As more adults are being diagnosed with ADHD, mental health professionals are learning that the major problems faced by these adults occur in their interpersonal relationships. The primary reason that adults with ADHD have poor interpersonal relationships is that they have underdeveloped social skills, the major one being empathy. The way the spouse of the ADHD partner often copes with this lack of empathy is to become codependent. Codependence is defined as a state of mind where you put your needs and dreams aside in order to help the other person have a life. Kindness is doing these kinds of things sometimes and having a balance of give and take in a relationship. In a codependent relationship, no matter how much you give, the other person does not return the favor. Yet you keep on giving, getting more fatigued, frustrated and resentful. Codependence leads to micromanaging the ADHD members of the family. Because the ADHD members are doing everything they can to quell the busy brain in their heads and to manage the main duties of life, everything else gets dropped. The codependent person picks up what is dropped along with managing his or her own life. The codependent eventually burns out. To get beyond codependency, you need to explore self-care. The codependent person needs to recognize that he/she counts just as much as the people they are protecting. By breaking the cycle of codependence, you are giving back, to your spouse and to your children responsibility for their behavior. The first step toward your recovery and theirs, is accepting responsibility for your behavior and your life and letting them accept responsibility for theirs. After all, how can they develop responsibility if you do it all for them? From an article by Kathy J. Marshack, Ph.D., P.S. http://www.addresources.org/?q=node/267
Codependents are reactionaries.
But rarely do they act.
They react to the problems,
pains, lives, and behaviors
of others. They react to their
own problems, pains, and behaviors.