ADHD money struggles often contribute to anxiety, stress, and strain in relationships.
Dr. Stephanie Sarkis, a psychotherapist specializing in anxiety, gas lighting, narcissistic abuse, and ADHD, is joining us today to help us better understand how money and ADHD affect our relationships.
Dr. Sarkis is the author of seven books, including 'ADD And Your Money,' a nationally certified and licensed mental health counselor, an American Mental Health Counselor Association Diplomat in the Florida Supreme Court, and a certified family and surrogate mediator. Her latest book, 'Healing From Toxic Relationships,' will be released on July 26, 2022.
The Potential for Toxicity in ADHD/Non-ADHD Relationships
People with ADHD are more susceptible to abuse because of low self-esteem, so that they may find themselves highly attracted to an organized non-ADHD person. The flip side of that attraction could result in controlling behavior.
For example, your non-ADHD partner knows you struggle with money, so they tell you they'll manage your entire paycheck, and in return, they'll provide you with an allowance or spending money. It won't take long before you feel like you've lost your freedom and you may be in an abusive relationship.
If this happens, talk to your partner; they may not even realize they're doing it. It could be a behavior they saw in their home growing up, and it feels natural. If you and your partner cannot address the issue, try talking to an objective third party like a therapist, financial planner, or financial coach.
Financial Infidelity in an ADHD household
Financial infidelity is when a partner buys something and either tries to hide or downplay its significance to avoid conflict. Splurging on a big-ticket item occasionally is fine as long as you discuss it with your partner beforehand and devise a plan to save and budget your money to make that purchase.
Not everyone with ADHD finds themselves in toxic relationships. It's vital to constantly communicate with the people in your life so you can focus on the things that are going well and minimize those that aren't.
Executive Functions Affect How We Manage Money
Executive functions are housed in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. They take in information, process it, disseminate it, and organize it, all of which challenge people with ADHD. These functions include forethought, long-term thinking, mood regulation, impulsivity, and changing rule sets.
For example, say you're playing a card game, and somebody suddenly changes the rules. It takes a while to catch up and play with a new set of rules.
It can be tricky for people with ADHD to see too far down the road because we're often just trying to get through our day. We must permit ourselves to look into the future, envision a happy life for ourselves, and determine what we need to make that happen.
Your Financial Timeline
Dr. Sarkis suggests creating your financial timeline. Draw a line on a sheet of paper, then label the significant issues that have happened in your life, both good and bad.
Where you would like to go? How many highs and lows have you had in your timeline? Did you have enough money, or experience there times you felt like you didn't know where your next meal was coming from?
Each point on your timeline shows you where you've been and can help show where you're going.
Resources for Dr. Stephanie Sarkis:
Website and social channels: http://stephaniesarkis.com
Pre-order “Healing from Toxic Relationships”: http://stephaniesarkis.com/toxicrelationships
Helping ADHD'ers unleash their financial potential through planning and coaching.
DeWittCM.com/adhd to book free discovery session