One of the things I love about my own spouse is his empathy, generosity and warmth. Is this related to his ADHD? I’m not sure, though I do observe that if they don’t have specific anger issues, many of ADHD spouses I work with have very generous spirits. Sometimes they act on that generosity in a way that warms others…sometimes they don’t…which makes them pretty much like the non-ADHD around us. Regardless, generosity of spirit, if you spouse possesses it, is something to celebrate. Here is “what I love about my ADHD spouse” part 2:
I was giving a talk last night outside Boston and, once again, was asked “How do I get my spouse to stop denying that ADHD is a factor in our marriage?” Here are some specific suggestions for anyone who is struggling with this.
Recently, a poster in the forum asked the very good question - if you are all so miserable in your marriages, why do you stay? I'll give you my own answer - George and I stayed together because even though we were really miserable, we couldn't believe we couldn't do better. The intractability of the issues we were dealing with didn't make sense. We had chosen each other as partners for good reason...then things fell apart...but couldn't we make them better again?
I've been thinking about power balances in relationship recently, and the role that validation plays in maintaining balance between partners. I want to propose that you consider doing an experiment to better understand the ways that you and your spouse validate each other (or don't). If you understand this better it will give you information about how to diminish conflict in your household.
How to help couples understand the destructiveness and intertwined nature of many of their interactions? I was reading a novel the other day about civil war (an apt analogy for many ADHD marriages!) and came across some ideas that I think can help describe why couples get into negative patterns even when neither one of them wants to.
I’m spending quite a bit of time these days thinking about how to get men with ADHD to realize that their ADHD affects those around them more than they think. At least two men I can think of who have ADHD say they wish someone (other than their wives) had “hit them upside the head” with information that would convince them that their ADHD was causing real problems.