Deb Toering is a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor (BCPCC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. In addition to working with a wide range of client populations and presenting issues, Deb is also an engaging public speaker. She has spoken in front of various groups across a range of topics including marriage, bullying, ADHD/ADD, and teen leadership.
Life is never dull with a spouse who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). There is always something new to do, to buy, to try. Projects always seem to get started but not completed. Impulse spending can be a nightmare. He can be the life of the party, but once back home, the frustration can begin. Often, it feels like he isn’t listening; his mind seems to be focused on something other than what you are saying.
Ask for his attention, “Could you please turn the TV off and put away your phone so we can talk?” Make eye contact. Hold hands. A hand on his shoulder can break his hyper focus. His seeming inattentiveness toward you is not because he doesn’t love you, but because he cannot shut down or slow down his thoughts very easily. When he says, “You never told me that”, he really means it. He didn’t hear you because you didn’t have his undivided attention.
Interruptions in a conversation feel very disrespectful. Impulsivity and ADHD walk hand-in hand. An agreed upon signal given when he begins to interrupt can prevent anger, frustration and hurt. ADHD is not an excuse for bad behavior. However, gaining an understanding of ADHD can go a long way in making necessary changes to such behavior.
This is a snapshot of what life can look like with ADHD. The best thing you can do together is educate yourselves about it so you know what you are dealing with. Communicate your frustrations and needs and come up with creative ways to problem solve. If necessary, talk with an ADHD counselor.