“You’re imprisoned…if you’re not willing to admit regret about your past...”
-Elizabeth Saunders, NYT
Regret and grief are two emotions that many people I work with feel. Most commonly I hear grief and regret expressed about:
• Lost time. What if I had known about ADHD sooner?
• The loss of an imagined relationship. I thought I was going to have a fairy tale relationship, but mine is so hard!
• Missed time with kids. My partner and I fought so much we didn’t get to enjoy our kids as we could have
I’ve felt these sorts of feelings myself, and know that they can hold you hostage if you can’t work through them so you can move forward in a positive way. To do so it can help to understand two things. First, you yourself made decisions that got you to this place. It does not make sense to blame your partner and doing so can make it hard to move on. I chose to marry my husband, I chose to stay with him when I first saw that our relationship would be different than I had anticipated, and I chose to fight with him rather than seek counseling when my kids were younger. So part of the responsibility for where I was (and its resulting grief) lay at my own feet.
So, okay, you played a role in getting to where you are. How do you deal with grief? When ADHD is involved, it can help to tell yourself “I/we did the best I/we could given the information we had at the time. We didn’t know about ADHD or responses to ADHD and we behaved in an understandable, human way to the pressures upon us. But now we know differently, and we can do better.”
Once you have that mindset the world of possibilities can open back up and you are back in charge. You are no longer imprisoned by your feelings about your past. Instead, you can ask yourself “what do I need to do to make my life better?” and “where do I wish to go in my life?”
Is there an opportunity for you to move forward by letting go of regret or moving through your grief?
Registration is Open: My live seminar and adhd and non-adhd groups start in October. Learn more.
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; Referrals. Adult ADHD can have a huge impact on your relationship. ADHDmarriage.com can literally change your life!
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 October 21, 2019.