A while back I posted a multi-part series of Facebook entries entitled, Score Your Successes – which is based on what I teach in Way 9 of ADD Crusher™ Video II. This particular strategy is about…

  1. Understanding our skewed perspective on our ADHD ‘failures’
  2. Putting these ‘failures’ in healthier perspective
  3. Learning to acknowledge our successes – big and teeny, and…
  4. Keeping track of our ADD ups and downs so that they provide positive motivational fuel

Shortly thereafter I was listening to one of the archived shows at Attention Talk Radio and learned about a much deeper dimension to our ADDer habit of not giving ourselves credit for anything — and blaming ourselves for everything.


The Negative Self-Talk of ADHD


It’s called negative self-talk, and host Jeff Copper interviewed Debra Burdick, LCSW and psychotherapist, about this topic in detail. In a nutshell, negative self-talk is the habit of talking to yourself in a way that reinforces the negative feelings you have about yourself and, ultimately, guides the things you do (not in a good way, of course).

We all do it – ADDer or not. But we ADHD sufferers of course tend to do it more than others. Think about it: We’ve been conditioned to feel we’re chronically wrong/out of line/problemsome/etc. For instance, here’s a beautifully painful exchange with a six-year-old patient Debra recounts:

6-yr-old boy: My new medication is working great!

Debra: How do you know it’s working?

6-yr-old boy: Cuz nobody yelled at me all day!


Better Awareness and Understanding Are a Natural ADHD Remedy!

As with so many areas of our adult ADHD, the more we understand it, the better able we are to accept it, deal with it and crush it. And I realized, listening to this interview, that negative self-talk is an area of particular opportunity for creating our own natural ADHD remedy through greater awareness and understanding. For instance, have you ever heard yourself say anything like…

  • “I’m not smart enough to get that promotion.”
  • “I don’t have what it takes to start my own business.”
  • “I didn’t deserve to win that award.”


Toplines from the ADHD Negative Self-Talk Interview

Now, I can’t do justice to all the information in the interview, but I’ll summarize a few key points…

  1. Become AWARE of your negative talk. (Confession: When I pull a bonehead move, which is usually trivial, inconsequential – I replay what I was often told as a kid and yell at myself, “You @#$%$ dummy!”) Wow, gotta cut that out!
  2. Identify the various types of of negative talk you engage in most (there are several, as described by Dr. Daniel Amen, who calls them “species”).
  3. Understand that negative thoughts are most often inaccurate, and always self-defeating.
  4. Pay more attention to your successes (as described in Video II, Way 9). We ADHD adults/kids tend to “filter out” successes in our thoughts and recollections – leaving only the ‘failures’.

Bottom line, know that your ability to move forward powerfully has a helluva lot to do with how fairly you judge your own past. Successful people tend think more about their successes…as should you.


Image: Pitt pen on watercolor paper. © Quinn McDonald

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