Moving into February, we celebrate and recognize the importance of cultivating healthy, loving relationships with the people in our lives.
We are reminded of the work of Alfred Adler (1870-1937), world renowned philosopher and psychiatrist, and some of his principles that help us understand and experience more joy and fulfillment in our day to day lives. Alfred Adler's contributions focused on the importance of connection, accomplishment, being valued, and our ability to cope and persevere through challenge. Being aware of how to integrate these elements into our interactions with others can help us strengthen and grow important relationships. For February, we have chosen to focus on cultivating strong connections with the important people in our lives.This article explores 10 barriers to connection in our day to day dialogue with others. How we show up and converse with others can make or break the relationships we value.
Here's to you and happy, strong connections
Robin and Kat
When people come to us with a problem, it’s easy to lapse into behaviors that—although usually well-meaning—serve to block us from hearing the other person’s experience. Learning better communication strategies can make a big difference in a relationship where someone feels not heard, not validated. We’d be better off following the words of this inside-out saying: “Don’t just do something; stand there”…and try not to:
Counsel. Seek not to advise solutions (until asked) but listen and reflect back the person’s experience
Defend. When you explain, justify or rationalize, you invalidate the other’s experience. You can create a time to offer your experience, but for now, just listen.
Shut down. This happens in parenting when we say things like: “Stop crying. It’s not that bad.” Children are more likely to stop crying when they feel they’ve been heard.
One-up. Saying, “Oh, that’s nothing! Listen to what happened to me!” gives the message, “Your experience doesn’t count.”
Reassure. It’s OK for people to feel their feelings. When we try to console (“It’s not your fault; you did the best you could…”), we take people out of their feelings.
Pity. Sympathy and pity (“Oh, you poor thing!”) are very different from empathy, which is simply a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing.
Commiserate. Sharing stories of your own similar experiences is not showing empathy; it turns the focus away from the person with the problem.
Correct. First listen. After the other person feels fully understood, then see about correcting any misunderstandings or inaccurate impressions.
Enlighten. Don’t attempt to educate unless your opinion is asked.
Interrogate. Too many questions distract from the feelings at hand.
As you read through and reflect on the list, what comes to mind? Note which barriers are not a challenge for you. Note which barriers offer an opportunity for personal development? Pick one and reflect on how can you create the intention or a cue to catch and practice a different response in your conversations with family and friends in the coming week.
Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications
MARRIAGE UNCOMPLICATED WORKSHOP
What if you could participate in a group workshop that helps you discover and implement strategies to lessen the struggles in a strained relationship between you and your spouse? When one spouse or partner struggles with ADHD, they both struggle with ADHD. If you change nothing, the relationship may continue to falter. Research shows us that when you don’t understand or manage your ADHD effectively, it can be draining on a marriage often leading to separation and divorce. If you are a couple struggling with ADHD in your relationship, participating in this research study and workshop could be the best thing you’ve ever done for your marriage.
How does a couple go about recreating their relationship? First, couples must be clear. You can’t make changes in the relationship without knowing what it means to live with ADHD and how it affects that individual. Next, collaborate as a team to explore and develop the skills and strategies relevant to having ADHD in a relationship.
The ADHD partner must take ownership of their ADHD. And the non-ADHD partner needs to learn some support skills. What would a strategy or support skill look like? Most of us understand communications between couples can be difficult. The non-ADHD partner can be frustrated because a simple request isn’t handled in a timely manner.
Here is an example: John and Emily are busy getting ready for work. John has ADHD, Emily does not.
- Emily: “I need your help to put away everything in the den.The room is a mess and I will need that space. Can you do that for me?”
- John: “Sure, I can do that.”
Three days go by and the room is still a mess. Now the agitation and frustration begins.
- Emily: “Why haven’t you cleaned the den out yet? I asked you and you said you would take care of it”.
- John: “I didn’t know you wanted that right away. I’ve been busy with (blame and excuses may follow)"
If the non-ADHD partner understood ADHD, they might have added to the request,
- Emily: “I need that space before Friday. Can you get to that before then? What will help you remember?
- John: " I believe I can. I am rushing out the door to a meeting and I need to double check and add it to my alerts or schedule. Can you send me a text or email to remind me when I get to work and am able to figure out the timing."
- Emily: Yes, I can do that.
Ahh! Now we have a time-frame (urgency) and a way to avoid forgetting (alerts or writing it down). John had every intention of helping, but needed a strategy to help him remember when he could actually plan the activity. When both partners understand and recognize what strategies work best, the ADHD partner has a better chance of following through.
Think of the incomplete projects. The promises not kept. The list goes on. As ADHD coaches, we unravel these mysteries and help improve relationships with creating awareness and helping to develop ADHD-friendly skills and stategies.
Marriage Uncomplicated: Bringing Back the Joy in Relationships with ADHD is a combined couples workshop and research Study that measures 23 areas of concern in relationships where one partner has ADHD. During the course of an eight-week workshop, we will be measuring the effect of the program on 23 areas of concern.
Our experience has shown there are three essential focus points for successful relationships:
- Improved Clarity and Understanding
- Better Collaboration
- Skill & Strategy Development
Each session of the workshop is designed to provide the clarity, skills development and strategies that will create more harmony in the relationship. We start this week! There is still time to join us and begin creating a stronger, healthier relationship in your marriage, despite the challenges of ADHD.
Click here to Learn More and Register
Have questions: Reach out to us at Robin@ADHDCoach.life or Joyce@JoyceKubik.com
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