Change Must Be Managed
Treating ADHD as a family condition is one of the key differences in the way Living ADDventure® runs its Coaching Programme compared with Executive, Business and Life Coaching. Most Coaching programmes work with the individual.
When someone with ADHD starts the Living ADDventure® ADHD Coaching Programme it can be extremely difficult for the non-ADHD partner, spouse, children, work colleagues and friends.
Things will inevitably get worse before they start to get better. If the ADDer is newly diagnosed there is a mixture of relief at understanding their own behaviour a bit better but also a lot of humiliation and sadness as they start to "peel the onion". The prospect of possibly having to take medication which has such a bad reputation, the ridicule of friends and family who do not believe there is anything wrong can all leave the ADDer confused and unsure.
For the benefit of the whole family working as a team is essential and that is when the best results are obtained.
Change is very difficult and when ADDers sign up for the ADHD Coaching Programme they are often already broken and fragile. Relationships are fraught, money is frequently an issue, they may have lost their jobs and are self medicating with smoking, drugs and alcohol. Suppressed rage and anger is common.
The non-ADHD Spouse or Parent is the one who frequently contacts us in desperation. The family is being destroyed and they feel powerless. We always say that until the ADDer decides that they want to change we can't help. It is the same for addicts. They need to make the decision and commitment and make the phone call.
Once the ADDer has taken the decision and starts the programme it is important to involve the family to learn how to support the ADDer as they starts to make changes.
Frequently the spouse/parent has become co-dependent on the ADDer, giving up their own life to ensure that the ADDer is not going to get into trouble, be late, say the wrong thing, mess up the finances, has clean clothes etc.
As the ADDer starts to find their independence and starts to take responsibility for their own life, the co-dependent is left without a reason for getting out of bed. There is a real danger of the co-dependent undermining the Coaching programme to ensure that they will continue to be needed.
The ADDer takes 1 step forward and 3 steps back and becomes angry and dis-illusioned. Remaining supportive is very hard. You get your hopes up and they get dashed over and over again. But slowly if everyone perseveres permanent changes will come about.
The dynamics of the relationship change. Finding the balance takes time and lots of support from the whole family.
Change is never easy but when you make the decision and you work together the whole family benefits.
In my next post which I have titled Midlife Madness you will see the consequences of me trying to change without having the necessary tools to manage the change and the support of my family. It was not mine nor my family's fault. We knew nothing about ADHD and I had fallen apart. It resulted in a lot of bewilderment and hurt that has taken years to heal.
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