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.
What’s it like when both partners have ADHD in a relationship? Is it different from when only one has ADHD? Are there other resources we need to know about? Are there different challenges? These are questions I get regularly and would like to answer here.
Ned Hallowell likes to talk about the "moral diagnosis" of ADHD - the idea that those with ADHD are lazy or ill-willed. The 'moral diagnosis' was what people used to turn to when they didn't know as much about ADHD as we do now. Yet the idea that an ADHD spouse is 'lazy' is amazingly persistent. How to get at that?
Calling all readers with ADHD - how do you stay organized? What works for you, and why? I'm particularly interested in electronic ways to stay organized via the iPhone or BB or computer. Share your ideas here with others on the site!
One comment I hear over and over again from non-ADHD spouses is their frustration that "we go through the same problems over and over again. Nothing ever seems to change!" There is a reason for this, as well as a way to interrupt this pattern.
"How can an ADHD affected spouse get a job and hold it to earn a living if he cannot find his keys/wallet/cellphone etc? How can a spouse NOT be tired out by repeated same scenarios of disorder and chaos repeatedly discussed and never changing?"
These are questions that cut to the heart of the long-term ADHD relationship. I would like to address the non-ADHD spouse first, then circle back to the ADHD spouse.
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.