The challenges of living with an undiagnosed ADD partner

Did you know that couple relationships have a significant higher rate of failure when one of the partners has ADHD traits (many of whom were never diagnosed).

Here are a list of traits that may explain some of you or your partner’s behaviours.
An adult with ADHD has been described as one who is:

  • Frequently distracted
  • Forgetful
  • Low self-esteem
  • Procrastinates
  • Chronic lateness
  • Employment problems
  • Difficulty controlling anger
  • Substance abuse or addictions
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Disorganized
  • Overwhelmed
  • Relationship problems
  • Spacing out
  • Too much clutter
  • Not paying bills on time,

The truth of the matter is, many of us have been guilty of some of these behaviors at some time. We have all been distracted, forgetful and disorganized or procrastinated at different times in our lives. However, it is the frequency and the degree of these issues that determines whether it is a momentary lapse in judgment or organizational skills or it has become a chronic and continual way of life.

Adults with AD/HD also have a higher risk of suffering from anxiety, depression, obsessive disorders, addictive behaviours and a higher percentage of divorce and affairs.

If you have not been diagnosed with AD/HD, but you recognize that you have many of the traits, it can be helpful to know that you may have AD/HD but just never received the official diagnosis. There is a genetic reason for this problem. It is not your fault and you are not broken or a failure. You were born wired this way, and likely faced many challenges, feeling like a square peg trying to fit in a round society. The good news is that there are skills and techniques that can help you manage and overcome many of these challenges.

While some of you may find this label insulting or offensive, know that all we are doing is placing the name on the challenges you have had for most of your life. This “label” is to help you to understand that it is not your fault, you were born with it, and knowing this can diminish or eliminate a lot of the self-blame and feelings of shame or guilt that many people have, as a result of destructive impulsive behaviors.

Now for the good news! Here is a list of attributes that many AD/HD adults possess:

  • Average or above average intelligence
  • Very creative
  • Passionate
  • Energetic
  • Thinking outside the box
  • Constant flow of original ideas
  • Intuitive
  • Artistic
  • Empathetic
  • Inventive
  • Sensitive
  • Visionary
  • Charming
  • Sociable

Famous people with this diagnosis are:

  • Bill Gates
  • Will Smith
  • Jim Carey
  • Tom Cruise
  • Robin Williams
  • Albert Einstein
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Mozart
  • John Lennon
  • Benjamin Franklin and about another 100 or more famous people

On the other hand, we also need to address the effect that being different and not fitting in can have on the individual. It can affect your self-esteem. It can raise your anxiety level and feelings of depression to the point of a clinical depression or an anxiety disorder. Many, who don’t understand their impulses or compulsions, end up self-medicating using drugs, alcohol and being attracted to dangerous, risk-taking behaviours. This also, does not only affect you, but also can have disastrous affects for your partner, your children and your working environment.

The purpose of this article is to help you to understand the reasons behind some of your negative behaviours. Once you understand where it comes from, you can choose to get help to deal with your impulses and negative self-talk more effectively and start feeling proud of your progress rather than ashamed or guilty for disappointing your loved ones as well as yourself.

These tools and techniques will help you feel back in control. Feeling empowered lowers anxiety and diminishes feelings of depression. It also increases self-esteem and confidence. Yes, it will be work and a challenge. The AD/HD personality finds it difficult to follow through and focus. It goes against the grain and takes a lot of energy to become organized, prompt and actually do the homework. But it can be done, you have risen to the challenge before and can do it again. Just imagine what the rewards will feel like and how these positive changes will improve your relationships. In some cases, it has actually saved marriages.

You don’t need an official diagnosis to get started. You just need to recognize that these characteristics could be you. If you’re not sure, ask a friend or family member to look over the list for you and give you the feedback.

Remember this is not about being labeled a loser, failure, or odd. This is to free you from the judgments you have said about yourself for most of your life and now it is freeing you to understand how it was never your fault. It is how you were wired at birth. Now, without the guilt and self-loathing, you can help yourself take back control over your life and start making better habits and decisions that will make you feel proud, accomplished and empowered.

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