I am trying to understand my wife's challenges with procrastination. She has recently been diagnosed with "non-traditional" ADD inattentive type. I think the diagnosis is vague because the therapist may see other issues. The thing that is puzzling to me is that she will not procrastinate if the task she has to do involves something that will result in people outside of our family (myself and two young boys) seeing or perhaps judging her. If someone has ADD, surely the procrastination occurs in both places - within the family and outside it. Can anyone help me to understand this as I find it frustrating? If she can do things on-time for others, why can she not do it for those that she loves? Is it just that her fear of being judged by others keeps her focused whereas she does not fear or care about being judged at home? Or is it that she is trying to provoke me to try to create conflict? Conflict that I am pleased to say does not occur because now, with the understanding of ADD, I am able to see it for what it is and refuse to be hooked. Thanks and all the best to you all, CG.


I definitely see some parallels between your wife's behavior and mine. Shame is a big motivator. If something has consequences that are dire enough to break out of our household and "get around," I am much more sensitive to it and much more likely to be aware enough to spring into action. For me there really is no distinction between outside strangers or family members, but it sounds like maybe for her it is just family.

"Is it just that her fear of being judged by others keeps her focused whereas she does not fear or care about being judged at home?"

For me, this is totally accurate. The potential shame is a trigger for acting to resolve the issue that could cause embarrassment. I think most normal people would clean up in a more thorough way if company was coming over vs a spouse coming home. Same deal here, only for ADHD people it might be the only trigger strong enough for the cleaning to ever occur.

My wife has also been exasperated by this trait I sometimes have, and she takes it to mean that I care way more about what everyone else thinks than I care about her. I never leave a task unfinished as any sort of message to her. Maybe we thrive in a sick way off the conflict that results from these missteps, but at least in my case those calculations are never made in my head. It almost always is totally ignoring the issue until it blows up. The shame of extra-familial judgment is a relatively strong trigger to remember and get it done before the situation explodes.


Hi jackrungh, thanks so mush for taking the time to respond and share your thoughts. You mention shame..... without doubt my wife is really struggling with this. She reads so much about it, a lot by Brenee Brown. She understands that shame is an issue for her but not sure she traces that back to family of origin and the unrecognized effects of the ADD when she was a child. Still, I really appreciate hearing this from you as it does help me understand that perhaps not wanting to feel shame keeps her focused when acting outside our home. As far as the conflict, she used to benefit from it, however, with my understanding ADD I no longer participate in the dance and it takes two to fight! Anyway - thanks again for your feedback. All the best, CG.