A common experience of people with ADHD is feeling reactive to those around them. This can feel like you are being pushed into decisions or worse – having them taken from you. It also means that when you resist, it can result in an argument that gets out of hand. At this point the question should not be who did what, when, where – instead, ask: what was the part that hurt?
The part that hurt, whether it was when the decision was taken away, or the time to decide was removed, or when the talk became abusive, demeaning, or overbearing, is worth paying attention to. As the overload of input stresses you and increases the effort to keep everything straight in your head, having a simple set of boundaries or “Bill of Rights” can help to simplify and manage the issues.
Build your Bill of Rights.
- Ask yourself what things you choose to accept. This could be: only to be spoken to with respect (not accepting demeaning or sarcastic comments etc); being given time to think when needed; assuming good intent; the right to decline etc.
- Write them down!
- When you have your list, then consider what you will do to support them. Eg. I will state my right and excuse myself from the situation by leaving the room or I will only continue the discussion if my needs are respected. I will be comfortable with silence (it can give me time to think!)
This means that you not only have a preprepared standard but also a strategy to support it, which will make it easier to enact when you are experiencing overload.
Having clarity and access to your core values has the benefit of reducing feelings of being “run over” by others and giving yourself the time and space to feel greater clarity in your decisions and actions. This is the foundation of respect and consistency.
So, what is your Bill of Rights?