Knowing ADHD Facts Makes You Gaslight-Proof

gaslight ADHD

Is there a connection between ADHD and this phenomenon called  gaslighting? Potentially. But, as with most ADHD-related topics, it’s complicated.

I’m seeing more talk of gaslighting in an ADHD context. In website articles. In social-media posts and groups.  Unfortunately, some of it is not accurate, even rather skewed.

Why is this inaccuracy a problem? It risks compounding the pain of being on the receiving end of this behavior — by believing it is always intentional. That is, intentionally, verbally abusive behavior.

Here’s the thing:  Living with unrecognized or poorly managed ADHD — in oneself or a loved one — can be confusing and hurtful enough.  Finding clarity requires honest education and self-awareness. With compassion for all parties. That’s why I developed my online course: Solving Your Adult ADHD Puzzle.

With more accurate interpretations of negative behaviors — and strategies to stop those behaviors — each partner in the couple can become “gaslight-proof.”

(Note: I coined term gaslight-proof. ADHD-internet copycats love my blog, so expect to see it turning up elsewhere!)

In This Post:

ADHD Roller Coaster blog readers saw the first version of this post in 2010. Back then, a Google search for gaslighting would have returned very  few online mentions.

Now the term is everywhere. It’s increasingly used to increase traffic to sites poorly qualified to educate on this complex issue.  To help clarify the confusion — especially vis a vis ADHD — I’ve expanded and updated the post today, more than a decade later.   I hope you find it helpful.

Let’s examine this topic from several angles — skip around or read straight through:

  1. Defining gaslighting, briefly
  2. A snip of the film that inspired the term, Gaslight, with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer
  3. Controversy flares at the farmers market — and the gaslight turns on me
  4. Is there a connection between ADHD and gaslighting? (Sometimes, but it’s more complicated than most articles online claim)
  5. The role of “denial” about ADHD symptoms in alleged gaslighting
  6. A precursor event: What’s with the angry meditators trashing ADHD?
  7. A validating ending at the farmers market, where I could finally returning to my mission: buying produce
  8. What I mean by becoming “gaslight-proof”
gaslight ADHD
First, What Does It Mean — To Gaslight?

The phrase to gaslight harkens to the 1944 film Gaslight. Charles Boyer’s character manipulates Ingrid Bergman’s character (Paula) to believe that she is “losing it”. Seeing things that aren’t there. Not seeing things that are there. That sort of thing. Why? He seeks control. Of everything. Especially his wealthy new wife’s money.

In one scene, Paula sees the flickering light on the wall (pre-electricity, this was a gas light in her home).  When she asked him, he doubts her. Hints that she’s imagining things. In truth, he was in the attic  — and using the lights. Hence the flickering drain on the lower-level lights.

In short, gaslighters seek to make their victims question their perceptions, their knowledge, and their beliefs. Commonly, say mental-health professionals, they do this to feed their egocentric needs. For example: financial gain, a psychological need to control others or to force them to conform to their distorted beliefs and perceptions, etc..

Technically speaking, a gaslighter acts consciously predatory and willfully manipulative. With some nefarious goal in mind.

A Snip of the Film Gaslight

Gaslighting at the … Farmer’s Market?

Gaslighting takes many shapes or forms—and shows up in surprising places. For me, one sunny Saturday, it was our farmer’s market.

Who knew that wearing a certain t-shirt would raise a ruckus?  Who’d have predicted that a man would soon be screaming at me, his neck veins bulging?

Instead of chatting with vendors about English peas or when we might get rain, I was pulled into a public “debate” about ADHD. An attempt at public gaslighting, if you will. Hence the original inspiration for this post.

Sure, I’d grown accustomed to ranting ADHD-deniers on the Internet. But the farmer’s market?  I was heartened to learn, though, that my verbal “gaslight-proof” skills stood up there, too.

When it comes to the denial of ADHD, too, you also never know where, when, or with whom it’s going to pop out. When it does pop out, though, expect for some degree of anger.

In these cases, one gets the sense that the mere mention of the word ADHD strikes a little too close to home. Call it the  “methinks thou doth protest too much” phenomenon. In other words, the gripe about ADHD is that someone suggested they might have it — and it came as a mortal blow to their ego.

Many people with ADHD are eager to blame “ADHD denialism” on so-called neurotypicals. They say that other people with ADHD would understand. Not so fast.  In my long observation, the most ferocious “ADHD deniers” aren’t neurotypicals. They are people with ADHD. Perhaps with oppositional defiance in the mix.

If such a person can succeed in discrediting you—browbeats you into questioning yourself—they’ve denied the possibility of ADHD for themselves. At least in their mind. They fight it as if their very existence depends on it. And maybe it does.

Does Gaslighting  Apply to ADHD?

As mentioned, I first posted this article on gaslighting, in 2010. The term was new to many. Now you’ll find gaslighting abundantly online. The trouble is, it is often mis-used. Especially in the context of ADHD.

In Facebook groups, I see scores of women complain of being “gaslighted” by their ADHD partner. Given the details, though, it often seems they are more likely facing their partner’s poorly managed ADHD — poor memory, defensiveness, and so forth. But who can really say. More about that in a minute.

Another example: One psychologist who publicly discloses her own ADHD diagnosis warns about the people who routinely gaslight their ADHD loved ones. The goal, she claims, is taking advantage of their poor memory to some warped end.

Surely that happens. Human predators walk among us. They take advantage of the vulnerable, especially those who have issues with recall and memory. Easy targets.

In fact, a male psychiatrist with self-disclosed ADHD was known over the years for  sexually assaulting women with ADHD at conferences. Impulsive? Intentional? A bit of both? Who knows.  I think it’s safe to say that even some people with ADHD can be intentionally gaslighting — and perhaps intentionally target other people with ADHD.

After all, who would believe these “confused” women with ADHD? Especially over a well-known psychiatrist?  Moreover, these women often have learned not to trust their perceptions and memories. They don’t expect to be believed. They apologize.

ADHD education and treatment often helps them to become more clear about how something happened, what someone said. They become less vulnerable to other people’s forceful opinion.

gaslighting and ADHD denial

What About “Denial” of ADHD Symptoms?

Back to the psychologist writing about gaslighting and ADHD. She makes valid points about the vulnerability of some people with ADHD to gaslighting. Yet, she neglects the possibility of “denial” in the ADHD partner.

That is, the ADHD partner doesn’t believe they are doing the things their partner claims. Even when they absolutely are doing those things. So they accuse their (allegedly neurotypical) partners of manipulating them. Gaslighting. Therapists might support these distorted perceptions. They can’t conceive of alternate scenarios.

For example, the ADHD partner forgets how many speeding tickets he’s gotten. He accuses his partner of exaggerating, of gaslighting him, in order to gain control, to weaken his confidence and self-esteem. Again, a therapist not savvy about these neurocognitive might instead validate this perception. This risks intensifying conflict in the relationship — and other aspects of life.

Another example:  The ADHD partner ignores/forgets many polite requests until the other partner finally blows up. Then, the ADHD partner says, “Why didn’t you tell me before? Boy, do you have an anger-management problem!”

Is that gaslighting? Or, is that poor self-observation? Could it be both? Anything’s possible when unrecognized ADHD is a factor. Moreover, we humans are complicated!

It’s worth remembering: Sometimes these relationships are dual-ADHD. Can’t blame the neurotypical when it comes to “remembering things differently” or “that tone in your voice.”

Here are a few phrases familiar to many partners of adults with (“in denial” or poorly managed) ADHD:

  • You’re exaggerating or imagining things
  • I never said that
  • Can’t you take a joke?
  • You’re too sensitive
  • Stop trying to control me (by asking for basic cooperation with domestic responsibilities)
  • It’s your fault; you should have told me (but you did)
  • You need help

And yes, these are phrases you’ll see typical of gaslighters.  See how we tread some difficult gray area here?  Much in popular psychology simply fails to account for neurocognitive challenges.  It’s that behind the times.

So, Do We Excuse This Behavior?

These are simple examples of a not-so-simple phenomenon. But I hope you get my point.

That point is: Sometimes behavior looks like —and feels like— gaslighting.  But it actually is not fully intentional. That is, it springs from something else. This might include frontal-lobe issues affecting memory, self-awareness, reflection, empathy, and the like.  It’s not intentional manipulation. It’s neurobiological manifestations and defensiveness.

People who do not realize the extent o their challenges might get angry at accusations that feel unfair to them — and respond in anger or spite.  “Why don’t you ever help clean the kitchen?” “I clean it all the time; you just don’t notice.”

What do we do with this information?  Do we excuse this behavior — “She has ADHD, she can’t help it”?  In my experience, no, that’s not a wise coping response. Over time, it bodes poorly for each partner and the relationship.

If you are the recipient of this quasi-gaslighting behavior, does knowing it’s not “on purpose” make it any less hurtful? Maybe.  Viewing problematic ADHD behaviors as intentional gaslighting can dig a deep and painful hole for both partners.  When we see things more clearly, we can stop blame-shifting and start problem-solving.

The Internet and social media thrive on simple tropes. Complex subjects such as these deserve respectful approaches. The consequences of bad information wields real-life effects, sometimes lingering.

Back to the Farmer’s Market

That Saturday morning, I wore a strikingly good-looking t-shirt created for a Stride for ADHD Pride.  My friend Natalie Knochenhauer, founder of the [now former] Philadelphia non-profit ADHD Aware, sent it to me as thanks for serving on the board.

gaslight ADHD Gina Pera

First Red Flags: Haughtiness, Piercing Cold Eyes

The man literally stopping me in my tracks wasn’t a fellow shopper. He was soliciting signatures for a political petition.

He appeared middle-aged, soft-spoken, and sincere. At first. That’s why I thought took his initial interest in ADHD  — sparked by spotting my t-shirt — as genuine.  So, I congenially fielded the usual misinformed opinions.

Looking back, though, I remember red flags waving,  via a certain coldly piercing look in his eyes.

The Conversation Went Like  This:

Him: Well, you might not be aware of this, but ADHD is an American phenomenon. It’s caused by the culture.

Me: Yes, I can see why you’d have that perception.  Surprisingly,  though, ADHD’s prevalence is consistent worldwide, according to epidemiological studies.

It’s true that the U.S. might offer more cultural distractions (technological gadgetry, etc.). But it’s often the people with ADHD who have the most trouble resisting the distractions. So you can see how that’s sort of a chicken-and-egg issue.  

I’d agree with you, though, that  all humans are vulnerable to these distractions. That’s why ADHD is considered a spectrum condition, sort of the extreme end of the human condition.  Keeping  our focus despite all the distractions is a challenge for everyone, but especially for people with ADHD.

Him, using icily threatening tone: I hope you don’t push medications on people. I practice meditation, and meditation is the only solution.

Me: I don’t push anything on people. I try to share informed information about the choices.

Meditation might be very helpful for some people with ADHD, especially with their anxiety. But others don’t find that its benefits carry over substantially into the tasks of their workaday lives. Many can’t even focus well enough or sit still long enough to meditate. Sometimes medication helps them, though, to pursue a meditation practice.

gaslight ADHD Gina Pera

“Medication is Poison!”

Him:  “Medication is poison! You want to poison people. We know that medications don’t solve the problem—they just cover it up— and they create horrible, life-threatening side effects.”

Me, not allowing his personal attack to distract or “gaslight”: No, actually, we don’t know that. We know quite the opposite, that untreated ADHD carries with it higher risks of accidents, including brain injury, suicide, and other life stressors.

But you’re right that medications aren’t for everyone. And you’re right that ADHD medications do suffer a bad reputation. That’s largely because they’re often poorly prescribed and the rest of the physical body ignored (allergies, metabolic issues, nutrition, etc.).  

It’s regrettable that some reckless  physicians have helped to create more justified fear about the medications. It’s definitely a problem; that’s why I try to share information that helps people to avoid bad side effects and poor outcomes.

Him, showing little capacity for complex thoughts or nuance: No, all medication is bad.  

These people with so-called ADHD must stop making excuses and start meditating.

David Lynch Foundation against ADHD medication

David Lynch Foundation: ADHD Disinformation

Side story.

A few months earlier, I had met Sarina Grosswald. She represetned the David Lynch Foundation at a CHADD ADHD Conference exhibit hall. The foundation promotes Transcendental Meditation in schools.

Standing at their booth, I read through their prominently displayed album of badly reported stories about ADHD.

Finally, I asked Grosswald: “I don’t doubt that most children would benefit from learning some type of meditation. But why  not simply share meditation’s potential benefits without promoting  scare stories and misinformed news reports about medications?”

I asked, “Where is your empathy for the people who report higher functioning and happier lives because they choose to take medication and benefit, including children?”

Her steely eyes shot  daggers at me, much like the guy at the farmer’s market. She recited chapter and verse from their displayed propaganda.

These Angry Anti-ADHD Meditators!

Point by point, I calmly countered her scare tactics and misinterpretation of the research.  (Grossly misinterpreted.) In response, she grew increasingly angry.

Concerned that  I’d been rude, I later asked the man at the next booth for his opinion. “Well,” he said diplomatically, “you were very clear.”

For a sample of Grosswald’s misinformed scaremongering on ADHD medications, scan to 2:30 on this videoUpdate: Unfortunately, the David Lynch Foundation has removed the video.

Back to the Farmer’s Market

Finally, the ladies nearby, promoting a different petition, entered the discussion. They showed intellectual curiosity about ADHD. They asked me how I became interested in it. I explained and mentioned writing a book.

One responded: “I was a school psychologist for 35 years and I love your t-shirt. It’s wonderful that you are stating the facts about ADHD. Misinformation hurts everyone.”

Him, facial muscles tightening: “Facts! Those aren’t facts! That’s Big Pharma propaganda. Who do you think you are? Anybody can write a stupid book. In fact, I am writing my own book! “

Notice the continued attempt to discredit me, to continually put me in an extreme position that I do not actually hold.

I avoid the natural instinct to defend myself. That’s what he wants. Plus, this isn’t about me.   It about standing up for vulnerable people — people whose challenges are well documented in the published literature. I’m not letting him distract me.

For him, it’s all about manipulating me into capitulation. To encapsulate me in his own defiance and denial of, well, whatever might be going on with him.

Stepping Out from the Gaslight’s Glare

Me:  Who do I think I am? Nobody special. I’m just a journalist who has worked hard to research and understand scientific facts as well as the reality of ADHD. Because this information can help people.

Me, making an appeal to his sense of empathy, just in case he really isn’t the pathological narcissist he seems to be: Hey, I understand that you probably feel you are being genuinely kind and compassionate. You probably believe you are truly saving children and adults with ADHD from what you perceive as a horrible medical alternative. You believe you are giving them a more enlightened one.

We all want treatments that offer the most benefit with the least harm. But could you consider for a moment that your black-and-white militancy might actually be creating more problems for these people—in the form of stigma, fear, and confusion?

 Many of them have been told all their lives that their problems are of their own making. That if they’d just do fill-in-the-blank, their problems would be solved. But many people with late-diagnosis ADHD tried for years to help themselves by doing things such as meditating—to little avail.

In essence, you’re telling them that if they can’t meditate, they’re just not trying hard enough. You’re just adding to their pain, not alleviating it.

Not For His Lack of Trying

He continued.

Him, getting a scary-mean look in his eyes: “Words! Those are just words! How can my words hurt anyone?   That is an illusion!

If these people with so-called ADHD meditated, they would know that words don’t matter.

You should meditate, too, because you are caught up in the same illusions. Look at you. Your philosophy is causing you problems. Look at how you persist!”

Note this gaslighter’s increasing focus on making my “philosophy,” credibility, and illusions the problem. But I remain undistracted. Why? I am grounded in the facts, and my facts have been validated by both ADHD professional experts and those other experts: the people who have ADHD.

I  realize how people who are more tenuous in their facts or confidence might find such characters intimidating. He was “tall, dark, and handsome”—and imperiously confident. He had all the makings of an effective psychological bully.  A Gaslighter Extraordinaire.  In fact, he reminded me of Jonestown’s Jim Jones, without the charm.

ADHD denial gaslighting Gina Pera

“She  Can’t  Stand to Hear the Truth!”

Please understand: He didn’t even pretend to be “reasonable” on the issue. He refused to consider the gray area I offered matter-of-factly.

People less informed, with less concern about the stakes, might have mistaken his resolve for conviction. They might have believed I was a pharma tool. After all, the loudest voices tend to rule. But I saw something far more disturbing.

Me, understanding there was nothing more to discuss: “Okay, well, it’s nice to meet you. But I need to finish my shopping.”

Him, loudly and angrily, the imperious manner growing more resolute: “See, she’s running away!  She can’t stand to hear the truth. She’s hurt by words and can’t take the fact that she’s wrong.”

Me (chuckling):  “I’m not running away. I’m walking away to Contreras Farm’s stand before they run out of eggs.  I came here to shop and enjoy myself, not to be provoked into an argument so you can self-medicate with anger and opposition. Have a nice day!”

Him, practically apoplectic, to the ladies at the next booth: “Did you hear that? I never got a word in edgewise. She talked the entire time!”

Ladies nearby, laughing:  “No, she didn’t. You did.”

Becoming Gaslight-Proof

When you ground yourself in solid knowledge, you become vulnerable to another person’s  machinations. That was the initial inspiration for this post, in its original version from 2010. A personal story.

You might also come to see that certain attempts to “gaslight” aren’t a deliberate strategy to persecute you. Instead, you might be coming up against the gaslighter’s neurobiological dysfunction.  Yes, that includes ADHD and other frontal-lobe conditions.  (You’ll find a link to a post on ADHD and denial at the end.)

Wait!  Does this mean that you, the partners of adults with ADHD, should excuse the hurtful behavior? Because “My ADHD partner can’t help it”? No. Absolutely not.  For many people with ADHD, the full range of symptoms responds to medication treatment. Education about common ADHD patterns helps to fill in the gaps and create change.

Wait! Does this mean that you, the adult with ADHD, should submit to your partner’s allegedly more accurate recall?  Because “My  memories are unreliable”?

Or, the other extreme:  Being blind to your ADHD challenges in this department, you view your own memories as infallible. Therefore, you view attempts to fact-check your memories as “gaslighting”?  No. Absolutely not.

Instead, I am suggesting that everyone involved become gaslight-proof.   That is, with clarifying education, we all can better:

  • Control our reactions to perceived gaslighting
  • Avoid “taking the bait” — getting drawn into these mind-boggling arguments
  • Stop deepening our pain by automatically jumping to “My partner tries to confuse or invalidate me on purpose”
  • Consider alternative explanations, such as lack of knowledge about ADHD impairments that affect memory, self-awareness, and recall
  • Start finding a path out


Read More About Brain-Based Denial

Are you dealing with someone who is “in denial” of their ADHD? You might find this article interesting: Adult ADHD & Brain-Based Denial.

Yes, the partners and other loved ones of adults with ADHD can be “in denial”, too.  I cover that in the three chapters on denial in my first book: Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?

Have you ever experienced “gaslighting” behavior, about ADHD or anything else? How did you deal with it?

I’d love know your stories.

—Gina Pera

Originally posted April 23, 2010; updated September 22, 2021

25 thoughts on “Knowing ADHD Facts Makes You Gaslight-Proof”

  1. Looking back on the downward spiral of my marriage to ADHD and NPD, I often wonder where the ADHD stopped and the NPD started. Because by the end it felt more like NPD and less like ADHD.
    In my on-going recovery stage after the divorce, the places that have been helping me the most are the ones concerning NPD. The older he got, the more determined he was to make me believe his version of “the truth”. There was no space in his world for me to have my own perception or point-of-view or to listen to anything I said that didn’t agree with him. Our marriage didn’t start that way. I do think it was more ADHD near the start.
    When people asked why I divorced him, I had many different answers. One was that it was because there was no longer room for the two of us in the relationship. There was only room for him.

    1. Hi Heather,

      NPD doesn’t suddenly come on later in life. Unless there is a head injury or other type of brain trauma or disease.

      Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a label that does not explain cause or origin.

      The trouble is that many people do not understand that ADHD itself can provide the foundation for narcissistic behavior.

      This is due to empathy deficits. Does this mean that all people with ADHD are narcissists or have empathy deficits? No, ADHD is highly variable, and there are other personality traits in the mix.

      Some people with ADHD suffer from having too much empathy — and being unable to regulate it.

      Here are two blog posts about ADHD and empathy.

      I hope this helps.

  2. I really love this blog and topic. I really related to the part about the ADHD partner saying you have an anger management problem. My husband told me his and my son’s psychiatrist told him that I had “an anger management problem.” At that point I had asked him to do something politely several times which he didn’t hear or remember. The only thing he remembered was the final time when I screamed at him. Now I understand better why I need to maintain my cool. I am the last person to scream at anyone including my husband. I appreciated learning your techniques. You are one strong woman. Fondly, Dr. Maria Pugliese

    1. Hi Maria,

      Thank you so much!! Coming from you especially!

      That’s so funny. You see the lesson as “why I need to maintain my cool.”

      I saw the lesson as “He needs to listen the first or at least the third damn time!”

      Then again, I am full Italian. Maybe you are half? lol

      thanks so much for reading and commenting,

    2. PS: To Gina, I am 100% Italian and allergic to garlic. Parternal grandparents from Southern Italy and Maternal grandparents from Northern Italy–as one native Italian said to me, “Only in America.”

    3. Hi Maria

      That’s hilarious! And true!

      And I’m allergic to olive trees! Visited Florence in June. I literally could not stop sneezing. Convulsively.

      Had to take antihistamine (many) and put cold compresses on my face — and not go outside much. 🙂


  3. The market story was a good one. There is an idea out there that is held with religious fervor by a lot of people. The idea is that everyone is the same and it is only conditions that make us different. Like religious people, they believe that holding a different view leads to hell. The hell in this case is Nazi-ism. In that guy’s mind he was attacking someone whose ideas would lead to Nazi-ism.
    It is easy to criticize people like your verbal adversary but there are other conditions that cause negative behavior besides ADHD. He may have been born with or acquired one of them. For some people an ideology gives meaning to their life and some self-esteem. The problem your guy had was that his ideology had taught him to see people who disagreed with him as adversaries. He also believed, like many people do, that the more emotion he brought to the conversation the more right he was.

    1. Hi Starman,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment — and bringing up a key point about “everyone is the same and only conditions make us different.”

      By the way, I must have been unclear. I wasn’t implying that Farmer’s Market Man had ADHD.

      All I knew? He had gaslighting-esque skills. From what did they spring? I have no idea.

      Maybe the cult of the David Lynch Foundation. But what drew him to that? Maybe narcissism. Poor empathy. Poor “theory of mind” — being able to take the perspective of others. Or, like many anti-psychiatry zealots, he’d once had faith that psychiatrists and medication could help him — and was badly burned. Hearing several hundred of those stories myself, I understand his vitriol.

      I have no hesitation in criticizing his behavior, though. Anti-ADHD crusaders cause real harm. And, if anyone seemed prone to Nazism, it was him.

      I think I know what you mean by “the idea that everyone is the same and it is only conditions that make us different.” Basically, the antediluvian Tabula Rasa, right? Blank slate. Babies are born with no predispositions to anything, perhaps genetic and in utero issues that wreak havoc with simple body parts like the heart or lungs but miraculously have no effect on the most complex organ imaginable: the human brain. It is only experiences that form the psyche.

      That seems the extreme left’s bread and butter. Mental illness comes entirely from poverty, classism, discrimination, etc.. Property is theft. Cliff Notes Marxism. Extremism in any direction is dangerous, in my humble opinion. I call it the extreme-left’s version of climate-change denial. Anti-science.

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      P.S. I love your blog. I’ll share the “French Kids Don’t have ADHD” post on my Facebook page.

  4. Gina, I’m full of admiration for how you kept your cool! I would have been defensive and probably aggressively so. Hats off to you. I have much to learn. Thanks again for all your work and effort.
    Love, Josie G

  5. Hi Gina,
    I’ve been in a very tough position with year 16 learning wife has adhd, it was a wonderful month and she felt supported by me trying to learn and appreciate what she went through when I discovered what I had confirmed I went through I just needed to feel validated. It turned into quickly her thinking I was blaming her. Then it went straight into adhd isn’t the reason. After 16 years of being ignored I really couldn’t handle that and the level of defensiveness was at 100% (we had only been back 6mths and we were so in love again) then it went to 0. My wife has surrounded herself with people who tell her what she wants to hear. I’ve been completely pushed to the side and everyone looks at me as this person that needs anger management. I have offered so many relative papers and videos directly providing an identical occurrence to the point.
    But every single attempt is a NO before even listening. That drives me to a break down most times.
    I get pushed by everyone that is close to her that I need the help. I’ve been so alone with this for quite some time but it went into lockdown for 3mths and my mental health has been completely ignored. I’ve done everything I could and I am seen as the problem. (I’ll take my fair share).
    I did everything I meant to do but she doesn’t realise the person that I come out with frustrated and angry is well after many many 100s of attempts to manage it together. She now wants a divorce but we are still yet since Jan had an open conversation with a plan.
    I feel overwhelmed with loneliness and im breaking and making everything worst.

    1. Dear Luke,

      I am so sorry you’re facing this situation.

      The sad and horrible truth is, there is an army of self-promoters online, claiming ADHD expertise (some just by virtue of the face they were diagnosed…yesterday!).

      Rather than being honest and knowledgeable — and really trying to help these folks move past symptoms that no doubt cause them trouble elsewhere in life (not just relationships) — they pander.

      They feed them fake “self-esteem” instead of helping them to develop a solid sense of self.

      It’s deplorable. The fact that many of these people also receive covert pharmaceutical-company funding? Sickening.

      I’ve worked very hard to for years, to help the adults with late-diagnosis ADHD and their partners. To my mind — and the top experts endorse my work — teamwork is the best approach.

      I just offered a very-low-cost option to try out my new online training — and you can apply it course 1 if you decide to continue.

      Honestly, this is what you need. As the co-author of the first evidence-based ADHD couple therapy guide, I literally “wrote the book on it.”

      good luck!!


  6. Ooof, can’t stand people like that. I usually just tell them what they want to hear, like a “Wow, I’ve never thought of it that way” and then disengage. Doesn’t work for friends and family, though,

    1. Hi Devon,

      Absolutely, I don’t engage with these types most of the time.

      This guy caught me so off-guard, and I was quite the evangelist for ADHD — then and now.

      Plus, I wanted to see what would happen. 🙂


  7. Pingback: Arguments, Conflict as ADHD "Self-Medication" - ADHD Roller Coaster with Gina Pera

  8. Hello Richard,
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

    No, even in hindsight, it wasn’t even a bit inappropriate to wear my very attractively designed t-shirt. The logo was small-ish and tasteful. And the t-shirts were given to participants in an ADHD Aware fun-run. I was proud to wear it.

    I was just out to enjoy the morning at the farmer’s market. And I did.

  9. H D — So true. In fact, as I watched this guy pontificate, I was struck by how much he reminded me of a Jim Jones- or David Koresh-type cult leader.

    As for the David Lynch Foundation, I’m sure he and all involved think they are doing good. And maybe they are. Goodness knows we all need to slow down our “monkey minds” a bit and be more present in our daily lives. But it was using scare tactics about legitimate ADHD medications to promote meditation that really rankled me and even made me a bit suspicious about motivations.

  10. Self-medication is often a way to cope temporarily that gets repeated over and over. Real damage occurs to people every day when they miss the opportunity to get help through ignorance or fear and avoid the cycle of self-medication.

    If you use scare tactics to recruit, you will filter for people who will settle for self-medication rather than substantive help. People who lead these types of movements usually benefit from the ‘help’ or at least gain the addoration of the masses (their own special self-medication).

    Fortunately, very few of these groups have the tragic ends we’re used to seeing in the news every decade or two. Thanks for getting it into the open. I’m disappointed, I like David Lynch films, I will have to do some more reading about this.

  11. I’ve never understood why certain people seem to want to force their beliefs on others, much less attack people that are going about their business. I think meditation is helpful, but I also know it is not the answer alone and there are a lot of ADDers who cannot remain still long enough to meditate in the first place. There are lots of alternatives, but none of them really overcome the entire spectrum. Besides, when people present their ideas in such a manner it will usually have the opposite effect anyway and gives whatever they are talking about a negative suggestion. It’s too bad because meditation can help some a lot, but as I said, it’s not the complete answer either. What works for one person may not work as well for another…

    Glad you are okay Gina!


    1. Hi Bryan,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      You know, there’s a popular quote that several friends have posted recently on Facebook: “First the truth will made you mad; then it will set you free.”

      That is the issue in such confrontations, in my opinion. It’s not about meditation. It’s about ADHD; more specifically, the person who is reacting so violently against the mere idea of ADHD or medical treatments for it suspects that he or she has ADHD or some other “brain chemistry” condition (and in fact might have been told that more than once). As Shakespeare put it: “Methinks thou dost protest too much.”

      The more defensive the person is about the issue of ADHD (or any other “diagnosis”) and the more narcissistic, the more inclined the person will be to see even a t-shirt as an attack.


  12. I wish I had a photo, Scott. The psychological bully image would be even more evident!

    He was Central Casting’s idea of cult leader that dominates by psychological and emotional manipulation. Not at first, of course. Only when he was countered.

  13. Gina, Way to go! I still can’t get that “Psychological bully” way of describing the man out of my head (lol). Bullies always fall when someone stands up to them, and shows no fear. You had a weapon though>Facts.

  14. Hi David,

    A “tad on the shrill side?” Yes, you could say that about Ann Coulter. lol!

    Here’s the thing…..some people are expert at provoking otherwise rational people into acting like blithering nincompoops. Once they accomplish this, then they have the cool demeanors of, as you say, the Dalai Lama. This accomplishes two things: It elevates them into superiority, and it satisfies their “self-medicating” need to provoke.

    Fortunately, Canada doesn’t seem to breed this species in abundance. If you did, you’d probably be as sick of them as some of us are. 🙂


  15. I am glad you are on my team Gina.

    Reminds of the big stir caused by Ann Coulter’s recent visit to a few campuses here in Canada. I think her topic was the repressiveness of political correctness on campus. In the few times I have heard her on TV she seemed a tad on the shrill side for my taste. This time, she was like the Dalai Lama compared to the humorless and rabid mobs who accused her of “hate speech” and tried to shut her down in the name of “tolerance”.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay in Touch!
Ride the ADHD Roller Coaster
Without Getting Whiplash!
Receive Gina Pera's award-winning blog posts and news of webinars and workshops.
P.S. Your time and privacy—Respected.
No e-mail bombardment—Promised.
No Thanks!