I can relate to relationships …

30 08 2010

It was the best of times, it was … well you know this stuff, right?

Relationships are tricky at the best of times. When two people try to interact, they often start out feeling like they know each other completely. This false sense of intimate knowledge can be carried on for quite a while as they make use of transference and denial to maintain a friendship that makes them feel a warm and positive bond.

After a while, little surprises start to add up. They accumulate and sometimes the bond created suddenly snaps or wans gradually with this accumulation of realizations.

So, how do we avoid this loss of a friendship, sudden or otherwise? The answer may be “be prepared”. You may be able to avoid the sudden “epiphany” that causes you to drop out of a relationship if you’re forewarned. The gradual discovery of incompatibilities may just mean that you are incompatible, but being prepared may mean that your friendship can survive even that.

If they were an acceptable friend when you knew less about them, differences should make the tapestry of friendship richer. If what you’ve found out about your friend is more than you’re willing to accept than you’re going to have to end that relationship, but think it through first. Is what you’ve discovered really a deal breaker?

You knew it was coming …

For those of us with ADHD there is a special problem, many of us can be volatile and moody. Our moods can swing wildly and seemingly without warning. This explosiveness coupled with inappropriate observations and comments can put us in a group that can possibly boast thousands of friends, but few that are current or close. I tend to avoid friendships so that I can avoid the inevitable discovery by the friend that I am not frat-house or clique material.

Go big or go home

Also, some of us are “all in” when we enter into a new friendship. I’m guilty of this, and it’s a situation that can be too intense for others, even some other ADHD-ers. This is another reason I like to avoid friendships. Admittedly, sometimes I will meet someone with whom I can’t avoid a friendship, someone who makes me realize that friendship is not an option, it’s actually a requirement. It’s the rich and fertile soil that our souls need to grow. Those friendships are few and far between, but thankfully, they do happen.

As to mood swings, I think I internalize mine. Those who know me see through me and know when I’m exploding, inside or out. But, that group is small.

Whiplash!

When my moods swing, they swing back fast. The non-ADHD-ers around me can drag out their “moods” for a long time. I don’t know very many ADHD-ers well, but those I do know pop back to equilibrium like a cork that’s held under water and then suddenly let go. I don’t know if all ADHD-ers are like that. I assume not. We are not a collection of similar people. We are a group of people who share a spectrum of symptoms to varying degrees. I’ve often wondered if our quickly changing focus accounts for some of us having quickly changing moods? Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

Not optional

In the final analysis, friendship is a must for everyone. Non-ADHD-ers thrive on it. Those of us with ADHD also need it. We all need to learn to socialize and we can’t do that without feedback from good friends. If your friends are really friends, they will help you, telling you when something is unacceptable, then waiting for you to assimilate this information.

I can’t tolerate intolerance!

If your friend tells you it’s over because they can’t tolerate some thing and won’t give you the opportunity to fix or explain, let them go … true friends will tell you they have a problem and then hold you at arms length while you work through it, possibly with their help. The resulting relationship will be closer than your friendship was before, stronger, more fulfilling.

“Did I pass?”

Real friendship needs to be tested, but real friends won’t test you on purpose, so don’t test your friends. If you have ADHD their tests will come from your friendship, and so will yours.

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2 responses

30 08 2010
Zoe

Great post, uh, Taylor, full of wise observation. Your observations about ADHD mood swings, I think, are quite valid, and a lot of us do have them, that’s for sure. I think you’re on to something when you wonder if an ADHDer’s moods change, in part, because our focus changes so much. I’m sure that, and poor working memory, both contribute to our mood changes. For example, it’s hard for me to stay angry at someone (unless they’ve REALLY transgressed very extremely), and many times my friends have said, “I can’t believe you’re not still angry” – about something I’ve TOTALLY FORGOTTEN about!

I enjoyed the poetry of your writing, too. Loved the metaphor of a cork under water popping back up, etc. Fantastic!

As for friendship, as far as I’m concerned, you more than pass the test – I’d give you an A+ !

Thanks for the great post.
Zoë
Blogger, ADHD from A to Zoë, PsychCentral.com

30 08 2010
taooftaylor

Thanks so much for the validation, the response to my need for info about the effect of focus (lack there of) on mood swings and for the grade, you pass too, with flying colours and a really great soundtrack in the background! ~ Taylor

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