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Re: Dad ADD too?

Re: Dad ADD too?2010-09-14T14:15:11+00:00

The Forums Forums Emotional Journey Other Dad ADD too? Re: Dad ADD too?


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Hi Green

Anger is as natural, (even healthy up to a point), a response to emotional injury as physical pain is in response to physical injury. But just as the pain of an physical injury can sometimes remain and become chronic pain long after the body has healed, mental and emotional pain can persist decades after the events that caused it. At some point, somehow it may improve. Or you may need to find pain management strategies that enable you to be as high functioning as possible in as many ways as possible. If recognizing that the ongoing toxicity of a relationship is making your pain worse, and discontinuing the relationship makes you better able to function, then it might be necessary to do that. You are allowed to save your own life.

“Why did he never seek treatment?” Any number of reasons.

Firstly, he might well have recognized his sensitivity as an inherited trait, but not seen it as symptomatic of a treatable condition. “I have my father’s hair-trigger temper” just like “I have my mother’s blue eyes”.

Secondly, if you are “way into middle age”, then this was probably at least thirty, forty years ago. Back then, ADHD was called hyperactivity and if it was diagnosed at all it was widely assumed that it was little boys who couldn’t sit still and that they would eventually grow out of it. There was no widespread awareness of ADD as a phenomenon that persists into adulthood, and how it manifests itself in adults. Even if he had sought treatment, he might well have been diagnosed (rightly or wrongly) with depression or sent to anger management workshops or something – which might or might not have been helpful- but it’s unlikely that he would have been diagnosed with and treated for ADD. Adults who are diagnosed are frequently first detected after their children are diagnosed. If you were only diagnosed as an adult, then you went through school undetected, even though they probably were screening for it in children back then. So if you weren’t diagnosed by the criteria of the day, how likely is it that he would have been?

Furthermore, while I agree that it might well be likely that your father shares this problem, he might also have had different problems with similar symptoms. For example, the symptoms you describe – flying into rages for no good reason, poor judgment, blurting things out etc could also be the long term consequences of a head injury. In which case, even if he had sought help, there wouldn’t have been many useful treatment options.

Lastly, there was, and let’s face it still is, stigma attached to mental health problems and learning disabilities. It can be especially hard for men to admit to themselves, much less share with anybody else that they have mental or emotional health issues or disabilities even these days. Forty years ago it was even less acceptable. Plus he had to worry about whether if such a thing were to become known about him, it would damage his reputation at work. Would it cost him the possibility of advancement? The job? His ability ever to get another job? Even though privacy is supposed to be guaranteed and protected, and discrimination is illegal, we all know that the realities of the workplace often don’t work that way. Even if he’d recognized that he had a problem, he might have felt that the risks he would have believed to be involved in admitting it and seeking treatment might well have outweighed the benefits he might have hoped to achieve.