“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”
It’s a harsh reality in the ADHD world, but let’s face it and put it right out there in the open: insecurities are not attractive, not sexy and in no way come across as positive statements in attracting a loving, caring partner.
It’s a glaring hindrance to fulfilling relationships for many people with ADHD, especially for undiagnosed or untreated ADDers and that is “insecurity”. Insecurities come across in many ways and most of those ways are ‘in disguise’!
Here are a few of them:
- Acting funny (when the situation doesn’t call for it)
- Distancing (not calling, staying away or just being quiet)
- Empty Promises
None of these things are attractive.
All are counterproductive which can ruin what could otherwise be good, lasting relationships.
If these things are counterproductive, then why do we do them? It’s quite simple actually; these are natural, protective survival skills that for one reason or another we subconsciously think work. These survival skills have resulted from compensating for the symptoms of ADHD. What’s worse is that many non-ADD partner’s blame themselves for the behavior of their ADHD partner and therefore, do not realize that these tendencies would, and probably have, happened even if they had been with someone else. It’s not about the non-ADD partner; it’s about the ADDer and his or her insecurities.
Non-ADDers beat themselves up trying to figure out how to understand and appreciate their ADDer. Why does he or she do this or that? – how can I maintain? – how can I carry some of the load? –how can I help? etc… etc… The answer, I have found and experienced, is a rather uncompromising one: Unless the ADDer resolves his or her insecurities and comes to realize that they are unhelpful and unwarranted, then the situation isn’t going to change too dramatically. It’s even worse if the ADDer is in denial, then you might as well run now – right? But, no, you can change him or her… right?
I have never understood this odd need to ‘change’ people. You can’t, you won’t and you never will ‘change’ anyone. I have said this before: people improve and they can modify their behavior, but no one changes who they are, or someone else for that matter, and BESIDES, aside from the insecurities, which are often founded in our behavior for very good reasons, we are not ‘bad’ people. ADHD does not equal bad, but I digress.
So here’s the point: Those of us with ADHD who also suffer from insecurities (most of us do) will find it extremely difficult to find fulfilling, life-long relationships. It is important to learn coping skills for improving distraction, accomplishing tasks and making it to appointments on time, but it is also just as important to work on one’s self-esteem. One of the most important aspects to becoming attractive and appreciated is to feel good about one’s self and not allow insecurities to ruin what could be…
The great majority of non-ADD partners I have talked with want to help their ADHD partner, but are unsure of how. The thing is, there is no perfect suggestion or tip for a non-ADD partner especially if the ADDer does not realize that their protective survival skills, which may have been necessary at one time or another, could be sabotaging their opportunity for something wonderful. People with ADHD are not impossible to live with or destined to never have a lifelong fulfilling relationship. Neither are they necessarily doomed to a life of unhappiness. However, for many of us, even us ADDers, it is nearly impossible to find long-term happiness with someone who is excessively insecure. At least, not as insecure as I once was.
ADHD plays havoc with us and the ones we love if untreated and some learn to counter their symptoms quite well, even without professional treatment. However, insecurities which have developed due to our symptoms for various reasons (chastisement, punishment, failing and many others) should be equally treated. Of course, I am not a doctor or a therapist, so my suggestion is if you have learned to cope very well with your ADHD mind, or, are on that road, consider all the ways you have learned to cope and the self-protection mechanisms you have created to get by and survive, or (and this was important for me) mechanisms that help you feel better about yourself, even in the eye of the storm of mistakes and supposed incompetence, then talk them over with your trusted doctor or therapist. It helps to have a guide to see clearly what once may have been helpful may have grown into something else.
My struggles, as a boy, as a teen and as an adult have been as much about overcoming deep seated beliefs about myself due to my behavior, as they have been about learning to cope with ADHD, even when I didn’t know what ADHD was! That’s a mouthful, even for me. For me there was an additional issue at play, and perhaps others have experienced this too: It’s comforting, in a way, to know I have ADHD and sometimes it gets rather easy to blame my ADHD mind, but sometimes it’s not the ADHD, it’s my insecurities, which are a result of, but are not, ADHD! – it’s not always easy to separate the two, but only when I learned to do that, which took therapy, was I able to turn the long corner and become a more positive, creative, healthy minded and constructive person.