Blasting Others with Unintended ADHD Intensity?

by | Feb 13, 2020 | ADHD Symptom Control | 4 comments

ADHD intensityToday let’s talk about one of the lesser-known ADHD symptoms. I call it Unintended ADHD intensity. When we seem angry or upset though we aren’t.

Unaware of the strong force of our energy and thoughts, we don’t mean to come off so strong. But, we do. We blast our internal beam of intensity directly on an unsuspecting person.

Here’s how Unintended ADHD Intensity often unfolds.

You’re explaining something to someone; simply trying to make a point. Yet, your conversation companion reacts as though you’re angry.

You’re clueless. Unprepared for their strong reaction. Suddenly you’re snared in a prickly situation.
Being too intense has been one of my ADHD struggles. In fact, my Favorite Husband thinks it’s my most disturbing personality trait.

I’m married to a calm, gentle soul. He’s rarely riled. He thinks before he speaks and usually has control over his emotions. Even so, when blasted with the full force of my intensity he recoils and fires back.

My passion for life drew him to me in the first place. My Unintended Intensity is the downside of that passion.

Over the years, I’ve learned a couple of tricks to soften my intensity. I’d like to share those with you today.

How To Control Your Unintended ADHD Intensity

Building awareness is your first step in softening your intensity. (Actually, awareness is your best friend for controlling all your ADHD symptoms.)

Tune in. Notice how it feels to be you when you’re at risk of being too intense. Get clear on what you’re doing that fuels your intensity.

Most of the time my nature is easy-going. But I get very intense when I’m hyper-focused on a task or racing towards a deadline. Interrupt me at your own risk.

I’ve learned how my intensity feels. It’s kind of a tightness around my eyes. A pressure in my brain. Not a headache, but kind of a narrowing of focus. Awareness lets me pause for an instant and take a deep breath. Usually, this is all the gap I need to roll with an interruption.

When do you get too intense? How does it feel? Being more aware of your patterns will give you a better chance of lowering your internal power.

With time and practice, you can build your awareness muscle. Getting control over your Unintended ADHD Intensity is a lozenge to soothe the friction in your relationships. You CAN learn to live easier with ADHD.


  1. David Boswell

    I like to redirect my intensity towards something external when interacting with others.

    Sometimes people take a step back even if they are used to my intensity.

    When my true enthusiasm and energy is expressed at worst they at least appreciate my passion. Most of the time the energy becomes contagious and they join in the fun of leaning into the richness of everyday life.

    This has come from some hard-learned lessons of being frustrated with people not understanding me as I had tried to make my message clear…with more direct intensity. Holding back didn’t help either because that was obvious that I had something to say and made people uneasy.

    It’s just like a flashlight, use the intensity to show the way and avoid blinding people with the direct light energy.

    • Dana Rayburn

      Thanks David. Great image – don’t shine the flashlight of your ADHD intensity in someone else’s eyes.

  2. Brittany Steitz

    Hi Dana,
    What are the best resources for spouses of someone with ADHD? I want to be sure I’m supporting my husband with ADHD to the best of my ability.

    • Dana Rayburn

      Hi Brittany – There are some good books available for spouses. Especially the ones by Melissa Orlov. Good luck!


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