DRBSEH, Thank you for sharing your story. I think it’s truly beautiful that you have had tremendous growth in self-awareness! I’m sorry that it has been painful and confusing. I wish you the best in deciding what action to take, if any.
I have been experiencing growing self-awareness also. I’m seeing more and more how I have hurt others and myself in different ways due to my ADHD challenges combined with fear, self-centeredness, ego and other “character defects” (12 step term). Fortunately, I’m also learning to forgive and accept myself. I did the best I could with what I knew and the tools I had.
Ultimately, I’m hopeful that my growing self-awareness will greatly improve my relationships moving forward. I’m grieving the lost time (50 plus years), yet I also feel fortunate to be alive during this era of growing awareness and resources for people with ADHD. My sweet dad (and God knows how many of my ancestors) had undiagnosed ADHD and suffered from shame, self-medication and tremendous relationship and work challenges without understanding why, and I think he just blamed himself.
It also helps me to stay balanced by remembering that with ADHD I have real strengths and gifts that I can share with the world.