How Self-Sabotage Can Look Like for ADHDers

Self-sabotage has a way of revealing itself in certain patterns and behaviours. They can manifest in different ways for different people. 

However, there are some commonalities between them.

In this post, the focus is on some ways that some ADHDers may self-sabotage. Although I want to mention that neurotypicals can self-sabotage in these ways also. However, considering the focus of this blog is on ADHD, it is for this reason that I want to focus on how ADHDers self-sabotage.

So, on that note, here are some signs of self-sabotage.


Perfectionism is the need to achieve perfection, wanting everything to be flawless. It can also be about having high or unrealistic expectations. 

Although it may not seem this way, it is not uncommon for those with ADHD to be perfectionists.

There are different reasons why those with ADHD may become perfectionists. It can stem from anxiety and wanting to be in control of a situation. It could be because the person doesn’t want to appear lazy. This way of self-sabotaging can also come from a fear of failure. For those with ADHD, it can certainly become an unhealthy coping mechanism.


Procrastination is about postponing or putting off a task, unnecessarily. Oftentimes postponing it over and over again.

There are so many different reasons why people procrastinate. For those with ADHD, the reasons tend to be linked to their brain’s wiring and their difficulty with regulating their emotions.

Everyone procrastinates. No matter who you are, it will happen. There’s always something someone doesn’t want to do or deal with. However, this occurs so much more often for those with ADHD. 


People-pleasing is when someone has the urge to please others, even if it’s at their own expense. The people-pleaser makes choices and may do things to be accepted or liked by others. Even if it means that it’s against their better judgment, or having less time to focus on their needs. 

There are several reasons why those with ADHD may be people-pleasers. 

  • ADHD can lead those with it to experience intense sensitivity to being criticized, which leads ADHDers to want to avoid it and try and please others. 
  • Those with ADHD tend to feel emotions a lot more deeply and intensely. 

Fixed Mindset

Fixed mindset is when someone sees their qualities and intelligence, for instance, as fixed and cannot be changed.

It can be quite easy for ADHDers to have this type of mindset.

When it feels like you’re always making the same mistakes, or being criticized for the same thing, it can be so easy to think and believe we can’t change.

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