My non-ADHD spouse in denial

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    • #137381

      Looking for some advice.
      I’m 41 and have ADHD. My doc agreed with me about a year ago and gave me a prescription for adderol.

      That was problem #1. Wife was furious that I went behind her back and got diagnosed without discussing with her. She’s also doesn’t want me on meds. Fine. We moved on. I also get the feeling she doesn’t truly believe in ADHD completely. She agrees that I have ADHD tendencies, but I thinks she thinks it’s more of an excuse.

      But nothing is getting better. She’s always frustrated and getting mad at me. And I get it. I’d probably get mad at me too if I had a spouse like me. I’m always in a panic leaving things for the last minute. I forget everything not written down. I’m terrible in helping with kids. I say things without thinking. The list goes on. Typical ADHD behaviours.

      She’s really had it with me. Always says “I’m not the guy she married”. I guess I wasn’t always this bad. We aren’t splitting up or anything but definitely feels that way when she gets really frustrated with me.

      I think of myself as a kind guy, always wanting to please other people (ie. my wife). She doesn’t see it that way though. And never really seems open to talk about this.

      So really looking for advice on what I can do to help the situation. Meds are off the table for now. I’m really open to doing anything to help. I know this is on me to fix.

      • This topic was modified 2 years ago by canadaOT.
    • #137387

      Is she open to counseling? Or reading any books on the matter? Or listening to podcasts?

    • #137392
      Penny Williams

      Here are some talking points for handling non-believers:

      Enlightening an ADHD Non-Believer

      ADHD is not a character flaw, it’s a neurological difference. The bottom line is that you have to do what’s best for you.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #137425

      I agree with the comments above. Also, make sure you aren’t using it as an excuse. Even if you are explaining why you forgot something or lost something, the explanation is an excuse. Seeing if she’ll go to counseling with you will probably be the best help. Make sure the counselor knows how to treat and counsel ADHD. Don’t get stuck in the counselor that wants to see you every three months to write a prescription.

    • #137455


      I’m the ADD spouse, diagnosed 17 yrs ago at 35yo. Your story resonated with me. My big question – are you in counseling? I found that my meds didn’t work completely without the support and insight of a good therapist. Once that happened, things started moving in the right direction for my wife and I (and your story sounds an awful lot like ours). You may need to go for yourself – that’s the only way to avoid the perception of making excuses. Then, you’ll be better equipped to handle the mistakes – and there will mistakes, as we cannot make this ADD thing ‘go away’. Once that has begun, then you can bring partners/loved ones into the process. I wish you positive energy and insight in the new year – I check here often so keep us posted on how things go. We’re with you here!


    • #137491

      These meds really are horrid right now. I started having all the symptoms of ADHD plus more weird things continuing to take the Aurobindo IMO pretend Dexedrine that Ive taken for 15 yrs at 40MG.

      We need our manufacturer who is 100% trustworthy and accountable in the United States immediately. Until then I dont think any of us who regularly take amphetamine can get the right type and treat our rare ADHD problems which are hard to understand to almost all people, because they dont have them and can consider themselves lucky. It is pointless to debate taking a medication that doesn’t work really at all right now.

      Best of luck and Happy new Year.

    • #137492

      If your spouse could open a manufacturing warehouse for small amounts of the right amphetamine, I would hazard a guess these problems would clear, unless she’s the one making “excuses”, which is very insensitive given I personally find it impossible to treat my long term ADHD right now and would like everyone to be nice and straightforward as much as reasonably possible. I have been in a kinda non optimal mood since the batch went bad. I hope it gets better but not taking is better right now for me.

    • #139283

      That was problem #1. Wife was furious that I went behind her back and got diagnosed without discussing with her

      I don’t understand why your wife would be furious you got diagnosed without her. She wants your marriage to improve? If she wants you to be healthy, and your marriage to be stronger, she should be happy that you’re seeking treatment. Most problems in marriages when one person has ADHD and the other does not stem from the ADHD partner either being in denial, or under treating their symptoms. Years before I met him, my fiance sought treatment from a cognitive behavioral therapist. He went on some medication at that time to help him Focus on what she was teaching him. He explained that he went on the meds to help him develop a routine that would work for him. He is not currently medicated but has a plan and a routine that works for him. He does the same things in the same order every day which keeps him on track.

      • This reply was modified 2 years ago by AdeleS546.
      • This reply was modified 2 years ago by AdeleS546.
    • #139447

      Dude. No. Just no. This is not on you to “fix” as you are not broken. Meds are off the table because she says so? Youre not the guy I married? Doesn’t believe in ADHD?

      I’m 48 and was just diagnosed. Im on year 3 of trying to divorce the exact same person as your wife seems to be.

      This is what happens when a co-dependent (you) and (I’ll be nice”) a person who is on the controlling side meet.
      Then you do a 10 year dance of trying harder to make her happy but the bar never stops rising as the control get to continue.

      For me is took 18 years and 2 supportive daughters to make me see the light so I left. My daughters were right and they need to see what happens when a kind man and father (with raging ADHD) is emotionaly abuse by the very person who is supposed to be supporting which isnt the same as saying you dont need a kick in the ass from her once in a while.

      I felt the same you did at 41. Spent another 5 years trying to “Do Better” and once the divorce started you’ll see exactly what you pretended not to see while “trying harder”

      I’m sorry brother. Read about the four horseman that destroy marriages and I hope I’m 100% wrong on all of the above.

      WIshing you the best……

    • #172160

      She doesn’t get to decide if you use the medications. For most people with ADHD, the meds are a lifesaver and are critical to continued management of what is a difficult condition to live with.

      Lots of people don’t believe in ADHD, and often that non-belief is bolstered by the behavior of many ADHD people and the surrounding support industry which over-rotates on “it’s a neurological difference” to the point that they’re basically saying “therefore you are not responsible for yourself, and it’s unfair to expect you to take responsibility.” That last part is the killer.

      Your wife should pay attention to the scientific reality of the condition, skeptical as she may be, and you can help with this by taking nearly all the responsibility for managing your life. It sounds like you’re up for doing that, which is great.

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