I am new here (non ADD), and I know that every relationship and ADD person is different, but do any of you non-ADD-female partner have some advice on how not be afraid of arguments?
I always end up starting never-ending/heartbreaking disputes (by acting strange, poor listening, avoiding) because I am so focused on trying to avoid arguments, and when solving the argument I never get it right. My partner ends up feeling rejected, not listened to, and he has all the reasons to believe so, but somehow his idea of me is not quite right. We can't build anything because it is so hard to speak to me. Also, unlike what I read on other posts he is more the one acting like a parent and me behaving more and more like a child.
Feeling particularly desperate today because of another small argument leading to all the wrong I did. And feeling so lonely and confused about everything.
Re: Feeling so down today
Submitted by Angie_H on
I'm not sure I fully understand your comments. I struggle with communications with my husband, and we go through good periods, then periods when we seem to argue over every little thing. I think I spent years trying to ignore things that would lead to an argument if I expressed my thoughts. Then I realized nothing will change if I ignore things that bother me.
I try to raise annoyances in a non-irritating way. I find my husband has a hair trigger and easily feels criticized, then denies he did something when we both know he did it. I don't know what approach will work for you. Obviously, what you are doing isn't working for either of you, so I suggest you try something different. You could try 'active listening', since you indicate your partner thinks you are not listening to him. Instead of stifling your responses, ask him questions for clarification, engage him more to have a better understanding of what he is saying.
Why is your partner acting as the parent? I often feel my husband acts like I'm stupid, and he immediately assumes I meant something that I absolutely did not mean to convey. I feel this comes from some fear of his (apprehension about something that may happen, not actually fear), and he is not listening to me, just running his own fantasy in his mind while I'm 'background noise'. In some cases I have found using different words is helpful. If he says something that makes no sense, I say I'm confused or I say 'help me understand'. That seems not to trigger his sensitivity to criticism.
I don't know that there is any way to 'get it right' in an argument. What happened prior to that point is what needed to be gotten right - to head off the argument.
All the best,
Submitted by AdeleS6845 on
I was a little confused reading your post.
I am a non female in a relationship with a man who has ADHD.
I have a history of trying to avoid arguments like the plague and hate confrontation more than anything. This stems from my ex husband's abuse. He always found a way to blame me for everything, to the point that I thought something must be very wrong with me.
I'm not sure what you mean about not getting it quite right when solving an argument. I'm sure there are many ways to resolve conflict, there is no right or wrong.
Also both Partners have to adjust their expectations and behavior.. it's not just about one person watching the words that they use and how they react. It can't be all about one person completely twisting themselves around and the other person not changing at all.
Have the same reservations as Adele
Submitted by 1Melody1 on
Sorry you are having such a tough time. I agree with Adele that there is more than one way to solve things and you can't always be wrong. Even if you're emotional or conflict avoidant, that's no reason to feel like a total failure who can't get things right. Emotions are natural and like you, I have a really difficult time with conflict. I can't really tell from your post, but it sounds like you are being hard on yourself to me. Can you really always be to blame for communication breakdown and how he feels? If you have to do all the changing then something is not right.
I know you came for suggestions so I'll say that sometimes it helps me to get out my emotions before I talk to my husband. I cry like crazy and then I am more composed when I talk to him because I have already let my body release my anger/sadness/etc. Another thing that helps me is writing down my thoughts because I have a hard time keeping them straight in a conversation. I am easily swayed off course and end up not being heard or not pressing the issues that are important to me. Writing them down solidifies them in my mind and I even keep the paper with me. Another thing that works for our family is "family meetings" where someone holds an object and only that person can talk. When that person is done, it can be passed to another person who will take a turn talking. That forces both listening and talking. If he doesn't feel heard, maybe you can practice repeating back to him what he says so he knows you heard him.
All the best.
Submitted by Edargorter on
Thank you all for your advice and kind words, it helped me and also it feels good not to feel so alone. I didn’t know how to reply, so I quoted some of your replies to add my comments on.
[You could try 'active listening', since you indicate your partner thinks you are not listening to him. Instead of stifling your responses, ask him questions for clarification, engage him more to have a better understanding of what he is saying.]
I did try some active listening and that helped thanks! His triggers are when I start acting avoidant or scared, or loose attention and denies it. The thing is that, usually, an argument starts because of a word or a moment of inattention, but I am rarely aware of what it is, and he expects me to “knows exactly” and say it and say sorry, so that we move on, but I can never put a word on what I exactly did, and so the argument begins and escalates. It begins because I act as if I know and get it wrong, and it's annoying and hurtful for him. Easy issues ends up becoming very complicated, and he says it’s my fault (he is right but he really doesn’t help here, since me being scared makes me act stupid).
[Why is your partner acting as the parent?]
Because he is blaming me for some things and also patronizing me (nobody does this, why do you?, nobody is like that, how come you...?), though it's unfair for me to say because it's out of frustration after many years of him not being successfully heard (meaning he's not a jerk acting out out of nowhere). Also because of an unhealthy relationship dynamic that we are both responsible for, and immaturity on my end: I came to erase myself and follow whatever it is he wants or which project to start and blindly follow and execute (that was stupid, and he never wanted that. I thought it was for the best. I tried to make up for all the “pain” i gave him and also to keep up with his speed, and that was a full time job...). So I became a super-assistant and he blamed me even more for forcing him to make all the decisions, and for not being able to talk to me- blindly executing even when I thought it was bad ideas. And I understand him, that was not fair to force him into this. On another note, when I think another direction is better, I feel like I have to make a report with supporting evidence and make a demo (and that’s exhausting), so I became more and more dumb, leaving the issues for him to be handled and me just executing (which takes far more time than he thinks by the way).
[Sorry you are having such a tough time. I agree with Adele that there is more than one way to solve things and you can't always be wrong. Can you really always be to blame for communication breakdown and how he feels? If you have to do all the changing then something is not right.]
No you’re right, I can’t be the only one to blame for communication breakdown and how he feels, but my way of handling things and avoiding makes him feel unheard, and matters worse. I can’t say that I behave like a supportive partner. I end up not doing some of the normal stuff people naturally do for their SO (like caring, listening, showing attention, being on their side), because I am always walking on eggshells and on my guards. I put myself in his shoes and I get why he is mad/unsatisfied.
Wish you all the best, and thank you again for sharing your experiences and concern.
I know what you mean
Submitted by jayjay on
I had the same with my husband (now separated). I would go through months trying to avoid arguments and as soon as I used even a slightly critical tone, he would flare up and start accusing me of getting emotional and abusing him and then threaten to leave, then the small issue will be lost because now there's a bigger issue of him feeling offended and shutting down, and desperately needing to escape and that's just from one comment about him putting his shoes away. I walked on egg shells, I went through a whole pregnancy without making a peep, but did he notice, instead he believes I don't say anything because I have nothing to complain about because he's so perfect.
he got diagnosed after he left, if I had known he has ADD I would have realised he can't handle criticism or change of tone, the best way to approach him would have been asking him to put his shoes away with please and thank you!