Struggling with Coping with ADHD wife

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    • #173468

      My wife has recently been privately diagnosed as ADHD and awaiting meds. My step-son who is 9 has also been privately diagnosed as ADD and dyslexic and also prescribed Meds but yet to start them as we are waiting on tests.

      Since my wife had realised our son was ADD and herself also, our relationship together has become problematic. It has consumed her entirely and to me it seems that everything in our lives has become completely dominated by ADHD, meds, forums etc etc

      Now for my part, I am (to my failing!) very black and white in my thinking and I struggle in understanding how it all works with ADHD and I realise I have a lot to learn and need to, although my lack of empathy and understanding of my wife and her troubles gets to her and upsets her.

      I take responsibility for this and I aim to try to understand it all better and really want to find ways to male our life together work as I love her deeply, but i really feel that there is a lack of understanding and patience for the spouse who does not have ADHD as life (at least in my case) is hard too, living with a partner with it alongside a child who is struggling also.

      I guess I just want advice on how I can be a better husband in this case and what I can feasibly do to help/understand her but also what my wife can do to ensure she can understand what it’s like to be the husband of an ADHD diagnosed wife.

    • #173482


      I have ADHD and my wife does not. I hope this helps:

      ADHD is a real struggle (maybe it is harder for the non-adhd partner), but it is not an excuse, it is not a “free get out jail card”; it is only and always just an explanation.

      Having said that, I can tell you this:

      ADHD is not who we are, is what we have. There is a big difference: my ADHD does not define who I am.

      I know that it must be hard for you to deal everyday with the ADHD symptoms of your wife.

      The secret (at least for me) lies in realizing in your heart that the person with ADHD is so much more than those symptoms and show her that you believe it, as I said, having ADHD does NOT exempt us from the responsibility, but knowing that our partner values and loves us for what we really are is a very big incentive and frees our minds to work to do better next time.

    • #173976

      Hi, my husband and I are in the same boat. He put the pieces together and our son has it as well.
      I understand how she feels, I’m doing the same thing because all my life things were harder, so many people didn’t understand what my issue was, INCLUDING ME! Now I know what the reason was and I want to learn all about it so I can be the person I always knew was inside (despite all the nay-sayers). I think you should try to read as much literature as possible (really helps clarify things) and you’re like oh, ah-ha, so that’s why! It may help you too deal with things she does that irritate you if you know it’s not being done intentionally. I am inattentive/impulsive (love to shop), that has been the source of many of our arguments. She needs to make reminders, use the tools available to both of you. After she’s on the right meds and whatever therapy is directed, if she has your support & understanding while your family deals with this you may look at her one day standing beside you tackling life with you insread tead of two steps behind walking in circles. All I know for sure is LOVE, SUPPORT, PATIENCE & UNDERSTANDING are paramount. We’ve been criticized our entire life (I’m sure It’s not just me).
      I have listened to some audio books about the affects on a marriage and the differences between someone with ADHD and without. I was listening to it and just could not believe how someone who didn’t know me sounded like she had an inside view into our life.
      Try to remember, our brains tend to take the scenic route, it doesn’t mean we can’t get to the destination. I don’t know if you are prone to make name calling and criticism but I suspect it’s almost a certainty for any couple in this situation. DON’T DO IT, nothing good comes from it, NOTHING. Go for a walk, bike ride, deep breathing,, ect… She will improve if she believes you are tackle this with her. As for your comment about help and understanding not available to you, in my opinion that should come from your wife, she must understand (if she doesn’t) how it affects you. One of the books I listened to addressed that and said the spouse without ADHD needs help as well. Since you’ve been together her ADHD has probably affected you, your behavior and altered your relationship in a way you didn’t expect and possibly resent. Today she needs to lean on you, but one day you may be your turn to need someone to lean on, trust me, my husband always took care of everything, until this last year we found out he had a failing kidney working at 17% then a few months into that were told he has stage 4 metastatic melanoma. And now for the trifecta, after an MRI of his brain they say he needs a neurosurgeon we haven’t been told specifics yet but we believe it’s rheumatoid arthritis.
      Ok, sorry, sometimes I rant. Good luck!

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by MommysGirl74.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by MommysGirl74.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by MommysGirl74.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by MommysGirl74.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by MommysGirl74.
      • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Penny Williams.
    • #174004
      Penny Williams

      Many people go through the ADHD-obsession period with a new diagnosis, especially parents. All we want is to make all the pain and struggle go away for our kids. It hurts to see them hurting.

      It took me a couple years of this to realize that, in trying to help, I was actually making things worse and tearing apart my family.

      ADHD acceptance has to happen. “I have ADHD. My kids has ADHD. But we can figure out how to live well with it.” As long as you fight and bristle against ADHD, trying to change ADHD, you will just spin your wheels in the muck of it all.

      How to Process and Accept Your Child’s Neurodiversity

      “Dear Mom of a Newly Diagnosed Kid with ADHD”

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

    • #174081

      There are two podcasts that break down this topic perfectly. I have the spotify links but you can search the titles on this website because they were both ADDitude experts webinar series.
      The first: 5 stradegies to dealing with your ADHD spouse, the new diagnosis and the broken down communication leading up to her seeking help. There is a parent child, shame resentment anger avoidance cycle that us nicely explained with suggestions.

      The other is how to teach Executive Functioning skills to kids. This really breaks down the core element of ADHD, there are 5 key components of Executive Function and lucky for people like myself, it is not a one sized fits all explanation. Having hyperfocused might be a great strength but when coupled with poor time management, it becomes a curse until the tools and strategies are put into place to support the areas of need.

      My personal advice would be to ask her what she has found that clicked for her and offer to help her research and ask her what areas she feels compelled to learn more about.
      IMHO, as someone diagnosed in their 30s, finally reading about someone else who could relate and feeling like I belonged and maybe overcome a cycle that has been filled with shame and depression makes it very easy to obsessively research. (Hey hon, lets listen to this on a podcast together while we clean up the living room or fold laundry, etc.)I know you have a lot of feelings too, my marriage nearly broke, but now we are stronger than we have ever been. Meds dont fix the problem, please dont think the pills are going to be a magic solution. Meds will however help her to regulate some of the impulsivity and put tools in place, build routines and new habits to help overcome the struggles she has likely been ostracized for her whole life. Give her space to learn and not feel shame and support (but not enable) her and your son, so they can build from here. You will all be stronger for it.
      Good Luck, deep breaths. Your pain is real,and valid. You also deserve to he heard, but be cautious, she is likely not going to receive any “you” messages well blame and shame is deep seeded in adult diagnosis…. and LOTS of affirmations and celebrating the successes, no matter how small they might seem, positive momentum is key and really builds when you feel like the efforts and hard work are being appreciated. Its physiological changes, it is like learning to walk all over again. It will come with time.

      I hope you are able to heal stronger as a family. I didn’t think it was possible, but we are better now than ever. You can be too. Take care of yourself. Love them and set healthy boundaries that will help you reduce feeling taken advantage of and allow them to experience the repercussions and accountability so they can grow and learn.

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