The Rescuer

ADHD & Marriage News - March 4, 2023

Quote of the Week

“…the impetus to offer up a solution comes from an instinct to avoid conflict and minimize pain, namely your pain.  What we’re really saying is, Your pain is causing me pain, so I’ll tell you what to do in an effort to stop feeling this pain.  Compulsively fixing happens to carry a major side benefit:  we get to avoid dealing with our own emotional experiences.”

-Teri Cole, describing high functioning codependents

The Rescuer

I resemble this.  Some people call it fixing.  Some call it rescuing.  Some call it being controlling.  By any name, it’s one person offering solutions to another so that you don’t need to feel some sort of pain.  Partners do this in all sorts of ways.   Here are some examples:

  • Instructing your kids to tell their absent father how much they love him to try to build connections between them (and lessen your own pain that this isn’t happening more naturally)
  • Creating a social life for your partner because your partner doesn’t do this on their own (lessens the pain of observing their isolation, possibly lessens your own pain of being with someone less social than you)
  • Reminding your partner for the 10th time to get their prescription filled (lessening the pain of their irritability when they aren’t medicated)
  • Suggesting ways your partner might clean up his closet or office to make it more orderly (lessening the discomfort you feel when you come across the mess)

There are a number of specific issues that rescuing creates, most notably that the person being rescued has less reason to address the issue themselves because you’re taking over responsibility for it.  But in the long run, precisely because the person doesn’t need to address the issue, your rescuing may well result in resentment.  Do you want to rescue forever?

When trying to move away from rescuing (and please do this!) it can help to identify the pain is inside yourself that you are trying to address…this can help you create a plan of action for yourself (first) and how to address your partner in a respectful way (second) if that’s called for.

Would you consider picking one way one of you is rescuing the other and changing your patterns?



REGISTER NOW for the ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' LIVE 9 session Seminar  - 7:30pm EASTERN time. Starts MONDAY, March 13

What you both need to know - now!

  • Learn how to trust again
  • Get out of destructive patterns such as parent/child dynamics and the chore wars
  • Become closer than you have been in a long time, and find the joy and intimacy you miss
  • Let go of your anger and frustration
  • Move from “correcting problems” to “enjoying each other”
  • Navigate and optimize ADHD treatments
  • Tap into hope for your relationship
  • Cope with having a partner who is not yet in control of their anger
  • Improve your communication skills


- For a more detailed curriculumgo to this page.

Resources For those in relationships impacted by ADHD


ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - Is your relationship in trouble? My highly acclaimed 8-session Zoom seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships. The next live session STARTS March 13, 2023.

Non ADHD Partner Support Group (few openings) and ADHD New Habit Coaching Group (Spring 2023 Group - April 19, 2023 - June 7, 2023 - Registration open now!) - Be part of a community exploring similar issues, successes and struggles and find new, effective ways to be your best self in your relationship.


How to Optimize Treatment for Adult ADHD

Downloadable chapters of my books;

A community forum with other couples facing similar issues;

A large number of blog posts on various topics;




Question? Contact Melissa.

 - Please follow us for tips and resources.

© 2023 Melissa Orlov