Are You Shoulding on Yourself?

by | Aug 21, 2011 | Understanding ADHD | 3 comments

I should beAdults with ADD or ADHD should on themselves a lot.

“I should be more organized“.

“I should be able to file these papers.”

“I should be more patient with my kids.”

“I should be on time.”

“I should…. (fill in the blank)”.

Yes, shoulding on yourself is very common if you’re living with ADHD. It’s also a sign of backwards thinking.

Whenever an ADD Coaching client uses the word Should, alarm bells ring in my head. It’s a sure sign their expectations are unrealistic; that they can wish themselves to be focused, organized and on task like the non-ADD folks in their world.

People who use the word should are typically comparing themselves to others or attempting to live someone else’s goals, both of which are like oil slicks to someone with Attention Deficit – you’re sure to slip up.

Notice when you should on yourself. Are you living someone else’s reality? Thinking unrealistically that you can magically conform to a non-ADD world?

Can you think of a more successful way to live with Attention Deficit?


  1. How to Focus

    Great point. Although I will always have obligations, I never want to feel as if I will not be worthwhile if I don’t do certain things. I constantly remind myself that I am doing the right things for me, and that’s enough.

  2. Robo

    Hey, I have adhd and severe social phobia, which i suspect is a by product of the add, and I find myself doing this all day long, shoulding myself, and wishing i was different. All day long is like a cycle of thought im trapped in, making me more and more depressed and miserable.

    I don’t have any friends any more, I started seriously abusing drugs at 13 and that turned into me becoming a full blown heroin addict. Im 28 now and I’ve been clean for almost 2 years from heroin and almost a year from everything else, and I feel like such a loser. I can’t have a conversation with anyone, when i do i can’t pay attention, and its hard. Good people are trying to be my friend and im just not capable of being around other people without having a panic attack and wishing i would just be ok. I was ok when i was using drugs, i didn’t have all these problems and if i did, i didn’t care about them enough to notice. Now i have a sponser taking me through the 12 steps and teaching me about eckhart tolle and how medication is not the answer, but i cant even do what he is telling me to do to get better. F*ck.

    • Dana

      Hey Robo, my heart goes out to you. I’ve a couple of clients in recovery from drug addiction and they’ve taught me how difficult it is. So many aspects of their lives have been impacted and each needs to be worked through. I suggest you focus on improving your brain functioning. ADHD Meds are the quick way, but since you’re choosing not to take even a non-stimulant, work on the self-care. I’ve posted quite a bit on sleep, diet, exercise and omega-3s. Good luck to you, Dana



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