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.
It’s the catch-22 of ADHD-impacted relationships (and many non-ADHD marriages, as well!) For many couples impacted by ADHD, distraction, disengagement and retreat from conflict leave non-ADHD partners feeling ‘stranded’ and lonely. Their natural response is to pursue their partner for attention…and disaster results. What do you do?
“I think my partner has ADHD – he shows all the classic symptoms. How do I approach him with this without making him angry?” This is a great question and I applaud any spouse who is sensitive enough to be asking it. Some specific ideas and hints follow.
Frustrated non-ADHD spouses will often say to me something such as "It's so obvious that my partner should do X. I don't understand why he/she won't!" While a solution to the problem at hand may seem obvious, it's often really not quite so straightforward and here's why:
I was reminded the other day of one of the most frustrating things about relationships where one spouse is ADHD and the other is not – that is the feeling that you are experiencing the same problems over and over and over again (and again)! Breaking out of this cycle – which is very exasperating for all – is critical to building a better relationship. Attitude, believe it or not, and specific communication skills, are the key to moving forward.