Support for partners & spouses of people with ADD/ADHD
August 23, 2008 9:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a support group for partners/spouses of people with ADD/ADHD. I recognize some codependent tendencies in myself and I need to learn how to empower myself and unconditionally love my spouse.

I have read the book ADD & Romance, which IMO had a "they're not going to change so deal with it" attitude towards the spouse. That was unhelpful and made me feel fatalistic. I have also read Driven to Distraction and some of the other basic material on ADD in order to understand it better. I have been to ADDforums, which has a section for spouses and family members, but it overwhelmingly seems like a bitchfest about how terrible their partners are. I am ideally looking for a real life group like Al-Anon but I'll consider better books and online forums than what I've found (ideally written/moderated by a mental health professional). I've seen two counselors who have experience treating people with ADD (mostly kids), but they haven't had many constructive comments for me. I need to know specific things I can do besides organizing his shit and paying his bills (which leads to resentment on both our parts because he feels I'm telling him he's incompetent and I feel like his mother).

I am also the poster of this question, and things have gotten a lot better since then (he's now taking his medication, for one thing, and we have gone to couples counseling). I have also implemented some of the suggestions in that thread, like Deathalicious' comment about pointing out his behavior when he's off the medication and hippugeek's suggestion of asking him to do things immediately rather than setting far-off deadlines. Because I'm human and I have my own issues, I'm still having some trouble with resentment and I feel it's something only partners can understand. Note that I am not looking for a group that involves parents of children with ADD - that is a whole different ball of wax.

I am in the far NW Chicago suburbs but am willing to drive into Chicago proper or anywhere in SE Wisconsin.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (3 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Long ago I hung out on the forums at I haven't been there in about 8 years, so I don't know how that's going.

Looking at your previous questions and links...

I'm thinking just straight on personal counseling would be best for you. The things your describing might have an underlying cause in ADD/HD, but the "codependent"/possibly enabling/needing empowerment statements are what I notice the most.

I know it's a cliche, but you're not going to be able to truly let go and love someone else until you can take care of yourself, stating your needs, and understanding yourself.

One of the reasons I'm separated now is because of some of the issues you're having with your spouse - housework, money, etc. (There were others, but this was significant) I'm working on these things, not so much to get him back, but because I have fucking got to do it, one way or another.

This place was one of the first that popped up in a Google search. I was thinking that your spouse might benefit from some life coaching (which they offer). It takes the pressure off you, and gives your spouse someone to talk to without worrying about causing friction in the relationship. I had four phone sessions with a lady in Arizona a few years back that helped me out a great deal. Now I use my friends and family, and under certain conditions, my spouse.
posted by lysdexic at 11:25 AM on August 23, 2008

There are various partners-of forums on This forum is for adults with ADD -- although it doesn't look like it's for partners, it might be a good resource. I found that talking with other adults who share mr.headnsouth's ... idiosyncracies ... helped me understand him better.
posted by headnsouth at 9:03 PM on August 23, 2008

You might try the ADHD Partner site. There isn't a lot there yet but it's a new site.

Some CHADD chapters have support groups for ADHD partners.
posted by maurice at 3:24 AM on August 24, 2008

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