Lately, my ADD wife (who is now all too familiar with some of the impact her ADD is having in her social relationships), is beginning to share her feelings of overwhelm and low self-esteem with me. Things like "I just have SO many things to work on and I can't be working on these things all the time!" and "I can't believe anybody even likes me because I am so bad in conversations."
I know she is "trying hard" to change things. She got diagnosed and she is on meds, and she has done some reading. There have been some changes but not a lot.
I have suggested to her that from what I read on this forum "trying harder" is not what is going to work. And I have suggested that maybe she could benefit from coaching. I even sent her some links to coaching that I found from Melissa's recent post on the Telephone training on Shame - thinking she might be willing to try them because there are some self-coaching options and audio classes and she's always listening to podcasts on her i-phone. But she hasn't given any indication that she is ready to check out coaching as an option.
At this point, I find myself wanting to be empathetic, but I am finding it difficult, since I am someone who is majorly affected by her behaviors and feeling frustrated by them. So when she bemoans the fact that she has so much to work on or that she feels like she is a bad person, I have a hard time listening, and I find myself wanting to move into "solution mode."
Sometimes I am able to say something like "Honey, you are not a bad person. You are so more than your ADD behaviors." And then I give her a hug and tell her some of the things I love about her. Sometimes when I do though, I think "How many times do I have to tell her this?" Or I might think "If I keep comforting her when she feels bad about this, will she never get any help?"
But sometimes I don't want to listen to it. Sometimes I even get angry that she is complaining but not taking any steps to change things. Sometimes I just want to say "Honey, there are solutions out there. If you would take some action and stop complaining maybe you would see some improvement and not feel so bad." Or "Stop complaining to ME about this!"
So, how do I let go of my anger and be more empathetic when she complains?