"The Games ADD People Play"

These are from the book "Healing ADD" by Daniel Amen.  (Thank you to whoever on this forum recommended his books.  They contains lots of insightful information.)

Here's what he has to say about these "games":  "Many people with ADD unconsciously, based on brain-driven (not will-driven) mechanisms, play ADD games as a way to boost adrenaline and stimulate their frontal lobes.  These games just seem to happen.  No one plans for them to happen.  Most ADD people deny that they engage in these behaviors."

1) Let's have a problem.

2) I bet I can get you to yell to me or hit me.

3) My thoughts are more terrible than your thoughts.

4) It's your fault.

5) No, no way, never, you can't make me do it.

6) I say the opposite of what you say.

7) I say the first thing that comes to mind.

8) Let's call it even.

9) Fighting as foreplay.

Games 3) and 4) are the ones my husband plays the most.  4) is, in fact, the biggest problem in our relationship and the one I can't get past.  

Generally, I think it's fascinating that people with ADHD seem to use conflict as a stimulant, particularly conflict that they quietly instigate and appear to not be actively participating in.  It seems that what some experts see as withdrawal on the part of the person with ADHD might actually be an attempt to draw the other person further into conflict.

Another resource - Coursera


Here's another resource, it is a free course from UPenn given by Anthony Rostain, MD:

"Pay Attention!!", ADHD Through the Lifespan

The bad news is the course is due to end June 10 - but if you sign up before then the materials will be available for you to download. I don't know how long they'll continue to be available. There are videos and readings plus a forum. And there is a link to be notified if a future course is held.

Coursera is a great resource for online courses, recommended.  For anyone losing themselves in ADHD land, try learning something new just for yourself, all are free (they do have a Signature Track for some courses only, certificates with identity verification).


ps 1, 3, 8 are the favorite games here. Maybe we should have a poll.



#4 with #6 as a close second. Good grief. And can I add a new one to the list? Recently I realized I have been hearing a #10 from my almost ex in our dealings. His brother swears he heard it too growing up. #10: If you have an issue I am going to mirror you and claim it is my issue. 

Seriously. I suffered from debilitating migraines for years. A while back, spouse also started saying he had them. And I told him that I just had to recuse myself from fighting, because my therapist said she thought I may have PTSD from all the explosive anger. Sure enough, a few months later, he casually mentioned he had PTSD from our relationship. I had knee surgery? Months later he started having knee issues. It is almost psychosomatic. Anyone else experience this? Anyone experience an ADHD spouse with really exaggerated, melodramatic responses to pain and illness (won't stop talking about it, tells everyone about it, screams and moans more than I did when in childbirth?) 

And 11? I will take credit for everything, and have an altered memory of what really happened. This makes me laugh at this point, but STBX told many people that he worked so hard to rehab our old house and do a task (like paint the molding throughout) when I actually did 70% of it. I think he really remembers it differently to make himself superman. Wow. I used to call him on it but he would get so upset and then make it into me being petty, like "fine, ok, you helped with the molding, are you happy now?"


Exactly.  This is very sad when I think of all I compromised and worked for the family.  DH thinks he did it all when he did less than half while I was working AND taking care of home and children. When he said "What did you EVER do for me?"  is when I stopped wanting to do the extra work it took for me to support him to do less than his half.  He really changes memory and reality to make himself a great guy in his own eyes.  He also makes reference to anyone he is talking to about ANY work he is doing on ALL projects....like he has to "get credit" for doing something and if he can SAY he did it, it is as good as doing it.  He does not work for a unified family goal but rather he works so he can talk about it and "look" like he is doing his part.   

It is like he has a mantra of: "Let's not and say we did. he.he."    Not funny at all....lying again.

Mine would mirror my ailments

Mine would mirror my ailments to a point, but once I really thought he took it too far. I broke my tailbone giving birth and a few weeks later mine started claiming a broken tailbone. I was very irritated with him because I knew it was impossible and I was in major pain. A couple days later a cyst popped under his tailbone. Poor guy had to have it cleaned & packed for weeks. 

Oh I am so glad to be free of mine! I'm broke as heck and waiting on a position to open up 30 miles away. Fingers crossed I can start training soon:)

Good luck

Lauren, good to hear that you made it. Good luck with the job! 

Wow, that is uncanny with yours and the tailbone thing. I almost thought mine could not bear the stress or energy of something being wrong with me and subconsciously gave himself the same problem from stress or something. The brain is an amazing thing, isn't it?

Hang in there and best wishes.


Well timed post

Really interesting because over the last few weeks I have been telling my husband that I feel as if he is purposely trying to instigate fights and arguments.

#4 and #6 is what mine does the most but also #3, #7 and #8.

A big issue with my husband is the negative mindset. I must be thinking something really horrible and negative that I am not actually saying. So, when I ask a question - mundane question - he does not answer and gets really defensive. Because I must be attacking him. Then I have to ask the same question 3 or 4 times to get a simple answer and by that time I am getting upset and voices start to raise. It's really exhausting.

The other thing, which is a little bit of #6, I that he will only have an opinion if I have one first. When I ask him for an opinion, could be anything, he does not have one. If I have an opinion or if I make a decision, he will question. 100% of the time.

Example #1 - happens often

ME: Where would you like to go to dinner? 

DH: Anywhere, I really don't have a preference. You pick.

ME: Ok, lets go to ABC.

DH: Why not 123? I don't feel like ABC.

It seems he needs to challenge just for the sake of it. Doesn't matter what it is. 

*sigh* I am so totally mentally exhausted.


Hmmm...my hubby wants to

Hmmm...my hubby wants to avoid conflict at all costs unless he's already in a bad mood. Then he uses #3 and #7. He doesn't like to fight and once refused to move back in with me when we split up because he was afraid of us fighting all of the time. Though once he is riled up, geez...it goes down hill pretty fast. I will say that he has been trying to diffuse situations that could escalate into arguments with me for the past few months. Or in some cases, we'll be text arguing and he'll just stop and when he calls hours later, it's like the argument never occurred. Which of course is not healthy because I never feel like we get resolution.

Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.