finding my voice: I was diagnosed a... - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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finding my voice

Louloubelle26 profile image

I was diagnosed a week ago, at 51. I have been with my husband for 30 years and he is my opposite, he is structured, organised, methodical, logical. Due to work and other commitments we haven't had time to sit down and have a full discussion about my ADHD but today we had an argument where I felt the dynamics have shifted. I have always taken the blame for everything that goes wrong (usually caused by my disorganization, time management etc) and would put up with my husband venting and blaming me. Today I refused to take the verbal abuse and I cannot go back to being take person I was before, i don't know how this is going to work out. I'm not using ADHD as a "get out of jail" card, it doesn't excuse things but I'm not going to beat myself up either.

Before my official diagnosis i was afraid that my husband would not accept that even with the best systems in place to help with my ADHD, I may never be like other people. Now I feel like having his routines and being organised are more important to him than me and he'd rather live happily that way than be with me the way I am.

Sorry for rambling, just feeling very emotional and nobody else understands

12 Replies

I’m new to this site and newly diagnosed myself. You don’t sound like you’re rambling to me. You sound like someone who makes a lot of sense.

My husband can be a wonderful man but I think he borders on obsessive. When things don't go according to his plan, which includes people, he just loses it. His anger and outburst at me yesterday was unjustified and before I would have shrunk into my shell and accepted it. Having a diagnosis of ADHD has shifted my internal image and i feel like I fit in my own skin at last. He has always tried to help me with organisation and time management but not always in a supportive and understanding way. I can understand how hard it must be to live with the chaos that an ADHD spouse can bring but I won't accept being belittled and verbally abused anymore and I think my new strength will put a strain on our marriage. I don't want my husband to parent me anymore, I need to be equal.

Sorry, ranting again!!

I feel very similarly about my partner. I have been diagnosed since we were together, just a few years ago and after over 10 years and a son together (he’s now 14 and also has ADHD, although he’s her biological child). I realize my ADHD symptoms of disorganization and forgetfulness are nothing new, but that former partners/roommate/husbands/parents had a better sense of humor about things that went wrong, since they inevitably turn out ok in the end (I’ve never screwed up in a truly destructive or irreversibly horrible way; just tend to overlook things etc). I guess I am used to being loved for the good things about me and not criticized for the negative. She looks at me with such concern and pity and tells me how worried she is, and that just makes me crumble inside. Worried about what? I’ve never left the kid or the dog or burned down the house. I’m me and I’m working on all the things I can, but her negativity and rigidity, as I see/feel it, cause me to freeze up. It’s incredibly unhealthy and I feel like if we don’t find a way to bridge this gap, we are screwed. I really appreciate your strength in fighting for yourself and all that you are being frustrating, perhaps, but also being you. Hang in!!

I’ve noticed that my ex partners seemed to build up resentment over time for all the things that come with my adhd. It is like a partner building up resentment for their blind partner because they can’t see or a partner building up resentment for their wheelchair bound partner because they can’t walk. It would be illogical for a partner to enter into a relationship with a blind partner and build up resentment because their partner can’t see. But AhHD is not apparent and when your husband entered into the relationship with you he didn’t know you had it. So he has been building up resentment for 30 years. It’s going to be hard to just all of a sudden turn those resentment feelings off. He may not truly grasp yet what it means for you to have adhd and that may take time. It’s not fair for a partner to berate you for things you have no control over. My partners left me after a couple of years and yours has been around for 30 years so that must mean something. I don’t think you should take crap anymore and I also think your relationship would benefit greatly with counseling.

I totally get this! I currently have a new husband. We don't fight. But sometimes I feel like he is my caretaker and not partner. It makes me sad and feel guilty. I have been hyper focusing a n strategies to help me. I see a therapist, I am on meds. It's especially hard as an adult having others understand how difficult and real the problems are. It's not an excuse, it's real. ❤️

Hi Louloubelle26, I just turned 55, but was diagnosed Lat February. You made a comment about not using ADHD as a “get out of jail” card. You are absolutely right when you say that. Getting that diagnosis was a major game changer for me because, like you I finally fit in my skin. It allowed me to view myself differently and be more compassionate with myself. I have to agree with Rodster who said “But AhHD is not apparent and when your husband entered into the relationship with you he didn’t know you had it. So he has been building up resentment for 30 years. It’s going to be hard to just all of a sudden turn those resentment feelings off. He may not truly grasp yet what it means for you to have adhd and that may take time. It’s not fair for a partner to berate you for things you have no control over. My partners left me after a couple of years and yours has been around for 30 years so that must mean something. “

He has been used to you behaving a certain way, but you absolutely should not take his verbal abuse. I also agree with Rodster that counseling would be something to consider. I wish you all the best❤️

Louloubelle26! I have had quite a similar experience! I felt gaslit. It was so liberating to have an official diagnoses. I am newly diagnosed this year at 50 and it's still sinking in but I finally feel that there is a chance for me. I have been struggling since I was a small child and believing I was stupid. My husband was like yours, put together on the outside, logical, decisive with information to back him up, parented me...I knew I couldn't get better with him, the spotlight of blame and the co-dependent/enabling behaviors were too big. We need to be able to separate what is "ours" and not get clouded with the other persons "stuff", and he DOES have his own, whether others see it or not.

Good luck as you begin moving forward, it sounds like you are ready!

I hear you and I see you.

Hi all,

All the above is like the story of my life. I keep being told what a difficult person I am to live with. And that I complicate life. And if something doesn't go according to plan, it's generally my fault for not organising it better.

I too am tired of being protected and parented. My husband has stood by me through some major stuff ups in my life, and therefore I bite my tongue.

There are days when I just scream in my head. Some days I feel bitter. Some days I feel like I don't give a toss, and sometimes I feel weak not being able to stand up for myself.

But I love my husband, I just need to get back my independence back and my own interests.

First of all, I commend you on sticking up for yourself. Your husband is used to the old dynamic, and after 30 years of the same, change is hard.

I got diagnosed about 11 months ago, but had to go through treatment for anxiety before my doctor would start me on ADHD medication. Then it took months to find the right medication and dose. The meds make a huge change in me, but I still haven't developed better skills in organization and time management. My greater capability shows in that I've picked up almost all the slack from my wife, who is dealing with anxiety, depression, and physical health issues, but she doesn't seem to notice my changes.

She says that I'm trying to use my ADHD diagnosis as an excuse for my shortcomings, and she's always said that I just "didn't care enough" to do what she was asking of me. Oh, I certainly care enough, I feel emotions very deeply and persistently, but was hampered by limited working memory, limited attention span, and was very distractible. Now those traits are greatly improved with medication, but she won't stay in the same room with me long enough to notice.

Her standpoint is "if you loved me enough, you would just be motivated to do the things you need to do". My standpoint is, I loved her, and our family, and myself, enough to finally get evaluated for ADHD, get diagnosed, go through the months of medication trials, even more months of learning all I can about ADHD, and getting involved in support sites like this one. But she doesn't see that, because she's too distracted with her own issues.

I know we need counseling (actual marriage counseling, not just meeting with our pastor, who means well but isn't very knowledgeable about the issues we're dealing with). I'd recommend counseling for you and you husband as well. I think he needs the impartial, knowledgeable 3rd party professional to help him realize that ADHD isn't an excuse, but it is an explanation, a lens to see you and understand you more clearly through. He needs to learn to accept that he didn't know enough about you, and I personally think that he needs to be repentant of all the yelling and blaming he's done to you.

I didn't berate my wife when she started asking me to read street signs to her when her vision changed. No, I read the signs for her, and caringly suggested that she make an appointment with the eye doctor. A few months later, she finally did, and now that she wears glasses she no longer has to ask me to read the street names for her. I just wish she'd reciprocate by being understanding about my ADHD diagnosis and the treatment I've sought.

I wish people would realise that it is not about trying harder. Since i posted my original post the situation has deteriorated further between us. I have tried to be calm but the antagonistic comments like "this ADHD you claim to have", have just pressed my buttons. I have realised that a lot of my low self esteem comes from his behaviour towards me and I just wont put up with it anymore. I am grieving for all the past pain i have gone through and there is a lot of anger and bitterness. I am sure he has his fair share too, it can't be easy having to keep all the plates spinning and be the responsible adult but I think a part of him has enjoyed the elevated status that has given him between us.I am trying to take care of myself first, it is a long journey that i know has only just begun

When my wife first learned that I was researching ADHD and had scheduled an evaluation, she simply said, "you don't have ADHD". (Her tone sounded a little snide, almost as if she were rolling her eyes.) When I got an actual diagnosis, she was uncharacteristically silent. Then she changed her point of view to the "if you loved me enough..." reasoning (which is nothing new, she's been saying that since we were newlyweds). So, if 20 years of conscientious efforts didn't work, but the ADHD medication that I started on this year does work, I'd say it's proof positive that untreated ADHD was the root cause of the issues that I'd struggled with my entire adult life.

OMG...Louloubelle26, it's fantastic you stuck up for yourself. It's amazing how a little thing like a label/diagnosis, can give you the agency you need to take care of yourself with some authority. Good job! I don't want to defend your husband in any way, but if you still love him, this is upsetting the power dynamic of your relationship (yay for you) he has become accustomed to, and/or is dependent on (for his ego), and if he is obsessive, this will make him feel out of control, and he will lash out to try to be in control of something any way he can. I have only been with my husband 18 years, but I would imagine after 30, you may know how to reach him to get him to listen? It may require you putting yourself momentarily back in the dependent role, just to get him to be less defensive to listen. If you want to stay in your marriage, reconnect with him about the positive things regarding your marriage, talk about past challenges you overcame together and how much you have grown as a couple over time. In other words, focus for a minute on your strengths, and link that to the present moment, then start the dialog about how you can work together to get through the way things are going to need to change so you can both be happy, and how worth it, it will be. HOWEVER, if you find a new desire to be independent, I wish you every luck in the world. Don't react too quickly, bide your time, make a plan, seek counseling, and then strike out on your own in a way that you will succeed, even if you have to bite your tongue and arrange your life to live with a control freak who may not be happy about much of anything for a while, until it's ideal for you to part ways. I am no relationship counselor, but you are about to turn your world upside down, do it with intent, my dear. I am excited for your future, the world is now yours, make every moment count and screw any naysayers. Hugs from a 52 year old woman who can't get diagnosed, because my health insurer is saying since I did not get diagnosed by age 12 (in 1982), when they thought ADD was ONLY a boy's issue, that I must not have it. It's sexist and ageist. I envy your diagnosis, but I don't envy the tough decisions you have to make. Make your ADHD your strength. Best wishes.

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