ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental condition. It can impact a person regarding their ability to focus, concentrate, organize, plan, regulate energy levels and control impulses, amongst other challenges. Due to these common attributes of the ADHD brain, unique challenges can exist in our relationships, whether with family, friends, or partners.
These challenges or obstacles can be a result of differences in the following areas:
Communication skills Differences in attention can impact how communication is carried out. The ADHD brain can sometimes struggle with focus and attention during interactions, which can look like “zoning out” mid conversation or as if we are not listening, for example. Other aspects such as forgetting obligations, commitments or overlooking relaying information to those around us can also cause issues in communication. These elements can easily lead to misunderstandings in relationships.
Impulsivity can also be part of living with ADHD. Impulsive behaviors can include acting without thinking, making rash decisions, interrupting others, or blurting out information. Unfortunately, impulsivity can be perceived as rude to those around us at times or perhaps as if we are not listening to what is being said. Another part of impulsivity in ADHD may include a person jumping into relationships too quickly as they are caught in a sort of “whirlwind”, and/or impulsively ending relationships.
Emotional regulation ADHD can sometimes impact ability to emotionally regulate as effectively or quickly as we may like to. This may be evident through heightened emotional reactions to seemingly small triggers or situations. Challenges in managing strong emotions such as anger can also exist. Within relationships this can cause more stress and in emotionally charged environments, arguments can easily escalate.
Time management Managing time can be challenging with ADHD, for example being late for events or not realizing how long something may take us. This could be misconstrued by others as not caring or a lack of respect for another’s time.
If any of these points resonate with you and are affecting your relationships, the most important first step is awareness and understanding for you and those around you.