Humour as defense

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    • #65704
      toomanytabs
      Participant

      Has anyone else learned to rely on humour as a means of deflecting attention and potential criticism when it comes to ADHD and its foibles? I use it constantly, and in a way I love it as a coping strategy, because I have learned to find humour in all kinds of scenarios and I can usually cheer myself up, not to mention that people tend to like people who can laugh at themselves and make others laugh too. But it’s turned into a bit of a reflex for me – when I am struggling or upset about something to do with ADHD, I find I can’t talk about it without turning it into some kind of joke. Because I learned early on that if I could make someone laugh about my forgetfulness, my messiness or my clumsiness, they would be more accepting and less likely to be angry with me. But there are times when I really wish I could just tell people what I’m experiencing without minimizing it into a cartoon version. For instance, when I leave my headlights on and roadside assistance won’t cover any more boosts (because they only cover three a year) it would be nice to be able to tell someone that I’m frustrated and angry with myself and get some support instead of them just laughing about it because I’ve turned it into a funny story for them. Today I fell at work while walking (I’m about 99% sure I have dyspraxia too, because I stumble and fall and drop things all the dang time), so I had to go to my manager and explain that I fell over while walking, and then fill out an accident report explaining that I fell over while walking – and agood laugh was had by all, except I sprained my ankle and hurt my arm and I could’ve used a bit of empathy and concern if I only knew how to ask for it.
      Does anyone else have this habit, or been successful on breaking it?

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by toomanytabs.
    • #65797
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      You’re certainly not the only adult with ADHD to use humor as a coping mechanism. Here’s another:

      Oh, No, Did I Really Just Say That?!

      And I think it’s human nature in general, really.

      As for how to stop doing it, I don’t have answers for that.

      Penny
      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #65836
      wellness4me2day
      Participant

      I knew we would eventually find each other! You must be my long lost twin. They say that twins have similar character traits (well I think it’s more like they have 2 distinct personalities ). You must be one of my many twins. Seriously though, I know we aren’t alone in what we do and how we function. The only reason I know this is because I am 50 now and I have learned how to sparkle with humour as well. I like to lighten the mood and deflect attention so I don’t have to explain why what happened, happened. It’s been a long walk on a gravel road in high heels. All through my life from a very young age I have had little stumbles and bigger stumbles. One of my most award winning ones was when I was 23 running after my
      my husband of 28 years I missed the downgrade on the sidewalk and broke my ankle. My children always said when we were walking anywhere together I walked crooked. It’s like I would show my natural herding instinct and move them over. Yes it was funny, but it was embarrassing. My children have come to learn by experience that ADHD is very real and their mom has been blessed by it. My children now 23 and 25 know that they have had a mom who was consistent in only one thing, being fun and humorous. Often at the most inappropriate times. Ever joke and laugh when someone hurts themselves ? Yep. Well when I hurt myself because of my off kilter brain it isn’t funny at all. It can be humiliating and painful. I have shed many tears over my lifetime at my clumsiness. This summer I had a friend over and I was just standing there and almost fell over. She said can’t you stand up straight have you been drinking ? I said of course it’s 10 am and happy hour. I was just off balance like I had been thousands of times in my life. A few days later I fell in the pool just waking by in the dark. Lucky my husband was there and made sure I didn’t drown. I was bruised and sore after that I never leave comments on blogs or forums. I get an inkling to and then my goldfish attention span wins out and I’m off after the next bright and shiny thing that catches my attention. My son calls me a magpie because I love bright and shiny things, like glitter and tin foil. I took the time to share my experience with you because I know what you’re feeling. It’s not a pleasant feeling but know this, you aren’t alone. I know we aren’t alone either. So much for originality, sheesh.
      Keep smiling toomanytabs – I would say keep your chin up but we both know that’s not a good idea since we might trip over what’s not there. 🙂

    • #65952
      joanabessarf
      Participant

      hy
      I do that to. and I also loose my balance in the strangest situations, and once (or twice… or…) got distracted and ended up going head first into a street lamp (not funny) but of course I made a joke out of it.
      I also do it with my son who is also prone no the same things… I use humor to ease the situation to him, help him deal with things (but I never forget to make him feel I do understand his frustration)
      I dont know how to break the habit nor do I know if I really want to do it… it comes in handy to just get over things and avoid awkward explanations. But I understand the comment about needing to share the frustration. I cary the cables in the car to jump start it when I forget the lights on. I’m now an expert at asking perfect strangers help to do it, to tired of calling to the garage owner to go save me and listening to the same tired jokes (and saying them to).

    • #65966
      MEC1225
      Participant

      I know exactly what you mean about using humor to soften the embarrassment I feel about constantly being late, messy, a procrastinator, etc. And there was always that underlying ache to scream, “This really isn’t funny! I don’t know how to stop being this way!” I’ve been doing the comedy bit for years and my husband recently pointed it out to me and said, “You’re always so self deprecating when you talk about yourself.” He pointed out the fact that whenever he himself calls me out on my messiness, lateness, etc., I tell him, “You know what my issues are and I’m doing the best that I can.” And he patiently continues to accept that, as long as I really am doing my best. He said if I can own my ADD with him, I should be able to own with others. I don’t necessarily have to explain the whole diagnosis to people. I can just offer an apology for my lateness and admit I have some difficulty in that area and that I’m always trying to do better. Period. No comedy needed. So I have been trying that and it really does make me feel better about myself. Of course when I’m seriously flustered, I fall back into making fun of myself, but it’s a work in progress. It hurt my heart to read that you felt you couldn’t get empathy for spraining your ankle, but I understand where you’re coming from. You deserve to be able to get sympathy rather than laughs if you fall and hurt yourself! Good luck to you, toomanytabs!

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