When ADHD in a relationship makes non-ers appear crazy...
Submitted by clf2012 on Fri, 01/11/2013 - 22:44
Does anyone else struggle with this? It's rarely talked about but I feel like it probably happens to other non-ers. I suppose it's not a priority on the list of concerns as there are even worse things that need to be addressed and so doesn't get talked about often. But does coping with your partner's ADHD ever end up making it appear like you're crazy, unreasonable, moody, neurotic, etc. to the public at large including friends and family? Those suffering with ADHD often have had a lifetime to develop coping mechanisms to help them mask their disorder at work, around family and friends, or out in public. I know at least in my relationship that my partner is like a Jekyll/Hyde character, acting one way around other people and then acting very differently when it's just us. Since I don't know very well how to "put on an act" many people, who don't realize what is actually going on at home, assume my reactions to my partner's ADHD are simply faults that I have. Or here's a good one: my partner has an irrational need to have his car be the first in, in our parking space (we have to park linearly so one car gets sandwiched between the wall and the other car). What he'll do if he needs to go somewhere is move my car into our elderly neighbors parking spot and leave it so when he comes back he can just pull in and then pull mine in behind. He gets IRATE if I move mine out of neighbors spot before he gets back because then he feels he has to move mine AGAIN and then pull his in after. So naturally, our elderly neighbor upstairs thinks that I'm an inconsiderate jerk who steals her parking space since it's my car that gets left there. What do I do? Go knock on her door and say to her, "oh, I'm sorry I'm not the inconsiderate jerk. My boyfriend has an irrational fear of his car being first out but won't let me move my car out of your space because he's too lazy to move my car again when he returns even though it's to accommodate his irrational necessity"? Even if I had the balls to do that, he'd go off the deep end because I let it slip that he's not the perfect gentleman that he wants everyone (besides me) to think he is.
Another example involves his lack of social boundaries. When we'd be in a social setting, I'd be a nervous wreck because of his inability to manage himself properly socially. He'd invite relative strangers back to our home for the evening or tell people I'd be willing to help them with something the following weekend that I either couldn't or didn't want to etc. if I wasn't there to subtly intervene. So, naturally, I started hearing from people that I was 'clingy' or 'uptight' because I was always in such a nervous mood at these gatherings not to mention feeling like I had to be by his side all evening for fear of what he'd get us or me into should I step away for a minute. He'll also often tell his friends and family about my seemingly 'negative' or 'crazy' conduct without mentioning to them how they could be responses to his ADHD behavior OR many times when seen in context are actually 'positive' and "recommended' ways of coping with or helping him manage his ADHD behaviors. Theres just too many examples to relate here, but in general I've come across a lot of the time very negatively or a least come across as someone very different than who I actually am. I've limited my interaction with his family because of this, which makes me really sad. But they refuse to see or he simply hides how abnormal he is. Also, I've found that having COMPLETELY SEPARATE social groups has really helped. Maybe that seems extreme, but I need to be able to just be myself around SOMEBODY and to NOT have my identity be the byproduct of the out-of-context information he'll relate about me and/or the out-of-context behaviors I'll exhibit around him.