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Old 10-27-16, 04:12 PM
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Re: helping him stick to something

Originally Posted by dvdnvwls View Post
Saying he wants to change things, saying he hates the way he is now, feeling guilty for not doing better - all of those can come straight from trying to please you, and might have nothing to do with how he really feels.

A lot of us with ADHD have done intense life-long training in how to please others. It's an extremely difficult habit to get out of.
What dvdnvwls said is true. However, what you boyfriend has said could also represent exactly how he really feels. You won't know unless you ask him, and let him know that you love him the way he is.

It would be wise to consider whether there might be things you are doing or saying that are inadvertently contributing to the pressure he feels to "stick to things" or to "develop a passion". That said, I wouldn't automatically jump to the conclusion, as some posters apparently have, that it's your fault he has unreasonable or incongruent expectations of himself.

A lot of us with ADHD come by our frustrations naturally. Most of us do have aspirations and goals, big and small, which -- while certainly influenced by those around us -- are primarily our own. If we want to accomplish something, and our ADHD symptoms get in the way, it's dispiriting.

Sometimes a change of mindset can help -- accepting our quirks and limitations, casting off arbitrary and unhelpful societal expectations, and learning to be content with ourselves as we are. Sometimes, treatment and targeted strategies can allow us to accomplish things that once seemed beyond our grasp. A combination of self-awareness, self-acceptance, and new approaches can often go a long way towards improving self-efficacy (our feelings of competence, basically). Certainly, having a partner who is aware and accepting and supportive helps tremendously.

My experience with my own partner is very unlike dvdnvwls' experience with his verbally/emotionally abusive ex-wife. To me it sounds as though -- even if you may not understand his motives or feelings perfectly (and who can ever know the true contents of another's mind?) -- you are trying to learn and understand and be supportive, and that's great.

You can obviously only tell us what you see from your perspective, and what your boyfriend's told you. In my opinion, the accusation of "normal-splaining" isn't justified. Sure, you're interpreting the situation from your perspective (we all do), but you're not presuming that you know more about ADHD (or anything else) than people with ADHD. You're simply relating what you know of your own situation and your boyfriend's struggles, trying to make sense of it, and looking for advice -- and I commend you for that.

I didn't see any mention (unless I missed it) of whether or not your boyfriend's ADHD is being treated with medication and/or therapy. As you hinted, and as other posters have suggested, it also sounds as though he may be showing some symptoms of depression, which is coloring his view of himself. Depression can be a consequence of dealing with ADHD-related issues, and/or its own thing. Either way, treatment can help.

Is he currently seeing a psychiatrist or a therapist of any kind? Does he have insurance that would cover visits? If he's not already getting some kind of treatment, it could be worthwhile to pursue. (And you could also send him here -- if he's online already, we're a very accessible support group.)
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