“We build walls for a lot of reasons. To protect vulnerable parts of ourselves. To hide things we don’t want others to see. To keep people out. To keep ourselves in.
But a wall is a wall is a wall – it’s an indiscriminate barrier. If you hide behind a wall to protect yourself from the pain of rejection, then you also block out joy. If you never let others see the parts you want to hide, then they’ll never see the parts you want them to know."
- Emily Nagoski
What Type of Wall are You Building?
There are two types of walls I would like you to consider. The first is the wall you build up to avoid incremental pain. Your partner has hurt you with ADHD symptoms – or with angry responses to ADHD – and you can no longer engage. You put up a wall and retreat. Ironically, once behind this wall it is almost impossible to improve your situation because you must engage with your partner in order to change your interactions. You will continue to suffer.
The second kind of wall is reflexive defensiveness. This wall is typically learned over time in a difficult relationship. This wall is the instant trigger or an inability to open oneself up to listen. Every interaction devolves into a frustrating battle and you feel more and more attacked.
Nagoski has it exactly right. Ultimately, walls don’t help you. The only way to find joy in your life is to be willing to engage – something that you cannot do from behind a wall.
Are you hiding behind a wall?
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. The Live session starts in January 2019.