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ADHD Adults

Has anyone felt guilty

I am new to the site and was wondering if anyone has felt guilt when they learn that they are the parent who passed on ADHD to their child. It’s one of many things that bothers me. I don’t know if it’s an ADD trait, but I tend to be angry a lot, lots of little things drive me nuts.


While I am not a parent, I am quite familiar with good old guilt.  I have struggled for a long time in therapy to let go of past guilts, as well as to avoid guilting myself over anything that might go wrong.  While appropriate in certain circumstances (say, after stealing something or after hurting someone), guilt is generally not a positive, productive emotion, especially when it deals with something you can’t change or are powerless over.  I know it will take work, but a therapist with whom you work well can do wonders in terms of dealing with negative emotions like guilt and anger (anger is very common for those of us with ADHD, as we often have a very low tolerance for frustration). 

Have you looked into any books about ADHD?  Edward Hallowell’s “Driven to Distraction” and “Delivered from Distraction” are always great places to start, and have a wealth of useful information.  Additional books that I have found helpful are “You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?” by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo and anything by Russell Barkley, although those can be a bit more academic.

As for now, is there any way that you can try and reframe the guilt?  Instead of feeling guilty about being the parent who passed on ADHD (even if you didn’t have it, your child may still have ended up with it), perhaps you can look at it as a chance to be a strong ally for your child, someone he/she can go to who understands what they are dealing with.  Not everyone has someone like that in their lives, and I bet you can learn from each other about what is helpful and can share in each other’s successes, as well.

Posted by bburgastros82 on Jan 27, 2014 at 4:21am

I recently found out I have ADHD after my daughter was diagnosed.  Reading the material describing it was like a flash back in time to my childhood.  I have read the books by Dr. Howell and they are excellent.

Posted by MN Hunt Fish on Jan 27, 2014 at 5:52am

Short answer: oh hell yes.

And since my son’s life is such a mess right now (yeah, legalize pot - that’s a good idea) I’m feeling doubly guilty for not parenting the situation better.

If I had known about my ADD and that I could pass it on causing someone else to have the fun life that I’ve had I’m not sure I would have had kids. Of course the other one is an elite athlete so for the kids it’s really the luck of the draw.

Posted by ADDedValue62 on Jan 27, 2014 at 6:18am

It is still debatable Amongst professionals Whether this is genetic or environmental.  In my case I have cousins with this.  Although Our environmental factors seem to be similar.  To include a high conflict Environment growing up.  Many doctors I have seen Do not believe it is genetic.  I somewhat agree with them.  My child Exhibits Absolutely none of these traits. .  As to feeling guilty.  I do not See any substantial Scientific data Supporting passing down genetic traits.  To keep your child’s environment Free of conflict in the early years is Key. IMO. 
Although dealing with custody battles and what not Keeping this away from him seem to be key in the early years.  I think it also has to do with a child or persons constitution.  This no one can control.  My cousins and I had similar traits as very sensitive people.  I believe this made us more vulnerable.  People have grown up in far more Negative Environmental situations, Yet are not as Vulnerable to ADD and emotional disturbances Even if it is a family trait.  So to recap I believe it is an individual’s Innate ability to bounce back Due to their characteristic make up.  I hope this insight was helpful to you.

Posted by happy2findu on Jan 27, 2014 at 8:05am

I must add.  Having my child later.  I was aware Of our families Dysfunction.  As well as ways as well as raising children.  I knew I was damaged by some of this And I was hellbent In Not repeating the cycle.  Did not want him suffering as I did, With anxiety and guilt Family secrets. I felt anxious and always on guard , high alert.  Anticipating The next shoe to drop as a child..  Constantly protecting my younger brother From hearing any conflict.  In my adult life I suffered from anxiety depression which I believe led to ADD Around the time of puberty.  I was not diagnosed with ADD until I was 30.  I had no name for it. I Used rituals to Combat these feelings Symptoms , Forgetfulness unorganized recent mind .  And later to not pass them on.  Even then I did not know that it was ADD .  I think labels can be detrimental in a way.  You said that you were angry a lot.  Children pick up on anything and everything And adapt to the situation as I did .  So don’t blame it on Genes.  Try and recognize your behavior, How it affects others Know your triggers and learn coping mechanisms. Blaming it on Genetically passed down ADD is a copout If you are Providing a climate Of anger Uncontrollable outbursts Or simply teaching an inability to cope with day to day upsets.  This creates a high alert, Or rather always on alert Responses from family in the household..  To think that that will not affect a child’s Fight or flight responses throughout his life is just Lacking insight on your part.  I do not mean any disrespect.  Just please look into this further.

Posted by happy2findu on Jan 27, 2014 at 8:17am

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