Last week, I talked about the double edged sword of ADHD intensity. It could bring you to great creative heights, but also be hard on the people below. Ofttimes, that intensity is unintentionally released like an elemental force upon our loved ones when we are emotionally upset.
Living With My ADHD Isn’t Exactly A Godsend For My Wife
First off, I’m not going to be making any excuses. I’m a hard guy to live with. My wife wrote of the benefits of living with me and my ADHD last week, but she took over a week-and-a-half to put that list together. The end result was so sweet, I bronzed the paper and mounted it over my front door for all the neighbors to see. I imagine it was hard to write, though, and may have originally looked like this:
[ADHD adults] can make you laugh
when they’re not making you cry, the insensitive clods!Because they don’t like being bored, they are always finding new and exciting things to do and say even when you don’t want them to. It’s fun to go along for the ride. They can be very entertaining to watch destroy their own lives. It is my one cherished form of revenge.
ADHD Intensity: I Didn’t Mean To Be So Intense
As I prepare to celebrate my 22nd anniversary tomorrow, I reflect upon a recent phone call. I had stepped on the scale yesterday and discovered to my horror that instead of subtracting weight, I had been multiplying it. That led me to realize that my diet of licorice logs and Twinkies was not only making life difficult for my intestinal tract, but was not helping me become the svelte, lovely hunk of manhood I knew I deserved to be. And wasn’t my wife supposed to be helping me with a new diet? Didn’t I buy her a book five months ago and begged her to help me implement the new Hollywood tantric birdseed and okra diet? I realize it contained 17 chapters of theory and testimonials and required a food measurement system based on atomic weights and emotional color, but didn’t she love me? I mean, had she seen me lately? Good Heavens, the sight of me yesterday morning shocked me so completely that I thought we had installed a fun house mirror.
Like a mad hellion, I furiously dialed her number at work. I warned her that I was a little on edge, but had something to tell her. Then I unleashed a soft but steady barrage of reasons why I was frustrated. Then, to my surprise, we were in an argument. She reacted as if I had reached through the phone and hit her over the head with the scale. All I wanted to communicate was that when I stepped on the scale, it cracked louder than Aslan’s Stone Table and could she please help me before I grew so wide that I became trapped in the kitchen. Instead, she fired off a bazooka in my face.
It is true that it takes two to tango, and if I am the flame, then she certainly shouldn’t be tossing gasoline at me, but to be fair it is a bit much to expect her not to defend herself when she gets singed in the heat. I wasn’t really mad at her. I was panicking because of the weight gain (and high blood pressure and potential heart attacks and worry, worry). In a perfect world, my lovely wife would graciously let me spew fiery coals like the hot-headed furnace I am, then sagaciously pat me on the arm, calm me with her voice, and channel my heat towards more creative expression. But in the real world, I am not married to Edith Bunker. And Archie was a farcical cartoon of a person, not a role model.
How to Manage Adult ADHD Intensity
It took quite a bit of work on my part to smooth things over after that phone call. But there’s a reason we’ve been married for 22 years. We kiss and make up, true, but more importantly, we apologize and mend the fences careless words can tear down. The advice I usually give myself in these situations is to remember not to call her when I’m upset. I need to take time out to relax. Easy breaths. Even temper. ADHD intensity with emotions is a potent combo that is best avoided when possible. The other party may not always forgive us for our unintentional intensity. Fortunately, for me, my wife does.