Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) impacts the brain’s ability to regulate emotions. Many ADHDers are prone to rapidly shifting moods, quick and intense emotions, and difficulty filtering what is on their mind (especially when passionate or heated). For a non-ADHD partner, they may find they’re experiencing similar emotions but in a more tempered and regulated way. This can cause a disconnect in ADHD relationships. Without understanding the ins and outs of exactly how ADHD and relationships are impacted by emotions, both partners may continue to feel misunderstood.
How ADHD and Relationships are Impacted by Emotional Dysregulation
Many ADHDers also struggle with anger management. This often comes from the chronic stress many ADHD people experience with having to meet the demands of a world that does not feel built for them. In addition, the ADHD brain is designed without a stopgap between emotion and response. So when an ADHDer feels any emotion, it’s usually felt deeply and for prolonged periods. For anger, this can result in rapid expressions of frustration that feel disproportionate to the situation.
It’s common for ADHD adults to feel guilty for mismanaging their time, speaking too quickly, or forgetting something. As a result, they can spend a lot of time overthinking and ruminating on what they did wrong in any given situation, and how to make it right. For many non-ADHDers, they might express to their partner frustrations with relationships that they just can’t “get over it.”
When we avoid things, we are often avoiding the negative emotions attached to what we are avoiding. Many ADHD people struggle to manage those emotions, leaving them to delay getting started. But for their partners without ADHD, it might create the illusion of a lack of motivation. This could be interpreted as something like, “if you loved me, you’d get the laundry started,” which then fosters a pattern of misunderstandings.
ADHDers often experience highs and lows that tend to be dependent on their situation. For example, many ADHD people feel deep sadness after a major project they enjoyed is over. Since ADHD brains crave excitement, the loss of energy they are receiving from the enjoyment of the task results in despair.
RSD is a real phenomenon that creates an emotional storm in the face of perceived rejection. Many ADHD people describe it as a lightning bolt, which can cause them to react to the feelings and not the facts. This can result in conflict with their spouses or shutting down completely.
Learning to Manage Emotions
The best way to start managing emotions is to learn to notice what you are feeling in the first place. Without understanding what you are feeling, it’s hard to know how to cope. In addition, emotional awareness can lead to better communication with those around you. Many individuals find it helpful to write down their emotions as a reference guide.
Once you learn to identify emotions, finding the best ways to manage them is key. Learning to practice mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing helps, but the best solutions are personalized to the underlying reasons why you feel the way you feel. This is where emotional regulation therapy can help.
Without emotional regulation, it’s all too easy to wind up misunderstood. ADHD adults do their best when they are supported by those around them, managing emotions helps to increase understanding and deepen connection to spouses and friends.
Begin Adult ADHD Treatment in Columbus, Ohio
Looking for more individualized support? You don’t have to live your life feeling like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. Emotional regulation therapy that is ADHD-focused can help you feel more grounded. Our Columbus, OH counseling practice in Columbus, Ohio has caring therapists who specialize in ADHD Treatment. To start your counseling journey, follow these simple steps:
- Fill out the contact form to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation.
- Meet with one of our caring therapists.
- Stop feeling overwhelmed. Start finding your calm.
Other ADHD Services Offered at Focused Mind ADHD Counseling
Adult ADHD treatment is not the only service we offer at our Columbus, OH counseling practice. At Focused Mind ADHD Counseling, we offer a variety of mental health services including ADHD testing. As an adult with ADHD, we know you may also benefit from anxiety treatment for ADHD, counseling for men with ADHD, or depression counseling for ADHD. You can also view our blog for more resources and helpful info!