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i'm sad that no one has posted a response to this.... I hoped people would. x

Hi Bev,

Whether or not you have ADHD, this is a difficult situation.   It sounds like the environment  is somewhat toxic and is not supportive of even basic rights. Your supervisor sounds like they are scapegoating you.  Any new employee has a steep learning curve so to hear the negative comments rather than constructive criticism  is completely unacceptable.  Do you even WANT to work here?  You cried and feel you may be let go, and yet someone can be verbally abusive and is not challenged?  Wow.  

Human resources perhaps could help if that is an option.  I realize needing a job sometimes puts us in positions we normally would not tolerate, so it is a judgement call for you to make.  Accepting and managing  ADHD is one issue which you are dealing with.  Kudos. Accepting yourself is the first step but don't take other people's garbage and blame ADHD.  

Best of luck.  Stay strong.  You are there right now for a reason but you do get to choose it's path.


I agree with a lot of what Jen said.  In my experience, your colleague is a bully and - as they often are - is very adept at reading your self-doubts that may be surfacing becasue of your internal ADD concern/struggle.  You are to be commended for having the qualifications to obtain your job - and this bully needs to just accept that you are there for a reason and he is nothing so special that he deserves to be there more than you.  I have been in a similar position, carrying over my inner negative voice into the workplace  and letting that dominate my reactions there.   If your ADD is like mine - you will be able to run circles around other people when there is a "crisis" and they need someone to relentlessly focus on something and come up with a solution.  Keep in mind the positives of ADD - when you talk with your supervisor - let them know of the positives and how you can use those positives.  Also, your "emotional" reaction is normal in that situation - I have done the same thing - and then just had to be honest with my manager - I was upset because I REALLY know I can do the job- I was crying because I was ANGRY - not a "wimpy  emotional female".   I was angry that someone was trying to demean me and take away an opportunity for which I had worked very hard and DESERVED!   As far as the workplace goes - don't let ADD become your "twin" and a focus of your identity. It is just one part of your entire being, you are aware of the difficulties that it can create - AND YOU ADDRESS THEM - not hang your head and feel inferior. 

  I was able to get my manager on my side when I kept asking for every opportunity there was for extra training - efficiency, time management - this changes your identity from an "emotional female" who can't handle criticism, etc.  to a take charge, get out of my way I have a job to do and I am going to figure out a way to get it done  person. 


Is this easy? no.  Does it happen overnight? No.  I've learned this over the past 25 years,  it has been hard - and I wish there had been someone along the way to tell me what I am trying to convey now ---which is why I am taking this "ADD moment" - off task at work when my mind couldn't resist checking my e-mail for another matter - to make this post.  Hang in there and trust that they made the right decision when they hired you and you are going to show them that they did.  Just one more thing, about the lifting the skirt, sexual harassment - I do not in any way mean to say to  put up with that from a fellow employee.  Be safe and if you don't feel safe you do need to let someone know.

I have the same problem controlling my emotions. For me, I think it was partly due to hormones (I learned when to lay off the coffee and stick to herbal teas); partly due to my inability to control my impulsiveness and partly due to my chronic depression. I, too, would love to know how to control what appears to be craziness in front of co-workers. Thanks for your question.

Hi Bev,

 Somehow I missed this post initially.

Wow - what a nasty place to work!! Your boss clearly has no people skills at all. Calling someone a retard is just not acceptable. I am glad that you spoke to her about it, and that it has stopped.

As for your colleague, he is a bully. Plain and simple. Good for you for standing up to him.

Sure, there is going to be tension after an episode like that, but I would say just go in and get on with your work. Unfortunately, you are probably going to spend as much time covering yourself as you are working, but so be it. Your boss has already told you that you are good at your job. Was the comment about handling your emotions before or after this blow-up with your colleague? Did you ask her for specifics, and did she mention this situation? The comment may have been about some other situation entirely.

When you get criticism, ask for details - you can't correct it if you don't know exactly what the problem is. As for the bully, ignore him. Protect your work so he can't steal it again - either password protect it, or keep everything on a flashdrive locked up instead of on your hard drive. When you need to deal with him, but polite and professional. 

It really sounds like a toxic work environment - keep to yourself, and look for another job would be my best advice!! Good luck

Dear Beverley,

I'm new to this site but it pained me to see your posting. I have been in Human Resources for 20 years. I was diagnosed with ADD a year ago after I lost my job due my ADD (painful situation, to be short).  ADD or not, people should not be exposed to that type of environment at work. There are laws about it, sexual harassment, ADA, etc. In my opinion, I see different issues here: your supervisor handled the different situations in an innapropriate way, from your compaint (making you confront the harasser) and the way she is handling your disablity. My recommendation is for you to go to either and and get more information on what you can/can not do. Also, if your company has an HR department, it would not be a bad idea to talk to them about your situation. Hope this helps....



I agree with everyone else here, you are getting some great feedback! I hope you find it helpful. If this is a job you absolutely need, then I think you'll need help from outside the office, such as from your HR office if you have one. It seems your boss might also be shy of this bully on staff and that leaves the entire office in a bad way. Can you seek help outside the office? Or is there a possibility of finding another place to work? Jennifer is right, your workplace as you describe it is toxic!


Keep your head up and know you are not alone, we care!


This sounds like such a painful way to work.  Unfortunately, there is little you can do about your co-workers and boss.  However, as a Career ADD expert and someone who has experienced these types of situations in my own work, I have learned that one's working conditions are more important than any aspect of our work for those of us with ADD.  There are so many distractions in our lives today to begin with.  Add to that a negative work environment which can erode ones self-confidence, and you have a recipe for job or career disaster.  

Your boss had the right idea when she asked you if you truly enjoyed the work.  If in your heart you know the answer is no, there is no amount of trying that can fix it.  For those with ADD, it is not simply a luxury to enjoy our work, it is a necessity.  Why?  Because unless we derive a great deal of satisfaction from what we do at work or in life, our chances of making mistakes are far greater than the average person.  We must love what we do to do the best job possible.  If the answer is yes, then I would recommend that you honestly approach your employer and ask that you do more of what you enjoy and if there is a way to have someone else do the rest or if you can find a way to not work with the co-workers that are creating distractions to your ability to perform on the job.  The "retard" comment, however, is an indication that you probably need to start looking elsewhere.  Most people don't change, and it's not likely that she will either in the long run.

For now, if there is any way to let your employer know what conditions you need to do your very best work, such as physically moving away from the "agressive" co-worker, and again, letting her know that it will allow you to do the very best work for the company, what do you have to lose?  Before you do that, however, assess what conditions you need to work in to do your best work?  Many of us with ADD need to have our space set up in such a way that we are not distracted, and can take change tasks often throughout the day (i.e. get up and stretch, get a cup of tea, listen to calming music with headphones, etc).  If your employer is not open to any of these, start making a list for yourself and get support to identify the type of work that will make you happy in the long run.  Please don't put this off.  If you start the process now, you will likely gain the confidence to make a transition in the near future.  Many of us simply need to work independently and have the option to work at home at least for a portion of our workday.

I hope this helps and wish you the very best.  I have written some blog posts on this very subject at that you are more than welcome to read.  You will find you are not alone. Shell

Dear Beverly, 

I read your post and I can feel your pain. I do live in Europe, where ADD isn't an open topic at all. Once I was open about it on a workplace, my boss started to investigte all of my reactions under the microscope. This was hard, with or without ADD. Every move I made, everything I wasn't ok with, every thing I did, it was because of my ADD. I wasn't allowed to have any emotion at all. If someone wants to hold something against you, they'll find something. Its not fair, and being treatet unfairly is something we do uasually react very strongy. BUT: I tried to explain myself and in my desperation I tried to point on other people who did a lot of wrong things completely unseen. This came out completely wrong. I was labeled as the troublemaker, who blames others. I loved the job, and I managed to deal with the situation. After "flying under the radar" for some time, the situation calmed and works out quite well, ADD is no topic anymore. Here some experience who help me a lot:

- Being treatet unfairly (or see unfair treatment of others) is something we react veeery strongly (more than non-ADDers). Only realising that helped a lot. I manage to distance myself a bit and analizing the situation more rational (doesn't work every time, but mostly :-). I learned: the situation isn't always as bad as I feel right now. 

- Try to fly under the radar for a while (focus on being on time, get the work done, be nice but not too involved etc). It's for your own good, you won't we under the microscope forever.

- I picked out someone out at my workplace I liked and who's never in the middle of problems. When I'm in a state of anger at work, I try to figure out what XX would do right now, how would she react to this? Many times the solution cam much easier than I thought. 

- When I'm in a situation of anger, dissapointment etc. an I feel treated unfairly, I ask myself how it would be if I wouldn't care about this. For a second or two I feel calm and free, before the anger comes back. Over time I managed to hang on to this feeling much longer and it can decide if this situation worths it spoiling my day and realtionships tho others or not (usually not).

- Apologize for your reaction if necessary, but don't explain yourself (especially not with ADD!). You are a strong personality who stands up for others, thats a good thing. If you overreact, you apologize, everyone moves on. If you explain, others (non ADDer don't get it anyway.

- You are a good friend for your harassed coworker. Support her if she wants to change something, but do not fight other people fights if she isn't ready to speak up at all (we have a tendency to do focus strongly on unfair treatment). If you get fired it doesn't help her at all.

 - there is a saying form china I d'love to share (hope my translation from french is correct!) "If you're sitting long enough at a river, you'll see the corpses of your enemies drifting by". In the past I've seen that several times (no the corpses of corse :-) that this is true. People like you're coworker will get what they deserve, without me or you loosing friendships, reputations and jobs we liked. Its a good thing to speak up, but not for every price. This fact helpt me a lot to controll my anger.

I hope some of this my help you and I wish you all the best for this difficult situation. 



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