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My wife has ADHD and I need coaching

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Unread 12-24-2007, 01:13 AM   #1
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Default My wife has ADHD and I need coaching

Help! My wife age 45 has ADHD. The volatility and anger she carries and unloads is destroying our 20 year marriage. Is there someone out there who can coach me as a spouse?

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Unread 12-24-2007, 12:25 PM   #2
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That's hard to say... except that you should probably be patient and do what you can to gently help her with organizing her day/week. However, if she is not open to this type of help, it would not be beneficial. In addition, you can be of assistance, but she will have to be willing to put forth effort to improve herself. IMHO, people with special needs can use help and will benefit from that help, but if they don't make their own personal efforts, not much will happen.

If your wife is angry or depressed because of her ADHD or because of something else, she should seek the advice of a medical doctor. A DX of ADHD should be confirmed. (At times folks can have ADHD along with something else and different medication is needed). It's very possible that medication might be of assistance. I'm not sure, but I think some folks actually benefit both with their attention span and a little bit with depression when they get on ADD medication. Your wife might also consider therapy...especially if she can find a therapist with some experience working with someone with ADD. Another thing your wife might ask the Dr. about is her Thyroid level. Sometimes women around that age begin to have issues in that area and it can cause moodiness.

There are some books that you might try reading on the topic. My local library has a lot of them. You can do a search with the word "ADD" in it and see if there is a book specific to spouses. Sometimes just facing the topic makes a huge difference. I really like this book called ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life...but my guess is that there are books better suited for your needs.

If all else fails, family therapy can work wonders. This is nothing to worry about. Seeing a family therapist does not mean a marriage is in trouble. A good marriage counselor can help couples help each other. Help a partner realize what he or she is doing wrong and help the other partner provide assistance for the one who needs building up. Sometime in the future... the roles could be reversed. It is part of being in a relationship.
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Unread 12-24-2007, 12:56 PM   #3
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Lightbulb suggestions...

I have decades experience with ADD/ADHD individuals in the home.
This type of anger is not present with us.

Firstly--I would ask if your wife uses stimulants for the ADHD. If so she could be becoming toxic on them. Amphetamines specifically. This should be discussed with the doctor prescribing them.

Secondly-- Many personality styles can be present in everyone. All of us have various mixtures of traits. There is a very good self help book, written by John Oldham M.D. that you should get and read. It explains how different personality types interact with each other.

Here is a website with brief descriptions from the book:
This book is VERY readable, and fascinating. You won't be disappointed.
It explains how the various types get along with each other as well.
The test in it is not fudgeable, and very revealing. Before you go to therapy, you should invest in this book and see where you both stand.
Each personality discussed, has a disorder linked to it, which is the extreme version. These disorders are the ones treated by professionals.

For example vigilant types may become paranoid.
A sensitive may become avoidant.
The website above does not go into the DISORDERS, but the book does.
The book is not expensive either.

In all the years I have read psychology books, I always go back to this one
for a refresher. There is just nothing like it out there either. You will understand yourself, your wife, kids, relatives and coworkers in a new way!
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.-- Galileo Galilei

This raccoon has come out yesterday since the snow recently melted and can't decide which cherry tomato to eat first. Hubby put them on the feeding bench yesterday morning. (he doesn't like them). They were all gone by this morning.
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Unread 12-25-2007, 07:36 AM   #4
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Randy - I have some thoughts for you on your issue. I know quite a bit about ADD and how it affects marriages - and the more you know about it the better the two of you will do. Here are some specific thoughts:

Get well educated about ADHD so that you can recognize both the not so subtle symptoms and the subtle ones. This will help you cope. I suggest reading "Delivered from Distraction" by Ned Hallowell for a great overview.

Second, I co-author a blog on the topic of how ADD affects marriages, and it is a good resource for people to help them understand what the patterns are (okay, you can call this self promotion if you want, but actually I write the blog because there is a real need for info on this topic out there, and very little is available.) You can find it by typing adhd and marriage into your search engine - it's called Thoughts on ADHD and Marriage. (they won't let me put a link in here because I'm too new a member!) Take a look at what people are posting and the entries.

Anger is really common in these marriages, but how you deal with it is tricky - is she angry at you? at herself? at the world because she thinks she gets an unfair deal? is she angry because you say she has ADD and she doesn't think so? If you two have been married for 20 years, why is she angry now?

While it is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to "change" your wife's behavior, don't. You can't change her behavior, only she can. What you can do, though, is create an environment in which it is easier for her to decide to manage her ADD symptoms (if she actually has ADD - you don't say if she has been officially diagnosed). That type of environment includes acceptance, loving support, a willingness to talk openly without getting defensive or offensive, and a joint commitment to working on what is at the root of your current issues. Sounds like good advice for any marriage, right? The tricky part is knowing what the ADD part is and what the "gee, we just aren't getting along right now" part is.

Anyway, if you want to write a bit more about the anger - how long, what you think the roots are, what role you play in it, and how you feel about it, then perhaps I can give you a couple more ideas.
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Unread 12-25-2007, 02:50 PM   #5
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Lightbulb I would just like to add....

no pun intended...

That just because there is a "label" for something, that you should
explore other causes. Labels tend to restrict people sometimes, and don't assume
ADHD is a major reason for the anger. It could be something else.

Some new studies are showing that ADHD resolves in kids after a slight delay in development. I now wonder about Adult ADD.

Inablilty to focus can be due to so many medical problems, that labeling it narrowly can limit your access to solutions. (for adults, that is). I used to have a thread on old Braintalk that linked to 50 other diagnoses, for ADHD in kids. That site is no longer on the web.
But it was sobering.

Medications can cloud the issue and also the label itself. So, Randy, keep an open mind and explore many possibilities.
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.-- Galileo Galilei

This raccoon has come out yesterday since the snow recently melted and can't decide which cherry tomato to eat first. Hubby put them on the feeding bench yesterday morning. (he doesn't like them). They were all gone by this morning.

Last edited by mrsD; 12-25-2007 at 06:25 PM.
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Unread 12-26-2007, 03:14 PM   #6
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Randy, is your wife on any meds for ADD?

I have a child w/ADD who had been on Ritalin for several years. We had to take her off Ritalin because she was starting to become violent, angry and suicidal - this was caused by the Ritalin.

Anger can have many causes and hides other emotions - sadness, fear, unhappines ect. Sometimes it's easier to be angry than deal with the real issue.
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Unread 12-27-2007, 01:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mrsd View Post
Some new studies are showing that ADHD resolves in kids after a slight delay in development. I now wonder about Adult ADD.
This study has been misinteprested by far too many people. It does not show that ADHD resolves or goes away. It shows that development of part of the brain is delayed and catches up. The two are not one in the same.
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Unread 02-02-2008, 07:53 AM   #8
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Default Hope it works out for you

I am a wife with ADHD - had no idea the effect it was having on my husband (married 31 years ). Hormones came into the equation too. Now that I know he's not to blame for my problems things are X1000 better!

He has put up with a lot of anger over the years. Now things are different and better - but I am becoming 'myself' at last so the relationship is also changing!
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Unread 11-27-2008, 01:52 AM   #9
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You can also check out ADHD coaches that are in your area. They might be able to help you. Power Systems coaching also works on relationship coaching as well as life coaching such as organization, etc. I would definitely google it.
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Unread 12-01-2008, 04:06 AM   #10
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I was dx'd with adhd and on Ritalin and I was mainly very delayed and hyperactive. My son wasw dx'd with adhd at age 3 and put on Ritalin, then Concerta, then Adderall and many others. They made him all sick when they wore off in his system and one day at age 5 I caught him attempting to drink some wine in an attempt to self medicate as his Ritalin was wearing off. I met a hollistic doctor (the best one yet!) He suggested using Omega vitamins only in lieu of stimulants in conjunction with exercise, deterents, distractions etc ... when he felt "out of control." He is an honor roll student now and I think that all or most of us with adhd must find our niche in ife and use exercise as a great vice to overcome so much of our additional energies that build up and create so much havoc in our lives. Take care.
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