“…I believe in telling the truth in our intimate relationships. Yet I’m also aware that sometimes we tell the truth like a slap in the face.
Conscious relationships don’t encourage truth for truth’s sake.
I don’t really need to hear that my lover thinks my ankles are too thick.
He doesn’t need to hear that I think another man is sexier than he is.
Truth without love
is a form of violence.
By all means, tell the truth. Yet be mindful of what you’re generating with your truth-telling…”
-Katherine Woodward Thomas
I regularly am asked “why did my ADHD partner get so upset when I started to talk about what s/he hadn’t done yet? It’s the truth…!” Perhaps so, but that ‘truth’ lands like a criticism or, as Thomas notes ‘…a form of violence.’ This is because your partner has ADHD and a long emotional history with similar issues. That ‘truth’ that seems so easy to you may activate feelings of shame, defensiveness, anger and lack of power in your ADHD partner.
Thomas asks that we combine truth with love. How? One example - it’s loving to know that your comment may hurt your partner, even if it wouldn’t hurt you, and think before speaking.
It also helps to set up systems for tracking whether things get done, hence my support of regular task meetings. In those meetings it is the ADHD partner who monitors his or her own progress and makes plans to assure things get done as needed. This is much kinder than being monitored by another.
Another element of ‘truth with love’ is believing what your partner says when they tell you how they feel. Validate his or her feelings, even if you don’t understand them or agree with them. (If you don’t know what validation means, I talk about it in more depth in my couples’ seminar.)
What’s the loving truth your partner most needs to hear from you?
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For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
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