Hyperfocusing on people?

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    • #79426

      Background info: 37 years old, not officially diagnosed (yet) but I discovered this site and in many ways it is so me that I am basically convinced this was the missing piece of the puzzle that is my life. So on to my question: Hyper-focusing on people.

      Is this a thing? I feel like sometimes when I am attempting to begin a relationship with someone I am interested in I get, well, almost obsessed. Whether I want to or not I think about them all the time and once I have this focus it seems to really trigger RSD with that person. Am I just imagining this or is this something others have experienced? I think in most areas my ADHD is fairly low impact but this has had major impacts on my love life since I was a kid. I either am not all that interested in the person which results in shallow sexual relationships that are alright until the person gets the vibe that I don’t care as much as them after which they leave. Alternately I end up hyper-focused on them which turns me into a weirdo and I either get hurt or mad or I always convince myself they are not interested based on minutiae that in reality is probably near meaningless and I immediately cut them off completely and disappear.

      I guess my question is; does hyper-focus target people and has anyone found a way to disengage this focus when it is counterproductive?

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 10 months ago by necro0.
    • #79456
      bippety boppety hat

      yep, i get this

    • #79459

      Thank you for the response! It is a bit of a comfort at least to know that I am not alone. Not found a way to flip it off then I suppose? I am thinking perhaps if I can make myself interested in someone else it should sweep all old thoughts out of my head but I am not sure I want to go jumping from person to person in weirdo mode, if that makes sense. Hrm.

    • #79471

      Had same experience. You will find someone who loves you just the way you are. My wife does.

    • #79677

      So it is not just me that this happens to, that is good to know. That said has anyone figured out a way to stop focusing on something or more specifically, someone? I seem to be unable to do so at all even when things are all bad and I do not want to think of this person. Am I just out of luck? Avoid them for as long as it takes? I just have always had such issues focusing on someone who there is no way could develop into a healthy relationship and then not being able to stop. It is incredibly frustrating.

    • #80398

      Hi focusing obsessively on people is about the ADHD mind wandering problem as a whole, fantasising, planning, wanting interest and novelty etc! I remind myself of that when it happens and tell myself to ease off. Regular practice of mindfulness to train the wandering mind has most helped me over the years!
      I hope this helps you. Yes I’m sure it’s common it’s part of the ADHD brain, but we can lessen the effects on life and our reactions by building our mindfulness muscle!! It takes time and practice though, but good on you that you’re aware of the problem!

    • #80399

      This actually sounds more like an anxious-preoccupied attachment style, and not necessarily an ADHD symptom. The ADHD may be making it worse, but according to attachment theory, it stems from having an inconsistent relationship with your parents or caregivers in early childhood. It’s a fascinating subject, and worth reading about.

    • #80401

      One day, spur-of-the-moment, I bought a pet bird to give my mom, sister, and I something to focus on instead of each other. We are all on the Highly Sensitive spectrum and possibly ADD. (I’m the most effected). Having something outside of ourselves/each others’ flaws has saved our little family.
      It isn’t exactly what you are talking about, but having such a major hobby worked to keep my “crush tendencies” at bay. I would get crushes on boys, and later, men. Eventually I figured out that if a person “survived” my crush on them that we had good friend potential.
      Beyond bird #2 (I’d had a parakeet as a pet before my sister was born), I bought #3 to keep #2 company. People found out and we started adopting unwanted birds. Lots of birds. No time for pretend romances for me- I was in love with the “babies”.

    • #80756

      Thanks for the responses everyone, it has given me some comfort at least and some things to pursue. I am looking into the mindfulness thing and have found it incredibly difficult so far but I suppose that is to be expected. Nothing worthwhile is easy as they say. The anxious-preoccupied attachment style is not something I have ever heard of but I will check it out. I do not recall having inconsistencies in my relationships with my parents but then again I would be very young it sounds like and things may have improved later I suppose. My memories of early childhood are extremely poor. I would say I have excellent relationships with my parents who are both still alive and still together so I am not sure if this fits me in particular but I am going to read up on it to find out!

      I do have hobbies that I have used in the past to get my mind off of things like this unfortunately they are loud and my current living situation makes them untenable. I have tried and failed to find suitable replacements but I am thinking of starting some Jiu Jutsu classes and maybe taking some drum lessons away from home to get the noisy physical exertion some where that always helped calm me down in the past. Thanks again everyone, nice to talk to people who get what I am talking about and from similar experience not just from some text book they read somewhere. Literally bringing tears to my eyes thinking about it, I never really realized how lonely and isolating this was for me until now. So yeah, thanks again everyone. Now I just need to figure out some way to find a local professional and start with some kind of treatment. I guess the place to start would be with my insurance company to see what kind of options are available. Ugh. Well, I hope you all have a nice day. Maybe one day I will get around to actually finding some help with this instead of bumbling through another thirty or so years on my own with it.

    • #80964

      Thanks for sharing this problem. I bet it’s really common in adhd but not spoken about so much.
      Yes martial arts based exercise e.g. qi gong can be great for focus and building your confidence in yourself then relationships may feel easier if you feel better about yourself. I’ve been single for a long time and I love it now, have good friends. Flirting can be fun but I feel confident enough now to be single and enjoy my own company, and anything else is a bonus. Mindfulness meditation has really helped with this. Yes I too was diagnosed late in my 40s it was hard looking back on the failed relationships. But I really value myself now, diagnosis has helped with accepting myself at last. Good luck and spend some time building your confidence in yourself as a person first. We deserve it we’ve come through some huge challenges!

    • #81584

      This is so weird you posted this because I swear I was just asking myself the same thing not even three days ago. I recently got dis-engaged (4 months) as I like to call it and also recently diagnosed ADHD. I remember when him and I first met almost 3years ago from the first day we meet we were never apart with in 30 days he proposed and bought me 4000 ring so yeah that’s hyper-focusing hardcore but I remember from past experiences and current ones that I I dreaded dating because I always want the person to like me and so many dudes play mind games of pretending to like you and I hate trying to figure out a guys intentions, I read and analyze everything and it makes and drives me crazy I’d rather not even date because the stress it causes me isn’t worth the pay off. What I’ve been trying to make this better , since as of this past Monday my counselor thinks I need to at least try to date … Anyhow I’ve come to find that if I don’t make assumptions it helps. …meaning I can’t tell someone else how they feel about me, I shouldn’t try to anticipate their every move. sometimes things are just as they are and I have to accept that. With men especially if they like you, you’ll know and you have to have enough self esteem to accept that yes someone can actually like you and just for who you are.
      Before I pretended to elude confidence, but the reality was I never believed anyone would ever love me for who I am because I’m just too different and I got issues. By me realizing yes I got issues but No that doesn’t mean that I’m meant to be alone has helped. Also Me being honest as difficult as it is with the types of people I’ve tried to date. Writing out a list of traits you want and values you want your spouse to have can help as well because when I loose focus I redirect myself to what my ultimate goal is and the values an attitude I need him to have for me to have an successful happy functional relationship. Also I try not to create scenarios in my mind , I try to live in the moment and I don’t set expectations to set myself up for failure, I know it’s easier said than done. But since I’ve tried changing the way I think , it’s helped my reactions and interactions with dating and the whole I want you to like me while I figure out if I like you process go a little smoother. good luck wish me some too I need it lol dating 2018 sucks!

    • #83668
      non-stop thrillz

      I came here to see if others have this problem, so it’s nice to read these responses& know I’m not alone ! I think for me it’s a manifestation of Hyperfocus. Anything or anyone that I get excited about & brings me positive feelings will trigger this feeling…I just want more! And I don’t want to think about anything but fantasies of possible futures. My big problem right now is that I switched from a med that seemed like it turned off emotional reactions for me. I only focused on work and tasks, excluding everything else. But now I’m on a new med which seems better, and along with it comes interest in other people. Well, right now, one other person (who seems too good to be true, of course). Honestly I don’t know him that well, so that’s a situation ripe for me to project all sorts of wishes and dreams on to; I realized that I have been and ~I am~ so lonely. This guy seems SO nice, so cool, so warm and just ~ present~ in the moment, the way so many people just * aren’t *. I’m SO enamored. Plus, omg, this type of thing always gets me: we have mutual interests that spark in depth conversations. THAT’S INSTANT CRUSH for me, just add hot water! But yesterday I was around him and others working on a project, and I realized, oh, duh: “he’s great and friendly with *everyone*. I mean, who wouldn’t love him? He’s not not interested in you, silly, he’s just a nice person, and he probably already has a relationship….blah blah blah…” It all translates to self doubt and self loathing…”why would anyone be attracted to me? Look at my history of failed relationships and ridiculous embarrassing crushes!” Ugh. All of this- ALL of it- is in my head completely! This time, I’m going to keep my cool and just see what happens next. I’m not going to send him stupid texts, I’m not going to confess my love/angst, I’m not going to out myself and tell him to stop being nice to me bc it’s making my unrequited love worse, I’m not going to avoid him& run away without explanation. I’m just going to breathe. Not live in the fantasies. Stay in the present. And write people on this adhd message board, Lolz !(Maybe I should get some birds, OP? Love that story!)

    • #89493

      Right. You are far from alone on this. I haven’t confirmed personally that it’s the ADHD although I am quite the demonstration of such in all avenues. I’ve suspected that this could also be to do with some abandonment issues possibly. Or some sort PTSD from past fragile feelings being ripped away. Either way, any hint at distaste in my methods from a person I’m in awe of (which could very well be imagined on my part using the compiled data collected in hyperfocused obsession) and I’m in fight or flight. It’s so awful feeling, I’ve decided not to date anymore.
      Let me know if you discern a solid work around.
      I’m doing lot’s of yoga. It’s helping with the lot of it.
      It’s not terribly noisy.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Saltypunkrock.
    • #105920

      Something like 82% of those with Adhd have an insecure attatchment style.
      Something to do with early interactions party from differences in kid but also a lot of it dealing with parents as they are products of their up bringing.

      I have had issue moving on as I noticed I have an anxious avoidant or fearful avoidant attatchment style and happen to find myself in a family of 2 narsasiatic parents with narsasiatic sounds.

      Boy was I in a bubble,

      Life makes a whole lot more sense when you connect attatchment to your relationships and also how addicted you are to technology and even how your treatments is working not working.

      Medicine can treat Adhd, it can’t treat attatchment issues which can be truly messed crazy.

      Walls where kicked in, doors kicked down and all sorts of stuff happened inmy house growing up.

      It took me till now to realize it really wasn’t that I was some angry kid, I had the emotional energy that anyone with Adhd has, the odd was learned behavior from having a anxious-resistant attatchment style along with existing in a family that don’t validate you.

      The biological correlate to family love is that of attatchment

      Attatchment is being – soothed- seen (validated emotionally) – and secure.

      If there are issues there. Yeah.

      I think too we have often tried to medicate attatchment issues away without truly understanding them.

    • #136925

      Funny enough I’ve experienced this with every crush/romantic interest I’ve had in someone.
      I’m currently in high school and I used to like this one person for over 5 years. I’ve notice I act way to obsessive even though I try to work on it, and I feel like I can’t control myself. It’s gotten really bad where I try to avoid them as much as possible so I don’t embarrass myself in front of others.
      It makes me worried whenever I do start liking some new, and I feel worried about if I act too clingy.
      The number one reason why I can’t make any friends or relationships is because of my hyperactive behavior. I tried going to my doctor for medications but all they do is leave me in a fog and throw up. I really dislike how I am because of everything I do. I really try to work on it. I’ve been trying my whole life to fit in. It really hurts when I try to befriend someone and I see them getting much better along with my other friends. Even my friends can admit they didn’t want to be my friend at first because I was too hyper for them. I mean, in high school people are nicer and I actually have friends now but it’s still hard being their “normal” friend. It’s hard trying to not act the way I do. I also do running sports to try to tire myself out but I’m still really hyper even after running cross country workouts.
      Also, I was diagnosed in 2nd grade

    • #137026

      It is all too common
      In Melissa Orlov’s book, The ADHD effect on Marriage, she describes this very thing.
      In the beginning, the partner with ADHD “Hyperfocuses” on the person they are with. The person is swept off their feet with all the attention. After a few years, or after marriage the hyperfocus wanes, because things are not as new and exciting for the ADHD partner. and the “Non” partner feels unloved or ignored when the ADHD partner is focused on other things like video games, TV, Porn…etc.
      This has not happened like this in my relationship with my fiance. We have been together 4 years now.

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by AdeleS546.
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