- Sam B.
Executive Functioning and Family Communication
Executive Functioning deficits (like those experienced by people with ADHD) result in a myriad of interpersonal issues in the home. Here are some ways they can manifest and some things we can do about it.
How Executive Functioning deficits manifest to create issues at home:
1) People with EF deficits are much more likely to have communication issues with their families.
2) There's a greater chance someone in the family may be overcompensating for the deficits of a family member. This can result in resentment.
3) Adults with EF deficits tend to carry a lot of negative feelings and negative self-talk over the decades of managing the negative outcomes of their work.
4) Adults with EF deficits tend to have low self esteem.
5) There may be more of a failure to follow through with plans.
6) There may be less trust in the relationship.
7) There may be feelings of undue burden and strain.
8) Adults with EF deficits may have issues with empathy and emotional regulation.
These issues (and others) can cause arguments, fights, and an unhealthy spiral of negative communication. But, if there is true love in the relationship/family, there are things that can be done to improve the situation!
How to repair relationship issues caused by EF deficits:
1) Manage the Executive Functioning issue - get meds, restructure the environment, get enough sleep, get a good diet and exercise routine.
2) Get professional therapy and treatment together, not individually.
3) Understand that therapy doesn't have to be strictly expensive private sessions. There are now online classes and even weekend classes available in many areas.
4) Understand that we attract opposites in relationships. This is what spices up a relationship and it can be very useful to have complements in your partner. However, you must recognize that, over time, those difference can also lead to frustrations.
5) Address issues in a good mental space with calm emotions. Do not address issues when emotions are high.
6) Avoid lashing out and violating trust. Avoid interjecting and using absolutes.
For more great tips on managing and repairing relationships that have suffered from Executive Functioning deficits, check out this CHADD webinar/podcast.