ADHD in Relationships: Part 2
In Part 1 of ADHD in Relationships, we discussed the importance of gaining information and an understanding of ADHD and the ADHD symptoms, for both parties.
We also discussed seeking out specialists who can facilitate this education as well as the processing of emotions in both parties that will have naturally risen over time.
Today we are going to lay out some concrete things you and your spouse can do to not only inhibit ADHD from getting the better of you, but also to use ADHD to your advantage!
Declare a truce
Now that you have a diagnosis and are seeking help from a specialist the next step is to declare a truce. Constantly remind yourself that it’s not because you or your spouse is “bad”. It is because there is a real neurological issue creating a barrier to the relationships success.
Set-up a time to talk openly and honestly about what the ADHD is doing to the relationship
Now that you have begun your education on ADHD you can now pinpoint what breakdowns are being caused by the ADHD, and therefore what can and may not be immediately helped. For example, the trash being set by the door and not taken out my not be because the ADHDer “forgot” but because they just didn’t want to take it out…be honest so as not to waste time on issues that are not “issues”
Make and share to-do lists in apps
This one was a game changer in my house. Once we figured out that google KEEP could be shared in real time, my wife and I were all over it! Whenever we remembered something that needed to get done that we needed the other to do we put it there and it got done. No more arguments. And no more “forgetting”.
NOTE: I’m now experimenting with Wunderlist; google KEEP was giving us issues with updating across phones and laptops so things were updating. Just fyi…
Break the tapes of negativity
The ADHD-er has spent their entire school life hearing how “bad or dumb” they are. Avoid shaming or getting so frustrated you imply, or out right, bring up theses feelings. Continuing to do so will inevitably take them back to place and time they don’t want to be.
Being able to give positive feedback to the ADHD is huge. As we said in #4, they’ve had a lifetime of negativity, so praise often! But it is also important to use teamwork to be able to praise. The simplest way to do this is to figure out what you’re good at. Then what they’re good at, and then what you suck at and what they suck at. Once you pinpoint these things immediately stop doing the things you suck at and enjoy life doing what you’re best at!
Don’t use ADHD as an excuse: own the issues, apologize and plan to be better
This is a big one to my fellow ADHDer’s. Don’t use your ADHD as an excuse, ever! When you were young it was one thing. Now that you are reading this and seeking out help you cannot claim ignorance and you can’t unknow it. Own your mistakes, apologize and plan to make it better. Period.