Struggling to cope

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    • #41207
      Hope @ ADDitude

      This discussion was originally started by user TwinsMomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


      Hello everyone.

      It’s so good to be able to say something about how I’m feeling to a group of people who might understand.

      I’ve been with my partner for nearly 8 years. We are due to marry in April next year. I love him so very much, he is kind and sweet and creative. We’ve not had a formal diagnosis and are on the waiting list, but after a colleague mentioned something to him a few months back, after a lot of research the signs are VERY clear to a potential diagnosis of Inattentive ADHD.

      As he is 35, he’s had years of setting up systems that work for him, without realising he was suffering from ADHD. He suffers a lot from Anxiety and has taken every measure to help this, reading and acting and generally doing his best to help himself, and had been inadvertently helping his ADHD. So a lot of measures are in place, but he is keen to try medication (and I am too!), hence wanting a formal diagnosis.

      But after 8 years we have fallen into some bad habits. I parent him, due to not feeling like I can rely on his. This has been disastrous romantically as you can imagine, on both sides.

      I get really upset when I hear about other people’s husbands or boyfriends just getting on with tasks and taking responsibility for things. I get so sad when I hear about thoughtful gifts or surprises people have had as now I recognise this is a disorder he is dealing with, the hope I once had for him changing or learning has gone.

      I feel really overwhelmed with responsibility. Whilst I know he tries SO hard, and has reminders/calendars coming out of his ears, the initial thought is never from his side if you know what I mean. He is always willing to carry out a task, but it’s always managed by me. I hate being the manager!

      Does anyone else feel like this? Does it get better? It’s so hard when you love someone so much and you can see they are struggling too, but you still feel hard done by.

      I know a lot of my friends think I’m a nag to him. I feel like nobody is on my team. I’ve explained this to my partner and he tries to understand, but ultimately when you know you’re the cause of the upset it must be hard.

      Sorry for basically just pouring a load of feelings out!

    • #41248
      Hope @ ADDitude

      This reply was originally posted by user ADHDmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Setting up routines and schedules can help to remove you from the role of parent or manager. That consistency can help him form habits to operate on his own some, instead of relying on you.

      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #41280
      Hope @ ADDitude

      This reply was originally posted by user Philippe in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      My partner has been diagnosed pretty late in her life, in much the same way as yours. Being diagnosed is very important, I think, to get the measure of the problem. I recommend reading the works of Russell Barkley about ADHD.

      We have got into very bad habits too, with me taking the bulk of the family charges and her trying to get on with life. Her professional life as an artist is a wreck and, although she got quite a lot of diplomas of all sorts, she has never had a proper job over a reasonable period of time in her life. She’s now thinking of taking the first cheap job she can grab.

      The problem was made even more complex by my own story: I have been sexually exploited since I was very young. She tried to help me with all her ADHD enthusiasm and commitment and this did me good, but she became so much involved in my problems that, when I tried to do something for her, things became entangled.

      You have to be strong to help an ADHDer: I couldn’t really trust her when she said she was doing things or dealing with it in the right way, but there are moments where she’s just genial and very intuitive. So, at times she is right, at times no. And I am left with the task of deciding which is which and try to go against her when she is demotivated, procrastinating, depressed… and so on. But this has the effect of throwing me into dissociative states: I have serious problems asserting myself, being in control of another adult person and, when she starts yelling things and so, I plunged into situations that obviously remind me of my childhood’s situation.

      This said, we love each other and have three children that know that. I still want to help her and I think the thing is getting to work with her, not for her. This is the very point: ADDers feel depossessed from their own lives because they feel they don’t control it the way they want and what the partner has to do is to help him/her regain some sort of control over what’s going on. For this, though, you should know it in the first place, which puts you in a very uneasy position, because you are human too and you may be wrong…

      I don’t know if you can relate to what I’m saying, but this is my everyday experience for the 26 years we’ve been living together, my partner and I.

    • #41281
      Hope @ ADDitude

      This reply was originally posted by user mamabean in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      First, I want to say I do understand completely. My spouse has ADHD…we’ve been married for over 20 years…and I can relate to all you’ve written.

      He was on medication for over a decade. Over time though, stimulants are very hard on a person’s body and ultimately, he decided to go med-free.

      While getting an evaluation is important (crucial) and you may end up going the route of medication…you should understand that it will not make all the hard stuff go away.

      Our experience was that meds made my husband “feel” better (or more in control) but in reality, it did nothing to help his functionality. It only helped him feel more mentally calm…but he still did all the same maddening things as before…bad memory, lack of focus, losing things all the time, poor impulse control, angry outbursts, anxiety, etc.

      Before you marry this person, you should decide if you can live as you are living now for the rest of your life. Circumstances are most likely not going to change much. Yes, he can take meds and get counseling and those things may help “some”…but, you will never have a 50/50 partner.

      Friend, you will be “giving” in a sacrificial way for the entirety of your marriage. And it will be a DEEP form of sacrifice…since you will always have to give more than you will receive in return. Plus, if you decide to have children, you will often feel like a single parent. You WILL be managing everything for everyone.

      I don’t say this to scare you, but I wish someone had told me what my life was going to look like before I married a partner with ADHD. You are right, it is also very hard on them because they know they are the source of all this frustration and burden (at times).

      But, I guarantee you this will be the hardest thing you ever take on.

      What I am saying may not be “politically correct” but it is the truth. I’ve noticed on this site that there isn’t always a lot of support for spouses of partners with ADHD to express how difficult life is…like somehow it is rude to be honest about it.

      But, truly, with so much written with the focus on the person with ADHD…spouses can very easily feel invisible and forgotten. Don’t let that happen to you!

    • #41302
      Hope @ ADDitude

      This reply was originally posted by user Dal82 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      There are many good points that people have added and those who are the partners shadowed in our daily chaos (yep, I’m an ADHDer) are often left drained and exhausted from the burden of being forced to bring the order and pick up the scattered trail of half finished tasks on a daily basis. Friend, when we’re at our worst, we’re your personal cyclone that targeted your house and left everyone’s backyard in pristine condition. For that alone, you have every right to ask the big questions. As unfair as it is, we’d be lost without partners like you so vent away!

      On another note, don’t let this be a life sentence for you. The process is hard and meds do bring awareness but like others have said, it’s not the answer to it all. A psychologist who specialises in the area becomes our life coach. It’s important (like all disorders) that you find one your soon-to-be-hubby clicks with. Mine has taught me life skills, why I think the way I do, essential vitamins, SLEEP and how bringing a sense of order is hard work but enables us to stand tall. And once we learn that and accept that it doesn’t come naturally but especially now, we hear who we are and how to manage ourselves.

      ADHD or not—your partner has a responsibility to look out for you too. I’m sure he is great: unorganised, forgetful, child-like… but spontaneous, intuitive and creative, right? Once diagnosed, go to therapy together so you’re not learning how to work around him but he learns how to work around you.

      Look, relationships are hard even before taking on a role but I certainly do think that there is a way to work it out. Hell, I’m a single father and my relationship ended- much because of these very reasons (we’ve moved on and remain close friends). You’re doing the right thing by getting answers before jumping in and even though my ex-wife and I have no intentions of getting back together, I put her through a lot when undiagnosed. Without her, I’d have just kept going round and round.

      I wish you all the best whatever you decide. I hope you learn how to support each other because it’s your relationship too x

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