Reply To: Expressing frustrations constructively

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Hi! I can relate to your struggle, and I recently posted my frustration with my husband’s lack of follow through on the things he’s supposed to/agreed to do. I didn’t get too many responses, so I think there are a lot of us who are struggling and just don’t have good solutions.

The thing I find the most annoying is the fact that my husband gets upset at me (much like your wife) if I bring up something he promised to do and didn’t do. To me, that’s the part that’s the hardest to understand – the lack of apology, and the fact not only does HE get to be mad at ME, but the promised task still doesn’t get done, and I feel like my feelings go unheard and unaddressed. I don’t know the solution to this dilemma, so I don’t have much advice. We can’t force our partners to follow through, and that’s hard to live with. I think any human being would be frustrated when promises get broken and commitments aren’t honoured.

All I can say is that if something is truly important and/or time sensitive and affects the kids, I know I have to do it. Our son has ADHD and is on the autism spectrum, and I handle all his appointments, specialists, communication with the school, etc. Any piece of it that I try to give to my husband doesn’t get done, so I’ve accepted that as unfair as it feels, I have to do the crucial stuff.

That being said, it’s overwhelming being responsible for a disproportionate amount of life “stuff”. Could you and your wife make a list of things that need to be done, and agree on who will do what? And you take on some of the things that are affecting your daughter? I’ve found that a lot of contacts and appointments can be done via email, so it doesn’t have to be done during 9-5 business hours. It might just be a reality that you need to take the really time sensitive things on, in the evenings or when you have a break at work.

I also realized that having a total division of labour (me at home with the kids and him at work) wasn’t stable enough or realistic with ADHD in the picture. My husband kept losing his job, or hyper focusing on freelance where he wasn’t getting paid, etc., and it was just too much instability. So I’ve gone back to work part time. Are there ways you could restructure your arrangement so your wife could work a bit more and you could work a bit less outside the home, and take on some of the childcare/household duties? My husband is also terrible with keeping the kids to a routine, homework, bedtime, discipline, etc. So I found a job where I can still do the morning and after school kid routine, and work while they’re at school. I’m also responsible for the bedtime routine and most kid discipline, because my husband struggles with being consistent, noticing the time, transitioning from an activity etc. I don’t love taking on all this stuff, but if I don’t, it doesn’t get done, and I’m not prepared for my kids to pay the price. I do feel frustrated and resentful that he can’t do it, though. I’m pursuing counselling for that.

Anyway, I’m sorry you’re in this position, and I get it. I think no matter how constructive you are with communicating your frustration, it’s typical ADHD behavior to deflect and deny, and to continue not to follow through. So you might need a written agreement of what gets done by whom, and a support system to deal with your frustration when the plan doesn’t get followed. Good luck!!!