If your partner has ADHD, you both have a lot to benefit from learning about his or her condition. Taking the time to understand can improve your peace of mind and the health of your relationship.
Understanding is easier said than done, though. First, your partner may not even know she suffers from ADHD. She may never have been diagnosed. A significant number of adults with ADHD are unaware that they have the condition. When neither of you knows that a particular behavior is a symptom, you may misinterpret it.
For example, if your partner is easily distracted when you talk to her, you may think it means she doesn’t love you when, in fact, the distractibility likely has less to do with a lack of affection–and more to do with her ADHD.
Another difficulty is the destructive cycle that can occur when the two of you become locked in a struggle. For instance, your ADHD partner doesn’t pay attention to you; you feel ignored and respond with anger; in turn, your partner feels attacked, and the conflict escalates.
Another challenge occurs if your partner does not have her symptoms under control enough to be responsible. If she proves unreliable when it comes to picking up the children, for example, you will pick up the slack. Over time, you might take on the role of parent not only to your children, but also to your ADHD partner, and your partner can almost feel like an additional “child” in the family.
Know How To Nurture Your Relationship
1. Learn About ADHD
Once you understand the symptoms of ADHD, you will not be caught by surprise.
If you then refrain from interpreting your partner’s irritability or oppositional stances as meaning she doesn’t love you, the two of you can join forces to find ways of managing behaviors she’s not so proud of. Instead of working at odds, you can become a team.
2. Find an Appropriate Treatment Plan
Your ADHD partner’s ways of managing behaviors she’s not so proud of may include a combination of medication, exercise, healthy eating and sufficient sleep. It may also involve her adjusting her behavior to create new habits, such as careful scheduling.
The two of you can plan your week, keeping in mind how emotionally drained your partner will feel after certain activities. Then, you can make arrangements that protect her energy and allow her to interact with people in a way she is proud of. Finally, the two of you will need to schedule time together and devise verbal cues to keep fights from intensifying.
3. Make Your Relationship a Joint Venture
As the non-ADHD partner, be willing to give away some responsibilities in a well-thought-out way that allows your partner to succeed.
Help your partner manage tasks by turning them into games with rewards built in. For example, she could set a timer for ten minutes, put some fun music on, and challenge herself to get as much done as possible until the timer stops. After ten minutes, she can shift to the next task or, if there are no remaining tasks, enjoy a reward, such as a video game. Rewards enhance the brain’s release of dopamine.
4. Make Time to Connect
All couples need to connect, but because ADHD partners are easily distracted, it can be even more essential to plan dates, time for intimacy, and opportunities for conversation about issues that are important and interesting to both of you. Share your ideas and goals together. Treat each other as equals. You and your ADHD-partner are different, but neither of you is superior.
Reach Out to a Specialist
Finally, if you believe that couples counseling with a therapist who specializes in ADHD could benefit you and your partner, you may want to consult with Cloud Counseling about ways to work together to create more seamlessness in your day-to-day routines.
This can foster greater understanding and intimacy in your relationship. Contact us to learn more and get started.
Your adult ADHD diagnosis means that day-to-day tasks that seem simple to others can be daunting, but there’s no reason to despair. With knowledge and counseling, your symptoms are manageable. To learn more about strategies for tackling the symptoms of adult ADHD, contact Cloud Counseling today.
We all strive to be nonjudgmental and accepting of others, and we expect the same in return. Everyone makes mistakes: makes the occasional snap judgment, is overly critical, or forgets to think before they speak. I don’t need to tell you that no one is perfect.
While the adults with ADHD that I work with strive to be accepting and nonjudgmental of their friends, families, coworkers, and even strangers, very few naturally try to withhold judgmental on their own actions, particularly as they pertain to the difficult symptoms of ADHD.
Even if those around us withhold judgment when we forget our responsibilities or struggle in a social setting, it takes a great deal more effort to have the same level of acceptance towards ourselves.
I’m here to explain what it means to be accepting and nonjudgmental about your symptoms as an adult with ADHD. Let’s dive in.
How You Speak to Yourself
It’s just as important to be mindful of how you’re speaking to yourself as it is with others. Before you launch hurtful invective at yourself for forgetting to take out the trash or struggling to complete an assignment as work, think twice. If your best friend spoke to you the same way you speak to yourself, would you keep them as your best friend?
Instead of being critical, be productive. Ask yourself why something happened and think about a creative solution to the problem for the future.
Seek Out the Good Things
We have a tendency to notice and remember the “bad” things more than the good. The next time you’re tempted to berate yourself for one of your symptoms, pause, recognize what you’re doing, and change directions. Don’t worry about changing the underlying behavior—simply practice more self-compassion and try to understand why you’re doing something.
While adult ADHD often makes everyday life more difficult, no one with this disorder is without incredible qualities in equal measure. Remind yourself what yours are as much as possible!
Change Your Perspective
It is tempting to see our symptoms as purely negative. It’s only natural when adult ADHD is interfering with our ability to succeed at home, at work, or in social settings. But I’m here to tell you with a mindful, judgment free approach to your ADHD, you can start seeing the “bad” in a new light.
I’ve seen adults with ADHD manage to turn their symptoms into something positive. By withholding judgment, you may be able to start seeing them as positive, the things that make you unique. For example, a noisy, chaotic mind is often a creative mind.
Reframe your disorganization as a symptom of your creativity instead of your ADHD. Besides, it’s been said that a messy desk makes for a more creative life.
Overall, the best way to approach your ADHD in a nonjudgmental and accepting way is to think about how you expect yourself to treat others and turn that positivity inward.
Mindfulness of the negative messages you’re sending yourself is the first step to a less judgmental vision of your ADHD. I’m not saying ADHD doesn’t create difficulties in our lives, but we certainly don’t needed the added pressure of an internal monologue that uses valuable energy for coping to make judgments on a disorder that is sometimes beyond our control.
Check back for more on mindfulness or for a daily reminder about how to live judgment free with your adult ADHD.
Your adult ADHD diagnosis means that day-to-day tasks that seem simple to others can be daunting, but there’s no reason to despair. With knowledge and counseling, your symptoms are manageable. To learn more about strategies for tackling the symptoms of adult ADHD, Cloud Counseling today and schedule a free 30-min consultation.