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ADHD Adults

Constructive criticism still makes me emotional



Hello ADHD/ADD ADULT group, I have come here for some guidance on how to keep a relationship going with out getting defensive when it comes to your partners constructive criticism about making you or the relationship better.  Sadly I sill get so emotional I cry so much I have a hard time opening up to the man I love without sounding crazy.  I am 30 now and I really want this to work, please help with any tips you have!  Thank you and hugs -


I’m not sure which of you is using “constructive criticism”, but the results will be the same:  all criticism hurts because its aim is to point out flaws in the other person. Better to say what you need than to tell the other person to change.

Posted by TomRyan on Aug 26, 2014 at 2:04pm .html
this strategy might help you. It helped me deal with information I needed to know.

Another thing that helped me deal with criticism was coming to understand that if I want to improve at a skill, including relationship skills, that it wasn’t my good traits I needed brought to my attention, it was my weak points. In learning to play hand drums in the past few years, my partner’s feedback on what I am doing well on is appreciated. it verifies what I think I’m doing well with. But there are areas where my timing might be off, tone may be off pitch, too loud, too soft, playing too much and overloading the music or not doing much to enhance the music. and sometimes its holes in an area I wasn’t aware of.

The drum I play most is the Irish bodhran which has a broad tonal range. 2+ octaves. But the hand position I need for lowest and highest is quite different. My sweetheart asked me once why I was skipping a lot of mid range tones. I hadn’t noticed that I was. So started to pay attention to practicing tonal changes through the mid range as well and getting the hand position needed for that thoroughly engrained.

The things we are tender about, the bruises, things we have a knee jerk response to, and things we don’t do well are the things we NEED to learn about most in order to become better.

I started to do this for myself years ago as another way to deal with uncomfortable information.

When something makes me feel criticized, I realize my discomfort is my subconscious getting my attention to protect and help me. So I consciously ‘thank’ that inner guardian for making me aware and ask to have the discomfort turned down so I can hear and see what I need. It’s hard to do so with sirens blaring and lights flashing. This gives me a few moments to get myself together and not reflexively jerk back. And then examine the information given to me about me. Do I think it is correct? if so, how can I use it to make my skills improve? Is the information presented in a way that is useful to my current ability or will it only be useful when I’ve learned another stage? I’m an intermediate level drummer, I don’t expect myself to yet have advanced abilities. And one local professional jazz drummer tries to get students but is such an obnoxious teacher he can’t keep beginner/intermediate students. He really only wants advanced students. He’s made some comments to me I found annoying as I’m not that advanced. And he gave me a backhanded compliment in that from him it was comparatively nice. He said I didn’t know when NOT to play. At least he didn’t criticize timing, tone or volume. He’s right, there are times I should be leaving more empty spaces in the music but for now being sure I hold a steady rhythm in those places is more important. I can ride a bike but not yet ready to take my hands off the handle bars.

How information is presented to us can make a big difference in how we can take it. Telling our partner or teacher this gives them information in how to teach us what they want from us. 2 way street on this. Learning how to step back a bit from the information so we can separate out the details from the delivery is a skill we can learn as lifelong we’re going to get information from people who don’t have much tact or subtlety.

But if you can learn to think of those ouch those words hurt as a signal to find out how to change things so it doesn’t hurt any more, it may be an incentive to face what hurts. A thorn in my foot might only hurt if I step on it a certain way. But trying to walk so I don’t jab the thorn in further won’t get the thorn out. I may have to poke around until it hurts to get hold of the thorn to pull it.

Applause to you for acknowledging that you to react in a way that isn’t logical but emotional and too much for your own benefit. And it might be worth getting your hormones checked. Being post menopausal and using bioidentical hormones has taught me that the ratio of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, cortisol, as well as the levels of each make a big difference in my emotional state.

Too much progesterone makes me moody and groggy. Higher levels of estrogen make me more cheerful and fairly focussed. Higher testosterone makes me feel good in one way but can reach a point where I feel ‘pushy’ and assertive in a way beyond what is normal for me. I don’t feel cranky or like I want to pick a fight but am more forceful about stating my point of view. I realized I didn’t think people I wanted to be around would want me around while responding that way and backed down from my dose. It’s much like optimizing ADD meds. What dose works best without negative side effects. Possibly tweaking your hormone balance might make you less reactive to comments.

take care!

Posted by Gadfly on Aug 26, 2014 at 3:25pm

ADHDers are certainly more prone to take criticism personally. Dr. Dodson calls it Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. Read more about it:

ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Aug 27, 2014 at 1:14pm

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