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How Do I Stop Family Member with ADHD from Being Inconsiderate?

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From an adult woman in the U.S.: I believe someone in my family has ADHD and or some other mental illness. I realized this after several decades of bullying, and irresponsible and reckless behavior, extreme clumsiness and some violence over the years. This person is not willing to get help and I have to live with them for the forseeable future.

The issue that concerns me today is their lack of consideration and empathy when leaving a mess for me to clean up. The messes range from their pet’s urine and feces to dirty dishes, rotting food and things spilled on the floor. This makes life difficult for me as I often find items I had just cleaned soiled after a long day’s work? Despite washing dishes several times a day, I can rarely eat or drink anything without washing some dishes first. They even use dishes right after seeing me wash them and then claim that I never washed any dishes in my life. They can go through 10+ forks in one day and use all the plates in the house. The sink often smells like sewage and the hallway outside their bedroom smells like a public toilet and their bedroom smells like mold. They also go around yelling profanity while tripping over things they left on the floor. This happens about 10-15 times a day.

How do you get someone who appears to have ADHD to be more considerate and to not have verbal tantrums when asked to clean up after themselves and their pets?  Are they capable of realizing that they are directly responsible if they leave something like a shel bracket on the floor and then hurt their feet stepping on it later?

I have some OCD tendencies and stepping on dog poop when leaving my bedroom makes me so stressed that I am unfocused and have difficulty working for the rest of the day. Finding mashed poop in the kitchen makes me feel uncomfortable using the kitchen for a long time. I feel exploited when I spend hours cleaning up after them but the house becomes extremely unhygenic if I clean less or when I get sick and can’t keep up.  Please help. This situation is making my life intolerable.

How Do I Stop Family Member with ADHD from Being Inconsiderate?

Answered by on -


Your letter is an important one because it reminds all of our readers that not everything is a psychological problem. Yes, the family member may have ADHD. But that isn’t your problem. Your problem is that this is a rotten situation.

You can’t change these people. They have no reason to change. As difficult as it is to understand why anyone would want to live this way, they have made it clear they are happy, or at least okay, with it. All they have to do to get constant maid service from you is put up with some complaints from you.

You didn’t give me enough information so I can understand why you think you have to live with these people for the foreseeable future. I hope you will rethink this. You may be so discouraged about your ability to separate from them that you aren’t able to think creatively about what to do. That would not be unusual in a situation like this. You are worn down and worn out by their bullying.

If they are in your home, see a lawyer about how to evict them. If the problem is finances, look into whether you qualify for some public assistance. If you can’t think of any options for yourself, consider making an appointment with a mental health counselor to get some advice and support. If you can’t afford a therapist or a lawyer, look into whether your community has a service that provides that kind of advice. Often Domestic Violence programs can be helpful in matters like this.

Do consider joining a forum here on PsychCentral for some additional support and advice. Click on the “Find Help” tab on the home page.

You need and deserve to live without this constant stress. I hope you can find the energy and motivation to get yourself out of it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How Do I Stop Family Member with ADHD from Being Inconsiderate?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). How Do I Stop Family Member with ADHD from Being Inconsiderate?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 4 Dec 2019 (Originally: 5 Dec 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 4 Dec 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.