A woman with ADHD asks for more support here for those who have this special kind of mind…and I agree. But taking the negativity private isn’t the only way to go.
This woman, who reads this site, recently contacted me to note that she is often put off by the virulent complaining about ADHD people she reads in the forum. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this complaint, and I don’t disagree. It’s a delicate balance…letting both those with ADHD and those without ADHD speak their minds and feel heard. Sometimes what people have to say is pretty hard to hear. There is a lot of pain out there.
She suggested that we create a private place that is just for those with ADHD to explore their issues and strengths. It’s worth considering, and perhaps the addition of such a place would encourage overall greater participation here from ADHD partners. But it worries me a bit, too. What would it do to the general conversations? Would it simply isolate ADHD and non-ADHD once again? Lessening your ability to learn from each other? I would like to hear your opinions.
My observation is that the community forum goes in waves – sometimes the give and take between those with and without ADHD is supportive and constructive, at other times just the opposite. This seems to revolve around specific threads and individuals as they express particularly negative emotions. And, I suspect, there are a number of adults with ADHD would contribute more if they felt more invited in by those who are posting.
Really, this issue seems a reflection of what happens inside all of your relationships, too. Anger and hopelessness on the part of non-ADHD partners feels unsupportive (and sometimes abusive) to ADHD partners, while ADHD symptomatic behaviors and anger on the part of ADHD partners feels likewise unloving (and sometimes abusive) to non-ADHD partners.
Yet we have to have this conversation. Exposing how both parties feel is critical to creating a better understanding of relationships impacted by ADHD. You cannot learn to better love your partner until you understand his or her experience better, and often that learning comes from others. We can be too entrenched in the “details” and specifics of our own relationships to learn directly from our own partner because we think we’ve “heard it all before”… at least from our partner!
But we don’t have to beat each other up while having this conversation.
I would ask those in the community – and particularly non-ADHD partners – to be sensitive to the range of personalities and minds of those in this community. You will all be strengthened if the conversation remains constructive, and more people are therefore encouraged to participate. Furthermore, learning how to constructively think about, and talk about, your experiences will be one of the most important skills you can learn from participating at this site. Use that skill (and the resulting support you receive from others on the site) to improve your life.
So respectful conversation is requested. But I’m open to trying other ideas, too. So if you think a private, ADHD-partner-only area of the website is a good idea, please let me know.