Anger, Frustration & ADHD

Are you tired of having your partner point to your ADHD as the source of your marital problems?  I heard this today from a frustrated ADHD client, and it's a common refrain.  Does the label actually matter?  Is the ADHD the source of the issues?  If you are working with a counselor (like me) who specializes in ADHD, does this put too much emphasis on ADHD? It's a legitimate concern that I would like to discuss here.

Yes, that sounds like a sales pitch...but it's not.  Happiness is good for our brains and good for handling stress better - in marriages, if you are feeling upbeat you are more likely to be able to take some bumps in the road.  If you're feeling down, pretty much everything seems grim.  Here's a link to a UTube TED talk on happiness that will not only make you laugh out loud, it also has a very important message about happiness.  I urge you to watch it...and also to try two exercises.  Some of my clients have done these and all but one have found it helpful in diminishing their struggle.  First, take 2-3 minutes a day to write down three new things about which you are grateful.  These don't have to be about your relationship - anything at all for which you are grateful.  Then, take 5 more minutes (or more if you like) and journal about one of those things in a positive way.  Do this for three weeks straight and see what happens.  I think you'll like the results.  (For more tips, see the video...!)

In a recent class I was asked this interesting question by a non-ADHD husband (who also happens to be a therapist) - "All couples experience anger - so how do you tell anger that is related to ADHD apart from normal anger?"  Great question!

He is right, some anger is normal for any relationship between two adults.  In fact, a relationship in which no anger at all is expressed is probably not healthy - it is an indicator that someone is stifling him or herself.  Creating a good relationship isn't about getting rid of anger, it's about learning how to fight productively.

(by Zoe Kessler - see bio at end.  This post is a "must read" for anyone dealing with an angry ADHD spouse!)  I was diagnosed with ADHD at 46. After my diagnosis, I had a long talk with my sister (who does not have ADHD). One of the most startling things she told me was when we were kids, we’d be happily playing, when – POW! –I’d have an angry outburst. She said this scared her.

All these years later, her childhood memories made me cry. I was filled with shame and remorse. I’d had no idea how my moods had affected her.

When we were kids, I also had no idea what ADHD was, or why I couldn’t control my impulsive anger.

Today, I understand that like other ADHD symptoms, effort and willpower are no match for undiagnosed ADHD.

Have you ever wondered what’s a “normal” sex life?  There is so much buzz around the topic of sex in the forums right now, I think it’s time to write about sex – what might be going on if you’re having too little…and then I’ll write about getting away from porn and sex addiction in another post.

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