My Forum Comments
Giving her space means letting her have these 3 weeks without you asking her to read or listen about adhd.
I know, you’re bursting at the seams to have her hear you on this. Do you want her to be able to start trusting you again? Then honor her request. If you can’t do this thing, putting aside your need to tell her so that you can honor her need to recover a little, then she’s going to see this as more of you not following through, not being reliable.
Don’t say “but.” This is what it means to give her space. Don’t chase her. Don’t repeat the same request again and again. Let her be.
Quote: “She has also given up a lot, she doesn’t make time for friends, she doesn’t look after herself, she doesn’t do much for her own happiness. She needs to take responsibility of that part.”
Please understand what a tremendous load she has carried, to be pregnant and be up at night, to
feed and care for all the hundreds of needs that many small children have, all as she cleaned and cooked and dealt with all the stresses that fell to her when you could not finish projects to follow through on something she needed you to do.
You cannot imagine the bone weariness that some women have while pregnant and with a small baby. And then to do that year after year. You cannot imagine it unless maybe you have a physical condition that has similar effects. It takes a lot out of women.
Now, if you have been, as you admit, not reliable to finish things, meaning she either has to live with the stress of it going undone, or she has to finish it for you, which is also stressful, on top of being tired and rearing children and all the other things women do to run a household, please give her the benefit of the doubt in seeing that finding the energy to do things for herself might be impossible.
Can you imagine if she walked out the door today and you had to be solely responsible for all she did? No one to rely on? When exactly would you find the time for yourself? Please recognize that she felt wedged between her normal tasks and picking up yours.
When she says she’s hollow, BELIEVE HER. When she says she needs space, BELIEVE HER. Give it to her. And in that space, work on the areas that mean the most to her.
I agree with her – let her rest while you go to therapy. You work on you. She needs to recover from trying to catch all the balls when you dropped yours.
This is only good for thought and certainly not emphatic advice: maybe tell her that after 6 months of you going to therapy alone, maybe then she could read the book. And maybe ask her what are her top two things she needs you to work on during those months.
Does she have things to right? I’m sure she does. But she can’t even begin to do that until she starts to heal a bit. And please recognize that she really has carried more than you have. You might be a really great father (I don’t know as I don’t live with you), but even great fathers can leave a lot to the mother and never even realize it.
I do not think she’s right to insult you. Can you look beyond that to the person she was before? Has she always insulted you? Or is this after years of feeling hollow and trying to get you to see? If so, then she’s speaking out of a deep exhaustion that says she’s poured out all of herself and you’ll never hear. This might be desperation. This might be a voice that tells her she has to save herself because she’s being wrung out like a rag. Is it true? She might feel so. And that’s what you’re fighting. How can you restore the feeling that you’re a team? It first has to start with some healing.
She needs to breathe and grieve. You need to breathe and grieve. Right now, you’re likely hyperfocusing on her because you feel desperate to save it. If you keep putting her under the lens (instead of putting your symptoms under the lens), then she’s going to recoil further. Listen to her. I’m going to say it again: listen to her.
One thing I would say with emphatic tones: tell her that you DO believe her. Tell her that you are listening without saying “yes but,” and that you will work to give her the space she needs.
Because in the end, if you can’t hear her and understand that the fallout of unaddressed adhd symptoms has affected her so very deeply, then you’ll not only hurt this relationship further, but you’ll continue hurting every woman you’re ever with in the future.
Right now, her exhaustion is affecting you, right? Then your adhd affects her. We all affect each other. There’s no escaping it.
I agree with you – she needs to read the book. She needs to be able to have empathy for you and your struggles. But you’re gonna have to be the one who starts that path. You’re gonna have to show her that this isn’t just a more robust version of the two-week stints she’s seen before. She needs to see YOUR EMPATHY and your effort first. That is where she is.
So meet her there.
I’m very sorry to hear of your pain. I do understand some of it; I have a husband with untreated adhd (also wants no treatment), and kids with adhd and other comorbid diagnoses. And I have 2 family members with bipolar.
The problem with bipolar and adhd being in the same individual is that doctors are cautioned to never give bipolar patients any stimulants. Why is this? Because it can trigger a manic episode, and in treating bipolar, you want to avoid manic episodes as much as possible.
You mentioned that he has been prescribed Wellbutrin. That is often given for adhd treatment, as well as depression. So he doesn’t realize it, but he’s on a treatment for adhd. It may not be a high enough dose for you to see the difference you are hoping for, however. And yet, it might have to be kept at a low dose because it’s also used for depression. And with depression meds, doctors also have to take care with their bipolar patients. It’s a much more complicated beast than adhd.
I’m really sorry for all your pain. And from watching my two family members with bipolar, they are in a lot of pain, too. This stuff stinks for everyone.
I’m just realizing this is a metaphor for my husband in general: he wants our house, our cars, our dogs, our bank account, and our marriage to stay good/healthy/alive without “visiting” any of them, noticing they need maintenance, and then giving them the maintenance they need. He wants to focus on his work and hang out with friends, forget to feed the dogs, forget to put money into our bank account, forget to talk to me, forget to check the car’s fluid levels, etc., but for them all to stay happy/healthy/alive/unbroken.
Yes! This is the exact issue we have here. And then he complains about how everyone else he knows can have those same things but never seem to have the problems he has. I don’t know if he truly cannot grasp this or if he’d rather not face his own part in the picture.
I’m also running on empty. He has untreated ADHD, the kids have adhd, and I’m exhausted. He’s been working to be more attentive in a way that says “you’re my wife and I remember that you need affection,” and I do really appreciate that. I appreciate it so much. So he does get big points for that.
But everything else being on me… it’s draining, exhausting. Tonight I think I’m going to just crawl into bed early. I don’t feel like I have anything else to give for today.
And can we just put the rest of the week on hold?
I wouldn’t throw consequences out the window. I’d hold her accountable, because life will continue to do that.
The problem is, sometimes their behavior comes from their symptoms, or is borne out of stress, etc, but other times it comes from their own choices. So sometimes they need a little extra time with Mom. Sometimes they need reminders. But sometimes they need those consequences. In the midst of all that is going on, their character is forming. No, not everything that happens is from a place of poor character. But the character IS forming. So consequences are still needed.
I have a child with both bipolar and adhd. I’m teaching her that when she feels out of control, she needs to have her tailor-made ways of reaching out for help, and I will help her. But the way she treats those around her – we can’t just let it all slide. Her behavior does really impact others around her. If she rages in the wrong place, she will get kicked out. Our whole family could be asked to leave. (That’s never happened yet, but it is an example of a real scenario for us that could easily happen.) So we would all face collective consequences for her behavior. And I shouldn’t let that slide. We shouldn’t be held hostage by her behavior, while she just gets constant reminders. She has to learn to manage herself, and consequences help drive the desire to work on her coping skills when she is tempted to just give in and not fight for better ways.
As for siblings, the best way for them to start to understand is for you to draw a parallel to their own experiences. Ask them if they’ve ever felt so angry and said things or did things that later they wish they hadn’t. Also, if they are going to be able to let things go, your daughter needs to make things right afterwards. Because some of our kids’ behaviors do damage relationships. Even if she didn’t mean to hurt someone, the fact remains that someone IS hurt, and it is her responsibility to make right what she did.
I think you did fine. Keep up the good (and hard) work of being Mom!
I like your style, ellewolfe. I’m passing your sassy note idea to my daughter! Thanks for the idea. 🙂August 11, 2018 at 1:22 pm in reply to: My girlfriend is asthmatic and I have pets at home. #90838
This sounds like a situation where you both have some hard decisions to make.
She’s gonna have to decide how much compromising of her health she can tolerate in order to live with you. Sometimes asthma gets worse and worse, with more exposure to the allergen. Worsening can land people in the hospital. It could weaken her lungs to be with you and pets.
You will have to decide which you are most comfortable with: just her and possibly resenting that you couldn’t keep your pets, just your pets and always wondering if she was the one for you who got away, or knowing you’re asking her to sacrifice her health to live with you and pets.
Basically, it doesn’t sound to me like the two of you have lifestyles that are compatible. And she really should not compromise her health. Breathing is too important.
I would call the police and let them know he is suicidal and what he did with a loaded gun. It won’t send him to jail, so don’t worry. But what it will do is get him immediate help from professionals with the dosage issue, as well as anything else that might be going on regarding mental illness.
When you called the psychiatrist, did you also tell them what he did with the gun? If you were very clear and told them you feared for your safety, and they did nothing, then you need a different psychiatrist for any future appointments. If you were not clear with them and did not give all the details, then call them back and do so. “Major personality change” doesn’t tell them the extent to what you’re dealing with. If they still give you no help, call the police for SURE to get him proper help from someone else.
Please take good care of yourself. Please don’t sacrifice your safety or his safety.
I have an ADHD husband. And I can try to be as understanding as possible… but if he ever expected me to just accept that ADHD meant that he was going to have periodic affairs and that he couldn’t help it —- well, then he could forget being married. JBoom said it so well. ADHD comes with so many hard things, but no one should have to ever accept that their spouse is just gonna cheat now and then.
You are saying she isn’t trying to understand how ADHD affects things. Well, sir, you’re not taking her pain seriously. You’re trying to garner sympathy for hurting her in one of the most painful ways. Face up to the very real damage that you caused. And start using all those fabulous external reminder systems to help you be faithful to your wife, or whoever else you might be in a relationship with. Put post-its around you where you’re tempted at work. Something like “Keep your eyes on your work” or “Choose your wife” or even just “WIFE” if you’re afraid someone will see the messages to yourself. Use your phone to go off at certain times just to check yourself. Seriously. Isn’t your wife worth the effort???? Doesn’t her pain mean anything to you? Or is it all about “honey, but you don’t understaaaaaaaand?”April 18, 2018 at 12:32 am in reply to: Balance between motivation and creating entitlement #82106
Yes, I understand the difference between punishments vs consequences, as well as the differences between consequences and problems solving. And I am familiar with the interest/urgency motivation. And that is exactly my question – how do we help them not think that they don’t have to ever do things that aren’t fun?
I suppose it just comes down to being frank with them – “things have to be done, so let’s find a way to accomplish it. Can we turn the job into a game that will get it done quickly? Or… Let’s do this hard thing for x number of minutes at a time, then take a break, then come back to it. I will help you.” (Etc)
We currently have ADHD adults in our extended family who refuse to do anything that isn’t fun except work at a job. And they get angry if you suggest they should help around the house or mow the yard. They also get angry when there are consequences to things, like not mowing the yard – when the city fines them for the jungle and the neighbors complain. THAT is what I’m trying to avoid.
I know they have genuine struggles. I’m just trying to give them a lens to see world they will go into – unpleasant things and boring things are still going to be expected of them. If they learn from how I deal with them that it all has to have a happy reward, then that sets them up to fail. Maybe it’s semantics in a way – ok, I don’t give them a reward each time, but I help them find a way to get it done in a less boring way.
It just got to me, that piece – giving me permission to use natural consequences, but make sure it actually motivates? That seems like very poor, poor advice when we not only have to teach them coping skills but to also develop their character.
Thank you for your understanding replies! It means so much that others “get it.” Yes, Jess, it disrupts the whole house so much! Besides the stressful environment it creates, it also regularly gets in the way of us accomplishing things in any kind of timely manner because we get derailed by so many fights.
You know, Lenette, the comment about the holding hands… that jogs my memory. A couple times I’ve put the kids together in their dad’s shirt or had them put one arm around each other’s waist, so that each child only had one hand free. And they had to work together on a job using one hand from each child. It worked beautifully. Oh, at first, there was even more fighting and worse attitudes that drove me to desperation to think of the solution in the first place. But after a bit, they figured out that they’d have to work together and they did. We even ended up with some laughter. Ok, I need to use this more often. Thanks for jogging my memory!
And to both of you… I’m thinking of you both now as I go through my days with the kids. Hugs to you both!
Thank you for your response.
We do have a therapist that works with our family. She specifically tries to help with these issues. And yes, we do the other things you’ve suggested. I admit I’m not feeling very hopeful. What do you do when you’ve tried everything you can think of and things are still so unkind and tense? Do you just require they be as quiet as you can? “No talking unless you can be kind?” And then when they just can’t hold their words inside, THEN what?