The Paradox of ADHD and Perfectionism
ADHD and perfectionism may seem like an unusual pairing, but it’s actually very common. And, it makes a lot of sense.
Why ADHD and Perfectionism Go Hand in Hand
Why? People with ADHD often have a harsh inner critic and have internalized a deep-seated belief that they are incompetent.
The Early Roots of the Problem
They’ve often received negative reinforcement from a young age in the form of:
- 📝Negative report cards
- 📚Getting in trouble from the teacher
- 📆Missing deadlines at school
- 🏠Frustration from parents
Perfectionism as a Coping Mechanism
If a person with ADHD often experiences consequences of making seemingly careless errors, even though they’re trying their best → Perfectionism and anxiety over minor details can be a coping mechanism to overcompensate for their perceived personal flaws. Perfectionism may also be an attempt to mask ADHD symptoms from others, out of fear that others may perceive them as incompetent or judge them as harshly as their own inner critic.
The Emotional Toll of Perfectionism
Not being able to live up to your own unrealistic standards can take a significant toll on your feelings of self-worth and create a lot of anxiety. Obsessing over minor details can also prevent you from getting your work done in a reasonable amount of time, or getting it done at all.
High Standards vs. Perfectionism
It’s important to maintain high standards with the work we do.
Why It’s Time to Reevaluate Perfectionism
BUT, it’s just as important to stop using perfectionism as a coping mechanism! It’s not a healthy or effective one.
Embrace “Done” Over “Perfect”
The good news is that we’re often our own harshest critic, and there’s a good chance that the only person who is being hard on you for that minor detail which could have been done differently… is you. Perfection is an impossible standard. Done is better than perfect.