He talks all the time!



We believe my husband has ADD or ADHD. He has not been treated or diagnosed yet (we are working on that) but he answers "yes" to most symptoms of ADD.

So I have a question, I'd like to know if anyone else has dealt with or experienced this - My husband voices ALL of his thoughts.

For example, if we are watching a movie, he talks to/at the movie. He gasps, exclaims, and says things like "why did he do that, where is that person going, etc..." He also does this while reading a book or while working on a project.

He claims that speaking out loud while he works helps him focus. I can understand that. But what purpose does talking to the TV or his book have?

This is frustrating to me because its very distracting!! When he does this, it makes me feel like I have ADD too, because my focus is constantly being interrupted. I stop what I'm doing, turn to look at him to see what he's saying, and then I get angry because its nothing important. It's worse when I'm driving and he blurts stuff out too.

I've asked him to stop, but I know that he can't. And I've tried to ignore it, but I just can't seem to.

Does anyone else with ADD/ADHD do this, or is it just a personality trait of his?

Mine, too

A lot of times, he's just thinking out loud and doesn't expect me to answer. It can be bad if i'm in another room, and I drop what I'm doing and limp into the room he's in to find out what he said and he says he's just talking out loud and didn't expect an answer. I agree it can be distracting. I talk a lot too (I've been in market research for 30 years) and for some reason it doesn't bother me as long as I can tell if he's talking to me or not.

He also talks in his sleep. Sometimes I'll answer him because I don't realize he's asleep, and then that wakes him up. Mostly, what he says is constructed in complete sentences, even when asleep.

He's always found jobs where that ability to talk works for him, such as sales, and now, basically talking to the seriously mentally ill.

The problem is when he WON'T talk, like when I ask him a question about something important and don't get an answer.

more talk about nothing

So, this morning, I'm getting ready for work and unfortunately, it's his day off. He is literally following me around while he's thinking out loud (?) about how he's going to fertilize that lawn, it's going to rain again, that makes a big difference, he should read the directions again, he knows the fertilizer has to lay right on the leaf for a while, he's sure that same stuff worked real well last year, wonders what the weather will be like today and tomorrow... then it's about solar power and collection systems, too bad our roof is facing in the wrong direction, then again there are lots of trees around here, I'm mumbling about not knowing how those things work there's lots of new technology out there and now he wants to know why I have to make everything so hard! I point out that I'm getting ready for work, I don't follow him around and talk and talk when he's getting ready for work and of course he says that's a good thing because I have to make everything difficult... come on, I just wanna do what I need to do to get to work on time...

My Brain Doesn't Move as Fast as Hers!

I often have the same experience.  And I often feel exhausted just trying to listen.  And that's the last thing I want to happen before I even go to work - end up feeling mentally exhausted!  I also find I sometimes have to ask my wife to stop talking, slow down, and speak more softly, and it's because there's this loggerjam in my mind and I can't digest anymore.  She talks so fast, switching topics so frequently, that I hardly have time to absorb what she has said before she moves on to the next topic.  So, if I DO want to engage in active listening, by asking questions, show empathy by reflecting her feelings, etc., by the time I have formulated a response, she has already raced on to the next topic, or the next!  Or if I need to ask for clarification because she doesn't fill in all the gaps, or simply because I want to make sure I am hearing what she is saying, I need to get her to stop and back up.  I sometimes have to say - wait a minute, back up, I want to ask you something about what you said about what happened with so and so.  (And believe me, I'm not slow, and don't expereince this with people other than my wife. In fact, many people tell ME I talk too fast!)

When I ask her to slow down, back up, etc. she gets frustrated, and sometimes angry.  I finally figured out that part of that anger is that she thinks I am being critical of how she talks.  (She hears almost everything I say as a criticiam.)  So the other night I treid telling her my brain is just too slow!  That my brain doesn't move fast enough for me to keep up with her and so sometimes I have to ask her to slow down and back up.  That I WISH I could think and process as quickly as she can, but I can't.  I'm not sure she heard me, though.  I think she thinks I was telling her there is something WRONG with the way SHE talks.  But I'm willing to keep trying!

sapphyre's picture

I do it and I'm supposed to be the non-ADD one :P

I don't do it as much when it bothers other people. I certainly don't do it in the cinema! Well, not often, and quietly

He is very talkative. So am I. He gets frustrated with me trying to talk (to him, not myself, although I do that too) about everything in the universe. It's called "no news updates" in our house.

Yes, I suspect I'm high functioning ADHD, not requiring meds as I'm college educated and working professionally to support the family for more than a decade, and we have a mortgage.

Apparently ADHD people are not very good at internalizing self-talk (something most of us learn as children). And talking to yourself isn't a sign of insanity... it's just externalized self-talk. Being a chatterbox is definitely an ADHD characteristic... even the quiet ones will talk forever if you get them onto a topic they are interested in.

Hope this helps.

a lot of talk about nothing

a lot of talk about nothing... I guess that's like the no news update! Mine will actually watch tv and either repeat what's been said or inject personal commentary or opinion about what's been said. Sometimes I'll tell him that I'm listening to the tv right now or else I just pause and rewind. If I talk when he's watching, I quickly get shusshed!

You should of heard the talk about mowing the lawn today because tomorrow is trash day and we can ditch the grass clippings right away, that's right we'll be taking the trash out right after we mow the lawn today... Well, neither got done! There's four or more bags of trash in the house that I'll probably take out in the morning. Blah blah blah... I can't believe anything he says!

a lot of talk about nothing

Don't feel bad Clarity, my husband is the same way.  He's going to do this and this and that and nothing ever gets done.  I haven't believed anything my husband says for many years, now.  It helped me get rid of my endless feelings of disappointment and hopelessness.  Our priorities are not the same and after all this time, never will be.  I've accepted the fact that we will never be on the same page and am now living my life accordingly. 

thanks newf

Even though I've accepted the fact that we'll never be on the same page, I relapse at times out of sheer frustration. His behaviors are chronic and repetitive. It's maddening! He can really get on my nerves! That's just the way he is and I have to make room for him all the time. I have to maintain this false sense of "relationship" with him to "keep the peace". It's bs. I'm not happy and I haven't been for a long time. My daughter even encouraged me to leave him. If I get an opportunity to, I'm gone!

just the way he is

Why do we have to be the ones to accept the ADHD partner "just the way they are"?!?!?!  I'm all too familiar with the phrase "that's just the way he is and you can love him or leave him."  What are they doing to just accept us how we are?  I feel like we are asked to make all these accomodations but get few in return.

I understand that I cannot change someone else, only how I respond to them.  I just feel like ADHDers should be required to have good manners, just like anyone else.

arwen's picture

my spouse does the opposite

My ADHD husband has the habit of *not* vocalizing his thoughts, but thinks he has.

I believe this is because he (like many people with ADHD) has trouble distinguishing any boundary between what goes on inside his head versus what goes on outside of it.  He can't  always remember whether he *thought* something or *heard* something, and he can't always remember whether he *thought* something or *said* something.   The universe that exists in his brain often seems to be just as real to him as the real world is.

In his case, the default behavior is to not speak but then later believe he did.  Maybe your husband has the same basic kind of boundary issue, but your husband's default behavior is to speak instead of just think.

My husband's problems in this area improved with medication, but it has never completely disappeared.  The busier his life is (either at work or at home), the less he vocalizes.  Still, it's a lot better than it used to be before his diagnosis/treatment.

Since we've never been able to really resolve this problem, we have taken action to work around it -- we have several formal meetings each week to exchange important information and discuss any issues we have, and outside of those meetings we just have casual, social conversation.   This enables my husband to focus on important conversations during the meetings and relieves him from the need to pay careful attention the rest of the time. 

You might be able to do something along the same lines albeit for a different purpose.  If you and your spouse agreed to set up meetings for important matters and have casual, social conversation the rest of the time, perhaps *you* could safely ignore his comments at other times.

I urge you to set up an appointment with a neuropsychiatrist for your husband to be evaluated.   There are many disorders with similar behaviors, and most family doctors or behavioral psychologists are not trained to distinguish between them.  Once you have a diagnosis, you can then consider your treatment options.  Regardless of whether you and your spouse choose to try medication, I strongly suggest that you both also see a counselor to deal with the behavioral issues -- preferably one that is familiar with ADHD.  (Our counselor was not, but was willing to learn -- but it did slow our progress.)

Good luck!!


"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."  Albus Dumbledore

Nettie's picture

Talking to the screen

"But what purpose does talking to the TV or his book have?"

It's fun! Movies are a form of communication, so are books. It's instantly gratifying to respond to the author, especially (DH) if your partner isn't participating.


My husband has ADHD (all types!) and he verbalizes every single thought.  Reading this posting was the reason I finally signed on.  Ok, so maybe it's not the ADHD and maybe it's a personality trait, but I am thrilled that someone else can relate! He has to comment and be apart of every conversation or comment made to him.  I also cannot watch a TV show in peace.  He needs constant reminding to stop talking.  Now that I think of it, he verbalizes pain as well.  Any cut  or scratch he screams.  I tell him he's being such a drama gueen.  Funny thing is I loath for peace and quiet, which he will give me if I asked but because he forgets I usually have to leave the room.  We went for a drive once and he did not come up for air.  He talked for the entire 30 minutes and it didn't seem to matter that I wasn't listening, or barely responding.  It also doesn't seem to matter what the subject is.  I swear, he can talk for an hour about a light bulb.  I used to get angry all the time and felt he was being selfish.  Sometimes I still do, but it really is non-productive.  I would love to know if the ADHD could highten certain characteristics in people such as this.  It's quite interesting and now I feel better for venting ;-).

Elisabeth's picture

This made me laugh a little

This made me laugh a little because my husband has this same trait!!  It doesn't happen absolutely all the time, just more in the evenings or early mornings when his meds are wearing off/waiting to kick in.  And those are the times of the day when I am winding down/waking up...he knows he does it.  Sometimes I just have to say "DUUUUUUDE!!  STOP!".

So is your husband aware of it?  For me it helps that my husband is aware that this is something he does.  It does not mean he is necessarily aware he is doing it when he is doing it, so I need to him.  We usually have a bit of a laugh or I say " I just need 5/10 minutes" or I explain to him at what point of the day I am at and why I need some P&Q.  Sometimes though, I enjoy it.  In the grand scheme of ADD, this isn't such a bad habit, and often fantastic conversations are born out of it.  It definitely does help my husband to order his thoughts and settle his mind, so in that regard, I try to limit working myself up over it. Sometimes though...ENOUGH!  So I know your frustration.

I guess for us  this habit is something that involves a little give and take from the two of us.  Sometimes I just let it go and sometimes he knows I need a break.  Maybe you can talk to your husband about why it is frustrating to you and explain there are times when he probably should try to limit it - like during a movie.  But then when driving in the car, maybe that's when you can try to go along with it.

I hope this helps. Cheers, Elisabeth 

Glad we're not alone!

My husband is aware that he does it, but he can't help it. He just blurts things out. Like someone said, perhaps he "thinks" it was his inner voice, not realizing he's actually speaking.

I wish I could ignore it, I really do, but I'm naturally so attuned to the people around me that if he even twitches in the slightest way, I notice.

*Vent* I hate that his talking interferes with his ability to pay attention to the movie. He misses important details and gets confused, then he turns to me asks "what happened, why are they doing that, ect." and I think to myself "Well, if you'd just shut up for a minute, you'd understand what's going on!!" Why do I have to always fill him in? Grr!


That reminds me of another issue, but I should probably start a new thread for that. ;-)

My Mother Too

My mother is like this and has always been so.

The first step is to try to assertively and calmly communicate & explain what you want.

Then you can use gentle requests/reminders.

 If that fails, I think you will have to start using consequences, like watching TV in another room, pleasantly and ignoring any nastiness or manipulation from him; just be firm but sweet.

Consequences are all that have worked sometimes with my mother, and also with my husband and who is similar to her but doesn't have the motor mouth syndrome. If a person does not care what you want, or cannot consider that, or cannot control themselves, then it is up to you to be proactive and help yourself - nicely is best. 

When you deal with the problem, eg, watching TV in peace, that problem will not intrude on how you feel about that person. 

He Talks All the Time

I relate to all of your stories.  My husband talks all the time - to me, the radio, the television, or the walls if there's no one around.  You always hear that men have only 5000 words a day and woman several times that many.  Well, it's the opposite in our home.  I am so tired from trying to listen through all the chatter and not totally ignore my husband that I don't feel like talking much.  My husband is also in such a hurry to contribute to the conversation that he rarely lets me finish a sentence.  Ater so many years of being interrupted and having "my" thoughts finished for me, that I don't want to spend the energy trying to have a conversation with him.  There's very little I share with him anymore.

He blurts things out all the time!

This website was like a breath of fresh air. I know my husband has ADHD. No doubt about it. He becomes distracted at the drop of a hat by anything interesting that comes along! He talks nonstop for minutes on end about the same topics. And he blurts out the most inappropriate and embarrassing things! Tonite, we saw my boss at a social event and he said "you know, my wife says you are difficult to get along with, but you seem really nice and she says she gets along with you just fine!" YIKES!! The LAST thing a difficult boss wants to hear is that you've been complaining to your spouse about them! He's like a 5-year-old--he has no compunction about just blurting out what's on his mind or things he's heard and should keep his mouth shut about. I don't know what to do. I'm in a constant state of fear or mortification over half the stuff he says.  I'm afraid he's going to cost me my job some day, not to mention the hundreds of just plain embarrassing or too-much-information things he's said. What do I do, leave him at home, refuse to go into public with him? He doesn't believe he has ADHD and meds are out. I've tried to talk to him, but he says I'm too sensitive, but I see how people react to him and they are usually uncomfortable or shocked, too.  His feelings get hurt when I tell him he's messed up again. I really do love him; he's got so many good characteristics, but  I need some ideas.