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Relationships & Social Issues This forum is for adults with AD/HD to discuss how AD/HD affects personal relationships.

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  #1  
Old 09-16-11, 11:52 PM
mildadhd mildadhd is offline
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Remembering What Didn't Happen: The ADD Relationship

.



Quote:
The child who is deprived or rejected will tend to overreact to successive separations throughout life.

-Robert W.Firestone, Ph.D., The Fantasy Bond

Quote:
"I'm confused about my relationships with women," said Trevor, a thirty-six-year-old stockbroker, diagnosed with ADD in his early thirties. "Its sick that you want someone so bad when they are cold to you, then when they warm up you start finding things that are wrong with them".
Page 258 Scattered Minds, by Dr.Gabor Mate
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  #2  
Old 09-17-11, 12:35 AM
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Post Re: Remembering What Didn't Happen: The ADD Relationship

Quote:
Trevor's one marriage ended when his wife divorced him after five years,

following which he lived with another woman for four years.

He had cheated on both of them.

He has dated and slept with dozens of women but has not had any other relationships lasting longer than a few months.

At the time of our discussion,

he was seeing three women,

keeping each in the dark about the others.

He ended many of those liaisons soon after they began,

quickly growing tired of them.

By the same token,

he feels devastated if ever a woman begins to withdraw from him.

"I just hate being left," he said.

"I can't even stand it when a woman wants to end a telephone conversation.

I deliberately start prolonging things, bringing up new topics I'm not even interested in,

just to keep her on the phone."

A year ago, Trevor spent the summer with a young woman from another country,

a sudden and casual acquaintance.

"It was strange," he said.

"She never told me she loved me or that she would miss me when she went back home.

In the end I was resenting it"

Quote:
"Did you tell her you loved her?" I asked.

"Did you feel that you did?"

Quote:
Trevor shrugged.

"Thats what is so strange.

I would have cared, except for the fact that she was going away.

Toward the end,

I was getting pretty nasty to her.

I feel sad about it now.

She was always very nice to me.

I can't understand what was with me".

Quote:
Ironically,

in the midst of his jumping from one brief fling to another,

Trevor yearns for a monogamous relationship.

He hopes someday to have a family and is distressed by his inability to become deeply committed to any one of his female partners.

As his forties approach,

he worries that time is running out.

"Is it that I haven't met the right one?" he asked.

"Or am I just incapable of settling down?"

My guess was that he'd probably met at least half a dozen "right ones".

Quote:
He agreed.

"My wife was wonderful,

and Melanie[the four year live-partner] was a very good person too.

It's sick,

isn't it.

I mean,

I was brought up in a Christian home and believe in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

There are some real solid values there.

I'm just too weak to live up to them."

p 258 Scattered Minds, by Dr.Gabor Mate

(Next post p 259)
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  #3  
Old 09-18-11, 11:57 PM
mildadhd mildadhd is offline
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Re: Remembering What Didn't Happen: The ADD Relationship

Quote:
Sick and weak are not useful entries in the dictionary of self understanding.

I suggested that a little compassion curiosity about what might be driving Trevor's fear of intimacy and commitment would yield us more insight than his self-accusations.
Quote:
Fear of intimacy is universal among ADD adults.

It coexists with what superficially would seem to be its opposites--a desperate craving for affection and dread of being rejected.

The reflexive shrinking away from intimacy undermines the ability of the ADD adult to find what he would find most healing: mutually committed loving contact with another human being.

Trevor may be an extreme example of the relationship nomad,

but the issues that trouble him are,

to one degree or another,

present in every relationship in which either or both of the partners have attention deficit disorder.

From p 259 Scattered By Dr.Gabor Mate

(Next post p 259)
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Old 09-28-11, 01:00 PM
mildadhd mildadhd is offline
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Re: Remembering What Didn't Happen: The ADD Relationship

Quote:
Trevor has tried therapy here and there is the past.

These efforts usually ended after a few sessions spent trying to identify the traumatic events that would have led to his confused and conflicting emotions around relationships.

The problem was that he could not recall anything traumatic.

No one had abused him,

neither of his parents were alcoholics and there was no violence in the family home as he was growing up.

It's not that memory failed him;

it was,

in fact,

accurately telling him exactly what he needed to know,

but he had not learned to recognize the many vivid memories he was experiencing each and every day of his adult life.

Quote:
There are memories,

the psychiatrist Mark Epstein explains,

"that are not so much about something terrible happening,

but,

in the words of D.W.Winnicott [ the great British children's psychoanalyst] about 'nothing happening when something might profitably have happened.'

These events are more often recorded in the soma,

or body,

than in the verbal memory,

and they can be integrated only by subsequently experiencing and making sense of them."

When Trevor finally came to recognize and make sense of the memories encoded in his body states and emotional reactions,

he saw that his present-day troubles arose not from what had happened in his family,

but from what had not happened.

He found that he had been living a memory each time anxiety gripped him when a woman seemed to cool toward him or even when she tried to end a late-night telephone call.

His fear of intimacy was itself a reliving of long-ago events,

a precise marker of what had never occurred.

It was a function of *implicit memory.

From p 259-260 Scattered By Dr.Gabor Mate

(Next post p 260)

*implicit memory, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implicit_memory
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Old 09-28-11, 01:46 PM
mildadhd mildadhd is offline
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Re: Remembering What Didn't Happen: The ADD Relationship

Quote:
We saw in the previous chapter that implicit memory is the imprinting of brain circuits with the emotional content of early experiences.

These circuits become activated without the person's having any awareness that what he feels in the present really belongs to the past.

"In a situation like this," writes Joseph LeDoux,

"you may find yourself in the throes of an emotional state that exists for reasons you do not quite understand."

LeDoux,

quite aptly,

refers to implicit memory also as emotional memory.

(The road rage example given in chapter 10 was an instance of implicit or emotional memory. Road rage always is.)

Quote:
How can we understand Trevor's reactions to his female lovers as implicit memory?

In chapter 10 we saw how a portion of the frontal gray matter on the right side of the brain--the orbitofrontal cortex, or OFC--is dominant in processing emotions and interpreting emotional stimuli.

It responds to tone and body language rather than to the specific meanings of words.

Its interpretation of the present is heavily influenced by the past--by traces of early childhood emotional interactions encoded in its circuitry,

what we have called the footprints of infancy.

Let us assume that in Trevor's formative years there were stresses in his parents' lives that prevented his needs for attunement and attachment from being met.

(There is, in fact, plenty of evidence to support that from details that he is able to recall of his later childhood years.)

The emotion a sensitive infant would experience when he feels cut off from his primary caregivers would be a deep anxiety of being abandoned,

which is precisely what Trevor experiences at the slightest intimation that a woman whose attention he wants is withdrawing from him,

if only on the telephone.

From p 260 Scattered By Dr.Gabor Mate

(Next post p 261)
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