My Forum Comments
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 2 weeks, 3 days 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…
Thanks for your courage in posting. I’m the ADD partner, diagnosed 16 yrs ago at age 35 – married now 25 years. What you describe sounds very familiar to me. While you and your SO have only been together a short time, these things do impact every facet and period of relationships. First thing, if he says he loves you, take him at his word. Expressing these things are difficult for us. This also leads me to his pushing you away. Two of the ‘evil partners’ that come with ADD are overwhelming shame and poor self-esteem. For me it was easier to shut down/push away than face the perceived eventuality of losing my partner (my amazing wife) anyway – so why not do it before the pain comes? We feel like you’ll just figure it out how overwhelming loving us is on your own and leave anyway. From my vantage point it sounds like that might be happening a little here.
That being said, he needs to be diagnosed and in treatment. Sadly, that has to come from him, or it won’t work. But when you legitimately forget (actually, our unbalanced executive functioning loses track of the info) to call it can be overwhelming to even start. All you can do is support as best you can – believe me, that can mean more than you know.
It sounds like he does care for you. It just gets so hard for us to bear when we miss some opportunity every day to show that we do care. I’ve told those close to me thatnit feels like this – that it’s overwhelming waking up every day with the realization that you’re going to forget something important today (returning texts, rmembering special occasions, losing track of errands, etc.) in relation to your partner – we just don’t know what it is until it happens. We want to be good partners; but to do that we also need outside support. I thought meds were all I needed. I now know that I need therapeutic support – I’ve had a great therapist for almost 2 years now, and things are progressing (after almost separating 2 yrs ago).
The last piece is you. You need to do what’s best regarding your own self-care. Whatever that means (therapy, time for yourself, etc.), don’t relinquish that. Loving someone with ADD takes a lot; so caring for yourself is essential if you’re sticking it out. I like to think we’re worth it.
I hope this helps. I wish you well on whichever path you choose to travel in this relationship. I’ll check back with an attitude of hopefulness – when I don’t forget! 😉
Thanks for both your stories! I’m a high school teacher (24 yrs) diagnosed 16 yrs ago at age 35. My marriage and job were in jeopardy. Diagnosed and and medicated (Concerta 54mg), and that worked wonders in the short term. Fast forward to 21 months ago, and my marriage is again in danger. I thought that meds would be the magic fixer of this ADD ‘thing’. What I didn’t realize was that ADD has insisdious relatives that accompany it everywhere – shame, anxiety, depression, and possibly rejection sensitive dysphoria. Not dealing with those brought me to that place.
I realized a full treatment plan had to be in place to get myself back to where I wanted to be. For me, that meant both meds and therapy. While it’s still a struggle sometimes, I realize that this will always be who I am: I forget things, lose track of time, struggle with small talk, etc. But I’m better about not letting it derail me.
I have an amazing wife (just celebrated 25 yrs) and kids (now 17 & 20). They keep me grounded, as I’m better about letting them do that. I hope that you both can find those foundations that let you be the person at your core. You both have so much to offer! Keep up the good work, and I wish well on your journeys; thanks again for sharing your stories! Chris