Wednesday, May 6, 2015

ACC & the Drive to Succeed...

One morning as I was talking to the parent of an ACCer, it occurred to me that I haven't written specifically about the ACC "need to succeed."  Being driven to success isn't necessarily a bad thing, but with many ACCers and ASDers there is usually a very black or white, success or failure type of thinking.  We are highly driven to succeed, and to measure up to our peers.  When we don't we tend to judge ourselves very harshly.

Talking to this ACC mom this morning about her son "M" I recalled myself at his same age.  I was high school aged, and was so concerned with performing at my best, to make parents, teachers and others proud of me.  All the while though, having ACC and the socio-emotional and cognitive differences (and not knowing it) I would work harder to succeed than my peers. Especially at this age (in my teens and twenties) all I cared about was being pleasing to others, making them happy, wanting them to be proud of me.

I created for myself a most impossible benchmark to measure up to...

I do believe every adolescent wants their parents to be proud of them, but with ACC we can do this at an entirely different octave.  And I couldn't understand that why nothing I did was good enough to please my parents.  I could not understand (not knowing about the ACC) why I "was the way I was" (obviously different than my peers.)

For me, the drive to succeed is an "all or nothing" proposition.  If my success doesn't turn out exactly the way I envision it, I feel like an utter failure and fall into confusion about what to do next. Executive function is as much about planning for contingencies as it is planning, beginning and ending tasks, and I've clearly always had an issue with these vital mental processes.

As I am lacking in behavioral flexibility, planning for contingencies is a constant source of frustration for me.

I still strive to succeed, only now in life I don't constantly use others as the measure by which I judge myself.  I think this has been the most difficult thing for me to do, it is so engrained.   And I think it largely not my ACC but how I have learned to cope with it, and so beginning to look at my own unique talents and deficits I function better.

Learning about my ACC answered so many questions in 2008...almost immediately its effect was a positive one. That AHAA! moment lead to my accepting of myself just as who I am, not what others expect of me.

I still have to check myself now and again to see if I am trying measure myself to impossible standards...but at least I am aware of it now.

That is all! :-)

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