My Forum Comments
After a really horrible few months and near divorce again, we went to a new coach and two new expert therapists (like $600/hour out of pocket experts). They said that although he may have ADD, the challenges and lack of progress are likely a result of ASD not ADD (symptoms can be similar to ADD and misdiagnosed, or ADD is in addition to the undiagnosed ASD). All of our previous efforts took the wrong approach and did more damage than good, to both of us.
For now, we’re giving up on “experts,” “professionals,” and “support groups” and trying to figure this out for ourselves with our own schedule and academic reading.
The number of people who claim to be experts and really don’t know what they are doing is just terrifying.
Thanks for the additional comments. Seeing that people with ADHD can be sympathetic and thoughtful via their comments is really making me think something is very wrong.
My leaving has been a major threat to him in the past, but I haven’t been able to follow through (at first b/c I couldn’t accept it all, then financial concerns, now just exhaustion and concern I’ll lose my job if I have to take time to move). I think he’s also – perhaps unintentionally – been manipulative so I don’t leave by threatening with financial struggles and trying to convince me it’s all my fault. Now when we fight badly, he wants to leave too, but that changes quickly and he doesn’t go either. We’re both stuck.
His family has not set any kind of good example, or ever recognized any ADD symptoms in him (or themselves).
He doesn’t “forget” to do the therapy homework, he just doesn’t understand it and refuses to try or says he did but it didn’t work (and he’s truly convinced of this). He completely denies any effect of his behaviors and blames others (mostly me). To him, it seems like I’m the only one with a problem. He doesn’t get close enough to anyone for them to see any of this. To him, it feels like I’m always trying to blame him and put everything on him because I often respond by talking about the neglected ADD symptoms. I’ve learned that he’s both incredibly stubborn and incredibly patient and flexible. The extremes can be maddening for me at times.
He does fine at work – meets deadlines, initiates things – but has total control. He won’t do any of that at home though. He says that if he can’t have 100% control he wants 0% so working together isn’t an option, which is why I get stuck doing everything. I can’t even get him to put vacation time on the calendar. Forget housework or chores or any kind of regular routine/sanity. Every day is like starting over.
Nothing he wants to do has anything to do with me, which is opposite of when we first met. He says that marriage is just an adventure and he wants to do what he wants and I just come along. He’ll say he wants a family, but doesn’t seem to be willing to do any of the work or preparation to make that happen. I try to talk about upcoming challenges I anticipate as life gets complicated (aging parents etc.) so we can address and not be overwhelmed by them, but until they actually happen, he won’t even acknowledge the possibility so we just live by “putting out fires” and barely surviving. It feels like he just wants to do whatever his ADD mind is into at the moment and ignore everything else including me.
If this is more than ADD, I should definitely check out. I feel so cheated between how he treated me at the beginning compared to now, and people’s comments are just making me think I’m a fool to think anything will improve. He says he wants to change, but I don’t see any actions to support it. He says he wants what I want, but does nothing to make it happen.
We’ll see how couples therapy goes this week. We have someone who at least understands ADD now, but I think I may have had enough.
PS – it should be a crime to try and treat ADHD without proper training and experience – those professionals have done a lot of damage to both of us.
Laura, yes, you’re correct that he does want help. I do believe that. But I agree with AnneHW that he’s not taking responsibility for his part, even though he is convinced he does, which is why I think plain denial and/or some shame are the underlying problems. He doesn’t forget to do his homework (quite the opposite when it comes to school/work), he claims to not understand it and therefore cannot do it from his perspective. He doesn’t see how the homework will help. For example, a lack of routine/ consistency/follow-through can be addressed with a calendar and structured routine that works for both of us, plus some protected alone time. He is super intelligent, but can’t create or follow a calendar so he dismisses the suggestion entirely. Or, he will try once, fail, give up completely, make excuses for why the suggestion would never work, or blame me (he doesn’t need a routine so why do I, I shouldn’t be bothered by a lack of routine, I just don’t like his personality, etc.).
He definitely feels criticized and controlled as you say, but he’s also incredibly sensitive so nearly everything I say is misinterpreted or heard negatively and he responds defensively, if he doesn’t cut me off to talk about something totally unrelated.
We just started couples therapy (for the third time), but he’s already not doing the homework and says he doesn’t understand it, and that my behavior is keeping him from doing anything… I’m considering my options carefully.
Thanks for the thoughtful response, AnneHW. He’s convinced that he is trying and very hard, but he’s not embracing the “try differently” approach because alternatives don’t make any sense to him. Also, how can I say he’s not trying when he does take meds and go to many appointments? How do I – or anyone – explain that “he’s not really trying at all?” I guess I can’t accept that we can’t figure this out after all we’ve been through, in addition to not having a clue how I’d survive a divorce without a support system. Realizing I maybe just should have left a long time ago is also pretty tough to swallow.
It’s helpful to hear that your dad still made you feel loved, cared for, and that he could understand why things bothered you when pointed out. If that is possible for people to do with ADD, then I should go because I don’t experience those things at all even after all the treatment attempts. I’m just told I’m unreasonable and shouldn’t feel that way, but I thought that was an ADD symptom so I keep trying to get help. I also feel pretty guilty sometimes because I’m so upset, frustrated, and angry most/all of the time now. Who would want to work on things when we’re both behaving poorly? What a mess. This is so very hard, and I don’t feel anyone is available to help either one of us.
Thank you for the posts. What I would like to know is not how to “fix” things, but rather, if it is his very disorder that keeps him from recognizing how his behaviors affect others, isn’t that a symptom in need of treatment or coping mechanisms? He is begging for help with that, but nothing is working. How do people get to that point where they overcome the denial and/or see how they affect others?
Other people’s experiences and emotions don’t make any sense to him whatsoever. Articles, books, and therapists haven’t been successful. He is very highly intelligent, but often unable to even try what’s recommended to help because it “feels so wrong to him” (e.g., why do I need to tell you what time I’m coming home, delegate responsibilities, follow through with promises, put anything on a calendar or do anything on a calendar, listen to you, have a routine or boundaries, stop saying really insensitive/hurtful things, prioritize, discuss a budget, recognize lack of intimacy, etc. It doesn’t bother me, why does it bother you?). Although nothing has helped, every person, article, and book seems to say that these symptoms are something that can absolutely be managed. Is that just not true? Is that the missing piece here? He just won’t ever be able to manage this (and I should just walk away)?
These forums are so miserable and discouraging! Where is the real help and support? No one should have to accept a relationship with no sex life, no attention, and no partnership, love, or support. There has to be a better way! Both partners deserve better.
With so many people so frustrated and feeling the “groundhog day” effect (that explains things perfectly @SrH), where are the successful resources and support groups? Why is it so hard to find them, even for people who are fortunate to have resources available to use them? Who is out there who can help because this feels so hopeless so often!!
So what techniques are available that someone can use to help himself along with seeing the effect of his ADD on others? He says he wants help, but still suffers from extreme denial. I understand I cannot force anything, but there just can’t be “nothing” to do by either one of us…
Thank you. I appreciate the response, but it just isn’t helpful. I’m aware of and have read all those articles and many books already, but for advanced cases, there seem to be no resources or qualified professionals available.
- This reply was modified 5 years ago by NonADDspouse.