“I don't feel as if I can be myself because I'm always worried about my partner's response to things I might say or request. I'm always walking on eggshells at home.”
- Non-ADHD partner
Walking on Eggshells
I know this feeling and, whether you are a person with ADHD or a person without ADHD with an ADHD partner, I'm guessing you know it, too.
Will my partner explode? Denigrade my request? Become immediately defensive? Tell me what I'm supposed to think instead of listening? Not being sure, or experiencing a lot of unexpectedly emotional responses from your partner, can make one cautious about what one says. You might measure whether to say anything at all. But being shut down by a partner's anger, defensiveness or reactiveness is really hurtful to you and your relationship.
What do you do? First and foremost, understand that while keeping the peace may be expedient in the short-term, in the long-term it's toxic for you. This means that the issue needs to be addressed. I'm not talking about keeping quiet about annoyances here - that's part of being respectful. I'm talking about serious issues that can't be discussed because of fear of a partner's response.
A counselor can help open up communication between partners. So can having the partner who is reactive or easily triggered take on this emotionality as a target symptom. Sometimes reactiveness can be lessened through ADHD treatment or, for either partner, therapy.
Because this is such a big issue for so many couples, I also sponsor an emotions and triggers course for one or both partners. The next session starts October 14th, and it could be a good way to start to engage with this issue, too.
Whatever path you choose, please make sure that you take care of your own needs to be heard and respected by not continuing to take 'walking on eggshells' as the norm in your relationship.
NEWS and EVENTS:
STARTING OCTOBER 14 - Emotions and triggers course - How do you calm emotions that get quickly out of control? How do you keep a partner engaged when triggers lead to avoidance and escape? Don't be held hostage by emotions and triggers.
STARTING OCTOBER 20TH - Need help in your ADHD impacted relationship? The ADHD Effect 8-session live Couples' Seminar has helped many, many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. Registration OPEN!Repair your marriage & learn to thrive now!
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For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. Find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!
Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The next live session STARTS October 20, 2021. Registration is now open.