Relationships and Emotional Articulation

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    • #79015

      So, as we all probably know since we’re using this forum, ADHD has some frustrating emotional distresses that comes with it. I hope to utilize this site as somewhere I can vent how these issues have affected me and made me feel and hopefully find some reciprocation from others. Long story short, grew up in a family that had minimal self-awareness as far as to how their emotions and actions affected others. This has caused me quite a lot of irritation and troubles with trying to form intimate/romantic relations because I’ve had trouble understanding how to say what I feel and not be overrun with anxiety or fear of rejection from the target love interest even when that may or may not be an issue. Recently, I told a friend of mine how I felt after being very close for several years due to supreme jealousy that she wanted to hang out with other people after being gone for several months instead of myself. Unfortunately, she rejected me as I had somewhat anticipated as she is 34 and I’m 24, and I am sure she wants to get a move on with her life as far as romantic relationships go so she doesn’t really have the time to wait on someone like myself to think about I want and especially have ADHD override my ability to say I have feelings or love her. I thought I was going to handle it quite gracefully because I knew I was behind on the times with the issue, but I had some serious emotions come out of me i.e. anxiety, guilt, embarrassment, shame, depression. She wants to maintain a friendship and I have sincerely enjoyed the time I’ve spent with her and the emotions we’ve shared, but the extreme feeling of shame makes me almost want to sabotage our friendship because I can’t get what I have wanted and needed out of a relationship for some time. Cognitively and physically I am very sharp and make it a point to keep up on these things, but emotions are one of the hardest and frustrating things I have had to learn to accept and not just deal with but embrace. My therapist has told me that in his experience with ADHD individuals emotions are usually the last to develop and are seemingly the most difficult to develop due to their abstract nature, which being a young adult diagnosed 5 years ago I would wholeheartedly agree. Yet again, long story short, I have some extreme anxiety and rumination going on about this specific situation in the past because I knew at some point we both had mutual feelings but I never acted on what I needed or what I want. Now that I’m older I know pretty much what I want and am unable to attain it because it passed me by when I was not as emotionally mature as I am now… Anybody else feel this way or have similar situations?

    • #79072
      Penny Williams

      ADHD often comes with emotional dysregulation, and an increased emotional sensitivity. These articles provide some insights and may help you address this:

      7 Truths About ADHD and Intense Emotions

      How ADHD Ignites Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

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

      • #85158

        When I was 17, very quiet and shy, I fell in love with a boy. We dated until I was about 18 1/2. Then, he dumped me for a girl at college. I stayed in love with him until I was 23, even while having another serious relationship.

        He came back to me when I was 23 and we dated for two years at that point, I had just started graduate school. Things were serious between us but I was in a new phase of my life. Finally, after my first year of law school, he wanted to get married. But I did not have the emotional maturity to say “wow, what I want is right in front of me and I’m going to take it and be happy.“

        Instead, I started dating someone else that I had met in law school. It turned out that my true love let me go so that I could go with the new guy. We both married other people and each of us had two boys My marriage ended after nine years, and then raising the children while being divorced with joint custody was not so easy.

        My point is that I could not get what I wanted because I was not emotionally able to love The man who loved me and who I thought I was deeply in love with. But, By moving on with my life I was able eventually to see that he was not the right person for me.

        If the person you were thinking of does not have the same feelings as you do, you should move on. Learn from your experience. That person is not “the one”. I know at 24 it seems like an impossible thing to do, but you can do it when you are 24, the whole world is in front of you. And I did it without even knowing that I had ADHD.

        Take care, Laura

    • #79237

      I didn’t realize like Penny said above that adhd ‘ers like myself (and you) struggle with emotional regulation. It caused a lot of misdiagnosis, thus improper treatment. On Adderall XR right now, it does help me create the “pause” my therapist works with me on. I just feel deeply, and believe I have no chose but to act on the feelings I have at that moment, then I regret. Not just with anger, but I can get boisterous off my meds and come off the wrong way, then when I finally realize it (too late at that point), I get so embarrassed. My biggest emotional/ relationship struggle currently (though going up in med helped) is connecting with people and not being so bored. I literally get bored communicating when it’s bit stimulating enough. And even with people I love deeply. Being back on meds (just has a baby) has helped me pause to listen to others and be more self-aware that I can come off self-centered when I don’t mean to. Active listening helps, and looking people in the eye, I have trouble with that. I don’t think bc of Shame or anything, I just do. I’ve heard adhd described as chronic boredom, so true for me. And I do feel guilty bc my life is amazing now, but I still get bored—starting back up my computer programming job has helped get that need for stimulation out though. So for emotions, don’t give up. Create a “pause” before you react (I set reminders on my phone randomly to take a breath and pause. At first even after a pause I still made the bad choice, but now I’m making good ones more than bad—the pause was the hardest part!! And just know feelings are not facts. Meditation, prayer, intense cardio, therapy, and even just knowing emotional deregulation is a facet of adhd helps me (makes me feel less alone). And don’t give up, deep breathing (5 seconds in, 5 second hold, -0 seconds exhale is what I do). I set the reminders bc otherwise I’d forget completely. Hopefully that may help ya.

    • #79239

      I’m going through the very same thing right now with someone I’d been dating (also, a big age difference with him being the younger of us), so I deeply empathize with what you’re saying. My emotions are overwhelming at times, and I have difficulty keeping them in check. I sometimes come off as a little too needy or aggressive, and that always scares men off. I honestly don’t blame them. If a guy does that to me, I run for the hills, but hey… double standards. What’s really aggravating about these habits is that they tend to disappear once I’ve “conquered” the love interest. I pursue them fairly intently, but once I’ve “captured the prize,” I get bored. I don’t think this is quite what you’ve experienced, but it does result from having such strong emotions that I can’t control them as they’re happening. It’s only after they’ve passed that I feel the gravity of what I’ve done. I do think medication helps, but the side effects (at least for me) just aren’t worth it. I’d rather feel everything than nothing at all. I wish I had some advice for you, but I’m right there with you, and have yet to find out how best to deal with it.

    • #79323

      I sincerely appreciate all of your replies, it is most comforting and relaxing to even just communicate with others that have similar communication styles and life experiences. I never usually have issues exploding (learned the hard way sometimes you need to internalize for the sake of the relationship) my emotions onto people, most times it’s the opposite. I think a fear of intimacy just causes me to become too hyper-vigilant for the situation and ultimately not express the feelings I have in the time that I am given; I constantly run through too many situations in my head (good and bad) and never make a definitive choice verbally or emotionally. Methylphenidate (Ritalin IR/XR) helped tremendously with filtering through my emotions and curbing the anxiety, although I am bound and determined to become someone capable enough to deal with them without medicine (maybe I’m just being stubborn). It is quite a strange feeling being able to comprehend how you’re going to react in a situation emotionally (i.e. the rejection I faced), yet still be absolutely overwhelmed by the feelings you have. I personally have never had a relationship as a young adult and it has been something I’ve desired quite a while due to my wishy-washy family life, but my cognitive development due to ADHD as well as inconsistent parenting has created quite a rift between what I want as a young adult and the life I’ve unfortunately had to submit to in order to maintain a “normal” family life. I exercise tremendously, run basically 5 miles 5 times a week, going to start a strength regimen sometime soon. Drink only water, chocolate milk, and beer every now and then while only eating fruits, vegetables and meat every now and then. I keep my mind stimulated by doing school work typically and feel like I’m always exhausted enough to go to sleep, but the gut wrenching feeling of anxiety and self-doubt is a daily sucker punch unfortunately. I do believe things will improve with age, emotional and mental maturity, experience, cognitive awareness, and faith in better things to come; but until then I will keep pressing on and grinding out what needs to be done in order for me to be the adult I envision myself being and to immerse myself in the love and life I so very much hope for. Again, thank you all for letting my voice myself, means the world to me…

    • #84135

      My almost 22 yr. old grandson has met a young lady who is 21. He has a history of falling in love immediately with any female that will give him any attention ( to include females he meets online, and he has been “catfished”. He has only seen this young lady for a total of maybe 4 hours at their support group. He asked me on the way home ( he is unable to drive due to ADHD, developmental differences, and extreme immaturity) which I understand goes along with his diagnoses, how long he should wait to tell her he likes her. I encouraged him to take it slow, and get to know her better. The last short term girlfriend broke his heart and he cried for hours and hours. He is unable to work due to his immaturity, and inability to focus (he is on med.). I would appreciate any advice on how best to handle this situation. He does see a psychologist twice a month, as well as support group each week.
      Thank you,

    • #84654

      To be brief, if I were in his shoes I would be as straightforward as possible. I think it is important to be upfront so that no daydreaming or fantasizing occurs and there is no buildup for a letdown. I myself still struggle with this concept and find myself doing similar things as far as when an attractive female shows me attention, but know that I feel much better and more confident about my feelings when I get them off of my chest. The decision is ultimately your grandson’s, but I would make sure he understands the repercussions of his decisions before he makes them, whether that be your wait and see approach or my blunt approach.

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