Do people with ADHD feel sad?

I have been dating this guy with ADHD for about a year and half now... 

it's been like a roller coaster... and at some point, he made me believe I am the one who needs therapy, I am the one who is needy, I am the one who blames everything on him.

We have been apart for the past several months, and we agreed there was no chance for this relationship if long distance. 

So, I landed a job and was about to move there, across the continent. 

Only, when he came to visit this past weekend, i saw very flirtatious texts exchanged with another female. (the texting all happened after i told him, I got a job and would move there......)

I confronted him... and it didn't seem that he felt sorry at all.... so I said, I have no interest in competing every interest he has in life and being put last in this relationship... and he started saying "you are so needy, why can't you just accept that I need less than you do to be happy in a relationship".

I feel "dry" and emotionally bankrupt. do they even feel a tiny bit of sadness or remorse when something goes wrong? I can't request anything I need in a relationship, and when I continue to do my part to "give" and show him my commitment, he said "don't act like you need me so much and let me approach you"

He was brought up by his dad, where his mom also had ADD and their relationship is non-exisistent. Some times I think, he has no respect for women, he, as a physician, always got no problem getting girls/women. While I am well educated myself and holding a great job, I don't feel valued or appreciated. 


I don't want to generalize,

I don't want to generalize, so please understand that this is the perspective of one person (without ADHD) about her spouse (with ADHD).

I'm sure my husband is able to feel sad.  But he seems to block or repress feelings of sadness or else feels them only superficially.  I don't know why this is; perhaps because he fears being overwhelmed?  

He also has needs, but he is even more resistant to acknowledging his needs than he is to showing sadness.  

Negative emotions

Negative emotions make a person do some sort of action so that the feeling is taken care of and rid of.  My dh has learned that the easiest way to take care of feeling bad is by pretending that things are different than they are.  But when an intimate family member is just pretending and denying, it is very difficult for the entire family to take him seriously, to know him or to love him.  He is a clown/actor who is acting as if things are just fine. You can't count on someone or learn from someone who is not working with some reality and taking some responsibility in life.

Very interesting observation,

Very interesting observation, jennalemon.  My husband said recently (in an email, because we're separated currently) that it's "so sad that our marriage has come to this."  My reaction to this comment (which I'm not sure I've shared with him) is that most people, when faced with a sad situation in which they're involved and over which they have some control, respond by trying to fix or improve the situation.  My husband has made no effort to improve our marriage nor has he expressed any interest in improving our marriage.

Linsy's picture

Same here

Only the most superficial conversation is possible - I have had a few recently, and am at least not driven into demented rage by his denial any more. We separated on my initiative because I was completely burned out. Now both our ADHD boys are stabilised on meds, and doing very well, he is still in denial about the reasons for his maladaptive behaviour. In fact he has found another 'carer' who has private money (mine all had to be earned) and is finding solace with her. He pays little or no attention to his children, while occasionally wailing to that they don't contact him (still expecting me to arrange his emotional life for him - occasional bursts of joy that this is no longer my 'responsibility' but great sadness for the effect on the boys). All feelings of real sadness are ruthlessly suppressed by him - it is so much easier to blame me, shelter behind his family and live in another country at others' expense, than be a real man and face up to being a husband and father. It still makes me sad, but I am I hope getting stronger now and more able not to brood on the past.

Feelings and actions

"Negative emotions make a person do some sort of action"

This view is a direct result of your brain chemistry. He has different brain chemistry. It's fundamental to understanding this when dealing with ADHD.  Your neurochemistry functions in a certain way and that determines how you make sense of the world i.e. how you think, your emotions and your judgements, how you prioritize, how you decide ("know") what is more important than something else. You are your brain and what happens within it. People with ADHD  have impaired neurochemistry. The impairment can be either minimal or severe depending on where they are on the spectrum,  may be in one part of the brain or in several parts of the brain, each with differing consequences. So when you say "If this (negative emotion) then do (fix problem to feel better)" (or variations) and expect other people to feel the same way about things then you are assuming that the other people have the same basic neurological functioning that you do. But he does not.  And therefore he does not have the same feelings about that world that you do.

Telling an ADHD person they should just think like a non-ADHD person or assuming that they don't because they don't want to or because they are happy being awkward and oppositional is analogous to telling or expecting a depressed person to feel better because they should be happy.  Conveying this to them either by words or attitude is most likely to make them feel worse.  What to do first? Stabilise the patient (discover and address the actual neurological issue), then see what happens before deciding the next step. Without addressing the physical/neurological problem I don't see how anyone with ADHD could be expected to think any differently than their brain instructs them.  Why would they? People without ADHD seem to have a great deal of trouble understanding ADHD so why would 'we' expect anything different from a person with ADHD.

I accept your point,

I accept your point, Sunlight.  In my situation, however, my husband has been taking medications for years, and he refuses to focus on behavioral changes or communication changes. And I don't see his taking medications as a great contribution or sacrifice on his part; he loves drugs!

People are people

Can ADHD people feel sad? Sure - just like non-ADHD people - ADHD people come in all sizes and flavors.

My ADHD husband certainly feels sadness, remorse, disappointment, guilt, unhappiness etc. It may not happen on everyone else's schedule - in so far as timing of his reactions can be hard to interpret or easy to misinterpret but he does have those emotions. He sometimes bounces back quickly, and sometimes he doesn't. Just like people. 

Your boyfriend is obviously high-functioning as far as work goes, and is obviously competent to deal with the world on his terms, so ask yourself how you would feel if he didn't have ADHD, take what he says at face value and decide from there.  Tangled in with his ADHD are the coping mechanisms and responses he has learned from childhood, so his parent's relationship doesn't have to foreshadow his own but certainly could be a significant influence. He probably isn't going to change this aspect of his personality any time soon since he doesn't see anything wrong and is quite up-front about telling you that.  Many ADHD people also have other disorders (oppositional defiant disorder, depression, anxiety and so on) but you don't mention any other diagnosis.

Your instinct appears to be telling you that he isn't as invested in the relationship as you are, it's usually wise to listen to those inner feelings.

hyper focus period has passed

He courted me intensively in the beginning.. though in the past couple months, he has said, he did that out of insecurity because he wanted me to love him. 

so, maybe I still falsely believe that the love was really there and would like to get it back. I certainly could be unrealistic in that sense. 

he needs verbal affirmation more than anyone I know of. and truthfully, except for being able to hold a long term loving relationship and the drug cocktails, everything seems just to be great about this guy from the outside. I am not sure whether it's because of the medication, I just don't think he feels "deep" feelings.

I agree to the other comment, he would say "it's just too sad this and that...." but would rarely mention, so let me/us do this to change the situation.... it seems I can never express "what I need" without having it taken as criticism. 

But I think at this point, it's probably a moo point since we are no longer talking. A relationship requires participation from both sides. and yes, our brains don't work in the similar fashion, and I can't change how he views things.  




What my husband told me

My ADHD husband told me that before he took meds, he didn't realize when "he was irritating other people." Basically, he had a difficult time reading other's social/emotional cues and body language. If you can't do that, it's hard to be empathetic. Sometimes, sadness, remorse and guilt is tied up with empathy. So, like Sunlight said, I think he can and does feel sadness, but maybe not when you need him to. Can you live with that? It doesn't sound like it's working for you.

I'm an ADHD guy

ADHD is a really tough life. Sometimes we have so many bad feelings that we wall our feelings off and can't feel anything at all. Usually when we talk like the person you are talking about, you should give him the chance to back out lovingly. The last thing you want is a guy who acted his way through to avoid anxiety, guilt, and depression. We do that. Beware of relationships that develop too quickly. This things are recipies for heartache and attorney's fees.

I'm the girlfriend of an ADHD Guy

Hi Will - You've kind of responded to a question I had. Can ADHD people be out of touch with their feelings? I wonder if my boyfriend actually loves me.

I probably would have given up my relationship a while ago if it weren't for this site. It's amazing to see how others are having the exact same issues. I previously attributed the issues in our relationship to lack of interest and love, etc and now see how so many go through the same thought process, feelings, hopelessness, frustration, and confusion. I started dating my boyfriend over a year ago and it has been tough. If someone doesn't show interest in you, support or encourage you, listen to you, or do thoughtful things for you, how can you tell if they love you, or if they're just using you?

He got diagnosed a few years ago (we're in our late 30's) and told me that he had ADHD in the beginning of our relationship. I brushed it off because I've never met anyone with it, and hearing about kids on ritalin when I was growing up didn't seem like a beg deal. Okay, you're hyper. No biggie. But as time went on and we started having problems with communication a few months in, I decided to read up on ADD and was flabbergasted. He never told me any of this. Over the months I've read about it and just finished my first book on it. How do you feel for someone who doesn't let you in, who flip flops on their feelings for you, who doesn't do anything romantic, who barely tells you he loves you, who doesn't plan anything, who is so defensive if you ask basic questions and goes from a 1 to a 10 in anger, who doesn't show appreciation, who doesn't seem to care for your feelings.

He says he cares, and that allll of his girlfriends have complained about the same thing (feeling unloved, distant, detached). I asked him last month when reading about the effect on relationships about whether he has gone to couple counseling for it in the past and how it has affected his relationships. He said it messes his relationships up and has gone to counseling. He says I'm the most normal girlfriend he's had and meant it in a positive way, but maybe he needs 'stimulation' and 'drama'. Is he bored and lost the feeling he had in the beginning? Can ADHD people actually be out of touch with their 'true' feelings? tx


I was in a sort of fog on a merry-go-round. The merry-go-round was caused by a childhood where others did not like me. My response was to try to please people to make people like me. I found out that when I tried to please everybody, I wound up pleasing nobody. I expected my wife to see what I was going on because she was the one closest to me. If she loved me, couldn't she see what was going on, I thought. Instead, she felt that she wasn't getting any attention. When she complained, it added to my stress and anxiety, which pushed us farther apart. Our anger isolated us so much that although we lived in the same house, we lived alone. At some point it did not make sense to sleep in the same bed. Our daily was to avoid getting into a blow up. If we did that we were successful. When I started taking medicine, things got a bit better. It didn't last because I also had unaddressed clinical depression. We also found out that my wife was clinically depressed and had other issues. I blamed her and she blamed me but neither of us deserved blame. We just had unresolved issues. Maybe others have some, toom

Thanks so much for your

Thanks so much for your response. Some of what you said resonated again. The last sentence was cut off and I would love to hear what you were going to say...

Like you, I'm thinking perhaps he wasn't liked in childhood. He has told me he was bullied a bit and he was probably socially awkward from what I can tell from meeting his friends/aqaintances at a reunion a few months ago. He has also mentioned to me his 'trying to please everyone' when I've complained about something. I've told him, I shouldn't be grouped in with his friends and that I should be separate. He has also said that he's depressed and as a result we sometimes don't speak for a few days. We are doing long distance as I convinced him pursue his goal of finishing his bachelors -it's in another state which is perfect because he needed a break from the big city. Tomorrow will be a week since we've had voice on voice and since we've texted. I'm letting him take the lead on communication since he never seems to want to talk on the phone. He finally texted me yesterday to see how I was and apologize for falling off the grid as he was having a bad time. I texted back that I was lonely emotionally and mentally and felt mistreated. I didn't get a text back and still have not heard from him. He has mentioned previously that my sadness/disappointment brings him down and 'adds to his stress and anxiety' as you mentioned. He prefers that I stay up and positive. If I didn't tell him how I felt, it would have felt fake and disingenuous. I'm stuck and don't know how to navigate this relationship. On the one hand I want to keep him feeling good, but what about me? He prefers to not talk about things and says sometimes you just have to sweep things under the rug, but I tell him that things will fester that way. Being on his side of the situation, what would you suggest? What would you have wanted your wife to do... I'm open to suggestions...


I think some ADHD people can feel sadness. It depends on how in touch with their feelings they are. I also think that it has something to do with whether they were supported by the family or just isolated. So what I'm saying is that it depends. If you love somebody who has ADHD you have to be careful. I think honesty in a relationship is the most important thing because if you don't insist on it and accept it, your ADHD person may just try to please you and not tell you the truth; until it is too late.

to be complimentary


my personal experience with my partner is that, if I need something for him, don't sound "demanding". He reacts specially well whenever I compliment him, and he needs a lot of encouragment from me. My guy has a fear of not "measuring up", and he often says, "I hope I can be a good boyfriend". I think he tries, but maybe in the past, especially during his childhood, his attempts to please people didn't turn out to be positive.  Something I often remind myself is that your partner will carry all his baggage with him, including his relationship with his mom, his past relationships into this relationship. While I often get blamed for being demanding, negative, or critical, I understand he really is projecting his past hurt on me while none of the accusation is true. 

My guy is the only child who has no relationship with his mother, so basically he has done everything by himself this far (he is at his mid 30s). it's hard for him to open up and let other people really get close to him, so I do take every little step carefully. Will was right, I try to approach him in a loving and non-critical way, he seems to react much better. I do think ADHDers attempt to please and often get frustrated when the other party didn't respond in a way they were hoping for. 




My take

As a confirmed member of the faceless group labelled “they” I might just chip in.
You ask do we feel sad?   I would say that a great many of us spend out entire lives feeling sad.  I do.   I fight constantly to see the value in life, in an hour I can be a thousand feet high on life, spiralling down to complete despair, indifferent, from empathetic to being as cold as ice.
You are only a passenger on the rollercoaster and yoy can get off at any time, we are the rollercoaster.

We have learned to live with feeling sad by shutting it out and grinding our teeth.  When things go wrong then you go in the box marked “just like everybody else”.      We feel remorse, but we also expect things to go wrong, and switch from love to hate at the blink of an eye.  When you are allocated to that “just like everybody else” category then your become the enemy. 
If we allowed ourselves to react to every pang of sad, if we had not developed a mechanism to deal with it then it would destroy us.  So we either poker face and show nothing, or we explode in a rage.
Poker face internalises the rage so it gets diffused with all the other noise, exploding releases the pressure and takes focus away from the issue at hand.   Both are coping mechanisms. 

In fact sadness does destroy many of us.  That is why we have much higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.  But it is our coping mechanisms that are destructive most of the time. 
I would say that an ADHD person that developed free of all the baggage of society conformance would be a much different and benign person.   I would say you would be hard pressed finding a serious problem with ADHD in Bhutan for instance.

Our thinking is also black and white.  He would be angry you read his texts.   I would just say it how it is,   you require exclusivity in a relationship, if he is not willing then clearly he is not getting the stimulation from the relationship he requires to maintain focus and it’s not going to work for either of you.  

Sorry to be blunt.

I don't have ADHD and I have

I don't have ADHD and I have spent much of life feeling sad, too.  Sometimes it overwhelms me.  But I keep on keeping on.

Hello Jon!

I'm a female member of 'Them' so thought I'd chime in, too.

Yes. 'We' feel sad a lot.

One thing to add to what Jon said is that it is certainly not your fault that your partner isn't getting the stimulation he needs from your relationship, as it is impossible. We ALL expect too much from marriage & romance IMO... long-term relationships change. They have to change. If the 'hyperfocus' phase lasted forever, no one would go to work! We'd all be in bed!

Jon, I dunno...  I think even in Bhutan it would be difficult to live with ADHD. It's a Buddhist society, and from what I can understand that requires lots of study and discipline.  Something 'we' are not so great at!

Hi Ellamenno :)

"We ALL expect too much from marriage & romance IMO... long-term relationships change. They have to change. If the 'hyperfocus' phase lasted forever, no one would go to work! We'd all be in bed!"

Well  Ellamenno, this is statement I can agree with 100%. The thing is for me I tend to seek out intense experiences,  and so without these my focus tends to drift , I am one of those people that need lots of stimulus to stay focused, and well that makes relationships difficult. The thing is, I am not so sure it is me that hyper-focucses and then moves on, I think it my partners that go through that intense part of the relationship, as you say when you are in bed all the time :) and before I know it,  its all about buying pet food in bulk and paint color schemes. BLAHHH. This stuff to me is like watching paint dry. Torturous, and leaves me wondering where all the fun stuff went.   I realise that for most non-adhd people this is normal, but not for me :(




Right there with you, Jon....

Yep. I get it.

I can now UNDERSTAND that life cannot always be exciting/stimulating. But I also have a hard time staying focused on making sure the kids have their permission slips for field trips and that I dont' forget to put the laundry in the dryer...  I know I can't have anything 'intense' anymore as far as my marriage (well, except for the fights, which are not stimulating for me so much as demoralizing, perplexing, frustrating and depressing).

About 3 years ago my husband decided to dredge up anger from 15+ years ago and punish me daily by treating me like a roommate he can barely tolerate, while snapping at me angrily for no reason. He will sometimes catch himself mid-snap and apologize, but not always. our kids are young, so they dont' notice it and he pretends things are fine in front of family and friends. (this gets confusing - because he'll suddenly do something civil or even polite, like say holding a door open for me, and I just stand there for a second because I cannot understand what the hell is going on....)

We've talked about it many times, but it hasnt' helped. The last time we were 'intimate' was our 15th anniversary.... In 2012.... and that was because I had kind of insisted.... I've given up now. he's told me that it's mostly financial stress because I dont' earn enough money (When we moved here, i'd just had a baby). Now that both kids are in school, my income has quadrupled, but it's still not enough due to increased expenses - all his decisions -  and our marriage is even worse. Go figure.

well - can't be late - gotta be somewhere in 30 minutes!


You must be strong Ellamenno

Well all I can say Ellamenno is that I could not do what you have done.   I would have either been out of there or found a consort.  I know that a lot of folk will find the idea repugnant or offensive but I don’t really care, that’s just how it goes more often than not.

Unfortunately for me I can’t give up, it is just way too important for my sanity.

Oh and they make endless excuses,  and promises to make an effort  etc., each one you believe less and less, and each time you become more numb.    

 I have spent countless hours talking things out but for me I find it never helped and instead only made me more frustrated,   I say this from 25 years of experiencing a few long term demoralising and unfulfilling relationships.  Yeah I know, I jumped in to deep too fast without looking at the longer term, there is that impulsive thing.

 I know that a lot of people say that the spark always fades, and you settle down to the ordinary routine but to me it’s the spark that makes it something I can focus on.   It is precisely the spark element that holds my attention, I am addicted to the stimulation and in return for it I have boundless energy to give.  We lavish the other person with affection, and that is why they are attracted to us in the first place.   We are different, effusive, and exciting.

 So the irony is that is mostly the other person in the relationship whose attention fades.  I could stare at the light all day, so long as it is turned on, so to speak.

Now I am in a situation where my partner doesn’t even bother to buy me personal gifts on special occasions because “I am so picky that she doesn’t think she will get the right thing”    my read on it, “I couldn’t be arsed taking the time to get to know and understand the person you are”

9/10 times I know I can find something that I know she would like, it is not MY focus and attention that has waned.  A lot of the time I think our spouses just use our ADHD as convenient excuse for being an arse-hat, it cleanses them of all guilt and responsibility, just point to the ADHD  and say “not my problem”  right?

Time comes though when you can no longer be attracted to a memory in your mind and you realise the person in your memory is never coming back.  Then for me I mentally pack my things and check out, because the way I see it, my partner left the building years ago.  

Find a consort - ha!

Well, Jon - as a 43 year old mom of a 7 and 4 year old, it would be really difficult to find a 'consort' for myself.  I used to get preoccupied with crushes and 'emotional affairs' when things got difficult in my relationship - at least until I realized they were a 'thing' then I was able to recognize the pattern and not fall for it again. Now I don't spend any time with men at all unless absolutely necessary and if anyone flirts with me, I cut off contact. I can't deal with an affair - I've been there and it was hell. (it wasn't really an affair so to speak... I was just used by a mentor/boss upon whom my self-esteem became dependent).  

<<So the irony is that is mostly the other person in the relationship whose attention fades.  I could stare at the light all day, so long as it is turned on, so to speak.>>

Um...  Yeah. It's funny that all the times I've had a dream that i'm cheating, the man with whom I cheat is always my husband - A version of him before  he stopped loving me.

I have found the hardest part of it is living without any affection. No kisses or even hugs. Seriously, there is NO affection between us at all. ZERO. Well, every few months DH might awkwardly give me a sideways hug at a party or something if there are people around, but otherwise: Nothing. I'm so lonely it's ridiculous. I've become so numb that I don't even think I'm attracted to him anymore. I have trouble sleeping next to him, especially after he's been annoyed with me for some little mistake i've made, so I've been sleeping in our guest room/office every now and then just so I can function. I am trying desperately to get work out of town simply so I can have a night by myself far, far away. Yes, I know it's the escape instinct 'we' have. i'm not planning to meet anyone or do anything stupid. I just want to be somewhere quiet with no anger hanging in the air.

well - gotta run.  I guess this is totally off topic, but I didn't quite know where to put it!


I could have written that

I agree with just about everything you said, including blah to the nest-building activities, and I don't have ADHD.  On the other hand my ADHD husband love to cut the grass, seemingly just when I want us to go out.  (I think cutting the grass might be another version of zoning out with a death grip on the tv remote, he does that too).

There is way too much 'they' and 'them' around here sometimes.


There is way too much 'they' and 'them' around here sometimes.

I would agree,  we are all different. I must admit to not liking cutting the grass :) nor do I really watch TV anymore. I did at one stage have a major tv habit, but for some reason just moved on from it,  maybe I got bored with it?? At the moment, much to my families horror,  I am obsessed with cigars....  An hour of introspective peace, how rare.  

I guess,  to me I do find it highly offensive to be referred to in the third person, as a collective of symptoms put on this earth to make other peoples life difficult,  every time I see this I quietly rage inside.    It is true that there is a lot of that here and part of me, perhaps the defiant and combatative part likes to push back.   If we ADHD folk could first learn to accept ourselves without the guilt and shame then I think a lot of the battle would be won.  

For my part, I will take your comment and step back from the "US and THEM" mind-set a little.   


Do we feel sad, just speaking

Do we feel sad, just speaking for my self here but YES. I feel that way everyday sad,despair , invisible , not wanted , like I am just here and I am alone . So yes I feel sad 


I am a non-ADHD male with a female ADHD partner and I can relate to quite literally, every emotional experience you expressed here. I felt like it was a post I could have made. Even down to the flirtatious texting with another person incident. I'm also stuck at the question of whether or not or maybe the question is 'how' do some ADHD challenged people feel sadness? They don't seem to feel it or either they are severely challenged with authentic expressions of sadness. My partner began to have an affair with a co-worker in a superior position at her firm. I am not a particularly jealous person so the fact that she had an attraction for someone didn't bother me but that it was getting in the way of us working out our problems was a BIG problem for me. At a point this past summer when life in our house was pretty horrible, she flatly told me she was going to become involved with the guy from work. I was very upset. It seemed foolish from a professional perspective and immature if not callous in regards to our trying to resolve issues. Her response to me becoming upset ranged from no response at all to a giggly 'you're overreacting'. 

To any of you that are doubting yourselves, don't! ADHD is real. I am involved with a person that I think is sincerely beautiful inside but ADHD can distort that to an almost unrecognizable form. Although she's encouraged me to doubt myself many times, I know I'm not crazy or super needy. She has an imbalance that puts control over her emotions and to a degree her actions, just out of reach. And this imbalance can be devastating to any and everything in their lives.

My partner's father also had ADD and she has no relationship with him. She was raised by her mom and adoptive father (she also has no relationship with the adoptive father to speak of). The relationship problems aren't gendered particularly I don't think. While she talks to her mother more, it isn't much and they have no substantial relationship. I think the ADHD gets in the way of relationship ties of all kinds. It remains difficult not to take it personally even while I have all of this evidence to suggest I shouldn't.

The 60,000 dollar question for me is whether or not ADHD partners are capable of having a highly functional, healthy relationship of any kind without medicinal therapies?

Not Me!

"The 60,000 dollar question for me is whether or not ADHD partners are capable of having a highly functional, healthy relationship of any kind without medicinal therapies"

Not this one. But you know I'm willing to bet it's the intensity that drags a lot of you Non ADHD folk in right? 

All situations are different

All situations are different in ways I guess. I love the intensity of ADHD personalities. In the beginning and ongoing. What I don't like is the neglect that seems to INEVITABLY come. And the symptoms that make dealing with the issue of neglect very difficult, if not impossible, to do.

I would not disagree with that

I would not disagree with that,  part of me dreams of a place where we ADHD people can run free without the horrendous consequences of living life a square peg in a round hole.   Part of me fully understands what a chaotic disaster a place like this would be.   In the end all we can do is our best,  but  also learn accept the way we are and to understand that is not going to change,  perhaps  we may then even find some peace and acceptance of ourselves.

I  find it strangely odd,  but I do meet a number of people that seem to be drawn to the parts of me that are definitely the ADHD ,  out of context these are perhaps a refreshing approach to the mundane, a bit of left of field thinking,  but when taken in their totality,  it's a barely contained explosion at the best of times.  I can't help that, any more than you folk can help the way you are. 

What you see as neglect, is us just doing what we do and  losing focus. What to you comes without a seconds thought is constant source of surprise to me.  

What comes  as normal to us often results in criticism, isolation, damage and scorn, and  we  set fires all around us with out even realizing it till everything goes up in flames.   I can't count the number of times there has been some sort of critical explosion in my life where I had been totally oblivious to it building.  

All that can be done is to out-compete the extraneous stimulation, can't or grow tired of having to try? Then we are gone, drawn off to the next thing, it is nothing personal or a refection on you... it's just how we work.   It is just that as you say everyone is different,  and most of us are likely to be drawn to different things,  therein lies the problem, no magic bullet. No one size fits all.    

 It is not at all easy living constantly with the knowledge that the only "acceptable" you is a remanufactured and doped version,  this is a  life-time of rejection and it hurts a hurt that never fades.    And yes I do feel sad, 'most every day.   But I have hardened, because to survive I have had no choice.  Sometimes I wish I could feel more,  I remember what it was like before I learned to shut it out,   and I  do miss the warmth and comfort of it, but in the way people dealing with trauma every day cope,  you learn to step back and see it as a disconnected observer.  You would simply go mad otherwise.   It is nothing personal.