Ned and Sue Answer ADHD Relationship Questions

Ned and Sue Answer ADHD Relationship Questions

Dr. Hallowell’s wife Sue returns to Distraction to address listeners’ ADHD questions. Sue Hallowell is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and has been married to Ned for 30 years. They’ve also raised 3 children together who all have ADHD, so you could say Sue is somewhat of a subject-matter expert! Listeners ask about issues with their kids, spouses and more.

Do you have a question or guest suggestion? Send an email with your thoughts to [email protected].

Dr. Hallowell’s new book, ADHD 2.0, comes out January 12th. Pre-order Now!  Click here to pre-order your copy of ADHD 2.0.

Check out #NedTalks on TikTok! @drhallowell

Thanks to our sponsor, OmegaBrite Wellness!

Now is a great time to try OmegaBrite as Ned has arranged for a special offer for the first 250 Distraction listeners who respond. Distraction listeners who buy one bottle of 70/10 MD Omega-3, will get a FREE bottle of CBD Full Spectrum 25mg Softgels with the promo code: NED. You’ll get FREE shipping too! These are the same supplements that Dr. H takes every day.

Just enter the code: NED after adding the Omega-3 to your cart and the FREE bottle of CBD and FREE shipping will be automatically applied.

Click HERE to learn more about our other amazing sponsor, Landmark College, in Putney, Vermont. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently!

Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our producer is Sarah Guertin and our recording engineer/editor is Scott Persson.

This episode was originally released in August 2017.

Check out this episode!

A transcript of this episode is below.


Dr. Ned Hallowell:
This episode is sponsored by OmegaBrite Wellness. Get a free bottle of Omega Brite CBD Full-Spectrum Softgels with free shipping when you buy one bottle of their 7010 MD Omega-3. Use offer code Ned, that’s my name, Ned, at omegabritewellness.com.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Distraction is also sponsored by Landmark College in Putney, Vermont, the college of choice for student who learn differently. Learn more at lcdistraction.org.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s very demoralizing for me when I come up with a new idea, “Let’s start a goat farm tomorrow morning,” and have her say, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” So we each try to manage the other’s expectations a little bit, and we’ve been married how many years, 28 years? It’s…

Sue Hallowell:
It’ll be 28 years September 17th.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, we’re still working at it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Hello, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell, and welcome to Distraction, the podcast. Today we have a very special episode because my wife is joining. My wife, Sue, has joined us in the past and it made for one of our most popular episodes ever, and so we’ve invited her back.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
By way of introduction, Sue is my wife of 28 years, the mother of our three children, now 28, 25, 22, but professionally, she is a licensed independent clinical social worker, LICSW, has been in practice for 30 years, is really honestly the best clinician I know. She is truly, and I don’t I’m biased, but I mean it. She’s remarkable. She’s incredibly empathic, incredibly warm, but also very decisive, incisive, and smart. She specializes in couples, particularly couples where one or both members have the wonderfully interesting condition called ADD. Welcome, Sue.

Sue Hallowell:
Thank you. It’s such a privilege to be here. I’m really happy to be asked back.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, the privilege is ours. And with that, we will take our first caller. I’m very happy to welcome a caller by the name of [Suta 00:02:45]. Hello, Suta.

Suta:
Hi, how are you?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
[crosstalk 00:02:48].

Sue Hallowell:
Yeah. Hi, Suta. How are you?

Suta:
Nice to meet you, Sue.

Sue Hallowell:
Nice to meet you.

Suta:
Thanks for having me on your show with Dr. Hallowell.

Sue Hallowell:
Well, it’s nice to have you here.

Suta:
Where are you calling from, Suta?

Sue Hallowell:
Pennsylvania.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And how can we help you?

Suta:
Well, I’ve been with my husband for 22 years, and he was diagnosed late in life with ADHD, so I listened a lot to ADHD podcasts and I’ve learned a lot about it, but I still struggle with a few things. One of those is how do you respond when your ADHD spouse comes to you with a new idea, a new hobby, or a new business venture? I know that I should respond positively but I still have a hard time with it. Sometimes I maybe question a little bit too much and I think it comes across as being negative.

Sue Hallowell:
I’m only laughing because this comes up in our coupledom all the time.

Suta:
Yes. And my questions generally revolve around the time commitment and money. So I was just wondering, do you have any thoughts on how to respond positively and be supportive, but still be able to get your questions answered?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, as Sue said, this comes up between Sue and me all the time. So let me let you, Sue. How do you handle me when I come up with a new idea?

Sue Hallowell:
Often, probably like you, almost automatically, I come up with, “Oh, yes, but.”

Suta:
Yeah.

Sue Hallowell:
And one of the things that Ned and I have talked about over the years is that drives him absolutely crazy. And it’s my own anxiety that gets perpetuated immediately, and I feel as if it’s happening right now, that if I don’t respond in a responsible way right then, that we are going to have something happen that’s beyond my control without even beyond a blink of an eye. So what I’ve really tried to learn to do is just suppress that part of myself and realize that what’s most important first, is to just be enthusiastic, and say, “Geez, that’s a great idea. Tell me more about it. Wow, that’s so interesting,” because there’s going to be time for questions. It isn’t going to happen immediately, and if I take the time and talk about what’s good about the idea, or really hear what he’s thinking about it, then he’s often much more responsive when I do say, “Well, but have you thought about this, or have you thought about that?” But if I bring up those concerns immediately, he’s not going to listen to me and it just leads to a fight.

Suta:
Right, it shuts down pretty quickly in my household too.

Sue Hallowell:
That’s exactly right. But for me, it really is, and I don’t know if this is true for you, but I just want to underscore, it’s my own anxiety about things getting out of control that leads me to respond so quickly.

Suta:
Yes.

Sue Hallowell:
And sometimes, actually, if I stop and I really listen to him, he can almost, he’s already considered a lot of things that I didn’t even know he thought about, and/or as he talks about it, sometimes he can see the issues himself. And so that has helped a lot. Would you agree, Ned?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, I rely on Sue to be the brakes. My analogy of ADD is I’ve got a Ferrari engine for a brain with bicycle brakes, and so I’ve spent a lifetime trying to strengthen my brakes. And one of the ways I’ve strengthened my brakes is by marrying Sue, because she doesn’t have a runaway brain and she is able to put on the brakes, and what I have to learn to do is take her temperance as just that, instead of thinking of her as the official wet blanket, to instead say, “Yeah, you’re right. We can’t immediately open a goat farm tomorrow morning in our backyard and it does take some planning.” And so I’ve tried to learn to appreciate her putting on the brakes, just as she’s tried to learn to appreciate my new ideas and not rain on the parade right off the bat. Because it’s very demoralizing for me when I come up with a new idea, “Let’s start a goat farm tomorrow morning,” and to have her say, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” So we each try to manage the other’s expectations a little bit. And we’ve been married, how many years, 28 years? It’s…

Sue Hallowell:
It’ll be 28 years September 17th.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, we’re still working at it.

Sue Hallowell:
That’s right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And I still get upset when she bursts my balloon, and she still gets upset when I go off half-cocked with yet another new idea. And…

Sue Hallowell:
And, may I say, that sometimes your half-cocked ideas have turned out to be pretty fabulous things, down the line. It’s just taken a little bit of a slower process with it. And as you said, sometimes my temperance has helped us maybe stay out of a little bit of trouble sometimes.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, and also, I’m not the only one with ideas. For example, I’m just finishing a memoir that I’ve spent the past two years writing, and it’s completely different from anything I’ve ever written. And the only reason I wrote it was Sue telling me, “You really ought to write a memoir. You really ought to write something totally different from all the other books you’ve written.” And only with her encouragement, and only with her assuring me that people might actually want to read it, was I able to get up the courage to write the proposal and sell the idea, and now I’m just finishing the book. So, sometimes she comes up with the bright ideas, and I’m the one who needs to be encouraged.

Suta:
Right, right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you so much for calling in, and-

Sue Hallowell:
Yeah. Yeah, it’s really great talking with you.

Suta:
Yes. Yes, thank you so much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you, Suta. Take care.

Suta:
I appreciate it. Bye-bye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Bye-bye.

Sue Hallowell:
Bye-bye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay, next up we have a question from [Cheryl 00:09:11]. Hi, Cheryl, this is Ned. Where are we reaching you?

Cheryl:
I am just outside of Portland, Oregon, in a little town called Lake Oswego.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. Well, welcome to Distraction, and how can we help you?

Cheryl:
Okay. Well, my question is around the mindful parenting courses that I’ve been seeing a awful lot of both online, I mean, you can take them online, or you can take them in person. And I’ve been seeing those on different ADHD sites and mostly on the parenting sites. Very recently, I started practicing mindfulness and meditation for myself to help kind of manage my nine-year-old ADHD son, and it helps quite a bit.

Sue Hallowell:
Right.

Cheryl:
We’re having fewer power struggles, mostly because I feel like I’m stopping and taking a breath. So my question is, what’s your take on these course offerings? Do you think they offer a more directed plan for parenting a complex kid?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Before we comment, I’d like to hear you describe what has been in the course, and by the way, when I hear mindful parenting, I always think, “So what’s the opposite, mindless parenting?”

Cheryl:
[crosstalk 00:10:25].

Sue Hallowell:
Well, that’s what we do a lot of the time, Ned. We often do mindless parenting.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So, tell-

Cheryl:
I think they call that autopilot.

Sue Hallowell:
There you go.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So tell us, what is in the course? What have you learned? What are they advising you to do?

Cheryl:
Well, some of the modules involve, obviously, there’s a module on mindfulness and meditation and being able to step back, kind of do the old school count to 10 routine. They talked about effective communication and communicating with your child more on their level, and don’t let them push your buttons. I mean, several of the courses have, and they’re anywhere from six to 10 or 12 different modules that you can go through and some of them are self-paced online, and some of them are in person, where they do a webcast. So I mean, there’s several different pieces involved with the courses.

Sue Hallowell:
Right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
My take on it is, what’s not to like? I mean, they’re advising you to learn skills of self soothing, of breathing, of meditating, of being in the moment, of being patient, of waiting and not engaging in struggles, and if the adjective applied to it is mindful, fine. You could call it patient parenting. You could call it taking a deep breath parenting. I think most of these kinds of courses have a lot to offer, simply by allowing you a forum to step back and ponder and consider what you’re doing as a parent. And the oldest job in the world. Sue and I have three kids, and the most important thing we’ve ever done was raise those and some days we were mindful and some days-

Sue Hallowell:
We were not.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We were mindless. But I think these courses, by and large, they’re all good. I mean, unless they’re recommending terrible things, but by and large, I think what they provide is support and certain techniques that have time tested. Goodness knows, breathing and meditation have been around for thousands of years, and learning forbearance with kids who are by nature rambunctious, and we all need support, a guide and someone to worry with and so you feel more confident and less stressed.

Cheryl:
Okay.

Sue Hallowell:
I would basically agree. I mean, I think I heard in one of your questions was you’ve already taken some mindfulness courses? And-

Cheryl:
Well, I haven’t actually taken the courses yet. I was more wondering if, I mean, would this be a good model to follow-

Sue Hallowell:
Yes.

Cheryl:
Or am I in just as good a place in the different little tidbits and things that I’ve stumbled across kind of on the web?

Sue Hallowell:
First of all, I think that I love groups where you can interact with other parents.

Cheryl:
Okay.

Sue Hallowell:
Because I think that that is one of the most healing things that can happen, no matter what the techniques are, right? I think that just being able to have the opportunity to interact with other people who are struggling with the same kinds of issues with your child, is most important. We run this camp in Michigan every year, a week, it’s called ADHD Family Camp, and the kids work with this master educator who does a wonderful program have the kids and the parents work with Ned, and I come in one day. But I always like to joke when I talk to families and say, “Even though Ned’s giving you information and talking with you, what the most important thing is the interactions that you get with the other parents and what you learn from them.”

Cheryl:
Okay.

Sue Hallowell:
So you can read the tidbits and you can get information, but it’s the connection and also having to be able to practice some of it really makes a difference.

Cheryl:
Oh, okay. Awesome. Thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
There’s a wonderful book, if you want a book along these lines, by Shefali Tsabary.

Cheryl:
Okay.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If you go to Amazon and look up Shefali Tsabary, her books are wonderful. And then-

Sue Hallowell:
And Cindy Goldrich.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
There’s another author, Cindy Goldrich, and her parenting course is terrific.

Sue Hallowell:
Calm and Connected Parenting.

Cheryl:
Okay.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So those two books, those two authors, both Sue and I know and endorse.

Sue Hallowell:
And Cindy actually not only has a book, she also runs a Calm and Connected Parenting workshop that people really love.

Cheryl:
Okay.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
But it’s on the East Coast, so it’s not exactly convenient.

Sue Hallowell:
But it’s a webinar.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh, it’s a webinar. Oh, okay. Oh, okay.

Sue Hallowell:
She does both in-house and webinar.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Oh, great. Great.

Sue Hallowell:
Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay. Terrific, then.

Cheryl:
Oh, very good. Thank you so much for your insight. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, and thank you for giving us a call and it was nice to talk to you.

Sue Hallowell:
Good luck.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Good luck.

Cheryl:
Thank you. Have a great day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You too. Take care. Bye-bye.

Cheryl:
Bye-bye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay, so Sarah, I understand there’s a new offer from our wonderful sponsor OmegaBrite Wellness.

Sarah:
Yes, there is and we’re really excited. I like to call it the Ned pack, because they’re, basically our listeners are going to have the chance to take what you take every day. So all you have to do is add the OmegaBrite 7010 MD Omega-3 to your cart at omegabritewellness.com, and if you use the coupon code Ned, your name, N-E-D, it’ll automatically add a free bottle of OmegaBrite CBD Full-Spectrum 25 milligram Softgels to the cart, and you get free shipping. So, pretty cool.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wow, that’s an excellent offer. I’m so glad they’re using my name not in vain, but to bring people to this wonderful product. It is a wonderful product.

Sarah:
It makes it nice and easy.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, and my wife, really, if they really want to get someone who loves it, they should get my wife, Sue, on because she, and she’s very skeptical about all kinds of things. I mean, she laughs at me for the various stuff I take, but this is one that she absolutely swears by, so I’m glad to know. So they just go to omegabritewellness.com and put in the code Ned and they get all this cool stuff.

Sarah:
Yep, they just have to add the OmegaBrite 7010 MD Omega-3 to their cart, and then with the promo code, they’ll automatically get the free CBD Full-Spectrum 25 milligram Softgels. They’ll get free shipping, and I should note that this is limited to the first 250 Distraction listeners. So people kind of got to move on if they’re interested.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Okay, and the offer code is Ned.

Sarah:
That’s right, N-E-D.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Very good. Okay. Thank you, Sarah.

Sarah:
Thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, now I’d like to welcome Christian to Distraction.

Sue Hallowell:
Hi, Christian. Thanks for calling.

Christian:
Thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Where are we catching you? Where are you?

Christian:
I live in Massachusetts.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You have Sue and me together. What can we do for you?

Christian:
So my question for you guys is my wife Michelle, we’ve been married 16, almost 17 years, and she has ADD and I think I have ADD as well, but Michelle has a real severe case of it. So it’s frustrating for me, as a spouse where, a lot of times Michelle has great intentions, she’ll say, “I’ll do this for you,” or, “I’ll run this errand,” and I’m like, “Okay,” and I count on her to do and then it doesn’t happen. And that happens often and I know she doesn’t do it deliberately. It’s just she gets caught up with a lot of things going on in her head. But I guess my question is, how can I, I don’t want to be frustrated anymore and I don’t want our kids to kind of sense that from me, because then [inaudible 00:18:18] they may internalize that and think that Mom just lets them down. So I guess that’s my biggest question.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, my first question is, is her ADD being treated?

Christian:
It is, yes. She sees a doctor, I think, once a month, and she works on it. She listens to your podcast. She reads a lot. And I got to be honest, she wants me to read a book, and I haven’t read it. [inaudible 00:18:45] So I also have to do my part, as well, but yeah, she is being treated for it.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, is she taking medication?

Christian:
She is, and if I have it correctly, I think it’s called it Ativan? No.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Adderall.

Sue Hallowell:
Adderall.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right, the biggest mistake that people make is they don’t get maximum mileage out of the medication. The medication is by far the easiest intervention we’ve got. There’s plenty of other things you can do, but if you are open to using medication, and really the medical facts are tremendously reassuring along those lines, then, once you start, you’ve got to titrate the dose so you get target symptom improvement with no side effects. And that can take some backing and filling. If she’s forgetting stuff, it sounds to me as if the medication dosing should at least be looked at, if not revised, because it’s a shame to… It’s like having the wrong prescription eyeglasses. You don’t get the best results. Or the wrong shoe size. You want to make sure that she’s getting the maximum mileage from the medication. And then-

Sue Hallowell:
But.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The second suggestion is for you to sit down with someone like me or Sue. You can see either one of us, I’m in Sudbury, she’s in Cambridge, and do some couples coaching because-

Christian:
Right. Yeah, that’s a good idea.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’ll let you take over with that.

Sue Hallowell:
So I have some medication, though I absolutely agree with you, it does have its limitations and people can be adequately medicated with… Still these issues come up, what kinds of things does she, can you say a little bit more about what you notice or what happens?

Christian:
Sure. Just every… It can be any task, like household things. I’ll do the groceries and then, okay. I like to do the groceries because I, just with my experience with her, I’ll go and get everything that’s on the list, but when I give it a list, she comes back with one third of it. And then she’s like, “Ah, oh I forgot this,” and if she says like… It can be any household chore, like, “I’ll do the laundry,” or, “I’ll do the bills,” or something. Lots of times she just forget, she just doesn’t get it done.

Sue Hallowell:
Yeah.

Christian:
And I know that she doesn’t do it deliberately. I know that she’s not doing because, “Ugh, I don’t want to do laundry.” No one really wants to do laundry.

Sue Hallowell:
Right.

Christian:
She’s just, I think her mind is so preoccupied with a lot of things that she just literally forgets.

Sue Hallowell:
Is she working, or is she-

Christian:
She works part, yeah, she works part time. Yep.

Sue Hallowell:
She does. So she’s out of the house, some. Because one of the-

Christian:
Yes.

Sue Hallowell:
One of the challenges that I’ve seen with a lot of people, women with ADHD who are at home is they feel like they need to be home because they have ADD and they can’t manage everything, but the unstructured life at home actually, in many ways, is much harder for them than if they actually had more of a structure.

Christian:
Right. It’s funny you mentioned that because she worked at home for a while and then she got really, she did a home daycare, and it just was, that was a lot. She did it for seven years and then she stopped. And then she took a break from working and she always said that when she works and she gets out of the house and she works, she can put 100% focus onto work tasks, but when she gets home, she has a very difficult time.

Sue Hallowell:
She loses it. Right.

Christian:
Yeah, so she definitely, what you just said, is definitely true for her.

Sue Hallowell:
Right. The structure really makes a huge difference.

Christian:
Right.

Sue Hallowell:
And so the more that structure can be built into things, the better she will do.

Christian:
Right.

Sue Hallowell:
The other thing is to really talk with her about what she is good at and what she’s not so good at. One of the things that people with ADD, and not that that means she doesn’t have to do anything, but really playing to what her strengths are around the house is much better than having her do things that she’s really not good at.

Christian:
Yeah.

Sue Hallowell:
That can help. Also, don’t pick up the pieces so much. So, if she forgets things at the grocery store, instead of you taking over going to the grocery store, going back for her, one of the mistakes people make is they begin to overcompensate for their partner and then their partner ends up sort of feeling crappy about themselves, really, because they feel like they’re never quite doing it, doing everything they’re supposed to do. And I understand that it’s frustrating and you worry about, “Well, are things going to fall between the cracks?”

Sue Hallowell:
Well, you have to think about what’s good enough versus what is your idea of how things need to be, because sometimes you have to look at what your style is, and what’s important to you, because sometimes with an ADD family, it’s not going to look like other families. And it’s what’s good enough and what needs to get done and how to do it, as opposed to, this is the way it’s supposed to be.

Christian:
Right. No, it makes a lot of sense. And we’ve done that recently. We’ve… She enjoys doing the finances and taking care of those things, and she does a great job at it and she does a lot of things with the kids’ school. Our kids started going to private school this year, so she’s taken a lot of those tasks.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
How old are your kids?

Christian:
14 and 12. Our daughter’s dyslexic, and our son is has processing, executive function things going on, and they both have made tremendous strides just in one academic year. It’s been a blessing for us. But Michelle has been really in charge with that and in advocating for the kids. And so yeah, I guess so, we’ve done that in the last few years. We’ve focused on trying to give her a structure, I guess, without even thinking about it.

Sue Hallowell:
And raising kids with issues like your kids have, don’t underestimate how much time and effort that takes, and it sounds like she does a terrific job with that. And so-

Christian:
[crosstalk 00:24:59]. I mean, she’s phenomenal.

Sue Hallowell:
Yeah.

Christian:
Yeah, so.

Sue Hallowell:
And so focus in on that, and if you have resources, filling in the places that she doesn’t do as well, or… I’ll tell you a story of this one couple I see. He is someone who would really get very upset when his wife would put, they had one small child, and she would put the plastic plates that he was eating on in the dishwasher, which he felt was not a good thing because of health benefits. He felt like… And they would go, and she would really mean not to do it, but then would forget, she has ADD, and would put it in. And it was just this struggle and she didn’t want to do it, but she would forget it was… So I finally said, I said to them, I said, “Well, why don’t you just stop using these plastic plates?”

Christian:
Right.

Sue Hallowell:
I mean, and that sounds so simple but they both looked at me like I had given them a magic wand and made it… And so now they have more glass, these pottery that are sturdy, and that she can put them in the dishwasher, and yes, they break sometimes, but it’s really made a major improvement. So I’m saying that you have to sometimes think outside the box a little bit. And-

Christian:
Yeah, no, you’re absolutely right. Yeah, and it’s… We’ve been married 16 years and thank god, our marriage is great and she’s phenomenal. And we’ve had two different upbringings, so that’s also another thing. Life isn’t always the same as when you were a kid.

Sue Hallowell:
That’s right.

Christian:
But just this short conversation with you guys has definitely, it makes me think a little bit more.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Wonderful.

Christian:
And I agree 100%. I think it can only be a benefit for us to talk to a psychologist, or a doctor like you guys, in terms of figuring out different methods to help us, because if we just try to do it on our own, it’s sometimes [crosstalk 00:27:03].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, someone who has experience with ADD, a little coaching.

Christian:
Right, exactly.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Just a couple of sessions can go a long way, strategies and…

Christian:
Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right. Well, good luck to you.

Sue Hallowell:
Thank you so much for calling and good luck.

Christian:
Thank you very much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thank you, Christian.

Christian:
All right. Thank you. Have a good day.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
You too. Bye-bye.

Sue Hallowell:
You too. Goodbye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I want to recommend to you Landmark College. It’s the college of choice for students who learn differently. Go to lcdistraction.org to learn more. That’s LC for Landmark College, distraction.org, to learn more. It’s a really wonderful special place in beautiful Putney, Vermont. It’s bucolic, but what goes on there is unique. It is a truly specialized learning environment for people who have the conditions I’ve got, ADHD and dyslexia, for us to learn how best to acquire knowledge and also to express our own ideas. It’s a marvelously talented, sympathetic, lively faculty. The courses are rigorous, but also wonderfully forgiving if you have one of these conditions. Please go to Landmark College, lcdistraction.org, to learn more, and feed yourself with the banquet you’ll find there. Okay, let’s get back to the show.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now Sue and I are going to speak with a Distraction listener who reached out to us by the name of [Janine 00:28:50]. Hello, Janine.

Janine:
Hi, Dr. Hallowell. Hi, Susan. I’m so delighted to talk with you both.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
So what can we do for you today?

Janine:
Well, you know what, it’s interesting, because when I got your initial email that you were exploring marriage issues, it was a week before our 30th wedding anniversary and the question really came to mind is, how on earth did I make it this far, or we make it this far? Because I never thought we’d be celebrating 30, although we both are really stubborn. But there were times when I thought, “There’s no way,” and I guess one of the big things that has helped us survive and be stronger is you in my life, your podcast, your books. And back in 2011, I was part of your summer intensive at Leelanau [crosstalk 00:29:53] School-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Ah.

Sue Hallowell:
Ah.

Janine:
And that was really my first jump into this crazy ADHD brain and kind of understand it, because that’s when my son had been diagnosed. I think what I wrote you about is just being grateful that you were there as a resource, and that you really focused on the connection piece, because that was another big way that we have made it through, is we have a group of friends that we camp with all the time and we just grew our families, and our kids grew up together and they accept us for who we are, but they hold us accountable.

Sue Hallowell:
Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Janine:
So that’s critical.

Sue Hallowell:
It’s so important. And I want to say something about when you said how did we stay married for 30 years.

Janine:
Yeah.

Sue Hallowell:
And one of my favorite answers to that, Ned and I had these very close friends, Priscilla Vail and her husband, who were, what, about 10 years older than us?

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sue Hallowell:
Maybe even 15 years older than us. And they… Priscilla described this evening one time that it was she and her husband and these three other couples, and between them, they were probably married 200 years, just an enormous amount of time. And they discussed, they wanted to talk about why did we stay married or what keeps people together, when so many people divorce. And everybody went around and some people said a sense of humor or respect or all these things, and Donald, her husband, went last, and he said, “It’s the determination to stay married.”

Janine:
That’s so true.

Sue Hallowell:
And I think that it’s really your testament to that, right, that you and your husband, it’s not always been easy, but you kept trying to go back and solve the problems or solve the issues and try different ways of looking at it, it sounds like, and having a connected life with people outside of yourself so you didn’t get so insular. I think that if you hadn’t had that determination, you can call it stubbornness or you can call it determination, then you may not have been a family that survived and wouldn’t that be unfortunate?

Janine:
It would be.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now after 30 years of marriage, what’s the upside? See, we’ve talked about sort of grim determination but what’s the-

Sue Hallowell:
Hey, hey, hey, I didn’t say grim determination. I-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What’s the joy?

Sue Hallowell:
You are terrible.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
What’s the fun? What’s the joy?

Janine:
Okay. You guys make me laugh and that’s fun.

Sue Hallowell:
I mean, really.

Janine:
It’s interesting, now that our sons are almost launched and pretty much on their own, I mean, just our intimate life is probably better than it ever been because we… There was a time when we could go months and months without sex because first, we didn’t like each other very well at that point and who had any kind of… You just fake it and that wasn’t fun. So that part of our life wasn’t really active, and that has reemerged in our 60s, believe it or not.

Sue Hallowell:
And I have a question. I often find, and I don’t know if this is true for you, but so many couples, when they’re struggling, they really just focus on what their partner is doing wrong or what makes them unhappy about their partner.

Janine:
Yes.

Sue Hallowell:
And I think that when people are able to finally stop and, sounds like you did a little bit, take stock of what’s good and what’s not good, and what do I really want, then sometimes you’re able to say, “Okay, what can I do differently?”

Janine:
Exactly. I was spending a lot of time being the martyr and blaming, and…

Sue Hallowell:
People fight that because they think, “Well, no, but I’m right in what I believe,” and I often say to people, “Being right is sometimes not the best thing in a relationship.” Sometimes it’s more important to pay attention to what works for the relationship, rather than being right or not, and maybe you don’t have to react to every little thing, whether you’re right or wrong.

Janine:
Exactly. And I felt so justified in pointing them all out. It felt really good but it didn’t get to the end goal of us really being a better couple and enjoying each other.

Sue Hallowell:
Right.

Janine:
And-

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
It’s funny-

Janine:
[crosstalk 00:34:41].

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I remember a woman that I saw years and years ago, and she worked in the corporate world, and she was absolutely brilliant, but she wasn’t getting promoted to the level that she really deserved until she figured out why. And she said, “I used to go into meetings with the sole purpose of being right, and I was the smartest person in the room. I had done the most preparation, but my way of being right was to make everyone else feel wrong.” And she said, “Now I’m a recovering righteous bitch.” She said, “When I was able to not have to be right, and allow other people their say, everything changed.” And I think that’s true in couples. Being right is really overrated.

Janine:
Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Getting along is what you want to do.

Sue Hallowell:
And of course, I mean, Ned’s going to yell at me now because I always have to qualify everything. Of course, we’re not talking about… Obviously, there’s some times when you have to take a stand, but in general, taking a stand isn’t always needed.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Now’s the time for Sue to issue a disclaimer that we do not have a perfect marriage. We fight all the time.

Janine:
Well, we do too.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We don’t fight all the time, but she would just as soon say that we do fight all the time.

Janine:
Well, we banter. [crosstalk 00:36:06].

Sue Hallowell:
Banter.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yes, we banter. We banter.

Janine:
We banter. And I think it’s learning to respect each other’s needs, because I wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my 50s, and then I also have dyslexia, so I have a bunch of triggers about being stupid. So I work real hard at [crosstalk 00:36:25] stupid.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Janine, where did you, you are anything but stupid. I can tell just talking to you, you’re very smart.

Janine:
Well, yeah, but I didn’t think that for years and years, so I can’t underestimate or I can’t say enough really for the work you both do and your commitment to this, and it’s not easy stuff and you’re a voice out there that people can go to and trust. And it’s sort of this beacon in the middle of the storm sometimes that, “Oh, there is a different way,” and, so thank you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, thank you for those encouraging words, and we really have fun doing it. And we see the greatness in ADD, not just the problematic part of it.

Janine:
Yeah.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
And we have fun with each other.

Sue Hallowell:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Janine:
Yeah, I can tell. You laugh a lot, and you don’t take each other quite too seriously.

Sue Hallowell:
No, you can’t.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
We don’t have much grim determination, I’ll say that.

Janine:
We’ll just keep using the strategies we’ve been using and being gentle with each other and try and listen and not be so bullheaded and I think it’ll work.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah. Yeah, it’ll work. It obviously is working. Enjoy the next 30 years.

Janine:
Hey, thank you so much.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
All right.

Janine:
And it’s been delightful talking with both of you.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Thanks, Janine.

Sue Hallowell:
It’s so nice to talk to you, Janine.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Take care.

Janine:
All right.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Bye-bye.

Janine:
Take care. Bye-bye.

Sue Hallowell:
Bye-bye.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that’s our show, our very special show, featuring my wife the inimitable Sue George Hallowell. Do you have any closing remarks, sweetheart?

Sue Hallowell:
I just want to say thank you to all the callers today. I’ve always felt like it’s such a privilege to be able to get a little insight into people’s stories, and everyone today just had such incredible stories that I’m sure that many of you out there share many of the same issues. And so, I thank them for being willing to call in and to share their stories with us, and help others along the way.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Yeah, absolutely, Sue. And the major theme of our show is the power of connection, and we really depend on you listeners for that, and so please write us, call us, be in touch with us, comments, stories, suggestions. We love hearing from you. We’ll do another show like this soon, I hope. Love to get your input and love to create the force field of connection that really is the key to pretty much everything good in life. Well, this is Dr. Ned Hallowell, saying goodbye for me and for my wife, Sue, until next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
Well, that’s going to do it for today. I hope you all had fun. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you learned a lot. If you did, please tell your friends. We’re trying to grow our audience and the best way to do that is for you to tell other people about us. Thank you for all of you who reached out, and please, if any of you feel moved to write a question, write it, email it, record it, whatever. We will almost definitely be airing your question and I’ll get a chance to take a stab at providing my best answer that I can come up with.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
If you have a question or comment you’d like us to include in a future episode, write it or record it and send it to, here you come, here you come, [email protected] Send it to connect, the word [email protected] Remember, please to follow Distraction on social media and subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen, so you’ll never miss an episode. I’m now also on TikTok, if you can believe that. I’m loving TikTok. It’s a perfect, perfect format, 60 second bits about different parts of ADHD. So, you can find me there too. My username is @drhallowell.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
I’m Dr. Ned Hallowell. Thank you so much for joining us today. I love this audience. I just appreciate lending me your ears, as it were. Distraction is created by Sounds Great Media. Our recording engineer and editor is the amazingly talented Scott Persson, and our producer is the also amazingly talented Sarah Guertin. Thank you all and see you next time.

Dr. Ned Hallowell:
The episode you just heard, just now heard, was made possible by my good friends at OmegaBrite Wellness. Get a free bottle of OmegaBrite CBD Full-Spectrum Softgels, with free shipping, when you buy one bottle of their 7010 MD Omega-3. Use offer code Ned, that’s my name, at omegabritewellness.com.

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