Married 24 years and just realized WE cant communicate because you speak ADHD!!!!!!!!

Hey all

Just found this site.  I hope someone has some encouraging tips/ideas to help me to understand how this husband of mine communicates!!!  It took my 22 year old son with ADHD to say MOM I can't talk to you because you take too long and you lose me and I get frustrated and then yell at you.  Then he said Dad talks and I can't understand what he says at all!!  And the whole family feels that way!  We look at him like what the hell????  He is a very successful salesman so we know he can communicate!  But when he tries to talk to us/me I just dont get it.  He ends up looking like a dufus and this in return makes him upset and then he shuts down. 

Is there a trick to this?  One of number one issues is communication.  We both feel like we are talking in a foreign language!  So, woman vs. man bad enough right....woman vs. adhd man  OMG are ya kidding me!!! HEEEELLLLLPPP!! I can't imagine going another 24 yrs like this!

Communication... Me ADDer talking about it :-)

Okay... ADDers can communicate pretty well when we are entering a topic of interest to us and we are prepared knowing what kinds of questions will be coming our way. I am really only speaking of my experiences, but I believe many will agree. I really had big conventions and these meet and greet type gatherings because I don't know the people and fear saying something stupid or coming across the wrong way because I've got a lifetime of experience to back up these fears. I HATE being the center of attention, like a going away party from an employer of 12 years. I felt like I was going to shatter like glass. I like to grab a beer and blend into the background. Communication gets worse in serious matters for several reasons. The ADD brain works too fast. I can be having an issue with my wife and while she rattles off all the things she is mad about, I have a thousand thoughts in my head and cannot deliver one. I fear using the wrong one, based on thousands of answers taken the wrong way in the past. Also our fast brains leave me exhausted at the end of the day. I cannot tell you the struggles I had driving home at 5:30 and barely being able to stay awake. Then the cruel part is after the kids are fed, bathed, homework done and end bed, I'm wide awake!!! When conflicts happen with your spouse they happen at night and usually out of the blue, so I'm exhausted and expected to say the right things at my worst moment and this stress makes me shut down and literally cannot stay awake, that helps :-/

Things changed dramatically after my ADD diagnosis at age 43. I can get by on 4-6 hours of sleep, if i'm approached with an issue,  you better be prepared for my responses for they are cool headed and very logical. My wife always wished I could communicate and now she has to change her strategies as I don't get silent and let her speak for me. This still catches her off guard.

There is hope for improvement in communication with the ADDer, but be patient because we are having to relearn the ways we cope with things built up over a lifetime of not knowing why we were different. Hang in there :-)


DF's picture

truth be told

YYZ has very good point to make.  I differ in one respect.  Dude - always let your wife finish talking.  For years I've been driving my wife crazy in that respect so I try hard to concentrate to let her finish.  It's not that I'm not interested in what she's saying, I just have to try so hard to button my lip.  It's absolutely agonizing when I cut her off and I see her get upset with me.  I'm trying.

Everything else is about right on par for the course.  I just found out after 38 years.  Granted I'm still in a frustration phase in that I can see so many things I've been doing that I'm not happy about.  We don't try to hurt the people we care most about and when it is finally realized, it is very tough.

Saying stupid things is my MO.  I'm used to being quick witted, I really am.  Problem is if the subject doesn't change I'm bound to pop off with some off the wall comment that makes no sense.  I told some of my coworkers yesterday about my new diagnosis and they laughed at me.  They were suprised I didn't notice that everyone on my team has some form of ADD or ADHD.  They told me that's why I probably fit in so well with everyone.  This was big for me because as YYZ would tell you, I'm having a rough go of my new found discovery and it helped that I could make light of it.  It hurts knowing I've been the source of so much grief.

In summary, yes, there are so many thoughts buzzing about that sometimes it's tough to just find a simple 'yes' or 'no'.  One word replies always seem so short and there's so much going on upstairs I feel like I should be saying something more all the time and I end up like a plane sputtering out of fuel.  It really is a miracle that my family has put up with this insanity for so gosh darn long.


FOR SURE... I Try to let her finish, but she keeps going and going and going ;-)

In this respect I'm Still like the child needing to say something and waiting until "I" think it's my turn and usually it is Not my turn. Very hard for the ADDer to recognize when it's our turn. On the same note... If we have a thought we have to get it out Right Then, else risk it going back into the pot of 1,000 thoughts spinning on the hard drive in our heads :-)

At my last job I was a Developer/Accounting System Database administrator and because the VP's like my system of project documentation and follow-up they put me in charge of the two IT guys, both my good friends who were ADD and always in frantic mode, I helped setup a system in Outlook to track our requests and follow up on each task using reminder alarms. FUNNY they sent an Un-Diagnosed ADDer to go Organize the ADDers... ROFL :-)