I'd rather be alone than ignored – normal?

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  juliebean45 4 days, 12 hours ago.

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  • #116180

    WarmMuddle
    Participant

    My husband was just diagnosed with ADD 6 months ago (around the time I was diagnosed with PTSD – that’s a whole other story). My husband has yet to get himself to a doctor to try medications.

    Lately I’ve been feeling progressively like I’d prefer separating over staying in a relationship with an untreated ADD spouse – I’d have less work to do because I’d be cleaning up after only myself, I’d have fewer expenses without him making expensive cosmetic changes to his car, and, more than anything, I wouldn’t experience so much pain from his neglectful behaviors. I see him give strangers, co-workers, friends, and extended family members attention while hearing that his mom cries because he never calls her back (not even to thank her for gifts), watching our dogs hearts break when they can’t get his attention, and my needs for affection and connection go unmet.

    I’ve been reading that being “ignored” is often more painful than getting negative attention and I have to whole-heartedly agree. I’d rather be alone (and potentially lonely) than ignored and neglected. But maybe this is also related to my PTSD? 😕

    • This topic was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  WarmMuddle.
  • #116182

    MommyManiac1963
    Participant

    I’m sorry for what you are going through. My husband and son both have ADHD and it is difficult to live with.
    I have some advice for you to avoid going crazy – research ADD/ADHD and learn everything you can. Understanding that your husband’s brain works differently and processes information differently as well will be very helpful. I was miserable until I learned what is related to ADD/ADHD and what is simply behavioral that he can change. The other piece of advice is to talk to him when he is in a mood to listen, or even if he’s not. Tell him he needs to get to the doctor and go on medication immediately and that he also needs to learn all about it. Individual Counseling for both of you would help as well.
    I assume you don’t have kids? If it’s just the two of you then if he isn’t willing to do what is necessary for his and your emotional and mental health, then you can decide if you wish to stay with someone who won’t do anything about himself.
    Best wishes to you both.

  • #116495

    Normal? Yes. Acceptable? No.

    Get him to a doctor to try some medication, if he is willing – and go with him if you have to. I agree with the previous comment that it does help to educate yourself about ADHD, so that you’re better able to see that his behaviours may not be intentionally neglectful, and you may gain a better understanding of why he does the things he does.

    I feel like this too. Unfortunately my husband received a negative diagnosis for ADHD when he was “tested” a few years ago – infuriating to me, because I am sure he has ADHD. Testing can be very subjective, and I believe his test was completely flawed and inadequate (Dr. James G. Bilkey) having spoken to many people about the long, detailed process of their ADHD diagnosis. The product of this, is that he feels no need to try medication (nor could he get a prescription without the diagnosis), and he seesaws over having/not having ADHD depending on what suits his needs (turns out, it makes a great excuse for all sorts of negative behaviours, when it suits him).

    I have been living with his impulsive behaviour and spending, unreliability, lack of or selective attention, constant lateness, pathological lying, never keeping his word, and consistent inconsistency for 16 years now. A couple of months ago, he took out $140,000 in loans and bought an RV without my knowledge (not the first time he’s done something this substantial, or gotten us into such substantial debt). He’s currently angry at me because I invaded his privacy by looking through his phone – but it’s the only way I ever know if he’s being honest with me (he wasn’t – I found some truths behind false stories he’d given me). It’s a constant Catch-22 for me: I’m damned if I do, I’m damned if I don’t.

    I know that I should divorce him, but our lives are intertwined now with children, families, friends, property, debt. He makes a good living (as do I), so despite the debt I am constantly digging us out of, I know that I will dig us out each time (although, we are now at an age where I’m beginning to worry about what our retirement will look like). He comes and goes as he pleases, like he is a bachelor, but likes to reap the benefits of having a family and a wife to manage a home life (for when he feels like participating in it).

    Hindsight is 20:20, but if I knew 16 years ago what my life would become, I would have walked away.

    Give your husband a chance. Have him try medication, and some coaching to manage his behaviours. Try some ADHD couples counselling, and for yourself, as the spouse of someone with ADHD. Read “The ADHD Effect on Marriage” – together ideally. Mostly, see if he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is. As Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Words mean nothing if they are not followed up with corresponding actions.

    See how this goes. If he’s willing and able to meet you halfway, and make the changes that you need to be able to live your life in a fulfilling way, then you could have a happy future together. But if it looks like he’s not going to make the effort, then he’s telling you that you are not worth making the effort for. If that is the case, cut your losses before they get any greater, and get out of that marriage.

    Good luck to you. xo I feel for you.

  • #116534

    ctyo
    Participant

    The awful thing with being in a relationship with an ADHD person, is that the ADHD person gets to have a right good old time yelling and screaming at people up and down the house, forgetting things, overlooking things, screwing things up, and generally not holding up their end of *any* bargain. Let’s be honest here – life is pretty easy when you don’t actually do all that much (because: ADHD, yes. But still, they don’t do much) Whether life -to them-, is easy (we do appreciate that it is indeed not easy for them, what with hearing 20,000 negative comments before breakfast each day), but how much are we supposed to care? Come the end of the day *things actually have to get done*, so yeah, we can completely “feel for them”, that they’re “feeling bad they’re not Doing Important Task X” but are instead watching Netflix, but hey, can we switch places every now and then and *we* be the ones watching Netflix and not doing anything productive?

    Then we, as their partner, do all this reflection, and “It’s their brain, wired differently and all that..I should (various suggested things)” But the ADHD person? Invariably they don’t do squat. Do they apologize afterwards? Like, truly, and not sarcastically? “Excuuuuse me if I needed to finish a report for my boss before I bought your so very important milk from the store. Should I quit my job, so I can always be available to buy milk??” Or, do they ever, in a “good mood” try to make up for things screwed up in the past by, say, knocking off a ton of errands or tasks? No, not at all. Right after whatever blowup we have with them as soon as the dust settles they go right back to “Oh wow! Fly flishing on the moon! I totally need to research this!” while their daughter is still waiting to be picked up from dance class in the rain.

    I think this is a great big unaddressed topic in the ADHD world. That, due to ADHD, they can’t even stay on track to try to “make up” for the last time (five minutes ago) they screwed something up, and as we pick up after them they’re onto the next thing they’re going to screw up, and we’re going to have to cover for them. But get thanks from them? Forget it, because squirrels!

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  ctyo.
    • #116560

      DonkeyLady
      Participant

      Yeah, squirrels… 🙂 I’m the ADD head in my relationship and I’m sure my behavior is sometimes pretty annoying to my husband. But I don’t yell at him and I at least try to stay on track (even if he has to remind me once in a while – okay, MORE than once in a while). He gets thanks for helping me and sincere apologies when I screw up badly. The problem you’re describing is not plain old ADD… yes, We ADD’ers honestly can’t help the way our brains are wired, but we CAN help how we treat others. It’s a LOT of work and will never be “perfect,” but your spouse can at least TRY. I had to accept that something was different about my brain’s wiring, and then had to accept that my brain causes me to sometimes do or say things that drives other people nuts. It really is hard living inside my own head, but there’s no excuse for spreading the pain around to my loved ones. The solution is NOT to sit back and say, “Not my fault, it’s the ADD.” I had to learn strategies to help me not interrupt, to keep on task, to keep track of dates and times, to not be so bloody ANNOYING… especially difficult when the dx comes in adulthood: I was 53 years old so I had decades of bad habits to unlearn… Six years later, and I’m still not “perfect,” but I know I never will be 100% “normal.” My husband has long ago accepted the fact that our life together will always be a bit unusual, but we’re happy anyway. I suspect non-ADD marriages aren’t automatically a piece of cake, either. A happy marriage is hard work, but is totally worth it. Good luck.

    • #116567

      WarmMuddle
      Participant

      “It really is hard living inside my own head, but there’s no excuse for spreading the pain around to my loved ones.”

      From my own work with PTSD I’m betting you’ve done hard work – awesome job!!!

      How do I get my husband to realize the pain the rest of us are feeling is a healthy reaction to his unhealthy behavior?

      The fact that you appreciate your spouse’s help is also key! Mine is annoyed when anyone gives him any kind of reminders or help. I stopped doing it, But the rest of our family started and he’s annoyed with them, too. If he thanked me for any of the ways I try to help or even just acknowledged the ways his ADD affects me this would be a completely different story.

      Thank you for your perspective!

    • #116576

      DonkeyLady
      Participant

      “How do I get my husband to realize the pain the rest of us are feeling is a healthy reaction to his unhealthy behavior?”

      Unfortunately, I don’t think you can… if he’s willing to see a therapist, he or she may be able to do so, but I suspect that ADD works like other mental disorders – if someone is not willing to accept that they have a problem, there’s not much anyone can do. This is complicated by the fact that we ADD folk often honestly have no idea what we’ve done wrong to cause the chaos.

      “The fact that you appreciate your spouse’s help is also key!”

      That wasn’t easy, either. I think it took at least a couple of years before I was able to accept my husband’s coaching without bursting into tears or thinking that he hated me (Yeah, he deals with my chaos for 37+ years because he hates me – ha ha – you see where my twisty little brain takes me sometimes?).

      “Thank you for your perspective!”

      You’re more than welcome. I hope your husband will learn some new tricks sooner rather than later. Good luck to you…

    • #116652

      ctyo: Wow. Thanks for that very honest, very true rant. That’s how I feel. All. The. Time.

  • #116553

    I totally can relate with everyone. My ex husband was recently diagnosed after our young son was. I knew something wasn’t right early on when still married and his first assessment was flawed. My ex thought he was “normal” and I was making things up. He only agreed to get tested again after our son. Sure enough, validated. He has ADHD alright. I am not crazy after all. Life is tough trying to parent our son (all responsibility rests on my shoulders because I can’t rely on Him to do anything or do it well). Exhausting. I am not an advocate for divorce but I needed to leave my marriage to save some sanity for myself as the sole caretaker of my son. I almost went down with the ship! I read a book titled, “Too good to leave, too bad to stay” to help me get off the fence and make a decision. I have no regret about the divorce. In hindsight, we should have nevwr married but I am glad to be a mother to my son. Dealing with ADHD is hard bit we are not alone! Hang in there!

    • #116565

      WarmMuddle
      Participant

      “My ex thought he was “normal” and I was making things up.”

      THIS is the problem! In my husband’s mind he wouldn’t be bothered if his long-distance mom didn’t call him on a holiday, so the fact that she’s hurt that he didn’t call her on Mother’s Day means that SHE’S the one with the problem. And he’s not the slightest bit worried that we’ll over-draw our banking account in a couple days (while he’s had a $1K check on the fridge for 2 months) so the fact that I’m losing sleep over it means I’M the one with the problem.

      I’m a pediatric healthcare provider so I’ve done a lot of studying about “denial,” which is so often used as a blanket term, while some people DON’T WANT the diagnosis to be true, others CAN’T ACCEPT that the diagnosis is true, yet others DON’T UNDERSTAND what the diagnosis means. This seems totally different than any of those – it’s more like the condition PREVENTS my husband from being AWARE of his symptoms and their consequences!

      I’m trying the “tough love” approach used with addicts while still keeping his chaos from affecting me. So far that means separate bathrooms, separate closets, and now separate bank accounts. But I’m wondering if he’ll even be able to see how “rock bottom” is a consequence of his symptoms since his symptoms limit his executive functioning (which is how we see cause-and-effect). 😕

    • #116572

      DonkeyLady
      Participant

      “…it’s more like the condition PREVENTS my husband from being AWARE of his symptoms and their consequences!” – I know I can’t speak for all ADD folk, but yes, that is it EXACTLY. 30 years ago, my hubby thought I was doing these things on purpose. My husband came with me to the head doctor for the dx – when she asked, “Do you ever interrupt?” I said “No.” Hubby incredulously said, “She does that ALL THE TIME!” I honestly have no clue that I am doing a lot of the stuff I do… I often find myself in the doghouse, AND I HAVE NO IDEA AT ALL WHAT I’VE DONE TO GET INTO TROUBLE!! It took my husband a long time to realize that he had to carefully explain that he was angry because I was ignoring him… only when we got to the point where he could point out that my ADD was leading me into trouble and *I* was able to learn to accept constructive criticism without throwing a hissy fit, was I able to actually begin to LEARN. I know that “normal” people don’t have to have everything explained… people like myself can’t perceive many things without having our faces rubbed in it (metaphorically speaking, of course). Your husband has to realize that he DOES have a problem – and then he has to learn to work with you so he can learn to work around his handicaps. Once again, it comes down to a lot of hard (and psychologically painful) work. My hubby and I go to all my ADD appointments together and he is my ADD coach (my doc recommended it, and helped him learn how to do it without going nuts)…

      • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  DonkeyLady. Reason: spelling error correction
    • #116654

      GroundHogDayEveryDay69: Could you elaborate a bit on 1st and 2nd testing process? My husband’s assessment was brief, and very superficial. 3 x 1 hr sessions. #1 was introductions, then half me speaking to doctor, other half my husband speaking to doctor. #2 my husband went alone, half of time was spent on computer test. #3 was not assessment, just debriefing. I think this doctor rests his laurels on being an author of a book, and catchy ADHD acronym, rather than on strength of his practice.

      No educational history was provided (report cards, etc.). He didn’t even fill out the paper questionnaire he was given. Dr. Bilkey requested no info or testimony from his birth family. I had a chance to speak to how his condition manifests itself in our family. But the assessment relied mostly on my husband’s personal testimony (which is very egosyntonic – i.e., he sees all of his unusual behaviours as consistent with his carefree, fun-loving personality), and weighed heavily on a computer “boredom” test.

      For diagnosis, an adult must experience impairment in two areas of life (family/home, education, social relationships, work), but since mine was the only testimony provided other than his own, the only impairment was in his home life – thus, insufficient for a diagnosis. My husband provided no educational information (other than personal testimony).

      He has found himself the PERFECT job: he absolutely LOVES what he does, it provides variety and excitement (variable hours, works with different people every day, travels to different places every day, and gets to socialize in different cities, restaurants, bars almost every day), but the job itself is very structured, with routines, and repetition which he has mastered. He has no immediate supervisor to see that he is late EVERY DAY – so, subjectively he suffers no impairment at work. And he has developed the most charming personality to help him get out of almost any situation, so when the occasional hiccup occurs (missing a deadline or some other minor mishap) he is able to charm his was out of it.

      Because his father suffered severe mental health issues (various diagnoses including bipolar disorder, and from what I know of him and his work history, may possibly have had ADHD as well) – by comparison, his birth family sees my husband’s behaviour as “normal”.

      Socially, no issues. My husband is gregarious, fun, charming and kind. People are more than willing to laugh off and forgive his constant tardiness, and any “unusual” behaviours.

  • #116559

    P.S. WarmMuddle, I meant to also mention I have PTSD, anxiety and depression. Being ignored and neglected by an ADHD spouse is extremely difficult. Your mental and physical health can severely deteriorate in this type of relationship, especially if the ADHD partner is in denial or unwilling to address relationship issues and concerns. Before my son was born, I could spend weekends not having my spouse talk to me at all. I sometimes purposely would not say anything to see how long it would take foe him to naturally talk to me on his own but it wouldn’t happen. It was like I lived alone with the responsibility of 2 adults plus my I’ll mother-in-law. Overwhelming, painful and empty. After having my son and them dealing with postpartum depression, I felt like I wanted to find the nearest bridge. Luckily, I knew my son was dependent on me and I needed to save me to cate for my son (put my oxygen mask on like they say on a plane before helping pthers). What made all of this harder was I have no family or support system to help me (need to hire help for most everything).

    • #116566

      WarmMuddle
      Participant

      “Before my son was born, I could spend weekends not having my spouse talk to me at all. I sometimes purposely would not say anything to see how long it would take foe him to naturally talk to me on his own but it wouldn’t happen.”

      This is exactly what my home life is like! And, again, in his mind he likes spending all our time together doing our own things and not talking to each other or ever making eye contact so the fact that I don’t like it means that I’m the one with the problem.

      I’m trying to give him credit because we spent maybe an hour talking this weekend and that IS an improvement, but it seems to me that as long as he thinks I’m the one with the problem he’ll continue feeling resentful towards me for any effort he makes. 😕

  • #116588

    foa
    Participant

    While understanding that your spouse has ADHD and so some things, like ignoring you or forgetting to buy the milk, are symptomatic rather than deliberate bad behaviour or proof that they don’t love you, they are still disappointing. If they double down by being angry with you for asking for what you want, however, that is really not okay.

  • #116876

    juliebean45
    Participant

    Ctyo, SO HEARD YOU! I left my bf of 15 months because of his inattentiveness. The last straw was when I generously trusted him to go home for Xmas with his son & sons gf for a week over Xmas. My daughter & I were alone xmas day because there was no room in the car for all of us anyways to go. He sends me a Merry Christmas via text message! Not even a personal message either, the same standard Merry Xmas/Happy New Years EVERYONE received from him. Then texted me later in the day and wonders why I’m upset.
    Yup came and went like a bachelor but liked the idea of “the little women at home keeping the home fires burning” whenever he felt like participating in it… like keepingitalltogether said. The therapist taught me a lot, like how he probably did give it his “all” focusing at work 12 hrs a shift and was probably fried when he returned home, hence spent numerous hours watching Netflix. How it would be exhausting trying to train/guide/make him aware of his behaviour/explain how it effects you. He admits he probably has it but is to busy trying to “clean up his messes” to get around to seeking testing & medication. Baby steps he’d always say. I decided I could be old & retired by the time he takes any steps! Sadly I had to leave. My daughter has ADHD & this single parent has all she can do to deal with that.

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