Reply To: Moving forward in ADHD / non ADHD relationship

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Hi Sun20. I hear you. I had been in a similar situation. I ended up leaving after many years of abuse, but returning once again. My DH will be the first to admit that ADHD does not equate to abuse. For years, everything was blamed on the ADHD and my lack of understanding. After I left, my DH did some soul searching. It was painful for both of us as I loved him and knew he needed my support, but equally I had needs and could not ignore the pain of severe emotional abuse.

Ultimately he realized what his counsellor was saying was true – that he needed to own his behaviors. He had often said he could not control them, but the reality is he was not ready to. Of course there are some things that are harder for a spouse with ADHD than without, but being a kind and caring person rather than abusive is not one of them. Anyone suffering from ADHD is much like the rest of us – some people can be abusive and others not. It’s about ownership of one’s own actions.

Ultimately in my case he realized this and he realized the choice in front of him. Either own his behavior of lose me forever. Faced with that stark reality, he chose to change and I chose to forgive him.

It takes effective medication and adapting behavior from the ADHD spouse. And patience and also some adaptation to how to interact from the non-ADHD spouse. Basically as with any relationship, it takes two to tango. The important thing is for each person in the relationship to be honest with their needs and also see whether they can meet those needs in a way that is not destructive to the relationship. And support from a counsellor where needed.

Most importantly I want to say to you that you are heard, understood and empathized with here. You are not alone. It is hard when we love someone, but know that ADHD does not equate to abuse and you are a human who deserves a happy life. From your end know that whatever happens, you always, always have a choice even though it may not feel like it. Your husband also has a choice. There are ways to build a successful relationship and it takes both parties to do so.