How do you or your loved ones cope with conflict in your relationships? Have you considered that ADHD might make it difficult to resolve conflict? In this episode, Lacy Estelle explores the unique challenges that individuals with ADHD face when dealing with conflicts in their relationships.
Listen as she discusses the tendency to avoid conflict, express anger, or even resort to malice as unhealthy coping mechanisms. Lacy dives into the importance of understanding the difference between conflict and fighting, and with practical advice and a compassionate approach, she provides listeners with strategies to embrace healthier ways of managing conflicts and fostering better relationships.
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0:00:00 ADHD and Conflict Resolution - Introduction
0:00:54 Moving Forward with Conflict Resolution Strategies
0:02:13 Understanding ADHD and Relationship Struggles
0:03:07 Three Ways ADHD Individuals Deal with Conflict
0:06:49 Developing Healthy Coping Mechanisms for Conflict
0:11:16 The Trigger: No to an Outing with Friends
0:12:35 Reflecting on Past Rejection and Conflict Resolution
0:15:25 Understanding Triggers and Approaching Conflict with Love
ADHD and Conflict Resolution - Introduction
[0:00] So, hey guys, welcome to An ADD Woman Podcast. I'm Lacy Estelle, your host, and today we're gonna talk about ADHD and conflict resolution, how to cope with it.
As a parent, as a wife, as a mother, as a woman even in general, I feel like conflict and conflict resolution can take up way too much of our headspace.
We tend to be emotional people, emotional beings. We feel things deeply.
And if you have ADHD, you definitely feel things on a whole other level, I think, than a lot of times our peers do.
So I want to dig into this and really talk about what's working, what probably is not working or not helping you in general, and then also how to move forward with any conflicts that you have, right?
Moving Forward with Conflict Resolution Strategies
[0:54] Welcome to an ADD Woman podcast. I'm your host, Lacy Estelle, a Christian, a wife, a mother, a fellow ADHDer, a writer, and now a podcaster.
This is the podcast where we talk about ADHD from a Christian woman's perspective and everything it intersects with.
[1:16] Our moods, our work, our relationships, the list is endless.
We're going to dig deep into the core of our faith, we're putting our brains under a microscope and measuring ourselves based on the truth of God's word.
[1:30] It's not going to be easy, but I know it will be worth it. So are you ready to embrace joy, peace, and even some self-discipline?
Or are you perfectly content with life passing you by while you procrastinate doing the dishes for the 600th time?
The truth is, understanding our ADHD brains won't always be comfortable.
In fact, I'd venture to say the more I know my brain, the more frustrated I can become with it.
But there is wisdom in embracing it, and there is joy and peace in molding it to a mind of Christ, not of ourselves. But you have to want it. So do you?
Do you want more peace, patience, and productivity?
If so, you are in the right place.
Understanding ADHD and Relationship Struggles
[2:13] So conflicts are an inevitable part of our relationships, right?
And one thing that I find with ADHD people is a lot of times we tend to struggle with relationships. We struggle with loneliness, feeling misunderstood. We struggle with, you know, fear just in general. A lot of times, and this is a condition of having been raised, having ADHD, and just kind of knowing that at any point somebody can reject you.
And that rejection we feel can be, it can be so scary. It can be something that we act on a lot of times.
So some things I want us to take away from this, I want to talk about first and foremost, how is it that we deal with conflict, or we deal with disagreements and things like that?
And what is the difference between conflict and fighting? Because there's a difference, and you might not know that.
Three Ways ADHD Individuals Deal with Conflict
[3:07] One of the things I've noticed in most ADHD people, and I think that I'm sure if I spent some extra time digging into something on the internet, my confirmation bias would allow for me to find some source that says that this is true.
But one thing I've noticed, at least in my household of ADHD people, because we are full of them, right, that there's one of three ways that I feel like most people with ADHD deal with conflict.
[3:35] None of these are necessarily the best way to deal with conflict, but it is what we tend to do. And that is, we either avoid the conflict altogether.
[3:44] That will look like, you know, maybe you have a disagreement with your husband or, you know, your boss at work. And instead of saying anything or speaking up, we just avoid it.
We just shut down and we're just like, well, you know what? It's just, there's just no point.
A lot of times we'll do this, like I used to do this and I would like to tell myself I like martyring myself, right? Like, well, well, look at them just doing those things and I'm just going to go over here and I'm going to, I'm going to do the right thing.
[4:13] Right? Because I'm right. And I wouldn't, I wouldn't confront the conflict. Instead, I would martyr myself by avoiding it and claiming that I was like this holier than thou person who could, you know, do things the right way or, you know, and that I was just so good that I was willing to just overlook the conflict or the issue or whatever, right?
So that's one way. The other way that I notice, and this is definitely one of the ways that my children deal with this, and I would say it might be more common in men, and that is anger.
You know, you feel hurt or you feel frustrated or you don't like the way somebody's going about doing something, it manifests itself as anger.
And even though you're not really angry about whatever the issue is, you act out in that anger, right? So, just yesterday, my son, and we'll get into this in a minute, but he, acted out of embarrassment. I brought something to his attention.
He was not happy about it. He immediately apologized, right?
[5:20] But then got angry with me because he doesn't like feeling that way, feeling like, you know, I'm rejecting him or that he disappointed me.
He can't, he doesn't have a healthy way yet to cope with those feelings, but we're gonna work on that.
And that's something that we're definitely gonna address in this too.
So it can come out as anger. And then I'd say even like a subset of that anger, I also will notice is like malice.
Now, malice is when you are purposely bent on hurting someone.
Now, malice a lot of times I notice will manifest itself if we're not dealing with the conflict or we angry about the conflict and we don't know how to deal with those angry feelings.
And we don't have good coping mechanisms in place. So like for instance, I think had my son, had he not had the self-restraint And I think that that comes from the innate knowing that I'm his mom, right?
And so when I brought something to his attention that he was unhappy with and he felt embarrassed about and he felt disappointed, like he disappointed me and he couldn't cope with that.
If he had not had that, he might've lashed out and he might've wanted to hit me.
Perhaps if he was younger, he might've tried to do that.
So malice definitely comes out in a, I'm in pain, so you need to be in pain too.
[6:42] So with that said, I wanna talk about what can we do about these?
Developing Healthy Coping Mechanisms for Conflict
[6:49] Because obviously avoiding things or lashing out in anger, none of those are actually good coping mechanisms, right?
They're a sign of immaturity.
[6:58] What can we do to change the way that we deal with those sorts of emotions, right, in the moment.
Galatians 5, 19 through 23. So if you're familiar with the fruits of the spirit, Galatians is a lot of times the fruit of the spirit.
It's the one that everybody kind of jumps to, obviously, because he talks specifically, he says, but the fruit of the spirit is, now he says in 22, in Galatians 5, 22, he says, but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such there is no law.
But I want to go back a step, okay, because I want to back up because what we need to actually get is more context in this and what Paul is actually saying.
Because previous to talking about the fruits of the Spirit, he talks about what would be considered like the fruits of the flesh.
[7:51] And he says, the works of the flesh are evident, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousy, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like, of which I tell you beforehand, just as I told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Now I'm reading from the New King James Version, and I want to encourage you to, if you're in my group, and you are not a Christian, please don't be afraid of what I'm teaching because I think it can still apply to you. And in my mind as a Christian, the word of God never returns void.
So even if that's not something that you adhere to right now, please be open-minded and just listen because I think that you can still gain a lot from this teaching. So in talking about that, he's talking about how, you know, what we might view today as like.
[8:53] Are our impulsive reactions, right? Our impulsive reactions are to be lewd, or to be angry, hatred, to hold contentions, to have jealousy, to have outbursts of wrath.
I know for me in times past, I could be extremely wrathful in my previous relationships.
I was very angry and I would not hold back from the, just basically laying it all out for, you know, whoever I was arguing against.
So keeping in mind that all of those things, those wants, the selfishness, the wrathful anger, the talking, the feeling envious, any of those things, those are obviously, they're not coming from a place of being led by the spirit. So with that in mind, okay, if you are to basically take those feelings and, what I would suggest is subdue them unto the Holy Spirit, unto God, and pray for fruit of the spirit.
Now, I think that requires us to take pause.
Okay. So anytime that you are dealing with conflict or you're dealing with a, stressful situation, you have to ask yourself quite a few things.
And you can ask yourself just like some simple things, right?
Like, am I hungry?
[10:20] Is the person I'm conflicting with hungry? Are we tired?
Are we under a lot of stress? You know, is this situation that we're in, is this a reoccurring situation?
Is this happening often enough that we need to address it?
Or am I frustrated because the situation represents something larger, right?
So like, for instance, sometimes my son, my oldest son will get upset if I can't, you know, if I, if I tell him, sorry, we don't have the spending money right now for you to just go do things with your friends, or sometimes I will say, you know, we don't have the availability to take you to go do things with your friends, right?
And when those things happen, sometimes he's okay, and sometimes he gets really upset, and he starts talking all about how he has no friends, and how he doesn't feel like he fits in, and how he never gets to do anything fun, right?
The Trigger: No to an Outing with Friends
[11:16] Now, all of these are a little bit of an extreme, right? Because he's a teenager, so that's expected.
And I oftentimes fall into the trap of reminding him, you do have friends, you just hung out with them a couple of days ago, you do.
No, but you don't understand. So what it is, is a lot of times me saying something like no to these, this thing that he wants to go do, it can be a trigger for him and reminds him of feeling like he doesn't have anybody to be there for him, right? And so the problem then is not really that, okay, I won't go take him and his friends to Topgolf on Saturday because It's a really expensive outing and maybe it's just at a time or a season in our lives where we don't have the extra spending money for something like that. Okay, that's not really the problem. The problem is that me saying no to that represents to him all the feelings that he every once in a while, has of rejection and a fear that nobody's ever going to accept him for who he is and that he's never going to be able to cultivate close relationships and all of those things, right? So in those moments, okay, or in those moments where it's, you know, it's me and I'm dealing with somebody else, I have to give them and myself the benefit of the doubt.
Reflecting on Past Rejection and Conflict Resolution
[12:35] Okay, so first off, I have to put my feelings in check and I have to say something like, Like, what is it about this scenario that's causing me so much grief?
[12:46] Is it something that doesn't have anything to do with the actual problem?
Or is it that the problem represents something bigger?
In the past, I used to have conflicts with my old boss.
[12:58] And a lot of times when he would sit down and he would do a review of things that I was doing or things I could improve on and things I couldn't improve on, I would get this sense of major rejection and feel like, oh my gosh, I'm just this big failure and I'm never going to amount to anything and and all these things, and all those feelings would bubble up inside of me.
And really, all he was doing was trying to help me better my job, right?
But to me, it represented this sense of lack of worth, okay?
So I am just this faulty, broken person who can't ever get it right, which is not true whatsoever.
So when we have those feelings, we feel angry, we want to lash out, we feel judged or rejected, we feel like we're even being controlled. That can be another component. We have to put those feelings under the direction of the Holy Spirit and ask ourselves and pray and say, you know.
[13:56] How can we resolve this? How can I resolve this conflict? What needs to be addressed more so than am I just lashing out? Now, how difficult is it to do this when you have ADHD?
It's extremely difficult. It takes practice and it takes patience with yourself, with your loved ones to recognize that your feelings aren't always facts. And I used to hate that sentiment because I came from a very New Age background. Before I converted to Christianity, I would say before I truly converted, I was more like a lukewarm Christian for a long time. And in my new age background, I felt like feelings were valid and they were important and it was important to know how somebody felt about something. It is important to know about how you feel about certain things or how somebody else feels about certain things. Those are all very important components to resolving conflict. But that doesn't mean that just because your feelings are valid, you know, you feel rejected by somebody or you feel frustrated by a situation that keeps repeating itself, that doesn't mean that your feelings are true. Like, your husband or your spouse or your child is not rejecting you when you feel those rejections. They're doing something totally different trying to cope with their own situation. So, just to finish up.
Understanding Triggers and Approaching Conflict with Love
[15:25] In what we're talking about, talking about ADHD and conflict and all those things, if you're not acting in love and in joy and with peace in mind, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and having that self-control, then you can be rest assured that you're acting unrighteously, basically. Now, where does that come from? You have to remind yourself that conflicts and fighting, like I said, how they're different, okay? Conflicts are issues that need to be resolved or at least brought to the surface, fighting is a result of a conflict that is not dealt with well.
[16:09] So fighting happens when you act wrathfully, when you act on emotions, when you act impulsively, when you take things very personally. I can't tell you how long it has taken me to practice the forethought of, maybe this isn't about me, you know, that when I feel those feelings of rejection or frustration or, you know, if my husband does something and, or he doesn't do something and I immediately am like, you just must not care about me.
I put that in check because to me that is selfish. And even though it doesn't seem selfish, right, because you're like, well, I just want them to care about me. Okay.
But sometimes those small things that look larger to you, they don't mean what you think they mean, what your feelings tell you they mean, what the enemy tells you they mean, right?
[17:10] So, knowing your triggers and knowing your children's triggers or your spouse's triggers or all of your close relationships triggers are extremely important.
You have to ask yourself questions like, you know, was my, did I grow up in a very angry household?
Was there a lot of fighting going on all the time?
Did I ever see my parents resolve conflict in a healthy way?
Maybe past relationships.
I know for me in particular, I brought, I've brought a lot of unhealthy habits from previous relationships into my marriage and I have to subdue those.
I have to like realign them with the correct way to deal with conflict. Right.
And tell myself things like just because that moment or whatever it was that my husband said to me felt like it was one thing doesn't mean that it was.
So I have to dissect it and I have to ask myself, like, okay, was this just like a trigger?
[18:08] In my household, my children all deal with conflict in three different ways.
All of them deal with it differently. So one of them, I would say he's a little lawyer.
He's an argumentative person. So he doesn't avoid it, but he does tend to insist on his way.
And while this is a great characteristic of grit and persistence, it is not always the best thing for conflict resolution.
Because conflict resolution doesn't always mean that one person wins.
What it means is that something is brought to the surface and it's dealt with in a way that doesn't always mean that you get your way.
So another one, like I talked about earlier, he deals with the pain of the conflict by getting angry and lashing out, which means that he has to take moments to himself where, I think, yesterday after we had an argument, I made him go outside and get some physical exercise.
He wasn't very happy about it. He stomped about it.
And he was really in more of a rageful fit, but he did it.
And then my other child avoids it at all costs, which is not healthy either.
That builds resentment. You know, you sit there and you stew on it, and you're just kind of like...
[19:31] You confirm for yourself in your mind all of the things that you're avoiding.
Oh, yep, see, they don't care about me.
So what we have to do, what I have to do in these moments is I have to remind myself, one, that, so for instance, with my oldest child, who likes to argue, okay, I have to remind myself that sometimes his arguments are just his kind of way of, trying to work through his emotions, but not in a way of, not in a healthy way of making them subjective to the Holy Spirit and like recognizing sometimes my authority, but also that just because he feels a certain way or wants a certain thing doesn't necessarily mean that it's.
[20:09] Best for him. With my second child, it's again the same sort of thing. It's practicing that prayerfulness of taking pause and really forcing yourself to ask yourself questions like, where is this anger coming from? Is this because I feel like I'm going to be rejected or like I a disappointed somebody and that means they're not going to love me anymore.
And then for my third child, you know, the avoidance measures is, I think it's a, practically, I have to go about reminding them that avoiding the conflict never resolves it.
So, you know, even though those feelings are difficult and you don't want to deal with them and you just kind of want to stash them away and pretend like they didn't happen in hopes that they just go away, they don't actually go away.
They just kind of wait for the next opportunity to arise. and a lot of times they're stronger, and they can come out in malice, you know?
And then at that point, you're doing things that you really never wanted to do in the first place.
You know yourself, you know that that's not who you are, so you don't want to act on those feelings, right?
[21:10] So that is a little bit of information today on ADHD and conflict resolution.
I am grateful for you to being here, and I will be talking to you guys really soon.
Of luck with everything and God bless.
This is the end of this episode. Thank you so much for listening.
I hope you gained some insight into your brain and your Bible.
I'd love to stay connected with you, so be sure to subscribe to the podcast and drop your email at our website and ADDwoman.com so you never miss a new episode.
Remember, ADHD isn't who you are, it's how your brain is wired.
You are a capable, talented, amazing, and beautiful woman, and God loves you and your brain.