“Power is not taken at all. It’s given to individuals by others, including their partners, children, coworkers, social groups, and communicates, because they’ve served the interests of the greater good…’If you start from the assumption that you always have power, you realize you continually influence the world. You always have a chance to either uplift or diminish others.’”
- from an article about, and quoting, psychologist Dacher Keltner, UC Berkeley
One of the saddest parts of struggling with ADHD in your relationship is that you both can feel powerless, when that’s very far from the truth. I understand how you get there – the non-ADHD partner feels powerless in the face of ADHD inconsistency. The ADHD partner can feel powerless in the face of non-ADHD partner anger and controlling behaviors.
But you can change that by giving power back to your partner. For non-ADHD partners that means stepping away from parent/child dynamics and inviting ADHD partners to step up and have equal status in the relationship. Stop taking on too much or stepping in all the time so that ADHD partners can gain the power they deserve. Replace anger with empathy.
ADHD partners can give power back to non-ADHD partners by acknowledging that ADHD is impacting them, and by optimizing their treatment for greater reliability. This makes it easier for non-ADHD partners to feel safe and loved in the relationship and allows them to lighten up.
Is it ironic that the fastest path to regaining your sense of self in your relationship is to exercise your own power by giving power back to your partner?
For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including: a free online treatment overview; free downloadable chapters of my books; a community forum with other couples facing similar issues; a large number of blog posts on various topics; referrals; and my very popular couples course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This highly acclaimed, eight-session phone seminar has helped many couples turn around their relationship. The next session begins October 2017.