The ADHD fear of mistake making

Have you grown out of the fear of being in trouble?

Not me. I’m a 40 year old woman with a job and kids and an obnoxious coffee order. I pay my own bills and my knees creak for the first half hour of the day.

And I still feel like I’m about to be busted chewing gum in class.

I can easily knock out my parents’ signature just in case, even though my last letter from the principle was 24 years ago.

The I’m-in-troubles got me good this week.

I was on the last leg of some very grown up driving-my-kids-around after a solid day at work. Likely with an adult dose of resentment and ready to call it a day.

And  bang, 5 minutes from home, I clunked over something and felt my car go instantly lopsided. Sure enough, my back left tyre was flat as. Completely undrivable.


My first thought? Not “why does this happen to me” or “this is going to cost me” or “where’s my crowbar”.

Nope. I went straight to my husband is going to be so cranky with me.

Just to clarify, my hubby is kind, understanding and pretty tolerant of my whoopsies. Yes, it’s probably annoying to watch me lose my keys most days for the past 15 years.

But is he going to fly off the handle because I drove over a sharp piece of smashed up tile? Of course not.

Too many of us grown-ass adults with ADHD get around with a constant hum of fear that we’re going to be in trouble.

With our partners. With the ATO. The disapproving dog groomer.

It makes sense that we feel the dropping-the-ball fear.

If you have ADHD like Sarah and me, by adulthood you’ve likely heard many more corrections, here’s how you’ve done this wrong and if only you could [insert virtuous action] than your non-ADHD mates.

I know you’re doing so much better than you give yourself credit for. You’re keeping the plates spinning. You look after everyone.

But if you’re anything like me and the ADHDers we work with, we operate like there’s a scary auditor above.

Keeping track of your mistakes. Shaking his head at your overflowing inbox. Tut-tutting at the bags of clothes in your boot that never made it to the charity bin.

That imaginary headmaster in the sky is a joy killer. He robs us of our successes, so we notch them up to good luck. He holds us accountable for our flat tyres that were unavoidable.

There’s no amount of effort that can prevent every mishap. And you can’t forward think enough to safeguard against every bad outcome.

We deserve better!

If you have this hum of self-talk going in the background, if an imaginary moral virtue watchdog is quietly policing your life, Sarah and I designed our retreats for you (and for us).

We totally get how hard it is to invest time and money in yourself when you suspect that you “should” be doing better before you’re allowed to have it.

We want to hear how your Inner Cranky Principal shows up and tells you off. Tell us in the comments.

And maybe - maybe - sharing that shtty self-talk can unleash the rebellious teenager that talks back and says “screw you, I’ll do what I want”.

Xx Liz and Sarah

PS we’ve just released dates for an October retreat if you can’t make the June dates. If you need a longer runway to sell this to your own Cranky Principal, head over here to check it out.

Our emails remind you that you're not alone.

Pop your details below to hear from us.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *