Sensitivity to Criticism
I’m incredibly sensitive to criticism and rejection compared to my peers. I think this is in larger part due to the combination of having ADHD and an Autism diagnosis. I also have other learning disabilities in addition to a lot of sensory issues that make things more interesting.
Everything mixed together makes it harder for me to understand a lot of expectations of daily living, this was especially stressful as a kid and teen. I felt like I was always behind trying to figure out what was going on around me. Many things felt random and inconsistent to me as a younger person which sometimes caused lots of misunderstanding. Those interactions left me feeling anger, anxiety, and frustration because I didn’t understand what I did wrong or why I needed corrections at that time. I needed a lot of support to learn social expectations and how to get along with other people in various settings.
Being different from most of the people my age lead me to experience more criticism and rejection compared to a lot of my peers. This increased my vulnerability to negative reactions, kind of like an allergy where the more you’re exposed, the worst your reaction is to the situation. Similar circumstances where I feel like I’m being corrected often cause me to overreact to the stimulus due to prior conditioning.
My painful feelings and reactions to being corrected cause me to change my behavior a lot. I used to assume that I was the problem and that’s why I was being told that I was “wrong.” I tried to please people; I tried to do what they wanted but it usually didn’t work, causing me even more stress and anxiety.
I have incredibly low self-confidence and it’s hard for me to trust myself and others. I look for outside validation and when I don’t get it, I react poorly. This leads to me having a harder time making my own decisions so I tend to poll people and ask them what I should be doing instead of following my own reasoning or problem solving ability. I also have two different reactions to negative/unpleasant interactions; I either tend to blow up or I retreat which means I enter into fight or flight mode in reaction to the stimulus.
All this messy stuff combined is my baggage that I’ve taken into adulthood with me. I find it easier to just pull my luggage behind me rather than stop and start taking things out. I’m usually in a hurry to get stuff done so it’s hard to find time to get this complicated process started of unpacking my issues. Why? I feel like I’m ready to tackle said task because I feel strong enough, have enough motivation, and I have enough help that this feels like the right time to me.
I don’t think I’m alone in my experiences and you don’t have to have ADHD or Autism to have my experiences ring true for you. If you get only one or two things from this blog, I hope you understand that no matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone. Reaching out for help sometimes means waiting for the right time, situation and people to be part of your support team. I hope you find this blog as helpful as I found writing it was for me. As always, best of luck with your current and future endeavors.