Tuesday, July 12, 2011 2 Comments
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Marriage therapists say there are three sides to every story: his side, her side, and what happened.
Misunderstandings abound, even in relationships
where neither partner is struggling with one of the Alphabet Disorders.
But I’d be tempted to argue for a fourth side with ADD/EFD in the picture — especially when it has been recently diagnosed or (holy moly!) undiagnosed, maybe barely suspected.
It seems to make no difference if the participants are intelligent, psychologically savvy individuals — without the knowledge of the impact of kludgy Executive Functioning on perception and pragmatics, the curve ball injected when ADD/EFD is part of the dynamic can set up situations that defy analysis.
In fact, psychological models often muddy the waters, aiming terms like “resistance,” “struggles for control,” “passive-aggressive behavior,” and “ambivalence” at situations where ADD/EFD is clearly the one and only culprit — but only to the EFD knowledgeable who remember to look for it there first.
Help that didn’t
I spent almost a year in therapy working on my “feelings of ambivalence” toward my sister — “repressed,” of course. The presenting evidence? I was chronically late to any activity we planned together, often because I was unable to find my keys so I could lock the door behind me when I left my Manhattan apartment.
I knew that my sister interpreted my lateness as a sign that I didn’t want to spend time with her or that I didn’t care about her feelings. Every shared event began with a tense half-hour at the very least, if only because I was so frazzled from my attempts to make it on time.
“You could at least call! Why don’t you do that?” hung in the air,
even on those occasions when she didn’t actually say it.