If you have been living with ADHD anger in your relationship, you know that it leaves little room for that loving feeling.
This is because ADHD anger in romantic relationships undermines the best of intentions. It is volatile, intense and frequent. Over time, this behaviour causes a lot of unhealed hurt in both partners.
The truth is that there is hope. You can stop ADHD anger from ruining your relationship.
ADHD Anger and Love
If you read my blog,How Anger Can Kill Your Relationship, you know how ADHD anger works. There are real executive functioning reasons why people struggle to manage their emotions.
Once you both understand that the anger is a symptom of thedifficulty regulating emotions – not evidence that your partner no longer loves you – you get to make better choices.
Here are effective ways you can save your relationship and become close again.
7 Strategies to Manage Anger in an Adult ADHD Relationship.
- Take responsibility and get treatment: If you are the partner who has ADHD, it is your responsibility to manage it. After all, I am sure you would agree that you do not want a parent/child dynamic in your relationship. Treatment may include medication, therapy or coaching to take control of your life.
- Know your triggers: While your partner is not the cause of your anger, there may be trigger points between you. Decide in a calm moment if there is a positive way to resolve them. Next, commit to using one of the strategies below at times when you are likely to become triggered. Over time, these steps will train your brain to respond mindfully.
- Slow down and pause: Both of you can practice slowing down in these heated moments. “Can we slow this down? Let’s check in in an hour.” Every time you pause, you are training your brain to return to a relaxed state. You can then choose how you want to be in that moment rather than raging.
- Manage your stress level: Meditation, regular exercise and time management strategies can greatly reduce volatility. Feeling in control helps you behave thoughtfully.
- Use effective language: What you say really does matter. To maintain your connection, avoid using critical words such as “lousy, lazy or spiteful”. Instead, you can share your feelings in a non-threatening way by using “I” statements, e.g., “I feel overlooked when you don’t say ‘Hi’ to me when you come in the door.” “I feel shamed when you remind me to put out the garbage.”
- Be a great listener: Don’t be a mind reader. Your perceptions about what is bothering your partner may not be accurate. Find out. Look in your partner’s eyes and really hear what they are saying. Acknowledge their feelings. “Oh, I can really hear that you are in pain when I ask you put out the garbage. I am sorry you feel that way. It wasn’t my intention to shame you.”
- Practice loving gestures: ADHD in romantic relationships does not have to be the wet blanket on your passion. Make a habit of creating opportunities to connect. These can be very small gestures of affection, touch and acknowledgment.
Don’t Be Discouraged
It takes time to master these strategies. Don’t become discouraged. Instead, expect that you won’t succeed 100% of the time. Just meet the inevitable hiccups with non-judgment and pledge to keep trying.
Remember that practicing loving kindness when there has been a lot of hurt is the work of warriors. Fight for each other. Not against each other.