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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Adult Behavior Issues and Possible ADD Cuased by Previous Abuse

06/12/2004

Question:

My wife was physically and mentally abused through her chilhood years by her mother. I am really irritated by her character as aperson. She lies alot. Whenever there is a problem with us she always seems to blame everything on me and also add more to the situation than what actually happened. It seem to me that she wants everyone to believe her side of any situation. She wants to be the main focus no matter what the event. And lastly, she wants everyone in our lives to feel sorry for her and embrace her. Even our married friends have notice and are concerned. I`m concerned because lately I have to watch my every move around her and try not to make her upset. Thats when she treats me like I`m a stranger. Please try to examine this behavior and give some direction.

Answer:

Wow, sounds like you are feeling a bit overwhelmed! What a difficult situation you find yourself in.

Anyone who has lived in a physically or mentally abusive situation for even a short period of time, let alone combined abuse and for a long period, will have many areas of difficulty in relationships, as will those close to them.

I would be doing both you and your wife an injustice if I attempted to examine such important questions based on minimal information. Your life together, and your individual lives, are far too precious for that.

It`s time to speak with an understanding professional. Often, your Family Doctor is a good place to begin. Perhaps s/he can take a deeper look at things and make some recommendations. Medication and/or therapy may be indicated.

Although you may be correct that the major concern here is your wife`s functioning, sometimes the best early approach is couples counseling with a good therapist in whom you can both begin to build trust. That can take some of the focus off the question of "whose problem is it" and put the focus onto a more supportive one of "We are in this together." A good therapist will soon understand if one or both individuals really need to concentrate on individual therapy.

Whatever route you go, I wish you support and strength.

For more information:

Go to the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Susan Louisa Montauk, MD
Formerly Professor of Family Medicine
University of Cincinnati