Adapted from 2011 and 2012 online discussions.
Carolyn: Its almost Christmas and I know my beloved ADD husband hasnt done a thing about my present. I tried to make things easy on him by asking for one thing related to his hobbies and interests, but, honestly, he forgets. I try not to badger him, but keep blurting out attempts at humorous reminders (Now youll have to get me diamonds AND chocolate!), but I dont like myself when I say stuff like that I just get so frustrated. Any wisdom?
I WANT MY PRESENT, DAMMIT
Can you live with not getting anything, knowing thats part of the package of your life with this beloved ADD husband?
Re: ADD Husband: Even if she can live without the presents, how bad does the husband feel when its midnight on Christmas Eve and hes frustrated with himself for messing up another Christmas?
Another option might be not to write off gifts altogether, but to write off Christmas morning surprise gifts to either shop together, or plan something special together that both acknowledge counts, and doesnt make him feel like the screw-up, and her the loving/understanding martyr, again.
Right. Adults dont respond well when theyre set up to fail. And, since each of us has shortcomings, each of us has an area where we can be expected to fail part of everyones package deal.
So, given that the greatest gifts loved ones can give us are acceptance of our frailties and gratitude for our strengths, holidays are great opportunities for people to give each other chances to shine. Ask for things they give well, and erase expectations for things they rarely or never produce. For example:
Stop throwing your introvert into your familys holiday melee for three solid days, and instead break up the melee with a one-on-one outing on Day 2, giving both of you chances to be at your best.
Tell your ADD spouse you want to skip the gifts and go shopping together at post-Xmas sales, or take a day trip in lieu of gifts.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.