You are SO not the boss of me! A childish title for a what is a serious blog post series on planning our lives and business in 2015.
But, to be quite honest our behaviour yesterday was beyond childish. We could easily pretend it didn't happen and that everything is going according to plan and that we are two mature adults doing it all right. But we have made a commitment to share our successes and failures with you so that hopefully you learn a bit from us.
Sadly yesterday was a day from a hell. It started off as a perfect day. Dave suggested that we cut ourselves some slack and take some time out to do a bit of baking and gardening.
There is a beautiful nursery across the road from us and we took a stroll and returned with trays of seedlings to plant when the afternoon cooled down. Dave baked some bread and I had a little afternoon nap.
When I got up Dave said he was feeling a bit down and didn't know why. I had been like that the day before. ADDers often have these up and down mood swings and we don't know why. This was the first warning sign I missed. He then asked me a question about what I was doing in terms of our planning? I was caught off guard. He had suggested that we take the day off. Why was he asking me this question? He had clearly been brooding on it, I took it as an attack and I reacted in kind. Second mistake.
Luckily we got sidetracked into planting the seedlings and things calmed down.
At dinner time the wheels came off horrendously. We had both been making imaginary movies in our heads and brooding on what had happened earlier. Now was our opportunity to have our say and boy did we let fly. If we had been in formal employment we would have been fired on the spot. This is why so many people with ADHD do not survive the corporate world. We are too volatile. It is "my way or the highway". When we lose it, we do so spectacularly.
It is not easy working together as a couple. It is very difficult to separate personal and work relationships. Who is in charge of what? How do you define the roles? Who manages the staff, the budget, the marketing? Is one person's contribution more important than the other? How do you resolve conflicts without forcing your staff to choose sides? Who determines the vision?
When you both have ADHD it has further complications. We are creative, we hate admin, we are super-sensitive, we are volatile, we have our own rules, we both KNOW that our way is the only way.
Yet we have survived and thrived together for 8 years because our love for each other is unshakeable and we have a shared passion - ADHD.
So what were the triggers we could have avoided and how did we live to tell the tale?
1. When one of us is having a down day / hour, do not react to provocative questions or statements - WALK AWAY.
2. If you are the one who is in the bad mood, zip your lips! Go for a walk, a sleep or ask for a hug. Acknowledge that you are struggling and accept help.
3. ADDers blurt things out without thinking. Before you ask that question, make sure you have the other person's attention.
4. Write things down - we have short term memory loss. Dave claimed I had done something that I hadn't told him about. He had forgotten our discussion about it the previous day. We have now agreed to write down everything that we discuss in terms of our planning goals and to create check lists.
5. Before things get too heated, agree that each person will have their say without being interrupted. This is not always possible I know. Our tempers are quick and we explode.
6. Be aware of letting things simmer and being passive aggressive. I was brought up never having learned to deal with conflict. My way of dealing with conflict was to become passive aggressive instead of speaking out as situations arose. Because ADDers are very visual people and are great at making movies in our heads, situations get blown out of proportion and the damage is much worse.
7. Accept that we are not always right and sometimes even if we believe we are right it is better to compromise and be happy. Don't give in as that is passive aggressive but agree to try a different method. You might be surprised!
8. There is a saying "don't let the sun go down on a fight". In this instance it was the best thing for us to do. Too many hurtful things had been said, we had both lost perspective. If we had "kissed and made up" it would have been dishonest. We needed the time and space to reflect and recover. Yes, it was a horrid night, neither of us slept much.
9. Go back to our goal. This morning when I woke up I decided that the past does not exist. There was no point in rehashing yesterday's drama. Instead I got up made us some coffee, came back to bed and apologised sincerely. I acknowledged that I had over-reacted and that I wanted to continue with our plans. Dave responded in kind.
This episode has taught us some valuable lessons and I hope there are some aspects that will be helpful to you. Let us know how you are getting on.
Onwards and upwards.
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