Emotions & Shame

7 Emotions That Knock Us Off Our Feet

Nearly a third of adolescents and adults with ADHD list emotional instability as one of the most impairing aspects of the condition, yet its diagnostic criteria don’t even mention emotions. Here, Dr. William Dodson explains the most common emotional impairments associated with ADHD.

Collection set of 80 face ADHD emotions
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Emotions: The Hidden Symptoms

There are 18 diagnostic criteria for ADHD, and not a single one mentions emotions. Instead, they list outwardly visible symptoms that can be observed, counted, and easily cited in research statistics – like difficulty listening, distractibility, and forgetfulness. The out-of-control feelings that (very often) come with ADHD are ignored for three main reasons:

  1. Not everyone with ADHD experiences extreme emotions.
  2. People with ADHD hide their emotional problems because they are embarrassed or ashamed of the way they feel.
  3. Emotions are impossible to measure, so researchers ignore them.

But any clinician knows it’s the emotional impact of ADHD that most commonly brings people into the office. That’s what is really causing problems. 30% of adolescents and adults with ADHD list their emotional instability as the most impairing aspect of the condition. This emotionality is nearly universal, yet in manifests in many distinct ways.

Realistic thunderstorm background with clouds, a metaphor for flashes of ADHD emotions
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1. Flash Emotions

Many people with ADHD are blindsided by their own emotions, especially when they change at lightning speed — without any time to reflect, think, or feel. In these cases, they act on or express emotions without a chance to filter them.

The sudden emotion that gets people with ADHD in trouble the most is the flash temper. As one patient told me, “You go from zero to FU in an instant.” Medications can treat this symptom, and give people with ADHD the same two seconds that everybody else has to feel an emotion coming on and decide, “I really shouldn’t express that.”

A woman with ADHD sits and thinks about her complex emotions
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2. Alexithymia/Dyslexithymia

More often than not, people with ADHD will use a description like “anxious” to explain how they are feeling, but mean something entirely different. People with ADHD commonly have either alexithymia (no words for feelings) or dyslexithymia (the wrong words for feelings). From the beginning, physicians have to learn how that unique individual is using the words, and what they really mean by them.

[Free Download: 15 Ways to Disarm (and Understand) Explosive ADHD Emotions]

A dynamite bomb circuit, a metaphor for a person's explosive emotions with ADHD
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3. Low Frustration Tolerance

Most people with ADHD have a very low frustration tolerance. They're easily overwhelmed by their emotions and the stresses they experience. They don’t have a barrier that allows them to set aside uncomfortable emotions, and they often become completely flooded by a feeling, making it unbearable.

A businesswoman with ADHD is left out because she doesn't understand the emotions of others
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4. Unaware of Others’ Emotions

People with ADHD can be hypersensitive and overwhelmed by everything that's going in a room. Or, they can seem very cold, very insensitive, or blissfully unaware of the feelings of others. When they disengage — whether due to lack of focus or because they’re overwhelmed — they can seem callous or narcissistic.

An upset man with ADHD has strong emotions
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5. Sensitive to Rejection

People with ADHD are exquisitely sensitive to rejection and criticism. They can experience hopelessness and demoralization because they try to succeed by imitating the paths to success of people without ADHD, and then fail over and over again because the same paths don't work for them.

Having ADHD can be like being blindfolded. It limits your ability to understand others.
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6. Overreaction/Easily Overwhelmed

One of the biggest problems with ADHD is overreaction, where the emotional reaction doesn't match the nature or the seriousness of the trigger. People with ADHD can have a great deal of difficulty distinguishing between dangerous threats and minor problems. So many times they overreact and, as one of my patients says, “Need to be talked in off the ledge.” The hyperarousal of ADHD means that most people with ADHD never experience peace. Their minds are always going 100 mph until they are exhausted.

[Self-Test: Could You Have Emotional Hyperarousal?]

close-up of a young woman with ADHD feeling overwhelmed by emotions
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7. Shame and Guilt

The average child with ADHD hears 20,000 additional critical or corrective messages before their 12th birthday, far more than a kid who doesn't have ADHD. That criticism can have a significant impact on the self-image and self-worth of a person with ADHD.

People with ADHD have a hard time being aware of social appropriateness and interactions, so they end up being socially ostracized and, as the saying goes, they are the last picked but the first picked on. Consequently, most people with ADHD grow into adulthood with a profound feeling that they are less than everybody else in some way. They feel uncool and unwanted, and sometimes even profoundly defective. The term you'll hear very commonly is "damaged goods," and that the person with ADHD feels generally incompetent in the world.

The resulting shame and guilt often produce a situation in which positive feedback just slings right past them. They never even notice it. They're much more in tune to the negative feedback they get. Consequently, the shame almost always dominates all the other emotions. As Freud said, "Shame is the master emotion." It's the only emotion that doesn't seek expression and it can determine whether other emotions get expressed or even acknowledged and dealt with.

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  1. Please don’t call it ‘over reacting’. It is not.

    We are reacting legitimately to the level of emotion we’re actually feeling. NOT inflating anything. It just hurts that much.

    Additionally, this is one of the primary words used to dismiss, discredit or invalidate us as we grow up. You’ll find almost all of us have had this word used to make us ‘less than’ somehow, or ‘wrong’ somehow.

    Finally, what we can verbalise is probably a tip of an iceberg not unlike the symptoms iceberg chart. There is usually a depth – and a VERY DISTINCT, VERY FAIR logic – to our reaction.

    1. Amen!!! No we are not over reacting!!!! We are feeling intense emotions that other people do not understand and that lack of understanding does not make us wrong or flawed… just different

    2. My son and I have ADHD. When he loses games at school, he throws a fit and shuts down. Sometimes he lashes out at others. That’s not just different. It’s an overreaction. When I lose my temper and hurt myself (usually my throat from screaming, but occasionally my hands from hitting walls), that’s also an overreaction. Pretending otherwise can be just as problematic as criticism. We may not be able to help how we feel, but we can be empowered to express them in a way that’s less harmful to ourselves and others.

      1. Thank you! It does more harm than good to explain my teen’s unpleasant behaviors by saying “it’s a legitimate reaction, it is how she feels” or “she only lashes out because of the ADD and accompanying anxiety disorder”. The damage has already been done and her diagnoses is an explanation, but NOT an excuse. Top that off with the oft-written-about-here ADD phenomenon of apologies being nearly impossible for the sufferer to offer, and what do you get? A person who gets very little sympathy for causing frustration and anger in others because they cant control their outbursts, and explain it as being a symptom of their disorder.

    3. Reading these responses make me consider another idea. It’s probably not just wording people use, but also has to do weather words are used respectively… never demeaning.
      As a 51 year old woman recently finding relief from anxiety and depression through adhd meds, it was extremely important that I recognized my feelings as inappropriate to my life conditions. They were sincere and valid because they were from my brain; however it was the recognition of inappropriate or over-reacting that kept me searching for medical support. Personally, daily meditation is another tool that helps my condition.

  2. Prior to selling my business and retiring at 60 (Not by choice) on many occasions i googled LOW FRUSTRATION TOLERANCE I even had an LTF bookmark. The results were devestating and had nothing to do with ADHD . Even in the last 13 years after retirement i continued the search to little or no help. Then about 5 years ago on the fourth page near the 50th listing there was a reference to ADHD . Medical self diagnosis is so great…….A little research and I was on my way to a major depression and eventually a real ADHD diagnosis.
    If all of us regularly google this and select it we might get it to move up to the first page of results.

  3. I remember my father screaming at me fifty-five years ago because of my report card. So I don’t see my strong response to criticism as an overreaction

  4. “You’re too sensitive.” “Calm down, you need learn to cope better; EVERYONE experiences (insert event resulting from the human condition/life course here). It’s natural to be upset, but not THAT upset.”Grow up”, “Be a man”, “Act like an adult”, etc., etc., etc….

    In other words, “You need to push those intense feelings down and be like the norm.”. Or find a way to numb or forget away our emotions into the recesses of our mind (perhaps so far so often that one may turn emotionless?).

    While it is absolutely necessary to get PROFESSIONAL help when our disproportionate emotional responses are causing psychologicsl or physical harm to ourself or others, it’s no justification for another person to make verbal statements which demonstrate their total SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS and/or LACK of EMPATHY!

    And perhaps if that “normative” level of emotional response were intensified a bit more this world and our society would truly commit to ending all forms of suffering and nourish, heal and understand their fellow human being.

    Finally regarding a specific grief or fear based emotional response: if it bugs someone to see a grown adult male (in my case) cry their eyeballs out due to some “regular life thing”; console him, stand silent or go away. Though IMO the best for all involved, and what I WOULD also usually prefer; is a hug for that bug you’re feelin’ thank you!

  5. I am a NON ADHD spouse. I was not aware of my husband’s ADHD diagnosis’ affects not only I him, from him outwardly but onto me, into our daily life. He refused meds saying didn’t like how it affected him. He was married 30 yrs his spouse passed away. I’m a very patient person, lots of empathy and sympathy as I have physical medical chronic conditions so I must take meds. I discovered you must give time to stabilize in your system however if you find with reasonable time still very difficult to handle their affects you must discuss with your physician. Possibly adjust dosage, try different med etc but you do not just stop taking them. Talking with others who have ADHD they experienced similar affects but found it slowly leveled out and it actually helped them and their relationships greatly incl work. The other is Cognitive behavioral therapy counselling is a must. Even for the Non ADHD Spouse like myself, family get the tools to understand and communicate deal with my husband and save our marriage. I’ve encountered on the “receiving end” his sudden outbursts, cold, lack of empathy, demeaning, belittling words, tone and sarcastic looks. His REGULAR LIES, TWISTING FACTS AND EVENTS OR ALTER TO MINIMIZE HIS RESPONSIBILITY INSTEAD TRANSFER IT BACK ONTO ME which in turn “throws me under the bus” when he tells anyone of incident. Overreact? One incident I was calmly talking to him asked him something when he yelled at me then SUDDENLY JUMPED FROM HIS SEAT LITERALLY RAN OVER TO KUTCHEN DRAWER AND PULLED OUT A BUTCHER KNIFE AND FOR SPLIT SECOND POINTED IT AT ME, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME YELLING “KILL ME JUST GET IT OVER WITH”. I was SHOCKED, SCARED, but stayed calm thru lot of silent prayers. I told him NO I WONT. I ASKED HIM TO PUT IT DOWN. HE FLIPPED IT OVER TOWARDS HIS STOMACH said I’LL DO IT MYSELF, GET IT OVER WITH. I WAS SPEECHLESS. THIS YES WAS OVER THE TOP OVERREACTION!!

    I left him to get myself away from a very unstable situation not knowing then anything about ADHD other than hyper and hard time focus sometimes as he told me later but before this incident. I told him it’s vital a must that he seek help meds and Counseling first for himself and then for me, for us. He lies ALL the time, some “honest” lies but many blatant lies. He is TOTALLY OPPOSITE FROM WHEN DATING THEN WHAM ONCE MARRIED HE COMPLETELY CHANGED. Ive done extensive research espec on this site and it was, is like a Checklist of his ADHD Actions, reactions, symptoms, affects not only on him but to me, on our relationship. I tried to share what I learned and how much it mirrors us. So knowing then go for marriage counseling too deal with this together. He SCOFFED AT ME…”YEAH RIGHT!!”. I was very hurt because I cared enough to try to get information to help me understand, how I can be positive in responses etc. There were other times he would lose his temper, just react over the top to yes what is a relativly minimal matter. I understand to him he perceives it differently so many times i let it go during his negative sharp condescending replies, expressions.

    Yes I had LOTS OF EMPATHY but when you won’t get help no therapy or meds then NO I’m not going to be his target when he OVERACTS, HIS SUDDEN TEMPER FITS, YELLING, SUPERIOR ATTITUDE. EVEN IF GET ON MEDS, THERAPY DEAL EITH OTHER ISSUES WE ALL HAVE SOME BUT ALSO GET TOOLS TO LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH “HIS VALID” ISSUES, FEELINGS. MOST LIKE MYSELF AND OTHERS I’VE READ HERE ON THIS SITE WHO LOVE SOMEONE WITH ADHD DO NOT DISCOUNT THEIR FEELINGS. YOU CANT TELL SOMEONE WHAT THEY’RE FEELING IS WRONG. HOWEVER ALL THE ABOVE SITUATIONS, REACTIONS ARE NOT JUSTIFIED NOR SHOULD THEY BE TOLERATED. EVERY AGE LEVEL WITHOUT NEUROLOGIC ISSUES LIKE ADHD THERE ARE APPROPRIATE “RESPONSE REACTIVES” EVEN INTO ADULTHOOD. SO IF YOU TAKE THE CAUSE, VARIABLES IN ANY GIVEN SITUATION THERE IS A RESPECTIVE REACTION TO EACH. Now realistically none of us fall within those levels all the time again depending on variables but then there is an “INTENSE, EVEN AGGRESSIVE SHARP TEMPER FLARES, EXAGGERATION OR OMIT FACTS, TOTAL LOSS OF “REALITY” AT THAT MOMENT. That warrants “OVER REACTION”. HE IS FEELING WHAT HE IS TRULY FEELING BUT IT IS ALSO BLOWN UP CAUSING A LOT OF PAIN, DISCOMFORT, CONFUSION HURT AND AFTER A WHILE THEN YOU BECOME ANGRY OUT OF FRUSTRATION, CONSTANTLY TRYING TO BALANCE HE RELATIONSHIP WHICH RESULTS IN SOMETHING, SOMEONE LIKE ME I BECAME “THE PARENT”. I BECAME THE “NAG” TO HIM CAUSE I’D HAVE TO REMIND HIM DO THINGS, GET THINGS DONE. ITS SO TAXING. BECAME RESENTFUL BECAUSE I NEVER EVER NAGGED MY LATE HUSBAND IN OR 30 YRS MARRIAGE. SO GOT TO POINT WITHOUT REALIZING TILL I GET PHYSICALLY VERY ILL THAT I SUCCUMBED TO HIS TEMPER FITS BY PLAYING INTO HIS DRAMA, I STARTED RAISING MY VOICE. I TRY TO TALK HE’D CUT ME OFF OR IF I ASKED HIM A QUESTION, HE TURNED IT BACK ON ME. FRUSTRATION IS NOT EVEN CLOSE EVENTUALLY I REACTED BY YELLING TOO. THEN I GOT SICK. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! IF he was not aware of his Mental illness, not offered to get help, not have support, these reply statements I’ve read here I’d agree to a point but NO!! YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE TO GET HELP, DO ALL YOU CAN TO UNDERSTAND FULLY NOT ONLY KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE, THE AFFECTS INCL TO OTHERS LIKE SPOUSE, FAMILY, WORK BUT GET THE TOOLS TO DEAL WITH IT ALL THEN WORK AT IT. GET COUNSELING FOR MARRIAGE, FAMILY. WILL ALL THIS ELIMINATE THOSE “OVER REACTIONS” SUDDEN TEMPER FLARES, REALISTICALLY NO BUT IT CAN HELP MINIMIZE THEM, HELP PUT THOSE FEELINGS IN PERSPECTIVE AND ALLOW OTHERS TO HELP THE PERSON LIKE MY HUSBAND IN THOSE MOMENTS WITH EMPATHY. ENCOURAGE THAT PERSON’S FAMILY, WORK EMPLOYMENT TO BE OPEN TO LEARN AND GET INSIGHT INTO THIS MENTAL ILLNESS. THEN YOU CAN HAVE EMPATHY. WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING, IT’S JUST SYMPATHY.

    INTERESTING THING I FOUND AFTER MARRIED ALSO VERY HURTFUL THAT FOLKS LIKE MY HUSBAND LOVE TO IMPRESS. HE’S GREAT SPEAKER, LOVES TO DRAW ATTENTION TO HIMSELF ALL HE DOES, WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER TO HELP SOMEONE OTHER THAN MYSELF OR HIS JOB. HE’S A FUN LOVING GREAT PATIENT GUY,ENTERTAINER EVERYONE LOVES. LIKE WHEN WE DATED AND ENGAGED. ALL THIS HALTED AFTER “I DO”. LIKE JEKYLL AND HYDE. REALLY! We each have flaws that surface as we become more comfortable with each other, our environment incl work, this we are around on a regular basis for hours at a time but for him with ADHD IT IS WAY OVER THE CHARTS COMPLETE DIFFERENT PERSON. IM LIVING WITH A STRANGER LIKE IN A “LIFETIME MOVIE”. IT’S A NIGHTMARE, LITERALLY. THE STRESS IS SO BEYOND FATHOMABLE. BUT FOR HIM ONCE HIS FITS, LIES, DENIALS, ETC ARE OVER, HE LITERALLY WILL GREET YOU LATER OR NEXT DAY LIKE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED, LIKE NO HURTFUL WORDS, VERBAL ATTACKS, LIES TWIST FACTS, PUT BACK ON ME ETC EVER OCCURRED. YOUR LEFT WITH ALL THAT AND MORE THEN THIUGH YOU DONT KEEP TRACK OF EACH INCIDENT, WHEN IT’S CONSISTENT THEN NO!!! I CANT JUST GET OVER IT THRU RESTLESS NIGHT IF LITTLE TO NO SLEEP. STRESS KILLS!!

    ITS NOT BOTHERING HIM. HE INFLICTS. IT IS LITERALLY KILLING ME. PUT ME IN THE HOSPITAL DUE TO THE STRESS. DOCUMENTED RECORDS DIAGNOSIS WHAT SENT ME TO THE E.R. IS INDUCED BY STRESS. SO HIS “FEELINGS, REACTIONS ARE LITERALLY STRESS INDUCED FACTORS FOR ANYONE TOO CLOSE ON A DAILY BASIS THAT HE DOESN’T NEED TO IMPRESS, TO STAY IN HIS “HYPERFOCUSED MODE”.

    THEN TOP IT OFF I HAD DISCOVERED HIS LATE WIFE WENT THRU, EXPERIENCED THE SAME AS I FROM HIM. SHE WROTE OF THESE ISSUES, TIMES, EVENTS AND HER CONCERNS. EVEN RE HIS NOT BEING ON MEDS, HIS TEMPER. HOW SHE TRIED TO CALM HIM DOWN BUT HE WOULDN’T.

    I felt so bad for her. But unlike me she chose to put up with it all because she didn’t want to work or live alone. So she learned to tolerate until she blew up at him which he told me during dating she’d do and asked me not to do that cause he wouldn’t remember way back even weeks later. I told I wouldn’t do that but after all I’ve experienced with him I totally understand why she didn’t or couldn’t talk with him and chose to hold in hope it’ll get better. Because you can’t talk with him. He cuts you off, won’t answer anything, puts back on you and then your so disgusted, frustrated, disalussioned and hurt you just learn don’t say anything. Heck why go thru this everytime need talk with him might as well wait let it go ignore long as possible then let out at one time, deal with his brunt of “OVER REACTIONS” AT ONE TIME.

    THIS SITE HAS BEEN A HUGE HELP FOR ME. I’VE GAINED INSIGHT, KNOWLEDGE, SYMPATHY FOR WHAT HE AND OTHERS WITH THIS MENTAL ILLNESS, ADHD/ADD DEAL WITH BUT NOW THAT I’VE ALSO EXPERIENCED THE AFFECTS, REACTIONS, WITNESSED THE SYMPTOMS AND HOW DIFFERENT HE IS WITH OTHERS THAN ME, HIS WIFE. I’M ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN UNLESS LIKE AT CHURCH OR A FUNCTION TOGETHER THAN HES SUDDENLY MR. ATTENTIVE, AFFECTIONATE, THOUGHTFUL JUST LIKE WHEN WE DATED. ONCE EVENT IS OVER, WE LEAVE IT ALL GOES BACK TO ME BEING ON THE OUTSIDE. KINDA LIKE BEING PUT BACK ON THE SHELF.

    TALK ABOUT EMPATHY? I LOST MY DAD JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2017. FROM TIME I GOT BACK AFTER TAKING CARE IF MY DADS AFFAIRS TO PRESENT HE HAS NOT ONE TIME EVER ASKED HOW IM DOING. WE WATCHED A MOVIE THAT AT END WAS EMOTIONAL MOMENT BETWEEN FATHER AND DAUGHTER. I TEARED UP, SNIFFLES. HE NEVER LOOKED OVER AT ME, DID NOT OFFER A TISDUE, A HUG, NOTHING. YET WITH OTHERS OR AROUND OTHERS WITH ME, HE ACTS LIKE DOTING EMPATHETIC KIND CARING HUSBAND OR FRIEND. ACTUALLY HE’S ALWAYS THAT WITH ANYONE OTHER THAN MYSELF OR HIS LATE WIFE. PEOPLE SAY OH EARLS DUCH A GREAT HUSBAND, GREAT GUY, SO THOUGHTFUL, KIND, CARING HELPFUL. SERIOUSLY, DO YOU LIVE WITH HIM IS WHAT I WANT TO SAY. HOW DO THEY TRULY KNOW? THEY SEE WHAT HE WANTS THEM TO SEE. HES IN HIS ELEMENT OF MAJOR HYPERFOCUS. HE LOST HIS JOB DUE TO MUCH SAME ISSUES. HE WAS WRITTEN UP, HAD ISSUES 1ST YR OF OUR MARRIAGE YET HE NEVER TOLD ME. I FOUND OUT THEN HE LIED OVER AND OVER VIA MEMOS FROM HIS REGIONAL MGR AND BRANCH MGR. I WAS SHOCKED.

    SO HEN RECENTLY HE TOLD ME I AM THE ONLY ONE HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH I LOOKED LIKE SERIOUSLY? I TOLD HIM WELL 1ST THEY ALL DON’T LIVE WITH YOU. 2ND THATS SNOTHER BLATANT LIES. YOU AND YOUR LATE WIFE HAD SAME ISSUES, ITS DOCUMENTED JUST LIKE YOUR JOBS ESPEC LAST ONE. 3 PAGES OF JOURNALED ISSUES, PLUS LETTER MEMO FROM REGIONAL. I TOLD HIM THAT IS SO CRUEL TO SGAIN PUT IT BACK ON ME INSTEAD OF TAKING RESPONSIBILITY.

    IT GOES ON AND ON. BUT NOW I HAD TO STOP FOR MY HEALTH. MY HEART IS BROKEN, I AM BETRAYED. I WAS TOTALLY HONEST WITH HIM OF MY HEALTH ISSUES, UPFRONT, NO LIES. IM FAR FROM PERFECT BUT IVE DONE ALL I CAN WITH COUNSELING AND THIS SITE TO HELP, WORK ON ME AND MY CONTRIBUTION THAT IT BE HELPFUL, POSITIVE, SUPPORTIVE TO NO AVAIL.

    HE LED ME TO BELIEVE HE WAS GOING FOR COUNSELING EHILE I WAS TAKING CARE OF MY DAD ONLY FIND OUT NO HE DID NOT. WHEN I CAME BACK HE KNEW NO MORE EXCUSES HIS REPLY “I NEVER PROMISED YOU”. I WAS SHOCKED ANOTHER LIE. I GO INTO OUR BEDROOM ONLY TO FIND HE TOOK HIS LATE WIFE’S SMALL COSTUME JEWLERY BOXES PUT THEM BACK IN THE SAME SPOT ON THE SHELF NEXT TO HIS WATCH BOXES LIKE THEY WERE BEFORE WE GOT MARRIED. THEN HE PUT SOME IF HER ITEMS LIKE HAT, CROCHETED THROWS AND HER BAG OF COSTUME JEWLERY IN WHAT IS MY CLOSET IN OUR BEDROOM. WHEN I ASKED HIM AFTER MY INITIAL SHOCK, FELT LIKE HE KICKED ME IN MY GUT UNDER CONTROL TEARS AND ALL HE ANSERED EXACTLY ALMOST WORD FOR WORD THAT I SHARED WITH MY BROTHER AND BEST FRIEND HE WOULD SAY. “WELL UH I JUST UH WANTED IT LIKE IT USED TO BE…UM COMFORTABLE, UH LIKE HOME.”

    THAT WAS THE KNIFE HE PUT THRU MY HEART THEN TWISTED IT. EVEN THOUGH I KNEW MY GUT TOLD ME KNOWING HIM WHAT HE’D SAY OR CLOSE TO IT BUT HEARING IT DID NOT DIMINISH THE SHOCK, DISBELIEF AND ENORMOUS PAINFUL GUT WRENCHING HURT WHEN IT WAS WORD FOR WORD I PREDICTED HE’D SAY.

    I ALSO KNOW WHY, PART OF THE REASON…HE KNEW OUR MARRIAGE WAS CONTINGENT UPON HIS GETTING THERAPY, MEDS SO WHEN I GOT BACK THEN HE’D HAVE SEVERAL SESSIONS SO HE MIGHT BE READY AT THAT POINT WE COULD START OUR THERAPY TOGETHER OR LEAST ON THE PATH TO THERE. BUT HE DID NOT WANT TO GET THERAPY, DEAL WITH NOT ONLY ADHD BUT OTHER ISSUES SO HE CHOSE TO LIE TO ME THOSE MONTHS RE THERAPY WHILE I WAS CAREGIVING MY DYING DAD. HE CHOSE TO REATTACH HIMSELF PHYSICALLY TO HIS LATE WIFE BRINGING HER INTO THE PRESENT AS HIS “CURRENT” WIFE, HIS LIFE AS IT WAS. IN HIS MIND BECAUSE REALITY IS IT WAS NOT THIS SO WONDERFUL LOVING STRESS FREE NO ADHD ISSUES LIKE WE’VE HAD IN OUR SHORT MARRIAGE. HE OF COURSE HAS ELEVATED HIS LATE WIFE TO THIS “ANGEL SAINTLY” WOMAN. IM THE NAGGING, PAIN WHO IS NOT ALLOWING HIM TO INTIMIDATE ME, TO HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE YET DONE WITH KINDNESS AND LOVE EVEN DID MY PART, KEPT MY WORD WHEN I GOT BACK TO GO FOR THERAPY AS I SAID TO GET TOOLS I NEED AS THE NON ADHD SPOUSE. SO HE CHOSE HIS LIFE HE HAD, PAST TENSE THEN GO FOR COUNSELING AS A POSITIVE STEP FOR HIMSELF AND FOR US. ALso for me.

    I KNOW HE’LL ALWAYS LOVE HER, HAVE PIECE OF HIS HEART AND HIMSELF PLUS BIT MORE THAN HALF HIS LIFE AS I WITH MY LATE HUSBAND BUT I WOULD NOT CHOOSE WHAT IS GONE OVER WHAT I HAVE OR COULD HAVE. I ONLY ASKED HIM TWO THINGS PKEASE GET ON MEDS, GET ONE BEST FOR HIM AND THERAPY. THATS IT OH SORRY YES ONE MORE…STOP THE LIES!!

    SO MY REALITY DEALING WITH ADHD SPOUSE, PERSON IS HE LIED TO ME BEFORE MARRIED WHEN I ASKED HIM “SO WHAT I’M SEEING, HEARING, RECEIVING FROM YOU AS IN ACTIONS, REACTIONS, AFFECTION, FUN, LIKE TO DO THINGS I ASKED ABOUT, HELP ME WILLIGLY SO PROMPTLY AS HE DID, BE THE CHRISTIAN SPIRITUAL LEADER AT HOME AS CHRIST INSTRUCTS HUSBANDS TO BE LIKE HE WAS DOING RE BIBLE STUDY WHEN DATING AND MORE WHEN WE GET MARRIED AND AFTER? NO MAJOR CHANGES?”. HE REPLIED ” EHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET”. WOW THAT WAS HIS FIRST MAJOR HUGE BLATANT LIE. HE WAS TOTALLY OPPOSITE SHORTLY FTER MARRIED. ACTUALLY I FELT IT DURING OUR HONEYMOON.

    BEFORE MARRIED HE ALWAYS REACHED FOR MY HAND TO HOLD DRIVING, WALKING ANYWHERE. DURING HONEYMOON I NOTICED HE DID NOT. I LET IT GO THOUGH MY GUT WAS TELLING ME THIS IS WRONG. BUT I TRIED TO IGNORE LENDING IT TO COMING DOWN FROM ALL EXCITEMENT, TIRED etc so let it go. Then on the beach, walking around he just wasn’t this fun living affectionate guy now my husband as he was before then. He used to bring me flowers. So while after married not long after numerous drives and going places but he no longer reaching for my hand nor flowers, I said, “so now we’re married and you stop doing these things?” Why? His response “WELL YOUR HERE NOW”. I was so hurt!!

    ONCE AGAIN HE ALSO ANSWERED BY PUTTING IT BACK ON ME. HE SAID RE REACHING TO HOLD HANDS. “WELL YOU COULD REACH FOR MINE”. I REPLIED “I DO. YES GETTING IN CAR I CAN, I HAVE BUT THIS IS ABOUT YOU WHY YOU STOPPED ALTOGETHER. NOT LIKE SOMETIMES. YOU STOPPED LITERALLY AFTER MARRIED, DURING HONEYMOON WHEN COUPLES ARE SO HAPPY, CRAZY IN LOVE, ITS THEIR HONEYMOON YET YOU CHANGED. I FELT IT EVEN WHEN EATING BREAKFAST AT LOVELY CAFE YOU HAD NO ROMANCE, NO AFFECTION, NEVER REACHED OVER TO ME, NEVER LOOKED AT ME LIKE YOU DID WHEN DATING, LEADING UP TO GETTING MARRIED. WE’RE ON THE BEACH AT MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNSET AND HE was like a BUMP ON A LOG. HE DIDNT PUT HIS ARM AROUND ME WATCHING IT. I ASKED HIM TO SIT ON THE BEACH SO BE NICE TO CUDDLE NEVER TO OLD TO CUDDLE LOL BUT HE DIDNT WANT TO DO THAT EITHER. I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT. IM NOT ONE TO HAVE SOMEONE HANG ON ME ALL THE TIME BUT ITS OUR HONEYMOON FOR GOODNESS SAKE

    SO I TRIED OVER AND OVER GAVE IT ALL IVE GOT INCL TO THE POINT I OVER REACTED OUT OF FRUSTRATION, HURT, ANGER DEVELOPED OVER 2 YRS PRAYING HE WOULD GET HELP TO NO AVAIL FILLED WITH LIES, MANY OTHER DISCOVERIES THEN TOP IT OFF BY PUTTING HIS LATE WIFE BEFORE ME. PLAINLY TELLING ME BY ACTION AND VERBAL HE WANTS HER, HOW IT USED TO BE. SO I’M been LIVING AN “Emotional Bigamy, adulterous by heart and Emotional Abandonment” by my husband. One hand I feel like “THE OTHER WOMAN”. ON The other hand I feel BETRAYED, He’s cheated, is cheating on me by heart with his late wife, she’s his mistress and bringing out her items putting them in our most INTIMATE PLACE, OUR BEDROOM WAS SHOVING HER IN MY FACE, IN HIS MIND AND HEART THEIR RELATIONSHIP supercedes our CURRENT, PRESENT LEGAL MARRIAGE. HE TOLD ME THEN THAT SHES THE ONE HE WANTS. HE MADE HIS CHOICE. HE BROKE MY HEART.

    I MOVED MY ITEMS OUT. HE ASKED “SO WHAT ARE WE DOING?” WHEN HE CAME HOME. I COULDNT BELIEVE HE’D ASK SUCH A THING. I REPLIED SEPERATING. HE SAID. “OK!”. YUP THAT WAS IT. SO I TOLD HIM YOU WANTED IT ALL LIKE IT USED TO BE SO YOUVE GOT YOUR WISH. I WILL NOT BE PART IF YOUR 3SOME. IM NOT GOING TO LIVE IN OR UNDER HER SHADOW. HE REPLIED “YOUR NOT. I DIDNT SAY THAT”. RE WANTING IT BACK LIKE IT USED TO BE”. I WAS LIKE OH HERE WE GO AGAIN. YES HE DID. BUT AS USUAL DOESNT WANT TO TAKE OWNERSHIP AND THAT MY LEAVING A RESULT OF THAT BEING THE FINAL STRAW. HE SAID “THATS THE WAY YOU TOOK IT”. I SAID NO YOU STOP. DO NOT PUT IT ON ME. YES YOU DID SAY IT.” HE WALKED AWAY AS I SAID THAT WHICH HE DIES TOO. HE’LL SAY WHAT HE WANTS THEN WHEN I REPLY HE WALKS AWAY. NEVER ENDING. HIS “OVER REACTIONS and NOT GETTING HELP, TOOLS AND GRIEF COUNSELING TOO AS I ENCOURAGED HIM TO DO AS WELL BUT HE REFUSED THAT TOO. HE WAS FINE. NO HE WAS AND IS NOT. NIGHTMARE!!

    1. I empathize with you, wholeheartedly!!!!!!!!!!!
      One of my parents is very similar in behavior. I suspect ADHD, as well as Personality Disorders. Definitely see some Narcissism and Histrionic tendencies there. So much of what you said was so familiar. For years I thought I was crazy because not many other people saw this person as I did. In fact, people would tell me my parent was a Saint. In my head I’d think they obviously didn’t know them as well as I did.
      My parent moved down the street from me when I had my kids to be a daily part of our lives. They said it was so they could help, but I think subconsciously it was more about co-dependence and so I could be there to help them. Which as you know, can be extremyly draining.
      I’ve been in Christian Counseling for the last decade and it’s been the best thing I ever did. Extremyly hard because I had to learn new ways to deal with the relationship, which threatened the status quo, but over time, and with MUCH prayer things slowly began to change. At least for me. My parent still refuses counseling to this day, and sadly continues to live in their own mental prison, to which they hold the key to get help/out.
      After getting my own ADHD diagnosis a few years ago and studying it in depth in order to better help my child who also has it, I’ve learned so much as to the nature of it. I’ve also dug into PD’s to better understand my parent and deal with them. So I commend you on your desire and efforts to know more in order to help your husband. That’s is so loving of you. I also agree with your decision to separate, as I know how it can make you feel like the crazy one living with someone like that and that’s not good for you. If they choose not to get help to that extreme, at some point the most loving thing you can do is to remove yourself from that daily environment to (1) protect your own physical/mental health from getting worse, but also (2) hopefully prompt them to look in the mirror and seek help. Jesus said (in John 5) to the man who had been sick for 38 years, “Don’t you want to be healed?” This man just accepted his condition because he didn’t know anything else. He expected others to help him instead of helping himself because it’s all he knew.
      I know Jesus has the power to help your husband, but he has to want it and take the responsibility to “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” like Jesus said. I really believe that when we have hard things to do in life, God does half the work – the latter half. He wants to see our hearts are committed to Him and the process and that we take the first steps, before He steps in and help us. I believe this applies to your husband, as well. I’m praying for you both and hope that by you stepping back from his daily life at this point, he will see his need to step up and take responsibility for his issues instead of putting the blame on others. Obviously, that has worked his whole life, that’s why he keeps doing it. I commend you for your patience, bravery and love in trying to help him, but now it’s his turn to take responsibility. May God equip you both with healing, hope, and a greater depth of faith in Christ as you move forward. Surround yourself with solid believers, and continue to enlist the help of a solid Christian Counselor to help you work through all the hurts, and emotions. God will use every ounce of your pain for “a greater good for those who love Him.” I know He has and continues to do this with me. May you be blessed. ~ your sister in Christ
      P.S. If you have not yet read the book Boundaries (by Dr.’s Cloud and Townsend) I HIGHLY recommend it!!!!!!! So helpful!!!!

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