It is no secret that many ADHD’rs struggle with being assertive. I have noticed this especially with my female clients. I think that this is a place where our ADHD interacts with our societal expectations. I’ve often noticed that women politicians seem to be in a no win situation. If they aren’t assertive they are criticized for being “soft” and “emotional.” Yet, if they are aggressive (just like their male counterparts,) they are labeled as “bitches.”
It seems to me that this leaves women in our culture in a bit of a pickle. Add in the idea that many ADHD’rs have trouble articulating and enforcing their boundaries, (as well as sometimes not recognizing others’,) and the result is a woman who can be paralyzed by indecision or trapped in a cycle of personal unhappiness while striving to placate and please others.
I gave one of my clients a homework assignment last week to think about the difference between being assertive and being mean. (Mean was her word, and she was quite worried about being perceived as mean.) She came back to me the following week with a fantastic definition of assertiveness that she found online. I want to share a link to that definition as more food for thought on this topic.