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How Do People With ADHD Act In Arguments?

Navigating a relationship with someone who has ADHD may pose challenges.

Individuals with ADHD often grapple with regulating emotions and may be more sensitive to feelings of rejection, leading to an increased likelihood of arguments. 

Recognizing that these struggles are not always intentional and can be challenging is crucial. Acquiring and practicing practical communication skills tailored to those with ADHD can significantly impact the dynamics of the relationship.

By understanding how ADHD affects your relationship, you and your partner can improve communication and handle challenges better. These strategies can bring you closer and make your partnership happier.

How Do Relationships get influenced by ADHD?

If someone has ADHD, knowing the symptoms can help you understand their actions better. This leads to improved communication and understanding in your relationship.

Gaining insight into how ADHD impacts relationships among adults

Improving your relationship starts with understanding how ADHD affects it. Once you see how ADHD symptoms impact both of you, you can find better ways to respond. If you have ADHD, learn to manage your symptoms. If your partner doesn't have ADHD, find ways to handle frustrations and encourage your partner positively. ADHD symptoms that may lead to issues in relationships:

  • Difficulty focusing can be an issue with ADHD. If you have it, you might space out during talks, making your partner feel neglected. Missing important details or agreeing to things without remembering can frustrate your loved one.
  • Not being organized can cause problems. If someone has ADHD, they may struggle to complete tasks, and the home may be messy. Partners might feel like they're constantly cleaning up after the person with ADHD and doing most of the family chores.
  • Acting without thinking is a challenge with ADHD. If you have it, you might say things that hurt feelings because of impulsivity. This can also lead to irresponsible or reckless actions, like making a big purchase that causes arguments about money.
  • Getting upset quickly is common for people with ADHD. It can be hard to control emotions, and you might struggle to talk about issues calmly. Your partner might feel they must be careful not to say anything that could lead to an argument.

To improve communication, try to calm things down emotionally. Take a break if needed before discussing an issue. Listen to your partner and figure out the real problem when you talk.

ADHD and Arguing

People with ADHD might argue more because it gives them a rush of excitement and adrenaline. This attraction to discussing might have started in childhood and continued into adulthood without them realizing it. 

ADHD and Arguing are both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive, making someone more likely to argue. A recent study found that 70% of adults with ADHD experience difficulty regulating their emotions. This means they might get easily irritated and react strongly to things their partner says, thinking it's an attack. 

Symptoms of ADHD that raise the likelihood of engaging in arguments include:

ADHD & Difficulty Controlling Emotions

Because ADHD affects the brain's executive functions, it hampers the ability to regulate emotions. Individuals with ADHD may seem to have a short temper. When confronted with emotionally charged situations, their responses can be overly reactive or inconsistent, appearing as aggression or irritability. This often leads to arguments.

ADHD & Time Challenges

ADHD affects how we understand time, causing what's called time blindness. It's common for people with ADHD to be late, miss deadlines, or have trouble judging time. This can lead to conflicts in relationships, especially if the person with ADHD struggles to be on time or needs reminders for household tasks.

ADHD & Irritability

People with ADHD often deal with anger because of their impulsive and emotional struggles. They act on their feelings quickly, often appearing irritable or frustrated. In relationships, this can lead to challenges like interrupting others or being more sensitive to comments or tones, causing conflicts.

ADHD & Memory Struggles

Poor working memory in ADHD makes it challenging to hold multiple tasks or ideas simultaneously. This affects following instructions, organizing activities, and achieving goals. Maintaining focus is demanding, and forgetting lessons may be mistaken for laziness, causing frustration in both the person with ADHD and their relationships.

ADHD & Trying to Be Perfect

Despite seeming unlikely, many with ADHD deal with perfectionism. It often comes from trying to compensate for past mistakes or feeling inferior. Setting overly high standards can lead to frustration when things don't go perfectly.

ADHD & Sensory Overload

Many with ADHD are hypersensitive to sensory information, finding smells, sounds, and textures more intense. Prolonged exposure can make them feel on edge and irritable.

Guidance on Preventing Arguments with an Individual with ADHD

Talking to someone with ADHD can be challenging for both them and their partner. However, using specific communication strategies can be helpful. The more you practice these techniques, the easier they become, and they can even prevent arguments.

  • Give them room to regulate: Suggest taking a break if your partner gets upset. Stepping away for 10 to 30 minutes (or more) and then returning to the conversation allows you to calm down and express yourself better.
  • Avoid judgment: ADHD comes with challenges, and there's often a sense of shame. That's why it's crucial to approach discussions without judgment.
  • Keep it short and clear: Make your point concise to ensure they understand it.
  • Stay focused on the present: Stick to the current topic, avoiding discussing past disagreements. This prevents the person with ADHD from feeling overwhelmed or attacked, reducing the chance of shutdowns or escalations.
  • Avoid multitasking: Choose a time for essential discussions when both of you can fully concentrate, like after the kids are in bed or when chores are done. This minimizes distractions and misunderstandings.
  • Allow for recovery: Recognize that both of you are human, and ADHD may lead to impulsive remarks. Discuss these issues when things calm down and explore ways to handle them differently in the future.
  • Ask for clarification: When emotions run high and ADHD is in the picture, words might be misconstrued. Repeat what's said to ensure understanding and provide an opportunity for correction.
  • Allow note-taking: People with ADHD may struggle to remember everything said during a discussion. Encourage note-taking, especially in heated conversations, to address this concern.


If you have ADHD and face a disagreement, it's normal to feel various emotions. But it's important not to act impulsively. Take a moment to understand your feelings and why you think that way. This helps you handle the situation more calmly and clearly.

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