I remembered something, that was passed along to me from a friend who was an athlete and competitor, as a means to focus during a sporting event to perform at your best and not let you mind get the better of you and "play tricks one you". If you've read any of the struggles I've had with my wife (who is not ADHD)...what I have really discovered mostly....and what I have had to face personally, is getting past those "distortions" or distorted perceptions....while having to deal with someone else who is really struggling in this area themselves at the same time.
"Distortions" ...as I have now come to understand term....are these very "tricks" that your mind plays on you and if you believe them or don't find a way past them....they will really screw you up and make dealing with all the challenges you face even more difficult.
The BIG LIE.....as I'm calling it....is when any person, ADHD or non-ADHD ....actually believes these distortions and is fooled or tricked into believing what their mind is telling them. And what one will conclude from this as a consequence....is also not not true. And finally..... the behaviors and actions that follow suit....will go according to this mis-belief. Simple enough to understand I think?
So speaking for myself now....the one with ADHD. It really did take a third party (my Therapist) to help me resolve all those distortions I had about myself...which simply came from not knowing I had ADHD....which is at the source of many of those distortions in the first place. If you don't have that one piece of the puzzle to make a complete picture that you can see in it's entirety....all you can do is rationalize your behavior and try and fill in the blanks with those distortions again. I think this a common phenomenon with a person who might be diagnosed later in life like myself....until you get the right cause...and then go right to the source of these distorted perceptions .....so you can do something about them which is reason for all those behaviors in the first place. I know for myself...it took some work to figure this all out but I can also give hope to anyone reading this who is with someone in this kind of denial.....that as soon as you do this....those distortions will eventually disappear as well. At least the ones that are ADHD related.
Having said that.....distortions and denial are not limited to ADHD and everyone has them to some degree or another. Even for someone not in denial and you don't think you have distortions or your reality.......read this exerpt from NFL Football Coach Jimmy Johnson about distorted perceptions....
Focus on the 2x4 ( How to Be the Ball ).... excerpt from Jimmy Johnson talking about how he prepared his team for the Super Bowl in 1993:
"I told them: if I laid a two-by-four across the room, everybody there could walk across it and not fall, because our focus would be that we were going to walk that two-by-four.
But if I put that same two-by-four ten stories high between two buildings, only a few would make it, because the focus would be on falling.
Then I said, your focus right now has to be as if we're playing on the practice field in front of nobody.
If you let it overwhelm you that it'll be the most watched sporting event in the world, that there will be 3,000 media people here - if you make it bigger than life it will be a distraction. ( adding here....and your perceptions will become distorted )
And that's the crux of this game. ( Or being successful in your relationship...that's the game in this case. The big picture and the forest from the trees )
Focus on the two-by-four. Be the Ball (focus on yourself and what you should be doing....instead of what your partner is doing and the problems they appear to cause you in trying to achieve your own personal goals of success. You can't be successful in your relationship...if you are putting all your focus on another person while trying to do that at the same time )
Ultimately....you do have to do both....but you can't get there by not being the Ball and focusing on the two-by-four at all. It won't work if you are doing just one or the other so staying focused on the job at hand....will get you to the place where you will have this ability....once you come to terms with this is exactly what you need to do first.
Becoming overwhelmed with this process....is what causes those distortions for everyone....not just for the person who has ADHD.
The problem or challenge for a person with ADHD right from the start as I am now seeing this.....is they have two things they have to be focusing on. Getting their symptoms under control......and getting out of any kind of denial and getting rid of those distortions directly related to this experience. That's just the personal goal or obstacle you have to overcome.
The second challenge....is doing that while trying to focus on your relationship and your partner at the same time. This addition to the first challenges....leads to becoming overwhelmed and becoming ineffective at doing anything well after a while.
Going along with this same way of seeing this.....
For the partner who doesn't have ADHD......the challenges and the process for someone ADHD in doing this for themselves....and if they are not focusing on you at the same time along the way....will lead you to the same place as they are. Feeling neglected and dismissed and then focusing on them and how to fix them or change them in order to eliminate the problems associated with their ADHD partners inabilities in over coming their own personal challenges.
When this happens.....the ADHD partners ability to focus on what they are doing, leads them to become overwhelmed and ineffective in achieving their own personal goals and what they really need to be focusing on instead....because that is getting hijacked by their ADHD partners inability in the same way.
If both people are so focused on each other.....neither one is focusing on the job at hand which is your relationship itself. When this happens.....both people become overwhelmed and begin to have those distortions or perception for exactly the same reason as I am now seeing this ....and I hope I am seeing this clearly enough to say this.
You have the Forest. And you have the Trees. In order for the Forest to be healthy.....you have to make sure the Trees are too. And in order to do this....you have to take care of both at the same time or neither one will remain healthy and the Forest will die.
However....the wrong way to get their is to focus entirely on the Forest....or entirely on the trees.
The one sure fire way to fail in every case without exception.....is to be focusing all your attention on either one tree or the other. Either your tree....or the other persons. When you do this one fatal mistake......the Forest will die.
And as Coach Jimmy Johnson pointed out to his players before winning the Super Bowl.....the only way to win the game, keep for Forest Healthy and have a successful relationship.....you have to Be the Ball and focus on the two-by-four in order to do this.
I think this is the way to keep those distorted perceptions to a minimum and to keep from becoming overwhelmed yourself. If you're going to be the Captain of your own ship......the Captains physical and mental health is imperative to make it to your destination.
Being the Ball, focusing on the two-by-four is the only way to get there for each person. That's your responsibility to your relationship...not just to yourself. You are a team remember....and you've got a job and responsible to the team to do that for yourself whether you have ADHD or not.
This is how I'm seeing it......you don't have to agree with me. I'm just a guy who trying to figure all of this out and who has my own personal opinion about this and just giving the same advise I give to myself:)