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On the last track, we discussed the ADHD adult’s two types of controlling methods of coping with the ADHD diagnosis. These two types of controlling methods of coping were Manipulation and Blaming.
On this track, we will discuss the ADHD adult’s passive and aggressive methods of coping. On the first part of this track, we will discuss the passive methods of coping with the diagnosis. I have found that adults diagnosed with ADHD who cope with the diagnosis passively will usually have attitudes that are either "Who Cares?" or "Take Me or Leave Me." On the second part of this track, we will discuss the aggressive methods of coping with the ADHD diagnosis. In my experience, the aggressive methods of coping are Rebellion and Perfectionism. At the end of the track, we will outline the "Dissolving Resistance" technique to utilize with your perfectionist ADHD adult client.
2 Passive Methods of Coping
Passive Method # 1 - "Who Cares?"
Passive Method # 2 - "Take Me or Leave Me"
As you know, many ADHD adults like Stephanie use humor to create a smoke screen that deflects criticism. While it may sound like this coping method of "Take Me or Leave Me" is an effective one, ADHD adults use this method may be hiding their fair share of problems. As you can see, Stephanie is willing to admit her faults, but she rarely does anything to improve those faults.
2 Aggressive Methods of Coping
Cole stated, "People just made fun of me when I made an actual effort in school. I realized that if I started acting like I didn’t care about trying, I’d get more respect. People respect me more when I’m being bad than they do when I legitimately try to be good." Cole’s "bad boy" attitude has stuck with him since he dropped out of high school. His lack of respect for authorities, though, now gets directed at police officers over traffic violations instead of at teachers over classroom disruptions.
Aggressive Method # 1 - Rebellion
Aggressive Method # 2 - Perfectionism
However, her physical health is suffering. Jean rarely gets more than five hours of sleep a night, and frequently pulls all-nighters to get it all done. Despite her lack of time, Jean can’t bring herself to say "No" to anything.Jean stated, "I work so hard to keep people from knowing I have ADHD. I can’t say no to anything, like a service project, because then people would find out. Then they’d know I wasn’t normal."
Obviously, Jean doesn’t have a clear understanding of what normal is to begin with. Jean is coping with her diagnosis through the second of the aggressive coping methods, Perfectionism. I am stating that perfectionism is aggressive because Jean is actively doing something to cope with her diagnosis. She is trying to do everything perfectly. However, Jean has been a perfectionist for so long that she has inflated ideas about what is normal and what other people, who don’t have ADHD, can accomplish. Sound like a client of yours?
Three Steps in "Dissolving Resistance"
-- Step One - Let your Mind Wander
-- Step Two - Talk Back
-- Step Three - Daydream
Do you have a client like Tim or Stephanie who is passively coping with his ADHD diagnosis with an attitude of "Who Cares?" or "Take Me or Leave Me"? Or maybe your client is coping more aggressively through Rebellion or Perfectionism, like Cole and Jean? Would your client benefit from the "Dissolving Resistance" technique?
On this track, we have discussed the ADHD adult’s passive and aggressive methods of coping. The passive methods of coping for an ADHD adult were the "Who Cares?" attitude and the "Take Me or Leave Me" attitude. The aggressive methods of coping for an ADHD adult were Rebellion and Perfectionism.
On the next track, we will discuss the Five Stages of Grief that ADHD adults experience after being diagnosed. These five stages are Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Helseth, S. A., Waschbusch, D. A., Gnagy, E. M., Onyango, A. N., Burrows-MacLean, L., Fabiano, G. A., Coles, E. K., Chacko, A., Wymbs, B. T., Walker, K. S., Wymbs, F. A., Garefino, A., Massetti, G. M., Robb Mazzant, J., Hoffman, M. T., Waxmonsky, J. G., Nichols-Lopez, K., & Pelham, W. E., Jr. (2015). Effects of behavioral and pharmacological therapies on peer reinforcement of deviancy in children with ADHD-only, ADHD and conduct problems, and controls. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83(2), 280–292.
Lorber, M. F., & Slep, A. M. S. (2015). Are persistent early onset child conduct problems predicted by the trajectories and initial levels of discipline practices? Developmental Psychology, 51(8), 1048–1061.
Owens, E. B., & Hinshaw, S. P. (2016). Childhood conduct problems and young adult outcomes among women with childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125(2), 220–232. .
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