ADHD in Relationships
Lessons in Humility
I’m a pretty articulate person and I’ve always been a bit too blunt and say things sarcastically. I can be very defensive which then comes across as angry. It’s usually more hurt than anger.But hurt is often the origin of anger.
I am married to a sweet and loving man who loves me more than I deserve. However he has ADHD and processes slowly what is said and frequently takes it literally. That is typical of people with language processing problems, one aspect of ADHD. This can lead to very emotional confrontations laced with hurt and misunderstanding on both sides. Fortunately through the many graces given in the Sacrament of Matrimony we plow through our confusion of misunderstanding and eventually come to clarity. But oh, what a struggle that can be. He takes words at face value and I hear and use words with nuance that befuddles him. I hear what is implied but he hears only what is said. It is very difficult to teach inference if you just don’t get unspoken implications.
Personally, I feel that I have the greater moral responsibility in these moments because I am a trained Special Education Teacher who has spent a career working with children with such issues. They don’t grow out of it, they only grow up. I am the one who needs to be more patient, more understanding because I actually know what is going on. I should know better than to get upset. Yet I do get angry and hurt because he doesn’t understand me. ( Yes, it’s all about me!) I want him to understand my perspective and that is so hard for him. I makes him feel inadequate and wants to pull away. But over time, by God’s grace, we work it out. I am in awe of his humility and ashamed of my impatience.
More than once I have taken all this anger and resentment to confession. Sometimes I even cry! Then a miracle occurs! It’a not the Priest’s counsel but the gift of healing. I leave the confessional healed, relieved, forgiven. My ugly feelings have been lifted through the mercy of God. Yes I believe it is a miracle because I have brought these same issues to counseling and get advice about communication skills and not to be so hard on myself but those ugly feelings remain.
God alone healed my pain, taught me humility and to love and forgive what is only a small human weakness. In confession God restores my soul and provides the grace to love when it is hard to love and to forgive when I haven’t really been wronged. The priest is vehicle for absolution but it is Christ who heals. He sits in that chair and raises his loving hand to forgive my human frailty and heal my wounded soul. God does not hold my humanity against me.