Please help me to process this behaviour

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    • #108441

      Leaving home for few days ago without a word to me or the children, to return a few days later. Somehow I knew he would have excuses for why he did it, which ended up being that I would have told him he couldn’t go, and he really needed time away to think and then a long monologue about things I’ve brought up at various times in our relationship and what he thinks about them. All about me. Not one apology. Doesn’t seem to have dawned on him that this is required. Seems oblivious to the fact that this is potentially marriage ending behaviour in a normal relationship. But I sort of expected this from him, having been with him for over ten years. I’m 95% sure he is ADHD, though I don’t even know how to approach the topic with him without him shutting it down. But after this behaviour (never done anything like it before) I don’t think I can continue without him facing the facts and getting help. I also think he likely has PTSD in addition, post military duty. He has very high levels of anxiety and sometimes paranoia.

      Here are some of his behaviours, which affect not only our relationship but his work as well, though he can’t seem to see they affect either and thinks I am over demanding and underappreciative (while I feel I have dramatically lowered my expectations):
      He doesn’t listen well, cuts me off and finishes my sentences often (does this to others too), doesn’t seem to recognise when he has said/done something entirely inappropriate for the occasion or audience, is poor at planning, forgets things constantly, misses appointments, is disorganised, won’t do anything unless he is specifically asked to, thinks he has done a lot when he’s done very little, seems very unmotivated, has big dreams but zero ‘get up and go’ to achieve them, etc. He Is also emotionally detached a lot of the time. He is a good man but has not been a great husband. None of our friends know how he is as I constantly ‘cover’ for him and protect him. I have had more grace for him lately as it has dawned on me that it is likely ADHD, but this last episode has really angered and frustrated me. I am not even sure how to respond or what to say to him. Please help me process the possibility of this being ADHD and how to deal with it if it is. I think he might be completely angry at the suggestion, but I also think it might just be the thing that can force him to seek help. Thanks.

    • #108617
      Jillian Jiggs

      Well, I don’t think this is something you should sweep under the rug. It’s completely unacceptable. This is a clear infraction (better than “interrupts me”, even though that might be more corrosive to the relationship in the long term) and you can use that as a line in the sand. Get help (have a specific thing that you want him to do – counseling or drs appointment, etc) or this relationship is forever changed. And here are the consequences if you choose not to change. (I don’t know what the consequences are for you – that’s personal – but once you have it clear in your mind, you can present them to him and then he can see what the actual danger is.)

      ADHD doesn’t mean unreliable as in disappear for 3 days… it means it can be harder to be on time for things, or something might slip your mind. For me personally, it’s a huge struggle to remember to get to the bus stop in time to pick up the kids. Now they’re old enough to come home by themselves, but for 4 years, I never EVER missed it. Worst case, I wasn’t quite at the stop by the time the bus came, but they could see me. This daily consistency was made difficult by ADHD. But it was important to me, so I did it. Your husband is on a whole different level.

    • #108761
      Penny Williams

      It sounds like you need to set some expectations and boundaries on communication together. Let him know you’ll honor his need to time away as long as he lets you know that he’s going away for a few days. Because you worry that something has happened to him. Marriage is all about give and take. If he’s struggling with PTSD, this time away is likely necessary for self-preservation.

      It does sound like ADHD could be at play. Although, the effects of PTSD on daily functioning could look like ADHD. Anxiety can also look like ADHD. The bottom line is that he needs a professional evaluation to determine exactly what is going on and to get treatment. And, if he’s not ready and willing to explore that, there’s little you can do to change it at the moment. You can absolutely set boundaries and expectations for your relationship though — just be sure it’s a 2-way conversation with both of you compromising to meet in the middle.

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

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