When ADHD Shoulding Hits the Fan

by | Jul 19, 2018 | ADHD Symptom Control | 0 comments

ADHD ShouldingAdults with ADHD should on themselves a lot, but then discover unpleasant side effects when ADHD shoulding hits the fan.

Consider these familiar ADHD shoulding phrases:

“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, ADHD shoulding is very common if you’re living with ADHD. But it’s a sign of backward thinking.

Whenever an ADHD 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-ADHD 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 ADHD– you’re sure to slip up.

Why ADHD Shoulding is Unrealistic

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

Not to mention dealing with the unrealistic expectations of other people. Have you noticed how those expectations often come in the form of a ‘should’?

You SHOULD do this. You SHOULD do that.

All the zillions of ideas other people have for what steps you SHOULD take for coping with your ADHD and what you SHOULD do to improve your life.

Do you get fed up with ADHD shoulding? Me too. 

Shoulds are someone else’s idea of how I ought to do things. When someone tells me I SHOULD do something, they are imposing their beliefs on me.

Adults with ADHD are challenged enough coping with ADHD day-to-day without other people telling us what we should do.

To live successfully with ADHD, you have to do what works for you. Not what others think you should do.

How to Avoid Shoulding Hitting the Fan

Notice the shoulds and then choose what is right for you. I also retort with an innocently sweet, “I should, huh?”

Coping with ADHD often means doing things differently than what works for other people. It means making organizing and self-care easy.

Please, beware of other people shoulding on you.

While you’re at it, beware of shoulding on yourself. All the many thoughts you have for what you SHOULD do to be a better person. How you SHOULD be organized and manage your time.

I find many of my ADHD coaching clients are awash in self-shoulding. Often coming from a life-time of feeling like they don’t measure up because of getting an ADHD diagnosis as an adult and living a life of unmanaged ADHD. 

Accept that you are coping with ADHD in your own way. And then ADHD shoulding won’t hit the fan.


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