How to get along with your ADHD loved one.
“Day to day it is quite simple, although by no means an exact science, But as a place to start to understand each other, just look at your opposites. What works for the non-ADHD spouse is probably the opposite for the ADHD sufferer. And what works for us would be all kinds of messy for those without the disorder. Just imagine the ‘worst’ thing you could do – the other person might need that.
And that is OK You stop your caffeine at lunch, I’ll have a strong coffee as a night-cap. You file neatly, I’ll create ‘nests’ of what you call clutter that are useful, and when their purpose is served they will irritate the hell out of me and disappear. You make complex, multi-step meals and I will whip up something at the last-minute to avoid takeaway.
This really can work VERY WELL in partnership, but you must have two people willing to accept opposites and embrace the way strengths and weaknesses can be so beautifully, EVENLY, paired,”
Don’t treat me like I’m not as smart as you just because I can’t show you with ease the way my intelligence works. Remember sometimes I do, and how impressed you’re capable of being by me. Because THAT is how smart I am.
To equals – couples, siblings, friends – even parents once the dynamic changes and your child is an adult:
AVOID THE PARENT TRAP: The person with ADHD will just push back, rebel, and fall into a flailing panic of negativity, fatalism, and failure. The result is that they probably end up feeling lonely, misunderstood and angry, and that makes no sense to you. The person without ADHD will feel confused, worthless and clueless how to fix things and see (and often say) that the ADHD sufferer is ‘irrational’, ‘overreacting’ and ‘sensitive’ or judge the issue as far too insignificant to emotionally respond to. They will probably just end up frustrated, let down and often find themselves being far more judgmental than they truly want to be.
Non ADHD person – do whatever you can to remember point one – avoid the parent trap – all the time, and resist the urge to parent – and judge – something you don’t understand/doesn’t make sense to you at that moment (ask, support instead and it WILL MAKE SENSE), in an EQUAL!! In ANY WAY. While it may LOOK like the obvious solution to YOU, to us its like a physical attack – it’s making us worse, an instant link to punishments, mockery, low self-value, perfectionism, a constant sense of failure and incapability to do anything.
In short it makes us feel like SHIT about ourselves faster than you can say ‘I don’t know why you’re so upset’ which is ONLY making us resent the hell out of you.
More likely than not we were ‘in trouble’, ‘naughty’, difficult and every other negative attribute you can come up with. It isn’t a good place to take us back to, and we WILL fight tooth and nail not to, or against anyone – however unwittingly – is taking us.
If we find something that works, DO NOT MOCK US – please. Just be glad something – anything – is helping. Even if it makes no sense how to you. Remember always for everything that seems ‘wrong’, ‘silly’, ‘nonsense’, ‘ridiculous’ or just plain ‘weird’ to you – there is 100% something you do/say/have (etc.) that is EXACTLY AS RIDICULOUS TO US.
Opposites. We’re feeling the same things about each other from opposite sides of the fence, my friends. I’m as frustrated at you as you are at me. I’m as amazed by you as you are of me. I’m as ready to boss you around as you are me – we’re on the SAME rollercoaster. We should be able to make this work MUCH easier if we can at least admit a few basic truths.
1. Neither of us is more or less rational/irrational than the other.
2. Not understanding something is WHY things don’t make sense. It is not because that thing is actual nonsense.
3. Unless you grew up as ME born in the year of MY birth to MY parents, with MY siblings, friends, fears, hopes, punishments, prizes – MY LIFE exactly as I have had it – you CANNOT say what is or is not acceptable for ME to be feeling. It is not your place to judge – because you’re taking your DIFFERENT life and saying within your own experience ‘x is not an acceptable response’. Meanwhile, just as often you have a ‘x response’ to something I don’t even register. It is NOT my place to tell you not to have that feeling, because I do not.
The only person capable of telling you, me or ANY other person what is and isn’t acceptable in any moment of their life, is their doppelgänger. I’m a unique mix of biology, psychology, physiology and socialisation. SO you are. Which mean we each have our own unique experience, and this is what we use to decide our ethics, morals, feelings, beliefs – who we are. If we all thought CC’s were better than Doritos’, Doritos wouldn’t exist.
But they do, and you all know what they are. Plenty of people prefer the opposite. Why? Because of their taste buds, their childhood, their favourite relative who ate a particular brand, their worst enemy who ate a particular brand. Like the corn chips, we’ll all feel something on a scale from nothing to extreme in every moment of every day, from every experience we have – and it’s going to depend solely on what we’ve done before then. NOT what Joe Blow down the road did before then. That is why we are different, that is how we are who we are, what we are – and this is why no one ever has the right to judge the feelings or the rationality of how intense they are in another person. Especially when their only yardstick, the only ‘proof’ their judgment is correct, is their own experience of a moment. 100 people may have 100 reactions – none are wrong and all WILL MAKE SENSE – once you take the time to get the information – that is life.
No one deserves being judged wrong simply for responding to something based on the only experience and reality they know just because it is different than that of the judge.