It’s stressful to feel like your self-esteem doesn’t always align with your achievements. You stay up late panicking when things go wrong, always fearing you’ll be “found out” for making a huge mistake or not being the right person for the job. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and imposter syndrome are a common pairing. You just want to stop beating yourself up, to stop feeling like a failure no matter what you achieve. You want to feel good enough on the inside. To feel like you’ve really earned the seat at the grown-ups’ table.
Why Adhd And Imposter Syndrome Go Together: Your Inner Child…Who Also Has ADHD.
Getting criticized for unintended mistakes while you’re growing up takes its toll on self-worth. No matter how your ADHD impacted your feelings or life, there’s a good chance you worked harder than other people. Struggling to live up to superficial ideals not designed for your awesome race-car brain.
As an adult, you likely carry the “ADHD inner child with you.” You know, that little kid who never felt like they “fit,” the loner, or the one who was told things like “you do good when you want to,” or “stop daydreaming.” Now, all grown up, you might be surrounded by accomplishments, but in your heart of hearts, you feel shame and frustration daily. You struggle with rejection sensitivity. It just never feels like you’re getting a good report card––no matter your grades.
Signs Of Imposter Syndrome:
Never celebrating achievements
Got done with a big work project? On to the next task, right? “I’ll celebrate after [fill in the name of the next big project], then I’ll feel good enough and can relax.” A pattern of never taking a moment to acknowledge what you’ve accomplished might indicate that you don’t feel you deserve what you’ve achieved.
Constantly comparing yourself to others
Always feeling like you’re looking up at the grown-ups at the big table. Never feeling like you have earned a seat at the table (even though you’ve literally earned a seat at the table). Feeling like others are just inherently better or more this or that. All those things might show a disconnect between what you’re doing and how you feel inside.
If you don’t feel good enough, you might by default do a lot of accommodating, asking permission or seeking validation (often from questionable sources). It’s hard to be a “no” person when you’re conditioned to say “yes.” The more uncomfortable saying “no,” the higher the likelihood imposter syndrome might be playing a role.
Minimizing your accomplishments
This one comes down to those moments when others can see your achievements, but you yourself invalidate them.
Your boss, spouse, best friend, etc: “Good job!”
You: “Yeah, but look at what I missed,” or “That doesn’t count.”
Self-Invalidation is sneaky and often disguised as self-deprecating humor. In reality, it’s feelings of shame and self-doubt.
3 Ways To Overcome Imposter Syndrome
You have to name it to tame
The first step to knowing you have a problem is acceptance. Just acknowledging you have imposter syndrome can shift your mindset. It can help you stop feeling convinced you’re not good enough and nudge you into realizing that it is just your perception––not you actually being not good enough.
Give up on perfection
Perfection is not a thing. It’s fairly common for adults with ADHD to develop perfectionism to overpower struggles with attention. However, to master the anxiety and stress of “not measuring up,” you might need to learn to accept the messiness of life at times.
Authenticity will set you free
Embrace your inner nerd. Embrace your flaws and your strengths. Know if you got the gig, you earned the gig. And if someone doesn’t like your freak flag, they’re likely jealous that they can’t embrace their own.
Begin Adult ADHD Treatment in Columbus, OH
If you’re looking for more personalized help overcoming imposter syndrome, we can help. At Focused Mind ADHD Counseling, we offer ADHD testing and Adult ADHD treatment. This way you can find answers and a path forward to the life you want to be living. A caring ADHD specialist would love to help you from our Columbus, OH-based therapy practice.
To start ADHD treatment, follow these steps:
- Fill out the contact form to schedule a consult
- Meet with an adult ADHD specialist
- Start overcoming imposter syndrome, and embrace your authentic self!
Other Services Offered at Focused Mind ADHD counseling
Because ADHD impacts people in different ways, Focused Mind ADHD Counseling offers a variety of services, including adult ADHD treatment, counseling for men with ADHD, depression counseling for ADHD, and anxiety treatment for ADHD. If you have any questions regarding testing or ADHD treatment, schedule a consultation with one of our trusted therapists.