Reply To: how do I talk to my undiagnosed husband about his self medicating?

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults Treating Your ADHD how do I talk to my undiagnosed husband about his self medicating? Reply To: how do I talk to my undiagnosed husband about his self medicating?


Sweetheart – I can really, really relate to your two comments here to me and Suzy. It could be word-for-word what I have experienced with my man.
Firstly – I just want to give you a great big hug!!! You must be living in some kind of hell. You deserve a medal for being so patient. Give yourself a huge pat on the back.
All that you say absolutely relates to what I have been going through with my man, which I could make NO sense of until now. (Thank God for Suzy enlightening us!!) But because we don’t live together, live long-distance and see each other rarely, it has not impacted on my life in the same way as it has with you, except that I worry about him constantly and wonder what he is up to – at least you know that. He certainly displays all the anger, frustration, emotional turmoil, sensitivity, etc. He is also very impulsive. Gets very anxious. And “switches off” at times. Add into that even cruelty. He seems to like to text and email cruel things when he is drunk, teasing me about other women to make me jealous. “Winding me up”, he says, and thinks it’s funny, and about punishing me when I am naughty – spanking me – so that I will learn not to do those things again. Although not now, he obviously realizes it is wrong. Thinking about that now, that may stem back to his own childhood – I guess when one is drunk all sorts of thoughts get tangled up and come out. I think he may have suffered badly as a child – his mother is very strong and domineering, and he was sent away to boarding school. I wonder now if his parents couldn’t cope with him and thought that would manage his ADHD – although I doubt if they knew what it was. He is now 64, and it wasn’t really heard of then. He hated it there, and blames his mother now – he is really angry about that, too. He showed me his exercise books, which are full of red marks and comments. Poor love, it must have been hell for him – no wonder he is so angry with the world. However he did somehow manage to go to Uni and become a lawyer, although he later got into debt, became bankrupt, had a nervous breakdown and was struck off. I think life must have been really, really difficult for him. A lot was expected of him, coming from a wealthy family. But he says he is a survivor. He is in debt again, now. He just can’t seem to manage his life. Always remember, in all of this that these people must be in a living hell most of the time, themselves. I understand that they have to create a false persona in order to be accepted amongst “normal” people, as they can’t make sense of the “rules” as we can. They need to watch carefully and copy what they see others doing – like a chameleon. Certainly my man does seem to do that, he often asks me if that was “OK”, and asks advice. And he also tells loads of lies to get by – he must have learnt to do that as a child, so now it is second-nature. He is “Mr. Nice Guy” outside of the home. No-one knows what a night-mare he is.
According to what Suzy has said on here, and the more I read about it, I think we are BOTH dealing with men who have undiagnosed Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. I would say it is imperative that you get this diagnosed, and get some help, for all your sakes. You must try to, somehow or other, talk to him about it. Not easy, I know, you will have to pick your moment. Don’t do it in anger, you’ll get nowhere. Maybe show him this forum. But I know how that might go down like a lead balloon. Maybe you could run off some of the articles on the ADDitude website to discuss with him. Has he no family members who would help talk to him? His mother must know how he is and probably was as a child. His sister or brother? His grandparents? An Aunt or Uncle, or trusted family friend? You DO need help, Sweetie. IT IS NOT YOU, BELIEVE THAT, PLEASE. Never think that, please. HE is the one with the problem. BUT, over time it WILL impact on you and your child.
He WILL try to “project” his problem onto you. This is a psychiatric terminology – “Projection” – look it up. He will not accept his anger and problems and reflect them back onto you, to try to get rid of them off of himself. My man does exactly that all the time. Blaming me. Even telling me that I have a mental health issue. Then I wonder if he is right!! I certainly FEEL crazy, at times. It is hard to understand. Also look up the “Drama Triangle” (Victim/Rescuer/Persecutor), which is interesting. How we are all on the triangle and keep on moving through it. At the moment you are Victim and he is Persecutor, but also Victim of his problems. Maybe you need to stop being Victim and become Rescuer. But never be Persecutor.
I don’t know what to suggest. There are medications. But, from what I read, they may not be suitable, or several may need to be tried out. I wonder if it is the E-Cigarette that is causing problems? Goodness knows what is in them, chemically. I am certainly super-sensitive to foodstuffs and chemicals – can cause migraines, digestive problems, etc. With a super-sensitive brain, maybe that is the wrong thing for him, too. It seems that the joints of marijuana are your best option at the moment – but I expect he does not want to take that when he is working. What about the nicotine spray or chewing gum? What about extra vitamins and minerals to aid the neuro-transmitters in the brain; herbal remedies (St. John’s Wort has been recently licensed) and maybe essential oils for massage and to aid sleep, acupuncture, hypnosis – look it up. Certain foods are beneficial, too – (brain foods). Try to buy organic, if you can afford it. And avoid junk food and sugar. You could try an elimination diet, if he is willing.
BUT, YOU MUST TALK TO HIM. Keeping it all bottled up is not going to work – you know that. You HAVE to take the bull by the horns and just go for it. I have read on the “BeIrrisistible” site that that is the best way forward for “normal” relationship problems, to speak your truth, and to reach out to your partner to connect with them, and I am sure it is right. Men can’t take in hints, sarcasm and inuendos. They need to have it spelt out to them IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Yes, it’s scary, but you can’t go on as you are. I think he will feel calmer, too, if he can get it out of his system, and feel understood. Maybe he doesn’t know what is going on inside of his head. He will also be feeling shame and remorse at how he is. And anger – like a raging bull. Our psyche has a huge bearing on how we feel and how we cope with those feelings, also our physical well-being. Understanding and acceptance has a very calming effect.
My man has said to me in the past that I have to be firm with him, and stronger, so that is interesting. Maybe they NEED boundaries in place, so that they know where they stand. The same as children. He seems very child-like to me – which I did not understand before. If they do not understand the social “norms” and boundaries as we do, and live in a constant whirlpool of mis-understandings and emotions, maybe that is the answer. Maybe you could even draw up a “contract” of “rules, boundaries and expectations” (in a fun way), so that he knows exactly where he stands, and not wallowing around in uncertainty. Certainly, children need these boundaries in order to be able to function properly and develop normally – knowing exactly what is expected of them. It may help him feel more secure, in control and calmer. It is just a suggestion, based on what I have experienced. Also I understand “Mindfulness” and meditation help to stay focused and in the moment. Exercise is also meant to be good. Maybe get a bicycle or running shoes. Does he enjoy gardening? Growing vegetables? Many men get a real kick from this (the hunter/gatherer instinct – makes them feel good!!). Getting out in the fresh air is always beneficial. Suzy has suggested that counselling has helped a lot for her. You maybe need to go together.
I think you will HAVE to be firmer with him. Stand up for yourself in a kind, caring, loving way. Just TELL him that you will no longer tolerate the situation, and that is how it is going to be – and duck the resulting flack!! Don’t argue – just TELL him, carefully and calmly. And get him to repeat back what you have said, so that you know it has gone in and he has understood. (Look up Imago Dialogue). I think he will appreciate that. Slowly, I think he will come to see that YOU ARE HIS STRENGTH. HIS ROCK. He NEEDS your strength in order to find his own and to be able to survive in what must be a really, really scary world for him – especially now he has a child, as well – that is scary for most men. And that is hard for us to understand, as women, because we want a strong, competent man who can take care of US. BUT I think, from my experience, we have to realize that that is not going to happen!!! I know my man leans VERY heavily on his (female) next door neighbour. He treats her like a mother figure, calls her his “Rock”, his best friend, and goes to her for advice regarding me. I found this really, really annoying, but it actually makes sense now that I understand how his brain works. Of course, she doesn’t help, because she says spiteful things about me, and tells me and him lies, in order to get rid of me – then he doesn’t know what to believe. He once said, angrily, “You two are doing my head in”. He just wanted to run away – couldn’t make sense of it all. I think they need a calm, relaxed, care-free atmosphere – rather like children. They actually hate conflict. They are actually very child-like. If we love them and still want them in our lives, we have to step up and be the strong one in the relationship. BUT – never forget that men, generally, DO need to be honoured and respected, above all else. They take criticism very badly. They need to know that they are our HEROES. So try to get some of that across. In whatever way – even the smallest thing. Boost him up. Let him know that he is wonderful, that you DO need him, you DO appreciate what he does, and you DO understand how he feels. I think you will see an improvement. BUT YOU MUST TALK TO HIM. You can’t not do that. You need to tackle it and work on it together – be a strong team. You have the rest of your life to live and you can’t go on living it like you are. I think you know that. BE STRONG. Put your big-girl panties on and deal with it. “Fel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. Maybe even go along to your doctor on your own for advice – for yourself, too. I don’t know if it is the same where you are, but here in England, we can now access mental-health care and counselling over the phone and on the internet. Look into what is available before you tackle him. Forearmed is forewarned, and knowledge is power. GOOD LUCK. I am rooting for you. You can do it. Keep strong. Love and hugs, Lorna xx