Communication Tips with ADHD

I was reviewing some research recently for the book I'm finishing up and came across an interesting bit of info that provides insight into why so many with ADHD perceive that "nothing is wrong" while their spouses see things differently.

When you're trying repeatedly to get an ADHD spouse to "respond" to your requests it's hard not to get into nagging mode.  But non-ADHD spouses need to avoid chronic nagging patterns if they are to be successful, happy partners.  This is much harder than it sounds. 

If, like me, you are a non-ADD spouse, it’s easy to dwell on the aspects of ADD that are inconvenient and troubling.  But what about those things that an ADD spouse might find inconvenient about a non-ADD spouse, but which often don’t get voiced?  I came up against this last night when in a conversation with my husband about how quickly the ADD mind works.

We all interpret the world around us through a set of filters.  These can be based upon our upbringing, our family’s values, certain knowledge and, sometimes, our fears.  Recently, I’ve been thinking about how the filters one chooses to use affect your relationship for better or for worse.  One of the tricks, of course, is understanding your own filters.

You may be frustrated at the slow progress that seems to happen in your relationship.  You push and push, yet little seems to change.  You may have read about my comment that “If nothing changes, nothing changes” elsewhere on this blog – I woke up this morning wondering if we could use this idea to help couples make progress, and wondering if a few of you might like to join me in an experiment that might improve your marriage.  Read on, and you’ll find the experiment at the end.

It has been my observation that people with in ADD marriages violate each other’s personal boundaries quite frequently, and in both directions.  This becomes a huge issue for the relationship, as both partners become locked in an unwitting struggle for control, lose respect for each other, and often lose a sense of themselves as unique individuals in a way that diminishes them individually and as a couple.

Do you find yourself uptight about whether or not your spouse’s sleeping schedule matches yours?  Does going to bed at night together put you on edge?  Are you unsure how to communicate about how close you want to be (or don’t want to be)?  You may be suffering from an experience similar to the one my husband and I had.

Are you embarrassed when your ADD spouse takes over a conversation at a party, and doesn’t notice when his audience winces or starts to yawn?  People with ADD often have more difficulty reading emotional cues than those without, and this can cause some interesting moments both socially, and even between just the two of you at home.  What to do?

Transitions are often very hard with people with ADHD, and this can cause headaches for couples.  The typical response is that a non-ADD spouse expresses anger and disappointment that the ADHD spouse is never on time, can’t start or complete chores, and never seems to get into bed at a reasonable hour.  This doesn’t need to be the way things are, though...

Ned Hallowell likes to say that while ADHD can be a reason you did something in the past, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to do it over and over again.  But before the non-ADD of you start to say “see, this is exactly what I mean!” let me clarify.