One of the most common concerns from clients with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is that they are underperforming in their relationships with partners, loved ones, and friends. In this case, underperforming is seen as being distant or distracted, not remembering specific information, being late to events or dates, and cutting off folks during conversations to complete their sentences. All of these characteristics are common symptoms of ADHD that surface in interpersonal relationships.
While these clients and others with similar experiences are very aware that it’s an impulse that’s difficult to ignore and there’s most likely no malicious intent, these behaviors often lead to upsetting those around them or in the worst case scenarios ending the Relationships.
If reading any of this feels familiar to you, I’m sure one of your therapeutic goals is to improve both these behaviors and relationships that were impacted by these behaviors. As a result, there are a few key aspects that are important to focus on in your ADHD therapy. Those aspects include:
- Addressing these symptoms.
- Potentially improving the damaged relationship(s).
- Discussing and planning how to avoid repeating these behaviors in other relationships.
While each of these aspects sound simple, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to begin the process of changing and improving your interpersonal relationships. Please find information below to keep in mind and help you with each of these aspects.
Addressing the symptoms.
Acknowledging and accepting yourself is one of the most important steps in every therapy process, whether it be ADHD focused or not. In this case, it is imperative that you recognize what your present ADHD symptoms are and which ones surface the most in your relationships.
One helpful way to track such behaviors is to keep a running list of things you’ve noticed or are curious about in your phone or journal. Once you have a complete list, bring it to your therapy sessions and prepare to discuss and process each of them. This is one of the most difficult steps in therapy because self reflection can sometimes lead to shame or guilt. If you experience these emotions, bring that up to your therapist, but keep in mind that you’re doing the necessary steps to better yourself and that’s something to be extremely proud of.
Potentially improving the damaged relationship.
This is one of the more organic steps in therapy because when you do hard work on yourself, those around you can often see and feel the difference and results of that hard work. However, it’s great if you would like to take a more active role in improving your relationships. The easiest way to be more active in this step is by being authentic, open, and communicative with those you feel you’ve previously impacted. Share what you’re able to and comfortable with sharing
Discussing and planning for the future.
This final step is a combination of treatment planning and coping. Specifically, you and your therapist will discuss practices and habits that work best for you and feel sustainable to maintain your progress.