When you have ADHD, your nervous system overreacts to things from the outside world. Any sense of rejection can set off your stress response and cause an emotional reaction that's much more extreme than usual. Sometimes the criticism or rejection is imagined, but not always.
ADHD makes us more sensitive to criticism. Often, our first instinct is to respond defensively or angrily to outside comments that feel like disapproval. But adults with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) should know that doing so could sacrifice learning opportunities and the respect of others.
High levels of perceived criticism are associated with the recurrence of depression and anxiety, and lower levels of self-esteem [10–12]. ADHD is one condition that is associated with high levels of receiving and perceiving criticism [13,14].
Emotional sensitivity in ADHD may present as passionate thoughts, emotions, and feelings more intense than anyone else. Their highs are higher, and their lows are lower than the average person. People with ADHD experience stronger emotions, whether positive or negative.
This condition is linked to ADHD and experts suspect it happens due to differences in brain structure. Those differences mean your brain can't regulate rejection-related emotions and behaviors, making them much more intense.
People with avoidant personality disorder are very sensitive to anything critical, disapproving, or mocking because they constantly think about being criticized or rejected by others. They are vigilant for any sign of a negative response to them.
People who have ADHD frequently experience emotions so deeply that they become overwhelmed or “flooded.” They may feel joy, anger, pain, or confusion in a given situation—and the intensity may precede impulsive behaviors they regret later.
In fact, Khan emphasizes that many people with ADHD are highly empathetic.
Connection Between ADHD and Empathy
Children with ADHD possess many notable characteristics. They tend to act impulsively, get bored easily, and become quickly distracted. One of the side effects of the combination of many of these symptoms can result in a lack of empathy.
Novotni suggests that it is the tendency of people with ADHD to feel overwhelmed that leads to their hypersensitive reactions. This, in turn, contributes to their difficulty in coping emotionally. Take the routine of going to work in the morning, for example.
When we receive negative feedback, we root into our “emotional brain,” which bypasses our “thinking brain.” The “emotional brain” (also known as the limbic system) is where our databank of triggers and past emotional memories are stored.
ADHD meltdowns are sudden outbursts of frustration and anger that seem to come out of nowhere. If your child is struggling to control their emotions, there are ways to help them. For children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impulsivity can present in many ways.
You might feel like you don't trust yourself, like you don't have worth, or that you're not enough. Receiving criticism when you're already criticising yourself feels like validation that you are, in fact, a failure.
When you find yourself in conflict, take a moment to assess how you feel, talk to others outside the situation about your feelings, stay calm, ask questions, and actively listen to try to problem solve and find solutions. Conflict resolution might not come easy, but with practice you can grow to be much better at it.
Individuals with ADHD often experience social difficulties, social rejection, and interpersonal relationship problems as a result of their inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Such negative interpersonal outcomes cause emotional pain and suffering.
Trauma's Impact on ADHD Symptoms
Traumatic stress can worsen ADHD symptoms. Up to 17% of trauma-exposed children meet ADHD criteria, and the co-occurrence of each worsens the effects of the other. Trauma also impacts specific brain regions that may also increase: Inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Children and adults with ADHD were found to have lower ability in recognizing emotions from mimics and sounds, have more aggressive behavior, lower frustration tolerance and impaired self-control. Consequ- ently, these issues cause interpersonal problems (Cadesky et al. 2000, Pelc et al.
Can you have both ADHD and NPD? Yes. Research indicates that ADHD and NPD can co-occur and often do. Longitudinal research also indicates that childhood ADHD may increase the chance of someone developing a personality disorder, including NPD.
Adults with ADHD may find it difficult to focus and prioritize, leading to missed deadlines and forgotten meetings or social plans. The inability to control impulses can range from impatience waiting in line or driving in traffic to mood swings and outbursts of anger.
Overstimulation is a daily reality for many people with ADHD. We feel too much — physically and emotionally. We struggle with emotional regulation, impulsivity, and big feelings. Many of us also experience sensory sensitivities, reacting strongly to sights, tastes, smell, and more.
In addition, another common struggle for children with ADHD that typically goes unnoticed is a lack of self-awareness. Self-awareness difficulties can negatively impact children's social interactions and relationships. The ADHD mind sometimes fails to recognize everyday social cues.
Research shows that we have greater challenges with frustration, impatience, anger, and excitability than others do. That's because ADHD impairs our ability to regulate our emotions, to experience them in a controlled way, so that they don't gush out into the world.
Symptoms of ADHD that can cause relationship problems
If you have ADHD, you may zone out during conversations, which can make your partner feel ignored and devalued. You may also miss important details or mindlessly agree to something you don't remember later, which can be frustrating to your loved one.