Talking to Your Spouse about ADHD
What if it isn’t your child who has been newly diagnosed? What if it’s you or your spouse? There are some huge things you need to tell your family. You probably are carrying a freight train’s worth of regrets over your past inconsistencies and impulsive choices… And you have said “I am sorry” so many times before. Why should this time be any different? But it is.
You are about to become slightly more predictable. You are soon going to have some new tools. If you use them correctly, it is possible that the word “accountability” will no longer make you wince in anticipation of pain. Maybe… When inconsistency has been your hallmark, it is hard to make promises about the future.
But it can be different. With more understanding of the deficits in inhibition, you will be able to better anticipate where you are likely to screw up, and you can learn to set extra margins. New ADHD-savvy rules like “never hit the ‘send’ button on your e-mail while you are angry” can spare you some of the painful apologies and bad outcomes that usually occur in the wake of impulsivity,
Newly self-aware, you can empower your children to question you as to whether you are being impulsive… if you have the courage to hand them some power. Sometimes it can really amaze you to see how maturely your child can act, when you yourself are struggling to “think before doing.” Spouses can become much less brittle, once they see you will respect and listen to them if they “cue” you to being … “over the top.”
When you succeed at repairing the damage to trust that is a normal component of ADHD in families, you may find, as I did, that your family and close friends are invaluable assets in the battle to fit into the world of “normals.” That world generally cares little about why you are as you are. Instead, it simply punishes bad behavior and rewards that which is appropriate.
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