Getting Unstuck

One of the most common problems in couples in general and in couples where there is ADD in particular is the inability to make changes.  This is vexing because, as they say in AA, if nothing changes, nothing changes. 

Before the couple gets help, what usually develops is a process of mutual blame.  The minute a conflict arises, each member of the couple hunkers down in a self-protective, defensive posture that says, “It’s your fault, not mine.”  Soon the phrase gets added, “Why bother even trying?  This situation is hopeless.”  Each member of the couple feels isolated, lonely, misunderstood, angry, and at a loss for what to do next other than separate or simply muddle miserably on.

The step I advise is to get help.  You need a referee to help you get your feelings out on the table, to help you listen to what the other person is saying, to help you discuss options for change before you shut down and say it’s hopeless, and, not least of all, to inject some positive energy into your world.

Some people dismissively call such therapy cheerleading.  I call it loving.  It is the most powerful therapy there is.  I try to offer the people who come to see me the kind of love I can offer, as a therapist.  This means I try to find what’s good in each person and what’s good in the relationship.  I try to find ways of helping each person develop understanding for of the other person’s point of view.  I try to rekindle the respect and affection that once suffused the relationship.  I try to help each member of the couple laugh and relax, untighten their jaws, let go of their hunkered down posture, and find a safe place to begin to initiate change.

In a crucible of forbearance, respect, honesty, and open talk, people rediscover love.  It is magnificent to see.

-Ned Hallowell