“For most of us, the natural response to pain signals is resistance – to push them away or deny that they even exist. Yet ignoring pain only serves to add an extra layer of angst to an already unpleasant situation. Not only do you still have the pain to deal with, but now you have to keep up the ruse that the pain isn’t really there. Inviting in pain is the first step to understanding how to come to terms with it."
- Tara Healey and Jonathan Roberts, in Oct ’16 Mindful Magazine
Disconnecting from a partner in order to avoid painful interactions is a classic way to deal with pain. If we don’t experience those painful interactions we can convince ourselves that the pain isn’t really there or, at least, get away with ignoring it.
Sadly, this is one of the worst coping mechanisms we have for dealing with pain and conflict. Because it just continues to exist and grow inside us, while the origin of the pain never gets addressed.
The only way to get out of this cycle is to re-engage…with your partner, a counselor, yourself (through journaling or some other way to explore that pain) so that you can start to deal with the underlying issues that cause it.
But there are effective ways to re-engage, and ineffective. Chances are good, if you or your partner is currently disengaged, that you’ve been using ineffective methods, such as arguing, insisting you are right, critiquing your partner to get him or her to ‘do better,’ controlling your partner to try to make things ‘right’ and more.
How to engage effectively can be learned by anyone, though the process is too multi-faceted to fit into a tip. My request here is simply this – if you are currently disconnected from your partner, please know that this is not a sustainable way to have a happy relationship and seek the assistance you need to re-engage. If you need ideas about how to do that in your specific situation, feel free to contact me.
No matter where you are in the world.... you can take my Live ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - starting October 3rd. Register here.
For those in marriages impacted by ADHD
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, 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;
Is your relationship in trouble? Consider my highly acclaimed couples' course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - This 8-session phone seminar has helped many couples thrive in healthier, happier relationships.