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One Magic Ingredient That Increases Intimacy in Your Creative Genius Relationship

by Linda Walker

The way we were

Duane and I have shared our story many times. We are open about how bad things were for the first 15 years of our marriage. We don’t hold back, because we want people to understand we’ve been where you are. But we also share how we’re still married after 34 years. We want to give you hope.

Those first 15 years were rough. We were in dire financial straits. Duane never followed through. I don’t have ADHD, so I picked up the slack for everything Duane couldn’t do. And there was a lot he couldn’t do. (Sometimes I was sure it was stuff he wouldn’t do!) We were both under a lot of stress and that puts strain on a relationship. We fought all the time!

People think it was Duane getting help for his ADHD that changed our relationship. They think once he was “fixed,” it was smooth sailing. Of course, when Duane got help, it reduced a lot of stress on our relationship. But even that wouldn’t have saved our marriage. We needed one more thing. Luckily, we discovered the missing ingredient. And it turned our hellish marriage into wedded bliss.

What’s that secret ingredient?

Empathy was missing from our relationship. We discovered we weren’t listening to each other. Neither of us understood how much we had in common. We both felt lonely and wounded. It was only once we began to “listen” that we were able to see each other’s point of view. Once we were able to see our partner’s point of view we were able to mend the relationship.

Empathy is the ability to see things from another person’s point of view. We often say “put yourself in the other person’s shoes.” Seeing the world from their perspective is the only way to understand what’s happening. During our many fights, (actually shouting matches) we spewed our anger and pain at each other.

We weren’t listening to each other because we were too busy trying to be right. When you listen, listen to understand. Don’t listen only to prepare your comeback. That’s “empathy.” Is it the missing ingredient in YOUR relationship?

How Can You Use This?

  1. Listen with the intent to understand your partner
  2. Manage your ADHD better; register for the Focus to Freedom Workshop beginning February 21, 2018

3 Creative Genius Strategies for Surviving the Holiday Hustle and Bustle

by Linda Walker, PCC, B.Adm.

The holidays can be a challenging time of year for creative geniuses. There’s so much to do with decorating, shopping, cleaning, cooking, partying and the list goes on. You may push yourself to exhaustion.

This is often when you begin to feel overwhelmed and your mood starts suffering. And when that happens…!

This holiday season do yourself and everyone around you a favor. Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed. How do you do that? Here are 3 steps to a better Christmas.

Simplify

This season is about being together. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to let go of some of the “fluff” if it takes you over the edge. Some creative geniuses I know don’t put up a Christmas tree. We don’t decorate the outdoors anymore. If some recipes are long and tedious for you, don’t do them unless these things provide more joy than effort.

Don’t overspend

Studies prove experiences provide the most joy, not things. When we buy gifts to “wow” our loved ones, we forget that what they want is to spend time with us. We run out of time to enjoy the people we love.

When you spend your holidays sweating the credit card bills, they aren’t much fun. What if you did something different this year? Try playing board games, building Lego cities or chill-axing with your loved ones.

Take care of your needs

Many of my clients describe feeling overwhelmed during the holidays. This can be especially true when the whole family is together. Overwhelm can lead to especially bad consequences during your Recharge Zone. Allow yourself to disconnect for 20 minutes when you feel overwhelmed. Excuse yourself and explain you need a bit of air or a short nap. You’ll come back ready to reengage. Let your loved ones know you need a break.

Whatever you do, take time to enjoy this festive season to be with your family and friends.

Facebook Live Event: Supporting Your Spouse with ADHD

I often get questions from spouses of adults with ADHD about how to help their ADHDer. To answer the largest number of queries on this subject, I have decided to make it the subject of my very first Facebook Live event.

And so, I am excited to announce my first Facebook Live event, which will air on Thursday, September 22nd at 7:30 pm EST – 4:30 pm PST, called How to Support Your ADHD Spouse.

During this mini-conference, I’ll share with you the 5 top strategies that helped me support my husband, Duane, who was the poster-child for ADHD.

You’ll have the opportunity to ask your burning questions on the subject of supporting your spouse with ADHD in the comments box on my Facebook page, from which the event will be streamed and I’ll respond live. The event will last 30 to 45 minutes.

Now, this is a first experience and so we’ll discover together where it will take us so I’m hoping you’ll join me.

Like my page.

2016-09-22-FB-Live-spouses

12 Great Strategies that Help ADHDers Thrive

As an ADHD family, we’ve had our fair share of challenges, particularly early on when we didn’t know what we were dealing with.  Looking back, I could identify twelve great strategies that helped Duane and Kyrie thrive. And no, they aren’t about productivity; they’re about feeling about yourself.

  1. Take advantage of your strengths. Identify what you’re strong in and find ways to do more of it. Keep a journal and note down when you’ve managed to learn something particularly well.  You know, when you realize “you’re a natural” at something, this is almost always an indication that you are playing to your strengths.
  2. Surround yourself with people who can embrace your differences and who accept you for who you are and for who you are not.
  3. Determine what ADHD traits aren’t going so well for you and your loved ones and consider what could change. Even though you want others to accept you, you also want to live in harmony with others. This may mean you’ll need to modify some of your behavior to reduce the negative challenges of ADHD.
  4. There will be things you cannot change. I’m thinking of your short-term memory for example. For those things, you’ll need to manage with systems and routines. I know, routines, ick! but all very successful ADHDers have a set of routines that solve many of their problems once and for all.
  5. You’ll have ADHD your whole life. That means you have all the time in the world to master the skills to thrive with ADHD. It won’t take that long to make your life fantastic, and then you can keep improving it forever.
  6. Small but significant changes are always the best way. They’re effective, their sustainable, and if they aren’t the right approach, there’s not great investment of your time and energy lost.
  7. Create a cue, a reminder, an alert, something that will help you remember to accomplish your new change.
  8. Document the changes that work for you. ADHDers often forget strategies they’ve used successfully in the past. Documenting them will also allow you to use strategy 9.
  9. Celebrate ever day you progress in your new habits. Celebrating the progress and results increases the chances you’ll repeat the habit. We all love happy experiences. Celebrating could be as simple as acknowledging your progress, noticing the results, or giving yourself a pat on the back.
  10. Ensure you balance your work life with active recreation. Engaging in hobbies, reconnecting with your creative side, connecting with friends and family are great active recreation. They bring much more joy in your life than watching TV, surfing the Internet or chatting on social media.
  11. If you forget your habit for a day, chalk it up to being human, consider what went wrong then recommit to the habit, ensuring you make adjustments to avoid forgetting again.
  12. The most important: laugh.  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  When you make mistakes, laugh about it.  Find humor in your life. Read a funny story, watch a funny video.

Is Valentine’s Day a 3-Hour Fight Followed by 3 Days of Icy Silence

Duane-LindaMost people celebrate St-Valentine’s Day because they’re in love. But some people wonder what there is to celebrate! If you’ve ever felt like that, we understand. Duane and I have wondered what the fuss was about, and yes, that was while we were married!

Duane and I have been preparing for the ADHD and Your Life as a Couple conference we’re giving February 26, 2011, and it is bringing back a lot of memories, most of which we’ll be sharing with you at the conference.

When you hear about the challenges we faced, you’ll wonder why we’d want to remember them at all! And we would be more than happy to forget most of them, but recalling these challenges reminds us of how much better life is once you learn to overcome the many challenges that spring from the often-ignored third party, ADHD, in relationships.

Who would want to recall three-hour shouting matches followed by three days of icy silence? Unless we could also share how we’ve now learned to keep the communication channels open.

Fighting Stimulates the ADHD Brain

Your ADHD spouse likely enjoys fights because the big rush of adrenaline allows them to focus. It doesn’t help that they are likely carrying a lot of shame and guilt that makes any criticism or innocent comment feel like an attack. And as the non-ADHD spouse in our relationship, I can tell you that I was exhausted and resented carrying the entire burden of the household responsibilities.

I was so frustrated that Duane couldn’t remember what I’d asked him to do 15 minutes ago but he could quote me word-for-word on something I’d said five years ago… if it would help him win the argument! There was no way out!

How to Communicate When You Can’t Communicate

Of course, until you can communicate, you can’t even begin to address any other issues in your relationship. We couldn’t talk to each other because every conversation ended in a shouting match, but we desperately wanted to save our marriage because we still loved each other. Instead, we agreed to write to each other using rules you can apply in your own situation:

  1. Tell your spouse how you feel, not what he/she is doing wrong. For example, “When you commit to doing something and then don’t do it, it makes me feel as if I’m not important.”
  2. Write with the intent of being heard and understood, not with the intent of winning or being right.
  3. Beware of words like “always,” “never,” and “should.”
  4. Re-read and edit your writing, asking:
    a) Could my spouse interpret this as an attack? If the answer is yes, change how you say it.

    b) Am I saying this because I want to be right, or because I want to be heard? If the answer is, “I want to be right,” adjust it so that your intent is strictly to be heard.
  5. In each letter, state your love and reiterate your desire to understand and to be understood. Remember, the objective is always to improve your relationship.

Once you’ve finished your letter, don’t deliver it and then stand with your hand on your hips, tapping your foot while your spouse reads it. Give your spouse plenty of time to read it, mull it over and to respond in writing. The secret of this process is that it removes the lure of instant gratification and the adrenaline rush ADHDers get from a fight.

For Duane and I, this approach finally enabled us to communicate in a way that information was flowing in both directions. It wasn’t long before we realized that both of us were in pain, and that we both wanted exactly the same things… a better relationship in which we both could grow and feel fulfilled.

If you want to improve your relationship with an ADHD spouse, the good news is that it’s never too late to take steps (like this one) that will make a positive impact. You can have the partnership of your dreams, and even though it’s hard to believe when you’re in the middle of a shouting match, it’s rarely easier to start over than it is to rebuild the relationship you’re in, ADHD or not.

“Duane and I hope to see you at the conference where we’ll share many more strategies like these that can help you build a happy and successful relationship too.” Visit https://coachlindawalker.com/adhd-couple.shtml

Related posts:
Taking Ownership of Your Life

Is Your Ecosystem Supporting Your Goals?

ADHD and Gender Roles

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