Home/Blog/Lies ADHD Adults Tell and Really Believe

Lies ADHD Adults Tell and Really Believe

ADHD-Adult-Lies-ADD-CrusherOK, that’s not a very polite way to open a Crusher blog – calling ourselves liars. But we’re all liars, including me.

I co-hosted a great ADDA Webinar recently with the brilliant Eric Tivers, who laid out what he calls “Top Lies People with ADHD Tell Themselves…and Really Believe”. Whoppers such as…

“I’ll remember that.”                      “I’ll do it later.”               “I’ll be done in five minutes.”

“I’m just going to check my email.”               “I’ll just do one more.”


Now, these seem like fairly innocuous lies, but you don’t need to be a Board Certified psychiatrist to know what kind of trouble and overwhelm can result from buying into these lies.

Eric’s talk reminded me of a strategy I hatched a ways back but that didn’t make it into the ADD Crusher™ videos, or even a blog, ‘til now. It’s a ‘brain hack’ I call, Know What You Know and then KNOW It, and it gets right at the heart of upending these lies we tell ourselves. Here goes:

We ADHD adults know deep down such little lies aren’t true (“I know I WON’T do just one more, but I don’t care cuz I’m having fun hyperfocusing”). We also know a bit deeper down the kind of mayhem believing these lies creates (“My husband’s gonna be p.o.’d if I’m late again”). But we don’t KNOW something truly until we act according to that knowledge. To “know” is one thing. To DO RIGHT (i.e., take action) is to really KNOW.

“We lie to ourselves because we don’t have the psychological strength to admit the truth and deal with the consequences that will follow.” @DrCortneyWarren   TWEET THIS

Once you adopt and adhere to the above assumptions, you can begin to put this powerful strategy to work for you. For instance, given this classic internal dialogue…


“I’m just gonna check a few more emails before I leave for my daughter’s play…” [Lie #1 — Deep down you KNOW you’re in the middle of a nice comfy hyper-focus session].

“…Besides, it’ll only take me a minute to get ready…” [Lie #2 – You’ve never timed your getting-ready. You’re just smooth-talking yourself to gain permission for continued hyperfocusing.]

“…and probably only 15 minutes to get there.” [Lie #3 – If you think about it, 15 minutes is the least it’s ever taken you to get there – you’re engaged in wishful ADHD-time-warp thinking.]

And overall, you know deeper down that this same or similar situation has resulted in you being late to this, that or the other thing many times before. Now, the pivotal question before you is whether you will choose to KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW, and then KNOW IT – by getting out of that chair and heading off to your daughter’s play with a shot at actually being early. Think of how good that will feel! That’s the power of knowing what you know and knowing it.

So next time you catch yourself in one of these little lies, ask yourself: Don’t I KNOW this is really BS? Don’t I KNOW nothing good will come from ignoring this knowledge? And do I KNOW the power of DOING the right thing instead of believing the lie?



An important P.S.: There are two more powerful lie-busting strategies you can use. I wrote this blog a while back, but more recently I expanded on this blog, dedicating an entire Episode of Crusher™TV to this topic, and in it I shared more ways to slay this habit of self-sabotage.

It’s Episode 100, The Self-Sabotage of Lies and Loopholes, and below is the preview of that episode.

What’s Crusher™TV? It’s not just a weekly online TV show that teaches ways to have more control in your life. It’s a LIBRARY of over 95 20-minute videos teaching ways to beat procrastination, get prioritized, get organized, manage your time, and more. You might get a lot out of watching the entire Episode 100, The Self-Sabotage of Lies and Loopholes, where I dig deeper into this topic. (To watch full episodes you can become a member for a buck and cancel any time you like, but either way, you can preview that episode by clicking the image below.

Episode Description: We lie to ourselves all day long: “I’ll remember it – no need to write it down.” “I’ll do that later, for sure!” But little lies and “loopholes” can cause big trouble. I’ll share 3 Loophole-Killing Hacks that’ll help you stop the self-sabotage. And we’ll be joined by coach/therapist Eric Tivers.





Alan P Brown CrusherTVAlan P. Brown, an internationally recognized Productivity Coach, TEDx Speaker and #1 Best Selling Author of Zen and the Art of Productivity: 27 Easy Ways to Have More Time, Earn More Money and Live Happier is the host of Crusher™TV, where he and his Guest Experts share simple ways to get more done in less time with less stress. Follow Alan on Twitter and on Facebook.

16 Responses to “Lies ADHD Adults Tell and Really Believe”

By Lee - 6 May 2022 Reply

Hi, my co-worker does this, tells lies in an email about something she has been asked to do everyday without fail. Log out of the computer at night. She writes a very detailed email getting herself off the hook every time. It’s the first symptom I noticed about her adhd. Now, she just goes over my head to ask my boss about anything work related. One day, she told me she had permission to order products which did not fall under our policy for the customers we serve, this is why I had to look these instances of lying and being obstinate in medical papers. She seem very deliberate in her actions. My son also has adhd, but he does not exhibit the lying and oppositional behaviour that my coworker has. It seems she does whatever she wants at work, although I don’t want to believe that it is intentional, it comes across that way. Thanks.

By ADD Crusher - 8 May 2022 Reply

That sucks to be dealing with this person. But keep in mind that the blog is really about “lies” we tell OURSELVES. Everyone does it. And they’re not awful, criminal lies. They’re just little ones, like those examples shared, but get us into trouble!!! apb

By Grace Beltran - 17 November 2021 Reply

I was diagnosed with ADHD in 5th grade, and I’m now a sophomore in college. Lying has gotten me in all kinds of trouble with friends and family, and I don’t want to say that lying is more common among those who have ADHD because that just sounds like an excuse for my actions. I don’t know what to do

By ADD Crusher - 19 November 2021 Reply

Grace: My (undiagnosed) childhood ADHD got me in a lot of trouble, too. But the kind of “trouble” our ADHD gets us into as adults might involve some outright lying, or “white lies” about things (e.g., why we were late to our appointment), but mostly involve those little “lies and loopholes” we tell ourselves to avoid difficult tasks. Which results in undone to-dos, clutter, continued lateness, etc. Take a fresh look at the blog and see if there are some lies and loopholes you can be more aware of and try to correct. I’m rooting for you! -apb

By Lisa Lechner - 28 August 2021 Reply

Very few people belive it is an actual disorder. They belive meds are a crutch or you’re just a drug addict . They belive you’re making excuses. All the negative opinions are really true . I will always be the but of everyone’s jokes. I will always be known as undepedable , slow , stupid , untruthful . Efforts don’t count . I Wish I had never heard the words ” you can do anything if you put your mind to it ! If by chance the stars aline , acheivements are invalidated by ” what would you do with out me ? or ” I knew you could do it ! If you” only tried ! ” I put more effort into things that you could ever know .
I don’t understand people who have Add_ Adhd & are high achievers. How did they make it happen ? I don’t understand why I can’t do the same .

By ADD Crusher - 28 August 2021 Reply

Sadly, Lisa, this is the narrative we hear from so many who don’t understand that ADHD is not a “lack of effort”. And I truly know how you feel — the mystery of how the heck successful ADHDers can BE successful. There’s not sexy, silver-bullet answer. But here’s a truth: It’s the little things we do, day in and day out (or as consistently as possible), that help us work WITH our ADHD. E.g., a morning ritual to pause and plan; getting sugar and carbs out of our patries and out of our tummies — more protein!; getting regular exercise; shutting off the gadgets at night and getting more sleep.

I know this short list sounds lame. But it the path: “The actions that lead to an extraordinary life are small and easy.” This is the truth bomb that I’ve been living since a few years before my diagnosis — at 36.

Don’t give up Lisa. Find a coach or some affordable Group Coaching if at all possible. Join ADDA.org. And don’t beat yourself up…Hugz, APB

By Mira - 18 March 2021 Reply

This was very helpful. I can’t tell when I lie and i don’t understand why. I was told my ADD was the cause but still I feel like a bad person. Im not trying to lie and have been labeled a liar for years. Do other people go through this confusion to? I can never explain why because I can’t seem to fix it. Iv been thinking something has to be wrong with me.

By ADD Crusher - 19 March 2021 Reply

Hi Mira. Lying to ourselves is something EVERYONE does, but we ADDers are more likely to tell the little lies like, “I won’t be late” or “I’ll definitely work on that tomorrow” — which are part time blindness, part magical thinking and part pure procrastination. Just try to catch yourself more often and confront that lie with some reality.

When it comes to lying to others, depending on the severity, that’s really a different equation!!

Keep working on it…one day (lie) at a time!! -apb

By Vish - 26 December 2020 Reply

“Why do I lie so much” is what I searched in Google and then “lies and ADHD”. It is a crazy thing to search for at age 45, with my wife calling me a list daily and my daughter telling me not to lie. I am not diagnosed with ADHD, but I am convinced this is me, I have all symptoms – and the why of the lies resonate with me, most of the statements attributed as lies comes when my head is deep inside something and there is constant insistence to give an answer right away. Then there are there are false memories, things I remember wrong – important stuff. It all piles up and now I am the liar

By ADD Crusher - 26 December 2020 Reply

Vish — glad you found this blog in your search. I can’t tell you how many adults are diagnosed with ADHD later in life, including me, at 36. So many of my clients diagnosed 50 or later! But to be sure, you can find a quick self-diagnosis quiz at http://www.add.org. Check it out if you can. And keep going on that inward journey of inquiry!! It can only make you smarter and stronger!! APB

By Paula - 6 September 2019 Reply

My boyfriend has ADHD and he lies and forgets things all of the time. Reading this article has helped me to know why he does and says the things he says. It saddens me because he’s in denial of his condition even after being diagnosed. He doesn’t take medication either. I really don’t know what to do

By ADD Crusher - 6 September 2019 Reply

Hi Paula — so glad this resonated with you. The topic of how to get a diagnosed person who’s in denial is tricky. He’s probably feeling shame, guilt — but will never reveal that. That’s part of why the lies/denial are there. As someone who was diagnosed at age 36 after years of frustration, underachievement, drug addiction and worse, I fortunately was able to EMBRACE my diagnosis. Do you think your boyfriend would be willing to talk with me? You can say you know this guy who had same struggles, yada yada, but now lives to his potential via some simple practices, etc. what think? Email me at abrown@addcrusher.com AB

By Doreen - 8 May 2014 Reply

Oh my God. I can’t believe I’m reading myself on your ADD CRUSHER home page. I’m crying right now not a bad way but in a very positive way. I’m been labelled stupid or mental dysfunctioning the sad thing is I’m not a child I’m 48 old woman. I can’t hold up a job for more then a year.I’m so relief that there are other people that are going through these symptoms negative self-talk and self sabotaging. The magazine stealing I do that a lots. I would not even return library book because I forget to returned and then when I was asked I lied that I have returned it. what sort of adult grown up person does that? I felt bad but I still didn’t return it just to feed my ADD addiction stupid lies it’s all part of it. I’m going to see my GP ‘Doctor’ tomorrow hopefully something can be done, or help me end this hidden illness. I will let you know the out come.
Thank you so much you have no idea what your blog is opening eyes world wide.

By ADD Crusher - 8 May 2014 Reply

We’re so glad you found us, Doreen!

By Myssi - 21 April 2014 Reply

This is so eye opening. I thought i was just a bad person! My family has to tell me that a family dinner or holiday get together is 2 hours early so they know I will make it on time. Im the butt of a lot of jokes in my circle of friends for my constant lack of punctuality. Now i need to finish some homework for my weekly math class that was assigned a week ago Tonight!

By ADD Crusher - 8 May 2014 Reply

“I thought I was just a bad person” is, unfortunately, a very common statement among us ADDers. Check out this blog: https://addcrusher.com/understand-negative-self-talk-for-natural-adhd-remedy/

Leave a Comment