“Compassion is an action word with no boundaries."
I love this idea of limitless compassion! If you think I’m writing about compassion towards those with ADHD, I’m not. I’m talking about compassion towards a partner who is struggling – and that would be both of you.
It’s painful to me when I hear a non-ADHD partner say something that has this not-so-hidden message: “ADHD is my partner’s issue. When s/he fixes it, then I’ll start working on the relationship again.” Or when I hear an ADHD partner say something like “It’s not my ADHD, it’s my partner’s anger and nagging that is the issue.”
But what happens if you ‘become’ your partner, just for a moment? It’s really HARD to have ADHD. Imagine not being able to follow through easily on what you really wish to do – simply because your mind wanders off! Or not being focused enough on a conversation to remember it. Imagine not believing you are worth anything because so many people have told you you’ve failed. Imagine trying really hard and not getting anywhere.
It’s not just hard to have ADHD. It’s also really HARD to live with someone who has unmanaged or undiagnosed ADHD. Imagine losing trust for your partner because s/he rarely does what s/he promised. Imagine the loneliness of feeling as if your partner doesn’t know you exist anymore because s/he is so distracted. Imagine giving it your all and not getting anywhere.
Compassion is an important ingredient to addressing the problems the two of you face. To build compassion, I suggest two specific steps:
• In every interaction, as yourself “How can I be kind?” and choose your responses accordingly
• Ask your partner about his/her experience and believe what s/he says, even if it feels hurtful or hard. Ask questions if you don’t understand the details. In this way it becomes easier and easier to ‘see’ your partner’s side of things.
Need help building compassion, taming anger and renewing intimacy? .... take my Live ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - starts in TWO DAYS - September 26, 2018. Don't Delay, the next live session begins in 2019. Find the love and joy you thought you had lost forever.
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;
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 September 26, 2018.