Attention Deficit Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Attention Deficit. Here they are! All 100 of them:

Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.
Nora Ephron (I Feel Bad About My Neck, And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman)
Our attention span is shot. We've all got Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD or OCD or one of these disorders with three letters because we don't have the time or patience to pronounce the entire disorder. That should be a disorder right there, TBD - Too Busy Disorder.
Ellen DeGeneres
Rafe didn't just flirt-he charmed girls right up to the point where they fell for him, then he changed his mind.I called him a player with attention deficit disorder.
Kelley Armstrong (The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1))
If Jesus gives us a task or assigns us to a difficult season, every ounce of our experience is meant for our instruction and completion if only we'll let Him finish the work. I fear, however, that we are so attention-deficit that we settle for bearable when beauty is just around the corner.
Beth Moore
There is nothing more entertaining then leaving someone speechless. Yet, there is nothing sadder than realizing that person was incapable of retaining half of what you said, and will repeat the story all wrong to someone else.
Shannon L. Alder
Social media not only snatches your time, but it also teaches you attention deficiency.
Neeraj Agnihotri (Procrasdemon - The Artist's Guide to Liberation from Procrastination)
As a child, Zaphod had been diagnosed with ADHDDAAADHD (ntm) ABT which stood for Always Dreaming His Dopey Days Away, Also Attention Deficit Hyperflactulance Disorder (not to mention) A Bit Thick.
Eoin Colfer (And Another Thing... (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #6))
Despite what the words "attention deficit" imply, ADHD is not a deficit of attention, but rather a challenge of regulating it at will or on demand.
Jenara Nerenberg (Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn't Designed for You)
Oh, and they said I have ADD, too." He lit a cigarette, his first of the day, and took a long, grateful drag. "But listen mate, I once sucked a geezer for twenty minutes to get him off. The clock was just over his shoulder and I timed it. Attention deficit?" He blew out a plume of smoke. "I don't think so.
S.A. Reid (Something Different)
The first expert said he had attention deficit disorder. The second expert said the first was out of order. One said he was autistic, another that he was artistic. One said he had Tourette's syndrome. One said he had Asperger's syndrome. And one said the problem was that his parents had Munchausen syndrome. Still another said all he needed was a good old-fashioned spanking.
Pseudonymous Bosch (The Name of This Book Is Secret (Secret, #1))
My nephew has HDADHD. High Definition Attention Deficit Disorder. He can barely pay attention, but when he does it's unbelievably clear.
Steven Wright
It is growing up different. It is extreme hypersensitivity. It is a bottomless pit of feeling you're failing, but three days later, you feel you can do anything, only to end the week where you began. It is not learning from your mistakes. It is distrusting people because you have been hurt enough. It is moments of knowing your pain is self inflicted, followed by blaming the world. It is wanting to listen, but you just can’t anymore because your life has been to full of people that have judged you. It is fighting to be right; so for once in your life someone will respect and hear you for a change. It is a tiring life of endless games with people, in order to seek stimulus. It is a hyper focus, so intense about what bothers you, that you can’t pay attention to anything else, for very long. It is a never-ending routine of forgetting things. It is a boredom and lack of contentment that keeps you running into the arms of anyone that has enough patience to stick around. It wears you out. It wears everyone out. It makes you question God’s plan. You misinterpret everything, and you allow your creative mind to fill the gaps with the same old chains that bind you. It narrows your vision of who you let into your life. It is speaking and acting without thinking. It is disconnecting from the ones you love because your mind has taken you back to what you can’t let go of. It is risk taking, thrill seeking and moodiness that never ends. You hang your hope on “signs” and abandon reason for remedy. It is devotion to the gifts and talents you have been given, that provide temporary relief. It is the latching onto the acceptance of others---like a scared child abandoned on a sidewalk. It is a drive that has no end, and without “focus” it takes you nowhere. It is the deepest anger when someone you love hurts you, and the greatest love when they don't. It is beauty when it has purpose. It is agony when it doesn’t. It is called Attention Deficit Disorder.
Shannon L. Alder
So self-acceptance does not mean self-admiration or even self-liking at every moment of our lives, but tolerance for all our emotions, including those that make us feel uncomfortable.
Gabor Maté (Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder)
We think that children act, whereas what they mostly do is react. Parents who realize this acquire a powerful tool. By noticing their own responses to the child, rather than fixating on the child’s responses to them, they free up tremendous energy for growth.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
By autistic standards, the “normal” brain is easily distractible, is obsessively social, and suffers from a deficit of attention to detail and routine. Thus people on the spectrum experience the neurotypical world as relentlessly unpredictable and chaotic, perpetually turned up too loud, and full of people who have little respect for personal space.
Steve Silberman (NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity)
In the family of punctuation, where the full stop is daddy and the comma is mummy, and the semicolon quietly practises the piano with crossed hands, the exclamation mark is the big attention-deficit brother who gets overexcited and breaks things and laughs too loudly.
Lynne Truss (Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation)
Couples choose each other with an unerring instinct for finding the very person who will exactly match their own level of unconscious anxieties and mirror their own dysfunctions, and who will trigger for them all their unresolved emotional pain.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Nowadays a lot of what was wrong with me would no doubt be ascribed to Attention Deficit Disorder, tartrazine food colouring, dairy produce and air pollution. A few hundred years earlier it would have been demons, still the best analogy I think, but not much help when it comes to a cure.
Stephen Fry (Moab Is My Washpot (Memoir, #1))
So, please people, if you know someone with AD(H)D, don’t try to change that about them. Don’t take that one skill away, or make them feel ashamed to use it. Sometimes procrastination is all they have in their little superhero tool belt!
Stacey Turis (Here's to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire: An Absent-Minded Tale of Life with Giftedness and Attention Deficit - Oh Look! A Chicken!)
To tell a person who has ADD to try harder is about as helpful as telling someone who is nearsighted to squint harder.
Edward M. Hallowell (Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder)
The whole bloody world's got a commitment problem. It's the three-minute culture. It's a global attention-span deficit.
Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’s Diary (Bridget Jones, #1))
Serge's attention-deficit disorder was the first of many hyphens. Obsessive-compulsive, manic-depressive, anal-retentive, paranoid-schizophrenic. He was believed to be the only self-inflicted case of shaken-baby syndrome.
Tim Dorsey
Alas. I have a bad personality and a stupefying deficit of attention.
Tamsyn Muir (Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #1))
If, then, something like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a pathology, it is a pathology of late capitalism – a consequence of being wired into the entertainment-control circuits of hyperme-diated consumer culture. Similarly, what is called dyslexia may in many cases amount to a post-lexia. Teenagers process capital’s image-dense data very effectively without any need to read –slogan-recognition is sufficient to navigate the net-mobile-magazine informational plane. ‘Writing has never been capitalism’s thing. Capitalism is profoundly illiterate’, Deleuze
Mark Fisher (Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?)
From a pathological standpoint, the incipient twenty-first century is determined neither by bacteria nor by viruses, but by neurons. Neurological illnesses such as depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), and burnout syndrome mark the landscape of pathology at the beginning of the twenty-first century. They are not infections, but infarctions; they do not follow from the negativity of what is immunologically foreign, but from an excess of positivity. Therefore, they elude all technologies and techniques that seek to combat what is alien.
Byung-Chul Han (The Burnout Society)
A tone of voice or a look in another’s eyes can activate powerful implicit memories. The person experiencing this type of memory may believe that he is just reacting to something in the present, remaining completely in the dark about what the rush of feelings that flood his mind and body really represents. Implicit memory is responsible for much of human behavior, its workings all the more influential because unconscious.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
While we all need external structure in our lives—some degree of predictability, routine, organization—those with ADD need it much more than most people. They need external structure so much because they so lack internal structure.
Edward M. Hallowell (Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder)
That’s the problem with being an adult: people have already made up their minds about us; we’ve even made up our minds about ourselves.
Edward M. Hallowell (Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder)
The warmth and satisfaction of positive contact with the adult is often just as good as a psychostimulant in supplying the child’s prefrontal cortex with dopamine.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Attention Deficit Disorder, Seasonal Affect Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder. These aren't diseases, they're marketing ploys. Doctors didn't discover them, copywriters did. Marketing departments did. Drug companies did.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)
The best attitude to adopt is one of compassionate patience, which has to include a tolerance for failure.
Gabor Maté (Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder)
He downed the last of his coffee, carried his mug over to the pot, poured himself a refill, and returned to the table. Why, yes, thank you, I'd love some more coffee. Hmmm, Narcisstic Personality Disorder? Attention Deficit Disorder? Or just a typical male?
Lynda Hilburn (The Vampire Shrink (Kismet Knight, Ph.D., Vampire Psychologist, #1))
Judgment or blaming is not the point. Understanding is.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
My thoughts are like butterflies. They are beautiful, but they fly away.
Edward M. Hallowell (Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder)
I do not believe ADD leads to creativity any more than creativity causes ADD. Rather, they both originate in the same inborn trait: sensitivity. For creativity, a temperamental sensitivity is indispensable. The sensitive individual, as we have seen, draws into herself the unseen emotional and psychic communications of her environment. On some levels of the unconscious, she will, therefore, have a deeper awareness of the world. She may also be more attuned to particular sensory input, such as sound, color or musical tone. Thus the sensitivity provides her with the raw materials her mind will rework and reshape. Thus sensitivity contributes to the emergence of attention deficit disorder, as well as to creativity. Colin,
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
ADD is also found more commonly in people whose first-degree relatives are alcoholics or suffer from depression, anxiety, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder or Tourette’s syndrome.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Russell Barkley similarly describes the primary problem in ADD as a deficit in the motivation system, which makes it impossible to stay on task for any length of time unless there is constant feedback, constant reward.
Edward M. Hallowell (Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder)
Whenever we ascribe a motive to the other person, as in “you are doing this because...,” we discard curiosity and immobilize compassion.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Reading is one of the main things I do. Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.
Nora Ephron (I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman)
The whole bloody world's got a commitment problem. It's the three-minute culture. It's a global attention-span deficit. It's typical of men to annex a global trend and turn it into a male device to reject women to make themselves feel clever and us feel stupid. It's nothing but fuckwittage.
Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’s Diary (Bridget Jones, #1))
The game is getting old, and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve mastered the art of it, or if I just have some weird attention-deficit-disorder when it comes to getting my way all the time, every time.
Kris Kidd (I Can't Feel My Face (The Altar Collective Presents...))
From early infancy, it appears that our ability to regulate emotional states depends upon the experience of feeling that a significant person in our life is simultaneously experiencing a similar state of mind.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
People with ADD often have a special “feel” for life, a way of seeing right into the heart of matters, while others have to reason their way along methodically.
Edward M. Hallowell (Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder)
Most adults with ADD are struggling to express a part of themselves that often seems unraveled as they strive to join the thought behind unto the thought before.
Edward M. Hallowell (Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder)
People with ADD are forever told that they are “too sensitive” or that they should stop being “so touchy.” One might as well advise a child with hay fever to stop being “so allergic.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Sensitive children come to be called “difficult” because adults have trouble understanding their temperament and because parenting methods that work with other children are frustratingly inadequate with this group.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Every age has its signature afflictions. Thus, a bacterial age existed; at the latest, it ended with the discovery of antibiotics. Despite widespread fear of an influenza epidemic, we are not living in a viral age. Thanks to immunological technology, we have already left it behind. From a pathological standpoint, the incipient twenty-first century is determined neither by bacteria nor by viruses, but by neurons. Neurological illnesses such as depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), and burnout syndrome mark the landscape of pathology at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
Byung-Chul Han (The Burnout Society)
The family therapist David Freeman once concluded a public lecture on intimacy and relationships by saying that if there was any one thing he hoped his audience would remember from his talk, it was the awareness that one does not know his or her spouse, his or her children. We may believe we have a perfect idea of why they act as they do, when in reality our beliefs reflect no more than our own anxieties.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
One of the most promising developments since the publication of “The Geek Syndrome” has been the emergence of the concept of neurodiversity: the notion that conditions like autism, dyslexia, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should be regarded as naturally occurring cognitive variations with distinctive strengths that have contributed to the evolution of technology and culture rather than mere checklists of deficits and dysfunctions.
Steve Silberman (NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity)
Not that I'm bipolar, but that I'm two people, and not just two people, but two people at odds with each other. The mom and the kid, the homebody and the explorer, the strong and the weak, the logical and the emotional, the funny and the sad, the angry and the calm, the open and the closed, the loved and the hated, the hot and the cold, the alive and the dead, the beautiful and the ugly. It's exhausting. I. Am. Exhausting.
Stacey Turis (Here's to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire: An Absent-Minded Tale of Life with Giftedness and Attention Deficit - Oh Look! A Chicken!)
There is no path toward oneself that leads away from the pain.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Increasingly, children’s behavioral problems are ascribed to various medical syndromes such as oppositional defiant disorder or attention deficit disorder. These diagnoses at least have the benefit of absolving the child and of removing the onus of blame from the parents, but they camouflage the reversible dynamics that cause children to misbehave in the first place.
Gordon Neufeld (Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers)
There are two possibilities why your memories of childhood are so hazy,” I suggest to people. “Either nothing happened worth remembering, or too much happened that may be hurtful for you to recall.” As we shall see in a later chapter, human beings can tune out entire periods of their lives that were characterized by emotional pain.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
neurodiversity: the notion that conditions like autism, dyslexia, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) should be regarded as naturally occurring cognitive variations with distinctive strengths that have contributed to the evolution of technology and culture rather than mere checklists of deficits and dysfunctions.
Steve Silberman (NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity)
Keep those faces in mind, the little girls and boys in the early grades, all trusting the adults to show them the way, all eager and excited about life and what will come next, and then just follow those faces over time. Follow the face of a little girl who doesn't read very well and is told to try harder; who tends to daydream and is told she better pay attention; who talks out in class when she sees something fascinating, like a butterfly on the windowpane, and is told to leave the class and report to the principal; who forgets her homework and is told she will just never learn, will she; who writes a story rich in imagination and insight and is told her handwriting and spelling are atrocious; who asks for help and is told she should try harder herself before getting others to do her work for her; who begins to feel unhappy in school and is told that big girls try harder. This is the brutal process of the breaking of the spirit of a child. I can think of no more precious resource than the spirits of our children. Life necessarily breaks us all down somewhat, but to do it unnecessarily to our children in the name of educating them -- this is a tragedy. To take the joy of learning -- which one can see in any child experimenting with something new -- to take that joy and turn it into fear -- that is something we should never do.
Edward M. Hallowell (Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood)
Many women feel that no matter how competent others think they are, or no matter how much they achieve, they are really just fooling everyone.
Sari Solden (Women With Attention Deficit Disorder: Embrace Your Differences and Transform Your Life)
As parents, we may as well accept that we will “lose it” at times. Perfect equanimity is beyond us. Temporary breaks in the relationship with the child are inevitable and are not in themselves harmful, unless they are frequent and catastrophic. The real harm is inflicted when the parent makes the child work at reestablishing contact, as in forcing a child to apologize before granting “forgiveness.” There
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
The Procrastinator has the opposite problem. He can’t selectively focus his attention and might endure frequent accusations about his laziness. In truth, he’s so distracted by stimuli that he can’t figure out where or how to get started. Sounds, smells, sights and the random wanderings of his thoughts continually vie for his attention.
Kate Kelly (You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!: The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (The Classic Self-Help Book for Adults w/ Attention Deficit Disorder))
While trying harder helps just about everything, telling someone with ADD to try harder is no more helpful than telling someone who is nearsighted to squint harder. It missed the biological point.
Edward M. Hallowell (Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder)
THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE ADD ADULTS 1. Do what you’re good at. Don’t spend too much time trying to get good at what you’re bad at. (You did enough of that in school.) 2. Delegate what you’re bad at to others, as often as possible. 3. Connect your energy to a creative outlet. 4. Get well enough organized to achieve your goals. The key here is “well enough.” That doesn’t mean you have to be very well organized at all—just well enough organized to achieve your goals. 5. Ask for and heed advice from people you trust—and ignore, as best you can, the dream-breakers and finger-waggers. 6. Make sure you keep up regular contact with a few close friends. 7. Go with your positive side. Even though you have a negative side, make decisions and run your life with your positive side.
Edward M. Hallowell (Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder)
As parents who make every effort we can to raise our children in loving security, we do not need to feel more guilt than we already do. We need less guilt and more awareness of how the quality of the parent-child relationship can be used to promote our children’s emotional and cognitive development.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
I might be more kindly disposed to this ultra-secular notion that whenever bad things happen someone must be held accountable if a curious little halo of blamelessness did not seem to surround those very people who perceive themselves as bordered on every side by agents of wickedness. That is, it seems to be the same folks who are inclined to sue builders who did not perfectly protect them from the depredations of an earthquake who will be the first to claim that their son failed his math test because of attention deficit disorder, and not because he spent the night before at a video arcade instead of studying complex fractions.
Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
Environment does not cause ADD any more than genes cause ADD. What happens is that if certain genetic material meets a certain environment, ADD may result. Without that genetic material, no ADD. Without that environment, no ADD. The formative environment is the family of origin.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Barely, but I did. Then in college I did really well. Can you imagine that? Which is why I went to graduate school. But that was probably a big mistake. I should have quit while I was ahead. You see, my problem is I don’t know whether I’m smart or if I’m stupid. I’ve done well, and I’ve done poorly, and I’ve been told that I’m gifted and I’ve been told that I’m slow. I don’t know what I am.
Edward M. Hallowell (Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder)
I once worked as a writer for a big New York ad agency. Our boss used to tell us: Invent a disease. Come up with the disease, he said, and we can sell the cure. Attention Deficit Disorder, Seasonal Affect Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder. These aren't diseases, they're marketing ploys. Doctors didn't discover them, copywriters did. Marketing departments did. Drug companies did. Depression and anxiety may be real. But they can also be Resistance.
Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)
Since having a strong core self relies on acceptance of feelings, being out of touch with the emotional side puts a person out of touch with herself. What then remains to be esteemed? Only a false self, a concoction of what we would like to imagine ourselves to be and what we have divined others want us to be. Sooner or later, people come to realize that this false self — wanting what they think they should want, feeling what they think they should feel — does not work for them. When they look inside themselves, they discover a frightening emptiness, a vacuum, an absence of a true self or of intrinsic motivation.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Isn't it better when people are pleasantly surprised rather than mildly disappointed by that which is you?
Stacey Turis (Here's to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire: An Absent-Minded Tale of Life with Giftedness and Attention Deficit - Oh Look! A Chicken!)
I just want to have the flash of brilliance, get it all going, and then pass it on to someone else to maintain.
Stacey Turis (Here's to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire: An Absent-Minded Tale of Life with Giftedness and Attention Deficit - Oh Look! A Chicken!)
The tension of constructing an explanation, from A to B to C to D, apparently so simple a task, irritates many people with ADD. While they can hold the information in mind, they do not have the patience to sequentially put it out. That is too tedious. They would like to dump the information in a heap on the floor all at once and have it be comprehended instantly. Otherwise,
Edward M. Hallowell (Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder)
Just doing the audition was going to be an experience, and I am a true collector of life experiences. I live for life experiences. I put them in my pocket like shiny rocks, and take them out every now and then to appreciate and reflect on them. I once read an article that the Eastern Indian culture considers those with AD(H)D to be old, wise souls that are coming to the end of their reincarnations, so they must pack as many life experiences and lessons into their few remaining lifetimes as possible. Makes sense to me--that's why we always have so much shit going on!
Stacey Turis (Here's to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire: An Absent-Minded Tale of Life with Giftedness and Attention Deficit - Oh Look! A Chicken!)
Piglet said that Tigger was very Bouncy, and that if they could think of a way of unbouncing him, it would be a Very Good Idea. "Just what I feel," said Rabbit. "What do you say, Pooh?" Pooh opened his eyes with a jerk and said, "Extremely." "Extremely what?" asked Rabbit. "What you were saying," said Pooh. "Undoubtably.
A.A. Milne (The House at Pooh Corner (Winnie-the-Pooh #2))
For all the hoopla you read and hear about the overdiagnosis of ADD and the overuse of medication-indeed, serious problems in certain places—the more costly problem is the opposite: millions of people, especially adults, have ADD but don't know about it and there fore get no help at all.
Edward M. Hallowell (Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder)
What they don’t understand—and the wide world certainly does not understand—is that these reckless acts do stem from a biological need to alter their inner state. In pain, they feel compelled to seek relief immediately.
Edward M. Hallowell (Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder)
It is worth recalling here that the injudicious use of rewards and praise can be pressure tactics no less than verbal or physical coercion. As we have seen, there are three dangers with motivating by means of reward and praise. First, they feed the anxiety that not the person but the desired achievement is what is valued by the parent. They directly reinforce the insecurity of the ADD child. Second, since children can sense the parents’ will pushing them, even if under benign disguises such as gifts or warm words, counterwill will be strengthened. Third, praise and reward will themselves become the goal, at the expense of the child’s interest in the actual process of what he is doing. Children thus motivated will sooner or later learn to get by with the least amount of effort necessary to earn the praise or the reward. Short cuts and cheating often follow. Accepting
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Having ADD makes life paradoxical. You can superfocus sometimes, but also space out when you least mean to. You can radiate confidence and also feel as insecure as a cat in a kennel. You can perform at the highest level, feeling incompetent as you do so. You can be loved by many, but feel as if no one really likes you. You can absolutely, totally, intend to do something, then forget to do it. You can have the greatest ideas in the world, but feel as if you can’t accomplish a thing.
Edward M. Hallowell (Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder)
Our minds automatically seek explanations for things, so when we don’t know something for sure, we make assumptions. For someone with ADHD, her symptoms are clear but the explanation isn’t, so everyone makes assumptions about why she doesn’t do better. Of course, all the old familiar explanations are used—she just needs to try harder, she’s irresponsible, she doesn’t care enough, she wants to do badly. This very much adds insult to injury. Not only doesn’t it help her do better, but it just makes her question herself: “Huh. I thought I tried my best on that, but maybe I didn’t.” Initially most people tend to fight back against these accusations, but over time the accusations begin to sink in and influence how people see and feel about themselves.
Ari Tuckman (More Attention, Less Deficit: Success Strategies for Adults with ADHD)
There are things I wish I had not done during my children’s early years, but mostly I regret what I did not do: give my children the gift of a mindful, secure and reliable parental presence. I wish I had known how to allow myself to relax, to release myself from the compulsions driving me and to fully enjoy the wonderful little persons they were.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
I’m a people pleaser” is the routine self-description of ADD adults. “I’m always so conscious of what the other person might need from me. I feel guilty if I disappoint someone. I can never say no.” Or, “I am the kind of person whom everyone calls to tell their troubles to. I can’t do that myself, though. I would feel guilty, thinking of all the people in the world who have suffered much more than I can even imagine. I shouldn’t need help.” To
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Young children cannot possibly understand the motives of adults. It means little to a young child that the parent feels love for him if that parent keeps disappearing at almost any time. The child experiences a sense of abandonment, a subliminal knowledge that there are things in the world much more important to the parent than he, the child, that he is not worthy of the parent’s attention. He begins to feel, at first unconsciously, that there must be something wrong with him. He also begins to work too hard to get his needs met: demanding contact, acting out or trying to please the parent to gain approval and attention.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
Since the 1980s, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) has been on the rise, not just among children, but now among the adult population as well. The sudden rise of adult ADD, while it may have genetic components, certainly receives a major boost from our kinetic, hyper-speed, information-bombarded society. Victims of adult ADD are likely to initiate more tasks and projects that they'll ever finish, get bored easily, seek thrills readily, have a propensity to be late while loathing having to wait, and not be averse to taking foolish risks.
Jeff Davidson (The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Things Done)
There was an advertisement in the newspaper for a teaching position in a school with the worst reputation in town, with the sort of class that no qualified teacher with all the parts of her brain correctly screwed together would voluntarily face. It was attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder before attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder had been invented. “There’s no hope for these boys and girls,” the headmaster soberly explained in the interview. “This is not education, this is storage.” Maybe Sonja understood how it felt to be described as such. The vacant position attracted only one applicant, and she got those boys and girls to read Shakespeare.
Fredrik Backman (A Man Called Ove)
We have seen that the individual’s brain circuits are decisively influenced by the emotional states of the parents, in the context of the multigenerational family history. Families also live in a social and economic context determined by forces beyond their control. If what happens in families affects society, to a far greater extent society shapes the nature of families, its smallest functioning units. The human brain is a product of society and culture just as it is a product of nature.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
A streak of Puritanism runs deep within American society. Permissive and pioneering as we may be on the one hand, we are strict and conservative on the other. As much as we may be a country of mavericks and entrepreneurs, we are also a country of finger waggers and name-callers. As much as we may be a country of compassion for the underdog, we are also a country that believes in self-reliance.
Edward M. Hallowell (Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood)
After a woman understands that she does have something called AD/HD and has had it for a long time, she begins to look back and see how deeply it has affected every area of her life. At this point she will often move into the next stage—anger. She often feels anger at lost opportunities, looking back at the paths that she didn’t take. She focuses on the point at which things started to go off course and begins to feel anger at a system that let her down as a child.
Sari Solden (Women With Attention Deficit Disorder: Embrace Your Differences and Transform Your Life)
One stretch of the gene is repeated a variable number of times, and the version with seven repeats (the “7R” form) produces a receptor protein that is sparse in the cortex and relatively unresponsive to dopamine. This is the variant associated with a host of related traits—sensation and novelty seeking, extroversion, alcoholism, promiscuity, less sensitive parenting, financial risk taking, impulsivity, and, probably most consistently, ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder).
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
Given their automatic tuning out, ADD children forever find themselves being told to “pay attention”—a demand that completely misunderstands both the nature of the child and the nature of attention. The obvious monetary connotation of “pay” is that attention is something the child owes the adult, that the child’s attention belongs to the adult by right. The phrase takes for granted that being attentive is always a consciously chosen act, subject to one’s will. Both of these assumptions are faulty.
Gabor Maté (Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder)
Throughout the human life span there remains a constant two-way interaction between psychological states and the neurochemistry of the frontal lobes, a fact that many doctors do not pay enough attention to. One result is the overreliance on medications in the treatment of mental disorders. Modern psychiatry is doing too much listening to Prozac and not enough listening to human beings; people’s life histories should be given at least as much importance as the chemistry of their brains. The dominant tendency is to explain mental conditions by deficiencies of the brain’s chemical messengers, the neurotransmitters. As Daniel J. Siegel has sharply remarked, “We hear it said everywhere these days that the experience of human beings comes from their chemicals.” Depression, according to the simple biochemical model, is due to a lack of serotonin — and, it is said, so is excessive aggression. The answer is Prozac, which increases serotonin levels in the brain. Attention deficit is thought to be due in part to an undersupply of dopamine, one of the brain’s most important neurotransmitters, crucial to attention and to experiencing reward states. The answer is Ritalin. Just as Prozac elevates serotonin levels, Ritalin or other psychostimulants are thought to increase the availability of dopamine in the brain’s prefrontal areas. This is believed to increase motivation and attention by improving the functioning of areas in the prefrontal cortex. Although they carry some truth, such biochemical explanations of complex mental states are dangerous oversimplifications — as the neurologist Antonio Damasio cautions: "When it comes to explaining behavior and mind, it is not enough to mention neurochemistry... The problem is that it is not the absence or low amount of serotonin per se that “causes” certain manifestations. Serotonin is part of an exceedingly complicated mechanism which operates at the level of molecules, synapses, local circuits, and systems, and in which sociocultural factors, past and present, also intervene powerfully. The deficiencies and imbalances of brain chemicals are as much effect as cause. They are greatly influenced by emotional experiences. Some experiences deplete the supply of neurotransmitters; other experiences enhance them. In turn, the availability — or lack of availability — of brain chemicals can promote certain behaviors and emotional responses and inhibit others. Once more we see that the relationship between behavior and biology is not a one-way street.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
The loquaciousness of many children with ADD is notorious. One Grade 2 boy was called Talk Bird by his classmates, so incessant was his chatter. His parents, too, were often after him to be quiet. It’s as if such a child is saying, I’m cut off from people, so anxious that if I don’t work overtime to establish contact with them, I will be left alone. I only know to do this through my words. I know no other way. Some adults with ADD have told me that they speak so quickly partly because so many words and phrases tumble into their minds that they fear forgetting the most important ones unless they release them at a fast rate.
Gabor Maté (Scattered Minds: A New Look At The Origins And Healing Of Attention Deficit Disorder)
For a person with ADD, tuning out is an automatic brain activity that originated during the period of rapid brain development in infancy when there was emotional hurt combined with helplessness. At one time or another, every infant or young child feels frustration and psychological pain. Episodic experiences of a distressing nature do not induce dissociation, but chronic distress does—the distress of the sensitive infant with unsatisfied attunement needs, for example. The infant has to dissociate chronic emotional pain from consciousness for two reasons. First, it is too overwhelming for his fragile nervous system. He simply cannot exist in what we might call a state of chronic negative arousal, with adrenaline and other stress hormones pumping through his veins all the time. It is physiologically too toxic. He has to block it out. Second, if the parent’s anxiety is the source of the infant’s distress, the infant unconsciously senses that fully expressing his own emotional turmoil will only heighten that anxiety. His distress would then be aggravated—a vicious cycle he can escape by tuning out.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
The learning principle is to plunge into the detailed mystery of the micro in order to understand what makes the macro tick. Our obstacle is that we live in an attention-deficit culture. We are bombarded with more and more information on television, radio, cell phones, video games, the Internet. The constant supply of stimulus has the potential to turn us into addicts, always hungering for something new and prefabricated to keep us entertained. When nothing exciting is going on, we might get bored, distracted, separated from the moment. So we look for new entertainment, surf channels, flip through magazines. If caught in these rhythms, we are like tiny current-bound surface fish, floating along a two-dimensional world without any sense for the gorgeous abyss below. When these societally induced tendencies translate into the learning process, they have devastating effect.
Josh Waitzkin (The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance)
the dysregulation of the body’s neurobiological system, that impairs one’s ability to pay selective attention to one’s surroundings. The world becomes a land without street signs, the individual a car in bad need of a tune-up. The vastness of the attentional system partially accounts for the variation of ADD “types.” Where one individual needs an oil change, the next needs spark plugs replaced. Where one individual is withdrawn and overwhelmed by stimuli, the next is hyperactive and can’t get enough stimuli. Where one is frequently anxious, the other is depressed. To compensate, each develops his or her own coping strategies that developmentally add to, or subtract from, the brain’s various subsystems. So Mr. A becomes a stand-up comedian, and manic. Ms. B becomes an architectural wizard with obsessive-compulsive traits. Their offspring become a sculptor and a stunt pilot. None of them can balance their checkbook. And all of them wish they had more time in the day. With such diversity in the disorder,
Edward M. Hallowell (Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder)
But until everyone is allowed to be, and most importantly, celebrated for being the people they were destined to be, the doors leading to some of our most important riches and discoveries will remain tightly locked, and gifts that should have and definitely would have been presented to the world, and widely celebrated by all, will remain behind those locked doors in a dusty box, hidden by shadows, untouched and unopened, as if they never even existed. Meanwhile, the soul, aware of its own magic, will move through life from birth to death, with every fiber of its being silently screaming that all is not as it should be.
Stacey Turis (Here's to Not Catching Our Hair on Fire: An Absent-Minded Tale of Life with Giftedness and Attention Deficit - Oh Look! A Chicken!)
Environmental influences also affect dopamine. From animal studies, we know that social stimulation is necessary for the growth of the nerve endings that release dopamine and for the growth of receptors that dopamine needs to bind to in order to do its work. In four-month-old monkeys, major alterations of dopamine and other neurotransmitter systems were found after only six days of separation from their mothers. “In these experiments,” writes Steven Dubovsky, Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at the University of Colorado, “loss of an important attachment appears to lead to less of an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Once these circuits stop functioning normally, it becomes more and more difficult to activate the mind.” A neuroscientific study published in 1998 showed that adult rats whose mothers had given them more licking, grooming and other physical-emotional contact during infancy had more efficient brain circuitry for reducing anxiety, as well as more receptors on nerve cells for the brain’s own natural tranquilizing chemicals. In other words, early interactions with the mother shaped the adult rat’s neurophysiological capacity to respond to stress. In another study, newborn animals reared in isolation had reduced dopamine activity in their prefrontal cortex — but not in other areas of the brain. That is, emotional stress particularly affects the chemistry of the prefrontal cortex, the center for selective attention, motivation and self-regulation. Given the relative complexity of human emotional interactions, the influence of the infant-parent relationship on human neurochemistry is bound to be even stronger. In the human infant, the growth of dopamine-rich nerve terminals and the development of dopamine receptors is stimulated by chemicals released in the brain during the experience of joy, the ecstatic joy that comes from the perfectly attuned mother-child mutual gaze interaction. Happy interactions between mother and infant generate motivation and arousal by activating cells in the midbrain that release endorphins, thereby inducing in the infant a joyful, exhilarated state. They also trigger the release of dopamine. Both endorphins and dopamine promote the development of new connections in the prefrontal cortex. Dopamine released from the midbrain also triggers the growth of nerve cells and blood vessels in the right prefrontal cortex and promotes the growth of dopamine receptors. A relative scarcity of such receptors and blood supply is thought to be one of the major physiological dimensions of ADD. The letters ADD may equally well stand for Attunement Deficit Disorder.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
The psychoanalyst Erik H. Erikson devoted a chapter in his Pulitzer Prize—winning book, Childhood and Society, to his reflections on the American identity. “This dynamic country,” he wrote, “subjects its inhabitants to more extreme contrasts and abrupt changes during a generation than is normally the case with other great nations.” Such trends have only accelerated since Erikson made that observation in 1950. The effects of rapid social and economic shifts on the parenting environment are too well known to need detailing here. The erosion of community, the breakdown of the extended family, the pressures on marriage relationships, the harried lives of nuclear families still intact and the growing sense of insecurity even in the midst of relative wealth have all combined to create an emotional milieu in which calm, attuned parenting is becoming alarmingly difficult. The result being successive generations of children in alienation, drug use and violence — what Robert Bly has astutely described as “the rage of the unparented.” Bly notes in The Sibling Society that “in 1935 the average working man had forty hours a week free, including Saturday. By 1990, it was down to seventeen hours. The twenty-three lost hours of free time a week since 1935 are the very hours in which the father could be a nurturing father, and find some center in himself, and the very hours in which the mother could feel she actually has a husband.” These patterns characterize not only the earlyyears of parenting, but entire childhoods. “Family meals, talks, reading together no longer take place,” writes Bly. “What the young need — stability, presence, attention, advice, good psychic food, unpolluted stories — is exactly what the sibling society won’t give them.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
What are some of the markers of low self-esteem, besides consciously harsh self-judgment? As mentioned above, an inflated, grandiose view of oneself—frequently seen in politicians, for example. Craving the good opinion of others. Frustration with failure. A tendency to blame oneself excessively when things go wrong, or, on the other hand, an insistence on blaming others: in other words, the propensity to blame someone. Mistreating those who are weaker or subordinate, or accepting mistreatment without resistance. Argumentativeness—having to be in the right or, obversely, assuming that one is always in the wrong. Trying to impose one’s opinion on others or, on the contrary, being afraid to say what one thinks for fear of being judged. Allowing the judgments of others to influence one’s emotions or, its mirror opposite, rigidly rejecting what others may have to say about one’s work or behavior. Other traits of low self-esteem are an overwrought sense of responsibility for other people in relationships and, as we will discuss shortly, an inability to say no. The need to achieve in order to feel good about oneself. How one treats one’s body and psyche speaks volumes about one’s self-esteem: abusing body or soul with harmful chemicals, behaviors, work overload, lack of personal time and space all denote poor self-regard. All of these behaviors and attitudes reveal a fundamental stance towards the self that is conditional and devoid of true self-respect. Self-esteem
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
There is a significant hereditary contribution to ADD but I do not believe any genetic factor is decisive in the emergence of ADD traits in any child. Genes are codes for the synthesis of the proteins that give a particular cell its characteristic structure and function. They are, as it were, alive and dynamic architectural and mechanical plans. Whether the plan becomes realized depends on far more than the gene itself. It is determined, for the most part, by the environment. To put it differently, genes carry potentials inherent in the cells of a given organism. Which of multiple potentials become expressed biologically is a question of life circumstances. Were we to adopt the medical model — only temporarily, for the sake of argument — a genetic explanation by itself would still be unsuitable. Medical conditions for which genetic inheritance are fully or even mostly responsible, such as muscular dystrophy, are rare. “Few diseases are purely genetic,” says Michael Hayden, a geneticist at the University of British Columbia and a world-renowned researcher into Huntington’s disease. “The most we can say is that some diseases are strongly genetic.” Huntington’s is a fatal degeneration of the nervous system based on a single gene that, if inherited, will almost invariably cause the disease. But not always. Dr. Hayden mentions cases of persons with the gene who live into ripe old age without any signs of the disease itself. “Even in Huntington’s, there must be some protective factor in the environment,” Dr. Hayden says.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
The three conditions without which healthy growth does not take place can be taken for granted in the matrix of the womb: nutrition, a physically secure environment and the unbroken relationship with a safe, ever-present maternal organism. The word matrix is derived from the Latin for “womb,” itself derived from the word for “mother.” The womb is mother, and in many respects the mother remains the womb, even following birth. In the womb environment, no action or reaction on the developing infant’s part is required for the provision of any of his needs. Life in the womb is surely the prototype of life in the Garden of Eden where nothing can possibly be lacking, nothing has to be worked for. If there is no consciousness — we have not yet eaten of the Tree of Knowledge — there is also no deprivation or anxiety. Except in conditions of extreme poverty unusual in the industrialized world, although not unknown, the nutritional needs and shelter requirements of infants are more or less satisfied. The third prime requirement, a secure, safe and not overly stressed emotional atmosphere, is the one most likely to be disrupted in Western societies. The human infant lacks the capacity to follow or cling to the parent soon after being born, and is neurologically and biochemically underdeveloped in many other ways. The first nine months or so of extrauterine life seem to have been intended by nature as the second part of gestation. The anthropologist Ashley Montagu has called this phase exterogestation, gestation outside the maternal body. During this period, the security of the womb must be provided by the parenting environment. To allow for the maturation of the brain and nervous system that in other species occurs in the uterus, the attachment that was until birth directly physical now needs to be continued on both physical and emotional levels. Physically and psychologically, the parenting environment must contain and hold the infant as securely as she was held in the womb. For the second nine months of gestation, nature does provide a near-substitute for the direct umbilical connection: breast-feeding. Apart from its irreplaceable nutritional value and the immune protection it gives the infant, breast-feeding serves as a transitional stage from unbroken physical attachment to complete separation from the mother’s body. Now outside the matrix of the womb, the infant is nevertheless held close to the warmth of the maternal body from which nourishment continues to flow. Breast-feeding also deepens the mother’s feeling of connectedness to the baby, enhancing the emotionally symbiotic bonding relationship. No doubt the decline of breast-feeding, particularly accelerated in North America, has contributed to the emotional insecurities so prevalent in industrialized countries. Even more than breast-feeding, healthy brain development requires emotional security and warmth in the infant’s environment. This security is more than the love and best possible intentions of the parents. It depends also on a less controllable variable: their freedom from stresses that can undermine their psychological equilibrium. A calm and consistent emotional milieu throughout infancy is an essential requirement for the wiring of the neurophysiological circuits of self-regulation. When interfered with, as it often is in our society, brain development is adversely affected.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)
1.  Position one blank sheet of paper to your right and another to your left; then take a pencil in each hand. Simultaneously, draw a vertical line on the right sheet and a circle on the left sheet. Repeat three times, alternating figures on the right and left sheets.  2.  Draw a triangle on one sheet while drawing a square on the other. Then switch: draw the square on the first sheet and the triangle on the other.  3.  Draw a circle on one sheet while drawing a triangle on the other. Switch figures and do it again.  4.  Draw two circles on one sheet while drawing one square on the other. Then switch.  5.  Draw two squares on one sheet while drawing one triangle on the other. Then switch.  6.  Draw a triangle on one sheet while drawing a square on the other and also tracing a circle on the floor with one leg. Then switch hands (and switch to the other leg).  7.  Draw a circle with one hand and a triangle with the other while tracing a square on the floor with one leg. Then switch all.  8.  Draw a triangle with one hand and two squares with the other while tracing a circle on the floor with one leg. Then switch all.  9.  Draw a triangle with one hand and a square with the other while tracing a circle on the floor with one leg and nodding your head twice forward and twice backward. 10.  Draw a triangle with one hand and a square with the other while tracing a vertical line with the leg on the same side as the hand that is drawing the triangle, and a horizontal line with leg on the same side as the hand that is drawing the square. Then switch all.
Edward M. Hallowell (Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder)
Shaking, I pushed at him and managed to turn my head long enough to gasp, “I can’t. No. That’s enough, Jack.” He stopped at once. But he kept me against him, his chest moving hard and fast. I couldn’t look at him. My voice was hoarse as I said, “That shouldn’t have happened.” “I’ve wanted this since the first second I saw you.” His arms tightened, and he bent over me until his mouth was close to my ear. Gently he whispered, “You did, too.” “I didn’t. I don’t.” “You need some fun, Ella.” I let out an incredulous laugh. “Believe me, I don’t need fun, I need—” I broke off with a gasp as he pressed my hips closer to his. The feel of him was more than my dazzled senses could handle. To my mortification, I hitched up against him before I could stop myself, heat and instinct winning out over sanity. Feeling the reflexive response, Jack smiled against my scarlet cheek. “You should take me on. I’d be good for you.” “You are so full of yourself . . . and you would not be good for me, with your steaks and power tools and your attention-deficit libido, and . . . I’ll bet you’re a card-carrying member of the NRA. Admit it, you are.” I couldn’t seem to shut up. I was talking too much, breathing too fast, jittering like a wind-up toy that had been wound to the limits of its mechanism. Jack nuzzled into a sensitive place behind my ear. “Why does that matter?” “Is that a yes? It must be. God. It matters because— stop that. It matters because I would only go to bed with a man who respected me and my views. My—” I broke off with an inarticulate sound as he nibbled lightly at my skin. “I respect you,” he murmured. “And your views. I think of you as an equal. I respect your brains, and all those big words you like to use. But I also want to rip your clothes off and have sex with you until you scream and cry and see God.” His mouth dragged gently along my throat. I jerked helplessly, muscles jolting with pleasure, and his hands gripped my hips, keeping me in place. “I’m gonna show you a good time, Ella. Starting with some take-no-prisoners sex. The kind when you can’t remember your own name after.
Lisa Kleypas (Smooth Talking Stranger (Travises, #3))
Even without world wars, revolutions and emigration, siblings growing up in the same home almost never share the same environment. More accurately, brothers and sisters share some environments — usually the less important ones — but they rarely share the one single environment that has the most powerful impact on personality formation. They may live in the same house, eat the same kinds of food, partake in many of the same activities. These are environments of secondary importance. Of all environments, the one that most profoundly shapes the human personality is the invisible one: the emotional atmosphere in which the child lives during the critical early years of brain development. The invisible environment has little to do with parenting philosophies or parenting style. It is a matter of intangibles, foremost among them being the parents’ relationship with each other and their emotional balance as individuals. These, too, can vary significantly from the birth of one child to the arrival of another. Psychological tension in the parents’ lives during the child’s infancy is, I am convinced, a major and universal influence on the subsequent emergence of ADD. A hidden factor of great importance is a parent’s unconscious attitude toward a child: what, or whom, on the deepest level, the child represents for the parents; the degree to which the parents see themselves in the child; the needs parents may have that they subliminally hope the child will meet. For the infant there exists no abstract, “out-there” reality. The emotional milieu with which we surround the child is the world as he experiences it. In the words of the child psychiatrist and researcher Margaret Mahler, for the newborn, the parent is “the principal representative of the world.” To the infant and toddler, the world reveals itself in the image of the parent: in eye contact, intensity of glance, body language, tone of voice and, above all, in the day-today joy or emotional fatigue exhibited in the presence of the child. Whatever a parent’s intention, these are the means by which the child receives his or her most formative communications. Although they will be of paramount importance for development of the child’s personality, these subtle and often unconscious influences will be missed on psychological questionnaires or observations of parents in clinical settings. There is no way to measure a softening or an edge of anxiety in the voice, the warmth of a smile or the depth of furrows on a brow. We have no instruments to gauge the tension in a father’s body as he holds his infant or to record whether a mother’s gaze is clouded by worry or clear with calm anticipation. It may be said that no two children have exactly the same parents, in that the parenting they each receive may vary in highly significant ways. Whatever the hopes, wishes or intentions of the parent, the child does not experience the parent directly: the child experiences the parenting. I have known two siblings to disagree vehemently about their father’s personality during their childhood. Neither has to be wrong if we understand that they did not receive the same fathering, which is what formed their experience of the father. I have even seen subtly but significantly different mothering given to a pair of identical twins.
Gabor Maté (Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It)