Robin Tate: Common challenges for neurodivergent couples

Mar 25, 2024


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“It’s given such context to my life. There was such relief in knowing this is just my brain, this is just how it works!”

Robin is an experienced teacher and professional coach. She has a Master’s of Science Degree in Reading and a Master’s of Arts Degree in Counseling. She is trained through the Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) as an AsperCoach as well as a Neurodiverse Couples Coach. 

As a leader in the neurodiversity arena, Robin is setting a new standard for how to think about life through a neurological lens. She’s committed to helping clients grow and create change in their lives by focusing on their strengths, overcoming challenges, and reaching their goals. Robin also enjoys spending time with her family, growing in her faith and traveling. 

Robin and I talk about her diagnosis 20 years ago at the age of 30 and how her perspective about her own brain has changed since then. We also talk about giftedness, masking, and the importance of educating all kids about executive functioning as early as possible. 

And we talk about neurodiverse couples coaching and how it differs from couples therapy, as well as some of the specific issues that might come up for couples when one or both partners is neurodivergent, especially around communication and goals.


Instagram: @theneurodiversecouplescoach


Links & Resources:

Uniquely Us: Gracefully Navigating the Maze of Neurodiverse Marriage by Rev. Dr. Stephanie Holmes and Rev. Dan Holmes



Speaker 1 0:00
I found a report card from kindergarten and it said, immature talks too much. And I was like, Well,

Speaker 2 0:08
of course I talk too much. And why didn't she tell me that was the reason she kept moving in the hall. I thought and friends laugh at this, but it's true. I thought she was moving my seat because she wanted me to get to know everybody in the room. So I thought, Oh, this is what we're doing. We're moving around the room to get to know everybody.

Katy Weber 0:33
Hello, and welcome to the women and ADHD podcast. I'm your host, Katy Weber. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 45. And it completely turned my world upside down. I've been looking back at so much of my life, school, jobs, my relationships, all of it with this new lens and it has been nothing short of overwhelming. I quickly discovered I was not the only woman to have this experience. And now I interview other women who liked me discovered in adulthood they have ADHD and are finally feeling like they understand who they are and how to best lean into their strengths, both professionally and personally. Hello and welcome. We are going to jump right in right away with episode 180 in which I interview Robin Tate. Robin is an experienced teacher and a professional coach. She has a Master's of Science degree in reading and a Master's of Arts degree in counseling. She is trained through the Asperger Autism Network, AAA N E as an aspir. Coach, as well as a neurodiverse. Couples coach. As a leader in the neurodiversity arena, Robin is setting a new standard for how to think about life through a neurological lens. She is committed to helping clients grow and create change in their lives by focusing on their strengths, overcoming challenges and reaching their goals. Robin also enjoys spending time with her family growing in her faith and traveling. Robin and I talked about her diagnosis 20 years ago at the age of 30. And how her perspective about her own brain has changed over the years since then, we also talk about giftedness masking and the importance of educating all kids about executive functioning as early as possible. And we talk about neurodiverse couples coaching and how it differs from couples therapy, as well as some of the specific issues that might come up for couples when one or both partners is neurodivergent. Especially when it comes to communication and goals. Okay, without further ado, here is my interview with Robin. Hello, Robin, thank you for joining me welcome to the women in ADHD podcast.

Unknown Speaker 2:40
Hi, Katie,

Katy Weber 2:41
let's start you were diagnosed 20 years ago, is

Unknown Speaker 2:44
that correct? Yeah, 20 years ago?

Katy Weber 2:47
Yeah, that's amazing. It's always amazing to me, because I feel like the climate, the landscape around neuro divergence has changed so much in such a short period of time. So I'm curious in terms of your own understanding about ADHD, what was happening? What kind of led to the diagnosis in the first place? What were those things that really led you to put two and two together for yourself and say, I really should look into this.

Speaker 2 3:14
Yeah, it's really, really cool to turn 50 Because I'm like, looking backwards at these things. I think it's a natural process, at least talking to other friends that they're doing that. But for me, one of those things is that reality of like, when did I start to realize I had ADHD? What did this look like? And I just love all every single woman that's been on your podcast that I've heard, it feels like you make a new friend. And I want to call her and ask her this question. But um, I always knew I was different. So that makes it hard to find it a start point, right at kindergarten stories. I have college stories, I have high school stories, but I really specifically remembering I was going through a lot of mental health challenges in my early 20s figured out there was help for that, you know, and was working towards that. And a therapist saying to me almost just like planting the seed that I completely ignored in my early 20s. You know, I think you have ADHD, and I was like, like, what is this? You know, it's so funny to think I didn't have a clue in the world what that was, it sounded like this huge pathological term, like, I don't want to have that whatever it is, I'm sure it doesn't apply to me. And then just fast forward to a couple years later, not many. I'm 30 and married, having communicate, like having lots of unexpected challenges that I didn't understand, you know, I blamed him, like, like, all of us should write. Just really him. But then I'm in this master's program for for reading to learn how to teach reading, and I'm working as a teacher of the deaf. So I'm in special education. And I guess the year then is like 2002. And there's this phrase that's talking about associated things. Key as being atypical, and it's describing it against linear thinking, which is typical. And it describes associative thinking as something like you think you talk about an apple that's red. And all of a sudden, you're talking about the red car that drew drove down the road. And wait, how fast was that car, but I could go faster than you can, in my right. And I'm reading that and reading that I was always challenged with reading growing up. So you know, college level reading, it would not be uncommon to read something twice. But I mean, I read this four or five times, and it wasn't because I couldn't read it. It was because I mean, what's wrong with associated thinking? And then, just magically, this light bulb goes off? And I'm like, oh, you know, that's how I think that's why this doesn't seem, you know, a typical to me. I listen to Siri, Solden on your podcast, and I'm just like, oh, my gosh, she has no idea in 2002. That was like my person, right? And then Kathy, Catherine adeo. And driven to distraction. How well, and I just remember those being, you know, there weren't really podcasts or anything but books. So I was just buying books, to understand and conceptualize my own life. So I think it was just a matter of that. And then looking through my family history, and I just kept becoming increasingly, you know, I just was like, This is me, this all makes sense. It was giving context to my life. It was exciting. As opposed to what I thought the first time somebody said, ADHD, it was like, oh, relief, this is just my brain. This is how it works. And then I think it was just I needed, I'm a very bottom up thinker, like, I need all the details before you could convince me and they all need the lineup. So the next thing was I needed formal diagnosis. Now I'm meeting lots of adults that don't feel that they need the like stamp of approval. But then I really, really needed that. And I I got, now I know, I didn't know then. But I got really lucky that I called a place covered by my insurance. I said, I really need a thorough assessment. I knew women were even at that point, not as diagnosed as men. And I need somebody really, really gets it. And I got a therapist that walked through now, they didn't look for any other, you know, now we think of neuro divergence so differently, so they didn't look for any other aspects of being our divergence, no learning learning disabilities, no, you know, do you fall into the autism spectrum in any way. But they thoroughly evaluated me for ADHD and then concluded I had above average intelligence. And also, I passed, so to speak, right.

Katy Weber 7:49
I know, I always joke, I aced that test.

Unknown Speaker 7:51
Yeah, nailed it. Yeah.

Katy Weber 7:54
Interesting. So did you find there was pushback or stigma involved in the process of seeking the diagnosis? Yeah,

Speaker 2 8:04
you know, and I was kind of walking through this morning, you know, our conversation and what that might look like. And for me, the one word that just kept coming up with was masking. And how interesting it is that I was diagnosed 20 years ago, because, you know, there was this childhood of feeling rejected and confusion, and kind of, you know, I was raised at a time where it was very common to have authoritative parents, right? Like, just kind of get it together, girl, you got to do this,

Speaker 1 8:32
what's the message? What you can't, too bad, do it anyway, figure

Speaker 2 8:37
it out. So there's just always that and then there was the transition into being a young, professional, able, by the grace of God, and a whole lot of work, I had made it through undergrad, rather successfully, and then was at a master's level and, and fully employed, married. And I thought, especially working in special education, I was so naive. I thought if I go to people now and tell them because to me, it was so exciting. And it made so much sense. They're gonna like, give me accommodations, they're going to embrace this. They know, I'm not lazy, right, like they've seen me perform. So they're certainly when I say this is really hard, you know, why are we changing systems again, you know, because that was a whole thing. He IEP writers were changing, like, every year, and it would take me so long to get a hold of, you know, what's the system that we're using to create these documents? And then it'd be like, I'm being dramatic, but maybe it was two years, and they're like, another training to do it again. I was like, Oh, my gosh,

Speaker 1 9:40
this is killing me. And I remember two specific times saying to people, the one was a professor in my master's for reading, I said, so and it takes such courage like to say I have ADHD, right. So I had really thought it out and I was like, I'm going to tell her I'm drowning. You know what I realized? I have ADHD. And she goes, I mean, so all of us have ADHD. And I go, No, no. I mean, like, I have a diagnosis.

Speaker 2 10:12
And it started like at birth. And I have childhood. She's like, Okay,

Speaker 1 10:20
well, all of us have ADHD. I was like, oh, okay, thanks. Bye. And I remember walking back away just so small, like, Oh, don't do that, again, don't tell people that again. And I think that it was minimized just by all the masking I had learned to do to make it look. Okay. And still, you know, there's some of that, but, but I don't know, it's not I don't think that the climate is quite as harsh. Or I've created a whole life that feels safe and warm based on who I am. So it's a lot easier, you know, to go out and be the change and be the safe person for somebody. Now, yeah,

Katy Weber 11:02
yeah. Well, I think it's, it's all of those things combined, right? Like, you know, one of the reasons why I asked that question, like, looking back over your life, the signs were there all along? What did they look like? Because I think obviously, it is, so much of our experience in childhood was being sent those messages of I have to figure this out myself, I have to get it together, right, I have to do this. I have to work harder. And then really feeling like we're struggling against ourselves. So yeah, have a professor says we all have ADHD, that's just another way of saying, figure it out, get it together, join the club, right? Oh, yeah. As though there is, you know, it's your personal laziness or your, you know, inability that is keeping you from figuring out or having that you know, where you have a genuine processing disorder. And so we're constantly questioning, is this something that's genuine? Or am I just trying to make excuses for myself? You know, and then those are those moments where I'm like, Hmm, I wonder why we're all so exhausted. And I wonder why we all get diagnosed with depression, and all of those things that so many of us have in

Speaker 2 12:09
common? Well, yeah, and I, I remember trying again, at my so I've two masters, right. So I was like, I'll do this again. And the response was, Well, when people are struggling, then we provide accommodations for people with ADHD, and I thought, and again,

Speaker 1 12:25
you know, you just take a deep breath and walk away, because it's so vulnerable to ask in the first place, or even just open the door to the conversation. And inside, you know, ADHD people, I share this trait with many of being just, you know, so there's that part of me inside that's like, this is so wrong. And then the part of me that's like, listen, it may be wrong, but you're probably not going to impact this system today. So go write your paper, and put your you know, put your mind to something that you can, you can change. I have a lot of colleagues that work in the college arena, work in businesses, trying to advocate for neurodiverse people and creating changes and accommodations. And I don't know, my last experience, I think with a system that gave me a response was, you know, along those lines, everybody has ADHD, will help you once you're challenged or you're struggling, meanwhile, you're struggling, right, because staying up all night to do paperwork. That's not something everybody has to do. That's a unique, different experience. So

Katy Weber 13:31
yeah, and I think it also just, it forwards that narrative of only asked for help, if you are at your absolute wit's end, right, and you've tried, you've exhausted all other avenues within yourself, then you can ask for help, as opposed to well, no, accommodations are supposed to keep me from struggling, right? Yeah, I know, I'm facing that with my kids. And I'm so grateful for the amount of knowledge and advocacy I'm able to do for on their behalf around ADHD and what it looks like in school, because you know, oftentimes, and I've complained about this to anybody who will listen when it comes to my kids, because they do really, Willie, their grades are really, really high. That's not where they're struggling. And so oftentimes, I met with the in the 504 meetings, I've met with the teachers who are like, Why are we here? Why are we even talking about accommodations? They're doing fine. And you only using their grades as a metric for how they're doing like, well, they're actually really, really struggling with anxiety and having a lot of emotional breakdown. So they're sort of like, well, they should see a therapist.

Speaker 2 14:37
Yeah. And you're like, No, but you have them like the bulk of their day. I know. I have experience advocate. I don't provide advocacy services. But you know, when people know what you know, you walk into the arena sometimes with people but and I've advocated to small private schools and had that experience where you know, when you talk about and know so much about ADHD at all. CISM, right, and all these invisible giftedness challenges that exist, anxiety in kids is a huge one. And you walk into a space with educators to have the conversation, whether it's your child or it's someone else's you care where you wouldn't show up to do it. And then you're you're almost like blindsided with the reality that they do not hear or see what you see. And the letters behind my name, give me more of a voice than sometimes the parents sitting there who has way more knowledge of their kid and also maybe some other letters in their name. But in this situation, you know, it's just kind of received, like, a head nod. Uh, maybe we hear you. And I think there's moments where you think like, oh, there's comprehension. And then there's no carry through. And it's this repeated cycle of well, they're okay, look, they're cute. I've heard that. Look, look how cute they are. You're like, well, cute is not gonna get us. Right? I mean, not most of us.

Katy Weber 16:02
So I'm curious, what are some of the things when you were when you were diagnosed? What are some of those things that you looked back at? Maybe in childhood? Or even when you were in school, where you think, Oh, yes, of course, that was ADHD. And nobody had any idea? Well,

Speaker 2 16:16
oh, my gosh, from the ground up. I don't know if you know, it's a vivid, vivid gift or a curse. I have vivid vivid memories of extreme sensory sensory challenges, you know, like, terrified, that spider that was outside was probably going to somehow find his way in, and he would touch me, you know, that was the whole like, or my, my clothes. I remember thinking like the turtleneck was going to swallow me, it just felt like it was squeezing my head so tightly. And of course, my mother didn't know like, why would we even pick that battle, let's just pick move to the next shirt, right. So that could result in a lot of upset. And the same with food. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with the lights off, because I couldn't swallow a piece or I couldn't eat peas, because they would like pop in my mouth or green beans that came from a can. And the solution then was like, let's turn off the lights and make her sit there while everybody watches TV. And I remember thinking, Alright, if I fill this glass with water, I can get them in there. And then I could swallow them whole. And they'll release me from from the kitchen table, right? But it never taught me to deal with, you know, the textures. The next really big Hallmark. And I think this is so important because I realized that happened to more than more people than just me. First, they allowed me to come to kindergarten, which was such a big deal, because my birthday was like three days after the cut off. And then after two weeks, for some reason, I had no idea of because I was so excited to be there. They said no, you can't come back until next year. So I remember just shame setting in then that something was really wrong with me. But I didn't know what. And they wouldn't let me come back. And then the next year, I came back a little bit more scared to be there, but happy. And then I remember spending so much time in the hallway like robbing, take your desk, put it in the hallway. At 30. When I when I really started to realize this was ADHD, I found a report card from kindergarten and it said immature talks too much. And I was like well, of course I talk too much. And why didn't she tell me that was the reason she kept moving me in the hall. I thought and friends laugh at this. But it's true. I thought she was moving my seat because she wanted me to get to know everybody in the room. So I thought, Oh, this is what we're doing. We're moving around the room to get to know everybody. No, no, that's not what we were doing. So you know, there's those. And then I have fast forward, you know, memories where I'm trying to think that there were some really, really good ones of Oh, being a teacher and having my first classroom and then having to orchestrate not just like, the decorating of the room. But the students IPs. The students needs being on time. What do I wear? How do I uphold because it was like my first time doing life in an unstructured environment all by myself, right? Like so how do I make sure I have food and clothes and all these things needs met? Oh, and a teacher's assistant. So no instructions. Here's a person you get to boss around and have helped you. Oh my gosh, just so many funny stories there that I look back and I'm like, Oh, that was so ADHD. But being late, you know, like being five minutes late on a regular basis that people could predict and almost getting it to a system that I was like five minutes late, but it was annoying to people and I remember the eye rolls and the size and and I'm like what I'm doing my best. I'm doing my best. I don't think then I had the awareness that I could kind of do some things to trick myself in Being on time. But yeah, embarrassment, I think that people saw things too, that I didn't see. Oh, and the last one, I really have to share this was getting out of high school with a C. And I can tell you this now, because I have had 4.0 experiences, okay? Getting out of high school with a C average, realizing that my best writing was probably like a C or D. So I have no idea how they let me into a state school. I was just thrilled they did. And failing out to the point where they said, Listen, if you take the study skills class, and you get B's will let you stay. And if you don't, you're going home. I think that was the first time I really, really realized,

Speaker 1 20:46
wow, there's something very different. But the study skills class, changed my focus of my life, and probably even drove my career now as to where it is. Because it just laid this foundation of teaching me how to learn, giving me formatted like here, you need a planner, guess what in the study guide, is everything you need to know for the test. And I remember those moments being like epiphanies to me. So, I don't know if those are a lot of moments over 50 years, but but they stick with you, I think on some level.

Katy Weber 21:26
That is amazing. You know, I've offhandedly, I have remarked on this podcast How I wish they taught executive functioning in school, and not like cooking or, you know, hope and home eq as like a sweeping term. And I actually had a really sweet home EQ teacher, email me once and say, you know, we actually do teach a lot of executive functioning and Holbeck. I was like, I need to formally apologize for the record, because I never took home wreck. But I feel like if I could go back and do it all over again, like, especially knowing what I know now and being back in school and seeing how, gosh, it would have been so helpful to really understand executive functioning at a much younger age. And I had never even heard of the term as as just a layperson. I had never even heard of the term until well after my diagnosis, through research, but yeah,

Speaker 2 22:15
you and I are on the same page with that, why aren't we teaching it from the ground up? I mean, there's so many every person, every human uses their executive functions. Most people have strengths somewhere and challenges someplace. And what would it be like, if every course that a child had from event someplace in elementary or pre K, wherever we could hit a developmental milestone that made sense. Just start incorporating it with every lesson they have, when that be magical, to the point where they start taking over their accommodations, you know, for themselves, because it's just built in? Because we know it's in writing. It's in reading. It's in math, but we're not there yet. I like to get out there yet.

Katy Weber 23:02
So now, how did you transition from teaching to then working with adults? Mostly coaching now? Right?

Speaker 2 23:11
Yeah, yeah. It's an interesting, interesting journey. So I had this awareness of ADHD and did the whole hyperfocus and learn about ADHD till I just couldn't anymore, right. Like, I absorbed everything I could at that time. And then, you know, we planned we were planners, so I had a child and we had decided, you know, I would stay home. Well, that in and of itself is a whole conversation, being a mom having ADHD, I always say like, Okay, what they didn't tell me was everything I had to do for myself, which I was barely doing. I now I'm gonna have to do for, you know, as many living people or animals because we have pets that I bring into this house. And maybe if they had said that, rather than, Oh, look, they're so cute. You know, I love my children. So please don't take this literally like, right, but I might have been like, I don't know that I'm qualified to be a mom. This is a little little big. But um, you know, back to your question. So I'm a stay at home mom, which seemed like my ideal job. And I'm realizing like, wow, this is so hard. And also, as hard as it was, I needed something else. Also. That's a classic ADHD, I need my brain. There's another part of my brain that still needs stimulation. I think we share this quality that you're on this path right now, I think. But we I always thought, Oh, I'd love to be a social worker, counselor, a therapist,

Speaker 1 24:31
you know, but I already had a master's in education. I had a solid career. I was tenured, you know, it wasn't logical. But I started kind of dreaming. And I would look so in the times like the kids were napping, and I finally had things together, which were rare. I would, I would dream, I would look online and and I found a master's program in counseling and I thought I'm gonna take one class. So I delve into that and the reading. You know, at the same time, I had a cousin diagnosed with autism. You know, I came out of college in 1996, when Asperger syndrome was in the DSM, I think 1994. So I was meeting all these little people with this new diagnosis. And they look like these typical kids, except some social stuff that was awkward or little, little quirky things, I think, at the time is what it felt like as a professional. So when my my cousin got diagnosed, I just became as mesmerized with autism. And that lined up with when I was doing my Masters, and was really given a lot of freedom in terms of topic. And you know, like, here's the assignment, but your topic could be whatever. So I did a lot, a lot of studying around ADHD, autism, but in adults, and marriages and relationships, and that became the connector, you know, of, I had no idea where it was gonna go. As matter of fact, I still had moments where I was like, I'm never doing that. But yet I would write about it, I'm probably going to work with trauma, but I'm writing about autism and ADHD. And I graduated, and I was like, I'm gonna take some space, and do life, you know, financially, we were able for me to do that. I had given away the career teaching position. So I was going to be with the kids still, even though they're in school at this point, but I'm going to get our house back in shape, kind of collect myself. And I started getting calls from people I went to school with that said, you know, I have this adult that has autism, I have this adult who has ADHD, I have this couple in a merit. And I was spouting off for free, all this information, and there's this sparkle inside, right? Like, oh, I want to do this, I want to do this. And a friend said, you know, would you please just go do it and stop giving it away for

Speaker 2 26:43
free? You're making me crazy, I can't even watch it anymore, right? Like, you obviously want to do this. And so the bridge in the coaching was through an organization in New England called a na they work with adults with as what was called Asperger's now autism one. And they had a coaching program. I thought, well, coaches just are people who want to be therapist until I met them. And I went through their, their training, and I was like, Wow, no, this is a whole nother field that if done well and done ethically, which

Speaker 1 27:16
people are doing it all kinds of different ways, because it's not regulated right now. But it's a there's a value here, I knew that a lot of neurodivergent people had been unintentionally harmed in therapy, they go once, and they were not going back. But when you say coach, and you're saying I'm not going to diagnose you, there's no healing, I'm just coming alongside of you. And what's the problem you want to solve? Right? That's a whole different mindset. And for some people, not everyone that that's appropriate, and it's, it's safe, you know, and then you grow. So that was kind of my bridge into the coaching world. And that's exactly I work with neurodiverse. Adults and couples.

Katy Weber 28:00
Yeah, I feel like we do have so many parallels in terms of just the seeing, and, you know, like you said, like, the associative thinking about seeing some of the ways in which these like siloed approaches to mental health could really benefit from the, you know, all of these different, more holistic approaches, but at the same time, also, I'm so fascinated, I like gathering different certifications here and there and just be lifelong learners, right? Be like, God, this is so interesting, I want to do this, and I want to do this. And I feel like every day, you know, every day, I'm like, decidedly, you know, go to the library and be like, I want to be a librarian. How do I, you know, I want to own a copy shop, I want to be. But also seeing, like you said, some of the real harm that is done in, in counseling, just around, you know, what is believed to be maybe maladaptive thinking or, you know, some of the ways in which there's a real focus on behavioral change, and not a lot of like, you know, work on understanding what's behind that. And, yeah, it is really fascinating. And I think for me, I came at it as a coach, realizing like, God, I would really benefit from, like, I'll probably stay coaching, but I feel like I would really benefit from having the counseling background as well to kind of because it feels like the two of them work really, really well together. And it just also seems like the in the curriculum of the counseling program, I'm in that there is a move much more of a move toward stuff that I had already been taught as a coach, right, a lot of that, like you said that now what, you know, that forward thinking and that forward movement, and so it does seem like it's almost being built into, like, you know, I had a professor who said like counseling is now what coaching was 10 years ago. Maybe I feel like we're moving in that direction.

Speaker 2 29:53
Yeah, it's interesting because I feel like I've been, so I graduated with my counseling degree In 2014, and so, I've really skipped other than my internships, skipped working as a counselor, I had the opportunities, but decided I was going to go work for myself and jumped into the coaching lane. And again, hyper focused on what coaches do, and really being ethical and staying in my lane. And I think especially because I have a therapy background, right, but therapists can coach coaches can't do therapy. And so that's always been my, my question, Will I go and actually use the therapy? So many people said, Robin, you have, you have both. We need therapist too. And I'm like, Yeah, but we need coaches, and my client list is full. So for right now, what I've done, and I love doing this, it's been such a great surprise. And doing this work is partnering with the therapists that my clients have, and just having really great dialogue or consultations and saying it because because fair, I only learned about neurodiversity, because I pursued it, it wasn't in my counseling program. So I have that compassion that, you know, if there was harm, it was likely unintentional. It was like I was never taught this. So how would I know to switch my lens and consider neurology before? Before thinking about mental health? Right, like making sure is this person on the spectrum? Does this person have ADHD? How are they looking at life? What is their perspective? So I get this gift of having like small little moments with therapists and say, Well, look, this is what can I tell you what you're describing right now in this couple? Right? It's not just high conflict that fits this pattern I see on a regular basis. If you thought about it like this? Would that change how you think about it? You know, or have you read this book that might help you? Or what about this skill? Or, you know, one, I think that was key, and I talk to people about a lot, because I'll get I'll get feedback from a neurodivergent adult, that's like, getting told they're being passive aggressive, because they aren't cooperating with a therapist. They didn't do the work, and they failed therapy. And

Speaker 1 32:11
I'm like, okay, at the end of the session, did you know that there was homework? And the the wife or husband who knows is like, Yes, we did. And I'm like, wait,

Speaker 2 32:21
hold on, did you know that there was homework? And like, no, like, there was no idea that there was carryover or expectation? Sometimes, if there was, if there was awareness there, it was never made concrete. It wasn't where when, why, how is this gonna get happen? Do you see any obstacles that will get in the way, and because you know, one therapy can be at really exact so can coaching, anxiety producing activity for somebody who's, you know, working on change, and doesn't really know the process and feels like they've messed up a lot. So their anxiety is high, their brains already not functioning at full speed. And now we're not really making concrete or expectations that need to happen after therapy, that's one of the greatest connectors I can make. It's such a huge impact for for both, I think, the therapist and the client to realize like, Oh, you're not being passive aggressive, you're not working against me, this is just like, you know, we can just make this concrete and be on the same page. Yeah,

Katy Weber 33:25
that's such a great description of the way in which many times we need very explicit instructions, and also an explicit kind of very structured understanding of what steps are. And it's one of the things that is doesn't come naturally, I think, to a lot of us in our own lives, but also then in when it comes to what we need from instructions, and even just learning and I think why, you know, term, like phrases like goals can be really loaded. You know, sometimes I'll see that, like, crush your goals with coaching. And I'm like, the first thing I do when I work with clients is like, what is your relationship with the word goals, because oftentimes, we don't meet our own goals. And we have a really hard time even creating them anymore, because we're so tired of disappointing ourselves. And so I'm like, let's even talk about that. Just that word alone. And you know, what kind of baggage does a client come into your relationship with in terms of, you know, where we failed in the past and not known why and been very confused about it and let down et cetera, et cetera. So now that you sort of answered this, but like what, what is the main difference between couples therapy and couples coaching?

Speaker 2 34:35
Oh, you know, I think the biggest is I'm not healing mental health challenges and so that conversation comes up really fast in our you know, first first meeting or or even like free 30 minute call to see if we're a good fit. And you and I know that there's a lot of CO occurring you know, anxiety depression regulation challenges. Can can come with ADHD or autism. So I just walk into that, you know, it's not saying I'm not going to work with you. But coaching is really stressful. And so if you are working with a therapist to heal mental health challenges, then as a coach, I'm going to talk to your therapist, and we're going to see, you know, what level is appropriate and good for you to not cause too much stress. And if you're not, but you have, and you're saying you're managing whatever anxiety, depression you have, or you've never had that, then we're going to work on building awareness, and then moving forward to reach your goals, which is a lot of building up skills, and really chunking down finding out that what the obstacles are, and overcoming them, you know, and it's a lot of experiments to find out along the way, you know, what works for you, and what doesn't work for you. And so it's, you know, I have this contract that asks people for homework commitment, right? And if you don't, if you're not doing your homework, then we're gonna have a conversation. That's all it's, we're gonna have a conversation. Some people are really nervous about that, right? Like, they're like, Well, what if I forget? I'm like, Okay, so we're really talking about homework progress, right? Did you put forth your best attempt? And then when you come back? Can we build the awareness as to why it went? Well? what didn't go well? Or if you tackled it again? How would we go about this better? Do we need to break it down into smaller steps? Do we need to just talk about it? I love that you address the goal language? I might steal that I don't think I've ever said it that blatantly. But do we just talk about it in a different way that helps you feel better? Or do we need to build comfort into whatever was happening? You know, so that it feels right, you know, there's more and more coming out that talks about that the relationship of self regulation connected with executive function, and how how big it is, you know, when you feel calm in the space, you can tackle things that you can't otherwise tackle. So just really jumping in and tackling that. So how's that differ from a therapist, right? We don't ever, like we go back in telling a story. But it's very purposeful, if that's happening, after the first session, where we're really just getting to know each other as quickly as we can. It's, let me hear about I'll give you an example. I worked with a guy who super smart and had gotten let go over COVID, and just really wasn't sleeping wasn't eating, really challenged with pulling his executive functions together to look for a job. And so I think mental health might have went back and looked at are you depressed? Are you anxious? And he said, I'm not depressed or anxious. I've done this before. And I was like, I know you've done this before. So we went back to talk about how did you do this before? And what went well, right? So we want to keep those parts that really went well. And then you didn't do any of those apply to where we are now, where you are now? And how do we push those things forward? So there's a lot more forward move movement, and less evaluation of not to say we don't talk about how you feel, but evaluating having your feelings be? Well, maybe it's a good way to say it in coaching, and a lot more doing? Yeah.

Katy Weber 38:24
And I think also, like, once we can look at things a little more objectively, then like you said, there's just as much valuable information from when you achieve something as when if you didn't achieve it, right, because then we can look and say, Okay, what do we need to do differently? What were the barriers, what stood in your way? So that's all really important information, as long as it's not laden with shame. So, like, let's work on the shame and the mindset first, so that we can then really get productive about what works and what doesn't work. And I think it in couples, too, like I know, just my own history with my husband, so much of it was miscommunication in terms of how something was given versus how it was received, when one of the one or both of the individuals. Like what's the word for what half of a couple, but like if you know, if one or both are no diversion, I think there is a lot of that feeling like help, can be seen as judgment. Right. And I think that that was something I know I remember talking to Casey Davis once about when I was a stay at home mother and my husband would come home and immediately when he walked through the door, he would start cleaning up and I took that to me and he was upset at how messy The house was. And he was disappointed in me and he was thought I was lazy and I wasn't doing anything like I had this whole story about what that meant. As opposed to his story which was Katie has been working so hard. She's with a kid all day and here I am. The first thing I want to do when I get home is help her and take the load off for her right and so but it was like two completely different stories. And you know, a lot of the time it really is about just get back to those communication challenges and the communication differences.

Speaker 2 40:04
Yeah, I love the example of you and your husband, because it's such a perspective taking difference, right. But without somebody noticing that, that, you know, you're internally telling different stories, or you're externally talking about the same event, but just from different angles, a couple can get really stuck there for a long, long time, and anger and resentment and negativity can really build up. So a lot of couples work in interesting is the similar to working with an individual in that, right. It's communication, executive function, and self regulation, a lot of the obstacles lie in one of those three areas for neurodivergent people, and then couples. And when you think about a system, that's really what a family is, that it's not much different of having yourself in space at work than it is at home, except for the expectation of how you know, deeply you're known, you know, there's a little bit more, I'm gonna use the word nakedness. But I mean, emotional nakedness. There's that kind of nakedness too, but, but emotional nakedness and, and vulnerability. And so that person can become even more dangerous and scary to you. Or you may take your internal thoughts and put it on them even faster. Because they're, they're so close. And so really like digging in, in a way that I think lived experience. I don't know if you've had this experience, but I think lived experience as the professional is one of those connectors that said that creates the safety and not to say, No, typicals can't work with their divergence. I don't mean that in any way. But when you can say, so I'm wondering if your partner sitting in the car at the agreed upon time to leave? And are you gathering your things at that time jumping in the shower? Or contemplating how you're going to leave at that time? And are they angry? You know, they're like, are you at our house? Have you been here?

Katy Weber 42:01
So tell me about this. So uniquely, as this is a book that you participated in, it looks really really interesting. Can you tell me a bit about it? And kind of how you got involved?

Speaker 2 42:13
Yeah. So, you know, there's so much to do when you're in your business now. And you can easily get Are you writing? Are you creating content? Do you have courses? What do you? So right now I'm at UVU. Experience it.

Katy Weber 42:28
I was just like, exhale. Yes, I think I know what you mean. Yeah.

Speaker 2 42:33
Thank you. I'm so glad. Because you look at you know, everybody looks so good on their website or on their podcast. So to have hear you say that, or how that reaction is very, very healthy, healthy for me. Because I think that's the place where I am, I really stepped on to this into this arena to do one to one coaching. And, and we've been well received, you know, and more than I realized I have a lot of impostor syndrome. So I'm like, wait, me, really? Okay. And also just even if it feels horrible, even if it feels like they can't possibly be talking to me, I'm not going to miss an opportunity. So I'll step into it, you know, a little bit uncomfortable? Because I can't I know, I can't miss it. But what's happened is, you know, that question, I was sitting right at the cusp of it really doing nothing. I mean, not not doing nothing but just coaching. And a colleague said, Stephanie, Dr. Stephanie Holmes said, and she has a podcast also. But she said, Robin, will you write this chapter in my book? And will you write it about executive function and the impact on neurodiverse couples? And I said, I said, Yes, but inside, I was like, you know, massive panic attack, because I haven't written synth in 10 years since I did my last master's degree. And as we pull each other up, because I think this is a field where that happens, you know, a lot. It's always been my experience so far. Anyway, I said, I'm not sure if she said, Yes, you can. You have two Master's degree, I know you can. And here's the deadline. Right. So it was a great, great experience, it's really cool to find the space in my brain and pull my executive functions together to be able to dig into the research of what I was doing, and even grow more and learn more. And so it's a nice little summary, and a really beginning. So it's opened the door for me to continue with my own book, which I think is going to happen in the next year, year or so. But it just lays the foundation of the ways that executive function impacts neurodiverse relationships, which is so much more significant than I realized before I started working with couples. And then we end with some like case studies. So the purpose of her book, which is really cool, is it goes a little further than just let's talk about neuro diversity. Let's talk about neurodiversity and couples, which needs to be talked about, right like there's a huge market to be talking about that right now. But it also is dressing things that were happening in the church and the literalism that And happened in the church and the way that was impacting couples or is impacting couples to start just kind of bringing a voice to some topics that people were feeling really isolated and alone in. And so I'm excited to be part of her team. She's pretty brave in her writing. And yeah, it's an exciting moment. Yeah,

Katy Weber 45:17
I got a chance to look at a little bit of the blurbs before. I'm not sure it's gonna be a couple. I think this podcast, this episode will be out before the book comes out. But I'll make sure to put a link so people can reserve a copy. It looks really great. And I think like you said, especially for women, I think there are a lot of conflicting roles around domesticity and motherhood and being the good wife that conflict with neuro divergence in a lot of ways. And like you said, needing to operate on a higher frequency and needing to be busy. And, you know, I was like you I, I worked with my first child, and I was miserable, and I couldn't handle it all. And I said to my husband, if we have another child, I have to be a stay at home mother, I cannot work. And so we did that we left the city, we moved somewhere where we could afford so that it was just his income. And then I was a stay at home mom, and I was like, Oh, crap, this is worse. Oh, experience. I wish we were neighbors. I was like, God, I'm so bored. I was just like, oh, I made a terrible mistake. But again, I think it's really like if only I understood back then really, that I first of all, was a great mom all the whole time. But really like, what were the strengths? What did I need and what were you know, all of that I think is so important. And as women I think there's just it's not something there's so much stigma around being the best mother and being happy with your lot and being you know, always delighted and always have an apple pie on the on the windowsill and all of that. And so I think there is so much sort of stigma and shame around any any woman who secretly wants anything else. So yeah, that's incredible.

Speaker 2 46:57
And well, and saying this is hard. Because you look, we look forward to children for so long. And then you're like, what, this is what it is, you know, it's almost taboo to you know, to say that,

Katy Weber 47:09
but Well, or even to say, it feels hard, because I'm not doing it the way I need to be doing it. Right, as opposed to the fact that what we often say, which is I'm not trying hard enough, right? You know, like you said, I have to get my I have to get my act together and figure it out.

Speaker 2 47:26
But that's a great lesson. You know, I think the thing is that the more I grow as a parent, and I'm still on this journey, you know, I'm still in therapy, I'm still doing the whole thing. But to be able to give ourselves compassion first, right? Even our younger selves. So I like look back at the mom, who didn't have the right outfit, you know, the hell in elementary school, they need the certain like, special 100 day outfit. And you're like, oh, that's tomorrow. And it's midnight? I don't know if you had that experience? Oh, yes, you know, but like going back and giving compassion and like remembering the things I had done well, that day, even though that outfit didn't turn out nearly as cool as maybe five other kids in the class, there probably was another mom having the same experience I did. But I didn't know it at the time. I didn't experience that. And then really, I think in that process, I bring better compassion to myself now. And it's a cool way to be 50 to start looking back at the 30 Somethings and going like, Hey, I'm giving you compassion now. And I'm giving you compassion out. I'm giving you compassion now. Because it's teaching a whole nother generation. I'll say I'm the first generation of aware, aware of neuro divergence, right, aware of my brain and how it works in my family. And so I think that's common, we, you know, many of us are the first generation. And so then to be able to now go, Okay, we're going to be the first generation and we're also going to be feeding and nurturing the generation that's coming up behind us. That's a pretty cool way to be at least that's how I'm getting through, because I already turned 51. But it's a pretty cool way.

Katy Weber 49:04
Yeah. Oh, it is it is. And I think one of the things I am really, really grateful for with my diagnosis, even though I was 45 at the time, it's so radically transformed how I parent and how I view my parenting and it's radically transformed just my, how I show up for my spouse like it's just it is it has been really incredible to watch how, like you said, I'm able to speak a different language with my kids in a way that I feel like it's so empowering to them. And they love the fact that they have ADHD and they love being neurodivergent. And they see all of the strengths about it. And yeah, it is it is really nice to be able to empower them in that way as a parent. Yeah,

Speaker 2 49:50
it is. I just went to the ADHD Conference in Baltimore, which was such a cool experience to be surrounded with all these other people that think like you and avoiding the Over positivity, right. But it was a cool moment to just keep hearing people say ADHD is my superpower, it might be my greatest challenge also. But it comes with a lot of really cool uniqueness that if you can embrace it, and you can turn it into a life that feels right for you, and be confident in what you are good at, then it's a it's a cool place to be. And I see that difference. You know, we started this conversation saying, like, 20 years, you've got to know that you've HD and I'm like, Yeah, but 20 years ago, it was still a story that had a lot of shame. And now, it's a story that's empowered, you know, where I'm like, but look, I all these degrees turn into a career that works for my life, that empowers other people, you know, that that gives me influence. And so it's, it's a good story. I'm glad to hear your children are there now? Because that means they won't be the 30 year old who feels embarrassed to ask for what they need. And that's I hope our story is, you know, by the time your children are teenagers, so like 15 years.

Katy Weber 51:09
Yeah, right. I hope so. But it's like you said, I think it really is. It's no coincidence that there has been this change over the last 20 years, thanks to Ned Halliwell, and Sarah Solden. And Catalina doe, and, and a lot of those pioneers who, who showed what it looked like to be an adult, right. And I think, you know, it's probably no coincidence that this has changed. This mindset around ADHD has transformed alongside an increase in adult diagnoses and an increase in female diagnosed, sees, you know, and I think like, that was just really well said about how our understanding has shifted to a sense of mindset and acceptance about this, what is wonderful and this gift, as opposed to looking at like, how are we going to fix it? And how are we going to cure it and all of the ways that we used to be looked at so? Oh, well, this has been wonderful. Thank you, Robert. I'm curious, do you have another name for ADHD? If you could go back and rename it? Oh,

Speaker 2 52:14
yeah. I, you know, I don't I really, if I could rename and I think remembering I live in this land that merges ADHD and autism on a regular basis. I would just say I would call it neuro divergence or neuro divergent. Because there's so much we're still looking at so much overlap, and so many. And then I think if I went even further, I would really love to see a world where we just start talking about humans in general, and their strengths and challenges, because that would just even the playing field, right? And it would say like, what are you good at? What's hard for you? How do we come together as a team and move forward towards whatever goal it is whether that would be professional friendship, romantic? And I think so I think that's naive. That's my naivety coming out. If I had to do a rename, yeah, I think I'd go with narrow, divergent. Well, I

Katy Weber 53:07
love that too, about, you know, eventually, someday, we'll just call it being human. Because I think it comes back to the idea you said earlier about, like waiting. And you know, we don't get accommodations until we're really struggling. And if we could change that narrative, and really treat each person as an individual and operate under that assumption of the fact that everybody wants to succeed, if you're not succeeding, what help do you need, right? It's not like you've just chosen to not show up, that like, you know, there's something that you need. And if we could look at every child that way, if we could look at every human that way, I think it would do us all a big service. Yeah.

Speaker 2 53:43
Or, you know, the way you talk about executive function, you know, there's a lot of people I work with that do really, really well, at whatever their chosen profession is. So much, so they get promoted. And then comes a lot of space, and skill expectation that isn't taught, right? And so if we had that mindset of strengths, challenges in every area of life, we go, okay, what are you good at, in this position? And what can we teach you so that you can move into this position? How fast you know, do or slow? Does that need to go for you, you know, what's the just right speed of that transition? How many of these skills can you take on because the people that I meet that I work with that I hope you can tell? I'm really fond of them as people and believers of them are smart or capable, they they earned the position, but the fact that you're not taught how to make that transition, or what is going to be expected? What are the social skills, what are the social expectations? What's the culture here? How am I supposed to schedule all these activities and and also do the job I was doing before, you know, meetings, conferences, speaking events. So yeah, that's again, I think I'm on my soapbox, but that's my naive hope and dream. If I could wave the magic wand You know, out into the universe. Well,

Katy Weber 55:02
even you know, talking about the next generation to like I feel like for so long couples counseling, couples coaching, I'm sure also has a real stigma, right? Which is like you don't go into couples counseling unless you're on the brink of divorce unless you're in real trouble. When you're actually experiencing couples counseling, it's couples counseling is for really, really strong relationships where people want to improve it, right. Like, there's a deep love and respect that it brings people to couples counseling. And I really again, I feel like it's the younger generation, you know, I'll hear I love hearing young people in their 20s, who, like, aren't even married, but they and there's a boyfriend or girlfriend or like in couples counseling, because it shouldn't be it should go with any relationship like that. Right? That should be like the wedding gift.

Speaker 2 55:45
Yeah, we're before or before, I will tell you I've had an interesting shift in clients. And it's been so exciting. In really, when I started, I would say, oh, is average 10 years, a couple have been together, kids already. And there was distance and isolation and history, right to overcome of miscommunications and misunderstanding. But really, in the last year and a half, I've started getting, I have a couple right now that isn't even married yet. They're getting married. So if you guys are listening, yay, congratulations. But they're getting married. And they called me and said, hey, you know, we think one or each of us, you know, are neurodivergent, we don't even know. But we really want to nail this, like we want to get down, we would like you to teach us and coach us through what you think we need to know. And we do have a few areas, right? Where we know we need some help. And they have been so exciting. And they're not the only ones I've gotten a few that we've been married a month, right? We've been married a couple of years. So exciting, because we don't have to go back and undo, you know, there's not this need for as much forgiveness or as much hurt in each other's heart and, you know, building skills to have those conversations, which can be really much harder than talking about let's have a planning meeting every week so that we know where each person is, and we can count on each other. Let's talk about when are we going to clean the house so that for example. You aren't, you know, scurrying at the end of the day or feeling like a total failure because somebody was you know, your husband walks in and there's there's things laying around, you know, is that even an expectation? Is he even somebody that needs that done? Or is he totally fine, you know, with the things laying around. Those are communication, things that can cause a lot of problems over the years. And also hurt words said to each other because we're really finding out too, a lot of response comes out of, you know, almost what, really they're labeling like a trauma reaction, right? Like a fight flight or freeze reaction that oh my gosh, you're gonna be angry at me. But you don't even know because you've never had this conversation with your partner in the first place. So exciting stuff to see younger people coming forward to ask for help before there is a problem and not having any stigma.

Katy Weber 58:04
Right? Yeah, I'm like, All right, I look for out for 220 24 engagement rings in couples coaching.

Unknown Speaker 58:13
Go? Yes, yes, yes.

Katy Weber 58:14
I'd much rather spend money on coaching than a diamond ring. So there we go.

Speaker 2 58:18
Yeah, don't take this the wrong way, guys, but here's here's some skill building, you're gonna need it. Right.

Katy Weber 58:25
Oh, well, what a wonderful field. Really fascinating. Thank you for for sharing a little bit about it. I'm really excited for you and for your clients too. And, and the uniquely us book and kind of a lot of great stuff going on. So spin, I'm so glad to have finally met you. And hopefully we can keep in touch. Yeah,

Speaker 2 58:43
thank you. And, yeah, if anybody wants to reach out, my website is Robin Tate So that's probably the best way to reach me. And I'm hoping you know, I'm excited. I told you, I'm in the state of overwhelm. Well, that usually kind of leads to some good next step. So I'm excited about some future writings, but I don't have dates or solid titles.

Katy Weber 59:08
Well, excited. Well, I can't wait. Awesome. Well, thanks, Robert.

Unknown Speaker 59:11
Thank you.

Katy Weber 59:18
There you have it. Thank you for listening, and I really hope you enjoyed this episode of the women and ADHD podcast. If you'd like to find out more about me and my coaching programs, head over to women and If you're a woman who was diagnosed with ADHD and you'd like to apply to be a guest on this podcast, visit women and guest and you can find that link in the episode show notes. Also, you know, we ADHD ears crave feedback, and I would really appreciate hearing from you the listener, please take a moment to leave me a review on Apple podcasts or audible and if that feels like too much and I totally get it. Please just take a few seconds right now to give me a five star rating or share this episode on your own social media to help you To more women who maybe have yet to discover and lean into this gift of nerd of urgency, and they may be struggling and they don't even know why. I'll see you next week when I interview another amazing woman who discovered she's not lazy or crazy or broken, but she has ADHD and she's now on the path to understanding her neurodivergent mind and finally using this gift to her advantage. Take care till then

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