Talking too much and oversharing

My husband has ADD and  sometimes I just wish I had a muzzle!!! He talks so much and not only talks too much but he overshares and talks to people about things that I feel should be kept to himself. Opinions,stories and things that should remain in his head or conversations that we've had, husbadn wife things that I want to just die and crawl into a hole and hide sometimes. He is a love him or hate him personality. People either think he's too much and dislike him, they think he's fake and over doing it on purpose for attention or they think he's the friendliest and most nice guy around. But sometimes I feel like he just can't help himself and he will go on and on and I can see the look on peoples faces that they are annoyed or looking like "what's with this guy?".  I most of the time don't care what people think, but I admit sometimes I feel like as my husband he is a reflection of me. If I had a dollar for the many times I have been told jokingly "Man, how do you put up with this guy" I would be a millionaire. His love him or hate him personality has already caused problems between me and my family and some friends. I find myself fearing that people will just not understand him and won't see the good parts of him, only the overwhelming parts and that they will form a negative opinion of him. I find myself keeping our life very private as to avoid hearing anyone say something negative about him. I know I shouldn't care, but it's hard.

I feel badly because I see him struggle in his family and friendships because of his strong personality. Sometimes I just want to scream, shut up!!! I hate to see people judge him because they think he's just obnoxious and doesn't know how to be quiet. I know  that this has been the problem many times at the more than 40 jobs he's has since he was a teenager. He is a naturally friendly guy, he lived a very unstable childhood and skipped from school to school(when he attended) and so part of this is just he needed to be talkative and friendly to make new friends constantly. It bothers me so much that people don't always see all the good parts of him. He is so caring and loving but also has a very loud and difficult part of his personality too. Keeping jobs has been difficult not only due to the disorganization and chaos but his mouth has gotten him in trouble alot. He can feel when people get frustrated with him or dislike and it only makes it worse. He talks more, louder, talks over people, repeats himself and eventually blows up. I just don't know how to handle it. I can handle it when it's us. I have learned how to deal for the most part. He has gone to therapy, doesn't deny that he's got ADD and recognizes other effects that his childhood has had on him. He tried meds and that only zombied him out and I must say it did calm him down but part of his personality disappeared to. He really is a good person and it makes me so sad that relationships and career suffer because he just can't shut his mouth sometimes.

I don't want to change his personality but I just wish so badly that he would realize the problems that his way of communicating causes him. I get so tired sometimes of standing there listening to him say things and I just feel like screaming or putting my hand over his mouth. I have tried to explain nicely to him that there is a such thing as being too honest and you don't have to tell people everything, and be so talkative and that he doesn't have to always 'perform' just be normal. He always thinks I am just trying to control him and I don't want him to talk ever. No that's not it, I just wish he would try a little harder to control the energy that he brings and that if he shut up sometimes, then maybe life wouldn't seem to always be such a struggle. He wants to work and when he's been without a job, he's always been looking for work, he feels good when he works, feeling accomplished and having a purpose adds a wonderful level of confidence to him. But it's been the typical ups and downs of feeling really good when he's doing well then when he's lost jobs feeling really down and like a loser. This last job he was laid off, not fired. But what about the next job, how can he carry on work relationships when i am his wife, I choose him and I have trouble handling it sometimes. I just wish he would stop and think before he speaks and listen to how some of the things he says sound before he says them. We all have some kind of internal editing that we do before we speak, he has none and it's so hard.

LavenderLisianthus's picture

Things that have worked for me(non ADHD, energetic/active mind)

On this site, I know a lot of people have recommended healthy diet and exercise. Those always help - even if only to keep the mental/physical edge sharp and healthy and give the persons involved the best jumping-off platform to start to heal other issues.

If I feel antsy/extra energetic or hyper - even just the need to talk a lot/move around, I take a moment to go for a run or a walk around the lake. It not only gets out extra energy, but forces me to reflect/ organize my thoughts, and relax a bit. Vitamins also help keep my minerals/nutrients level, which just generally aids me additionally in feeling well and strong. (though running has been my ultimate help, second to my faith)

As I have done myself, writing an email, or writing thoughts on a computer/in a notebook and rereading it before presenting his ideas may possibly also help him pick out the actual important and relevant points. Also, it will help him keep a track of his feelings throughout the day, and he will have something there to share with you, if, later he is not in the mood to talk.

I know this is not realistic in many social situations to do this, but perhaps he could, in that case, try writing down bullet points in a small pocket notebook  so that he could jot down his  ideas as they come to him (especially if they come at a similar fast rate as they do for me), and not feel as though if he did not blurt out an idea right away (especially when others are talking) that he will forget to bring them up at some (more reasonable/timely) point in the conversation?

I do not have ADD/ADHD, but do have a highly active mind and a lot of energy, and I use these strategies myself. It is tough to have to take extra steps/ put out an extra effort for self-restraint  that other people do not seem to need to take, but I have noticed myself become more self-aware and actually, more patient as well!

Resources for the process of self reflection and self-examination, as Arwen has mentioned, may also be a great exercise for the both of you to start up together, so that you can help him get started and perhaps continue on his own.  :-)

I wish you the best and hope that these ideas are somewhat helpful, even if only to start brainstorming about your own ideas that may work even better. I was in a relationship recently with a man who also had quite a bit to say, and was not aware/could not control how he came across in conversation  ;-) also, the man I was with, who had ADD seemed to be able to "listen" to and "capture and process" what I was trying to communicate to him if I sent an email/ write down my thoughts, rather than just convey them in verbal conversation when his defensive stance/ impatience would impede and cloud his reason and ability to be open and REALLY LISTEN.  We are actually very good friends now and at an even better point for starting a romantic relationship than when we tried the first time! As far as my case goes, only time will tell ;-) But, as I strongly believe, the best relationships are based in mutual respect and friendship :-)

PS as far as sending my thoughts in email form, he seemed to see things almost for the first time, though I had been saying it over and over(or trying to say it when I could find a rare opening in his stream of conversation) to no avail.  I highly recommend trying to express your heartfelt sentiments to him on paper/email :-) ; it is obvious that you do care and love your husband, even if you are understandably frustrated. 

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As I have done myself, writing an email, or writing thoughts on a computer/in a notebook and rereading it before presenting his ideas may possibly also help him pick out the actual important and relevant points. Also, it will help him keep a track of his feelings throughout the day, and he will have something there to share with you, if, later he is not in the mood to talk.

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For someone with ADHD and anxiety, the slowed-down process of writing is frustrating. Talking is so much faster, and the whole idea for that person is to work out his anxiety and ADHD with a motor mouth. Often, no filter is used....just a steady stream of jibber jabber.

He won't shut-up ~ I need peace and quiet sometimes.

My husband has ADHD and he has very few friends or relatives to talk to. Our children are too young for him to talk to. His co-workers aren't available, either, or maybe they purposely aren't available because they have been "put off" by his constant talking.  I think that with work people, he has attempted to be entertaining, but that means that the people become an audience or "supporting cast" to his performance. He's not really interested in letting someone else have the floor. In fact, when others have tried telling their own stories, my husband has later told me that the person was "boring."  The person wasn't boring, but likely my husband didn't like sitting there listening when he wanted to be able to continue talking. I have noticed that he knows few details about his few friends or co-workers, likely because he does most of the talking so he doesn't ask or learn much about their lives except for the very basic facts. 

I am all he has so I am expected to listen to his non-stop talking, complaining, and whining. He "gets going" and anything that interupts him (kids crying, phone ringing, etc) is "jarring" to him because it stops his mouth-train and he gets upset. 

He really doesn't want a true conversation. He wants an audience. He wants a tuned-in, focused-only-on-him, Hallelulah Chorus that agrees with him, sympathizes with him, and only speaks when he wants them to. He doesn't realize this.  He thinks he wants to have conversations, and he does when the subject doesn't have an emotional impact to him.  But, if the subject has an emotional significance to him, then he really just wants to do ALL the talking and for very long periods of time. It is extremely tiresome. 

He gets angry when I or others interupt him, but we have to interupt him to get a word in once in awhile. He truly can talk non-stop. The interuptions annoy him so much because he's hyper-focused (ADHD) on his subject matter so he is "jarred" even if the interuption is rather serious. Later, he may acknowledge that the interuption was needed, but the fact that he is jarred and has such a negative reaction is a serious problem because he gets so angry.

I know that his mom talks a lot. She lives in another country, so we only see her when we go abroad. She has two daughters that she calls a lot, so they are probably getting a split amount of her motor-mouth. Her current husband just goes in his man-cave to escape. Her first husband divorced her because her non-stop talking annoyed him so much.

I can't escape my husband's motor-mouth. If I take up a hobby, he gets angry and makes snide comments. If I watch TV, he constantly interupts it. When I work (part-time) he calls and texts too often. My boss even had to ask him to stop coming by our office so much. If I'm reading a book or watching the telly, he interupts constantly.

Therapy

I am the non-ADD partner and get incredibly annoyed with all the neurotic chatter.  My attention span lasts about  2 sentences.  At that point it is evident that this emotional download is going to be all over the place and wracked with agonizing frail over irrelevant things.   It is exhausting to listen to and be around.

So I went to counseling just to decompress all the displaced frustration and resulting disappointment.  It worked because eventually he realized that he couldn't transfer his anxiety onto me anymore.  Better yet, he started to go to therapy and at the very least has an improved awareness of how much is too much.  

There is no way that a non-ADD person can relate to the intensity other than just feeling confused and lost in the process of the ADD partner's mind.  A therapist who understands ADD can offer validation of feelings, aid in redirecting energy into constructive outlets, and improve social awareness.   

Having an established relationship with a therapist really helps when stress increases as ADD tends to spiral downward and drastically unravel under stress.  

Bottom line is the non-ADD partner can not be the unofficial therapist or sounding board.   The best we can do is set boundaries, be understanding of the process, and respect the differences in emotional processing.