11 Comments

  1. Dana Ritz

    Jonathon,
    WOW! This makes total sense and I have been engaging and losing for three years! My nephew who was recently diagnosed ADHD who also has Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and is shunted on the right side fits this to a T. I have been trying to figure out how to get my nephew to be more responsible for himself especially with his medical needs/hygiene. When he has accidents his response is it’s not my fault. But yet he constantly forgets to cath or even take his meds then yells at me for reminding him. I have no idea how to get through to him. I am in the process of reading all of your articles.

    Dana

  2. Sharon Byars

    I have a 12 year old son with ADD. He does so good,most the time, controlling his ADD. The one major issue we are having is responsibility. Doing homework. Remembering to turn in completed homework. Leaving the milk out. Just general things that make a person responsible. What are some tips you can give us to help him. Reminding him often isn’t working. Punishing isn’t working. We are at our wits end. HELP!!!

  3. margaret

    I have an issue with this article.
    I have ADHD and have had it since the mid to late 70’s when I was officially diagnosed.

    I just today had an issue that is an example of where “taking responsibility” makes no sense.

    I rely on my wonderful “smart” phone (they are actually potentially great tools for folks with ADHD) for my morning alarm.

    However, the way my phone used to work until last week was that I could MUTE the phone (something I have to do each night so as not to wake up myself or my partner in bed with random notifications sounds and potential phone calls) but the alarm would still come on in the morning. WORKED FINE!.

    But a system upgrade last week changed that . I noticed over the past week my volume controls were managed completely differently now. It is confusing and now when I mute my phone my alarm is muted as well.

    Today I overslept because of this.

    NOW . Is it MY responsibility or fault that this happened?

    I do go to bed at a healthy time.
    I do have good sleep hygiene but I have struggled with staying asleep so my sleep is messed up and I can wake for several hours and end up going back to sleep an hour before I wake up and then I really need that alarm!.

    I feel completely frustrated becaue this is just ONE example of how our environment is constantly changing and the tricks we have to keep us on track are constantly being challenged and messed with due to forces really outside of our control. I may have updated the system (cause it would have kept bugging me to do so) but I had NO idea it was going to mess with the alarm function.

    So yeah.. I am going to BLAME my phone. Why should I bear the shame and judgment for something someone else really messed with and that cascaded into MY Life?

    NOW, I have to take time out.. figure out the problem (exhausting) or find a NEW system (exhausting).. But that is how society constantly is.. and it is one that is increasing with severity.

    It doesn’t help to feel judgment and blame from others. Sometimes it is nicer to say “yeah.. I can totally relate and that sucks” instead of “well take responsibility and figure out a solution”. NO compassion there.. because apparently in this reality that is a character flaw. Sometimes we just need a hug not self blame .. we get that all the time!!!

    How come when someone steps on MY feet it is somehow MY fault that my feet where there? “pay attention”.. well what if the other person wasn’t paying attention? Why is the impetus on the person with ADHD?.. I am hyper vigilant and yes it does make me exhausted and I am tired of blaming myself for everything when maybe in fact it IS the other person or the system!.

  4. Rachel Newman

    Blame vs. Responsibility

    Blame is defeating.

    Responsibility is empowering.

    People with ADHD have been conditioned to feel SHAME constantly from constantly BEING WRONG. It’s a type of learned helplessness with a neurological basis, a schema developed over time.

    WRONG = BAD = WORTHLESS. This is paralyzing for us.

    Responsibility is something that is empowering. What has helped me the most is metacognitive strategies in which I reflect on what I’ve done (with effort NOT TO FEEL BLAME) and create strategies that help me combat what is not working.

    I empathize with non-ADHD partners; we ADHD-ers are just as PISSED and FRUSTRATED at ourselves as you are with us. I understand that I make my partner’s life difficult. But that doesn’t mean I can JUST stop (I can’t JUST “do” anything…except be IMPULSIVE…very GOOD at that).

    What doesn’t work is when my partner is when BLAMES me, when he JUDGES my worth as person for it. However, when he IGNORES what I do incorrectly, I feel similarly defeated. Instead, as with any partnership, I feel that I need support from him to help me as I take responsibility.

    On my end, I need to also be more actively empathetic and acknowledge the strain that he is under, the frustration that he feels.

    It’s a two-way street. Empathize with each other. Support each other; empower each other. 🙂

  5. Cindy

    Having this cr4p as disorder IS NOT our fault. Doing what we do IS NOT our fault.

    When something is “our fault” it is something people do intentionally.

    Its just so wrong to tell us that everything is our fault, it IS NOT OUR FAULT.

    You may think I’m just blaming ADHD and not taking responsability. But sorry, did I blame the cripple for being unable to walk? Its that cripples fault that they can’t walk! They have to take responsability for their inability to walk! Nobody says that to people who are paralzyed.

    But sure, its ok with us, who have ADHD.

    Just because its not our fault DOESN’T mean we are powerless to change things in our lives for the better. But if all you do is blame us, then the only result is for us to mentally beat ourselves up. Whats wrong with us, we think, that we can’t do this thing that others can?

    IT IS NOT OUR FAULT THAT WE DO WHAT WE DO. That being said there are things we can do to make things better, if we have the KNOWLEDGE that we can’t change our ADHD symptoms,.

    But I’m just SO TIRED of taking on the responsibility all the time, and the blame/fault. Its extremely depressing. I’m not doing it anymore.

  6. Lucy

    Dear Jonathan,

    Thank you for writing this short guide! I am NT and am learning all I can about this disorder, but even so, am still blindsided every so often!

    Just this evening I have been bluntly given the full emotional blame for a very challenging and stressful and tiring situation that my ADHD (untreated so far) partner has got himself into, which has caused us to have to live hundreds of miles apart for the last 9 months, with only one day off per month. His mood and has been gradually deteriorating as his frustrations have grown.

    His blame came as a text message. When I replied, calmly challenging his perception, he immediately disappeared and will not communicate.
    I’m hoping that this means that your information is correct!
    If he was looking for a dramatic or defensive reaction, he didn’t get it. Just a concerned opinion on what’s really going on with him.

    We’ll see what happens next. It’s so upsetting to love someone with this disorder, as he truly cannot see what he does to me, and to others.

    I’ll be reading further around your site!

    Thanks again for saving my sanity tonight! 🙂

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