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Husband with ADHD can't keep job

(17 Posts)
littlesue Mon 18-Jul-11 22:58:54

Hi all

I've been a lurker for a while and think this is a fantastic site. Where to husband suffers from ADHD - on meds to manage condition. The past 8 years have been difficult in terms of money and making our marriage work - he has been in and out of work (mostly out) now he hasn't passed probation and I am expecting him to be fired (based on past history). He is very bright and even though he has this condition and tries hard to manage the symptoms he is his own worse enemy - eg sleeping late, not organising the night before, too much clutter etc. I'm at my wits end and feel I may need to call time on this marriage for my own sanity. Over the years I've noticed I'm suffering more from anxiety and stress just anticipating the next drama that will pop up. You know I just want a nice quiet life without going to his rescue all the time. I work full-time, do most of the childcare and all the housework and I'm exhausted. I didn't sign up for this.

Anyone else with an ADHD spouse? How do you cope?


mumsiepie Tue 19-Jul-11 20:35:10

My ex decided he had ADD after reading the symptoms online one day, age about 45 at the time. He couldn't get anyone in Scotland to diagnose him and flew to London and paid a fortune to a private consultant, who diagnosed him, surprise, surprise.

My story sounded a bit the same as yours and I am so glad not to be with him now. He had big long explanations about how this was why he has always hyperfocused on other women (and slept with them too). "but it is because I have ADD" I was being unsupportive apparently when I said "Get lost!"

Have you tried It is a really good forum for partners as well as people with ADD/ADHD

I fluctuate between thinking he is just incredibly lazy, selfish and mean to thinking he probably has some mental health problems, certainly has most of the symptoms of ADD but I think some kind of personality disorder. Thank God my children are sweet, kind and so utterly unlike him.

Has your DH had ADHD since childhood?

littlesue Wed 20-Jul-11 23:42:45

Hi Thanks for responding. Yes he has had ADHD since childhood but he is considered highly functioning on the spectrum in that he is very intelligent so did well at school/univ but has poor emotional intelligence and practical skills. Good at ideas but no implementation/follow through.

He is a good dad but a really awful husband - I feel like his mother - I have to remind him about his wallet, keys, glasses, train ticket, laptop, coat etc on a weekly basis. It's doing my head in. Tried the forum you suggested - it was v good and I do need to meet other non-ADHD spouse and see how they cope - maybe a heavy iron frying pan would help.

I got the excuse that I was also not supportive or negative (hard to not be negative when mistakes are repeated and they can't progress). Why doesn't he take responsibility rather than blame someone else. At the end of the day he's a square peg in a round hole and maybe he shouldn't have to change but the world is not going to change to suit him that's for sure.

Rant over.

midnightservant Thu 21-Jul-11 22:39:23

I think it is highly likely that both me and DH have inattentive ADD, plus Asperger's as well in my case.

I have very high intelligence but no follow-through, have difficulty getting started, then difficulty stopping. And a great tendency to be very underorganised. As I have found, this is fine for writing an MA dissertation, (although very stressful for the family) but no good for doing a PhD or holding down a job sad although I've been quite successful at re-inventing myself workwise.

DH puts everything off, I find lists help me, but he won't even contemplate using one. (Will stop before I start an off-topic rant.) He is a great father but lousy husband, and useless bread-winner. But I love him, can't help it...

I don't take kindly to authority at work either, if I think they are wrong. Luckily (?) am now unemployed and on the sick.

Sorry this is a bit me focussed, but wanting to show have relevant experience. Can I ask what he is trained in/works as?

littlesue Fri 22-Jul-11 00:19:24

He is a trained lawyer although has not practised for a long time because even though he finds the law interesting, being a lawyer in the real world is a different matter. He is in research now and would be fine if he didn't have to work with anyone else. I think he missed his calling by not going into academia. I'm now resigned to the fact that he will be asked to leave soon and I'll be the bread winner again. But he doesn't enjoy being a stay at home dad at all and wants to work. It's so demoralising for him.

It doesn't help that I'm a bit of a worrier anyway so we are not a good mix and wind each other up. I'm a doer so can't understand why he wants to live the way he does.

I'm not in love with him anymore - I do feel sorry for him and I feel responsible for him like a parent. I've asked for a divorce and am financial independent, but he said he would fight me as he doesn't want to hurt our son who is 4 and of course he would lose his meal ticket/secretary/mom etc. We have tried counselling before but ADHD is part of him and he can't change and I don't want to change...

Now I am on a rant.

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 22-Jul-11 00:31:48

i find this really sad, being the mum to a 19 year old with aspergers/dyspraxia and dyslexia.

i fear that this is the future for my own son.

i worked 7 days this week. i needed help around the house as my DH has been on nights. i asked DS to help, he works part time, from home, he wouldnt. his answer?
"clearly, the problem here is your job"

its a good job he can move fast is all i can say...

i have no idea how my son will manage a relationship. he is funny, likeable, and very clever but he is unable to view things from any one elses point of view, i told thim this the other night, to which he answered that he has aspergers, what did i expect....he said it jokingly, but its true.

i despair. and i feel so sorry for his future wife, if he ever manages to find one....

midnightservant Fri 22-Jul-11 00:47:28

I fear academia would probably not be the answer, not these days. If it was tea and tutorials in an Oxford college in the 1960's, maybe, but it is now a rat race with pressure to publish, and/or a heavy teaching load, short-term contracts instead of tenure, and a lot of admin.

I used to think academia was for me, but tried it twice (a year in the 1970's and some teaching while (not) doing a PhD (for the second time) around 2001-2. Couldn't hack it.

However, no way am I suggesting there isn't some solution to this. Will have a bit more of a think.

Vicar, my son is 22 and does not have Asperger's, he is unthinking and takes living at home for granted, many young men are like that at that age as far as I can tell. I'm sure they'll mature somewhat with age - won't they??

ThatVikRinA22 Fri 22-Jul-11 00:52:10

hell i hope so....but at 19 he acts about 12. in all seriousness he thought the solution to my housework dilemma was simply give up the job it took me 3 years to get. simple. then i would have time for housework. sad

midnightservant Fri 22-Jul-11 01:07:25

They are clueless at that age smile A few months back, snowed under with lots of little household jobs to do, I asked DS to feed the cat. He refused, saying "it'll only take you 5 minutes"! (To be fair (at least from his POV) he had not long got back from work). I refrained from trying to explain - only experience teaches what I wanted to impart...

As to the Asperger's, we are willing learners about how to relate to other people, but we often can't work it out for ourselves and welcome simple explanations of what most people take for granted. [I once had to explain to my dear old Aspie dad that it was not considered appropriate to make jokes about weight to women.) Plus we have to concentrate to do a lot of things that most people do without even thinking, which makes life difficult. So please don't despair of your son. (Sorry, hope this doesn't count as a hijack)

littlesue Fri 22-Jul-11 08:31:09

I know what you mean about seeing a situation from a different point of view. I am often left wondering and scratching my head wondering why logic hasn't kicked in but that's the nature of ADHD. I worry about my son too as this condition is hereditary as the world (this includes me too) is not always kind to people who are different. It is not an obvious disability and I'm sure a lot of people think my husband is rude (due to impulsiveness), a bit eccentric or his answer is a wind-up. I ask very little from my husband as I know even little jobs are difficult for him, eg taking our son to football - he is without doubt always running late. Poor time management, organisation and interpersonal skills are a big part of work and if you don't have these skills work can become miserable.

Recently, one of my line reports left the company and I was in the process of managing her out of the business due to underperformance - I suspected she had ADHD. She was a nice girl, tried really hard but found it so difficult to multi-task, manage time (I swear I don't know if she day dreamed all day as her productivity was low) and as a result was in tears frequently. Colleagues who did not understand she may have SN use to mock her as she was in their opinion "incompetent". I did feel for her and tried to steer her in the right direction and give her the appropriate support but I knew that after 3 months that she would never reach the standard required as her skills were in a different area. Mind you she was determined to make it work rather than admit it wasn't for her. As a result I am quite calm about my husband possibly and highly likely being asked to leave his current job - I don't want him to go through this - office bullying is soul destroying.

bitsnbobs Fri 22-Jul-11 08:46:19

I have ADD and do not work at the moment as I either got fired or got that stressed I left. I am not medicated at the moment though as I am waiting for another assessment.
I go on the website ADDforums and also Adders which is great and both have sections for ADD partners.
I have also recently seperated from my partner as he could not cope with my ADD, he felt like I was doing it on puropose just to annoy him.

bitsnbobs Fri 22-Jul-11 08:52:08

"At the end of the day he's a square peg in a round hole and maybe he shouldn't have to change but the world is not going to change to suit him that's for sure."
Also just wanted to say that he CAN'T change, he can possibly TRY and change some of his behaviours but he is who he is and you need to accept him annoying ADHD and all or seperate.

littlesue Fri 22-Jul-11 09:21:03

DH is medicated and it does help but it's not the complete answer. You also need to have techniques to help you, eg set reminders. I am going to help DH with set phrases as he just blurts out things. A few weeks ago he was in a coffee shop asking for coffee not on the menu but the girl behind the counter didn't know how to make it and got the order wrong. His response put her on the defensive and he didn't get his coffee. I've tried to coach him with phrases such as "I'm sorry I didn't make myself clear, what I meant was...." instead "Are you some sort of idiot..."

Even though like your former partner we both know about ADHD - that does not always help in the heat of the moment when a situation arises - we revert to what we have been conditioned to see as "normal" behaviour and think the worse of the other person. I have to remind myself that it is much harder being the person with ADHD than the one of the receiving end. It is difficult. Wish you luck.

littlesue Fri 22-Jul-11 10:36:02

I agree I need to accept him as he is ADHD and all, and it has taken me a long time to realise that. He is a nice guy but some of his behaviour is just plain rude.

I know he can't help his impulsiveness but what do I do when he tells eg a woman her dog is badly behaved and she has clearly taken offence and feels the need to defend her dog by saying it's a rescue dog...Do I say you will have to excuse DH as he has ADHD and he didn't mean it in the way it came out (well actually he did but doesn't have sophisticated communication skills to finesse it). In many ways with a 4 year old DS I can see he communicates in the same way - with complete honesty and with no empathy. But this is acceptable at 4 and is highly amusing, but is not when voiced by an adult.

I find it sad that DH with all his potential is held back by ADHD

bitsnbobs Fri 22-Jul-11 17:16:18

Littlesue, it is such a difficult situation. I know I put my ex in some embarassing situations but afterwards I would beat myself up mentally as I knew I was doing/saying these things but I honestly felt at the time that I had no control over myself.
Your other half is lucky that he is with someone who is willing to find out and understand more about ADD.
I wish you all the best and hope you can sort things out.

midnightservant Thu 28-Jul-11 23:47:23

Well, I have had a bit of a think now grin

First, as your DH is diagnosed and under treatment, he is entitled to reasonable adjustments at work, isn't he? Many people with ADD find it very difficult to work in open plan offices, for example, because of noise or the feeling of being 'on show.' I also find that I am either in hyperfocus mode (very useful for research), or need a number of different tasks on the go that I can switch between quite often. (Other times I am sadly unmotivated at all.) I have also functioned much better in jobs where some admin support has been available - in my last one, I didn't have any such help, and didn't get it togeether to even submit my travel expenses sad.

I think the usual way is to have an assessment from occupational health. Obviously it will help if he is clear on how his ADD pattern runs.

Second, how old are your DC? I know you said your DH doesn't like being a stay at home parent, but this changes as they get older. Although I was sometimes bored and frustrated, on the whole I enjoyed being a SAHM, and the reactive nature of the job suited me - though the housework was a dismal failure I must admit. It would mean that he would be in charge of much of his work pattern, and would have to try to set a good example of organisation to the kids. And hopefully your lives together would not be as stressed by rushing around as people who are both in paid work.

I did have a feeling that I wan't living up to my potential, but found fulfilment in voluntary work when the kids were older, which led onto paid work. It doesn't necessarily have to be The End wink for him in that respect.

Do hope things work out for you both.

littlesue Mon 19-Sep-11 20:44:07

Hi Midnightservant

Just found your reply in my inbox as I am going to post something completely unrelated in IABU! Thanks.

Unfortunately, no admin support - a lot of companies are cutting back on this. Work has been up and down but I am a lot more relaxed about him being let go. Our son is in school so I think he could manage the childcare better now rather than the full day. I am effectively a single parent in the week and at the weekends he often goes to his office to escape family life - he likes peace and quiet and has to rest often to recover from the week. I also don't want him to stay in a job that he struggles with. He says he likes the organisation but find the office politics difficult. Thanks for your perspective.

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