Are the signs of Adult ADHD part of your holiday celebrations?
Just like the holidays songs before Thanksgiving at the mall, and the crush at the Post Office, I think that one of the biggest complaints that I get from non-ADDr’s is how incredibly “selfish, egotistical or narcissistic” their ADD loved one’s behavior appears to be during the holidays.
This is Part Two of a blog that will provide some insights and suggestions for reframing your thoughts with your new, clearly polished ADD/ADHD lens. In Part One I wrote about situations that included getting more help from your spouse in preparing for a celebration, getting your partner more involved during the celebration, and keeping the lid on a conversation dominatrix.
Here are three (3) more situations that could plague your holiday celebrations and ideas for heading them off at the pass.
But first, review the steps you need to take to make it possible:
- Rather than waiting to sweep up the emotional pieces after yet another holiday disaster, take the time now to rewrite the script for this year.
- Visualize how your family gatherings have played out in the past. Be sure to include the predictable behaviors and responses from everyone.
- Aim to sidestep some of the typical landmines, but with love, patience and understanding.
My brother frequently repeats his stories, interrupting others mid conversation.
Insight: Wanting to appear socially “normal” they jump into conversations because they miss the social cues, and want to participate “right now.” They’ve forgotten what they’ve said before (it popped into their head NOW).
- Recognize that the behavior isn’t intentional and again,
- Try to unhook them from the conversation by requesting help in another room.
My dad doesn’t understand and gets angry if his opinions are challenged or he feels disrespected.
Insight: The combination of a stressful situation and ADHD emotional over-alertness may dredge up old feelings of hurt and shame from another time. Being “in the moment” curtails their ability to regulate their emotions appropriately leading to a blow up.
- As the personal observer for the ADD loved one, use the experience you have to anticipate the tipping points for the individual.
- Try to redirect your family member before it’s too late;
- Introduce another topic, ask for help in another room, or excuse yourself if you know that you’ll get the brunt of it.
My husband gifts are thoughtless with little personal connection to the receiver. His gifts are last minute re-gifting, duplicates or gifts that he would like himself.
Insight: Searching for answers to their behaviors, and the reactions of others, Adults with ADD can spend a lot of time thinking about themselves. Couple that with weak planning skills and a distorted sense of insight into others needs and it’s no wonder the gifts miss their mark.
- If you’re tired of being disappointed and angry with your husband’s efforts, take him shopping
- Point out 2-3 gifts that would mean something coming from him.
- Take pictures and email/text him as reminders.
Really, he wants to make you happy, but there are too many roadblocks getting in his way.
Remember, by recognizing and challenging the presumed spirit behind these behaviors ahead of time, you can minimize the fallout and help your ADD loved one to feel accepted and stop the cycle of shame that they feel, while letting yourself enjoy the season.