Resentment Rising

Filed Under: ADHD and Relationships, ADHD and Marriage

Q:

My husband has ADHD. Through the years we’ve learned to communicate positively with each other. I don’t criticize him, and he lets me know when he thinks I’m being unreasonable. He recently forgot to pay the bill, and I could feel the old resentment bubbling up. How can I keep this from happening?

A:

It’s unrealistic to think that you won’t get angry with your spouse — or he with you. It happens. The key is to respond to your anger in more productive ways than you did in the past.

Try the following four steps:

1. Acknowledge that you don’t feel angry most of the time—and put his recent misstep into perspective by recalling all the good things he has done.

2. Address the issue that made you angry: Get your phone service restored and take over paying bills yourself.

3. When you’ve calmed down, tell your husband — nicely — why you were angry. Be sure that he agrees beforehand to discuss this, and focus your conversation on the cause for your anger, not on him.

4. Forgive yourself for becoming angry, and forgive him his lapse. You are both human.

Melissa is co-author of a blog on ADHD and marriage at adhdmarriage.com, and coauthored Married to Distraction with Dr. Ned Hallowell and his wife, Sue. She is also the author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage.

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