How to Cope with a Spouse who has Attention Deficit Disorder

Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder

Attention deficit disorder is a fairly recently recognized affliction that professionals are just beginning to understand. One of the biggest problems that people with ADD have is understanding what other people might be feeling or thinking, which often leads to inappropriate behavior. They don’t try to avoid social interaction, but struggle to recognize non-verbal communication signals and facial expression that those who do not have ADD have no problem interpreting. Because of these issues, having a relationship with someone who has been diagnosed with ADD can often be difficult or trying. Below are some tips that can help you deal with your ADD spouse, as developed by a certified attention deficit consultant.
Stay Calm
Losing your temper will only make things worse, giving your partner the opportunity to call you disrespectful or unreasonable. Let whatever it is that made you mad go and calm yourself down before dealing with it. Someone with ADD will most likely not understand why you are so angry, making the situation much worse than it needs to be.
Take Notes
If you successfully let things slide instead of getting angry, the tendency is to forget about them so that they are never addressed. While getting mad is not the solution, neither is forgetting about the initial transgression. Take notes and write down what you want to talk about so that it can be discussed later. This can also help to show an unreasonable partner with ADD that their behavior repeats itself. This often helps convince them that they need to try to do better.
Regularly Discuss Problems and Issues
It’s a good idea to set up a time each week to discuss any problems and issues you might be having with your ADD spouse. This will allow you to voice your concerns in a calm and even manner, and the problems that you have not addressed during the week will still be fresh in your mind. Never go into one of these meetings when you feel angry. This will only make the problems worse and give your partner an excuse to not deal with their issues.
Take a Break
As a caring and loving spouse, it is very easy to get wrapped up in your partner’s disorder. This often creates a situation where you focus on their issues instead of dealing with your own. The more your ADD spouse’s behavior bothers you, the more that behavior can completely consume your life. Forgetting about yourself and your own needs can end up ultimately making the situation worse as you become more and more mentally exhausted and unable to cope with the ADD symptoms. When things get really bad, take a break for yourself and your sanity. Do something relaxing, for example take a nap or go to the gym. Take your mind off of the issues at home by being selfish for just a few hours. The break can help you reset your mindset and refocus your energies.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
Too many people with ADD partners find themselves in a situation where the only social interaction they have is with their ADD spouse. This can be very unhealthy. That’s why it’s important to have at least one friend who supports you as you struggle to make your marriage work. Go out to eat, go to a movie, or just go for drinks. Having someone other than your spouse to bounce ideas off of can help you figure out how to better deal with the ADD and issues related to it.
Be a Good Listener
It is very easy to treat your spouse with ADD as just another child in the family. This often manifests itself in you ordering them around and not really listening to what he or she has to say with an open mind and heart. If you order your spouse around the likely reaction is a refusal to listen to you. Listening to what they have to say and gently asking questions will produce much better results.
Let Others Do the Busy Work
If you have the financial means to do so, try to get others to do things like mow the yard or babysit. The less chores and responsibilities there are around the house, the less chance there is of a misunderstanding or of your spouse shirking their duties.
Find a Support Group
Having friends that support you and your situation is a great thing, but it may not be enough. Talking to others in the same situation can be a great way to find relief and gain more understanding. It is very easy to start feeling like you are the only one in the world who is dealing with an ADD spouse. Support groups are very helpful, and you might even want to consider counseling for the whole family. If your partner hasn’t been officially diagnosed, then going to the doctor and making it official could help him or her realize that they do have an actual disorder. It may also help to take education courses in attention deficit disorder to more fully understand what your spouse is suffering from.
ADD can be a serious disorder that negatively affects every aspect of a person’s life, including all of their relationships. As the spouse of someone with this disorder, you need to have a great deal of patience and understanding, but you also need to make sure that your partner understands that they need to do the same. The key to success includes realizing that the person with ADD sees the world differently than you do and reacts to situations in ways that you might not understand or accept. Remaining calm and not overreacting when your spouse does something that makes you angry is also incredibly important. A person with ADD will shut down or try to place the blame on you if you yell at them or chastise them, much like a small child would do. Making your family work is the most important thing in the world, and with a little effort and a lot of patience you can overcome a diagnosis of ADD in the spouse that you love and cherish. Love conquers all, even when your spouse is acting like a small spoiled child.
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