“If you think of yourself as a victim then you have given control of your life to another person."
- Condoleeza Rice, talking about what her parents taught her
Are You a Victim of ADHD?
Rice was speaking about the issues she experienced growing up in a racially-segregated south, but I think her words are also very relevant for couples impacted by ADHD.
I’ve talked with many non-ADHD partners who think they are victims of their partner’s ADHD behaviors. That they must take over all of the responsibilities for the family because their ADHD-impacted partner won’t or can’t, for example (not true, btw, but an understandable assumption.)
I’ve also talked with plenty of ADHD partners who suggest they are victims of ADHD and ‘can’t do anything about it.’
While I understand the temptation to feel that way, do you want to give all that control to the ADHD??? This seems irrational to me, particularly when research shows that treatment of adult ADHD can result in a ‘normalization’ or ‘significant improvement’ of symptoms in up to 80% of adults who have it. My own consulting practice demonstrates that couples working together can balance out responsibilities and live well with ADHD.
The problem with the victim mentality is that it leads you to paralysis and inaction. “I’m a victim and I can’t do anything about that” means you will make no progress, just stay in a pool of resentment. So if you are feeling that way, try to move yourself out of that state by trying these approaches (demonstrated to work):
Get fully educated about ADHD – there is lots of scientifically accurate information available at my site and other places. Consider my couples seminar (starts March 26th), in which you get to ask me all of your questions, as well as get the latest information
Optimize treatment for ADHD. The free treatment e-book on my home page can get you started.
Look for your strengths…and strengthen them further. This is a great way to get away from feeling like a (weak) victim.
Get professional help from someone who understands ADHD and can, in turn help you understand yours better. That might be a therapist or coach – good recommendations for both are in my ADHD-savvy professionals section.
Start a gratitude practice – this will help you look for the positive in your life. Use a journal and once a day finish this sentence three times: “I am grateful for…” Reflect a bit on those things if you can. Read more on gratitude here.
NO ONE needs to be a victim of ADHD. Please use the resources available to you to get out of that horrible and restrictive place if you are in it.
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, 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. Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!
Seminars and Groups
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 Live session starts March 26, 2019.