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Helping My ADHD Wife
"My wife has ADD. She's smart and talented, but she is afraid to take on any responsibility, even simple tasks like balancing our checkbook. How can I help her get past this?"
Women with ADD often have difficulty with tasks relating to organization, tasks that others might consider simple. They also tend to be perfectionists, to the point of avoiding doing a task rather than doing it imperfectly. Unfortunately, it's common for people to conclude that women like this are either incompetent or irresponsible.
Help break the pattern of avoidance by offering your assistance. Let her know that you understand how frustrating it must be for someone as smart as she to have difficulty with mundane tasks. At first, let her keep you company while you balance the checkbook. Next, encourage her to develop step-by-step systems, and even write down instructions, for doing tasks. Above all, demonstrate your support and confidence in your wife by asking for her help, as well. If she is a good listener or problem-solver, for example, go to her for advice.
Sari Solden, M.S., LMFT, a psychotherapist in private practice in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has worked with adults with ADHD and their partners for 25 years. Sari is the author of Women with Attention Deficit Disorder and Journeys Through ADDulthood. She is a prominent speaker at both national and international ADHD conferences, serves on the professional advisory board of ADDA, and is a past recipient of ADDA's award for outstanding service by a helping professional. Her areas of specialization include inattentive ADHD, women's issues, as well as the long-term counseling issues for adults diagnosed later in life. Sari currently hosts and presents on her online community for adults with ADHD (www.ADDJourneys.com).