Many of us with AD/HD have bouts of miscommunication, which may be attributed to how our AD/HD symptoms, like impulsiveness, inattention and being sensitive, may manifest themselves.While we may work hard to ensure that we are understood, we can end up feeling misunderstood at times. It can be quite a quandary, and may take some time to unravel. In fact, it may seem almost like a chicken and egg scenario.
In this post I am focusing on an area where we have the most control, ourselves. While it can be quite challenging to work on ourselves, it can also be easier than trying to change those things that are external to us.
We may have adopted counterproductive patterns of communication that have persisted, though they get in our way. In some cases, we have taken on ways of communicating as a direct result of our history of feeling that our words and/or actions are misinterpreted.
For example, in attempting to fit into social situations, some of us may “clam up” out of fear that we may say something wrong. In other cases, we might say too much in attempts to show that we are following the conversation.
In both cases, you can see that the ability to participate in the “natural” give and take of a conversation is seriously compromised by talking too little or too much; our ability to communicate effectively is clearly diminished by these patterns.
I’m sure that you can think of examples of your own communication patterns that lead to unintended results. It would be great to hear them.
So, the question is: How do you get out of this box?
In some cases, we may decide to take responsibility for what we can control.
In this case, the first step is to be aware of and take ownership of your own patterns of communication, which may be leading to miscommunication.
The next step is to acknowledge that you have choices about how you would like to respond to what you consider problematic patterns. While you may have a history of communicating in a certain way, that does not mean that you need to continue that pattern.
If you choose to change a habit, it is also important to recognize that it will likely be challenging to unlearn an old habit and institute a new habit that works better for you. It will be work.
Once we are aware of our patterns, triggers and options, we can create a plan for a different future. The best way to do this is to explore specific contexts, rather than trying to figure out a plan based on generalities.
Toward this end, can you think of a specific incidence where you think you could have communicated more effectively? If you have one in mind, attempt to apply the following questions to that scenario.
- What happened? Try to give just the facts without commentary, which I know can be hard.
- What would you like to have done differently?
- How can you practice doing it differently in the future?
- What kind of help do you need to increase your chances of success?
- Would it help to get help from someone else? Whom might you ask for help?
Good luck looking in the mirror.
Next week, I’ll look at how we make choices concerning our perception of communication SNAFUs.
Until then, let me know what you see in your mirror this week.