Can you have ADHD and narcissism? (+7 Similarities & differences)
In this blogpost, we will be answering if you can have ADHD and narcissism together. We will also be checking out some of the similarities between ADHD and narcissism and also listing their differences.
Can you have ADHD and narcissism?
Yes, you can have ADHD and narcissism together. However, the narcissism perceived in this case may not be pure narcissism at all times as many times, the symptoms of ADHD can misrepresent the person’s true nature.
For instance, ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder can cause a person to seem disinterested in a conversation and this can sometimes be misinterpreted as a sign of narcissism by others.
At the same time, those who have ADHD can also show signs of narcissism truly, such as being too involved with themselves or boasting about themselves a lot of the time.
Similarities between ADHD and narcissism
While they are two completely different conditions/problems, both ADHD and narcissism can sometimes have many similarities. Some similarities between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and narcissism have been shared in the following section.
Inability to focus
The biggest symptom of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is the inability to focus on a given task. The task does not only refer to work tasks or productivity, but even conversations with people.
This feature is shared and similar with those who are narcissistic. However, the reason behind the inability to focus on those who are narcissistic is because they are often too self-obsessed to dedicate energy to something else other than themselves.
Problems in interpersonal relationships
Having healthy interpersonal relationships can be a tricky area for those who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This is mostly since their symptoms will be misread or misinterpreted by those who communicate with them.
Interpersonal relationships can also be a problem area for those who are classified narcissists. The reason for this problem is because narcissistic people are too obsessed with their own issues and don’t care about what other people feel or say.
Lack of communication
Not only interpersonal relationships, but even communication can become difficult for those who have ADHD. Communication problems often stem from the distraction and the inability to focus on a sole activity for long periods of time.
Those who are narcissistic in nature can also have issues in their communication. Of course, this is completely done intentionally and on purpose since narcissists aim to communicate only when it suits their needs and helps them.
Inattentiveness in conversations
Other than communication issues altogether, inattentiveness is another main symptom of ADHD. They might not be able to focus properly on the conversation, but this is definitely not done by their own choice and intent.
On the other hand, those who are classified narcissists may also show a lot of inattentiveness when it comes to conversations with others. This is often practiced since what the other person says to them is not important unless it is profitable for them.
Being late to meetings and appointments
Tardiness is another symptom of ADHD, particularly adult ADHD. Those who have ADHD will often be late to meetings and appointments as they lose track of time frequently. This is called time-blindness and is again not done intentionally.
Those who are narcissistic in nature or have a narcissistic personality disorder also show tardiness as a main component of their characteristic set. This is mostly done intentionally as a means of emotional manipulation or simply a lack of consideration for others.
Problems in planning and organization
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder will also cause a lot of problems when it comes to planning and organization. They might not be able to plan out their tasks and activities properly and may require special aids for performing at work or school.
The same problem in planning and organization can be applied to those who are narcissistic in nature as well. Narcissism can lead the person to leave the planning of activities to others or simply take over the work completely as a means of showing superiority.
Dealing with constant distractions can be problematic for those who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. While others may be able to compartmentalize distractions and work properly, those who have ADHD may not be able to cope properly.
Narcissists deal with distractions in a different manner. Mostly, they will seem distracted as they are too focused on their own needs and priorities. They may also be easily distracted intentionally when someone else is expressing their needs and desires.
Differences between ADHD and narcissism
While ADHD and narcissism share many similarities, there are many obvious differences as well. The main differences between the presentations of ADHD and narcissism have been shared as follows.
- Difference in reaction to the diagnosis: The difference between ADHD and narcissism can be seen right from the period of diagnosis. Often when an adult individual learns about their diagnosis of ADHD, they breathe a sigh of relief.
At the same time, those who are classified narcissists or have narcissistic personality disorder will mostly react negatively to their diagnosis. They may also live in denial of their diagnosis, even if they overtly see their symptoms acting out in real-life.
- Intentional vs unintentional: There is also a big difference between intentional vs unintentional actions in those who have ADHD or narcissism. For instance, the socially unaccepted actions of those who have ADHD are often unintentional.
Those who have narcissistic personality disorder or simply narcissism mostly act the way they do with complete intention, well-knowing that they are in the wrong. This also refers to those actions which can hurt others.
- Age of symptom manifestation: The symptoms of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder often manifest at a very early age and are also mostly recognized during childhood. Very few cases of ADHD are diagnosed during adulthood.
When it comes to narcissism, the symptoms are mostly seen during adulthood or while entering adulthood. But sometimes, narcissistic symptoms can be seen in childhood itself. The diagnosis is mostly given when the symptoms cause immense distress to the person and others.
- Difference in self-importance: People who have been diagnosed with ADHD may or may not exhibit high levels of self-importance. However, some traits of ADHD may be misunderstood as self-importance or self-obsession by others.
Narcissism, on the other hand, is all about self-importance and is one of the characteristic symptoms of this personality disorder. Those who are narcissistic in nature can be often seen boasting about themselves and being grandiose about their successes.
- Emotional manipulation in narcissism: One main characteristic trait of narcissism is being emotionally manipulative of others for the purpose of personal gain. This trait is often lacking in those who have ADHD.
More empathy in ADHD: Those who have ADHD may not always lack empathy, but a lack of empathy is definitely present in those who have been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.
- Difference in approaching relationships: Another main difference between the presentations of ADHD and narcissism is the way relationships are approached. For instance, those who are narcissistic often love-bomb their partners in initial stages.
At this time, they may express their love through grand gestures. When it comes to those who have ADHD, these gestures may not be so great but can be seen if the person is exhibiting narcissistic traits.
In this blogpost, we have answered if you can have ADHD and narcissism together. We have also checked out some of the similarities between ADHD and narcissism and also listed their differences.
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