When I can’t stand anyone at work, am I the problem?

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults Relationships When I can’t stand anyone at work, am I the problem?

Viewing 5 reply threads
  • Author
    • #39919
      Penny Williams

      This discussion was originally started by user SHJ125 in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


      I have to say, for the first time, I think I’m managing my work responsibilities just fine. I’m no longer micromanaged and my bosses leave me alone for the most part. For some reason though, I find myself not liking anyone I work with and people I used to have conversations with, I stay away from.

      I think these people are starting to notice and are giving me the same attitude.

      I usually start feeling this way at all companies I’ve worked for. I over analyze what people are thinking and I start to believe that people are talking behind my back, thinking I’m not really working, questioning what I actually do, etc.

      When I start feeling like I’m being judged (even if I might not be) I start seeing everyone as the enemy.

      My husband thinks I need to focus more on work and not the people, but that’s easier said than done for me.

      Does anyone have any tips on how to handle ?


    • #41120
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user Deja in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      One of the many questions that brought me to this sight tonight! As with much of my personal ADD experience, this seems to be an ongoing learning experience. I had heard/read many stories of people having a history of difficulties with co-workers and bosses, feeling judged, and losing jobs as a result of similar ADD symptoms. Having had a successful professional career for nearly 20 years, I thought I was blessed not to have experienced such doubt and turmoil. However, I am now on my 6th job in 5 years, I am asking myself the same kind of question.

      I enter a job with high spirits, lots to add, and a positive attitude. My co-workers and supervisors praise my skills and abilities, compliment me on results, even give me raises and promotions. After about 5-6 months, however, things become more like what you have described. I take every question as a slight or judgment on my performance, and feel defensive. I don’t believe my work has changed (productivity, quality, how I go about it) but I feel very frustrated. Truly wondering if it is me or “them”.

      I love my work and even most of the people. I just can’t stand the feeling of being constantly examined, questioned and judged or that I have to be ready to defend my work at all times. That said, I am just realizing the repetitive pattern indicates that I myself must be at least part of the problem. Only this morning told my doctor about it and committed to working on. I will try to keep you updated with whatever I learn or experience.

    • #41121
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Read about rejection sensitive dysphoria, a condition that Dr. William Dodson says that majority of adults with ADHD have. It makes you extremely sensitive to criticism and judgement.


      ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #41123
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user rae16 in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I’ve had similar experiences, but was fortunate enough for a number of years to work for an employer who was not judgmental, but more focused on solving problems, and who accepted me for who I was. It was nice. Since then (because my old boss retired and the company closed) things have not been so great for me at work. It is entirely possible that the people you work with are not very nice people, but that could happen anywhere. There are a lot of dysfunctional workplaces. I reached a point where I didn’t care whose “fault” it was, but decided that if I was that uncomfortable, I should move on.

      I have also struggled with feeling sensitive to the emotional atmosphere and feeling constantly criticized. There may be validity to the “rejection sensitive dysphoria” theory; I’ve certainly met enough adults with ADHD to know that most of us have internalized decades of feelings of inadequacy. One thing that has helped me is therapy with a highly qualified (PhD) psychologist who has about 40 years of experience working with families and individuals with ADHD. I had seen a number of therapists with Masters’ degrees over the years, and they were never very helpful; they don’t really know enough. So, that’s one thing. I have been trying to learn to distance myself from the reactions of others. I have no control over their behavior. I can only decide how I will respond, and if I am upset to the point that I can’t respond constructively, I remove myself from the situation until I calm down. That is not always possibly at work, but if a pretend bathroom break is called for, that’s one strategy.

      I just saw a great video on ADD Crusher where Alan Brown interviews a test pilot about how to handle an emergency. It’s worth checking out. It starts with, “maintain control of the aircraft.” I thought that was funny, but it is helpful to do whatever is necessary to avoid reacting negatively in the moment. I don’t know if that helps at all, since you’ve probably thought it through, but you are definitely not alone. I think the workplace is becoming more obnoxious as time goes on. I’ve seen revolting on the job behavior from employers and managers since my old job ended a few years ago. There is less civility. There is more bullying, gossiping, blaming. That part is real. And it takes energy to stay calm and polite around people who act like jerks – feel entitled to act like jerks – for hours at a stretch. But it’s worked better for me since I’ve come to appreciate (though not always remember) it is not personal. Nothing is personal.

    • #41125
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user Bob from Cootamundra in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I get into this situation every so often, and I thought it was because the others at work were jerks. Often they are.
      Fitting into a false social situation of the boss is always right, and the oldest staff know more, and so on is something I rejected at about age 10.

      I get on with my work, and that is rarely criticized badly. People just don’t like my attitude of treating everyone as an equal, speaking up when there is a problem, and actually following the guidelines that the workplace sets!

      Other people know how to fit into the social hierarchy – also known as conforming to social expectations – even though it makes no sense, and often breaks the local guidelines

      When I have a good manager, we all have a great time and I produce wonders. Maybe not wonders all the time, LOL, but I at least do well.

      My defence against this type of bad work place is to assess my work objectively, and not rely on “what other people think” as that will never work. Even the best workplaces have a few negative people, and even the best and brightest staff have negative comments spoken about them.

      It does become a problem when the boss fires you for silly reasons. That is difficult, so I just move on.
      Rant over

    • #46495

      YES! So much of what everyone has said makes so much sense to me! 1. Yes – I’m over-sensitive to rejection/critisim… BUT I have also noticed a very pervasive shift in what I would have considered on “the old days” as “common sense” and “common courtesy”. It’s like no one has basic manners anymore! Also, there tends to be far more focus on what people are doing wrong and hardly anyone points out or compliments people anymore on the positive or good things anymore. I also seem to have problems because when I’m given a set of rules, I follow them, and while I certainly understand that sometimes there are exceptions, they should be EXCEPTIONAL exceptions, and not feel more like arbitrary ones or up to personal discretion of supervisors. Trying to maintain a feeling of fairness (as we ADHDer’s are fond of!) is met with disapproval or outright hostility. I’ve learned that, at least for me, I work best on my own with little supervision and lots of autonomy!

Viewing 5 reply threads

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.