiness and exhaustion rule how I react or bring up an issue.
What DOES work (and geez, I don’t always have the energy) is to give LOTS of positive reinforcement AND empathy and THEN put forward a request. And with my husband I will pick a good moment (not ever before bed or he won’t sleep a wink after) when we’re both relaxed and I will start with WHY I am bringing up this subject, i.e.: I want us to be closer/ I am struggling with…/ I would like your help with…/ I would like to understand you better… etc.

In the end, if your husband is not ready to tackle things in your relationship head on at the moment, then you still have the power to change how you approach things. This could simply be that you need lots of time to yourself so you can take a step back and perhaps look at your situation with different eyes. At the moment I often go for walks with a friend after dinner, and I even spend a few hours each week at a friend’s place (when they’re out) so I have a getaway from my home, which is often not as quiet and peaceful as I need it to be. Like you say, you’d like to just live by yourself in peace and quiet, I hear you, but perhaps a similar arrangement where you can use a friend’s home a few hours each week could be an option?

I am working on not feeling guilty for taking time out because it serves all 3 of us well when I do.

In the Netherlands there is a specific book about ‘ADHD in relationships’, I am sure there must be one in English too. It is a real eye opener and probably would help to understand where your husband is coming from and why he is (at the moment) resistant to take any further action…

I hope you find some space and time for yourself so you can recharge.

P.S. here is a book I found in English: