Reply To: Does anyone else self-sabotage?

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults Does anyone else self-sabotage? Reply To: Does anyone else self-sabotage?


This post particularly the phrase “self-sabotage” really clicked with me this morning. So I am posting for the first time ever. Self-Sabotage is what I used to say my problem was before my boyfriend (now husband) encouraged me to take seriously several sets of behaviors that are all related to ADD. I was diagnosed as a child (7yrs), but my mother didn’t take action on it. She was against medication, and I was gifted and could hack it in school (now kids like me are called “twice exceptionals – 2e’s”. I don’t know what jerk came up with that term but I wish they’d consulted those of us with it so they could understand how mean and ironic that categorical label feels). So I went through all of prep school and college believing I just self-sabotage, and that ADD is not a big deal. I didn’t achieve the major thing I wanted to achieve.

The thing that I think everyone seems to underplay in this condition is the challenge of emotional disregulation. I think the emotional intensity and rejection sensitivity dysphoria is a major mechanism of action behind many of my biggest mistakes – some of omission (those most often cause my major problems), but also some of ill-reasoned action, or losing my cool.

Many of us seem to be over-drinkers, over-eaters, over-spenders. There are others who don’t have ADD but have addiction who recover from over spending, eating, drinking etc. These folks are usually in the bar or a 12-step programs. Key to recovery in those programs is service to others, humility, and taking one day at a time. Everyone has a sponsor too.

It’s valuable advice for people like us. Right action, but just one day at a time. If I think about more than one day at once it can become very overwhelming to think about life – there are too many patterns of behavior/mistakes to overcome. The opportunity to hash through something that happened with someone else who understands what it’s like and figure out the right way forward is very valuable. Having an opportunity to laugh is very important cause much of this stuff is down-right ridiculous – especially the second time you think it over.

There is also, I think, a spiritual dimension to all of this. Being a human being for starts and that combined with unique neurology (ADHD) can result in some major mess ups. I think there is something in me that wants to confirm what I intuit others believe about me – that I can’t manage it, that I’m no good, that I’m not talented etc. So yeah there is the ADD and there is the deeper stuff of being human.