Sunday, December 6, 2009

Foul Moods and One Sided Conversations

Yes, yes, two topics dear to many ADHDers hearts. As we ADHDers are prone to intense emotions, man of us are prone to a dark and consuming anger, when frustration visits. That would be me, right now. I just feel awful. I just had another experience with a family member who wants to have one-sided conversations about what THEY think my mental health issues are, which then makes me want to distance myself from them just a little, which then prompts them to start speculating wildly about my mental health in inappropriate ways, which then inspires me to feel that I have to engage them on the topic, which then leads to another one-sided conversation where they're the only one allowed to have a valuable opinion about MY mental health, and the cycle starts all over again. And I'm well into the next stage because I really, really don't want to talk to them anytime soon right now.

This behavior on their part is totally, 100% inappropriate. I spend most of the hours of my week being a smart, educated, conscientious, community-involved, competent adult, who really works to take care to hear what the people are me are saying. I feel that my willingness to be "available" to discuss my mental health issues is being abused...but then again, I keep engaging the cycle...right? I just don't know how to not engage it. I really don't want to talk to them...but then I see that they seem to have genuine concern, and I feel it's "right" to address it, and ask them about what they're concerned about, and try to have an honest conversation, you know, the kind you have to pay therapists to learn how to have?

I am angry, disrupted, resentful, and seriously, right this moment, considering estranging myself from parts of my family because this is the 800th time this had happened. We are able to choose to sever ties with toxic partners...but it's harder to feel that the severance of family ties is possible, even though they are equally toxic. When I am feeling like this, it feels so very possible.

My therapist says it's great to try to stick these situations out because I can learn to work through this crap and then maybe learn to stop picking partners for myself who also undeservedly question my competence on a foundational level. But you know what? I'm so sick, literally, of being treated like this. And I'm sick of the fact that no matter how skillfully I learn to attempt the honest approach or deflect when it's not working I am TIRED. I am tired of negotiating in good faith when first of all I am not even obligated to negotiate and second, that good faith is not being returned.

If I'm sick of having the conversation, I need to simply stop having it. Abandon the cycle in the middle. I think this is the first time in my life where honesty has been a bad thing. My candor and willingness to discuss, accidentally becomes a tool everytime I open my mouth to try to fix the problem. There is nothing to be fixed here that is within my responsibility to address.

There is also no foul mood to apologize for...oh there IS a foul mood, just none to apologize for.


  1. A perplexing situation indeed and one that no doubt many adults with ADHD encounter. Thanks for bringing it to light.

    And good luck sorting it out.


  2. Hello, I found your blog on ADHD MAGAZINE.
    I am an adult with ADD, and I also blog about it. But yours seems alot more organized than mine. Maybe I need to work more at it.Keep writing. This post seems like it describes my relationship with my family very well. I think so anyway.

    My Blog:

  3. Mike, I look forward to checking out your blog, thank you for sharing. In order to learn to be more effective, we adult ADHDers are constantly charged with the task of identifying out strengths and figuring out how to best apply them to make life seem a little we can spend less time on tasks and situations that are more frustrating. For me, writing is a strength. It's also a stress release. When writing for my blog I don't have to worry about if I'm rambling on too much, if I'm boring someone, if I'm overstaying my conversational welcome and monologuing... And from a young age, I received a lot of training and practice in the realm of writing. Many of my friends are gifted writers and when we were young, I remember that it seemed each of them had a particular type of writing that really suited their talents, and even though I was a good writer, I just couldn't seem to find mine. Until I discovered playwriting as a young(er) adult. Dialogue is my medium...and in a way, when you're writing a blog, even if you're the only one reading it, it's a bit of a dialogue. Keep writing! My organizational abilities when writing are definitely the product of practice...I can tell when I look at samples of my writing from childhood, before the rigors of practice fully took root. And it's your blog...organize it however you want...or not at all! Freedom...blogs give us freedom...

  4. Yes, Gina, I am sure I'm not the only one dealing with this. And I don't mean to imply that familial concern is inappropriate, not at all. I know that we ADHDers all experience different levels of impairment, and may be more impaired in some areas of life than others so sometimes, it can be truly valuable for our loved ones to give us a heads-up when they are concerned about us. What I am expressing frustration with is the TYPE of conversation. I should be an equal partner in conversations about my mental health, period. We all should.

    I do not owe them an explanation, I give it because despite their disrespect towards me, I respect them as a concerned member of my family and I actually do WANT to share dialogue with them about this! That's the part that kills me, I WANT this dialogue, but not on these terms.

    The worst part perhaps? Is that I want to be able to rely on my family members to indeed, let me know when they're concerned about me. And I want to be able to trust that when they give me feedback, it's accurate, and genuinely offered...not offered as an attempt to control or invalidate me. And in this seems I just can't trust the dynamic. If I didn't have other strong people connections in my life, this would be making me feel very alone right now.