ADHD and Marriage Blog

When I work with couples impacted by ADHD I often see an unintentional bias towards using the label of ADHD as a negative descriptor, rather than as a medical term that enables treatment and describes a particular way of being.  This negative labeling - used by both partners - hurts relationships. as it may lead to blaming the ADHD partner for ALL relationships issues, while providing too easy an out for non-ADHD partners who also play a role in relationship issues.

Want to know what it feels like to grow up with ADHD?  This poem, written by one of the members of this site, gives eloquent testimony to the challenges – and strengths – of a childhood with undiagnosed ADHD.

Trying to avoid feelings of shame is only human, but when it comes to adult ADHD, gentle engagement with raw areas can lead to significant gains.  But how to do that, when shame feels so bad?  These ideas, provided by adults with ADHD, can help both ADHD partners and non-ADHD partners.

ADHD adults often carry a lot of hurt and shame with them.  Learn what these shame triggers are and you can significantly improve your interactions.  A recent conversation with five adults with ADHD and their partners highlights some of the issues.

The idea behind the conversation was to identify triggers that frequently led to feelings of shame for ADHD partners.  Here are a few:

ADHD may have undermined your last relationship, but it doesn’t have to destroy your future.  Here are 10 tips to keep your future healthier and happier:

Your partnership includes too many lies – big and small.  In three previous posts I’ve written about why this is happening, and how this hurts your relationship.  ADHD – and responses to ADHD – can certainly play a role.  So what to do?  Here are 9 strategies for ending in your relationship:

Depending upon the research study, between 21% and 53% of adults with ADHD will experience alcohol dependence or abuse at some point in their lifetime.  And, turning it around, it’s been estimated that 25 percent of adults receiving treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse have also been diagnosed with ADHD, which leads experts to believe that there’s an important link between ADHD symptoms, ADHD treatment, and substance abuse.

The study of mindfulness is showing promise for improving the lives of couples impacted by ADHD, and has already been shown to relieve stress and physical pain.

Do you think your ADHD partner is a narcissist?  If so, you would not be alone - the question of narcissism comes up regularly - usually asked by non-ADHD partners who believe that their ADHD partner is unfeeling, selfish and self-centered.  But while it's easy to label someone who comes across as self-centered as a narcissist, the truth may be a bit more complicated than that.

About 15 million adults have ADHD, and they and their partners often experience significant relationship difficulties as a result.  The characteristics of ADHD - chronic distraction; poor planning; time management issues; short-term memory issues and more - can make staying happy when you have family and marital responsibilities a challenge.  Partner responses to ADHD symptoms also contribute significant stress.  However, adult ADHD is manageable by most, and couples that are well educated about how to manage the impact of ADHD can thrive together.  Here are my suggestions for books that will help you understand your partnership better, and learn more.  And, yes, the first two are my own, as they focus specifically on ADHD and committed partnerships (if you haven't read them yet, you should!)  And, one of the best resources of all is my 8 week couples seminar.  It has helped many, many couples...and during the course I will answer all of your questions.  More information is available here.

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