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“ADHD Makes It Hard to Forgive Others, But Are We Hardest on Ourselves?”

I should have. I shouldn’t have. I beat myself up with those phrases, blaming myself for so many of my relationship problems, but should I? There I go again.

It’s my experience that adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) are kindhearted and would give the shirt off of their backs to strangers in need. But being so giving has its limits — even in the ADHD world, particularly when it comes to forgiving.

If I have been able to come to terms with my personal history — a convoluted childhood filled with abandonment and disappointment — and living as a disorganized ADD/ADHD adult in a world that rewards being orderly, goal-oriented, and structured, certainly faltering at times, I have not been able to come to terms with the many ways I was wronged by the ex-Boyfriend.

Yes, this is where I repeatedly meet my forgiveness limit, in not being able to pardon the ex-Boyfriend, aka the master manipulator.

Is it because he clearly liked my penthouse apartment more than me? Is it because he used me as a trophy to show off to his family? (The nice Catholic girl in me is shamed by these thoughts, and yet, the word “retribution” is all that comes to mind.)

Or is it because, even now, long after evacuating the emotional roller coaster ride with the ex-Boyfriend, I regret sharing my ADHD diagnosis, a so-called disorder, with him? Is it because I didn’t listen to my intuition?

When I think back on how I fell for the love letters that the ex-Boyfriend wrote and the Norman Rockwell-esque life that he threw before me, I feel like a child.

“I don’t have common sense,” I complained to a close friend. “I am an idealist and a hopeless romantic and, in the end, I allowed myself to be used.”

“He was a great painter, but if you want to see great paintings, go to a museum,” she replied.

I shouldn’t have told him about the ADHD. I shouldn’t have told him about my personal history. I shouldn’t have introduced him to my loved ones.

I should have cut things off sooner. I should have cut things off when there were clear signs that he was Mr. NATO (No Action, Talk Only).

Should have, should have, should have

I should forgive myself. Can I?