Is It Over? A Divorce Solution: Jason, Deanna

Like Father, Like Son?

"Jason and I have a really rocky relationship, and we've been on the verge of divorce twice. We just seem to fight more than we talk," Deanna says.

"My biggest issue with my wife is her controlling, her nagging," Jason says.

"I hate it when Jason gets frustrated with me over asking him to do things. I don't want to be his mother. I just want him to naturally do things," Deanna says.

"Deanna gives me a To Do list, and there's no breathing room at all," Jason says.

[AD]"The big things that probably drive me crazy are his finances. He never seems to know what happens to his paycheck. A lot of times, he just does not care, and that's when I get very frustrated and want to throw my hands up," Deanna says. "He is very selfish with his time off. I started to think about divorce when he would go out and not be accounted for until 5:00 in the morning."

"When Deanna's out of town, I feel relieved," Jason admits. "A little freedom. Probably a little too much freedom. When the boss is away, the kids will play."

"If Jason's not willing to change, I would have to give him an ultimatum," Deanna says.

Dr. Phil asks Deanna what that ultimatum is. "That if he doesn't change, what?" he asks.

"That we would eventually be divorced," she says.

"OK, so this is bad enough that, despite that you're married, despite the fact that you have a family and a home, you're at a point where you say, ‘I can't take this anymore,'" he says.

"That's my fear, because we don't want the family to separate. We want to be together for our son, but sometimes you just feel that you're at your wits' end," she says.

[AD]"So, what does he do that is making it so crazy that you're thinking of shutting this whole thing down?" Dr. Phil asks.

"The biggest thing is I feel like he just doesn't care about us, or about [me] or about our son. I feel like he wants me to be responsible for everything so he can just sit back and say, ‘Well, you didn't do that,' or ‘You didn't do this.' But I feel like it's kind of all on me," she says.

Dr. Phil turns to Jason. "Are you irresponsible?"

"I would say some," he says.

"Are you irresponsible with money?"

"I would say some," he admits.

Deanna has a theory about Jason's behavior. "Jason and I have a 7-year-old son, Jeremy, who was recently diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I realized that my husband, Jason, may have ADD as well," Deanna says. "Jason has had every symptom: the loss of attention, bad finances, not taking responsibility, talking nonstop. The list just goes on and on."

"I feel like Deanna throws it in my face, that I have ADD," Jason says.

"Jason's temper is very volatile. Sometimes he ends up punching holes in walls or screaming at the top of his lungs to get his point across," she says. "It ultimately ends up in something getting broken."

"When I punch holes in walls, it's basically when things aren't going my way, when she's nagging me, when I feel like I'm right, and I know she's wrong," he says.

[AD]"Jason does get easily frustrated with our son, Jeremy, and it could be over the littlest things," Deanna says. 

Jason admits to some of his irresponsible behavior. "I drive erratic quite often. I've had several tickets, probably 20 or 30," he says.

"Jason's very impulsive whenever it comes to spending money because he has no account for where it went. He views ATM cards like they're just a constant endless supply of money," she says.

"If you give me a credit card, I'd probably use it. I wouldn't worry about paying it," Jason says.

"When I've told him that I think he does have ADD, he doesn't seem concerned. He'll just laugh about it," she says.

Jason admits he gets defensive when his wife says he may have ADD.


Dr. Phil asks him, "But if it was true, wouldn't it be good news to know that? To find that out, and therefore, you had something that you could focus on that might decompress some of the situation?" 

"Yeah, I believe so," Jason says.

"Once you know that, then you can begin to deal with it, focus on it, treat it, accommodate to it," Dr. Phil says.

"I guess I also just think maybe I don't want it to change me. Maybe I'm totally a bad person for the most part, but I don't want it to change me or anything like that," he says.

"Well, you know you're not a totally bad person. You're a nice guy, you've got a good sense of humor, and trust me, ADD does not equal bad spouse," Dr. Phil tells him. He adds that Attention Deficit Disorder wouldn't explain all of their problems, even if Jason is diagnosed with it.

Dr. Phil introduces Dr. Ned Hallowell, a child and adult psychiatrist who taught at Harvard Medical School for 20 years. He's an expert in the field of ADD or ADHD and has a Web site dedicated to helping couples find solutions to the problems these disorders can create in relationships. "You've looked at all the behavior here. Is ADD possibly part of this?" Dr. Phil asks Dr. Hallowell.

"It certainly possibly is, and I would hope Jason would be open to exploring it, getting a real good evaluation, because the diagnosis of ADD is a whole lot better than the diagnosis of hopeless jerk," Dr. Hallowell says. "Having ADD is like having a Ferrari engine for a brain, a race car for a brain, a real powerful brain, it's just you've got bicycle brakes. I think your speeding tickets kind of lead me down that line. We need to strengthen your brakes. You need to learn how to stop punching walls, getting speeding tickets, blowing off the credit cards and not feel so defensive. If you can get the right help, and if it is ADD " and like we say, we don't know that it is " if you can get the right help, things can change so much for the better."