blog | May 17, 2012 | 0 Comments

Keep the Connection, Block the Shame

I have a ridiculously passionate connection to two things in my life these days.  One is my new stainless steel cup from Starbucks, complete with a stainless steel straw.  It was a gift and I am smitten.  The other is something critical to us in the ADHD community, her name is Brene’ Brown.

I have her TED talks set up as pins on my desktop and I watch them on a regular basis.  They’re that good.  They’re that important. I’ll leave it up to you to choose if you want to purchase your own stainless Starbucks vessel, today we’re going to talk about my best friend Brene’.

Brene’ is a researcher.  She’s also a brilliant storyteller and someone I’d love hang with and throw back a couple of tequilas.

Let me get to the point on why I think Brene’ is so important to us in ADHD relationships.

Brene’ studies shame.

Think about that for a second.  I’ve never met anyone that said, “When I grow up I want to study shame.”

Most of us don’t want to talk about shame and we run from it the minute it flushes are cheeks.

Here are the two big ideas that we need to soak into every fiber of our being, especially as it relates to our ADHD relationships.

Brene’ tells us that:

Connection is the reason we’re all here.  It gives meaning to our lives. It’s “neurobiologically” hard wired.

You know what unravels connection?


The fear of disconnection.  It’s a universal truth ……. shame unravels connection.

I’m not _______ enough.   Tall enough, smart enough, funny enough, focused enough.  You fill in the blank.  It’s all out there.

In order to not unravel, we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We must allow ourselves to be seen.

Now let’s think about what that means for our ADHD loved ones.  The constant feeling of disconnection caused by the hurricane in their brain.  The messages they get about their differences and disconnection  from school, us, work, peers.  There is no shortage of feedback on their inadequacies.

It is our responsibility in these ADHD relationships to encourage and build high self esteem. Help them discover their strengths, build systems that help them manage the day to day chaos that lives in their brain.

A few weeks ago, me,my husband and two kids took my parents to a great restaurant for my father’s birthday.  They sat us at a large round table for 6.  The restaurant had huge tall ceilings with lots of wood work and solid surfaces.  What resulted was a beautiful place with horrible aesthetics.  It sounded a lot like the school cafeteria. It was really difficult to hear each other and connect.  I turned to my husband, who possesses an ADHD brain and I said, “is this what it’s like for you everyday?”  He smiled and said, “yep, pretty much.”  My heart melted.

How hard these folks must work to really connect in our society.  How important connection is to our very being. The shame that moves in to fill the spaces where connection is lost.

Please watch these wonderful TED talks from Brene’ Brown.  I hope you love her as much as I do.  She inspires me to know better so I can do better.  Keep connected. Work hard to understand, to listen, to empathize and to affirm.  Remember, Not Wrong Just Different.







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