ADHD & Self-Hate: When we are on our Lowest...
What many people don't realize is that the effects of ADHD -- like self-loathing and low self-esteem -- are often hidden from public view. Learn more about it here.
Table of Contents
ADHD & Self-Hate
1. When We Instill Too Much Negativity Due to ADHD
~ Compliments May Mean Nothing
~ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Self-Loathing
~ Our Personal Relationships and the People Around Us
~ Years of Negative Experience and Criticisms
~ Self-Judgment, Social Anxiety, and Depression
~ The Answer to Self Hate? Practice a Little Self-Compassion
ADHD & Self-Hate FAQs
When We Instill Too Much Negativity Due to ADHD
Having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can be a significant challenge to overcome for many people affected by it. For some, it would need a lot of extra effort to wake up each day 🥱 and face all the struggles brought by the ADHD symptoms that we have difficulty managing. When we cannot do routine tasks because they are tough for us, such as getting out of bed or maintaining healthy hygiene🛀, we might start to believe that we are not good enough.
When we have too many problems related to handling ADHD, even if we try our best, we tend to feel guilty or desperate to improve our lives. We may have negative thoughts and think we aren't as good as other people. We are somehow ashamed of ourselves because we can't do things that most individuals find easy and we still struggle despite many available resources and motivation to sort everything out🥺.
The perception of frustration, loneliness, failure, and any other emotional distress we experience may make us feel lost and question our self-worth😔. We might think that there would be no one out there who would accept us because we believe we do not deserve to be treated well. I happened to be in that same position that we are talking about, and trust me, it can get serious if you let yourself dwell in that self-hate.
Compliments May Mean Nothing
I often doubt my capabilities even during moments when I achieve something. There are also moments when I second-guess myself if I can do a big project or learn new skills or not. I may be interested in learning how to drive a car 🚗 or fixing things around the house, but as soon as I think about the possibility of failing, I back out and tell myself that it's not for me. I developed self-doubt in everything I did because I felt it wouldn't be good or things might worsen.
That's when I started to deflect any achievement I have (if there's any). I have difficulty accepting compliments because I feel that the person giving them to me is just being friendly or doesn't really mean it. It took a while before I realized that compliments are not always a form of flattery. More often than not, people genuinely see the good in us. I realized that I sometimes missed the chance for them to reach out to me to show their support because I was too busy pushing them away🙋♀️.
Still, people cannot entirely blame me because I feel that losing is my hobby or making frequent mistakes is natural to me. When you put a scoreboard right in front of me, I feel like I'm losing by a mile instead of gaining strides😭.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Self-Loathing
Many people with ADHD tend to have less self-compassion with themselves. Instead of understanding how our brain works🧠, or accepting that we need to exert mental effort to do things, we are more likely to get angry at ourselves and think that an ADHD diagnosis contributes to a big part of our struggles.
We then start to get the feeling of self-hate.
ADHD Self-Hate usually happens when we think it is us against the world 🌎. We fear that no matter what we do or how hard we try, it won't make any difference: we will still fail everyone around us. We feel frustrated because our ADHD traits let us down and disappoint a few people. With this, we start to believe that we are not worthy of love and respect, even from ourselves.
There are plenty of reasons why many people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder tend to experience self-loathing. It can be from how we grew up, how our brain works, past failures and traumas, or external factors we do not have control of. Self-loathing is a destructive feeling. If you are currently experiencing it, I want you to know that you are not alone in this battle. I am here with you🙋♀️, and we will try to understand it deeper together.
Our Personal Relationships and the People Around Us
One of the most significant contributors to our ill feelings toward ourselves may come from our relationship with society or simply with other people. As of writing, there's a total of 7.8 billion people in the world, and it might feel bad if we didn't have any support system or people to talk to about the things we are experiencing. And since we push friends off because of shame or self-doubt 🧑🤝🧑, it only amplifies the negative voices in our head that tell us we're not worthy of being treated well.
I once had a conflict with a friend I always let down because of my ADHD traits. There are moments when I keep forgetting to let her talk, interrupt whatever she is doing, make her wait for me every time we meet, and always act like I'm the only one who matters in our friendship. I missed realizing that having a genuine relationship with others is a two-way street. It's not just about me ❌ and my needs but also about giving importance to the people around me.
The same thing can happen between you and your parents or someone so dear to you. The same formula might contribute to a falling relationship that you once had. Your ADHD symptoms and failure to understand fully that you aren't always the focus of the relationship will most likely cause the people you care about to drift away from you😭.
Years of Negative Experience and Criticisms
In real life, failure can happen to everyone, and it's a part of how a person grows. Mistakes and learning from them can make someone a better person. However, it can be a different story for some people with ADHD. We constantly fear that we will make the same mistake repeatedly because our brain 🧠 is betraying us by not functioning correctly. We think we are always set for failure, a staple part of our lives.
The treatment we get from other people might be affected by our adult ADHD symptoms. When we tend to do wrong and cannot finish our tasks because we lack concentration, some people might leave us out, which can be a form of rejection. We may also have poor performance in tasks at work because we are often late and have difficulties in time management⌚, making us question our capabilities.
These feelings of not being able to do the right thing and leaving the impression that we cannot do good can make us hate ourselves even more. Even though we try our best to manage these adult ADHD symptoms, it may never be enough to add value to our self-worth because that's how we view ourselves🔍. Our feelings of not succeeding in everything we do and letting everyone down can lead to a more serious mental health state; they can also trigger self-loathing.
Self-Judgement, Social Anxiety, and Depression
When we have low self-esteem because of the reasons stated above, we'll never have the chance to make room for positive experiences and opportunities. When ADHD and its symptoms and traits get the best of us, we start to believe all the negative things we think and say about ourselves. We might begin to avoid social situations, thinking that we will only embarrass ourselves in front of other people, or have depressive symptoms because we feel that nobody is there to support us🥺.
ADHD & Self-hate may make us feel unworthy of being happy, and it can make us socially anxious or depressed. It's a never-ending cycle of negative thoughts that can be very hard to break out from. There are instances when you want to reach out to other people for support, but your instinct is to let them go because you feel like you're a burden to them 🧑🤝🧑. These social anxieties and depressions add up to our existing problems with our mental health, making it harder for us to function normally in society.
Social Anxiety can affect how we deal with everyone. Many adults with ADHD may have too many negative experiences related to their neurodivergent disorder, so they would rather spend the next half hour anxious and worried instead of addressing any problem head-on. We tend to hate going out in the open and avoid interactions with different people because we feel that anything we do can be used against us.
Depression is a mental health state that may get worse because of how we think of ourselves😭. It can lead to self-destruction when we start to believe that we cannot do good and only make things worse. We are prone to accepting every fault that we have, dwell on these things, and take the blame for everything that is happening. This way of thinking can make us lose hope and have a negative outlook on life.
But how do we get out of this tiring situation? What do we need to do to manage everything well and not feel unnecessary shame brought about by Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? Is there any chance to get out of self-hate?'
The Answer to Self Hate? Practice a Little Self-Compassion
Even though we are prone to shame and mistakes, even if having ADHD can lead to being clumsy, and even if we cannot devote our intense focus to something more meaningful, it is important to understand that we cannot be blamed for something we have no control over 😘. Just like how we should not blame others, we should also learn to be understanding and forgiving of ourselves.
A little compassion goes a long way. When we start to see ourselves in a more positive light and accept our flaws even in the stickiest situation, it can help us break out of the negative mindset we have been in for so long. We can start to see that even though we make a lot of mistakes, we are still capable of doing great things❤️. Even if we don't have enough support, as long as we are not the ones that are giving us up, we can still try to find the beauty in everything.
We can do small things like complimenting ourselves more, rewarding ourselves after every accomplishment, and even just taking a break when we feel like we're about to break down. It is not easy managing everything on our own, but if we are kinder to ourselves, it can make the journey much more bearable.
Here are some other tips that you can do to prevent self-hate due to ADHD:
- Write down a list of positive things on paper and make it easy to see📝. This way, you'll constantly be reminded every day that despite all negativities, there's still something good about you and your surroundings.
- When you feel like you are overwhelmed with everything that is happening around you, or you feel like your blood pressure is rising because of intense focus, try to take a few deep breaths and relax your muscles🧘. This will help you calm down, think more rationally, and prevent impulsive decisions you may regret later on.
- Saying affirmative statements such as "I am capable of handling this situation" or "I am good enough" can help increase your self-esteem and remind you that you are not alone. This simple act of being optimistic is enough of a self-care routine that can help you get through the day.
- Practice self-awareness and mindfulness. Sometimes, we cannot be fully aware of our actions unless we step back and look at the bigger picture. If we are more mindful of our actions and thoughts, we can start seeing the negative things we do to ourselves and work on fixing them.
- Develop an activity or stress-relieving task to take your focus off the problem momentarily. This can be anything from reading a book 📚, eating somewhere new, going for a walk, or even playing with a pet. Doing things that can make you happy will help you forget about the problem at hand and give you time to clear your head.
When everything else fails, self-acceptance can save the day. We need to learn that it is okay not to be perfect and that we are still worthy of love and care even if we make many mistakes. We should be our cheerleaders and try to build ourselves up instead of tearing ourselves down. After all, we are the only ones that can make a difference in our lives. So let's start today and be a little more compassionate to ourselves🥰 .
Talk to your ADHD specialist or therapist in case these symptoms persist and affect your daily life despite trying out these tips. It is essential to seek professional help to get to the root of the problem and find out what other methods can be done to cope with self-hate due to ADHD.
ADHD and Self-Hate: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What is self-hatred?
Self-hatred is a feeling of dislike or disgust for oneself. It's when you don't like yourself, and it can affect your whole life. You might believe that you're not as good as other people, or that there's something wrong with you—even if other people say otherwise.
2. Is self-hatred or self-loathing an official symptom of ADHD?
No, it’s not. However, because of the things that may come with ADHD, a person may start to have a negative self-image that can eventually lead to self-hatred.
3. How do you stop self-loathing when you have ADHD?
Firstly, understand that it’s not your fault. ADHD isn’t a character flaw, and it isn’t something that you should feel ashamed of. It just means that your brain works differently than most other people's brains do. Of course, it’s also crucial to consult a mental health expert.