ADHD and overcoming imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes. It is used to describe high-achieving people who try to recognize their achievements.

People with impostor syndrome live in fear that others will find them a liar. Of course, they are not fraud; their success is the direct result of their hard work and hard work.

How ADHD causes imposter syndrome

Many people with ADHD feel that they are imposters. One of the reasons is that you concealed your struggle from the public.

People, such as your boss and colleagues, know that you are smart and will achieve results. But you know that you have to work more hours than anyone in the office to get these results. You meet deadlines by staying up late and making personal sacrifices, such as reducing the time spent with your family. Only your spouse or close family members know the pain and struggle you are going through.

When you hide a part of yourself, it can cause shame and guilt. It also makes people worry about what will happen to people if they discover the real you.

Signs of imposter syndrome

Judith S. Beck has identified the behavior of patients with imposter syndrome. Do these sound familiar?

  1. You do not believe that your success is related to your hard work, wisdom or creativity. On the contrary, you think it must be due to luck, fluke, or other random factors.
  2. You don’t celebrate success. Instead, you look at the next thing that needs to be done. Rather than being proud of the speech you gave, it is better to say: “Yes, but what about the speech two weeks from now? I have to be prepared for it.” You won’t take the time to enjoy the glory of doing a good job.
  3. You spend a lot of time and energy thinking about things that are not going well, even if it is just a very small detail. You are obsessed with the negative side and don’t take the time to think about your success or what you did well.
  4. You ignore your achievements or the praise you receive for them. You don’t believe you are worthy of it, and you don’t think you should do better.
  5. You often compare with others, it is always disadvantageous. You might think, “They don’t need to prepare presentations overnight, and they get better results than mine.”

When people with ADHD realize that their feelings have a name, they usually feel great relief. It is comforting to know that they are not alone.

How to overcome imposter syndrome

Here are some suggestions to help you overcome imposter syndrome.

Address shame

Solving shame is very helpful. Remember, ADHD is a neurological disease, and the part you hide is a direct result of ADHD.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can also help. CBT focuses on helping you learn to recognize the automatic negative thoughts that lead to the feeling of imposter syndrome.

Once you learn to recognize these ideas, you can learn to replace these patterns with more useful and realistic ways of thinking. They will help you get the whole picture instead of focusing on the negative aspects.


Start tracking what you do so you can be successful. For example, if you ran a half marathon in less than two hours, realize that this is not just because of luck. You might run four times a week for 16 weeks and eat healthy food.

Although there may be some luck factors, for example, the weather may be good that day, but your hard work has brought a good time.

When you track your behavior, it becomes easier to understand your role in success. In turn, this makes it easier for you to own and celebrate your success.

Forgive the mistake

Although it can be disappointing when things don’t go the way you want, it can also be a valuable way to gain knowledge and experience. Instead of blaming yourself for every mistake, it is better to turn your attention to thinking about how to apply what you have learned in the future.

An error occurred. Remember, these mistakes and disappointments will also help you grow and become more skilled and knowledgeable.

Press Play for advice on handling errors

This episode of The VigorTip Mind Podcast, hosted by LCSW’s editor-in-chief and therapist Amy Morin, shares how to deal with mistakes so as not to repeat the same mistakes. Click below to listen now.

Follow now: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts / RSS

Pay attention to your negative self-talk

When you feel like an imposter, start paying attention to your thoughts. For example, instead of thinking “I hope no one will notice that I don’t know how to do it”, consider redefining these ideas as “I may not be sure how to do it, but I have the ability to learn.”

Avoid comparison

If you constantly compare yourself with others, you will find yourself inadequate, which will only make you feel inadequate. Instead of considering your own comparison with others, it is better to focus on learning other people’s professional knowledge and experience.

Very good sentence

Imposter syndrome can make it difficult to feel confident and capable, but it is important to remember that everyone feels this way from time to time. When you find yourself feeling like an imposter, work hard to reframe your negative thoughts and focus on your hard work, skills, and accomplishments.