The Narcissism of ADD & ADHD

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/

Individuals with ADD and ADHD have a strong tendency towards narcissism. I speak from personal and professional experience. We have a tendency of looking at the world through our eyes and failing to see it from other people’s point of view. This is one of the major reasons why there’s a strong misunderstanding of ADD and ADHD.

I am not suggesting that individuals with ADD and ADHD are intentionally narcissistic, but I am saying that it is common amongst us ADD and ADHD folk. Here’s a perfect example…I am not a go-with-the-flow kind of guy. It has impacted my relationships over the years. It is not that I am not open to new things; I just live in a certain comfort zone. While some of this may be narcissistic, it has other factors involved as well. The best way for me to manage my ADHD is to regiment myself. I do things a certain way because it helps me function both personally and professionally. Other people don’t always see this, so they assume I am acting selfish.

So how do you tell people that this isn’t being selfish? How do we try to come across as less narcissistic? There’s no real easy answer to this question. I try to tell people about my ADHD and how it impacts my life. If I do something directly related to my ADHD like cutting off someone during a conversation, I try to tell the person that it relates to my ADHD and I really want to hear what he or she is saying. However, I do not play this card very often. I feel that blaming ADHD for things is wrong when it has nothing to do with ADHD.

With my clients, I always ask them to look at the bigger picture. How does his or her behavior directly impact other people? How much of this can he or she control and how much of this is a product of ADD and ADHD? Once we figure out these factors, we work on ways of compensating for the ADD and ADHD issues as well as understanding how our minds work in certain situations. For example, I know when I’m at dinner with my wife I have to have my back to the door of a restaurant. It is too distracting for me and comes across like I do not care about my wife. So I can avoid this type of misunderstanding by one simple maneuver. See how that works? This is an easy fix to a potentially upsetting situation.

For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit To learn more information about some of the other services I provide, please visit and I can be found on Twitter at ADHDEFCoach. You can also find me on Facebook and Tumblr. My good friend and fellow ADD/ADHD Coach Tara McGillicuddy invites me as a regular guest on ADD/ADHD Support Talk Radio. Tara does many wonderful things and you should check out her website here. Feel free to email me at or call 773.888.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.


  1. Boy, so true as it relates to a certain relative…

  2. no, that is just being withdrawn and uncomfortable with socialising etc.

    Narcissists use people, they are confident, they are social, they give off a bright appearance.

    In fact the neurotypical in this capitalist, greedy world, that adores first impressions, and exploits the working class are narcissists.

  3. With all due respect I do no think you have accurately described narcissism or its correlation with ADHD. Narcissicm is so much more than selfishness. And what you’ve described as “selfish” sounds like healthy coping behaviors to make your ADHD more manageable and less “impactable” on the others in your life – the total opposite of ADHD, and narcissism.

    ADHDers are narcisisstist (WOW that is hard to spell) in the way they are self absorbed, self centered, and unable to empathize with others. Their constant focus on right now, not the past or present, makes is difficult to form deep emotional attachments with others and their neglect of responsibilty in favor of self stimulation leads them to manipulate persons and situations to their advantage.

  4. I too had the concern that the definition of the term was “complicated” so I went to wiki to get a clearer definition.

    Well, now as usual things are clear as mud. LOL I seem to run into this all the time. My narcissism tends to manifest itself in my know-it-all tone of voice. Apparently people do not like this. Go figure.

    Clarity of definitions is also a problem as I enthusiastically defend one definition when my interlocutor is using a different one only to find out when the discussion has escalated to scaring the little children (and wives) that we were not even talking about the same thing.

  5. You pose the questions “How does his or her behavior directly impact other people? How much of this can he or she control and how much of this is a product of ADD and ADHD? ”

    The narcissist in me answers: who cares to #1 and why should I control it to # 2.
    Reality sets in (wife’s glare) and I know I stuck my foot in it again.

    I guess in the end discretion is the better part of valor.

    Augie @addsherpa

  6. I agree that ADD/ADHD promotes narcissism. I actively have to make sure that I am not focusing too much on myself on a regular basis. This causes me a great deal of stress. In addition, if you make a sincere attempt to channel your symptoms into a positive medium you naturally become more focused on yourself. Luckily, the people who love me accept this struggle and forgive me when I am especially intense about it.


  1. […] in the past, people with ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning concerns tend to be narcissistic (The Narcissism of ADD & ADHD). This being the case, it becomes a regular occurrence that we see the world through our eyes only. […]

  2. […] what people are saying and she will miss the bigger picture. Plus, she can be narcissistic (see here) that ties in with her […]

  3. […] ADHD or Executive Deficit concerns is being narcissistic (this was discussed in an earlier piece here). Sometimes we do not see the problem or understand how it impacts our behavior. Instead of […]

  4. […] of his or her own that have nothing to do with you. In one of my other entries, I discussed Narcissism of ADD and ADHD. It is important to keep in mind that these situations aren’t always about you and your […]

  5. […] with ADD/ADHD have a tendency towards a Narcissistic way of thinking. For example, my wife doesn’t always understand my moments. I also expect […]

  6. Hope Zalar says:


    […]is extremely helpful information in addition to i hope i might seen this earlier give thanks to[…]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: