7 Reasons Why ADHDers seem Self-Centered

Are people with ADHD more self-centered than the rest of the population?Probably not. However, some of the characteristics of ADHD can give the appearance of being self-centered. As annoying as these characteristics might be to your loved ones and friends, they don’t stem from a mean or selfish place.7 Reasons Why ADHDers seem Self-Centerd

  1. Don’t Follow Traditional Rules

A very attractive quality ADHDers have, is seeing things differently from the rest of the world. You see things with fresh. inquisitive eyes.  This is how ADHD entrepreneurs become wildly successful. When people spend time with you, it feels exciting, empowering and that anything is possible.

The downside of this characteristic when someone wants you to follow a conventional rule and you don’t want to, is that it can appear self-centered. For example, your wife might want you to wear a suit to a wedding that you are attending.

Conventional thought is:

a.) It’s standard dress code for a wedding,

b.) Everyone else will be wearing one, and

c.) It shows the couple respect and that you care.

You on the other hand time think:

1.) Suits are itchy and that makes me grumpy,

2.) I don’t feel myself in a suit; it makes me feel restrained and changes my personality,

3.) Why would I want to look like everyone else, and

4.) Of course they know I care; I wouldn’t be going to the wedding if I didn’t.

  1. Extreme Self-Care

An ADHD friendly diet, daily exercise, meditation and 8 hours of sleep, all help reduce the negative aspects of ADHD. However, those things take time, every day; time you can’t be with and do things for people in your life. Rigidly following these things are as important as taking medicine. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it from this point of view.  They might say, ‘one day doesn’t matter,’ but it does! In our society, we place high value on doing things for others; doing things for yourself is seen as selfish.

  1. Advanced Planning

Sometimes ADHDers are impulsive but sometimes, you need to mentally prepare yourself before starting something. This is particularly true for the tasks that aren’t fun. Suppose you and your partner have a plan to go grocery shopping at 10am on Saturday morning. But they are ready earlier, it seems plausible for them to say ‘Hey, let’s go now’.

However, for you, it’s not such an easy request. You had mentally prepared to leave at 10am, and had primed your brain to transition from what you are doing to the new activity at 10am. If you are forced to change your plans, you can’t help but be grumpy and annoyed. To your partner, it looks strange that you can’t move away from Facebook to accommodate them.

  1. Communication

Some ADHDers really struggle with communication skills.  Here are some common things that people perceive as being self-centered:

– Interrupting a person to share a thought that popped into your mind. You wanted to share it straight away; otherwise, you would have forgotten it by the time they had finished talking.

– If a conversation is boring you, abruptly changing it to a topic that is interesting.

– When you are talking, you look at the other person. However, when they are talking you, you find it hard to look at them, so you look away, out of the window, etc.; all signs that indicate that they are boring you.

– If there is a gap in the conversation, you fill it. Often, you don’t want to be talking about what you are talking about, but you can’t seem to stop.

  1. Protecting Yourself

Growing up with ADHD diagnosed or not, is hard.  You get more rejections, put-downs and disappointments than your non-ADHD peers. As an adult, this can result in a high wall of emotional protection. When you are trying to protect yourself from getting hurt and rejected, you behave in ways that look distant: unhelpful, uncaring, and well, self-centered.

  1. Time Management

ADHDers aren’t naturally good at time management. A classic ADHDer behaviour is arriving late, unprepared, and unable to plan into the future. These are all things that people interpret as not caring and being self-absorbed.

  1. Poor memory

Like time management, memory is also one of the executive functions that causes problems in ADHDers’ lives. Remembering birthdays, personal details,etc. are things people attribute to you caring about them. When you don’t remember, the conclusion is that you don’t care because you’re too busy thinking about yourself!  What people don’t know is: you have to work very hard to do ‘simple’ daily things that they do without thinking.

Have you ever been called ‘Self-Centered?’ Leave a note for me in the comment section below.

 

 

Comments

  1. Maria says:

    I really relate to all of this, it makes me sad when my parents say I’m selfish and ungrateful because I often forget to do chores or I don’t notice certain things because my brain is constantly thinking of other stuff :/

  2. Toni - Jan Ifill says:

    I’m beginning to wonder about my husband… even though he refuses to get assessed and I’m the one with the diagnosis… almost all of these things fit him to a “T”

  3. Peter Shram says:

    My wife told me this morning that all my family think I’m selfish. When you consider that I have a mother, three brothers and three sisters, this came as a shock to me, so I looked up Selfishness and ADHD and found this article.

    I am almost on the brink of a third failed marriage. I took an online ADHD test in January 2018 (a month after I reached then UK retirement age for men, where a score of 70+ indicated a high probability of ADHD. I scored 109 and was, at first, relieved to realise there is something else the had contributed to my train-wreck of a life; why I have caused so much pan and heartache to my loved ones, and why I never reached my potential (I have often felt as though I am destined for great things)

    The trouble is, whenever I try to explain this to my family, I get the glazed-eye treatment about me banging on about ADHD

    • Karen says:

      A suggestion from a non ADHD spouse who has been through it. Go for a full diagnoses, get on meds if that is the appropriate route for you, and find an ADHD coach. This is what you’ve got to do to be doing to address this if you want any chance of a successful marriage. Then she has to be willing to do her part. She’s got to go to counseling with you or at least truly educate herself on ADHD and how to be a good spouse to you. There are great books out there for this. No failed marriage is one person’s fault. It takes two!
      After 15 years my husband and I finally addressed his ADHD after our child was diagnosed. Our lives are dramatically different now. We were also heading towards divorce, but life is much better now. I hope the same outcome for you.

    • Hello. I just got diagnosed today. Im 53 and i feel a lot like you do. Now i find that ive been “selfish” all my life in ways, while on the inside I actually have much more empathy and caring love than the average person. I just cant always express it. I always felt that if i just communicated honestly with people they would understand me and we would connect. Turns out in applying that I always dominate conversations and it appears like i dont listen. I have gotten pretty good at listening while planning my next words but come to find out im actually quite terrible at conversation. to the point of being rude apparently as far as my wife says. I trample peoples words and finish sentences in an effort to prove i understand the point to come. Turns out that also appears selfish. Im sad my life has gone this way for 5 decades with nobody else telling me or noticing so i could have gotten help. Im in mourning in a way and now i feel ashamed and like a straight up terrible human being. Ive always had the longing nature to give to others. I just didnt know how to go about it and i didnt know i was ADD. I thought i was just weird and sensitive and not like most people. I feel for your situation. How are you coping with your new life diagnosis? Im nervous about whats to come. Will it be good or bad or will it be harder? Im anxious sad frustrated and relieved all at once. Good luck to you and I hope you find better footing, and that the people in your life find their empathy and understanding. You are not alone. But if youre like me you sure feel like you are. Its a lonely diagnosis to have. Nobody wants to hear it even though it lifts the fog off of your entire life and means pretty much everything to people like you and I.

      • Gemma S says:

        Hi Jonny,

        My brother was kind enough to send me a link to this wonderful site today because my daughter was recently diagnosed with ADD.
        I wanted to reach out to you because what you had shared made me sad.
        I too wish you had been able to get help but now that you have this diagnosis, everything is clear and you know that you are an outstanding human being! All the previous judgments from others in the past were made without full knowledge, looking at only limited information and drawing a conclusion based only on part of the pie graph, so to speak. That would be a wrong judgment so I know it’s easier said than done but discard any notions of those judgments and start fresh if you can. Tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to appreciate who you are with all of your unique qualities. If others don’t understand it, then flock towards those who do and can appreciate YOU for who you are.
        As for my daughter, I have been wondering why she hasn’t cared to ask for anyone’s birthday and actually thought that maybe she just doesn’t care about other people in the same way that I think but that doesn’t mean she is a bad person or a selfish person. She just thinks differently and now I know. And I’m going to try to help her navigate the ADD.
        Still, in the end, it’s what you think and what those who matter to you and their thoughts that are worth even considering. Those who jump to conclusions too quickly just aren’t even worth a hoot. I hope you will start tomorrow with a fresh outlook. It’s not ever easy but you deserve to give yourself that chance.

  4. Chris80HD says:

    Thank you for this article. Since I Was 8, everyone i’ve cared about has taken it upon themselves to see me as a project – the ways in which they ‘improve’ me would be counted among their successes. Unfortunately for them, they’ve not had a lot of successes to count, and as for me, I’m just tired of everyone trying to change me, or make me ‘better.’

  5. Kate says:

    This really hits home. I am constantly “accused” of being self-centered, when the truth is that a lot of stuff just doesn’t register, because it’s competing with the other 20,000 things going through my mind at the same time. According to certain people in my life, I’m using ADD and depression as an excuse to get out of doing things that are necessary, and if I’d stop feeling sorry for myself and “get with it,” I wouldn’t have a problem. Oh, how I wish it was that easy!

  6. Mary W says:

    My Bf has AdD which he refuses to recognize. He is very giving and loving except when he is hyperfocused ir distracted then he ignores me. We are older and I thought I found my soulmate. He talks all the time and forgets my requests for weeks. Now he’s working full time and can’t manage his time or set boundaries. Very discouraging for me as he focused on me when not working. Ideas about boundaries???

  7. Beth Snelling says:

    I am a mom of a 20 yr old daughter that has struggled with adhd. I have read countless articles and books about this and although we didn’t get her diagnosed until high school, I have spent a lot of time educating others as to why she interrupts and needs to stand when doing school work or why teachers need to let her doodle on her papers. Social and mental disabilities are not always excepted by others. Even friends don’t always understand. I’ve spent many a time crying for my child. She’s above average in intelligence, very funny and witty. She is a talented writer and a beautiful singer. She suffers from anxiety and depression.
    We take one day at a time.
    Thank you for your blog. It’s a shame others aren’t educated about the “quirks” of adhd. I would be interested in helping to get the word out so that adhd becomes an acceptable disability that needs no explanation.

    • Nichola says:

      As a 20 year old woman with ADHD, I thank you for educating yourself and others and for supporting your daughter in ways that are productive for her 🙂

  8. Karrington Glaude says:

    i feel like a service dog when im around people i dont say much but aways aware of everything thats going on from a pen droppin to a bomb exploding far away

  9. Wendy Williams says:

    I love how this is broken down and presented! So good to hear things I find hard are very common for others right along with me …

  10. Sarah says:

    I cried reading this. I realised how much I related to it. The reason it hit me so hard was that I thought just maybe I was finally over it. I hate being teased for this. A lot of people are really surprised when I tell them about my condition… and soon they leave my in the dust. I often feel I’m stupid. I hate the stereotype that comes with having ADHD. Sometimes I find myself all alone having no one to turn to because of this stupid condition.

    I feel like I don’t belong…

    • Cynthia says:

      Your not stupid. You just have to figure out how to deal with your disability. Like for example I have adhd as well and I know when I get bored I start doing random other tbings so I know to stay focused it has to be fun so I try making things fun by playing music or playing games with myself in order to get things accomplished. Believe me when I say I loose focus quickly even when I was saying my vows at the altar. But anyways your not dumb.

      • Don Schwidde says:

        I agree with Cynthia on this one Sarah. I have a Bachelor’s and even a Master’s degree and work in an office setting, although it’s temporary contract work. It’s very hard to “behave” and meet others expectations. I have to play mental games to stay focused especially IF the given task is redundant, boring or just does not interest me much. Okay, we know that everyone finds some things boring, but with an ADHD adult, that level of boredom is higher and thus harder to deal with. We can relate to your frustration. You probably have some very refined skills that others don’t have.

  11. This is a great article,
    I am a 56 year old that recently went through my second divorce and both
    wifes cited self centeredness. Now at middle age I am alone again and depressed.
    I have 32 years of sobriety after a really rough addiction alcohol problem in my youth .I have a young son that was diagnosed with adhd (non hyper type)recently and he has so many of the same behaviors that I had(I want him to live a better life than me).I have battled self centerness for years and I have tried to be of service to my fellow man and love animals and people and have true caring and empathy and it seems. I have pursued Adrenalin producing sports obsessively over the years sometimes to the neglect of my relationships. My self esteem and confidence are at an all time low. This article helps me have some understanding of this underlying issue.
    Thank You

  12. Ali says:

    Wow!! Thank you so much!! This hits it on the nail at so many levels for me. Just a few days ago my best friend, that we keep a long distance friendship by phone, in an upset rant blasted how selfish and self absorbed I was. That comment resonated in me specially coming from her that I had to look into it. How can I be selfish if one of my downfalls is that I loose track of what I should do for myself because I am always doing for others. And I found this article… Boom!! Mind blowing!!! I have never been officially diagnosed but after reading this is so, but so clear to me. Oh boy and now I see how ADHD paid a toll in my marriage, my parenting capabilities and just recently in my career. For more than 20 years I was a star employee steadily climbing the corporate ladder until I landed my dream executive position to shortly been fired. I guess for years I ‘ve been able to mask my symptoms which meant that I worked more hours than usual to finish because of how difficult it was to keep myself on track, yet I was excellent at it so supervisors didn’t notice as long as I did the good work. Ahhh yes those were my tasks, my time, my consequences but a total game changer when you have to manage direct reports. Thank you, thank you!! This us such an eye opener! I am having a meltdown writing this because I now see so many situations I could have avoided if I new this of me. I always thought I was in control and my lack of executive skills were because of aging not that I had it all along. I’ve been told that is menopause, depression, anxiety or even a weight issue!!! The worst of all is that my son was diagnosed at an early age and I didn’t see his behavior in me… instead I was terrible at managing him. Don’t get me wrong, I had all the best intentions to help him. I took him to doctors, therapies and got him school accommodations yet he barely made it to graduate because I couldn’t follow through. For instance I knew he had to be in a steady routine to help him cope with school and all and I did try to but I couldn’t keep it up myself . Now I can see that it was the blind leading the blind. Now I can understand how I was perceived as self centered if knowing his condition I couldn’t help my own son. Moving forward, now that he is going to college my challenge is how to help him while coping with my own shortfalls and finding work??!! For starters I will go on reading your previous blogs and subscribe to upcoming ones. Many thanks!!!

  13. Eliza B says:

    Yup I’ve been called Selfish and self-centered ever since I can remember . my parents used to tell me that all the time and now my husband does. I think they are right sometimes but not as right as they think they are… But still I try to see things from their perspective and change for the better when I can. Otherwise I just ignore it… Which thankfully is easy to do with ADHD…

    • Cherie says:

      As a partner to someone with adhd, literally the worst thing you could do is minimize their feedback to you. Like it or not, its feedback. My boyfriend does the same thing, ignores it and minimizes how bad it is. And, frankly, for as much as I would go to the ends of the earth for him….given the choice between him and myself… I have to choose myself. He wont have a girlfriend soon if he doesnt get help. And most of the issue is that he doesnt believe the problem is as bad as it is or doesnt affect us as badly as I try to tell him. I cant imagine how hard it is to have heard this criticism forever, though I imagine its muuuch harder to continue to tune it out and possibly drive your most treasured relationships into a ditch. I felt compelled to comment to give the other perspective.

  14. Pepe says:

    I am in a long-distance relationship, so our communication is primarily by phone and Skype. I am constantly being distracted by everything within sight, and he takes it personally that I might be Messi g with my phone (though I’m listening to him). I often find myself saying “Oh my God, I have had him on hold for X amount of time.” Or I’ll discover I was in mid exchange with him, and haven’t replied for over 1/2 hour. He’ll have posted “hello?” and “I’m going to bed now.” I try to tell him that being with me is no picnic, but I can’t seem to get him to understand that I love him. I am just easily distracted.

  15. weena jensen says:

    I’m not exactly ADHD my self, but my best friend is. The reason why I found this webpage is that I’m seriously considering to allow my friendly relation with my friend to fade out. Simply because I find it difficult to cope with his behaviour. He is the most lovely and funniest guy, I have ever come across, and I’m grateful to be his friend. However, there are certain behavioural strikes that from time to time really upsets me. He constantly talks about himself – he’s a gifted storyteller. He never ever asks to my well being, and if I have been on holiday, he never asks how it went. When I manage to get a word in, he takes up the opportunity to tell me, how I should have handled a certain situation, and how I shoud have told the story in order to provide the listener from being bored and loose interest. I feel this kind of behaviour is hurtful and insulting, even though I do understand that it is not meant like that. The final straw – perhaps – was the present followed by a poem, I gave him for his birthday the other day. He never cared to open the gift, before a week later, and as for the poem, I had to listen for ages as to why this poem didnt please him. I know it sounds horrible, but I find it difficult to show acceptance and tolerance, when I myself feel trampled over.

    • Reeree says:

      Weena, Those things sound more like a person who takes your friendship for granted, not because of ADHD, but because he doesn’t respect or value you. Have you expressed this unpleasant dynamic to him in the direct way you put it here? You should. Maybe you are being too subtle in the way you tell him how you feel, maybe he’s not getting the message and needs it to be said more bluntly. Ultimately, if you are trying to improve your friendship and he isn’t compelled to try as well, he isn’t being a true friend. You must choose you over him because you deserve to be treated with care and respect.

    • Kati says:

      Oh dear… that’s really rude of him, the way he criticized your poem. (What a sweet gift!) I have ADHD and would never do that. I doubt it’s because of his ADHD. He sounds like a difficult person in general. Curious what other people think.

    • Marti says:

      Agree! That’s not what Add looks like at our house. That sounds like someone who is disrespecting and putting you down to elevate himself. Could be a trait he has developed due to not loving himself- has he been to counseling?

  16. Randy says:

    My wife is ADHD. She appears to be very self centered, but because I know her well, I know that she isn’t. She is a very loving and giving individual. Knowing all that I know about her and her ADHD, it still doesn’t stop a squabbble or two that we might have when things just have to go her way. It takes a little persuasion on my part to get her to see the other side of things. It’s difficult being with a person who has ADHD. When she speaks, I am totally engaged. When I speak her eyes go glossy and she’s off who knows where. But, she is a good soul, with an outstanding loving heart. We have been together 23 years now. She’s a keeper.

    • Congratulations on your 23 year of marriage Randy! I love how you see behind the ADHD characteristics and see your wife’s loving nature. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    • Toni - Jan says:

      you are a good husband…keep it up.

    • Jina says:

      Randy what a beautiful sentiment. Your wife is lucky to have you.

  17. Casey says:

    Thank you for writing this! I was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD when I was 6, my by schools request, because my brain just jumped from one thing to another constantly. Today I am 22, in my 4th week of a new job where today they told me I took to long to do a task because I was not capable of multitasking very well (talking to another employee and completing the task) and my boss said it looked selfish on my part and that I didn’t take into consideration my other coworkers. This has been bothering me all day, I know it’s just simple criticism but I am anything but selfish. If anything, I am too willing to help others which ends in people taking me for granted. I just can’t seem to find the balance in work, and I wonder if going back on medication should be an option.

    • Marti says:

      I’m so glad you are wanting to tackle
      This problem early in your career! Good work! Medication would be worth trying!
      A low dose sure helps me!

  18. Thank you so much for this, I’ve always been considered on bring selfish, I even got the name of queen jeri ( and not in a positive way.) Adhd has really affected my marraige, and now I know why. Thank you so much!

  19. Thit Thit Naing says:

    Yes, my friend called me selfish. When they are talking about things, I happened to talk some other topic that popped up in my mind. Sometimes my mind swift away on one to one conversation. They say “Are you listening or not listening at all??”. I said, “Of course, i am listening!”. They said, “Then how come you miss things??”. They pissed off.
    I thought i was always clumsy. I usually lost focus in the class, my mind swift away even if i am concentrating. When i was young i could´t do my homework at daytime because i was distracted by noises, couldn´t concentrate.
    My country still dont has competent professional doctors to diagnosize ADD. Although the online test shows possible ADD and have very much of the symtoms of it, i would like to know exactly what is happening to me. I suffer from low-esteem because i am different in my family, friends. I have problems with my friends.

  20. LcMG says:

    So then how does the partner of someone with ADHD get their needs met? I spend a lot of time being understanding and caring to my adhd spouse… but I’m not his parent! I have need and wants too… chief among them time and to feel heard. Your article is very enlightening, and I respect that most people with ADHD are misunderstood. But meeting the needs of the people you care about is never easy whether you have ADHD or not! We all have to pretzel a bit sometimes…is the answer really that it’s acceptable to be selfish and inattentive just because your intentions are good?

    • Hi LcMG, highly recommend you check out ‘The ADHD Effect on Marriage’ It will answer all your questions and concerns. Its written by a Melissa Orlov who married a man with undiagnosised ADHD. Very empowering for the partners of someone with ADHD.

  21. Jennifer says:

    I have no idea if I have ADD or not, never been to anyone for a diagnosis, but this list is so me! Except for the arriving late and being disorganized. But I have a super-organized mom and learned very young to be prompt and prepare ahead of time. If I don’t put the effort into getting ready and remind myself ten times of an appointment throughout the day, I’m late. I very much need time to transition and like things to be on a schedule. Number one is exactly how I feel about every wedding I’ve ever attended, including when I’m in the wedding party!

  22. Emily says:

    My dad has gotten mad at me for messing something up at the MINIMUM once a month. “What were you thinking? Why’d you do that?” And I tell him for the umpteenth time it wasn’t intentional. Man. ?

  23. Thank you so much for this post. I forwarded it to my 80-year-old mother and it was the first time she read something about ADHD that made sense to her (I was diagnosed 13 years ago, at 35) It’s such a clear, concise depiction of both what it feels like to be the ADDer and the parent/spouse/friend. You deserve the #1 ADHD site award. Thank you for what you do.

  24. Chris says:

    I can remember a joke, where I was when I heard it too. What I cannot remember is names. I introduced myself to my wife three times before I remembered her name. People I work with usually just get called generalized greetings. have also been daydreaming at my wife’s church since 2003. I can tell you maybe 10 people by name. If I know you but then see you somewhere else like the grocery store. They say hey Chris and I say how is it going. What I find interesting though. Is I can go somewhere once n and I will never forget how to get there.

    • MARI says:

      Same here when I tell my parents this they think that I just don’t care enough to remember names. I can easily remember how I met them So how does that mean I don’t care. I remember stuff from years ago but if you ask if I remember a person I met yesterday by their name I will get so confused as to who they are talking about until they explain it to me.

    • Maria says:

      Same here when I tell my parents this they think that I just don’t care enough to remember names. I can easily remember how I met them So how does that mean I don’t care. I remember stuff from years ago but if you ask if I remember a person I met yesterday by their name I will get so confused as to who they are talking about until they explain it to me.

  25. Angela says:

    I’ve been called selfish and every other term under the sun many a time. My own sister frequently loves to tell me “you’re actually a really horrible person”, she knows I have ADD, but she thinks that ADD is just having difficulties with getting motivated. She never believes me when I tell her that ADD affects EVERY aspect of my life, so frustrating.

    My parents NEVER talk about or acknowledge my ADD, they just call me stupid and lazy and tell me I never try hard enough at anything. No one understands me except one of my best friends, who has ADHD

  26. Meg says:

    I’ve recently broken up with my boyfriend. He is ADHD (diagnosed since childhood and again reevaluated in adulthood) but doesn’t like (actually hates) being defined by this label and was very hesitant about discussing or better still ‘educating’ me about it. I’m not perfect… no one is, but if I’d had been armed with this information earlier in our relationship, I could have been a more supportive partner. Infact, after reading your article, I feel I have been the selfish one. Everything you wrote is everything my boyfriend dealt/deals with on a daily basis and yes I thought a lot of it was premeditated and to purposely hurt me. He says he loves me, but can’t give me what I want, which is more of his time. Again, my insecurities and past relationships caused me to come to the conclusion he had probably met another woman and was letting me down gently. It goes to show that a very important part of any relationship, especially where adhd is involved, is communication and also trust. I wish things could be different as I am still very much in love with him, but I have been taught another good life lesson and maybe it has helped me be a better, more understanding person.

    • dion says:

      This is so interesting, as my girlfriend calls me selfish, and is threatening to break things off unless I do the things she wants me to do, and not do the things I do, and that supposedly will show her that I care about her. Is that the way you felt too?

  27. AJB says:

    All the boxes are ticked here. It’s so hard because my girlfriend is constantly frustrated and angry with me, and while she says she tries to be understanding about my ADHD and not take it personally, she also continues to say that she thinks I use it as an excuse, and continually judges my behavior as irresponsible, insensitive, inconsiderate etc. she blows up at me for every little thing now because she is so frustrated. It’s maddening for me because it makes me feel guilty and insecure and terrible about myself. And it’s maddening because it’s so obvious to me that she deep down does not understand or accept that my ADHD makes me do things that translate in the ways you describe. She truly believes- or would rather believe- something more damning. I’m pretty sure that my ADHD and her response to it has contributed to what I’m almost positive will be the end of this relationship and it breaks my heart.

  28. Bliss love says:

    Am happy with what this article just taught me. Am called names by my father all the time and as I speak we are not in talking terms. He calls me very self-centered and selfish even when I try my hardest and do my best it’s never enough for him.
    He keeps thinking that I don’t care about him or anyone else but deep down in my heart I truly love him and my good friends too.
    I’ll go for a diagnosis this week and check out my self.
    Thanks for this heart ♥ warming article. God bless you Jacqueline

  29. Ignacio says:

    The person who wrote this article will be always in my heart…

    I have been diagnosticated ADHD last week and, of course, hiperfocus for four days reading EVERYTHING about it… This article is one of the most important ones I have found.

    THANKS!!!!

  30. Joseph C. says:

    Wow. Very eye opening to me. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child, though it’s recently been suggested that I have aspergers (and with what I’ve read about it I think I do), and have always had problems in relationships. I’m having problems in my current relationship, and it’s all because I’m apparently very selfish. I don’t mean to be, I apparently don’t recognize that I’m being selfish, but now I understand that it’s apparently a part of how my brain is just wired differently. Trying to process my thoughts and convey them in a non-selfish manner has proven extremely difficult, as I have always spoken very direct and to the point, though I still try to filter what I say even then. I don’t know how I can fix this as I love my girlfriend more than anything else in the world, but I apparently have to do something about my selfishness or I’m going to lose her. I don’t know how to fix this….please help!!! 🙁

  31. Roy Beangstrom says:

    I am an adhd adult , my wife and i are sepperaring because she tells me i am selfcentered , she says she understands adhd but clearly she dont , at this point i am a broken man and me rollercoster emotions are getting the better of me , impulsivness is a big problem for me as sometimes i do not think about the concequinces first then its the oops at the end of it , i have tried a pill called concerta but did not really help me , i have never recived any kind of help .

    • Cherie says:

      Experiment with other meds, you dont always find the best one on the first try or even two or 3 tries. And cognitive behavioral therapy is great. Dont give up.

    • Elizabeth Reed says:

      You can get a genetic test at some psychiatric offices, which can tell you what medicines your body produces better.

      • CarrieW says:

        Wow, really!?! For 30 years I’ve been wanting to know if there is someway to test which meds might be more likely to help me, since I have tried several and perhaps spend too many months waiting for each one (unless immediate side effects like I get w Effexor) My ADHD and dysthymia (low level chronic depression) are slightly better if I am taking something but it is sometimes hard to tell. (some people say to ask your family or friends To help judge whether it’s working, but as this fabulous website shows (THANK YOU Jacqueline!) many of us ADHD adults don’t have enough support system and/or friends who understand. Anyway I’d love to know how to find such an office– I am in a rural area but I imagine they are more common in big cities and in certain states. I’d be willing to travel for better evaluation- my primary care doesn’t think tests would help.

  32. Rivkele says:

    I have been called selfish by so many people, in so many areas of my life, at so many times…… That when I meditated and had a tantric opening in my mid twenties, my shadow emerged and told me I didn’t deserve to live.
    Luckily, I’ve done enough work that I have a different relationship to my shadow now – she is my 21-year-old, emotionally disturbed daughter in the back of my head. Ariella.
    Unluckily, my sister and I aren’t talking so much at this point. I’ve sent her articles like this one but it just annoys her because she HAS WORKED WITH kids with the same issues, and hates being told things she already knows (but chooses to forget with certain people).
    It’s painful. I just copied and pasted the link to email this to her, and then saved it as a draft. I feel like even sending this to her is like touching a porcupine. I also happen to be LGBTQQI and liberal… I feel like everything I am and everything I stand for triggers her – I interrupt people and never initiate contact, I have a gender-fluid sexual orientation and have gender-fluid friends (who also have disabilities and are the black sheep of their families), and think the old stadiums should be converted into free housing.
    The treatment from the rest of my family is a more gentle version of the same thing. Her friends are welcome to come to family functions, my friends are not, and there’s always an excuse that “has nothing to do with my friends.” It’s bullshit. I currently have the outlook that Family is bullshit and Acceptance is bullshit and Affirmative Action is bullshit.
    I’m sorry. I’m bitter. I admire those who aren’t.

  33. Patricia says:

    If I have been called self-centered, I probably never heard it. Typical ADHD behavior, I would guess.

  34. Jason says:

    Hit me right between the eyes…again! And my wife has many of these traits as well. It’s so helpful to get this level and type of validation. To feel known and to not like a lepper…absolutely priceless. Thank you, Jacqui!

  35. Lisa says:

    Thank you so much, I have been considered selfish for most of my life! At 40 years old, I have only recently realised and in the process of being diagnosed with adhd. The negative perceptions of others over a life time are difficult to unpack

  36. rebecca says:

    thanks so much, that’s really helpful, ill talk to his mum about it:)

  37. rebecca says:

    this article was really helpful, thanks!:) i was wondering if you could give me some advice, my next door neighbor is 5 years old and has adhd. his mum is super young (23) and i want to help her because it would be so hard to look after a kid but i don’t really know how to. his mum asked me to help get him to do homework, and i wanted to know if there are any ways to help really young kids with adhd to want to do homework and help them concentrate

    • Hi Rebecca
      For 5 year olds its best if you sit with them while they are doing their homework. If you are paying attention to the homework task its easier for them to pay attention to it too. Try and make it as interesting and fun as possible! After school children are typically tired and hungry so before your neighbour starts homework, make sure they had a little downtime, some healthy food and no TV. Its harder to concentrate on school stuff after TV time. Then you can do the homework and TV afterwards is fine.

      Check out this article, about Michael Phelps…particularly ‘Lesson 4’ which is about how Michaels mum made school work interesting for him…https://untappedbrilliance.com/michael-phelps/

      Hope that helps!!!
      warmly
      Jacqueline

  38. Brad says:

    Great article and great input! My wife and I adopted two children, both who have ADHD. Before our daughter was diagnosed with ADHD, in kindergarten, I was livid since she was getting into trouble every day. One day, after she had been sent to the principle’s office the 4th time in so many days, I remember yelling at her. In her trembling voice, I’ll never forget when she said, “I can’t help myself daddy”. I knew then that she truly couldn’t help herself. I saw things through MY own eyes and not hers. That was my fault. Both of my children are adopted and my son is a “drug baby” who suffers from many issues, including ADHD, anxiety, OCD, and RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder). Our son, who we adopted at 6 years of age, has been extremely trying. He is a real life Forrest Gump. It has been extremely difficult dealing with both but through medication and treatment, both are doing much better. Loving them has been difficult because my daughter appears to be so selfish. Some of her selfishness is legitimate since she is only 13 years of age and was an only child for many years, all attention was given to her and she was spoiled. However, your article has helped shed light to help me realize and see that she is trying. I’ve learned to see and love my children through God’s eyes, that is to love other unconditionally. I’m going to take my kids out for ice cream today and learn and appreciate that the small things that they do for others does not come easily. Thank you again for such a great website!

  39. Cindy says:

    I am not diagnosed with A.D.D., but I tick most of the boxes. When I was a child they called children like me “A day dreamer”…so same thing, haha.I am just grateful to be finally be ABLE to hear someone else talk rather than the 100 things on my mind during conversations. This mindset plagued me for may many years and I am feeling calmer,(I wonder why?) but hey…I am almost 60. I have been told I have an anxiety disorder, since seeking counselling (because of bullying) and now I really think the nerves come from living with the A.D.D. for so many years. Fortunately, the hard part of this disorder gave me a LOT of compassion for the underdog. I ACTUALLY have a lot of friends now and a loving family life. I try to be more guarded, but my mindset makes me less so, and I get hurt by the insensitive. I would not trade places with ANYONE. Blessed.

  40. Mallory says:

    I can’t help but tear up reading this blog and the comments. I believe I may be ADHD and am going to the doctor soon to find out. Literally everything you described is me to a T. My boyfriend is nearly at his wits end with me. He often calls me selfish because I tend to do things without thinking, or I don’t remember things or don’t listen well. For years it has been hard to explain why I do the things I do, I honestly don’t know, I just wasn’t thinking. I do everything with the best of intentions but fall short and fail. I don’t mean to be selfish and hurt others, it’s just I don’t think! I hope there is hope for me to change.

  41. Sean says:

    My gf thought i wasnt considerate of her feelings because i tend to think of an end goal without thinking of little things ie. I need to go home (i then forgot to clean her cats litter box and clean trash up and stuff). Is that add related? Thanks!!

  42. Cecilie says:

    Oh, this article speaks right to my heart! Thank you!
    Im lying on my sofa, feeling like im about to have the biggest meltdown ever! So i grabbed my Phone, googled concerta pms adhd, and that led me right to this blog! And I am learning more about my ADHD and me, in one hour, then I have done in my whole life. This article in perticular really lifted my spirit UP again! So, Thank you for sharing! Im gonna keep reading ☺

    • Hi Cecilie! so happy you found the blog at just the right time!! and super glad that your sprits are Up again!! High fives!
      Yes..keep reading, and sign up for the newsletter too 🙂

  43. Spencer says:

    I thought it was just me who couldn’t handle changing plans when I worked so hard to organize them!

  44. Jessica Sager says:

    Your website is a godsend, Jaqueline. Yes, I’ve either explicitly been called selfish or have been left with such an impression. And, while I can tell you from logical left-mode processing of my brain that I’m clearly not selfish, the emotional/non-verbal right-mode makes a frowny face that clearly disagrees. 🙁 Darn those long-lasting mental maps!

  45. Natalie says:

    This article is exactly what I have experienced with every partner I have been in a relationship with. I didn’t know until 2 years ago that I have been living with undiagnosed ADD. Once diagnosed, my whole world has begun to change. There are so many helpful articles and books out there for people like me. This article is especially insightful, it is to the point and puts into words things that frustrate me when I try to explain them. My boyfriend call me selfish on a daily basis, he just doesn’t understand that it’s not the kind of selfishness that is premeditated to hurt him. It just happens and I the last thing I intend to do is hurt him, but I do. I will be printing this out for him to read. Thank you for this putting my thoughts into words.

    • Hi Natalie!! Very happy to hear that they article was helpful!! Educating those around you (if they are receptive) about how ADHD effects you can be very helpful. Great job getting diagnosed. I love what you said about your whole world starting to change when you found out about your ADD.

      • I have been with my partner for nearly 3,months now n whenever he says he will do something it never happens but whenever he has something he wants to do he seems to remember is this part of his adhd as its really getting to me now n I don’t no who or where I can turn to for advice

      • Hi Cheryl
        Yes that is part of ADHD!

  46. Jessica says:

    This article speaks VOLUMES to me! The more I’ve come to learn and understand how ADHD makes me tick, I do see how some behaviors make me seem self-centered when I’m really not. Unfortunately, it also me very anxious because it makes wonder how people view me through their eyes. Then when I try to backtrack and change it, I get more flustered and anxious before simply shutting down. It’s a balancing act that seems to be slowly getting better everyday, but as with everyone, some days are worse than others.

    • Hi Jessica, one thing I know for sure is that when ADHDers try to change it order to conform to what other people want them to be then their ADHD seems to get worse. They feel anxious and bad about themselves and lose confidence. Which is exactly what you have experienced. Rather than be a pretzel be proud of who you are. The understanding people in your life can tell that your underlying intention is good. xxoo

  47. Sorry to hear you are called selfish Lynette 🙁
    You aren’t!
    Unfortunately when you spend time with people like your ex, they make you nervous, anxious and on edge so you end up doing the things they don’t want to you do to more!! If you can spend as much time as possible with people that love you just the way your are, that find you leaving the light on by mistake funny you will shine and feel like a different person!!!
    xooxoxox

  48. Lynette says:

    I’m called selfish almost every day by my ex and current roommate. If I don’t remember some little detail about what we have planned to do, I’m selfish. If I forget to turn off the lights, I don’t care about how high the electric bill goes. On and on. It gets really discouraging. I’ve told him about my ADHD, but he doesn’t believe it’s real. I just need to try harder. I’m trying to get another job so that I can afford to move out, but with ADHD, that’s an overwhelming project!

  49. rich says:

    Great artical, I ticked all the boxes
    thanks Jacqui
    Rich

  50. Val Charman says:

    Oh Jacqui, that is such a good article! I was always told by my Dad ‘the world doesn’t revolve around you!’ It has really helped me to understand that my brain is wired differently to other people and that is why they don’t ‘get’ me 🙂
    x x x
    Val

    • Hi Val…yes you are right, your brain is wired differently!! and there is absolutely nothing wrong with different. In fact often its preferable!!!

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