Friday, November 6, 2009

ADHD did NOT end my relationship

It's a constant topic of online discussion "my ADHD ruined my relationship" or "my partner's ADHD is ruining our relationship".

I'm not even going to get into the facets of that debate. I don't doubt that ADHD's less charming manifestations have ended a few relationships and I don't doubt that we ADHDers are real pains in the ass to live with sometimes. However, I'm more interested in the fact that currently, I am just out of a long term relationship and I can say with confidence that ADHD did not end my relationship, nor was it a contributing factor. If anything, it was a catalyst for beginning a journey to a healthier me.

I am compelled to make this statement for all of the ADHDers and partners of ADHDers out there who have gotten used to that handy excuse: knock it off! Individual situations always require individual assessments. If that assessment ends with a diagnosis of ADHD as the culprit, well then, let's call a chair a chair.

I won't go into the personal details of my own recent ex may be in fact reading this post after all (and would agree with me that ADHD was not the devil in this ball of wax). But I will say this...if ADHD had ANYTHING to do with this, it was something like this...

I have always had ADHD. As a result of my particular upbringing and personality and set of ADHD symptoms, I do, in fact suffer from the ADHD malady called "blame one's self first". I blamed myself for a lot in this relationship that I did not deserve to carry the weight of. For a long time. My diagnosis actually helped me to begin to see that fact. To own my own responsibilities and be much clearer about other people's has been a huge gift. The lines between me and other are becoming far more healthfully drawn.

And so was the case here. See? Diagnosis can help you clean a lot of shit out of your closet, that you really needed to let go of. And, I have been really exhausted this year from the experience of really WORKING through the fallout of diagnosis...when you just barely have energy to carry your own stuff that you are working through, it makes the weight of what you shouldn't be carrying seem that much heavier, and eventually you realize that you have to choose to sustain yourself and possibly let other things go...or continue to harm yourself by maintaining fuzzy borders.

The fact of the matter here is that my partner had his own very large closet of old shit to work through. He knows it, I know it, continuing our relationship was only giving him permission to continue to ignore it...and if ADHD played any role, diagnosis propelled me to stop allowing his pile of shit to continue impacting me and HIM in a negative way. ADHD did not do this...but diagnosis gave me some of the awareness that brought me here. Processing my own ADHD issues has helped me begin to learn a new, healthier way of living with myself, AND with others.

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