February 6, 2019 at 10:08 am #108776
Please be patient with me. I am in a new relationship with someone who has ADHD. When we started dating he was on medicine but he switched jobs and so he ran out and has yet to find a doctor and renew his Rx. Instead, he is self medicating with alcohol. Since then there has been a huge change in how we interact. We are long distance and it is a new relationship which are not easy factors to begin with. My nephew has been diagnosed with ADHD so I am not unfamiliar with it. With my bf, I can’t seem to navigate anything well and feel like we take one step forward and two steps back. I don’t know what to do. When we first started he was sweet and attentive and many other shades of awesome. Now he is grumpy, critical, sloppy drunk, selfish, uninterested and blameful. He admits he is a bad communicator, blames his ADHD. He admits he has had bad relationships (we all have) and blames them as well as his ADHD. Blames his mom for not having him diagnosed as a child and still being in denial with his adult diagnosis. It is never his fault. Now it is mine for being needy or overanalytical. He is a huge procrastinator and admits that he focuses better on the meds but also admits that he doesn’t like how they make him feel with a side not that it could be he doesn’t know what a “normal brain” feels like. He feels that he could be losing his edge or lose intelligence at work while on meds. I could go on. He also doesn’t like that the meds apparently cause problems sexually. All I know is that he is drunk every night and I no longer enjoy speaking with him and it saddens me that he is choosing alcohol because it is cheaper and makes him sleep (albeit not well) instead of the quality of his relationship. I am told that his parents have also mentioned to him about his drinking but he has not shared that with me. I don’t want to end it because I do think he is an awesome guy if he would just go back to his meds, and I don’t want to feed into his assumed ideal that everyone leaves him because of his ADHD. But I have dated an alcoholic before and I can’t go through that again. Is this common among ADHD behavior? Can someone help me? Am I expecting too much? Am I being insensitive? Thank you.
February 6, 2019 at 1:21 pm #108799
You sound like a very kind and caring person. And you are definitely not expecting too much to want to be treated fairly and with respect. In fact, in these early stages of a relationship, it is imperative that you set healthy boundaries and insist on it, whether someone has ADHD or not.
Your chap needs to find an ADHD savvy prescribing doctor and discuss his medication. There are many options. If what he tried before didn’t suit him, try a different medication, or dosage.
Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs is not a solution. Can lead to addiction and anti-social behaviour. And the resulting poor sleep quality really detrimental. And I think the sugar in alcohol is like throwing gasoline on a fire.
If, or when, he gets back on meds that work for him, he needs to accept the diagnosis, stop blaming and start taking responsibility for manage this curly syndrome. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely doable. Hard aerobic exercise, ADD savvy diet and good solid sleep, go a long way to helping. And education, perseverance and mutual respect are needed on both sides of a relationship when ADHD is involved.
You are in the early stages of this relationship so my advice would be to talk to him face to face or skype. Plan it for when he is sober. Tell him how great he is when he is not drinking. List all his positive qualities and what you really like about him. The majority of ADDers I have met are super intelligent, funny, creative and kind; but not when self-medicating with alcohol!
Then tell him how his current behaviour makes you feel. This is the time you need to be very clear and very calm. Tell him you will not speak with him when he is drunk, and if he continues to drink excessively you cannot continue the relationship as it is; perhaps suggest a break for a month during which you do not communicate. Set a date in a month to talk again and reassess. Give him a chance to see what he will lose, sober up and get back on his meds. If he values your relationship it might be the catalyst, he needs to stop drinking.
It is not your job to rescue him or stay in an unhealthy relationship so he doesn’t feel rejected.
Be strong. He’s more likely to have respect for you if you stand up for yourself, and so will you. And if he isn’t going to stop drinking, you do not want to continue a relationship with a drunk. Sounds like you’ve been there, done that.
Best of luck, and lots of TLC for yourself, as you move forward. Xxx
February 7, 2019 at 10:03 am #108844
Thank you for your reply. We had another discussion last night and I am not sure how I feel about it. I have done many of the things that you have suggested. It is just frustrating that he is more worried about his work performance over all else when he doesn’t have a medicated experience to compare it to. He sees my telling him how I feel as a lecture. Then he shuts down because all of our conversations are about how he is doing everything wrong even though I am not saying that. I am using phrases such as I am trying to understand, tell me what you need me to do, what am I not getting, we both need to… I try very hard not to do the blame game. Then I get told that he no longer enjoys talking with me for those reasons. And then I ask if I don’t have reasons to be upset and he gets defensive saying I didn’t say you didn’t.
I did find out that he has only been on Rx once for about 8 months and he felt weird. And he is afraid by going back on it that he will lose his edge at work because he gets fantastic ideas as is and is afraid of losing that ability. He admits that the weird feeling could be because for 40+ years without, he doesn’t know what “normal brain” feels like and that maybe he didn’t give it a chance. It helps him focus more and his relationships are better. He is very fearful of losing his edge at work and not having those great ideas. I countered with maybe they will be even better and come even faster because you will be more focused. That didn’t get far.
So I guess my questions are now these:
How do I encourage the meds and fear of work success decline?
How can I navigate the fact that he knows he is creating an environment of behavior/treatment that is upsetting but “can’t control it” but holds me accountable for being hurt/upset by it?
How do I know if he is not listening/forgetting/drunk forgetting/ADD hearing but not absorbing what’s said?
Thanks so much!
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