New Issue!

Spring 2017 Issue ADDitude magazine Read the 'ADHD Therapies That Work' issue now!

The New ADDitude Forums Are Live!

Reach our full community by posting to ADDitude's discussion forums here

ADHD Adults

Frustrated and need support

Dear Adhd folks,

I just need a moment to vent.  My bf gets so mad at me when i am not focused and get confused.  He loves me very much and I think his anger has a lot to do with his feelings of inferiority (not my issue) and his frustrations with me and with himself.  I just feel like I am constantly jumping through hoops and worse yet some hoops I do not see. Like the kitchen counter. He got mad at me yesterday for not clearing it off.  God, I didn’t even notice it to do it. Then, we got into a big conversation of which he was getting mad at me about not being clear in my communication and I slowed down to a green light like it was red.  Pure and simple too much stimulation and confusion.  I am off my depression medication at this time, but maybe I should start it again. I just feel like he is a father to me and scolds me like a baby.  The harder I try to get it right, there always seems to be more.  On top of it.  Part of me wants to move on due to his anger with me.  I love him very much, but I don’t even want to go food shopping with him anymore, due to his overbearing ways.

Please help!


Untended, this garden will grow more and more tangled and gnarly with time. He needs to do the opposite of what he is doing but your telling him that will not help at all.

If he is willing, it would be a good idea to have a mediating third person. Actually, it would be more than a good idea.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Jan 20, 2014 at 10:34pm

I am sorry that you are not being allowed to be the person you are, and that is a person with ADD and no amount of anger or putting you down and telling you that it makes him mad when you slow down at a green light is going to make your ADD go away.
I have a very loving wife who accepts me for who I am. Not only do I have ADD but I have other learning disabilities also, as well as multiple health problems. She accepts me for who I am. You are not in a relationship where you are accepted for who you are.
I do not feel like it would be my place to tell you to stay in this relationship or to leave, you must make that decision. You are not gong to be able to live up to his standards if he expects you to do all things without making a mistake. And I am sure you do not set out to make his life miserable. By his not accepting your behavior for who you are he is making your life miserable. If you are a Christian then this would be a good time to lift your problems up to God in prayer. God bless you and I hope that in the end you can respect yourself for who you are, and also be accepted and respected for the person you are.

Posted by Rancher John on Jan 20, 2014 at 11:16pm

Dear Amaxfield,

I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this—that anyone has to go through such needless stress.

Your relationship sounds like my parents’ 50-year marriage—constant bickering and lectures by my perfectionist mother toward my dad who’s the epitome of the absent-minded professor and doesn’t notice the plates he leaves in the living room or the mail he leaves on the floor.

I love my parents, and I love being with them, but hearing my mother put my father down and treat him like a child is just too much. I have to brace myself mentally every time I go home for a weekend to visit them. Your relationship could be like this in 50 years if you don’t do something now to get him to chill out.

I was in a “parental” relationship like the one you’re describing, and it was NOT fun at all. The guy even picked on the way I shoveled the sidewalk and the way I did MY laundry. (It’s laundry, it’s snow—why on earth would anyone freak out about such lame stuff?)

I agree with one of the other writers—a mediator or counselor would be a great idea. Don’t feel bad about yourself. I stop at green lights all the time, and last week I even drove off after prepaying for my gasoline WITHOUT GETTING GAS. (A reverse drive-off?) I wish your guy could see the humor in your quirks and treat you like the individual that you are. Is he flawless? Do you nail him on his flaws? Probably not. We ADDers sometimes feel inferior to everyone else and are the last to point out others’ flaws. Tell him to calm down and not take life so seriously. Life is too short to be lectured and bickered at! Let us know how it goes, and good luck.

Posted by leelee2 on Jan 21, 2014 at 3:37am

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate your comments.  I am going to have a long conversation with him about my ADHD and how it affects our relationship. He has got to chill out about a lot of things.  We do have fun together and we get along very well sometimes and I love his family, but he’s got to get this stuff under control if we are going to make it long term.  I can ‘t believe how much I ignored my feelings. And yes, I am the last person to point out anyones flaws or shortcomings.  But, when he got mad at me I pointed out his.  I just wish he wasn’t so moody and tough on me at times.  I just never know what to expect. But, I do think I need to ask myself, if what he is doing helps me or hurts me.

Posted by amaxfield on Jan 21, 2014 at 4:23am

Who’s name is on the lease of your residence?  The other one has the option of just moving out.  Seriously! 

It is no day-to-day picnic to live with ADD as the “ADDer” and to live as an “ADDer” with a live-in critic is not what you need.

His perfectionism is causing his anger with you and your idiosyncracies. Unless he lives a perfect life himself, he has no right to hassle you. 

Would being back on your meds help?  Maybe, but that isn’t the point.  You should not have to enable yourself to deal with this.  While both of you need to do some changing, unless this relationship is headed in the direction of marriage, you do not have to stay in it.  You do not have a put up with his verbal and emotional abuse of you!

If the things he hassles you about are things that you want to do better with, then subscribe to Flylady and follow her lead.  There are numerous other ways to build routines for yourself that will help you. He may find fault with what you do, but he can keep his criticism to himself.  If not, then he can leave.

Criticism is rarely helpful when it is “shaped” as a way to belittle or embarrass someone else.  He must feel so superior when he bellows at you.  That makes me wonder about what his upbringing was like and what issues he still has that are causing him to pick on you for what you do or do not do.. 

You must think of yourself first right now.  Talk to your doctor about possibly adding an ADD specific medication with the antidepressant to see if that helps.  It might be exactly what you need.  The medication does not fix the problems.  It only helps with focus, so changing the way you do things will have to be figured out on a trial and error basis until you find what works for you.

If you are not already working with a therapist who is skilled and experienced in working with people who have ADD, you may want to do so.  The therapist will make suggestions for you to try.  You give the suggestions a fair trial and find what works for you.  He or she may suggest Flylady as a start…

I won’t wish you luck with this.  I will encourage you to find your own way.  Get the help you need so that your life is better for you; not for the boyfriend.  He has his own issues to deal with and he should consider doing so if he wishes to remain with you.

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Jan 21, 2014 at 4:36am

“I just never know what to expect. But, I do think I need to ask myself, if what he is doing helps me or hurts me. “

I don’t think it helps you. I will say, I’m the luckiest person on earth to have a husband that loves me unconditionally ADD or not.  If something were to happen to him, I know that was it.  No one else on the planet will put up with me. That being said, I’m OK with that.  You are probably much younger than me, I’m 44 but I look back on my relationships in my 20’s and what a train wreck.  Many terrible impulsive decision and me trying a lot to get someone to notice me for what I actually am and not what they think I am or want me to be.  I think non ADD people suffer a lot of this in the 20’s everyone does but for ADD people it’s twice as hard. 

I know it’s got to be difficult but if you can embrace who you are, dirty counter and all!!!  When you accept who you are and not feel guilty about it everything about yourself, him and anyone else you may become involved with will change and hopefully in a great way. 

I bet there are great things about you that will make that counter top irrelevant. 

I haven’t had my full fill of coffee yet so forgive me if I’m rambling on but there are probably great things about him too but he doesn’t know who he’s dealing with if he has a significant other with ADD so it’s a two way street.  The only way to both come together to “fix” it is if you both want it and are willing to accept it and work with it.  Otherwise it just is what it is.

Posted by msnuggie on Jan 21, 2014 at 5:54pm

Wow… this seems VERY familiar! I’ve been married a little over a year now, and I experience a lot of that. My husband knew I had ADHD before we were married, but, he didn’t truly get the full extent of it until he moved in a little while before the wedding. He doesn’t really “get” ADHD. I know he genuinely believes that it’s an excuse for a lot of things. He often made me feel like the “inferior” one, like it was more of a child/parent relationship than a partnership. He only looks at it as a disorder, something that causes inconveniences for him, that makes me less reliable than I should be.

It is an EXTREMELY difficult situation. And, let me tell you, I’m learning that, it turns out… Love, is NOT always enough. You can love someone until the cows come home. But, if you can’t be YOU in a relationship, don’t be in it. You are only setting yourself up for a stressful life. And.., this IS you. This is all of us, this is a part of who we are. We can’t change it. We can control the symptoms at times, and we can control how we manage it. But, it will always be there. And, really… it isn’t such a terrible thing.

I don’t know what is going to become of my relationship, either. I honestly wish I had exposed more of it to my spouse earlier on. But, I do know that I can’t change who I am to make someone else’s life easier. I can’t. I will do what I can to make sure he knows he is loved and that he is a huge priority. But, someone who is in a relationship with an ADHDer HAS to have a good sense of humor, a good sense of who THEY, themselves are, and they HAVE to love that little extra funky part of you! Because you are AWESOME!!

Posted by Grierwego on Jan 23, 2014 at 3:44am

There is a lot of great advise on this thread already, but I’ll add my 2 cents in attempt to help.
The person that you will want to spend your life with will love you for who you are. The good. The bad. They certainly will not make you feel bad, guilty, or shameful for the things you do or the way that you are.
The first thing you need to do is embrace who you are. You aren’t perfect, but I’m sure there are many things that make you an amazing person. For instance, I get horribly distracted at times (like putting on one shoe and then putting on my watch before I put on my other shoe, it’s crazy! Lol), but I know what I am good at. I love writing, I love being creative, and I can be very passionate about many things. Once you can be honest with yourself about what you are good at and aren’t, it’ll help you to embrace the qualities of your personality that are great and help you understand how you will need to work with the things you aren’t good at. With a good partner, learning each other’s weaknesses will help you tag team things to get stuff done that is important. For instance, my girlfriend will put appointments and other plans in her phone calendar, adds reminders, and then shares it to my phone. This helps me keep track of my time. (Btw-using your phone to help with schedules and reminders is one of the most useful tools in my life. I don’t hesitate to write anything down, and I am learning to be disciplined about it so that I don’t forget to put in a reminder!) The point being is that your partner should be doing things to help you, not put you down about it. There is no need to ever feel guilt or shame for who you are and no one should try to make you feel that way.

Your happiness comes from you. Your boyfriend creates his own happiness. You don’t provide it to him no more than he can provide it for you.  You share your happiness with him and do things for each other because it makes you happy to do so. You also aren’t the one making him angry or upset. He will have to try and understand why those things are making him upset and will have to learn to help you because he loves you, or will have to decide that this isn’t the life he wants for himself. Either way, it’s not okay for him or anyone else to put you down. He is not your father. He is not your boss. He should never be telling you what to do or how to do things. He is supposed to be your best friend. And a best friend talks to you about things when something is bothering them and is also willing to work with you so you can both be happy. Whether it’s helping you out more or learning not to let those things bother him, it needs to be a discussion.
And in case this helps anyone, your best friend should never point out your flaws. If you are really happy, the flaws don’t really matter. You don’t put each other down. Ever (sorry if I’m beating a dead horse on that one, but it’s important). You don’t try to change the other person. You don’t bring up past mistakes during a current discussion (if it wasn’t a problem when it took place, why is it a problem later? Typically, because they are trying to make you feel bad. Look at it this way, if someone brings something up from a month ago, how are you supposed to know it bothered them without the ability to read their mind?). So keep discussions on topic. Make sure the path of communication stays open always, no matter what. Because if you are really best friends, you’ll be able to talk about everything.
I’m not a doctor nor am I certain this is perfect advise, but I spent 5 years in a relationship where all I felt was degraded. It was miserable. When I finally decided to put my happiness first, I got out of the relationship, reevaluated my boundaries (this is so very important,  things that matter to you, and your partner should always respect these), and decided I wanted to find my best friend. I can certainly say it was a bit overwhelming, but the girl I am with now is so amazing. She is accepting of all my flaws and doesn’t ever complain about my distractibility. If she picks up after me, she doesn’t say a word. And it goes visa versa. We don’t care because those things in life don’t matter to us. I was upfront in the relationship about everything so as to weed out those that weren’t okay with how I live. I’m okay with it all. I think it makes me more creative and fun. So learn to be comfortable in your own skin. And let someone love you that is going to love all of you.
I’m not saying he is or isn’t right for you, but you need to figure out what you are and aren’t okay with. Maybe counseling would help.

Posted by Indubious1 on Jan 25, 2014 at 10:12am

Reply to this thread

You must be logged in to reply. To log in, click here.
Not a member? Join ADDConnect today. It's free and easy!

Not a member yet? Join here »

Search the ADDConnect Group Discussions