Spouse is Sick of the daily grind how do I help?

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    • #67102

      Background…I am married to a great guy that has ADHD that causes serious issues around work. He hates working for others but lacks the skills and abilities to work for himself. He has attempted his own business and been unsuccessful. He wasn’t able to be self motivated and follow through enough to stick with it until it was even up and going.

      Due to this lack of self motivation and inability to follow through and finish things he is limited in the areas of employment as well. He lives in a low pay world without benefits because of all this. His current job is repetitive tasks but the situation is always somewhat different throughout the day and from day to day, he has stuck with it longer than any other job he’s had in our 15 years of marriage. He’s been there 2 years and only works part time.

      Every few months he becomes ‘sick and tired’ of having a job, sick of having to get up and go, why can’t he just stay home, etc…He is itching to leave his job, the signs are all there, the whining, the sudden…maybe I could do this or that for some extra money, the sudden interest in odd hobbies, internet searches for work from home stuff and so on. He pursues it really vigorously…then he starts trying to do anything just so he can quit his job…and might make it work for a short time but the long and short of it is I support us.

      I ended up On disability some time ago, it’s not enough financially for much of anything extra but we have a house, food, etc…He has grandiose dreams that aren’t realistic; we have additional debt because of that, failed business attempts, and stuff we “need” because everyone has it. Well we are at a point where he is itching to leave his job again and we cannot afford that, it generally leads to a year without work/income, he doesn’t make much but it’s better than nothing. Says he fails at everything and is useless, won’t recognize the contributions he is making As valid and ok.

      How can I help him get through this and keep his job? Last go round his boss cross trained him but neither one of them are interested in doing that again. I’ve tried suggesting things to do outside work that gives him the needed feeling of change but somehow he ties everything to money, income. I’m just too tired to come up with any great ideas. I micro manage everything at this point as our youngest is also ADHD and failing middle school. I think I just need to get him through to January as our oldest is flying us out to visit and a vacation might be enough to calm it down. It will certainly give me a much needed break. So I’m open to ideas and suggestions. If you experience this BOREDOM and RESTLESSNESS how do you deal with it?

      • This topic was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by cherokeejay. Reason: Added restlessness
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Penny Williams.
      • This topic was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #67415
      Penny Williams

      That’s a tough situation. Obviously, you can’t force him to be content in his job, or even to keep it.

      However, you can support him in what he’s going through (the boredom and restlessness) and try to help him see the value in his job (without judgement and nagging) and/or help him find a job he’d enjoy more.

      Quit It! The 10 Worst Jobs for Restless Minds and Creative Spirits

      Boredom and restlessness are very real struggles for many with ADHD. The ADHD brain needs interest or urgency to engage — importance doesn’t do it.

      Uncomfortable Truths About the ADHD Nervous System

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

    • #67553

      Wish I had some better advice. I AM your husband, except for the fact that, without a spouse, walking away from the job that drives me to the point of desperation and has at times driven me to the brink of ending it is simply not possible because there is no spouse for me to depend on. I get my butt out of bed and out the door to work, and I do my job, no matter how much I hate it because, even with ADD, I get that I would hate being homeless with a cat and a tortoise even more.

      The one thing that helps me is that I have another “job” that I don’t get paid for, but which I love, I’m good at, and that makes a difference. It’s not always fun. It’s hard and heartbreaking, and a lot of nights it leaves me physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. It means getting off work at six, and immediately hitting the road for my other job, getting home between midnight and 2 AM and then starting all over again at 7AM. But… it gives me a life of sorts, and a feeling of competence and self-worth when I’m out there. All of the things my “real” job takes away from me. It lets me see the job I hate as something akin to chronic pain — something I have no choice but to live with, but which I refuse to allow to stop me living. Maybe your husband could find something like that — something he can put in the forefront of his life that gives him what his other job takes away from him.

    • #71091

      My husband unfortunately, has spent his time being homeless when he was single. At fifty he is finally realizing he has ADHD pretty severely with the diagnosis of our daughter but still refuses medication and therapy. He thinks he can fix it himself. Unfortunately he still has all his grand schemes, wants a different job and insists he this time will be different. Cannot accept holding a regular job as a success. Trying to support hobbies and other activities but feel like I’m losing ground faster than I’m gaining it. In the meantime I’m trying not to lose perspective with our daughter and get her on a better track.

    • #71194

      I’ve never had medication or therapy of any kind, because I can’t afford it. Just saying that while treatment is nice for those who can afford it, it is definitely possible to deal with ADD without it. I wouldn’t push the issue of medication if he’s not interested in taking that approach.

    • #71278

      This is a tough situation…and stressful for the whole family I am sure!

      Idk if your husband would be open to this or be able to handle both, but perhaps looking into working on getting another degree or a degree may boost his morale. Yes, work may be a pain in his butt, but he would have this outlet that could point him in the direction of better work opportunities once he graduates and give him a confidence builder.

      University is NOT for everyone and can be an undertaking when you are working full time. Whether he has been to university or not, it can be a different ballgame as a non-traditional student (been there, done that) so I do not recommend this route full time if you are already in financial straits!

      However, I do focus on taking classes at the local tech school. A class at a time is not too expensive, he can still work full time and pick through his course options and programs over time. Plus there are a TON of resources available on university and tech school campsuses for those with learning disabilities, so he would not have to go it alone.

      Unless you think he may blow up at the suggestion, it is worth mentioning. It could curtail the boredom, too. A drawback to school is (like everything in life) it can make you feel like a failure. He would have to be ready to take a few “thumps” when grades dip or a course goes south. However it can feel empowering as an adult in the “daily grind” to succeed in school after you have passed traditional college age and feel like your work life has become boring as hell. These days everyone is going back to school, so there is certainly company in similar circumstances.

      School for my husband has been a point of contention for he and I. He has never taken traditional college courses at the tech or university. He has lived his life with untreated ADHD and dyslexia and school was a nightmare for him that he is reluctant to relive. He works his tail off and is great at his job, but he too is boxed in to a certain income cap and set of responsibilities and his talents would be of better use elsewhere. He knows that getting some sort of degree will help him break through the ceiling career wise and boost his resume but has no idea what to go to school for, worried about his performance, etc. He tends to be his own worst enemy in this regard.

      I have tried to support and guide him, but he has to do it when he is ready. It is frustrating for me since I see how hard he works and how underpaid and underchallenged he is in his current role. I finished my degree for the same reason in my old jobs (although it almost freakin’ killed me.) But, I can only put so much energy toward this. Instead it leaves me taking on more demanding but higher paying roles to make up for the income gap.

      Good luck!

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by TaurusMoon.
      • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by TaurusMoon.
    • #71318

      I’d like to suggest that you reach out to CHADD http://www.chadd.org/ . There is a hotline that has been helpful to me raising a child and new a young adult through the years. There are free resources, trainings and conferences that networking with others has been instrumental in helping to raise a child and get him now through college…something we had been told could never happen.

    • #71702

      For me, the combination of ADHD emotional flooding and a distrust of authority stemming from a traumatic childhood meant I got fired more than I quit. At least I could usually collect unemployment.

      The first 2 steps to dealing with those problems were:
      1. Medication–I have a comorbid condition that requires I take mood stabilizers. They also help with my flooding.
      2. Therapy–Someone to not only listen to me, but also to lovingly hold me accountable has helped. Further, I gain tools to help focus on a solution instead of obsessing about the problem.

      Some of the things I did and do to deal with boredom and restlessness:
      1. Take on additional duties, within reason, at the job. It sounds like the failure of the other attempt at cross-training may have been because the duties weren’t right for him. I think it’s worth another try.
      2. I’m a writer who is trying to get published and write a book. So, I write whenever I just can’t focus on the mundane anymore, as well as trying to keep a schedule. After 16 years, I still love it. I have day jobs for support. I even have an app on my iPhone to write anytime inspiration strikes.
      3. I make sure I make time for fun things. Does he play with your daughter? Or play in any other way? I know that’s important for me. The positive side of being highly creative and sensitive is that I like doing kid stuff. A bottle of bubbles and a little space, and I feel happy and more content. I think we ADHD-ers forget to just relax, be, and play. We get so caught up in trying to adult in the neurotypical world that we neglect our inner children.
      4. Finally, that good ol’ cure-all, exercise. For example, I also went back to school as a non-traditional adult. My alma mater has a lot of woodland acreage, as well as a wildflower and bird trail. I would walk around the trail, taking pictures, and exploring the different paths. Once I was tired, I’d hike back to my apartment, feeling relaxed.

      You sound super-supportive, which is great, but you don’t need to come up with ideas for him. He’s a grown-up. He needs to do it for himself. If you have to get a little tough with him about sticking with the current job, do so. You are no good to him or your daughter if you’re burned out with supporting the family in every way without reciprocal support.

    • #71730


      As an adult with ADHD myself, I have experienced this same feeling throughout many jobs. The thing is, if he hates his job, if it’s boring or requires large amounts of focus for long periods of time, or if it’s not interesting to him – there is nothing you can do to make him keep the job. NOTHING.

      There’s only a handful of outcomes: 1) he keeps the job, but gets fired for making lots of small mistakes, 2) he keeps the job and resents you – then ultimately ends up quitting or getting fired eventually anyway, 3) he quits the job regardless and starts a huge fight between you.

      That being said, what you can do is support him any way that you can. Maybe you suggest to him that you are okay with him quitting – once he has another form of income lined up. OR you are okay with it as long as he goes back to school so that he can do something he likes.

      The #1 MOST important thing for someone with ADHD to be successful in a career is – it has to be aligned with their interests. If it is interesting and exciting to him, it will keep his attention.

      The second thing is that it must have variety – meaning it can’t be something that is routine, everyday work – such as data entry – it’s not going to work for him.

      Here are some things that might work for him if they happen to align with his interests:

      1) Construction – moving around, physically releasing energy; working on different projects, etc.

      2) Anything artistic – a lot of ADHDers enjoy art and creation

      3) Project management or support – some areas in the corporate world are project based – this kind of work might be good for him.
      For one, many project based jobs can be done remotely (ex.- he might work one or two days a week from home and the rest at the office). Secondly, project based jobs allow the opportunity for constant change – never letting the work get too rote and routine.

      Try to think about the things he does for fun and see if you can find anything that aligns with that to suggest. For example, an ex of mine was very similar about work – he used to get a job and hold on to it for 3-6 months and then get bored and move on – never committing to anything long enough to make it a career and move up the ladder. He too was stuck in low income jobs. One thing he did always do consistently was watch football – he just loved football.

      Now while we were together he would say similar things like “oh I should just join the military and then let them discharge me for an injury – then I’ll be set for life” (he had a bum knee and thought they would discharge him for it and pay him – don’t ask me why…). I suggested to him that since he loved football so much, he should go back to school to do something related to it – such as become an announcer, a team manager, etc. Come to find out years after we broke up he went back to school for sports management.

      I have no idea whether or not he followed through on seeking out a career in that field once he finished school, but my point is that if he had, it likely would’ve kept his interest.

      Try to think creatively. Consider the things he does for fun and see if you can figure out how it could turn into a career. But remember, all you can do is encourage and give suggestions – you cannot FORCE him to do (or not to do) anything.

      I got lucky around two years ago when one of those rote, routine, data entry jobs (that really suck for ADHDers) led me to another opportunity in my organization. Now I am in a job that allows me to express my creativity, is constantly changing – sometimes requiring short distance travel and is HUGELY aligned with my personal interests and values. That doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days now and then, I do, but overall I am in a much better place and I feel like this job is a much better fit for my work style.

      I know my response was long winded, but I really hope you understand what I am trying to say and that this advice actually helps you deal with your current situation. I wish you and your husband all the best.

    • #71748

      IMPORTANT READ FOR ANYONE WITH SEVERE ADD AND “DELUSIONS OF GRANDEUR”: I’m 46 now, college degree, excelled in school and sports all my life, extremely creative with too many interests/abilities that all came natural to me; drumming, writing, photography, radio host, comedy, tons of ideas for film, inventions…and good at many recreational sports; skiing/snowboarding, mtn biking, tennis…it’s not great like it should be, it’s maddening!!! Spread too thin with too many interests and I’m good at them ALL, and I always say it’s much more healthy and praiseworthy to be really good or great at 1 or 2 things and not just good at many. Then people say “pick one”, I wish, but the “one” would be drumming, or talk show host, or writer, public speaker, filmmaker…there is no “one”. I go through constant phases and shifts where I prefer one of these main hobbies/talents over the others, then weeks or months later it changes again, that’s ADD!!! Jobs do not work for me! Since college I’ve had to move back in with the parents 3 times, and this 3rd round has lasted 9 years! Almost a decade and I still can’t figure out what works to pay the bills and remain stable? Well how can I when I’m not genuinely happy or at least content in life? If you break down an average week for me I’m miserable 3-4 days, okay or a bit below par 2 days, then pretty good or awesome 1-2 days. And this has been the breakdown pattern for 3 DECADES of my life! How can any human work any job, let alone 80-90% of the jobs on the planet that are either impossible with our mindsets or we’re so miserable at or can’t keep up with tasks, that were done with in days, weeks, or months??? Then you factor in so many interests and abilities that come so easy and natural for me and any one of them could earn big money and status with just a lucky break or perfect timing. It’s a frustrating, demoralizing, endless hell of a lifestyle to live. Ironically I have a great work ethic, very strong track record with positive comments from employers but little do any of these past jobs realize the torture it was to be there every day and do “good” when my mind is in lala land thinking of movie ideas, song ideas, planning my “dream life”…all on top of ADD with depression, anxiety…some of us literally CAN’T WORK A JOB. I’ve taught music, didn’t like it, felt trapped with hyper kids. Plus being self taught at EVERYTHING I do good at it’s weird to have to teach people when I’m like “Hey if it comes natural just roll with it.” How many humans can ski moguls? Let alone good, and within about 3 seasons skiing as a teen I was already in the mogul fields every time up on the slopes; by far the most demanding activity on snow, and for me it was kinda “easy” to get good at it, and same with drums! Not many humans have the 4 limb coordination to handle drums, yet it came natural to me over a quick period of time and I can chew gum and watch TV while playing shows at bars! I pass every audition I try for in music, I’ve performed comedy and never bombed, even after hardly “rehearsing” my routine, hosted TV/Radio shows, and constantly get comments from friends, co-workers, strangers I talk with that “You should be in entertainment; hosting, comedy, or something for sure.” (And usually they don’t even know about my other skills that are all “Hollywood worthy”.) It’s almost like I shouldn’t “have” to work any basic job! But it’s creative/entertainment based interests/talents which is the one industry with no guarantees no matter what the talent, perseverance, attitude put into it. Any other talent or profession on the planet at least you have a chance to make a living at it or get rewarded for hard work and abilities in that field, not entertainment. Point being is I’m SO SICK of hearing “delusions of grandeur” as the main reaction to us “big dreamers”. It’s not delusional at all, everything I’m good at has already been done and there’s THOUSANDS of others making a living at it. Look at the Pet Rock, I’m sure everyone thought that guy was delusional, yet he makes millions out of this idea then I’m sure he was then referred to as brilliant, only after success was achieved. Most conformist cookie cutters are delusional to think that these big Hollywood dreams are delusional. NO, it’s called needing a connection or lucky break or money to “buy” our way to success, not for lack of efforts, talents, or any delusions at all. Trust me I’ve been in the entertainment industry most of my life and it’s a crap shoot like none other, and this sucks because no other job I’ve ever worked works for me. I do my best, some jobs I tolerate or kind of enjoy but always burn out, or can’t keep up, or even get up on time…the typical ADD BS. So it boils down to suicidal thoughts and ideation. You get to a point (especially at my age, 46) where you just can’t keep living in this cycle! Being nearly broke all my adult life with a college degree? Parents basements, job after job, band after band I’m in/out of and STILL nothing has worked out? I STILL need that “lucky break” just to live a fulfilling life doing something I’m more than worthy and capable of, yet it’s creative avocations that mostly go unnoticed, or the small percentage that do “make it” get way over-praised and worshiped as “gifted geniuses”, while the rest of us are “delusional dreamers”. It’s MADDENING, and ironically I’m thinking my purpose in life and a perfect “career” would be giving public speeches for ADD and mental disability conferences; making it more prevalent by adding in my comical outlook, skills of musician by starting and/or ending the talk with a drum/percussion solo jam while showing slides of my photography AND having a merch booth selling my books, t-shirts, stickers I’ve created. Is this delusional? NO, but with severe mental issues (ADDepression) you can’t keep a balanced life week to week to even achieve this practical obtainable “career”. We need our hands held and asses kicked EVERY DAY, and that’s called a life/career coach or agent/manager which costs HUNDREDS of dollars a month! Yet we can’t work any job or earn enough to barely make payments on bills, so how do we ever advance our lives without proper money or connections in the first place??? You need money to get the proper help or even make the right connections! Trust me, I’ve been advertising, networking, attending all kinds of seminars, meetup groups…when you don’t have $$$ up front to offer people they back out of any agreement, even if it mutually benefits both parties involved. Again this is all MADDENING, ASININE.

    • #71897

      Ugh… I know how both you AND your husband feel! Like your hubby, I’ve always struggled in the job arena and I couldn’t ever understand why until I was finally diagnosed with ADHD a couple of years ago. The more research I do, the more I come to understand how ADHD affects me today as well as in my past work and personal struggles. I haven’t found any “magic” solutions yet, but it does help my feelings of being trapped in less-than-awesome work that often leaves me frustrated, bored, and tired.

      Many years ago when I hadn’t really understood what I was struggling with and why, I used to get really depressed and desperately search out “something different” because there just HAD to be a perfect job for me out there! (Somewhere… in a galaxy far…far…far away…) I had thought it was because I wasn’t as smart or capable as people told me I was, or that maybe I really was just a hopeless, messy, disorganized, and lazy loser. I knew I wasn’t really any of those terrible things… but it sure felt like it when I couldn’t seem to land anything better than a retail job.

      Then I finally did land some more challenging work that was a heck of a lot more interesting… and nearly fell flat on my face and developed a generalized anxiety disorder for my troubles. Sometimes it’s hard to decide which felt worse… feeling like I wasn’t getting the chance to stretch myself and doomed to working retail or cleaning toilets (sooooooze)… or getting the chance and realizing that I didn’t have what it took to do the job well and not be able to really understand what I was missing or why I couldn’t do what my coworkers could do? I had finally won the chance! Now why was I still so bored and so incapable of staying on task?

      After my diagnosis I read just about everything I could get my hands on. It helps. It at least fills in some of the blanks. The knowledge doesn’t “fix” anything for me, at least not yet, but I am growing to at least understand the “why” of my troubles, and how ADHD likely factors into them. Has your husband done much reading into his condition yet? Is he active in understanding how your daughter is being treated and working through her challenges in school?

      One big reason why I struggle in work is because I have to feel like what I’m doing matters somehow. That what I’m doing is making some kind of positive difference or contribution… to myself, my loved ones, to strangers… doesn’t matter. I have to recognize the “importance” of it beyond that it’s a paycheck and health benefits. Does he enjoy volunteer type stuff? Or community service? Sometimes the only thing that gets me through a rough (or just plain DULL day at work) is that fact that I get to go home and do something purely for fun like play online with some friends in World of Warcraft. To keep from developing the “I don’t wanna work anymore” feelings (because I certainly get those), I forcefully remind myself WHY I’m feeling that way (because I’m bored, etc) but that I can’t do the fun stuff I like without earning it by doing the “boring” stuff too.

    • #82767

      I know how that feels. I have had 4 different jobs (with the same employer) in the last 15 years. However, there have been at least 50 times that I have stood with my resignation letter in my hand. The last time was last December where I told my wife (I’m quitting, there is nothing you can do to stop me and if you want to divorce me that is fine too”. I didn’t quit because my wife flat-out refused to maintain me and we would have had to move to a much smaller place. I came up with all sorts of solutions like I can start a photography business (which I did part-time before but never got off the ground) AND I could also do free-ance consultancy work AND I can do art again.

      I have no shame in admitting that she is the dominant one in our relationship so she made me sit down and we looked at our finances and all the options and then she asked two questions that I couldnt answer. 1 … “How long before you get tired of that?” and 2 … “What do we do then?”

      Instead of quitting I went to see a specialist and got tested. Turned out I have ADHD and dyslexia and got treatment. So, for now, I’m sticking to my job. It’s not like I don’t crave to do my own thing but she can be very convincing so… What I do know though is without her I would have been living under a bridge right now so I’ve learned to listen to her instead of my own brain when it comes to these things.

      I don’t know if this helps you. I do hope you find a solution that works for both of you though.

    • #82853

      I know how you feel my girlfriend has the same problem and it really affects her attitude through the day with mood swings happening very very often the only thing that seems to help so spark through advocare which is actually funny because she was introduced to it by our doctor and now she is a distributor.. if anyone here isn’t sure what else to try I encourage everyone to at least try this before you give in because the world is always a better place with you!

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