My wife and I seem to be stuck re: our different communication styles, having the same argument over and over. I am a non-ADHD introvert, and she is an extrovert with ADHD. What happens is this: we start out having a rather nice conversation – at least from my perspective. I say something, then she responds, then I respond, and so on. And then, at some point, I realize I am no longer talking and she is talking “non-stop.” I end up feeling like she is talking AT me rather than TO me or WITH me, and I start thinking “I wish she would just stop talking.” And I find myself not listening to what she is saying. And it is clear to me, she doesn’t even realize I’m not listening, which just emphasizes my feeling that she is talking AT me. I realize that she can’t help herself – that some “switch” is clicked and she just goes into overdrive. It’s like a runaway train, which she has no control over. I get that.
I just don’t know how to tell her I am at my limit without hurting her feelings. When I am at my best, I realize it’s just her ADD, and am able to let her talk on and on, and don’t get upset or angry. But other times, I think “Here we go again. I wonder how long she’ll keep talking until I have to say something?” and then I DO say something like “Honey, would you please take a breath.” Or “Sweetie, would you please speak more softly” or “Honey, please speak more slowly” and these sometimes help. But other times, when I have less patience, or when whatever I say doesn’t seem to “connect” and she continues talking non-stop, I end up saying, quite firmly, “Honey, stop talking!” or, as I did this morning, “Sweetie, PLEASE, I need quiet in the morning.” And then we have an argument about how it’s all about what I need as an introvert, etc.
The thing is, it’s not really that I need absolute quiet, but rather, I can’t take in the long string of non-stop verbiage. And I just don’t know how to communicate that in a way that she understands, and in a way that doesn’t seem like it’s ME setting the rules about our conversations.