“If you don’t take responsibility for your mistakes, you never grow up. You never learn…taking responsibility and forgiving yourself and others are two of the critical things about getting old."
- Jane Fonda
ADHD Doesn’t Cause Divorce
When you think about forgiveness you may think about forgiving other people. But equally – perhaps even more – important is forgiving yourself. To do this, you need to get out of personal denial and acknowledge that there is something that needs forgiving. In ADHD impacted relationships it’s not just ADHD – it’s also responses to ADHD that creates the problems. In my case, for example, I was so angry about his symptomatic behaviors that I treated my husband horribly for a number of years. It feels horrible to admit that I was an emotional abuser. And yet…I was.
My husband also had many areas where he could have done much better by me – angry, dismissive outbursts; affairs, and more.
The only way to heal from this sort of emotional pain is to: BOTH own what you have done; acknowledge your poor behavior with your partner; apologize to him/her; and forgive yourself.
In my case, and perhaps in yours, I can honestly say that I responded to undiagnosed ADHD symptoms as most people do. I tried hard to fix things and did the best I could do in the situation. I now understand the effect of ADHD and responses to ADHD on us both…but that doesn’t mean my behavior was okay. It was still emotional abuse and there is no justification for that.
Forgiving yourself – and your partner – is critical to moving forward. Having your partner forgive you, and him/herself is equally important.
Or, as I like to say, ‘ADHD doesn’t cause divorce, denial does.’ If either of you stay in denial of your own impact on your partner, you are unlikely to find the love you seek.
If you or your partner need to learn more about how to deal with ADHD and responses to ADHD, one of the best resources available is my live couples seminar – which is started YESTERDAY JANUARY 15. No, it's not too late to join us - sessions are recorded so up to 2 missed sessions are OK. Details are here. Let me do the work of helping you both overcome denial and improve your lives together.
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!
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 started January 15, 2019.
Support Tele-groups - Be part of a community exploring similar issues; learn from each other's successes and struggles; and find new, more effective ways to be your best self in your relationship: Non ADHD Partner Support Tele-group and ADHD Partner Support Tele-Group both run 8 consecutive Tuesdays @ 8:30pm EDT, 1/15 - 3/5, 2019