19 answers

How to Deal with a Spouse with ADHD

My huband has ADHD (as does my daughter). He has unrational anger. He thinks everyone is out to get him. No matter what I say I am yelling at him. He puts me down and when I tell him that his words hurt he looks at me like, "what did I do". Communication is none exsistant. I don't think, in 9 years of marriage, that we ever had a true converstation.

He can never stay home. If I am gone and come home with the kids, he leaves or locks himself in the bedroom. I can't help but think he can't stand us. The only time he wants anything to do with me is when he wants "something".

He is very selfish. I would do anything and give up everything for my kids, but he does not think that way. When thing erupt he says I'll try, but 2 days later things are back the same way.

I am responsible for everything. All the descision, the kids, the house, the bills....everything. It's like having 3 kids. I just feel like I deseve better. I did'nt sign up for this. No, I did not know he had ADHD when I married him. We traced it back to him when we found out my daughter had it. Things got worse after kids, financial problems and job lay off.

My mother seems to think I should kick him to the curb because he is fusterating me making things worse for my kids.

While I would not dismiss the fact that something else may be causing problems, becuase people with ADHD are 6 times more likely to have other psychiatric disorders, I do think most has to do with ADHD.

The none exsistant converstaions is due to a lack of concentration or "zoning out". Hyperactivity symptoms play a part in him not wanting to be around or bing bored, irritated and mood swings. Impulsivity symptoms make him blurt out hurtful things. Relationships are hurt with ADHD because the ADHD'er never seems to listen, says hurtful things and leaves his/her partner with the bulk of the work.

Just looking for someone in the same situation. Did you call it quits or suck it up and keep going?

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I now realize that some things are not a part of his ADHD...Such as his selfishness. That I would blame on his mother. I would not be suprised to find out that he has another psycological disorder. I have no clue what I am going to do, but whatever it is it will be the best for me and the kids.

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I hate to say this, but this does not sound like ADHD to me. Has he been evaluated by a mental health professional? If you can't get him to go, you need to seek guidance from a counselor. I think there is something else going on here. I have a seriously mentally ill parent who is now no longer doing similar things due to being treated.

I think I would try to get him on some kind of medication to regulate his moods/behavior. Good luck!

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ADHD blankets way too many things these days. Not saying he doesn't have it, but it sounds like more. I have an uncle with ADHD who starts a million weird projects around the house he never finishes and can't function or keep jobs because of his lack of focus. He doesn't hide from his family and act hateful and angry. Your husband is displaying JD- Jerkitude Disorder (selfishness, lack of being able to understand or care about the feelings of others-being pissed off because he's out of work-I'd be SHOCKED to hear he had two awesome parents who instilled responsibility and generosity in him) as well as MAYBE possible mental illness with a twist of ADHD, but I'm not really seeing the ADHD, but I'm no doctor and the diagnosis doesn't really matter as far as what you should do. Also, in a home with one parent acting like this, rather than a calm, supportive structured environment with two sane people working hard to raise the kids and putting them first, you daughter's issues may not be 100% an inherited neurological disorder either. But again, I'm no doctor. I'm only commenting on it at all because you seem to be focused on coping with ADHD in your mail, and I don't think that's the point.

There are two hard paths you can take, and no one will judge you for either one.

If you want to stay with your husband because you love him and can't picture life without him and think your kids need him, then you have to show him tons of love no matter how he's acting. Give him treats, find his good points even if there are none, stroke him, make him the king of the house for a designated amount of time. It will be the hardest thing you ever do not to fight with him or show your own hurt and fight for your rights at first, but over time-maybe 6 months, he can't fight against a force who isn't fighting with him, and as he feels better about himself and trusts you, you can start to encourage improvements in him in non threatening ways. It's a long hard road-I have a great book if you want it.

Option two would be to lovingly offer him the opportunity to have life without you guys because he doesn't seem to love you. You should put it to him like that, because anything you say in anger or even in sticking up for yourself, will be seen as an outrageous offense in his selfish eyes, and he'll blame you for any and all difficulties resulting, including hurting the kids. Tell him you love him, and you see he isn't happy. Tell him you think you should try separating because the house isn't healthy for the kids and HE may be better off not having to hide from you guys and finding a world more up to his high standards (try to be sincere).

Maybe in an attempt to keep you guys, he'll be more open to seeking help if he sees he can't keep the status quo where everyone is hanging around bugging HIM. Maybe not. Then move on, sister, start from scratch. You can do better and your daughters deserve a happy home. There is no easy way-bless you for the trials ahead, we're all pulling for you and you're not alone.

Sounds like he may have Bipolar Disorde.

Dear S.:

ADHD may be caused by a food sensitivity. Not necessarily an allergy, but it can raise the blood titer to cause irritability anywhere in the body. An M.D., FAAP, can run the test.
Get on top of it and I am sure that you will be glad that you did.
Easing the pain and knowing where it comes from can make a big change in dealing with people and circumstances.
Good luck, S.,

I'm not a psychiatrist/therapist but I've seen a lot of people with ADHD and lots of people with mental illness. While your husband may also have ADHD, he sounds like he has quite severe mental illness and this is very serious.
If he is not willing to get help then you do need to leave for your safety as well as for your child. If you choose to stay and he doesn't get help, just think of what you are subjected the child to and please get help for you and your child so you know how to deal with your how your husband behaves and treats you.
In my experience with people with mental illness, this will excalate and he may become dangerous so please take this seriously.
Good luck and stay safe.

I hate to say this, but this does not sound like ADHD to me. Has he been evaluated by a mental health professional? If you can't get him to go, you need to seek guidance from a counselor. I think there is something else going on here. I have a seriously mentally ill parent who is now no longer doing similar things due to being treated.

It sounds like his issues may go far deeper than ADHD, and I'm sure this behavior must affect the children. I think he should agree to counseling or leave. There is no excuse for behaving that way.


I agree with those who say this is not just ADHD. I have mental illness in my family and I know what it "looks" like. I strongly suggest you figure out a way to get your husband to a mental health professional ASAP. He needs to be evaluated, diagnosed and start treatment before it gets worse. His fits of anger may turn into him hurting you and/or the kids.

Good luck to you all.

Hi S.---WOW I didn't know someone was out there with the same issues as me. My husband was also diagnosed when my daughter was. It is like having another child in the house! I too do everything. I work full time, take care of the kids, the house all the decisions (especially money-I took away all his credit cards). It is absolutely eshausting!!! Then he can't understand why I am so tired all the time. My only mental vacation is when the kids go to bed. I'd love to compare notes with you--it's comforting to know that someone else is out there with the same issues as me.

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