2/8/12

The Seven Deadly Sins: Pride & the ADHD Personality

“The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.”
-George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Irish playwright, author, and critic.
Let us continue the Seven Deadly Sins series with the boastful and the vain: Pride.

As a sin, pride distances you from others. Pride elevates you to the highest, most unreachable pedestal, so that few can connect or compete with you. In another's words, "Conceit is the finest armour a man can wear." (Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927), English humorist, playwright, and novelist.)

At times, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can resemble pride. Those of us with the disorder occasionally share too much, speak over others, and nod our heads for longer than we actually listen. In Driven to Distraction, Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. catalogues the relationship between his patient Sam, recently diagnosed with ADHD, and his wife, Mary:
      “But,” Mary asked, “how do you tell ADD from being selfish? I mean, I’m not a psychiatrist, but isn’t there such a thing as pathological narcissism? That’s what I think Sam has. He’s only aware of himself.”
      “Maybe we could look at it a bit differently,” I suggested. “He seems only to be aware of himself because he’s constantly being distracted, or he’s being drawn to some form of intense stimulation to avert boredom.” (pg.135)
If you’re in a relationship with someone who has ADHD, I bet you identify with how frustrated and invisible Mary feels with her husband. ADHD’rs candid natures can come off as jarring, self-interested, and yes, boastful. We must learn to manage these inattentions and disregard for others in order to maintain and nurture our relationships.

This peacock was so proud of his mating dance, he didn't realize he was scaring off the peahens.
At the same time, in manageable doses, our apparent “pride” can be harnessed to promote our ambitions, personal, professional, and otherwise. While flipping through my usual women’s magazines on the elliptical (a guilty pleasure), I am often confronted with articles that advocate for readers to assert and speak up for themselves. In this way, ADHD’rs are fortunate. We’re willing to share our opinions, creative daydreams, or whatever happens to be on our minds. Such qualities come in handy when asking for promotions, spearheading innovative projects, or leading teams of individuals.

Those of us with ADHD also possess the ability to develop easy rapports with new acquaintances and colleagues. We simply lack the filters that keep others from admitting what they personally care about and find exciting. Have you ever opened up to someone on a whim, only to find that person reciprocating with his/her shared feelings or experiences? The key here is learning to listen to the stories offered to us in return, as well as not dismissing others’ contrasting opinions too quickly.
When I looked up "pride" in the dictionary, the presented definition was as follows:
pride |pr─źd|
noun
A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired. 
If pride means to recognize and value one’s own talents, then I’m all for this sin. Be your own ADDvocate. Speak up. Share your creativity. Just remember to let in others' voices along the way.

When was the last time you experienced a bout of pride? How did it change you/your situation? Comment below or email me at WriteToJulianna.



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