Dealing with family can sometimes be difficult, ADHD or not.
And if you do happen to have ADHD, family relationships can get complicated.
You may have one parent – the one you got your ADHD from – who understands you. But it’s just as likely that they never realized that they had ADHD, and so they see your ADHD symptoms as “screwing up” just like they did.
And of course the rest of the family – the non ADHD ones – just plain don’t get you.
You’re lazy. You don’t try hard enough. You goof off instead of doing what you’re supposed to. You’re immature and irresponsible. And you take too much work and attention.
Sometimes marriages between an ADHD person and one who does not have ADHD don’t work. The non ADHD spouse just can’t deal with their spouse’s symptoms and behaviors.
And if dad happens to be the one with ADHD and mom is the one with primary custody of the kids, things can get even worse for the child with ADHD.
Mom may recognize many of the same traits in that child that she saw (and hated) in her former spouse. That can make unconditional love hard, and sometimes, no matter how hard she tries to hide it, the child can sense her true feelings.
And it’s not just the immediate family.
The holidays are coming up and they are all about family get togethers.
Those of us with ADHD often have social anxiety, especially around people we don’t know very well (that can include family) and around people we feel are judging us.
If you happen to have a great big extended loving family, consider yourself lucky. Some of us have families that talk behind our backs and gossip.
So how do you deal with all of this?
It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick, but you can do it.
If you’ve got a parent or siblings who judge you based on your ADHD, learn to forgive them and then let it go. You can’t change them no matter how hard you try.
All you can do is change yourself.
Recognize that you have limitations, things that are a challenge for you. So does everybody else.
Learn to find ways to manage those challenges as best you can, and then focus on your strong points. You have a lot of them, you know.
Find ways to build up your self confidence and love who you are. (Hint: the things that you say and think about yourself should always be positive.)
Surround yourself with people who like you just the way you are. If you have to, limit your contact with family members who are not on your side, no matter who they are.
Realize that some people need to tear down others in order to build themselves up.
Above all, ask yourself: are these things they say about me really true?
I bet they aren’t.
Do some journaling about it. Learn to see who you really are and don’t believe anyone who says you are anything less.