“We know the importance of knowledge. Thinking with your heart — empathy — is equally important, indeed essential, to living a purposeful and meaningful life. Knowledge and goodness (together create the live well lived)…”
-Principal William Rawson, to the 2019 graduating class of Phillips Exeter Academy
Knowledge and Goodness
You can read a million books and still not be able to act or change. Knowledge is critical – without it we are ignorant, and when ADHD is involved knowledge is indeed power. But knowing is not everything. In order to succeed, you must also be empathetic and think with your heart. It is when you start doing this that your partner understands, inside him or herself, that there is a deep well of love upon which change can be made.
What happens if you have a partner who is not easily empathetic? Sometimes this is too ingrained, either physiologically or habitually, to change. But often I observe couples who have an non-sympathetic partner whose lack of empathy is based upon feeling besieged or attacked. It’s not safe to be empathetic in the relationship. Once the other partner in the relationship starts behaving more kindly, it may become safe enough to risk warmth and empathy. And, indeed, I’ve seen just this happen many times. It can result in real breakthroughs.
What does this mean for you? I would urge you to look inside yourself and ask if you have hardened against your partner. If so, consider ways to become more welcoming and warm. That might include a gratitude journal, counseling, meditation, developing conflict intimacy skills, or just plain listening with an open heart.
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For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
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!
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 October 21, 2019.