Imposter Syndrome

ADHD can and often does take a toll on those of us with the condition. It affects many aspects of our lives, our relationships, how we feel about ourselves, mental health, our jobs, just to name a few.

Fear of judgment, criticism, struggles and such can makes feel as though we’re not good enough, for one thing.

Enter Imposter Syndrome.

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

Although many of us may have heard about and somewhat familiar with it, let me start by discussing what Imposter Syndrome means.

Imposter Syndrome is a psychological term that was first coined by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978. It can be defined as a collection and combination of feelings experienced by individuals who doubt their accomplishments, talent and skills. 

It is a concept that has stuck around, largely due to the fact that it resonates with many people at some point.

person in blue and white shirt
Photo by cottonbro studio on

When ADHD & Imposter Syndrome Come together

According to clinical psychologists, many with ADHD experience Imposter Syndrome are prone to experience it. And not just in aspirational pursuits and areas, but life in general. 

Imposter syndrome can show up in a few different ways.

When both ADHD and Imposter Syndrome is involved, it can be difficult for us to recognize our natural talent and the value it brings. We may doubt our ability to do things, or our intelligence. It may be easy to just see as getting lucky or a fluke. We don’t feel as though our accomplishment and success has anything to do with our creativity, intelligence, and such.

When we receive compliments or praise, we have difficulty accepting them. We may be suspicious, or don’t feel we deserve them. Despite the fact that the person is being truthful, we have a difficult time accepting it for what it is.

It can be so easy to focus on the negative, things that didn’t go well, and our failures.

It can be so easy to feel like we’re not good enough because of ADHD and the struggles that go with it.

Stigma, fear of judgment and criticism certainly be not help and may be those with ADHD may struggle with imposter syndrome.

shallow focus photography of man wearing red polo shirt
Photo by Nathan Cowley on

How to Overcome It

There are things we can do to overcome imposter syndrome and all the thoughts and feelings that go with it.

  1. Talking to someone about your feelings. Whether it’s a therapist, family member or close friend, find someone you feel comfortable talking to and talk to them about how you’re feeling. 
  2. Keep track of things that you’ve done well. Celebrate the wins. Even if it’s a small win, celebrate it anyway!
  3. Be kind to yourself. You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself. Work on changing your self talk and having it more positive. It’s possible to reframe the way you think.
  4. Stop comparing. Comparing yourself to others doesn’t you. It is not helpful. 
  5. Accept your failure and mistakes. It’s not always easy to fail. It’s scary and not always pleasant to deal with. However instead of being hard on yourself for them, try and see if there is something you can learn from them.

There are things we can do, when signs of Imposter Syndrome creep up and we feel it’s not serving us.

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