This Year's Virtual Conference Looks Great!

This is the fourth year of Jennifer Koretsky's Virtual ADHD Conference and I have to say that I think the agenda looks great.  Experts will be talking about ADHD across all stages of life with, most important for readers of this site, good information about adult ADHD.  Examples:

  • how to dig yourself out of debt if you have ADHD
  • dealing with shame
  • sleep issues
  • the role of exercise in treating ADHD
  • whether or not to get accommodations in the workplace
  • anger in relationships (that's mine)

I'm quite excited about my presentation on anger.  I just this minute finished putting it together, and it's got much more information in it about how to understand what type of anger you are dealing with and then the specific steps you need to take to get past that anger based on the best science available on the topic.

I'm also excited about the evening sessions - Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Quinn are offering Q&As, and more.

Anyway, it's a good resource for those who are interested in learning more about ADHD.  Check it out here.


Mother in Law control

My husband is 30 yrs old and has ADHD. He was diagnosed as a child. He has had a hard time with school all his life, and has some kind of learning disability, though I am not sure if it is the ADHD or something else. He has never really explained it to me. We have know each other for 3 years and have been married for just under a year. Before we dated, he was 28, he had a ton of overdue and unpaid bills (some he did not even remember having at first), he had dropped out of college and was living at home. Now, we have paid off almost all his bills, his credit has improved greatly by that, he is interested in college again and is looking into a few different schools.  Generally, our marriage works really well. We have our spats, but work them out with communication and understanding. I know that it is a day to day process with his ADHD, and I am completely willing to learn all I can about it. I married him because I love him, and the ADHD does not waver that feeling.

The main issue we are having right now is his mother.Here is some back ground info. She is unemployed (she didn't like her last job), lives with one of her daughters (the unmarried one), and is currently trying to get a psychology degree. She is divorced from my husbands father and estranged from current husband, as he did not pay the bills and apparently she was unaware of that in her 5 year marriage. I don't judge her choice in life as everyone has their own way to go, but she makes it very hard sometimes. She is very rude to me and often insinuates that I am a poor wife. She tells me that I move way to fast for my husband and that I am selfish, and that I cause stress for my husband. This I am confused on, as I take care of all the finances, groceries, errands and any other type of regular chores that require patience. My husband tells me he loves that I do this for him. I even went as far as moved all of our things from one apartment to another in our building in one day (ours has mold.) She proceeded to call me and tell me that I was moving too fast, and that I obviously don't understand how to be a good wife, or how ADHD works. When I get these phone calls, I don't say much as I don't want to be insulting. But she is so hurtful. I tell my husband about these things but he says he does not want to get into the middle of it. But he IS THE MIDDLE!! His mother and I would not even know each other if he did not exist. He tells me I should just let it go because of her hard time in life. I can respect that her life is not perfect right now and has some issues, but she does not have to take it out on others. If I am adding stress to his life, she must be too, because she just dropped the bomb on him that she needs to find an apartment, get her car fixed so it's running, and find a job in 2 WEEKS!! 2 WEEKS!! That's it. Plus, all her stuff would need to be moved, and they would need to go apartment hunting as well. She has 4 kids, but the other ones have jobs, so they can't help. We have jobs too! In retail, so we never get regular days off. Plus, I just found out I'm pregnant and have no idea what to do if she is going to question my parenting as well as my ability as a wife...HELP!!

Mother-in-law problems

It's time to draw some boundaries.  You may have married your husband, but you didn't marry your mother-in-law.  Talk with your husband in earnest and tell him how much this hurts you.  Suggest that you don't wish to interfere in his relationship with her, but that you don't need to take this type of abuse from her.  She may have had a hard life...but that doesn't mean she has the right to make your life harder as well!  You have every right to tell her that you don't wish to hear her criticism, and should do so.  Furthermore, overtly ask him to stand up to his mother when she badmouths you, perhaps by figuring out what his specific (and CONSISTENT) response could be.  For example, "Look, Mom, I know you are critical of my wife but I love her dearly and don't wish to listen to your criticism.  Please take it somewhere else."  This type of response, used consistently every time she comments about you to him, will help you feel supported and (hopefully) encourage his mother to back off.  If he sets up this type of premeditated response and uses it consistently, it will also probably help him avoid getting into fights with her about this topic...he should just stick to those words and refuse to engage.

In addition, reinforce with your husband all of the good things that the two of you have together, making sure to celebrate all of the successes the two of you have together over time (not just during this conversation).  Reminders of your loving support, and of the good things you share, will help him mentally withstand the comments his mother lobs his direction (you should expect her to continue, even as he fights back and stands up for you.)  Manipulative moms can be really hard to deal with.

It's important that you and he both agree that his standing up for you and refusing to listen to her badmouth you will likely:

  • not change her behavior much
  • may make her increase her criticism (if she feel competitive with you)
  • should not impact other areas of their relationship.  He can still have a relationship with her around everything they share EXCEPT criticism of you - that's off limits

Stand up to this woman.  You don't have to take this abuse.

P.S.  It's possible that your husband simply won't wish to engage with his mother, perhaps due to a traumatic childhood or extreme sensitivity to conflict with her (sounds as if she is a person who is willing to obliterate any opponent, including family!)  If this is the case, that's fine.  Just explain to him that you aren't going to take it any more from her, and let her know that.  Even though she's family, I believe firmly that you DON'T have an obligation to kowtow to someone who is abusive.