My Fellow Distractoids,
In the previous blog post, I talked about 3 Signs You Need Support for ADHD. Today, I want to share with you 3 Signs of ADHD Damage in Relationships.
The divorce rate for people with ADHD is double than for non-ADHDers. That’s almost too much misery and failure to fathom. And it doesn’t have to be that way. (Another time I will talk about healing the damage.) If you are experiencing any of these three factors in your relationship, it’s time to consider getting help:
- The relationship is unbalanced in terms of overall responsibility. The ultimate example of this is when the non-ADHD partner complains they feel “like they have another kid in the house.” If your relationship has a parent-child aspect, it’s time to call for support. This kind of imbalance (in planning, child-rearing, chores etc.) is a relationship killer.
- Entrenched reactive/triggering behavior: If you and your loved one have fallen into patterns where you easily and constantly trigger anger and reactivity in one-another, better call a time-out and reassess the fundamentals of the situation. To constantly be in a state of reactive anger is highly unpleasant and unlikely to resolve itself.
- Avoidance/Retreat: Do you often feel the need to remove yourself from your significant other or spouse and engage in behaviors like “hiding” in the office or basement in order to relax? Does it feel like your spouse is frequently pursuing you and that you are in retreat? This is a third sign that your relationship is going in the wrong direction and needs a reset.
The good news is that these and other relationship issues result from having two different kinds of brains in the house, which causes a great deal of miscommunication and lack of understanding.
Through education and coaching, it’s very possible to improve communication and understanding and, thereby, heal the damage. But, in my experience, these problems rarely fix themselves, so support is in order. The stakes are high and consequences are major, so don’t wait to act.
Until next time, good luck!
My Fellow Distractoids,
October is ADHD Awareness Month, so I’d like to make you aware of something: I recently launched a new web site, which looks and works much better than the original version. The address remains ADHDTraction.com. Check it out.
Speaking of awareness, when should a person be aware that they need to get support to cope better with their ADHD? Here are three indicators it might be time to incorporate coaching:
- Frequent/Heavy Payment of the “ADHD Tax”: The so-called “ADHD Tax” is money we unnecessarily pay for ADHD-related costs of living such as late fees, parking tickets, high interest payments on credit card debt, and so on. If you find yourself frequently paying the ADHD Tax, it might be time to up your ADHD game.
2. Living in Chronic Overwhelm: Do you find normal life overwhelming, and suffer from high levels of anxiety, frustration, and exhaustion as a result? If you are overwhelmed even in the absence of any unusually stressful factors, it’s probably time to figure out how to deal better with your ADHD. Living in a state of overwhelm is unpleasant, unhealthy, and unsustainable.
3. Feeling “stuck” in life: If you feel stuck in life, like you are spinning your wheels, and can’t get yourself motivated to move forward, or feel at a loss as to how to get out of it, chances are you could use some support in getting traction.
ADHD Traction is Here for You
That’s what “ADHD Traction” is all about. Feelings of being stuck, of wasting time and potential come with a lot of anxiety, negative self-judgment, shame, and depression. You deserve a life that’s better than that!
Yes, there are other indicators that ADHD support is in order, but these are three of the biggest impediments and the most common. The good news is that, with the right support, chances are you can learn to manage your ADHD and move to a higher plane. If you are ready, I am available to help. Call or text me at 323-893-4922 to schedule a FREE consultation.
I’m rooting for you!
My fellow Distractoids —
Are you down on yourself? Are you constantly telling yourself what an ugly, horrible, no-good person you are? What about rejection? Does rejection (and perhaps perceived rejection) throw you for a loop? Do you stay in your comfort zone to avoid situations where you might be rejected? Do you try to avoid rejection by ingratiating yourself with others, people-pleasing, and sacrificing more than your fair share? If so, you are not alone. ADDers on average are highly sensitive to rejection, overly sensitive, sometimes to the point of Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria. Let’s take a closer look.
Distractoids are full of unexamined negative self-talk, negative self-judgment, and shame. Fear and negativity are like invisible bars that hold them in place. Masters of Distraction, on the other hand, have learned how to practice positive self-regard no matter what, to deploy courage in the presence of fear, and to see the world’s feedback simply as valuable information that points to a next step forward. What’s their secret sauce that makes such a difference in life?
Here’s the good news: the change is your choice. It’s up to me to determine how I see myself — or rather my Self. Behind all the ever-shifting thoughts and emotions that come and go, behind the choices I’ve made and consequences I’ve suffered or rewards I’ve enjoyed, and behind all the things that have happened or been done to me, there is the Self. The Self enters and leaves this world as it is — wise, loving, worthy of love, and free from judgment of any kind. The value and goodness of the Self, which is the Real Me, is not contingent on anything: the value of the Self is inherent, and does not depend on what I have or have not done or won or achieved. It is what It is, and It is good.
How do I know this is true? It doesn’t matter for our purposes today. That’s a different conversation and debate. For now, all I ask you to accept is that we know the value of a thing by its fruits — that what produces good results is good. If I adopt the unshakable belief that, behind the ever-changing surface features of life, that I am fundamentally good, loving, and deserving of love — that my essence is good, loving, and deserving of love — then I will be invulnerable to the poison of negative Self-judgment, shame, and fear of rejection. If I reject no part of myself — my Self, nobody can make me suffer the pain of rejection. It’s all in my hands. How does that affect my behavior? It allows me to live more freely and to become more of the person I am meant to be.
Nobody can make me feel ashamed or rejected without my consent. I remember once when I was just out of film school I wrote a screenplay that I had invested with all the value of my Self-worth. I gave it to someone important to read, hoping they might buy it, and soon heard back they thought it was great. I was elated, to say the least. A huge rush of euphoric emotion flowed through my body like a surge of electricity. But that was a false alarm. A few days later when I heard it wasn’t being bought, I suffered an equally major surge of negativity. Instantly, I was filled with self-loathing and anxiety. I wasn’t myself for weeks and weeks.
But what had really happened? Nothing. I was the same person whether the script was bought or not. That’s not what I told myself, though. And not how I reacted. I told myself I was a superior being and felt on top of the world before I told myself I was worthless and should never write another word of anything ever again. Both things were equally untrue.
This kind of thing happens all the time with clients. If they get the job, or an A on the test, or accepted into the school: elation. If they don’t get the job, or the grade, or the school: despair. The emotions come from attaching one’s Self worth to this or that outcome rather than sticking with who you really are — the fixed, unchanging self or consciousness behind all those results. Instead of looking at a yes or a no as some kind of true judgment of you — validation or rejection — look at yes or no simply as information that says nothing about the real you. Yes you can do this thing or no you will be choosing something different. Information, and that’s it.
But having a big emotional reaction to rejection is not the only flawed way relate to rejection. I’ve had clients who would rarely leave the house because outside those safe confines they might experience the word “no”. I remember many times in my life when I was too afraid to ask for help, take a chance, or put my hat in the ring. I look back and wonder what in the world I was afraid of. I was afraid of activating the harshly negative thoughts in my head, that’s what. I must have seen myself as a fragile, powerless, unworthy — because I was not thinking of the real me, my unchanging, original Self.
Sadly, we take other self-defeating, self-limiting actions to avoid rejection. We become people-pleasers so everyone, we hope, will like us. We sacrifice our needs and desires in relationships in order to please or appease our partners. We cut off parts of ourselves that we judge to be intolerable or unacceptable, rejecting ourselves before we can be rejected. Do any of these behaviors spare us from the pain of rejection? Of course not. They just take us farther away from who we really are.
Okay, you might be thinking that it’s easy to talk about rejection in this way, but not so easy to deal with rejection in real life. I agree, letting go of our ideas and attachments to rejection is often times a process. It’s something we are working on. But even a little shift in the way that we relate to our True Self goes a long way in how we experience “no” when we are hoping for “yes.” The shift allows us to look at and consider what has happened with more perspective and nuance, and that’s a good thing. So good luck in your efforts to consider the words yes and no as information ….
My Fellow Distractoids,
Let me guess. There are certain tasks in your life the doing of which causes a feeling of major mental resistance, physical weakness, deep annoyance, resentment, frustration, anger, and pain. There’s a name for this collection of tasks:
Examples of Kryptonite ADDers have reported: making the bed, loading the dishwasher, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning out the cat-box, flossing one’s teeth, organizing a closet, making small talk, folding laundry, doing detailed clerical work like budgeting and taxes, and on and on.
Distractoids are demoralized and defeated by ADHD Kryptonite. They’ve got no shield, so to speak. So they procrastinate and try to avoid exposing themselves to the Kryptonite’s powerful soul-sucking action. Masters of Distraction, on the other hand, have learned how to handle the Kryptonite in safe and effective ways.
And that turns out to be a pretty big deal. Why? Because a lot of ADHD Kryptonite consists of routine, repetitive tasks — i.e. a big part of life. It turns out that how I’m dealing with Kryptonite reflects how I’m dealing with life, which in turn reflects what kind of handle I have on ADHD.
One way to think about it: dealing with Kryptonite requires mental and physical energy. If I’m taking care of myself overall — eating well, sleeping well, getting plenty of exercise, keeping other sources of energy depletion under control, staying out of chronic overwhelm — the Kryptonite is more manageable. Ergo life is more manageable. If I’m not taking care of myself, the Kryptonite is overpowering. Ergo I am overwhelmed and maybe even defeated by life. Distractoids operate with a deficit of mental and physical energy whereas MODS have more to give.
Another factor that can greatly improve one’s ability to deal with Kryptonite is medication. That might not be a solution for everybody, but for many medication can be life-changing; and one of the reasons is the way it greatly lowers resistance to Kryptonic routine tasks. I’ll talk about why that’s the case another time…
In addition to overall self-care and medication, there are some other useful strategies for facing the mighty “K” and making Kryptonic tasks more palatable. I will give some examples, with one caveat. As with many things ADHD, “tips and tricks” are highly individual. Therefore an important part of being a MOD is learning how to come up with individual solutions. That said, here are some ideas you might want to consider:
— Create less Kryptonite. An example, immediately wash and dry any glass or dish that can be taken care of in a matter of seconds, so far fewer dishes ever pile up.
— Play music or listen to a podcast to shift you into a more energetic, positive mood.
— Share tasks or get a “body double”, which just means having another person present to be with you when you do your thing.
— When possible, choose times of the day and week when you are freshest and most energetic to get your stuff done.
— When possible, reduce resistance by making the task easier to do: for instance, by removing any impediments or reducing the number of “steps” it takes to do. One example, I used to have a top sheet, blanket, and multiple pillows on my bed. Now, I sleep under one light comforter with just a couple of pillows. That may not seem like a big difference, but for me it’s the difference in doing or not doing — all the difference in the world.
— Delegate or get support for the things you find most depleting and hardest to face.
— Use grit to take the first step, which often times is the hardest. I try and reserve grit, willpower, determination etc. for when there is no other alternative, because I find that kind of mental heavy-lifting to be a finite resource. But there’s no getting away from this pesky truism: You can’t spell integrity without “grit.”
As always, good luck in your efforts to minimize the way ADHD Kryptonite drags on life and sucks away energy. The better you get at dealing with Kryptonite, the better off you will be.
My Fellow Distractoids,
Studies show that coaching is very effective in helping people with ADHD minimize the harmful effects of the condition. For instance, a recent ADDitude Magazine study showed that it was the most effective treatment besides exercise: i.e. more effective than medication, therapy, neural feedback, etc. In fact, I consider anyone who has not at least tried medication and received coaching from a trained professional very likely to be seriously under-treated.
So what are some of the biggest benefits of ADHD Coaching?
- Education: A good ADHD coach can look at your life through “an ADHD lens” and help you understand all the ways ADHD is playing out in your life. It’s hard, maybe even impossible, to make positive change if you don’t understand the nature of the problem.
- Accountability: Whether it’s a weekly coaching session or a quick text, coaching provides structure and a place to be accountable. In essence, it is a form of “external motivation” many of us need to get and stay on track.
- ADHD-Friendly Solutions to Common Problems: A coach can help you identify and implement practical systems, habits, behaviors, methods of support etc. designed to help with various symptoms and impairments of ADD.
- Feedback On Your Diagnosis and Medication: Coaching can help you through the often daunting process of getting a proper diagnosis and deciding how to handle issues of medication.
- Making Plans, Pursuing Goals, and Getting Stuff Done: Making smart goals, motivation, procrastination, prioritizing tasks, following through, getting distracted, wasting time, and on and on: these are all issues for ADDers. Coaching provides a framework to pursue and achieve what otherwise might take more time or even never get done.
- Improve Relationships: All too often ADHD is a relationship killer. Mitigating the harmful effects of ADD on relationships is one of the most beneficial functions a coach can perform.