“Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."
- Albert Einstein
Logic vs. Imagination
I was recently listening to a podcast done by Dr. Edward Hallowell and his wife, Sue, about what it is like to live with an ADHD partner. They started laughing about how much energy and imagination Ned’s ADHD brings to their relationship (“He has a million ideas every day.”) They also spoke about her being the ‘brakes’ in the relationship, something that Ned admits he both admires and resents in the moment.
Okay – I totally get this conversation. My not-so-beloved nickname used to be ‘The Voice of Reason.” This was particularly true when we had young kids and I was worried about their safety. But I also have to admit I used the ‘brakes’ more often than just in critical situations. It was a way to ‘keep things under control.’
Non-ADHD partners often tell me they resent being the ‘bad guy’ in the parenting dynamic. And, frustratingly for them, I sometimes tell them to stop being the bad guy if that’s how they feel. Here’s what I mean:
• There are genuinely times when you MUST put on the brakes. Your child is unsafe or unhealthy, or that pool will never, ever actually fit into your back yard…In these times, own those brakes! Feel GOOD that you have the ability to think logically and create some order!
• There are many other times when brakes aren’t actually needed, even if you feel nervous or out of control. At those times, embrace the imagination. Get down on the floor and play make-believe with the whole family rather than cook dinner (go out later – chores are simply chores.) Take that overnight camping trip as a date and see what happens, rather than worry about the kids (they’ll be FINE at Grandma’s or a friend’s!) Well, okay, bring bug spray!
There are MANY more examples of when non-ADHD partners don’t really need to apply the brakes – where flexibility is actually the more ‘relationship-friendly’ choice.
If you resent being the ‘bad guy’ or the brakes person, take a look at whether or not it might be more logical to run with either partner’s imagination. You may be surprised where it can get you.
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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;
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 next Live session starts early 2019.