Just got blanked again....

This is a living-with-someone-with ADHD question.  I doubt it's dealt with in the process of formal diagnosis.  I'm not angry or frustrated, just curious to learn a factual answer about the  gesture of blanking.

A person living with someone with ADHD on another site once used the term "getting blanked" by her spouse to describe the response of blank, when something was said, or shown by the other partner. I took that to mean that ordinarily in that kind of exchange, there's something that comes back, in response, and that nothing at all comes back.  For example:

(Factual, but has implications for both spouses) "My boss told me that I might get a raise."

Or another example "Sorry I'm later than I said I'd be.  The grocery lines were long and I ran into some road construction"


Some usual kinds of answers


"Good.  Can't talk now."


"I'm busy.  Tell me more later"

"Where was the road construction?"  ... "Interstate 72".... (that's it.  No more talk intended or needed.)


.....not much needs to come back, to satisfy me in these ordinary exchanges.  In a situation like this, to me I'm bringing factual news that in some way relates to my partner, not looking to start a conversation.   


About 15% of the time, not in any regular pattern that I've been able to discern, the response is....blank.  Blank face.  Not a syllable back.  No pantomimed response with the body.  It's as if what I said....was a dead piano key.   

Has anyone who has lived with this pattern in the household for a long time figured out what's going on, when what comes back is blank, not even "uh-huh"

I can tell when he's in hyperfocus, totally immersed.   These just living together sentences to him that get blank back (but only under 15% of the time...what's up with that?) are not  attempted when he's quite clearly in his own in hyperfocus, I don't try to get his attention for anything, then.  You'll have to take it on faith frm me no we haven't had a tiff, no the topic isn't in the past or in the present a stressy topic in itself.... and the response is......nothing.  Not even a throwaway that signifies back that the communication, or even the sound of my voice... has been heard at ALL, like "That's interesting" or "Yikes" or "Hm"

Like I say, it's like the sentence I said was a dead piano key, giving off no sound.   

I also have learned that if he doesn't hear that what I'm talking about has to do with him (as he defines what has to do with him), he either won't pay attention or gets out of the conversation as soon as he can.  OK. I've got that. That took some adjustment of expectation, but I'm pretty well adjusted to that...that if I need his help for a problem that I'm having, that doesn't involve him or want to show him something that I've done that I'm proud of, that again doesn't involve him or his insterests, it's going to have to be a well timed request with a very large headline, or he won't lock attention on me very well or very often.  I really have the lesson learned that he has a different attention, and that I needed to scale back my expectation that he would attend to anything he found unrelated to him.  

So in our house, I'd say I've pruned out a lot of "life just going on" sociability talk if it's talk about what the neighbors are doing, what the weather is, what my own day's plans are....he doesn't care about those things ordinarily, so I don't waste our time or his with remarks about them.   In my examples above both had to do with him.  I tend to select in my mind, does this in anyway have to do with him, that I'm going ot mention?    In the first, our family income was going to increase, an obvious benefit to him; in the second, he had been waiting for me to get back.   He does indeed get alarmed if things occur that are not on the clock that he has set for himself, including my return at a certain time. 

I know that my partner has the repertoire to "hm" and "good; can't talk now" because he does do that about 90% of the time, if he doesn't have something concrete to say back or doesn't want to talk at the moment.  

Blanking, and the need to repeat

Whether I ever understand better what's going on with these sometimes total blanks instead of responses, I already know that that means that if there is content of what I said that has to do with him, I'm possibly going to have to repeat it later.  There are already a whole lot of things that I now understand that I'll patiently have to repeat later, and some times repeat multiple times, if there's a necessary to us or necessary to him fact to get across to him...and sometimes there are.

I will not make anyone with ADHD happy to read this next, because it will be easy to presume from waht I'm saying that I think the ADHD memory and attention issues are advanced old age, but that is not what I'm saying here.  

But here I go, liable to set off aDHD readers or overdefenders of people with ADHD:   I spent about a decade in high interface with very elderly people, two of whom were my parents.  With that group, the very elderly, a lot of mental function remains all the way to the end, but short term memory goes, and some other kinds of memory too, in time, and the only way forward in that situation (whether you're the elderly or as I was, a middle aged caregiver)  is to have the patience to repeat....and repeat....and repeat.... and repeat....and hear the same question again and again and again and and the same anecdote again and again and again.   That's where I learned and I think learned pretty well, to relax, and patiently repeat, patiently answer the same question asked a dozen times, patiently hear the story again, again, again.  I use that patience a LOT in my relationship.  I GET it that a person can be apparently present in a conversation but somewhere else in their head.  I'm a dreamer myself.  I already have the patience to start over with the sentence later, at a time that might register with my partner, if the topic has any ongoing impact on him.  Dealing with the elderly schooled me in patience.

But I don't know what's up with these blanks and can't figure out whether or not they're some kind of a social signal or....are...blank.  I've never seen them before.   Even my 95 year old parents didn't totally blank with their faces, bodies and words, when they didn't have the wherewithall to take in what was being said to them.

I'd especially appreciate it if whoever tackles this who has ADHD or is a therapist or who assumes the authority mantle of a therapist, doesn't tell me that the problem of my husband randomly blanking lies in me.   I'm asking a good faith question about blanking itself in communication moments that are so low octane, and ordinary.  I'll never be able to grow in the ways I deal with my husband's ADHD generated behavior patterns if I don't learn more about ADHD.

Over on his side, he's a constant flow of chatter about what he's thinking, what he plans to do, what he's done, what road construction he's run into, what frustrates him and how he's feeling  Lol and he gets a little bent if I don't at least "Good"  "Glad to hear it"  "I want to hear about that later"  or "hm" or touch him or.....   he actually gets a little out of whack if he doesn't get something back.

So what's with him blanking....sometimes?