ADHD Relationships: 3 Strategies To Slow Your Roller Coaster

ADHD relationship strategies

Let’s briefly talk about three ADHD relationship strategies—designed to counter three common challenges.

If only my husband and I had a clue that we needed ADHD relationship strategies. If only we knew that ADHD existed.

Flashback to the late 1990s.  We were careening around what I later designated the ADHD Roller Coaster—but didn’t know it. Our learning curve was steep and painful. The good news? We learned lessons the hard way so you don’t have to.

Recently, I wrote about some of the emotions involved in turning around some of these counter-productive patterns (Breaking Old Relationship Patterns After Not Breaking a Fall).

In this post,  you’ll find three simple strategies that I wish we’d had 10 or 20 years ago.  Ones we still call upon.

In my online training (for individuals and couples), I guide you through Adult ADHD A-Z, from diagnosis to healing dysfunctional relationship patterns. More information below.

Three Dysfunctional ADHD Relationship Patterns

Meanwhile, here are three dysfunctional patterns common to ADHD Relationships—followed by targeted counter-strategies.

1. The Downspiral of Despair

It’s that feeling of futility each time the roller coaster drops again. Just when you were least expecting it.

In the early days especially, post-diagnosis progress sometimes means two steps forward and one step (or even three steps!) backward. It’s tough to keep believing that things will ever  consistently get better.

2. The Communication Stalemates

We often see difficulty around communicating. Specifically, we grapple with expressing three sentiments that can go a long way toward nurturing love and connection:  gratitude, apology, and forgiveness.

In my own marriage, I apologized a lot, expressed gratitude, and forgave a lot. My husband, not so much. Being a person, I took this personally.

The full reasons behind his lack of initiative in this area took years for me to understand. Years, that is, spent  leading support groups (both for adults with ADHD and their partners; separate groups) and researching and writing two books and contributing the first chapter on couple-therapy to the leading clinical guide.

3. Forgetting to Have Fun Together

We would get so caught up in arguments over inequitable chore-sharing or his financial profligacy or [fill in the blank]. The last thing either of us felt like doing was having fun.  Of course, this creates a vicious cycle.

Three Dysfunctional ADHD Relationship — Counter-Strategies

Will these tips solve all ADHD-related relationship problems? No. But they can help to smooth the drops and dips in your ADHD roller coaster.

ADHD tools

[advertising; not endorsement] [advertising; not endorsement]

1. Re-direct “Downspiral of Despair” with “Hope” Chest

When I spied this box at a local store, I knew I’d found the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for my husband. We use it as a Treasure Chest to store the hand-made cards and funny notes we have made for each other over the years, along with little mementos of good times together. A Hope Chest of Positive Memories.

Why might you want to consider such an idea?

—Helps You To Keep Your Eye On The Big Picture

It is all too easy, when caught up in the heat of an argument or disappointment,  to forget all that’s good in the relationship—and the other person.  Of course, this is true for humans in general. But it seems especially true in ADHD-challenged relationships. It’s often typical “couples troubles”—on steroids.

Reacting “in the moment” sometimes means forgetting the Big Picture. If a trove of positive remembrances sits prominently displayed, you needn’t go digging into drawers, folders, and envelopes to spark your memory. It’s right there.

—Reminds: There’s Always Not Now Sometime After Now

Even single adults with ADHD often lose sight of the Big Picture. Remember the old adage about there being two kinds of time for folks with ADHD: Now and Not Now.  It’s easy to get stuck in the Now, with no conception that things might ever look different—that there will even be a Not Now.

When one slip interrupts their string of successes, it’s easy to “hyperfocus” on the slip. That sinks our mood and self-esteem—and paves the way to an attitude of “why try?” One slip gets undue weight while all we’ve achieved before that gets lost in the mists of time.

That’s where an active strategy to short-circuit this negative pattern comes in.

We can say the same for the partners of adults with ADHD. After years of frustration, we can become highly sensitized to yet another death-defying dip on the ADHD roller coaster. Even after steady progress has been made, the dip can bitterly remind us of all past disappointments.

ADHD relationship strategies

—Helps To Avoid Thinking The Worst

Here’s one way to avoid falling into the Downspiral of Despair: Build “environmental supports” for remembering the many good qualities about one’s relationship or oneself.

That’s why I brought home this little Treasure Chest. But you can substitute a simpler method, such as a Memory Jar like this one:

Couples can write a little note to thank the other for a kind word or note a kind deed. Or, simply express an appreciation or brief memory of a lovely time together. Individuals can jot down successes large or small (“A student thanked me for understanding her” or “I completed a report in record time!”).  And there the notes remain— colorfully visible, just waiting to be dipped into when the need arises.

scaffolding for executive functions

2. Use Scaffolding To Communicate The Hard Stuff

Years ago, I so much wanted to hear my husband offer a heartfelt apology. Would that be an ADHD relationship strategy—or a miracle?  It sure seemed the latter.

A simple apology could have dramatically cut short long-simmering hurts and resentments, instead of turning up the fire to the boiling point. Instead, I resorted to dragging apologies out of him. Hardly satisfying.

Why did he stint on apologies? As it turns out, he harbored a pragmatic bias against apologies, born of years living without benefit of ADHD diagnosis:

“Why apologize for behavior that

I know full well I’ll probably do again? 

An apology implies that I would correct the behavior.

My offering an apology would be a false promise.”

Okay, sometimes he does sound a bit like Commander Data on Star Trek. And, depending on your perspective, you could view his defense as either a pragmatic attitude or run-for-cover rationale. Call me gullible if you like, but I took him at his word.

His expressions of gratitude were as rare as apologies, and that was equally hurtful.

Then, I ran across a brilliant solution:  Formal Notices, from the Bureau of Communications. Remember Mad Libs, that paper-and-pen game where you fill in the missing words of a story, then read aloud to uproarious laughter. They work sort of like that. 

Check them out:

ADHD apology


ADHD relationship strategies


ADHD relationship strategies

Here’s what I find so brilliant about these Formal Notices:

—The Fun Approach is Non-threatening

My husband appreciates the forms’ practicality and cleverness. Given the undercurrent of humor, it also makes it less intimidating to convey the sentiments expressed therein.

Of course, some people might be put off by receiving a “form letter” of apology or praise. So, choose the recipients wisely.

Personally, I see no reason why heartfelt cannot sometimes also be hilarious.

Then again, our huge positive coping skill has been a mutually held keen appreciation of the absurd—and an ability to laugh at our sometimes over-the-top behaviors.  (Not in the moment, of course. Later. Sometimes much later.)

—The “Thinking and Planning” is Already Done

Schoolchildren who have ADHD often struggle mightily with composing essays. They’re not sure where to begin. They see an endless array of options in which to take the essay and can’t pick just one. They get lost in tangents.  Maybe they’ll just go, um, watch  TV until the ideas come to them. Which means it never happens without parental nagging.

There are many reasons why writing taxes the so-called Executive Functions, the brain-based processes around organization, planning, strategizing, and other “higher processes.” Another post examines this topic in more depth: (Ease e-mail writing stress: 7 tips for adults with ADHD).

Adults with ADHD can experience similar struggles with writing down complex thoughts. Never mind the emotional overlay associated with  “emotional” topics.

  • What if their words backfire, further angering or hurting the partner?
  • What if they leave out an important detail?
  • Maybe it’s better to just hide and wait until it all blows over.

We call these “poor coping strategies.” They fill the emotional baggage that often accrues over the years when ADHD goes unrecognized.  Revisiting these dysfunctional responses and creating more positive ones is a major issue in Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy. I also guide students through it in my online courses.

Trust  me: Avoidance might work as a short-term strategy. But over the long-term,  head-in-sand proves absolutely destructive.

How do we support Executive Functions?  As Dr. Russell Barkley says, “By providing point-of-performance supports.”

In the case of wanting to express gratitude and ask for (or receive) forgiveness, I can’t think of a better support than these forms.  But you can also make your own forms. Have some fun with it.

—The Presentation is Impressive!

All  “formal notices” are printed on glossy stock; just pull out of the book, fold, and deliver. You can even send them through the mail.

Note: I have no business relationship with this company. I’ve never been in contact with them! But I love this book.

adhd relationship plan for fun

3. Schedule Fun and Intimacy

Wait. Having fun is a ADHD relationship strategy? Absolutely!  It’s an important strategy too often lost in the shuffle, too.

We’ve made Sundays our day for unplugging (limited electronic device usage) and getting outside.  The San Francisco Bay Area is loaded with beautiful hiking spots; we share some photos here at Adult ADHD and Nature Sufficient Syndrome.

It is very easy for couples to get bogged down in performing—or arguing about—domestic tasks and child-raising responsibilities. Even as you work on collaborative solutions for all that, however, remember the fun and intimacy.

“Who has time for that?” you might say. I hear you. Still, the answer is: Make time.  More specifically, schedule that time.

“Schedule time for fun and intimacy? Shouldn’t it just happen on its own?” Again, a reasonable question.

—We Schedule Time For The Things We Value

I’ll answer that by sharing with you an excerpt from my new book (with psychologist Arthur L. Robin), Adult ADHD-Focused Couple Therapy: Clinical Interventions.

This is from the chapter contributed by psychologist J. Russell Ramsay, PhD.. He brings his ADHD expertise to bear in creating a CBT couple-therapy model for ADHD-challenged couples:

Some may bristle that, “It is unromantic to make an appointment. This should be important enough to remember without writing it down.” The point is then made: We all make appointments for that which is important, lest the time be lost to less valuable activities. The planning and scheduling emphasize the relationship’s importance, and these activities nurture relationship improvement.

I encourage you to explore more essays, tools, and ADHD relationship strategies on the ADHD Roller Coaster blog.

Including this post: Breaking Out of ADHD Relationship Dysfunction — After Not Breaking a Fall

I welcome your comments.

—Gina Pera



22 thoughts on “ADHD Relationships: 3 Strategies To Slow Your Roller Coaster”

  1. Thank you for posting this. I hope to see more things like this on your blog and others. Relationships with a significant other can be tested quite a bit by ADHD. I have difficulties having both ADHD and bipolar II. I am going to use these tactics and hopefully things will go more smoothly in the future. Right now I’m struggling with a relationship because I feel like I need more attention and support, but I am trying to maintain an understanding that people have to look after themselves too…they can’t only look after you.

    1. Hi Morgan,

      I’m glad you found the piece helpful.

      Having ADHD and bipolar surely must add more variables to the mix. But I agree that it’s wise, and more empowering, to focus on looking after yourself. Giving someone else that much control can present a tricky balancing act, for both parties.

      You might want to check out the “YouMeADD Book Club” posts, written by a fan of my book and now friend. Taylor has ADHD herself and so does her husband. Both late-diagnosis. Her first. 😉


  2. Wonderful tips. I’ve been reading about communication in ADHD relationship. I’ve seen a simple list for doing so here, but yours is more comprehensive. I like that your tips are simple; it makes me realize the little things I forget as I end up focusing on the negatives. I especially adore that hope of chest. I’ve seen those little message jars before where you create heartfelt notes and label them with things like “Open when you’re sad” and “Open when you’re sick.” I’m motivated now more than ever to create my own for my loved one.

    1. Hi Annie,

      I’m so pleased that you found my tips inspiring.

      I love that “treasure chest”, too. It wasn’t very expensive. About 10 bucks at Marshall’s. I had been keeping our cards to each other in a brown paper envelope in a filing cabinet! Not very accessible and hardly a place of honor. 😉

      The box itself says, “This is special.”

      It’s actually filling up, so I will need another one. I might decorate a sturdy shoe box this time.

      The jar is easy. Eeryone has a spare jar sitting around.

      The important thing is taking that first step.

      Good luck!

  3. Peter and Gina, writing is an idea that seems more and more inviting,. Thanks for reinforcing it.

    Here’s my Valentines Day, still single, thought.
    The ADHD “future blindness” you were referring to is what I call the “invisible opaque wall” that I seem to randomly and unknowingly get through just by chance; or I crash through by a sudden, or preferably, gradual yet still uncontrolled, fusion reaction”, in my head; or a push, more like a shove, from others, similar to the negatively implied “do you need an engraved invitation, and written instructions”. Sadly, I often feel that I do, initially.
    My learning curve is like a “J” I start at one spot, say a diving board, fall down a bit, or a lot, just getting accustom to the environment, the people, and how things work, and many other things that may or may not have relavance to others.
    I then enter a revolving wind chamber, with 20 to 100 or so variously sized plastic marbles with each ball representing one or many thoughts circulating in my head, regarding the new situation. A step others seem to miss out on. The ADHD part, for me is each marble will, to me, often have the same relative importance, for an extended period of time.
    My task of understanding is to sort, comprehend and when possible, label each aspect of each ball to the point that I can feel that I know enough about each of them (relevant or not) to arrange them so that I can view them together in a familiar, even if temporary, way So I can feel safe, challenged, knowledgeable and attracted to the unknown at the same time.

    A job, a task, a fear, a desire, or just a decision, for me, elicits a similar pattern.
    The more I want it, or the more I fear it, or both, the more difficult it is.
    To elicit a balanced response, is to manage my emotions without drowning in my fears or being consumed in my excitement.
    In essence, every decision is like dating to me.

    And if it’s not I’m probably not interested.

    But I need to be able to see, somehow, the steps I need to take, as I need to be taking them. I’m looking into it.

    1. You’re welcome!

      Your description reminds me of my mind, from before I was diagnosed and medicated. Now I have more “say” in what marbles I choose to engage and which I just let pass on through my mind.

      I remember the first time I was put on Desoxyn, (after having failed all other types), and the feeling of … QUIET … in my mind, for the first time in 40 years. I could address each “marble” and pick and choose, which I would give attention to and which not to.

      I hope you find your way too 🙂

  4. Sean Dezoysa

    Dealing with ADHD specially in a relationship is a tough one. Patience is needed and both sides must be mindful of the feelings of their partners. Anyway, if you really love each other, there will be no obstacle that is hard to cross.

    Happy Valentines!

    1. Great idea, Peter.


      Might be a great way to collect your thoughts (and review them later), and also create some accountability?


  5. Gina, first of all, I’ve read the handbook, cover to cover, and you should be so proud to be “in there” with all those great “Giants of the ADHD Research Field” and I would just remind you to, hopefully once more, sit back, close yours eyes and FEEL – “I g…. da… did it!” – R.E.S.P.E.C.T. from here!

    My other thing is; where were your great advice, during my 1st. marriage? or during my 2nd. Marriage? or during every other relationship I’ve had in my life?

    I’m 44 now, and I have, for good, decided that relationships are not for me. I’d rather live an uncomplicated life, in peace and calm, with all the time in the world to do absolutely nothing, that I don’t wish to and wake up every morning and going to bed each night, knowing that I did the best I could, tried the hardest I knew how to, wanted to do what was expected of me, and still didn’t learn how to live and manage my ADHD (treated and all) in such a way, that I could be a good partner, without losing myself in the process.

    Luckily, I do not feel lonely, since I have always something going on, in my mind, and since my “Time Blindness” and my “Hyper Attention” is in full effect, I do not even notice, that I am alone. Simply put, I’ve accepted it and I have chosen to live the rest of my life, as best as I can, fo me.

    But that is just my solution, I don’t have kids, so it works fine for me, and I respect that others may be in a different situation, with responsibilities and demands which are out of their control.

    The main thing to take away, is this question, that I ask myself, every time I face “the external reality of life” which is;

    “Is this a problem that I have the ability to solve?, if YES, then fix it, if NO, then accept it and move on”.

    It has kept me on the “straight and narrow” since my diagnosis, depression and (latest) divorce in 2012, and has kept me sane when I lost everything and went from living in Bel Air, LA to living on social welfare on my parents couch, since …

    Your advices are excellent, and I would love to give you some feedback on them, from a “professional” standpoint, since I have worked with and written a book about “People Change Management” which is based on “The Five Stages of Grief” cobbled with some very powerful psykosocial and behavioural modification techniques, I used when I helped people cope with organisational change in their job environment and job life. Search for “Overbevis dig selv!” on Amazon Books under my name, and you can find it there, although it is in Danish only. The title is “Convince Yourself!” with the subtitle “And reach your full potential”.

    Take care, Gina


    1. The five stages of grief including acceptance, for me, can not include doing nothing all day or just being me, because that’s all I can do.
      I am not satisfied with just doing what I want, even in those very rare times when I know what that is.
      I want to be doing something that accomplishes something, other than killing time. I want to be someone who can say, I helped individuals or people know, feel or achieve a better time or experience in the present, or their future, however that might be, and the benefit, for me, is being a part of their lives, but not just a convienance.

      If I have to turn “me” off to do that, so be it, but I still don’t believe and have hope that I don’t need to do it that way.

      My lack of relationships, that are as close and meaningful as I want to have and to provide, has made “relationships” a number one wish since I was a child. However though I seem to manage to gain many friends, I fail miserably at finding a partner.
      Good at most things, but master of none, especially the things I desire the most.
      The higher my interest level, especially emotionally, the harder it is for me to calm down and just be me.
      “That happens to everyone,” they say. I often wish people could see a picture of what is going on in my head. It would be much better, than what appears on the outside, and much more difficult to comprehend.

      I see too many people too often deciding that they can’t solve a problem too soon, and losing much, while, if given enough time and knowledge, I know that they could.
      I also know what it feels like to hit dead ends.
      Knowing the difference could be key for me.

    2. Hi P,

      I am little confused, when reading your comments, maybe it is a language thing, where I miss some nuances.

      Do you mean that you are unhappy because your follow through on your ideas is not panning out, or are you unhappy because whatever you try, get the same response?

      Whenever I hit a dilemma, I’ve used this technique;

      My problem is xxxx. I have choice A or choice B, but none of them seems to be the right choice. Which should I choose?

      The technique is to ask yourself; if I cannot choose A or B, what is choice C then?

      This forces your mind to discard habit thinking and open your mind for alternative solutions, that you might not have thought about. It works for me, most of the time.

      Please let me now if I am way of track here, English is not my first language:-)

    3. This will be off the top of my head, which, because of how I am wired, and who I am, sometimes surprises me with rare outstanding results, or crashes badly, though it may also illuminate what is going on.

      I wrote this poem awhile ago without knowing where it would lead. It was just a thought that was going on at that time.

      “To say what you think at the moment
      Occasionally without thinking
      Let’s try out a thought
      Just to see how it fits.

      To do something out of character
      or totally in character
      without the fear of being labeled

      To look at the here and now with new eyes,
      Seeing new insights and new possibilities,
      To see the unseen and hear the unsaid
      To accept it all
      As the gift of now”

      I’m unhappy because people don’t seem to accept, that people, including myself, are capable of doing so many different things competently and successfully, and willingly, for reasons, that are not “normal”.
      My foundation, my reasons for how and what I do, internally and externally are comprised of my faith, my experiences, my beliefs, my physical, economic and social environment and my BRAIN, which is currently labeled as ADHD, a description that only fits because society or systems developed by people feel that grouping things makes the world easier to understand and maybe deal with.

      Sadly, grouping also sets expectations that may limit understanding and knowledge, with regard to those, especially individuals, who are in those “labels”.
      This is true, whether talking about race, rich, poor, handicaps, or differences.

      I like to do things that accomplish something, regardless of whether I am paid, I like jobs without job descriptions when the organizations goals and operations match. I like the freedom to do more than is expected, without having to worry about someone else believing by doing so I am putting them in an unknown “bad light” or being an “ass kisser”.
      I want to be able to gain knowledge by asking difficult questions with the person not thinking I am trying to put them in a spot, but rather looking for a way to teach me or everyone, or better learn how to increase their own knowledge in a way that everyone involved or affected will have real input.

      I want to be able to tell people how I feel without them feeling like they are, or that I am making them responsible for how I feel. Which is different from asking them how they think, to gain a better understanding of how they process information……………….

      This train of thought could go on and on, but Right now, I see all the above connections to my situation, but can see that the grouping format (now called “executive function” ) of others, to put things in “Their” (others) framework of thought is extremely difficult, “not impossible”, for me.
      I use the “E.F.” definition very loosely here.
      Just as I have told so many professionals, over decades, I am not “unhappy” because I am unhappy or depressed” (not a typo). I am unhappy because I am Frustrated. My world is different from the inside out. Just like race, religion or whatever, I just want people to understand, accept and include me, on a better equal opportunity basis.

    4. P,

      I get you! – 90% of what you describe is what I feel.

      The remaining 10% the differentiate us, seems to be in the realm of “self-reference”.

      Let me explain:
      I know all of my shortcomings (I fool myself into believing), but what I do NOT do, is let them dictate how I live my life and set limits to what I can and cannot do.

      That is why I ask myself the question, as stated previously, “Is it something that I can change, Yes or No? If YES – then change it – if NO then accept it.

      It may seem a little superficial or naïve, but it is actually a “way out” from endless rumination in your mind, think of it as an Exit from the Highway.

      I understand that you feel “labeled” by having an ADHD diagnosis, and I get why. What I have done to come to terms with it, is to accept that I do have EF deficits, I do have EI/DESR deficits and I am NOT able to “see” past experiences in images, in my “Mind’s Eye” and I therefore am impaired in “planning & processing” due to my “Time Blindness” or “Time Nearsightedness”, which always makes me choose whatever “feels right”, in the moment, as to compared with what suits my long term goals. I get that and I accept that.

      This “impairment” have given me a lack of “fear of the future” and produced desirable financial results, before I even turned 30, but the same “impairment” have also been the cause of my financial and social status demise, since I’ve lost it all, just as had turned 40 and was hit by the effects of undiagnosed and untreated ADHD, that “triggered” my comorbid anxiety and depression, and left me hanging on “the cliff of life” for 3 years.

      So I get the despair and the anger and the resentment and the …. I get that – but I do not let the past, dictate my future, and I urge you to consider your “belief system” and challenge it a little toward Acceptance and a “better future”

      With Kind Regards,

    5. Hi Again, I appreciate the response and will read it more carefully later.
      The anger part is almost over, the label part that I mention isn’t “ADHD” as most people are not aware I have the label. And I only discovered it after living a half a century, knowing I was different, but thinking I could just work harder to fix what I couldn’t fugure out.
      It’s the pigeon holes that people put me in that never reflected the how’s and whys of what I Do.
      “You work too hard”
      “Can’t you relax”
      “No ones impressed by how hard you work”
      “Golden boy”
      “He (I) always says yes, why can’t you.” (Speaking to other workers)
      “He thinks he’s so special”
      “Why did you clean up that mess, you didn’t do it”
      “Don’t do that, the bosses don’t care anyway”
      “Why do you care so much when nobody else does?”
      “Don’t worry about that, “P” will do it when he gets back”
      “Nobody else will do it, just tell “p” to”.
      “Give it to “P”, he “likes” to work”. (I call this the piling on effect of bullies)
      “Thanks for everything, what you’ve done is amazing, but we need to make some changes”. “Good luck in your next job”
      “It’s easier to let him (me) go” (than fix the real problem)”.
      “Your smart, you’ll always land on your feet”
      “Your always trying too hard to please people”
      “Why can’t you just do the job and be done”
      “Why don’t you ever stand up for yourself?”,
      “Why are you so negative”
      “Your always smiling”
      “You never smile”
      “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”. (Or often for me the “grief”).
      “He only goes at one speed, all on all the time”

      Sorry, I’m starting to remember all too many of these statements I’ve heard, directly and indirectly, about me at one or multiple times in my life. It’s mostly because I don’t fit labels and people don’t understand Me, much less ADHD.

      A side effect has been some reoccurring major life effect situations, usually a detriment to me, that I am now very conscious of and have dealt with. I have been in situations where I am forced to choose to do what’s right or safe, and choosing to protect myself or others. In these few times I have been forced to leave or be cut from the situation, it is often because I seem to be the easiest out for others, and or my ADHD brain prevents me from providing a “concise defense” verbally, or socially.
      Sometimes it has seemed safer, for me, to just say what I think and leave.
      Some good smart people have told me I should sue, but I don’t think Courts, lawyers, or even judges are all that interested in the truth, as finding it out takes too long, and it’s easier to just bully people down, and see who’s left standing. Hmmm… Maybe the anger still has a way to go.

      I do think things through and if other people had the time, and I mean a lot, I mean an extraordinary amount of time, I might be able to convince people I can see the things that are immediately in front of me that are important to me, and in the immediate situation, in “formats” I know, and the BIG picture(s).
      It’s all the muddy stuff in between that I seem to have difficulty with.

      Thanks Peter for your response, and GINA thanks for this place for me to help me explore. I was going to quit after the first pigeon hole comment. Maybe I should have?

  6. Hi Gina,
    With Valentines Day coming and recent happenings, I am becoming more aware of not just my fears, and wants, but also recognizing some of the issues I need to figure out.
    I just watched a few of your videos in this post, and maybe solved a conundrum.
    I was often told in high school and my first couple of years of college by friends, almost always friends who were girls, that I was a good listener. I also believed then, that I was a team player, and could communicate well, except when it came to public speaking.

    The problem with being and believing was that my total focus was on listening, and trying to figure out what I could do to “solve” whatever I heard while I was listening. My coping strategy, was trying to please, 95 % of the time. I was only left with 5% to deal with my needs, (when you have ADHD without knowing it, you don’t know what percent of you you are really dealing with, so take the numbers loosely) Much of that time, for me was spent physically running. I constantly tuned in and out of many thoughts without completion, They seemed to always complicated matters, or lead to blind alleys, except, the ” I want to do beneficial things, be liked or respected “internal drive”” that, for me, never leaves and rarely, if ever, succeeds in a way that I hope.

    In the end, with the limited short term working memory, not being able to focus, deal with, and distinguish between what I want and what I am doing outside of what I am immediately doing, and doing it well, causes most of my problems.
    In order to deal with people, I often need to be doing an outwardly or directed job or task that somehow pretty much involves them, or I will, most likely, unintentionally and usually clumsily by-pass opportunities, or even them, so I can provide whatever focus my job or personal “mission” needs from me (which is always a lot of effort) so as not to fail at that, while, only sometimes knowingly, failing at other things that in the long run may be more important, even to me.

    I don’t wonder any more, why it’s been difficult for me to connect with others in a way where I feel I can be on the same plane. I just want to have hope that some one can understand and really be happy to know and be a part of my life as much as I can know and be a part of theirs.

    Thanks for this post.

  7. OMG, those JibJab videos are so funny! I can just see you all frolicking around the San Fran area, dancing and singing. And….yeah, well, you know.

    Actually I do have something to say. DH has a touch of the Aspergers which is, of course, now just a note on the autism scale, but as such, he often just wouldn’t notice or comment on things I do. After medicating he is better, but will often hyper focus on things.

    We have Sunday afternoons set aside for our weekly nap. 😉 We make no other plans for Sundays with anyone else. We know what we are going to do on Sunday. Works for us and sounds like it works for you too. And who knows, maybe we’ll go for a walk on one of those Sundays. It would be good for us.

    1. Hi Penny,

      Sounds lovely…a nap.

      Adding a walk before hand might be a great idea.


  8. Thank you for this. The fill-in the blanks forms look great. My daughter is 17 and is only being diagnosed now, but her lack of expressed gratitude growing up always irked me.
    Your site has been very helpful already even though I’ve only found it recently, as, in the process of her diagnosis I have also come to recognise the fact that I have severe executive-disorder. Not that I didn’t already know it! But now I know it’s part of a condition, not just me being utterly hopeless. It’s hard to guide someone else towards a more organised and socially-acceptable life when you can’t actually organise yourself, so all help is gratefully received, thank you.

    1. Hi Belinda,

      Thanks for taking the time to write. I’m glad to know my blog has been helpful to you.

      You know, I always tell the parents of children with ADHD to consider if one or both might have ADHD as well. In which case, it’s best to, as they say on the airplanes, “Put on your own oxygen mask first. Then help others.” 🙂


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