You’re a natural. People just seem to naturally be attracted to you. It’s always been like that. You have always had friends from all social groups. It was that way back in school and now as an adult it’s the same. It certainly has had its advantages as you can count on this wherever you go. It’s true that some people have taken it the wrong way but it’s no big deal and it’s their problem anyway! But, now that you’re in an intimate relationship, your partner is also complaining. First, they say that people are taking advantage of you. Second, they say that you are sending people “the wrong message”. Do you tell them to take a hike… or might there be something to this?
The Neurobiology of ADHD
There are many reasons for the above situation. So, if this seems to be happening to you please don’t feel this is the only possibility. The neurobiology of Bipolar Disorder and ADHD can lead people to these kinds of situations. Interestingly, if you inherit one of these conditions, you will tend to inherit the other condition 30% of the time. In this article, let’s consider why this might describe a person with ADHD.
ADHD can be thought of as a decrease in the flow of activity between Conscious and Subconscious Mind. Another way of looking at it is to consider it in computer terms. You may have plenty ROM but not enough RAM to support all of the memory you have loaded in your computer (your brain). In other words, you can load a lot of programs on your computer but the bigger ones won’t run as well as they should.
How ADHD Affects Your Relationships
Are you beginning to guess how this might affect the way you run your relationships? Let’s consider a few relationship “programs” you are running to flush this out a bit more. Your relationship with God or your “Spiritual Source” is entirely internal or contained in your Subconscious Mind. Given this, problems with your sense of spirituality are neither greater nor lesser than others. (This isn’t entirely true but this can be the topic for another article.)
What happens when you try to share the love you feel inside yourself with others? Yes, you guessed it. The complexity of your communication with depend on the the speed and complexity of the communication between your Conscious and Subconscious Mind. When this is diminished as in ADHD, you will tend to treat everyone, more or less the same. Have you ever told someone, “I can’t change the way I act towards others, this is just who I am.”? This isn’t true for most people. You must treat each of your relationships distinctly according to multiple factors or everyone will get confused.
The above is an example of a limitation in the complexity in how you express feelings for others. Let’s look at how your perceptions of a relationship can be limited. Do people consider you clueless when it comes to noticing when others are flirting with you? The difference between someone liking you and someone LIKING you can be subtle. At times, everyone misses this but, you may be missing this and many other messages that can get you into trouble!
Subtle communication is largely non-verbal. And…people believe “the way” you say something much more than the words you use. Unfortunately, you may be like a “bull in a china shop” unintentionally sending all sorts of messages that you never intend to send. It can, and often does, have equally unintended consequences. As mentioned above, your mate may feel the need to defend you from others who may try to take advantage of you. Or, they may simply be angry with you for “smiling too much” or “being too excited” around others. A general rule of thumb to consider might be that someone sitting three tables away from you should be able to tell if the person you are talking to is a business partner or your intimate partner.
How to Improve Your Relationship Skills
If you are interested in upping your verbal and nonverbal skills, here are a few ideas:
- As you talk with others, remember the love significant others have for this person. Thinking how much a parent, spouse or child loves the person you are talking to is a great way to experience the relationship in a fuller and richer way. It’s not that you need to pull back from the relationship. It's more that you will enjoy the intricacies of the relationship more. I’d compare this to “fine dining” vs. “gobbling your food down.”
- Try talking a little more slowly. When you speak quickly, there is less time to feel your feelings before your words come tumbling out. Try talking the way you do when you are reading a poem, where every word counts, because every word you speak...does.
- Make decisions that help you to establish other behaviors that accentuate the differences between your relationships.
- Have weekly dates with your intimate partner. Wear your “out on a date” clothes and wear them only with your intimate partner.
- Only go to certain places, at certain times, with your mate.
- Only use certain “Special words”, phrases or other forms of intimate communication with your mate.
- Have information that is special to you that only the two of you share.
- Do your best not to treat your mate or other family members the way you treat people at work. This can be extremely difficult to recognize, here are a few examples:
- A therapist may treat family members like patients.
- An attorney may treat family members like the people they talk to in court.
- A teacher may talk to family members like they talk to their students. This is particularly troublesome when you teach first through eighth grade!
- Ask people around you whom you trust to help you. The very best in any field need coaching and you are being coached on how to use your body which is your primary tool in your relationships.
- If at all possible, take a video of yourself while with others. This may feel a little funny at first but you will become accustomed to it. This can be the quickest way to see and correct any such issue.
- Include all all of your relationships. This effort is best practiced all day in all of your relationships. You are building your brain, your relationships and your life.
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