Tuesday, October 23, 2012

ADHD inattentive, Highly Sensitive, and the Type A personality

So last week, I told you about Marty’s evaluation with the preschool special education. This week, I am becoming more aware of the problems with my oldest child, Max. First, a little background information: over the weekend, I tried to pick what I thought was a pimple; turns out, it was actually an infected ingrown hair follicle. Just Great! After a few days of pain and having my eye swollen shut, I drove myself to the ER. Yes, the uninsured should seek medical care in spite of the impending medical debt that will follow. The ER was actually a very positive experience. I was in and out in hour. ‘Feel good’ drugs in tow, I headed home.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am still legally married to Marty’s dad, the suspected Aspire [who clearly has ADHD as well). We separated about 4 ½ years ago, but agreed to share the same house, at least until I finished grad school. Currently, I am looking for full time employment; though I do have a part time gig. With that in mind, Marty’s dad, still feels duty-bound to me as a husband [I guess]. When I texted him to let him know that I was in the ER - with the introduction, “Please don’t be alarmed;” he calls to ask me to “try to arrange a payment plan for the ER bill.” I got no, “How are? Are you in pain? or what did the doctor say?” Although I think he cared that I was in the ER for a painful boil, I just think he doesn’t know how to respond to what he perceives is a crisis. He did, however, offer to pick me up from the ER? After I dismissed his concerns about the cost of the ER, I can tell he was still on edge.

Any who, I come home to mounds of laundry, dirty dishes, and a cranky Marty. Clearly he was over stimulated. His dad and his brother dragged him along on their golf venture; which is Aspie dad’s latest obsession. Marty, apparently, got angry while at the golf range and flung his golf club hitting an older gentleman in the leg. The same golf clubs that he did not want, but was forced to take as a ‘birthday gift’ from dear ole Dad. The trio also went to the Titanic exhibit for the fifth time. Consequently, Marty has become a fan of the Titanic, and when it is mention he will talk in depth about the Titanic sinking. The Titanic has been a special interest for Aspie Dad since his childhood [along with the Civil War history and the paranormal].

Back to the oldest son; as I recover from my abscessed eye, I realize that I have become very irritable. No one is here to assist me in my time of need: Aspie Dad has checked out [a response to not being able to understand or process the situation], Marty is probably just upset because my eye is swollen, and I look completely different [he noticed and commented when the swelling went down], and Max, well – he worries about me but internalizes his feelings fearing that the ‘worst might happen’. Because I am very uncomfortable and exhausted, my tolerance has dropped, and my oldest son, Max’s inattentiveness, sluggishness, and daydreaming is now driving me up the wall.
I had a long discussion with him last night about how I needed him to step-up and help out more while I am recovering. This means, “Get up in the morning when you are asked the first time.” Specifically, Get dressed, brush your teeth, hair, and put your socks and shoes on without being asked. In that order! Well, this morning, after the first two attempts to wake Max up, I’m frustrated. One pop to the leg; he looks a little stunned, but still moves  very slowly out of the bed. So, I ask him if he forgot what we talked about the night before. He says no; then begins to cry. He mumbles that he tries to stop imagining and forgetting stuff, but he can’t. A few weeks ago he admitted to being easily distracted and sometimes impulsive in class [bluting things out-of-turn in class]; now, I guess he realizes that he’s a “daydreamer.” I empathize with him and try to console him, “It’s not your fault that you imagine so much; you are very smart; you may just need a little more help to focus,” I explain to him that I still need him to try to help me out more around the house. He seemed to understand. Even though we are running late for school, before we left, he filled the dog’s water bowl without prompting.  I go out of my way to acknowledge that gesture and give him extra praise.

In the aftermath, I am asking myself, “How did my Type A- @ss end up with 2 special needs kids and a low functioning husband. Well, my theory is this: my mom was raised by a mother who lost her own mother when she was a child. Translation: my grandmother was raised by her father, 4 elder brothers and an older sister, so she is on the very low end of being maternal [IMO]. Therefore, my mom is kind of the same way. I can’t remember a day when my mom ever told me that I was pretty or that I did something very well. She was very strict and protective, but didn’t do much outside of buying me gifts to express her love for me. So, I grew up very shy and insecure; thus, I married an individual that was also insecure and had trouble expressing his emotions. Does this make sense? It’s kind of similar to the theory that some children that witness domestic violence grow up and enter into volatile relationships, i.e. the Chris Brown and Rihanna tragedy. No, I am not trying to call myself a “victim,” I am over that. I just want to make sure that I am doing adequate exploration of my own feelings and motives in order to process, “how I got to this point.” Oh, I forgot to mention that I am a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), so add that to the rest of the baggage in my situation.  As a HSP, my feelings and emotions run deep, I am very sensitive and highly empathetic, yet I married an individual that has trouble expressing, reciprocating, and recognizing emotions in others. So you can only imagine how much I struggled with my own self esteem earlier in my marriage. 

Type A HSP – how do I control this situation without losing my mind? Luckily, the HSP side of me has lots of tolerance and can usually empathize with my children and their father, even on a bad day. My oldest son also has traits of being highly sensitive. His behavior led me to recognize these qualities in myself. Since he was a toddler, he has been very sensitive: will cry at the drop of a dime and over reacts to things that most kids would easily shrug off, like a scrap on the knee. He would give away all his toys if he could because he believes this will please his friends. He wants everyone to be “happy.” He was recently teased by his friend for going on-and-on about a caterpillar being killed. You see the friend has no remorse when killing bugs during their bug catching sprees; but, Max tries very hard to prevent harming the bugs. He loves fishing, but hates to bring the fish home. He insists that we only, “catch and release.” Max is also easily frightened and rarely partakes in risky play like riding a skateboard or climbing a rock wall. And, like his mom, he feels everything very deeply.

Knowing the facts about my children’s challenges helps me parent them in a way that is beneficial to how they think and process information [stimuli]. For example, with both of my children, strong punishment does more harm than good. That means, spanking them makes Marty become more aggressive and my oldest child, Max, more distant. Both of my children have valuable gifts and talents that I plan to help them build upon so that they can reach their maximum potential in life.  Still, I look at their father and I realize how not being told that he has special needs or a dif-ability has made him ashamed of how others might think of his differences as well as sons’ challenging behaviors. He is in such denial that he can’t even recognize that he does have problems in his interpersonal relationships and with his parenting style [aggression and dominance].


  1. Hi,
    Wow what an insightful post. I really want to commend you on your ability to process and deal with the barrage of events and emotions you are going through right now.
    When we have a family crisis, I also tend to be the bearer of the family burdens, while my husband has the unique ability to emotionally shut down and check out, choosing to focus on other things leaving me alone to worry and strategize.
    I so agree about punishment, when I have spanked my kids they just laugh at me, when I yell, they laugh at me, I think watching my reactions to their behaviors give them such great joy and entertainment!
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience, it has given me some deeper things to look at in my own family dynamics. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

    1. Thanks for those words of support. It's good to know that there are others that can relate to my situation. Even though I wouldn't wish this on anyone. :) I guess I've come to the conclusion that everything happens for a reason, and I have to trust that all things are working for my good!