“If you bottle up negative emotions…then you haven’t processed what you need to process. What we know clearly from the research is that whatever you resist grows stronger.”
- Kristen Neff
Here’s another way to put this idea. Whatever you bottle up inside you festers. You move from fear to resentment, and from resentment to outright hostility unless you address that resentment. Or if the emotion is anxiety, you might move from mild anxiety to stronger, to outright panic.
Pain and negative emotions are best managed by allowing them to flow through you. By acknowledging those emotions – noticing them – and also understanding that they need not be permanent. The more you expose them to the light, the more likely you will be to be able to understand their underpinnings and respond in ways that weaken their power over you.
One way to do this is to use a therapist who understands the pressures of ADHD (I have a resource page that may be of help). Another is to create interactions between you and your partner that help bring issues to light. That might be a weekly ‘emotions’ meeting; it might be couples counseling; it might be doing a daily exercise in which you complete the sentence “The most important thing you need to know about me is…” while the other person simply listens and learns. (This last is a great way to speak your anxiety before it takes you hostage.)
Whatever your method, please consider how you might be able to bring negative emotions to light in a constructive way and stop being a victim to their festering inside you.
Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. Find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD including free: Online treatment overview; Downloadable chapters of my books; A community forum with other couples facing similar issues; A large number of blog posts on various topics; Referrals. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!
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