First of all, basics. People with ADHD follow different rules to people without it. You cannot apply the rules you have learnt socially to people with ADHD because they are not ADHD friendly, just like how asking someone without ADHD to work without break or food for very long periods of time is not average-person friendly. This can actually work fine for people with ADHD in hyper focus. When I get into something, my hunger and thirst disappear and they can regularly disappear for an entire day or longer- however long I am in hyper focus. I have to literally tell myself to eat and drink despite my lack of apparent hunger or else I know I'll collapse at any moment otherwise. All that hunger and thirst comes straight back once I come out of hyper focus.
There's a reason for why I said that. Because for a lot of people with ADHD, nagging is counterproductive. There's a notorious rule that a lot of us follow:
1. The more we tell ourselves we need to do something because we have to or because it's good for us, the more we will procrastinate and act against it.
Add two more rules:
2. We forget very easily.
3. We are 'distracted' very easily.
One final rule:
4: The more we are under stress, the stronger our ADHD symptoms.
Number 4 is dangerous simply because if you thought the first 3 were horrible, 4 heightens the effects of the first 3.
Now this is not an excuse to hate people with ADHD. This is not an excuse to hate people with ADHD. Yes, I said that twice. I've found people without ADHD have rules just as annoying and the only reason I will not list them here is simply because I'm not here to play blame games and if I did, you would hate me for stating all your flaws and be more likely to criticise everything else I say and not take the advice. You just need to accept that this is how they are or else everything will fall.
So let's put the rules into context. You ask them to do something. Rules 2 and 3 come into play. So in response you ask them again. Rules 2 and 3 come into play again and now rule 1 starts to take effect. This cycle repeats and with each repitition, rule 1 becomes more and more heightened. You start to get frustrated and nag them in more harsher ways. Now rule 4 comes into play, making the first three rules worse. Can you see now why nagging is such a counter productive tactic for us?
Another thing to remember is that people with ADHD are still human and so we still have a lot of similarities to people without ADHD. For example, if you have are stressed, you lose control of your emotions quicker. The longer you are stressed, the lower your capacity before your break. As in if you've been stressed for 5 days over work, you'll break over smaller things than if you were only stressed for a day over work. Another thing is you don't like bosses when they are unhelpful to you, unsupportive and constantly telling you to do more and combining about your attempts to try. All here points are exactly what you are doing to someone with ADHD by constantly nagging them. Asking someone to do something at a later time when they forget easily is unhelpful. It's like telling someone to eat with a spoon when there are no spoons in the house and then getting angry when they don't. I forget to do things sometimes within a second of being told to. While my wife is talking to me I can reply as though I am listening to her attentively and replying appropriately when in actual reality I am completely distracted and so forget everything that's happened half a second later.
If you have noticed your ADHD partner's emotions getting worse as time goes on, then it might be because you are acting like their boss 24/7. Reminding them to do things, telling them off, reminding them again and finishing our work for us, thinking you're helping when from our points of view you are doing nothing to help. By picking up after our mistakes you are giving us a reason not to do any work. If you were given a choice to have a maid to clean your house for free or to clean the house yourself, which would you pick? You might be saying but we'll fail otherwise but that's because neither of you know how to control the ADHD and assume that just by telling us how to do something and reminding us all the time, we'll eventually get better at it (because in this case that's not how we work either). You're literally following social rules which have absolutely no relevance to us whatsoever. It might be relevant to everyone else, but for us you need to act as though you know nothing about social norms and have to start over again (as if you were a child/teen learning about the world). If you think that your partner gets angry even when you're asking them nicel, if you also you know they used to be much more patient over things like this in the past, it's probably because that person still has all those past experiences in their head. You might not have trying to be nice during the beginning and when you realised it didn't work so you tried to be nicer, they still had all those experiences in them. Nagging them brings up all those experience again and they automatically assume you have all one frustrated feelings you had shown in the past. Like how if someone has pointed a gun at you, you expect them to be ready to kill you everytime. And even long after an event like this, you may still associate that person with an intent to kill you.
It's not like you can't overcome these differences. Like how everyone is different and so can't be treated the same, people with ADHD also can't be treated the same way. It's not an obstacle that will always hinder your life and I have learnt to take advantage of my ADHD such that some things seem effortless to me whereas it's clearly a huge struggle for everyone else. When in basketball in hyperfocus I know where everyone is. My mind just takes in all the information and I don't need to think. It made it incredibly hard for anyone to take the ball off me because the instant anyone got near I could tell and the instant an opening was made by my team I would notice and pass. And all this required a very little amount of concentration and thought for me.
Going back to ADHD rules, of someone is distracted easily, take away their distractions.
When I look at my phone or a tablet, if I see a bunch of apps these apps I've noticed distract me and create openings for me to forget what I was doing. Solution? Use Siri or a search to search for the exact app I need, skipping the loaded app screens. Reduce the amount of apps on my home screen or the important screens so that I don't get distracted and forget.
I feel overwhelmed by a project or get bored with it and stop? Start another project until I get overwhelmed or bored with that, then repeat until I suddenly forget how overwhelmed or bored I was by the first project, I found which isn't after much, then restart it.
I forget to do things? Don't give myself a chance to forget it and do it straight away.
I need to remember something for later? Put it in front of my face i.e. a place I will definitely have to use soon that forces me to notice it. I get distracted by something whenever I see it? Put it in a wide open obvious space that I will pass by and make it colourful so that I can't stop staring at it. What I remember to do starts to overwhelm me now? Tell myself I don't need to do it, but that it would be nice if I could do it now. If I told myself I needed to do it, I would avoid it more, but I found that I told myself I don't have to, suddenly everything's okay, but that works for me, not sure for who else it works. Tell myself I only need to do one very small thing then I can continue later (when in actual reality my hyperfocus usually gets to me continue something I start for a long time so it gets done quickly). Don't tell myself that I can eat chocolate if I finish the work, but instead tell myself that whether or not I do the work, I will still eat chocolate but tell myself it'll taste better if I had done the work, and if I do do the work, relish for 5 seconds just how much better it felt to eat the chocolate.
I didn't figure these all out straight away, I read self help books, tweaked them or made my own because people with ADHD are naturally creative and I took advantage of that by testing out anything that came to mind until I found the right tactic. I did these one at a time and forced myself to leave some things until later (like my crazy crazy mood swings- you can find me rolling on the floor sometimes for no other explanation other than because I feel so happy). It's taken a long time but it's very clear from both my wife and I and I am becoming so much better over time at doing everything that normal people find easy to do.
There's just one problem of course. There are a bunch of other things stopping this from happening. A lot of you may be thinking that the ADHD partner needs to do this and so the information is useless to you. That may be true for many. Of course it is. You spent about 15 years learning about the world and society at least before you started getting the hang of it. Now you have to restart all over again for this one person. My wife takes forever to find ways to help me with my ADHD. Even with very very specific instructions from me she struggles to help. It takes her a long while to learn to do it properly. Even the most simplest of things, I'm guessing because some of my instructions sound as though they make no sense to the average person in how it's supposed to help. It's a struggle for her despite help from me to help understand me (I will tell her almost everything I learn about my ADHD and she still needs very specific instructions to help out with it and still even struggles on those). You can overcome their ADHD without having to settle for just full acceptance, except the ways I'm thinking of, have nothing to do with ADHD whatsoever, just normal marriage tips. Some points even have absolutely nothing to do with marriage itself, like just simply learning to accept your partner is not like everyone else and that the rules they abide by is just as normal as the normal flaws every other human faces. Make judgements; don't judge. But that's a whole other essay. I haven't finished with my points on this whatsoever yet still. Even then full acceptance is still what you need in order to reach this sort of stage without becoming frustrated and angry in the process. This post is for those that feel as though they're are at a stage where their ADHD partner are willing to help themselves or are willing to cooperate with you to make their lives better. Also so others can see that it is possible to overcome ADHD problems.