I didn’t notice


Had my mother over for dinner. After dinner she started cleaning up. I was on the couch watching a movie with my son. She wanted to know where ziplock bags were. I told her. She couldn’t find them. I want into the kitchen to show her. On the way I grabbed the uneaten piece of pizza from my son’s plate, to add to the ziplock bag. I didn’t grab the plate. I mean, it’s like I barely noticed it was there. It didn’t register that I should bring that in too. And after I gave her the pizza I went back out to sit on the couch.

She EXPLODED. It was all “you couldn’t be bothered to bring in the plate? Why aren’t you helping me clean up?” It escalated. She stormed out.

Over text I tried explaining I hadn’t meant to ignore her or the plate. I just didn’t notice it or think to help. She scoffed. I suggested, again, that she watch some HowToADHD videos. She said it was a ridiculous claim that I didn’t see the plate and no video was going to convince her otherwise.

I’m just so angry and frustrated right now. She won’t talk to me over the phone, and she won’t listen to me when I describe what myadhd looks like, and she won’t listen to any experts, and I just don’t know how to navigate fights like this.

Any advice brains?


Um, no. She’s a guest. That’s over the line.

Some of us brains have trouble settIng boundaries with people


You had leftover pizza???


Sorry, got distracted.

It’s a difficult conflict to navigate. On the one hand, I can see how directing her to a YT video doesn’t really help - I think people often don’t react well if they have a specific situational concern and get redirected to some general information. On the other hand, she won’t be able to accept that this is how your brain works (or doesn’t work) just on your say-so - she said that herself. But that’s really on her. She can either accept your brain for what it is and trust your report, or she can choose to learn more about how brains work in general and ADD brains in particular. But she can’t tell you what you did or didn’t notice.

Also, just leaving the plate there doesn’t necessarily mean leaving it for her to pick up and clean. She made that connection. I don’t know your family well enough to tell if just asking her to leave that plate and saying you’ll clean it later would have helped. At least it could have given her the opportunity to not take it personally.

Ooh, by the way, do you know about the gorilla experiment? It’s not just ADD brains that don’t see things when they’re primed otherwise.


@themax I know the gorilla experiment! That blew my mind the first time I saw it.

I don’t know your family’s dynamics, but even so, she probably didn’t need to take over the cleaning in a house she was visiting? I dunno. As @Pizzatom52 said, she was a guest.

She says it was a ridiulous claim that you didn’t see the plate? I say that it’s a ridiculous idea that people will notice everything. A example of this is the common mistake of thinking you’ve lost your glasses and realising they were on top of your head the whole time.
You were focused on what seemed like the priority, dealing with the leftover food, so the plate was outside of your focus. It’s like the gorilla experiment @themax mentioned, which I’ll leave a link to here. Oh, and here are some people who did this and you can see the reactions and stuff. It’s really easy to not notice something if your attention is on something else, as I’m sure you know,


I describe myself as ‘domestically blind’.

Another more general way of describing my ADHD view is that ‘sometimes I completely miss the things that other people see as obvious. Other times, I see things as obvious, that most other people can never see at all’.

Personally, I wouldn’t even manage to get as far as putting the piece of pizza in a ziplock bag.

Currently, I’m looking at a pile of 5 plates and bowls in my lounge. And a coffee cup and overflowing ashtray.

I’d say “Give me your Mum’s number, and I’ll give her a ring to give her a fresh, external view of it”. But that would just cement my place in the world as an internet weirdo.

@themax @MachUPB Tell me more about this Gorilla experiment? Gorilla experiments are awesome. As long as they keep the electrodey type experiments out of it.


The late, great Douglas Adams gave a keynote address for a multimedia industry conference back in the 90s. He had a cool story about dolphin experiments.

Scientists were playing notes at various frequencies and volumes to dolphins. The aim was to evaluate the ways in which they were able to process sounds.

All was going well. The scientists were getting some good data.

But then, it all went pear shaped. The dolphins were not reacting the way they should have. The humans would play the same note a few times, and would get differing results.

They were flummoxed. What was going on? It made no sense.

Until somebody followed the patterns of the correct and incorrect answers, interpreting the results from a completely different angle.

The dolphins had been working as a team, to test the hearing ranges of the humans, and analyse the results.

The dolphins were testing the humans.


The less we tell you, the more fun it is. Here’s an updated version for you to watch. Just follow the instructions in the video and see what happens:

Here’s another cool one, from the same folks:

In the video, the two guys look kind of similar, but it has since been done with people of different races or sexes and it still worked.

(Ah, so that’s how embedding works here…)


Wow I got 12😂 .
I was kinda close…


Isn’t that how politics works? The Monkey business model of national and international management.


I’ve certainly noticed a lot of chest-pounding in politics, especially recently.


I’ve noticed a lot more of the Gorillas coming into the room.


I love this forum. :joy::rofl: That gorilla thing tho!

Thank you for all your responses. I just needed to rant to people who would understand what I was going through emotionally. It helped a lot.

Part of the issue was that she’d just spent 6 hours helping me clean my house for an insurance inspection. I’d spent eight hours doing the kitchen alone, while she worked on other rooms. (This is the miracle of medication. My house hasn’t been this clean since I first moved in. ) She was trying to help me keep all my hard work looking good. But I would have rather she left it for me to handle later.

My mother apologized the next day. But the exchange is emblematic of many we have. She knows I have ADHD. She believes it exists and understands that it causes lots of difficulties for me. But she seems stuck in this mindset of what she thinks it is vs. what I actually struggle with. So, she believes I have trouble organizing and remembering things. But even after 30 years she doesn’t believe me when I say I forgot or didn’t see something. And that my telling her such things is just me using the ADHD to excuse the fact that I’m either lazy or have no appreciation for her feelings. She also quite often disbelieves me when I DO see something or share knowledge with her from my experience. Like after nearly 4 decades, she can’t quite bring herself to believe I’m an adult. Often she attributes ADHD symptoms that I had when I was a kid to my adult life, unwilling or unable to accept that as I’ve grown, I’ve learned to manage those symptoms, but developed others as I’ve aged and my lifestyle has changed. It’s frustrating, but a very common fight with us.

I’m just glad that now I can talk to others about it who understand.


Maybe citing sources rather than just linking to them. Describe the information you want her to know and let her know that that is what professionals say.


Guess you calmed down by now? Time is a good healer sometimes.
My boss has exploded on me for things I find kinda offensive. I don’t speak…but my face does ( and I did not know). The woman is livid with me for my facial expressions!
I never dreampt that day would come.:crazy_face:


This is one of those social interaction difficulties that I have. I don’t realize what people might see on my face or hear in my voice because I can’t read so many of their subtle facial expressions or accurately interpret their tone of voice. I’ve more than once not realized that someone was angry or annoyed with me, and it resulted in a humiliating situation. So now, I struggle with going the opposite way, and defaulting with the assumption that people are upset, when often they are not. I simply can’t tell. So clearly how would I know when my own face and tone are revealing more than I’d like? It’s a conundrum!

Also, yeah, I’ve calmed down about that one incident, but there have been others over the last few months. In fact, she accused my medication of giving me mood swings because she claims I’ve been more irritable and aggressive with her. (I won’t go into it all, because I talk about it in another thread). And each incident, I try to get her to listen about the ADHD, but really that’s not the time. I need to approach her with this at a time when we’re calm and relaxing and try to get her to watch a couple videos. We’ll see.

Good luck with your boss. That’s a hard spot to be in.


I would have thought those social difficulties where more akin to autism. Is that an adhd thing as well?


I would say in a polite way “fuck her” because i understand not noticing things like that and how upsetting it is to get told off for it like you should have know, i think the reality is that it is ignorance on her part assuming all brains work the same, but i find in my experience 80-90% of the population think like that and no matter how you try and get them to understand how it is for someone with adhd when it comes to things like that its almost pointless as you might get the odd person that will listen and try to understand, so my way of dealing with it is learning to not give a fuck about people saying shit like that and knowing they are doing it because they don’t know any better, that is just my take on it but maybe someone else has come to a similar conclusion?


I want to know this too! I wonder the same thing so thanks for asking.

I struggle with this and don’t know if it’s adhd or a comorbidity (trauma, ptsd, Something else like a slight borderline personality disorder). I’d like to know. I’ve been looking into DBT because it teaches skills to help overcome these social blindness traits.


Guess she ignored the fact that you went out of your way to help her.