“I attack ideas, I don’t attack people. Some very good people have some very bad ideas.”
- Antonin Scalia
What to Attack
One of the things that always confounded me with George was the fact that he so closely linked ideas that I had to him as a person. Once he told me “You showed me you didn’t love me by telling me you didn’t like having so many bikes in the garage.” Huh?! The fact that I complained that I didn’t like not being able to get my car in the garage because it stored at least 15 bikes, 40 spare wheels and lots of other assorted stuff didn’t have anything to do with love…it had to do with stuff that he wasn’t using but had trouble getting rid of.
This may be an element of Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria for some, and one insight into why partners with ADHD may be so easily triggered.
In the bicycle case, it wasn’t my actions that made him feel bad, just my opinion. I rode bikes with him often, left my car (not his) in the driveway to accommodate his bike passion, and learned not to comment often. (Yes, sometimes the fact that bikes he hadn’t ridden for 10 years took precedence over my comfort did bug me and I did complain…I am human after all, but…largely not.)
It may be helpful for you and your partner to have a conversation around any links there might be between ideas and people. Because they are not the same, and being able to clarify that good people can still disagree without being bad people is an important idea.
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