Shame, Me & ADHD

I wrote, The Shame of the Non-ADHD Childfor ADDitude magazine last month. Following is an excerpt. Please check it out in it’s entirety.


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Growing up as a non-ADHD kid in a family with ADHD sounds like a challenge. It was, but not for the reasons you’d think. My dad had ADHD and bipolar disorder. Of course, as a kid, I only knew that he took a yellow and purple pill every morning at breakfast or was scolded by Mom if he forgot. Our family of four had one non-ADHD parent, one with ADHD, one non-ADHD child, and one with ADHD. Truthfully, there were many challenges from ADHD, which created chaos for the whole family.

Dad was a smart man but had trouble maintaining employment and so under earned. His impulsivity would get the best of him, and he’d overspend. We seemed never to have enough money for things like clothes, but there was always ice cream in the house. He was so disorganized and couldn’t remember where things were or the appointments that he’d made. He’d overcommit to others yet kept them waiting. Many times I’d hear Mom’s exasperated tone as she’d tell the person on the other end of the phone, “I don’t know where he is. Hopefully, he’ll be there soon.”

He didn’t manage much around the house, so most responsibilities fell to my mother. He also just wasn’t around much. So, by default she became the sole disciplinarian as well. She was the rock of our family; the glue that held everything together and she resented it. She would question him about things to which he had no answers. She’d get furious about something he said and madder still about something he didn’t. It was as if he could do no right in her eyes. Then she’d complain that it was his fault she was always the “bad guy” and mad at him for that too! All I knew for sure was every time she yelled at him it felt like she was yelling at me.

Click here for The Shame of the Non-ADHD Child continued…

~ Jennie Friedman

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  1. Jennie Wow.

    This’ gave me chills reading. I’m am so happy that your able to have the good memories of your father. This is a painful experience so this inspired me in a massive way❣ It scared me while thinking about my family and the struggles we have. I want success for my kids so bad because I know what it is to struggle. I sit on my laptop doing homework and one notification pops up and you know how that story plays out. Me being the exciting parent yelled to me the most. My daughter Zaria looks at me and says mommy can you color with me and I respond “yes baby.. Give mommy a second ok?” And about an hour later my daughter is in the kitchen crying. I run to the kitchen and she said to me that I always say wait a minute but in all honesty I never mean to hurt my princess. JENNIE in reading this, I was so touched because some days it’s extremely frustrating and other days I would change having add for anything in this lifetime.

    Thank you,

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Candace. This is why I’m so convinced that the ultimate message is that we are all in this together. You can not separate an individual from their ADHD and love is what helps bridge any gaps there may be in understanding one another. When there’s love there’s desire to learn, understand, and accept.
      Thank YOU!

  2. I agree with you Jennie! When I meet a person who MAY have a creative brain as I do, I get so excited because this lets me know for sure that I am made the way I am supposed to be made. Every person is different and unique in there own way. This can be painful rough some days, there are days that if I didn’t have ADD, I would see the beauty in even the worse things.


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