How ADHD Heightens Self-Criticism
ADHD is a disorder of self-regulation and executive function. It hampers the ability to plan and meet goals in a variety of situations, including trying to implement strategies for managing the condition which are often undermined by its symptoms.
Having ADHD may mean chronically setting goals with the best of intentions and then falling short. This can bring on a cotinual barrage of criticism from friends, colleagues and family members.
The Negative Narrative
As a result, many adults with ADHD grew up with criticism and disappointment hanging over them like a perpetual dark cloud and feelings of shame related to their ADHD. They learn to cope emotionally by keeping quiet, not telling others, and judging themselves harshly.
Over time, such negative feedback takes a toll, leading some individuals to doubt themselves and their ability.The self-judgment and negative self-talk The negative self=talk that started with others becomes their own narrative, their own story of who they are.
The Healing Power of Self-Compassion
If you have ADHD and have experienced the harmful effects of overactive self-criticism, self-compassion may offer a way to mitigate these feelings, build greater confidence and resilience, and lead a more fulfilling life.
There are three steps to self-compassion as described by Kristin Neff, PhD.
- Mindfulness – Practicing mindfulness, you develop a neutral and non-judgemental awareness of your experience in the present moment. This is a way of separating yourself from the feelings in the moment – you can observe them without necessarily reacting to them.
- Common human identity – Learning to recognize that suffering is part of the human existence. It is an inevitable part of life and you are not alone.
- Self-kindness – Through repeated practice, developing a warm and understanding approach toward yourself.
These are discussed in more detail, in the context of ADHD, in the video below.
How to Stop Beating Yourself Up Over Mistakes – Jessica McCabe
Self-compassion is something you can practice on your own, or as part of an ADHD regime. Either way, it may help you to flourish in ways that you may not have believed possible.