My Forum Comments
I’m with you here – except I’m the ADD husband! He really needs to own his behaviors when it comes to distraction etc. Some context – I was diagnosed 17 yrs ago @ age 35; married 27 yrs with 2 kids (21 & 18). We’ve been through a lot together. For a long time I just thought that my meds would ‘fix this ADD thing’ – when in reality it was the evil cousins of anxiety and shame that caused me to shut down (that was my usual response). It wasn’t til I found a solid therapeutic relationship that things started to get back to the relationship we had earlier (though there’s still work to do!).
We constantly live in fear of always letting down the ones we care about most. The problem is we never know when that will strike! Imagine living with that every day – the stress and shame get to be unbearable. And when you admittedly get short with him, it becomes another daily reminder of the myriad ways he/we let you down. Could your husband’s avoidance be connected to that, and then turns it on you? He really needs to find ways to recognize those and deal with them; it’s really hard – I can attest to that!
Sorry – the TV thing made me laugh! I’ve done that a million times over the years. I’m just grateful that we’re at a place where we can both laugh at it – even when calling out the behavior. We don’t intend to lose focus that quickly – it just happens! It’s important to find ways to remind us (we need to find ways, too!) when those things happen, as well as strategies for what to do when they happen. That’s what therapy does for me, anyway.
I wanted to give some insight ‘from the inside’, so to speak. I think your efforts at self-care are crucial – you need to take care of yourself! I’m grateful my wife has those outlets; being with us ADDers can be challenging. However, I like to think we are worth it. But we have to work just as hard those in our lives to manage that. I hope your husband can get to that point, and recognize that he has an amazing and willing partner! I’m lucky I came to recognize that before it was too late (and it almost was on 2 occasions). I wish you all the positive energy as you continue to walk this journey. I check these boards regularly, so I’ll check back…
I wasn’t diagnosed (ADD inattentive type) until I was 35 (17 yrs ago), but I have been a high school teacher for 25 yrs now. I have a Master’s degree plus some course work beyond. While I have struggled organizing around work done all throughout (as well as some social-emotional struggles, too), I have always loved school. The stimulating classroom dynamic was so exciting for me; I loved listening to professors and engaging in classroom dialogue. I just had real difficulty completing assignments or following through on things. Teachers always wondered why I could be so engaged in class (and perform well), but couldn’t seem to get the work done. I was labeled ‘lazy’, ‘spacy’, and only engaged by things that interested me. I was too ashamed to say that I was interested in ALL of it, for fear of exposing myself as the fraud I perceived myself to be.
Even as a teacher, I love the electricity of my classroom. I can engage in multiple topics within a class period, and students respond to my routine. The problem for me is the tedium of lesson planning and the endless correcting of papers. It takes me longer to get things back, as I lose focus when I have to correct a lot of papers. The key for me is being up front with my students and their parents – and understanding that’s kind of what it means to have this condition (I don’t like to call it a disorder).
It sounds like you’re really talented, but have some challenges when it comes to getting things done. The key is knowing where the obstacles are, even when it’s connected to something that energizes/excites you and that you love doing. Then, find someone (like a coach or therapist) who can help you strategize around those challenges – that’s what I’ve done and it really helped in all aspects of my life. I hope this helps, and doesn’t seem too meandering. I’ll check back to see if you respond. Good luck…
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by hayes.
I’m an ADD spouse (married 26 years, diagnosed 17 yrs ago), and I agree completely with Lulu here. Has your prospective SO been properly tested and diagnosed? I once thought that meds alone would ‘fix’ my ADD. What I didn’t realize was that there were other issues that often accompany and exacerbate one’s ADD (like anxiety and shame for me), and they need to be addressed in partnership with the ADD. If not, the things with which he struggles will appear again down the road as Lulu hints at here.
Lulu is so right above – take things slow here. He may be wonderfully caring and passionate, but it sounds like there’s some unhealthy learned relathionship patterns/strategies here with him. If not yet, a real diagnosis and treatment plan that possibly includes BOTH meds and therapy will help him build the healthy structures needed for your relationship to grow. If the relationship is worth it for you both – then the time Lulu mentions above will be worth it. I wish you well on this journey, and hope this perspective from ‘the other side’ helped…
I’m so sorry about what you’re going through. I’m the ADD spouse here – diagnosed 17 yrs ago, now married (gratefully/luckily) 26 years. Sadly, I’ve done just about everything your partner has done here. My wife knows I’m a good man and that I love her and our kids (now 21 & 18); but doing what needs to be done (both organizationally and emotionally) is a huge chore. I’ve put our marriage on the brink twice in those years.
My question: is your husband taking meds and in treatment himself? I originally thought that meds alone would be enough to ‘fix’ or ‘manage’ this “ADD thing”. However, those of us with ADD deal with a lifetime of shame/guilt caused by the real struggles now associated with ADD. Each day becomes another reminder of how we constantly let down those we love most – its consequences are debilitating. As well, the energy alone to just attend to all we need to is enormous. I say to friends who don’t have ADD to imagine waking up every day being told your going to forget/overlook something vitally important today – you’re just not told what that thing is each day. The pressure gets overwhelming – especially when it impacts those we love most.
So if he’s not in treatment on his own, I would strongly recommend that and a course of medication. It took me years to realize that I had to have both in order to get a handle on the resultant emotional struggles that accompany ADD – I call them the ‘evil cousins’ of anxiety & shame. But he needs to do this for himself first – then for your family. I came to that realization after a lot of struggle in our family. I have a great therapist now (going on 3 years), and things are getting better as we go forward.
One of the beacons for me was my amazing wife; throughout all of this she never said she didn’t love me – it sounds like your husband luckily has that here as well. Knowing that gave me the strength I didn’t think I had to struggle through this and get the help I need. So if your husband hasn’t done this yet, I hope he can begin this process; but we (ADD’ers) have to want to do this ourselves. In addition, you also have to do what you need to take care of yourself. While I think we’re worth it, I’m now very aware of how much energy it takes from the partners loving/being in relationship with those of us with ADD. We do need the help of our amazing partners, but you need to care for yourself in whatever ways you deem best.
Sorry this went on so long; but your situation resonated so closely that I wanted/needed to put some context here. It’s hard, but it sounds like your husband is a good man and loves you and your daughter very much, and knows that you love him. I cannot fully express how much knowing that means to us – so don’t lose sight of that. I wish you well going forward, and send all good wishes your way. I check back here quite regularly, so I hope will too…
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by hayes.
Hi folks- thanks so much for your caring, considerate and challenging posts; I’m grateful my posts generated some real thought. To CrystalFL – I’m sorry for what you’re going through. I struggle with ‘Time-blindness’, and have worked hard at combatting it. Sometimes it comes from a worry that we never get anything done on time; so when we’re doing something in the moment, we lose track because the feeling of accomplishment is a positive one – even if it costs us time and other things. I’m speaking for myself here – it’s never a spiteful act. And when we do realize the mistake, the shame that follows often leads to worse responses. It’s happened way too many times for me to count.
To musicalmrsc – while I get impulsivity with ADD, this sounds like a personality trait, as well. My understanding of impulsivity isn’t just doing ‘what I want’ – it’s more global and impacts all aspects of life. Is he taking meds or in therapy? If not, that may be a helpful first step. I know I need both to help manage the many pieces of my ADD. He may not know how or why he does this – that’s debilitating, too. I’m not trying to make excuses here – trying to understand where its source might be. That’s the struggle with ADD – we’re not even sure where these crappy behaviors even come from. Once identified, then we have to own them and address them. Has that happened? I’m sincerely asking…
It must be hard on both of you – I’m now very (often painfully so) aware of the anger and disappointment I’ve caused in my marriage (thankfully 26 yrs this week). While I live and understand the ADD perspective, this new awareness has me standing with you and your struggles. There’s more and more helpful resources these days – I hope you can all find a formula that can bring you all back to the relationships you envisioned. Sorry for rambling a bit here – your experiences struck a chord with me as I’ve been in that, and want/hope that you can get to a place you want to be. I check these boards pretty regularly, so I’ll check back; I’m sending all my positive energy your way… CHRIS
Warm Muddle –
I’m the ADD spouse, and I agree with you here! Rules/boundaries (tomato/tomahto) – both set clear standards or expectations that should be met. If I can offer one thing – start with the statement you list as a boundary first, and finish with your rule. My wife will do that with me; so “it’s hard for me to sleep thinking the door is unlocked, so please lock it before you go to bed?” It allows your feeling to be voiced first, then sets the expectation/rule to be followed.
As for the issue with co-workers, I feel for you. Spouse/family relationships should always come first. There might be something more going on there than just ADD (fear of reprisal/RSD; toxic work environment, etc.), that ADD might exacerbate it. But I wanted you to hear from ‘the other side’ that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with rules (as a HS teacher, I can’t function without them!)… CHRIS
Thanks for your reply. I too didn’t want/mean to imply you thought we weren’t worth it. Like kesl above (LOVED the post!), I too feel that debilitating shame and fear that others ‘see through’ my façade of competency. Thank you for your kind words – but to be honest, it took me a LONG time to get to that self-realization you mention. Sadly, it took almost losing everything important in my life (marriage, career, etc) for me to seek the assistance I needed – again, the shame that I couldn’t do what seems so natural to ‘normal’ people.
Yes, your husband needs to be accountable for his part here. He has to want to do it not just for you and your family (as important as that is), but for his own well-being, also. At the time, my own self-esteem was so low that doing this for my family was the initial motivating factor in seeking help (I’ve had an amazing therapist going on 2 years now). However, I’m at a place now where it’s okay for me to want this for me. I’m just glad my wife loved me enough (she’s also an LICSW by profession, so that may have helped) to not give up – though I certainly gave her reason to…
I hope this works out for you. But at the end of the day, you also have to do what’s best for you and your family. I’m sending all good wishes/vibes/mojo your way – whatever that may look like. And I hope he can get the help/assistance he needs.
And kesl, thanks again for articulating so well that internal struggle I too have – now I have to get home and water my tomatoes! 😉
Hi folks – I’m the ADD husband, and I’ve been doing the bulk of the yard and house work for us for some time now. Yes, it took some really difficult times to get to that point, but this works for us. I’m an experienced gardener (I love to eat vegetables, I guess), and being out in the yard both energizes and relaxes me.
To WarmMuddle – meds alone won’t ‘snap him out of’ this way of thinking. I thought that was true for me; it also brought our marriage (now 26 yrs) to the brink. For his behavior to change, he has to be in some form of therapeutic schedule, as well. It sounds like there’s a lot of learned behaviors going on here. They are both protective and destructive at the same time – we want to protect ourselves from the shame/guilt of letting the ones we live down; at the same time, they become self-fulfilling. At least that what happened with me. But in order for it to change, he has to be in therapy – things didn’t change for me (and with my wife) until that happened.
To Leftie – I’m sorry things have gotten to this point. One thing – it’s really hard for us to figure out a plan in the moment. Is there a calendar or schedule that you both could fill in together? I know I get overwhelmed when I have to prioritize things on my own – it took a lot of therapy to be able to let go of that and its resultant shame. Now we negotiate what needs to be done together – I love house and yard work; my wife does finances and other things (can’t let my ADD near the checkbook 🙂 ). Hold him to task for the things he says he’ll do – it’s hard but necessary (as I know). I’ll ask if your SO is in therapy/taking medication, also. It’s a huge help – the hardest part is that first step to going. It can help us notice the ‘weeds’, both in the garden and in life!
I hope this helps you both from this side of ADD. I hope you both can do the things to take care of yourselves, as well. Yes, the energy needed to be in relationship with us is a lot. But if the right structures are in p,ace, I like to think we’re worth it. I wish you both well on your journeys, and hope this helped…
May 20, 2019 at 3:33 pm in reply to: Struggling a bit (or maybe a lot, come to think of it) #116951
I’m the ADD husband. My question – is your wife in treatment with a therapist? After my marriage (now 26 yrs) almost failed a few years ago, I found that meds weren’t the ‘fix’ I thought they would be; I needed to have a solid therapeutic regimen as well. Your wife needs to find way to create internal structures that work for her, and for your family. I’m grateful that I was able to find someone and put some of these things in place – it’s still in process. If that works, hopefully she will be in a more confident place in contributing to the family.
One thing – this ADD does wipe us out. It takes a lot for us to get through the professional day (I’m a high school teacher of 24 yrs). Our energy reserve gets depleted more quickly, so it’s hard sometimes when we get home to stay on top of things. That being said, your being clear on expectations is essential – I’m speaking from experience on this. We divided up things in our family (no finances for me! I do house stuff…) so the roles are clearly defined. And though it took me some time to accept it (my sense of shame and self-esteem were REALLY bad for a long time), I’m ok now if my wife reminds me to do things.
One last thing – you need to do the things to care for yourself here. If that means exercising, time outside the house with friends, hobbies, etc – do it! Schedule the time – you need it to stay energized for yourself. I know how much energy we folks with ADD can take. As others have said, the good thing is that you love each other – that saved me as well. I wish you luck going forward – I’ll check back from time to time to see if you post…
Sorry for the spelling and grammar issues! As a high school teacher, I should have proof-read before sending. I got so hyper-focused on what I wanted to say here that I lost track; it’s what I live with – oh well… 🙂
Fedup – I’m really sorry to hear this. I’m the ADD husband; married 25 yrs, diagnosed 17 yrs ago. If it’s similar to my story, he may be dealing with the debilitating shame of having let you and your family down for so long. Every day becomes a constant reminder of the varied ways we see that in ourselves.
My question – is he seekinglutside treatment? I originally thought meds would ‘fix this ADD thing’. What I didn’t realize was that there were other symptoms exacerbated by the ADD that also needed to be addressed. Sadly (as it is for so many of us ADDer’s), it took my marriage almost falling apart for me to do something about it. I did it for us – but I had to do it for me, too.
He has to want this for himself, as well. All you can do is support and encourage him – it means more to us than you know to have that behind us! Also, you need to do things to care for yourself in this. My wife and I are finally in a place where that works – I know how exhausting we can be in the best of times! I don’t take it personally when she needs to do those things any more; it’s helped a lot – so take care of yourself!
It took a lot for me to cede some things in our relationship over to her (like finances ;-)) without my esteem taking the hit (a huge issue for me). I have a really awesome therapist now; along with meds (Concerta 54mg), I realize that both of these MUST be a part of my life for this to work. We ove each other, too; and I need to remind myself of that even when she gets frustrated with me (a huge issue for me before).
I really hope things can better for you both; and I hope this perspective from ‘the other side’ has helped. I wish you well going forward in your journey, and I’ll check back here from time to time… CHRIS
dmvaughan00 – I’m a high school teacher of 24-yrs, diagnosed with ADD (inattentive) 17 yrs ago at age 35. I continually struggle with distractability as it impacts my organization and management of multiple tasks. Just this year I got called in to my principals office because my grades were not posted on our open grade book online; they were in my paper grade book (as you know, ALL teachers keep both!), but not online where teachers/parents can see/access them.
A little back story. I’ve been exploring with my therapist the possibility of me having RSD – though I also have co-morbid anxiety/depression. The request of my principal (by email) had no context, so this threw me into tailspin. Even knowing some of my issues this caught me off-guard. I found out subsequently that this was brought to their attention by a parent – but ‘not as a complaint’. You and I as teachers have seen too may ‘non-complaint’ complaints to know better!
Back to strategies. I reveal to my students and their parents that I have an attentional deficit (I refuse to call it a ‘disorder’!), and that it takes me longer to get work turned back (it’s a writing-heavy discipline). If they have a problem, the student should come to me first, then the parent; if that can’t be resolved, then we can go to an administrator.
I find that kids still do not communicate completely with parents – so everything becomes “the teacher did this to me…”. I’m sorry the parent didn’t feel that they could come to you with this – it seemed so easily resolvable. I hope you can calm down a bit before going to your principal. If you’re the talented teacher you seem to be (I’m SO impressed by your strategy for accountability!), it should resolve itself professionally. I hope this note from another ADD educator helps – good luck and I’ll check back… CHRIS
I’m the ADD husband – diagnosed 17 yrs ago and married 25 yrs now. To ADDlobstah and Strwbry – you both nailed it! We beat ourselves up so much from a lifetime of self-disappointment – hearing it from our life partners is overwhelming. Your ideas are very thoughtful and considerate.
That being said, I think the spouses above need some support, too. One thing I noticed – are your spouses in treatment? I, too thought originally that meds were going to ‘fix this ADD thing’. What I didn’t realize was that a sound treatment plan needed to be in place with that in order address the ‘angry siblings’ of ADD – negative emotion and shame. I had internalized so much that there was little way that meds alone would do the trick. But I needed to want it for myself first – even when my amazing wife wanted out.
I’ve got a really good therapist now – going on 2 years. Along with the meds, we’re in a much better place. We share a lot of the home stuff now (except the finances – I know my limits!), and I’m happy to take those things off her plate. If younthink these may work, just be firm but supportive. If they’re not receptive to this kind of plan, then I think there’s more work for them to do individually – I know there wa for me!
I hope your spouses realize that they have amazing partners – you wouldn’t be exploring these fora here if you weren’t. I’d also like to think we are worth it, too. If you all can find that level ground (we did, though it wasn’t easy at first), I believe you can get to that place you both want to be. I wish you well on your journeys, and will check back… CHRIS
I’m also a full-time teacher (married with 2 kids aged 20 & 17), diagnosed 16 yrs ago at age 35. I find the paperwork associated with school overwhelming at times, as it cuts into the other parts of our lives. Then we get overwhelmed with where to start, as it feels we are short-changing one part of our lives with whatever task we choose (schoolwork vs family/housework). I’ve found breaking things into smaller chunks helps me get started; the task doesn’t seem so daunting.
The hard part sometimes is the energy required to start. That sounds a little like what’s going on with you. Meds helped me stay on task a bit, but not with the energy/impetus to start. That has to come from some inner scaffolding, I think. Whether it’s reminders set (I do that for schoolwork), check-ins with family members or trusted colleagues to encourage us, there’s a lot of resources out there to help with this; you just have to try out some and find what works best.
In defense of a fellow teacher, most people don’t understand the volume/degree of time/energy/work that we have outside of our immediate work environment. Whether planning lessons, creating assessments, or correcting the never-ending pile of papers, much of that is done at home so we can be fully present to our students at school. The energy required for those of us with ADD is exponential; and we have outside lives, as well! I agree with Lenny above, maybe having someone might help begin that process. Also, don’t be so hard on yourself! I know that’s hard for us teachers, but it sounds like you’re on your way.
Good luck going forward – I’ll check back to see how things progress. Now I have to get to that pile of papers I put aside to respond here 🙂 (though that was by choice!). Be well…
I’m consoled that my response helped a bit. While I’m sorry things didn’t work out, I’m grateful that you’re able to take the care of yourself that you need and deserve. If he does return to your orbit, I hope he’s gotten the help he needs in order to have the structures in his life necessary to becoming the partner he hopes to be, and that both of you deserve. I wish you well…