In T.C. Boyles story “Modern Love” a man and woman start seeing each other. He thinks everything is fine, but she’s very sensitive to the level of cleanliness everywhere they go. It seems extreme to him, but he caters to her preferences. The relationship progresses slowly, but he holds out hope that it will be stable and successful.
This is a story that might resonate with many people who have ADHD. The man in the story is “holding out hope” that he can make it work and won’t be rejected. For people with ADHD that feeling of rejection and disappointment can be supercharged. Even the smallest of things tend to become exaggerated and emotional no matter how much they desire to respond appropriately. This often makes lasting, meaningful relationships difficult.
“Research shows that we have greater challenges with frustration, impatience, anger, and excitability than others do. That’s because ADHD impairs our ability to regulate our emotions, to experience them in a controlled way, so that they don’t gush out into the world.”- Additude Magazine
No one likes being rejected or feeling disappointed. People with ADHD often try to overcompensate to avoid those feelings.
Like the man in the story who caters to the woman's preferences, people with ADHD have the need to please. They often go above and beyond. However, when their efforts go unnoticed, they will have a larger than expected emotional response. They may view this as a personal failure. They may feel that they just didn’t do enough.
Up to 99% of teens and adults with ADHD are more sensitive than usual to rejection - WebMD
This overwhelming feeling of rejection is often referred to as Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria.
Hope is the desire for a certain thing to happen. We all hope to find meaningful, lasting relationships. The excitement that accompanies the establishment of a significant relationship can be overwhelming. For someone with ADHD, the feeling of excitement is greatly amplified. It may be difficult to contain. However, if the relationship ends, the feeling of rejection might seem impossible to manage. Anger can ensue.
The difficulty of regulating that anger can cause explosive behavior. It may also cause the person rejected to shut out those that caused the anger. The inability to control the anger can make one feel disappointed in themselves and their behavior.
These emotions can be all consuming and overwhelming. Feelings of rejection and disappointment can lead to a cycle of broken relationships with loved ones, co-workers, or the public as a whole.
Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria and Executive Function
Hope is here! Start by learning the cognitive skills required to control those emotions and build strong relationships. Play Attention strengthens executive function allowing your brain to process and choose an appropriate response and deal with the feelings of rejection and disappointment. Click here to schedule a 1:1 consultation to chat about your needs and how we can customize an effective neurocognitive training program for you.