Say What? Translating My ADHD Spouse

"When I sit down to talk with my ADHD spouse, I can't follow him. When I ask him to explain what he means, he hits the roof. What can I do?"
The Experts | posted by Melissa Orlov
Melissa Orlov, a frequent ADDitude contributor with Dr. Ned Hallowell, writes about ADHD and marriage and offers relationship advice to adults with ADD.

First, try to follow your husband’s words without worrying about specifics. After he’s done, repeat what you think he said. Say, "So you're saying X." If you misunderstand, he'll correct you without feeling like you're attacking him.

Then point out that people without attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD) tend to think more linearly than those who have it. This difference sometimes leads to communication trouble and misunderstandings between ADHD and non-ADHD spouses. Tell him that your questions are meant to clarify what he said.

Or write a short letter or an e-mail explaining that you should respect each other's ways of processing information. This will help defuse his anger and allow him to understand that any miscommunication is due to the fact that your brains are wired differently.

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