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Do you use conflict to make yourself feel better?

Will 73% of Your Friends Think You Talk Excessively?


Some people with ADHD often talk because they’re excited or nervous or want to be part of a conversation or can’t handle silence. While others talk because they are convinced they are right about every subject that comes up.

Have you ever been around a person who seems to talk continuously? You start a sentence, say five words then they hijack your sentence and finish it for you. You say, “That’s not what…”  Cut off again.

Often, they finish the sentence with a comment about themselves or their opinion about the subject.

If you disagree with their opinion, you are wrong.

If the ADHDer is prone to a negative self-image, they may assume you are going to say something derogatory about them and they don’t want to hear it. Cutting off your sentences is one way to avoid hearing your words.

If you persist in trying to be heard, you must raise your voice one or two levels of intensity. The conversation then often escalates into conflict.

Confrontation, where ADHD is involved, often goes wrong because emotions are allowed to take control, over-driving responses to the situation, and making resolution even more difficult.

Some Medicate With Conflict

Many relationships, where at least one party has ADHD, have an abundance of arguments and conflict because some ADHDers provoke conflict, intentionally or unintentionally by habit, for a hit of adrenaline, which gives them a feeling of calm and focus.

Some ADHDers bait others into an argument to get the adrenaline rush, whereas with others it is a subconscious behavior. Either way, it can be very damaging to relationships.

It’s Never Their Fault

In some cases, the ADHDer ends the argument with a smirk on their face that says, “I win” leaving the other person in total frustration or in tears.

Whereas others end arguments with, “If you hadn’t said or done such and such, we wouldn’t have had a problem.”

The ADHDer gets the adrenaline rush while the other person gets total blame.

Brad Mason in his article, ADHD CHILD, WHY IS IT NEVER THEIR FAULT, “I didn’t do it. It wasn’t me. It was because so and so did such and such to me,” or “My childhood ADHD made me do it.”

This doesn’t just occur in children. If a child develops this conflict resolution protocol during childhood it often extends into adulthood.

Mason states that it isn’t always denial or protecting their self-image. It is often a poorly developed metacognition, which is the “ability to think about what they are thinking about” and the consequences of their actions.

The ADHDer may have difficulty recognizing that they are distracted, or inaccurately reading the situation or behavior. They don’t seem to see that their words and behavior could be having a negative effect on others.

Metacognition issues also appear in bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder also have problems overestimating their cognitive performance. The depression they experience also has an impact on their metacognition.

People with metacognition problems often have difficulty in everyday problem-solving. They do not notice errors in their work or whether a job is totally finished or not.

According to Mason, being married to a spouse with an underdeveloped metacognition would be like being “married to someone for whom it was never their fault, always yours, and apologies never get issued- only blame.”

An article published in the Sept/Oct 2014 edition of the Scientific American Mind states that a person with metacognition issues, experiences difficulty in making accurate judgments about their own thoughts, such as, whether their words or behavior choices are appropriate.

Why Confrontation Goes Wrong 

In general, many people with ADHD have problems in social situations. Some are very shy and have problems communicating in public, while others become very exuberant, excited, and even overbearing. In either case, they have problems engaging correctly and perceiving, or understanding the feelings and emotions of others.

ADHDers don’t always intentionally talk too much, or cut off others’ sentences. It could be a lack of impulse control, misdirected focused attention, working memory problems, or metacognition issues, which are involuntary parts of ADHD.

Dennis and Gracie

Dennis and Gracie, who had been married for several years began having some form of conflict almost every day. When they first got married, they had some arguments, as most couples do. Gracie thought it would get better as they adjusted to married life, but it got worse.

She’d had enough. So, she escaped on a “women’s retreat,” so she said, but it was actually a personal getaway in the coastal mountains. She needed a break from always being wrong or being corrected about everything.

Upon finding a deserted cabin, she began setting up camp inside and gathering firewood for the fireplace, hoping the chimney wasn’t clogged. With a flashlight and a candle, she was set.

As she lay in her sleeping bag, she thought about the conflicts they’d had recently. It always came down to something she said, a tone in her voice, an expression on her face, something. Later, he’d say “I was wrong” or, maybe, “I’m sorry for something”, but then he’d flip it and say, “But if you hadn’t done or said such and such…”

The cabin was so peaceful.  She wondered what it would be like to live in the cabin permanently, no phone calls, no tweets, no text messages, nobody telling her she was wrong, nobody screaming at her. “Could she do it?”

Her past thoughts of escaping or ending her life ran through her mind. That wasn’t the way to handle it. She knew that God had a special plan for her in Dennis’s life. She began to pray.

She felt God’s love and peace wrap around her. It was such an awesome feeling. She lost all track of time wrapped in God’s presence.

Her phone dinged.

“I thought I turned you off,” she said looking at her phone.

It wasn’t Dennis. It was a website she had been looking at that was talking about ways to deal with metacognition. She read the first few paragraphs of the blog and smiled, looking up.

“Thank you, Father. You always know the right things at the right time.”

How To Deal With Metacognition Issues

Metacognition is the ability to think about what you are thinking about and the consequences of your actions.

There are words going through your mind continuously, some are good, others not so much. ADHDers and people with metacognition problems are usually more self-focused and hearing self-defeating babble. Here are some steps for change:

  1. Make a decision to renew your mind with God’s Word to manage your metacognition problem.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2 NKJV

2. Think Out Loud

Talk through your thoughts out loud, to yourself, a friend or relative or even a pet. Verbalization helps you work through your thoughts and get rid of negativity.

Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5 NKJV

3. Evaluate Your Thoughts – Ask Yourself Questions

Asking self-reflective questions is key to metacognition. Take the time to be Introspective and honest with yourself about your thoughts. Don’t allow negative thoughts or judgements to remain in your mind. Instead, fill your mind with truth.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Phil 4:8 NKJV

4. Write Your Thoughts

Writing is very helpful in organizing and assessing your thoughts. Just like thinking out loud, writing can help you identify your thoughts, how you think and the changes you need to make to line-up with God’s Word.

5. Fix Your Thoughts

While writing, decide what you are going to think about. Some translate Phil 4:8 as “Fix Your Thoughts” on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. You have a choice as to what you are going to focus on.

Dennis and Gracie

Gracie took these steps back to Dennis. He agreed to start Mind Renewal.

Gracie began to tell him about the problems and her trip to the mountains. Dennis decided to take notes. He wrote all the time Gracie talked with only a few interruptions for clarifications.

When she was finished, he sat for some time perusing his notes. He looked up with tears running down his face, slowly got out of his seat, walked over to Gracie, and gently putting his arms around her.

“I am so sorry. Will you please forgive me? I had no idea,” he said.

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