Adult ADHD and Inaccurate Self-Observation: No One Likes Me
Forget that a symptom of adult ADHD is 'inaccurate self-observation.' I'm not buying it. Truly, nobody likes me. It's not that they tell me so, but I just know, you know? I realize that over 900 people follow me on Twitter, a few thousand people read my two blogs every month, and I have friends who travel 60 minutes every Saturday just to spend time with me, but none of that matters. Because I KNOW . . . I have heard that people with ADHD have inaccurate self-observation, but my observation here is based on hard perceptions. Not facts, no, but a perceived slight is every bit as good as a fact, isn’t it? Maybe not (Adult ADD, ADHD Symptoms and Their Impact).
The Recipe for Inaccurate ADHD Self-Observation
Take four tablespoons of low self-esteem, a half cup of distractibility, then mix it with a cup of impulsivity, and you have the ADHD recipe for self-observation. The world seen under the influence of this concoction is a weird and uncertain thing. Society ebbs and flows around us and we stand there just a wee bit out of sync, making decisions about the world and ourselves with wonky information.
I remember returning to Massachusetts College of Art one day to turn in my assignments. I had broken my finger and had to take incompletes in my classes. Because of this, I didn’t enroll for the Fall. When I showed up, several people came up to me and were excited to see me.
“Hey, how are you doing?”
“Where have you been?”
“It’s so nice to see you again.”
“We missed you.” That last one was from a cute girl I had a crush on.
I was gobsmacked. I had been absolutely certain that not only did nobody like me, my classmates didn’t even know I was alive. I was completely wrong. In fact, thinking I had nothing to return to helped me make the decision to transfer to a different college (that and a new girl who I had a crush on). Boy, did I feel stupid.
Ten years later and I was certain I was going to publish a children’s book and live in Japan as a successful comic artist by the time I hit 30. However, that birthday came and went and I had to face the hard fact that I hadn’t done anything to work towards that goal. Maybe I shouldn’t have played so many video games. Somehow I hadn’t factored being a full-time, disabled dad of three kids into that goal, either.
Set Up an ADHD Support Network for Better Self-Observation
The truth is that with crossed wires we adults with ADHD can often fall into these mental traps where we base our self-observation on false information. Although a few ADHD adults have delicious delusions of grandeur, most end up thinking less and less of themselves over time. Mistakes, broken relationships, lost dreams . . .. The ADHD heart is a frangible thing.
The best advice I could give is to surround yourself with friends and family who love and care for you—people who aren’t afraid to tell you how it is. If you are convinced the world would sooner spit in your eye than make room for you, check with your loved ones. You will likely find that your perception is a bit skewed. And if you suddenly declare you’re the next Steve Jobs, even though you still deliver pizza and live in your Mum’s basement, friends will be there to deliver the sobering news that you might not be quite all that.
Mostly, though, you need to be aware of your own self-observation tendencies and watch for them. This vital first step will help you avoid inaccuracies in how you perceive yourself.
Cootey, D. (2010, July 1). Adult ADHD and Inaccurate Self-Observation: No One Likes Me, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/adultadhd/2010/07/adhd-is-it-just-me-or-do-we-not-know-ourselves-very-well
Author: Douglas Cootey
This is all based on feeling because intellectually I know that I shouldn't care what others think of me and, in fact, the most attractive people are those who don't care what people think of them!
Being with people is exhausting.
On that topic.. looking at your split-image photo at the top of the page compels to proclaim, preferably in a fake Scottish accent:
"I'm on mae way, from miserry to happiness todae! uha uha uha uha!"
Thanks for commenting.