ADHD Chronicles, Vol 1 - The Bet

My partner has untreated ADHD. I want to tell you guys a story about something that just happened to him at his job. Things like this only happen in ADHD land…

There have been a lot of things changing where my partner works. Within the last year they fired the two big bosses and replaced them, and as a result of that just about everything has changed a bit in some way or another (some good changes, others bad). They are trying to get the place running more “efficiently,” but you know how that can sometimes be. None of you will be surprised that my partner thinks they’re doing a crappy job and, being who he is, feels he just “has to” to say something about it. Ugh.

Anyway the other day my partner’s supervisor told him he will now be able to leave work early on Saturdays. The plan is for everyone to have certain tasks done on the weekdays so he can just focus on one particular thing on the weekends (watering – he works at a greenhouse).

The boss said he should be able to leave at 2:30 or so instead of 4. My partner scoffed at that, was sure he’d be done even sooner…as long as everyone else had actually done their part beforehand (insinuating the other employees were slow/dawdling/otherwise not being productive).

He is a poor judge of time, but in this case, that wasn’t what struck me as significant – it was mainly how bizarre/pompous/overboard his reaction was. During the same conversation, another person would nonchalantly say something like, “I think it may not take me that long, but let me try it out a few weekends and we’ll see.” Then they’d follow through and prove it and go from there. Not my partner though, lol. I can just hear his excited, argumentative, high-pitched, and too-long spiel.

Yesterday was the first day he was to do this new routine. He called me at 2:30…still at work, though almost done (OF COURSE, someone didn’t do their tasks all of the way the day before).

The real kicker, and what he was calling to tell me: his boss told him that he and the other supervisor MADE A BET on whether he’d be done before 2:30 or not. For $200!! The one who told him about it had won.

My partner was really upset about it. On one hand, I don’t blame him, I think they’re absolute jerks…especially the one guy for actually telling him about it. But on the other hand, I realize how ridiculous and over-the-top he can be, and I can see why they’d think the way he behaved was funny. A part of me does too, sorry to say.

Of course, my partner doesn’t put all this together. He has 10,000+ excuses as to why what happened was his co-workers’ faults, the equipment, the wacky, ever-changing company, etc…

This isn’t the first bizarre situation he’s gotten himself into in the 11 years we’ve been together. It is so, so hard to be loving/supportive when he’s chattering on and on about something that he isn’t seeing accurately and is very defensive and opinionated about. He wants to explain, explain again, and re-explain to me (and everyone else) why he does and thinks certain things (I get why he does this, I am just venting).

Years ago, before I learned about ADHD, I handled these types of situations by trying to “set him straight” (i.e. telling him exactly what I think and giving him advice based on that). There were many times I INSISTED he was dead wrong, and I know I made him feel worse than he already did, and we would end up in a huge argument, which was not even logical given the circumstances and made us both feel unsatisfied and sad.  

Now I try to do a kind of modified version where I still tell him what I think, but more lovingly, and I make a point to validate his perspective in some way (something I was really lacking in years past and now understand the importance of thanks to various ADHD resources as well as experience). It helps keep things from escalating as much, but there are still times he talks about things way beyond what my patience can tolerate (which he doesn’t pick up on – even if I request we close the topic, he keeps bringing it up “by accident” – I actually have to shame him into shutting up sometimes, or actually physically leave).

I expected that to be the case yesterday, but for whatever reason he did not do anything like that this time...luckily.

Overall, I am sad for him. Sometimes I think, almost accidentally: “at least it isn’t my problem, thank God it isn’t me.” And then my heart kind of sinks for a moment, because I have to face the fact that, albeit indirectly, it still IS my problem.  

Oh, the crazy stuff life brings us!! Thanks for reading…