July 12, 2017 at 11:07 am #53992CherBParticipant
Hello – New here and first time ever publically asking for just listening ears, comfort or advice. I am feeling very lost today.
Let’s start with my story, I have been married for a total of 9 years, 2 years dating before that, in addition we have two beautiful girls 6 and 7 that are exactly 1 year and 5 days apart. My husband was diagnosed with ADHD back in 2015 (3 years ago) – it became apparent after the birth of my second daughter in 2011 something was seriously wrong other than “stress” of our daily lives – to me our life was amazing, crazy but perfect in my eyes and I live day to day to remind him of that.
In 2011, his family owned business (construction) had just shut down, our decision made together was if he was able to manage the two babies for a trial period then I would go back to work, we could manage financially and he would stay home and he was super excited while I was so nervous. Side note, my girls do love their father and I do feel if he never stayed home with them he would have never appreciated some of the blessings that came with being a stay at home father – bitter with the sweet! First month, success even though there was so much craziness when having a 1 year old and a premature baby who was only feeding from her mother – she cried and cried a lot. My husband took it like a champ, as the months went by and years he started having his on and off days. I would take it as it is, dirty house, no set schedule and maybe kids were fed on time or not – he was doing the best HE can. As the kids grew and patience was needed with the tantrums, or crankiness for whatever reason the cable was out then my husband stopped going out, talking to friends and then taking out his frustration on our doors, kitchen cabinets and any kind of remote control or phone. I would become the nag, the person that just took care of EVERYTHING because he would never remember or it would set him off on a rage if I even tried to ask – I even got a cleaning lady to stop those fights! I do have to say, he has never EVER physically hurt the kids or me, however we were afraid, I started dealing with anxiety and that was my plea, we needed professional help.
After months of begging and trying to convince him to see a therapist, which I had already started alone. We began, maybe around 2012 couples therapy, he started to talk about my husband’s anger management issues tried to work on it, however, it just made him more angrier because he felt like it was always on him. We would have blow up fights in the parking lot after sessions – a few months later I stopped making appointments because the fighting was just too much. Long story short, 4 therapist later we finally have one long enough to tell him he needs to get tested for ADHD or Bipolar. 2015 he is officially diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety, medicated. 2016 his medication is finally on point working properly and we start seeing a relationship expert therapist. Mind you, there is plenty in between and all this was hell for me / my girls I was patiently trying to understand his spontaneous spending which led to so much debt, anger which led to court dates and lawyers, 5 different part/full-time jobs that lasted about 2 months each, screaming matches my kids have witnessed, broken doors and cabinets and walls, our life, home and the children which I thought were perfect was never good enough for him. I shut down, he was not the person I married I did not want him to touch me EVER and I wanted out. He begged, cried and pleaded, it works for a few weeks and then we are back again. We had one last blow out in April 2017 at the airport (he is always off when we are outside our regular schedule) right before our family vacation, it was my breaking point. Yet again, the therapist said he was moving in a positive direction and I still stay.
Fast forward to now, I stopped making appointments to our couples therapist – he promised me he was going to find a support group for him and seek help for his anger management he still hasn’t, it has been 3 months so I feel if he isn’t making the effort why should I – I am the one making and following up on all appointments for HIM. I research constantly, read blogs and share about what I understand, he says I need to become sympathetic and take responsibility on how to treat and act around him, I am the one that needs professional help cause I am off and he is doing fine managing his own ADHD with meds – if this is offensive I apologize, however, I feel he uses it as a crutch. Everything that goes wrong is because of his “Adhd” and I have to excuse it. We do not have a sex life, he faults me for that, I do not have any attraction to this man who was once the love of my life – I have TRIED and even as suggested just do it to get back into the flow. It is never good enough, he critics me when we do – I feel not good enough. How sad is it that I am afraid of his reaction when I want to leave him, I am legit SCARED so how do you ask a person with ADHD for a separation and them not to blow up at you? Have I exhausted everything I can possibly do to save my marriage, am I really doing everything I possibly can to keep my family together? I feel sad for me, sad for my kids and sad for him…at this point I don’t know if it is really just me or his ADHD.
Sorry for the vent and thank you to whomever actually read all of this..
July 12, 2017 at 2:07 pm #54010McNally 1Participant
Isn’t it nice to have a place to turn to and express our worries? I don’t have solutions really, because you are the most qualified one to find those that will prove helpful. However, I also battle with emotional outbursts and hormones..etc.. I found a quote last week that helped me through the week. It goes,” Don’t punish your suitor for past mistakes. Learn to love and appreciate him for his most excellent qualities. You won’t change him, so it is futile to try.” I am enthused about the forgiveness part, not pulling away emotionally and trying not to pull away physically either! best wishes..
July 13, 2017 at 10:55 am #54069Penny WilliamsKeymaster
That additional layer of anger and aggression really make this situation about more than ADHD — about something different entirely. Yes, the anger and emotional struggles are likely part of his ADHD, but the anger, not where it stems from, is the issue.
It is easy to fall into the trap of blaming everything on ADHD. I did it with my own son for years, and still find myself going there on occasion. The key is to find the balance between understanding someone’s strengths and weaknesses, and enabling learned helplessness because of ADHD. It’s often a fine line and not always easy. The conversations need to switch from talking about ADHD to talking about specific behaviors.
It may help a little to understand anger and ADHD:
And an article for him: https://www.additudemag.com/how-my-adhd-anger-hurt-my-marriage-and-kids/.
I know you were looking for replies from folks with similar experiences, but I think having all of this information will be helpful in your decision-making on where to go from here.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
July 13, 2017 at 11:37 am #54075CherBParticipant
Thanks McNally1 as your quote seemed to walk me off the ledge, as we were actually sitting down last night talking/not yelling about separation – I had to admit I am at fault for holding on to the past pain and anger. We will continue our counseling I just hope he keeps up his promise to find the help he needs as well.
ADHD Momma, these are amazing articles – thank you!!
July 15, 2017 at 10:41 pm #54199chloe5susanParticipant
try one last therapist.
Mark Smith of Family Tree Counseling located in Indianapolis Indiana. He does Skyping also.
Many Video’s you can see for free on the internet.
Saved our marriage. Good luck.
July 16, 2017 at 5:50 pm #54208AniParticipant
Hi, sorry about your situation.
Of course, with ADHD comes a lot of struggle, but within all this bubbly mess in our brain, we do have our own individual personalities,
we all handle it differently and it does sound like you have a lot of patience for your husband, maybe sometimes even when he doesn’t deserve it.
A lot of problems come from having ADHD, BUT it’s not something we should use to make excuses for not working on something that’s seriously harming our marriage.
ADHD isn’t everything, it’s a big part of us but it’s up to each person to not let it define them. The meds don’t “cure” our problems, they just make them easier to manage.
It sounds like you’ve been going through this for a long while, and honestly, what point is there in being stuck in a loveless marriage?
It’s not even about ADHD anymore.
What about your children? They sound like they’re suffering too. They understand a lot more than you think of what’s going on, and they’re probably blaming themselves for it. They should be a lot more important to you than your husband at this point, and you also need to think of your well-being.
No one wants to grow up in a broken home.
He won’t change, I highly doubt it. It HELPS to understand him, but there’s only so much understanding you can expect or HE can expect from you.
Don’t let him control you.
And no matter what, the children should be priority.
ADHD or no ADHD – when you’re leaving a marriage it will be emotional, most likely on both parts.
Try and sit down with him, when he’s not upset, and calmly talk about it. Don’t yell – force yourself to stay calm no matter what.
In the end, you weren’t a good fit, you both had your flaws, there’s no winning an argument like that and you shouldn’t try to.
Try and not make a blaming game out of it. As soon as you make it sound like it’s his fault, he might build up walls and start defending himself.
I know when I get upset, I won’t listen to what the other person is saying anymore.
If he tries to provoke you, IGNORE him, there’s no point and it won’t make the decision feel final. Figure out what you’re going to say beforehand.
Stay strong. Stay calm. Stay confident. Think about your children. Ending a marriage isn’t the end of your life. It’s only the beginning.
If not, if you’re really going to stay, you BOTH have to make a big effort in order to not harm your children mentally. I grew up with arguing parents and I often
cried myself to sleep about it. When I was about 15 they separated, and I only wished they had done it a lot sooner.
Take care, I wish you the best.
September 6, 2017 at 10:28 pm #59932gentlygenliParticipant
It doesn’t matter why you’re a jerk when you’re a jerk. Maybe your mommy didn’t love you. Maybe you have ADHD. Maybe you were dropped on your head and have a brain injury. In the end, it DOESN’T MATTER. You have to learn to be a decent, responsible person–and a father/husband or wife/mother. I have ADHD and am married to someone with ADHD.
It is inherently more difficult for men to be stay at home parents. We can argue biology, but sociologically, there’s no question. The sense of isolation is much greater, and so can the feelings of inadequacy be.
Your girls are school age now. He needs to have a regular job. He needs to be a financial caregiver versus a scraped-knee caregiver now. This will give him a chance to get friends again and balance his life.
One of the most powerful motivators for many fathers is facing the fact that THEY are the image of masculinity their daughters will carry in their minds. What would he want to do to a man who treated his daughter the way he is treating you?
He needs to use his knowledge of his condition to improve his functioning day over day. It may be a reason, but there’s no excuse.
The lack of scheduling follow ups is typical and doesn’t reflect a lack of desire for change in the abstract. He needs to go somewhere that he can schedule regular sessions or at least follow ups on the same day. I can’t stand it when I can’t schedule checkups for my kids at their previous checkup. I have honestly forgotten an entire yearly checkup because of that. And I’d crawl over glass for my kids. If there is a structural way to keep him making appointments, get him to use that! If he must call a service, he should do it while still in the lobby of the therapist’s office. Once he leaves, it will be fifty times harder for him to do it.
He obviously isn’t dealing with his ADHD right now and is nonfunctional. He may need you to schedule the first meeting with a therapist to get the ball rolling to make changes that he can manage.
He needs to decide what kind of commitment he’s willing to make to his family. What kind of behavior that he agrees is unacceptable. If he doesn’t commit to limits, he’s not interested in doing right by you. You need to decide together what YOU should do if he’s exceeding the behavioral limits set. Fighting because he’s mad is not constructive.
Even if it’s mostly him, you’re a factor there, too, as the other adult in the house. Cooperation is key. He’s lost a lot over the years, and even if it’s his doing from where you sit, he has a hole to dig out of, for sure!
It’s not your job to fix him. It’s his job. It’s your job to help. He was someone you once loved–and he once loved you. You’re not going to be those people again, but you can both become loving and lovable, if you’re both invested.
The lack of respect you have for him is very understandable because of what he’s done. He needs to see that he can get that back. That will be what he needs from you the most. And it’s hard for a woman to love as a husband a man she doesn’t respect. It just is.
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