Day 20: Tackling Time-Blindness

Time-blindness is such an aggravating and complex topic. I only learned of it recently, and I’ve found it triggers painful memories. It pulls me back to emotions about family of origin issues; issues I haven’t discussed much previously.

Lately, it’s become harder and harder to not write about issues that stem from family of origin experiences. When it comes to time-blindness, though, talking about my mother is unavoidable.

If you are someone I know in real life, someone who has connections with my mother, I only ask that you not mention this blog or anything in it to her. As far as I know, nobody in my immediate family except my stepsister reads this blog, and I would like to keep it that way.

Folks with attention deficit disorder tend to be “time blind,” meaning they aren’t aware of the ticking of time. As a result, they often struggle to use time effectively. 

ADDitude, Are You Time Blind? 12 Ways to Use Every Hour Effectively

My mother and I both have ADHD. Hers is compounded by several other issues. Not only is she time blind, but when I was younger, she was unremorseful in how her actions impact others.

She would leave me waiting for hours for quality time that would never come. Her time was something that I was not important enough to receive. I was left alone to take care of my own emotional needs, and if I had complaints, I was told I was overdramatic, impatient, and so forth.

I did not feel loved.

Courtesy of I did not receive any of these from my mother.

Conversations about time-blindness trigger these feelings of not being loved. My mother was unapologetic about her time-blindness. She told me my needs didn’t matter to her. This was true even when my need was to spend time with her.

As an adult, I am somewhat more patient with my mother than I was as a child and teenager. I understand she suffers from a vast variety of unaddressed issues, and I feel bad for her. I have also learned over time what I can expect from her, and I do my best to manage my boundaries and expectations accordingly.

However, because of what I experienced being raised by her, there are skill sets I developed because I do not want to be like her. “Do unto others as ye would have done unto you.” Her behavior caused me so much pain. I never want to make anyone feel the way her actions made me feel.

I have developed habits that make me the opposite of time-blind. I’m hyper-vigilant about time, perhaps to an unhealthy degree. I leave myself far more time than necessary to get ready and travel to destinations. If I only have a few hours free I only start tasks that can be interrupted midway through, and even then I set timers so I don’t get lost in them.

So, my thoughts on time blindness are this:

1. Time-blindness is a known trait among those with ADHD, but time management skills can be learned. I am proof of that. It’s harder for us, but not impossible. There are good strategies out there for the taking. It is important to keep trying new ones, keep looking online to learn what others are doing (Reddit is great for advice on topics like this). Giving up is not an option. The article I quoted above has some great tricks to start with: Are You Time Blind? 12 Ways to Use Every Hour Effectively

2. As with anything else, we must apologize to ourselves and others when we don’t get it right. It’s a problem. That’s okay. As long as we feel bad for the people we’ve let down and are patient with ourselves while we learn what strategies work best for us to manage our time blindness, we’re doing great.

The true problem is not caring and not trying, and acting as though anyone who expects otherwise is at fault. If this is the case for you, I highly recommend finding a good therapist and discussing these issues with them.

We might have ADHD, but we still must hold ourselves responsible when our behaviors and actions hurt others. ADHD is the underlying reason for some of our behaviors and actions. It is not an excuse to disregard the emotions of the people around us, as my mother once did to me.

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