My Forum Comments
Hi, I hope you’ve found support and help for your question. My reply has to do with being step parent … my husband of 6 yrs is inattentive Adhd, my 20 yr old stepson who lives at home still (attending college) is autistic with clinical anxiety, and my 15 yr old step daughter is inattentive adhd. It wasn’t until reading more about Adhd that I realized I have some qualities of the hyperactivity/hyperfocused version. I jump on tasks I don’t procrastinate. I expect problems to get resolved ASAP, quickly, like now without delay. And I can over focus on trivial things to the point they drive me bonkers — like my husbands forgetfulness or our daughter making a sandwich in the kitchen and always distractedly leaving a mess.i now see my family members are just living their lives, the way their brains naturally function and I see that I too am doing the same – but I am their opposite in my thought/behavior patterns. I believe that (and have read research in this) that an inattentive + hyperfocused are a usual marital combination – opposites attract. This has led me to see that the family dilemma to be solved is that we ALL, myself included need support and need to better understand and work with each other. My goal is in learning to shift my focus OFF what they are doing or not doing. I shift it back to me and what I need/want to be doing at the moment. Everyone is working on themselves, including me. It used to be that I just wanted them to change or “function better.” I’m much more peaceful now that I have released some of my controlling tendency. Best of luck to you.
I have 6 years experience with 2 adhd stepkids now 20 and 15. My advice to you is stepmom related not adhd focused: work directly with your husband and let your husband primarily handle this. It’s his son. Understand that this is not a one time fix, it’s on ongoing process and a project. Talk with your husband and come up with an action plan together. Do not lead. Let your husband lead, not because he’s the man (obviously) but because he’s the child’s father. And yes in our case too the birth mother is not helpful and is counter productive, most everything we accomplish on our week is undone in her week. That’s classic and is simply one of the challenges of blended family. However I sense you are a competent get it done woman. Just be careful and don’t burn yourself out. Your top priorities are taking care of yourself, your own son, your new marriage and of course being a good stepmom but you’ll be fine there because you’ve already demonstrated you are someone who cares. Believe me, if you jump in and take this on it’s very hard to back off later. Make sure you ask your husband for at least equal involvement on his part. It is after all his child and his responsibility.
I am 6 years married to ADHD husband. My tools:
1) I focus on myself, I get focus off him. Each morning, what will I do today to bring myself joy.
2) What are MY hopes and dreams? The ones that I lost track of when I became over-focused for years on fixing him and our relationship.
3) Repeat as needed to myself: QTIP. Quit taking it personally. He has a mental condition that elevates irritability and overwhelm and he lacks tools to control it BUT I can gain tools to improve my own mental emotional state.
4) This one is huge – I hired a handyman and he knocks out the honey do items that hubbie postponed in classic adhd fashion. I now have the well kept house of my dreams. Hubbie didn’t like it when I hired him but I remained calm and positive and did not make it about him I made it about me, this is something I’m doing for me that feels nice.
5) I no longer tell him I’m lonely. Thus just happened yesterday after a lonely Saturday the day before. Instead I ask him hey would you like to (insert a few ideas such as) go for a walk together, go grab some coffee at the new place, play a game of Yahtzee. Instead of telling him how I feel, I figure out what would fix it then I invite him. He told me he wasn’t feeling well enough to do anything and wanted to read his book. So I took my dog for a walk on the beach and the sunset over the ocean as dramatic and gorgeous. Did I feel a bit sad and did I miss my husband? Yes. Did I miss fighting about me being lonely? NO!
6) I got some women friends. Their husbands also drive them batty. However we don’t get together and talk about the husbands. The fact that marriage is frustrating and challenging for most everyone has already been established. We go to movies, dinner, coffee, plays, lunch, etc etc etc.
7) Alanon meetings and the serenity prayer. I grew up with an inattentive distracted adhd father so of course I married same – this marriage is my opportunity to HEAL myself. My dad was a frequent drinker which qualifies me for alanon. Most people have at least one loony drinker in the family and therefore can benefit from the alanon practice of getting the focus OFF the other person and put the focus constructively back on living our own lives.