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Reply To: Help a non-ADHD spouse out…

Reply To: Help a non-ADHD spouse out…2013-07-05T10:33:25+00:00

The Forums Forums For The Non-ADD I Married An ADDer Help a non-ADHD spouse out… Reply To: Help a non-ADHD spouse out…


Patte Rosebank
Post count: 1517

@Keepingthefaith, you’re definitely on the right track in reading Melissa Orlov’s book.

You and your husband may also find some of the videos in the Shop (http://totallyaddshop.com/collections/videos) helpful.  The “Comprehensive Guide” and “ADD…and Loving It?” have segments in which Patrick & Janis McKenna talk about their marriage.  He has ADHD; she doesn’t…and they do love it.  It’s really inspiring!


As you and your husband try ADHD Coaching, you’ll find several differences between it and Psychology/Psychiatry.  Ideally, you need both, but they each take different approaches.

Psychology/Psychiatry is based on the medical model:  “There is something wrong with you, which must be fixed.”  Hence your husband’s feelings of being “broken”.

ADHD Coaching is based on the model of:  “ADHD is a different brain wiring, which is a paradox of incredible strengths and incredible weaknesses.  You’re not broken, just different.  Like being left-handed.”

And that really is true.  Most people’s brains are driven by what’s important.  The ADHD brain is driven by what’s interesting.  If something’s interesting to us, we thrive on it.  If it isn’t interesting to us, we struggle to do it.  So, maybe it would be more accurate to call it “IDB (Interest-Driven Brain)” instead.

Unfortunately, many people still think of ADHD as an “excuse for personal moral failure”, like the person is just choosing to be “difficult”.  That attitude is right out of the Victorian cautionary tales of Heinrich Hoffmann (“Struwwelpeter”, which contains “Fidgety Philip” and “Little Head-in-Air”) and Mrs. Turner.  And it’s just as old-fashioned.


Another key difference is that treating ADHD is a highly specialized field, because the techniques that work on non-ADDers do NOT work for ADDers.

This is because most general coaching & counselling focusses on the client’s weaknesses and “personality flaws” and the need to change them.  If that worked, then we’d have become fully-functioning, perfectly punctual and tidy people YEARS ago, because we ruminate on our weaknesses a lot!


Another difference is that we learn best when we study in short spurts, instead of trying to force ourselves to concentrate for an hour or more at a time.  The same applies to other boring tasks, like housework or tackling the bills.  But that’s so counter-intuitive, that it’s dismissed as yet another example of our supposed “laziness & distraction”!

An ADHD Coach will help you and your husband to focus on his strengths, and the situations where they helped him to succeed.  Then, you can all work together to figure out how they worked then, and how to apply them to the things he’s struggling with now.

It’s not a case of not being able to do something; it’s just having to find a different way to do it.  And learning to laugh about the inevitable bumps in the road…if not at the time, then afterwards.

There’s hope!