Reply To: Feeling resentful about his ADHD

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Spaceboy 99

As a (most likely) adhd person with a non-adhd soon-to-be spouse, I get exactly where you’re coming from. It sounds to me like you’re very much doing everything right, which is really, truly impressive.

If your spouse is much better on his meds, and he agrees, then I’d recommend the first thing you guys working on is him taking them regularly. I’m talking phone alarms, pill caddies, and pills in multiple locations (bathroom, jacket, car) in case he forgets them in the morning and doesn’t remember until he gets to work, or something along those lines.

You’re doing everything right regarding being patient, patiently requesting things multiple times, and so on. Something I’d maybe recommend is, with his agreement, sitting down together and writing down a list of things he does that tick you off, or that need to be done that only he can do, or whatever it is that gets on your case (sorry if that sounds rude, I really, really don’t mean it in that way), and agree measures that HE has to take any time these become an issue. Any time he starts to get pissy about you asking for him to give you space, or doing THE THING, show him the list. It doesn’t even have to be a list. You could agree on a codeword whereby you both agree that when one person uses it, the other one puts up, shuts up, and does whatever needs to be done. This, of course, requires mutual agreement that you actually WILL abide by those terms, and it must not be overused (this is part of why a list can be better, so you’re not using the ‘safeword’ five times a day). While this may sound odd, what it’s doing is sitting down in a calm, detached fashion and talking about the nature of your relationship, making sure that he’s engaged and paying attention, so that the knowledge is ‘implanted’. Then, when he’s in the full swing of his ADHD, you can hopefully ‘trigger’ the calm state of mind. It’s something that works for me (kind of), but it may not be for everyone, and it IS very reliant on mutual co-operation.

For getting his attention, something they recommend on here a lot is touching him, making him look at you and focus on you before you start speaking, to ensure you have his full attention at the time. I don’t know if you’ve tried this, but that’s their usual advice.

And as for his ‘aggrieved’ attitude, oh my god do I know what that’s like. And it sucks for you. It sucks for my other half, too. At least in my case, what it normally feels like is kind of like… Things that bug me tend to pile up in my mind. There are certain things my other half does that irritate me a little. In a detached fashion, I know they shouldn’t. And when I’m away from ‘the issue’, they cease to be one. Because I know they shouldn’t bug me, I tend to keep quiet about them. When things I do bug HER, I forget them almost immediately. Because they don’t bug me. I do TRY to not do them, when I actively remember that she doesn’t like them, but that happens so infrequently, because a conversation from yesterday is not a powerful enough trigger to ‘not do the thing’ today. But then, what winds up happening is my little things pile up, but she’s actually telling me about them, and getting more and more frustrated, yet I feel like she ISN’T, because I don’t remember them. So everything just seems so SUDDEN. To my mind, she’s only mentioned the thing once or twice, even if it’s more like 20. Then I kind of wind up somewhat resentful that she’s mad at me about her things (which to my mind are inconsequential, because they don’t bug me), yet I keep quiet about the things she does that bug me. Then, sometimes, I wind up snapping at next to nothing. This situation is, to be honest, one of the things I hate most about myself, because my other half is a wonderful individual, and she doesn’t deserve this bull…dust.

I’ve waffled. What I want to say is that, if things are going to work out, HE needs to be willing to sit down with you and agree that he will try to moderate these things. He needs to accept that you will have the unilateral power to ask him to stop THE THING, and he will need to abide by that when it comes up. I call it a ‘safeword’ because it VERY MUCH fills the same function as when people normally use safewords. It’s an immediate instruction to cease, desist, and back away, because boundaries have been crossed.

Unfortunately, none of this is stuff you can do alone, and it does still require the fabulous patience you’ve been showing while he gets used to the new system, but it may help. Same thing with the pill-remembering. Unfortunately it needs his agreement, but if you can get him to agree when emotions are removed from the picture, it makes him more likely to be able to do it when they ARE in the picture. It’ll still be HARD (by Christ, the emotions take over everything IN THE MOMENT) for him, and will still require that wonderful patience, but hopefully, over time, you can both ingrain the habit.

I hope this helps. And I hope you both can get to a point where your brains don’t explode.