Gain Control Over Negative Self-Talk

Blog-Gain Control Over Negative Self-Talk

“I’m so stupid.”
“I’m always messing things up.”
“No one wants to be with me.”

For those with ADD, these types of negative beliefs are common. They become ingrained from experiencing continual frustrations at school and work, the cruel things that others say during moments of frustration, and from the bullying that many children with ADD endure.

It’s important that ADD people learn to gain control over these thoughts because how we think moment by moment has a huge impact on how we behave in the future.

For example:
• An ADD child or teen may believe that they’ll fail in school — because that was their experience at some point in the past — so they will not try.
• An ADD adult may believe that they are doomed to have poor relationships — again, because that was their experience in the past — so they will engage in the same, repetitive behaviors that impairs their ability to relate to others.

What are Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs)?

These types of negative thoughts often just happen, so we call them Automatic Negative Thoughts. When we take the first letter from each word, it spells “ANT.”

Whenever ANTs creep into the mind, they must be killed. We kill them by talking back to them; if we don’t, ANTs become the seeds of future anxiety and depression. Some people say they have trouble talking back to their ANTs because they feel that they are lying to themselves. Initially they believe that all of their thoughts must be true.

Killing ADD ANTs:

1. Whenever an automatic negative thought enters your mind, train yourself to recognize its type and write it down (see types below).
2. Talk back to the ANT – this takes away its power so you can gain control over your moods and feel better.

ANT Types:

1. “All or nothing” thinking:

Thoughts that are all good or all bad.

2. “Always” thinking:

Thinking in words like always, never, no one, everyone, every time, everything.

3. Focusing on the negative:

Only seeing the bad in a situation.

4. Fortune telling:

Predicting the worst possible outcome to a situation with little or no evidence for it.

5. Mind reading:

Believing that you know what another person is thinking even though they haven’t told you.

6. Thinking with your feelings:

Believing negative feelings without ever questioning them.

7. Guilt beatings:

Thinking in words like should, must, ought, or have to.

8. Labeling:

Attaching a negative label to yourself or to someone else.

9. Blame:

Blaming someone else for the problems you have.

We Can Help

Get a Customized Solution: Like many other mental health conditions, ADD is not just a single and simple disorder; therefore, treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each of the seven types of ADD requires a different treatment plan. What works for one person with ADD may not work for another—or could even make the symptoms worse!

Amen Clinics is here to help you understand your brain and provide treatment options that address more than just symptoms.

For more information please call 888-288-9834 or tell us more online to start a customized treatment plan.


  1. I would like an appointment please


    Comment by Baha — June 1, 2018 @ 1:42 AM

  2. Nailed it!!!

    Comment by KATHY — June 1, 2018 @ 10:40 AM

  3. As I was reading the paragraphs above I was thinking, I do that. I’ve tried and tried to do the short exercise above but somehow the negative thoughts come as an all out assault on what I am trying to achieve.
    I don’t know how to slow down the onslaught to take one at a time and then I give up and the barrage stops.
    If I give into the negative thoughts I can somehow convince myself that the negative thoughts are just a part of my life.
    My wife is a good support but I feel she gets upset and think I like the negative thoughts. Maybe I do. Maybe they ( negative thoughts) are a comfort for me because I am use to having them and I don’t have to do anything to stressful to fight them off.
    As I’m writing this I sound lazy and maybe if I don’t do anything someone will do it for me.

    Comment by Danny — June 1, 2018 @ 1:54 PM

  4. Each negative comment is an opportunity to turn it around and use the force for good. Recognizing it by paying attention is where much of the battle comes.

    Comment by edward faust — June 2, 2018 @ 2:34 AM

  5. Talk about negative thoughts ! Right now, mine are so bad + so relentless that my stomach won’t un-clench itself and my breathing is very shallow — and it’s been like this for days ! i.e. — I REALLY need to go to The Amen Clinic but can’t afford it. I was wondering if they (Amen Clinic) ever “work with” a client who desperately needs to see them but who’s finances aren’t that great ? When I say “work with,” I mean — let them pay in installments. *if anyone connected to the Amen Clinic sees “this”, could you possible answer my question > do you ever “work with” a client ?

    Comment by Vicki Casson — June 2, 2018 @ 8:31 AM

  6. How can I find out more, I can really relate to that?

    Comment by Jim Misenar — June 2, 2018 @ 11:06 AM

  7. Number 9, blaming others, is appropriate—that doesn’t help.

    But add number 10, blaming yourself when, objectively, one tends to accept bullying and blame because it has become way to easy for others to target someone willing to accept the burden. Beat me up! I deserve it!

    When ADD#9 meets ADD#10 the result is eye-rolling.

    Believing in oneself and following a rational dialectic that sorts out where the need for improvement actually resides —and assigning the task to be better where it most belongs, at least in thought—is a new skill for all us self-haters.

    The Buddhist saying is true: your “tormentors” are your teachers. Are they right? Or not? But when they learn you are no longer a soft target…but self possessed, calm and articulate…the dynamic changes. It is the lack of respect that is at stake.

    That is the easy part. Getting some sleep is still tough. It takes time.

    Comment by Ed — June 3, 2018 @ 11:22 PM

  8. Hello Jim, glad you found this information helpful. For more detailed resources, you can take a look at our website at or books for additional reading at To speak to a Care Coordinator about our treatments and services, please feel free to call 888-288-9834 or submit this form to have someone contact you directly:

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 4, 2018 @ 9:07 AM

  9. Hello Vicki, thank you for reaching out. We do offer Care Credit financing plans to assist in making payments towards our services. For more information, please call our Care Coordinators at 888-288-9834. They can answer specific questions to assist you.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — June 4, 2018 @ 10:27 AM

  10. Are ANTs necessarily connected to ADD? I’ve never thought I had ADD but ANTs are very real for me.

    Comment by Kevin — August 8, 2018 @ 3:11 AM

  11. Hi Dr. Amen, Thank you, for a great article. I am being treated, for ADHD, This article was so informative. I have read many of your great books!. The Ants toward myself are still a work in progress!!! Thank you, for your great wisdom! Debbie

    Comment by Deborah — August 8, 2018 @ 6:12 AM

  12. Baha- Call and make it then. They gave the number above.

    Comment by Becky — August 8, 2018 @ 6:46 AM

  13. What are the steps to stop my fortune telling ANTS?

    Comment by Suanne — August 8, 2018 @ 7:52 AM

  14. I feel all of them thing’s listed above.I want to go back to school & get my ged and i want to go back to school for nursing but im scread because i feel like i can’t and because i been out to long.When i was in school i was in special classes.I went to the 12th grade but didn’t have enough credit to graduate.I always felt dum.I want to change that.Because i been working as a cna & hha for year’s and im tired of doing that hard work and because im getting older.Can you please help me.First i have to tell you that i have thyroid problems,fibromyalgia , very bad joint pain.

    Comment by Rose — August 9, 2018 @ 5:11 AM

  15. I live in Toronto, Canada
    Which clinic should I contact or go to?

    Comment by joan — August 9, 2018 @ 6:55 PM

  16. Where u able to recognize that all that was stated by u were negative thoughts but instead of saying the negatives you should look at all you said and ask yourself how could I make all I said be a possible statement… this is how it starts to work but first is to be aware u r doing it

    Comment by Rochelle Mason — August 11, 2018 @ 11:03 PM

  17. This is basic Cognitive Distortions, and training yourself to recognize them is Cognitive Behavorial therapy. The pioneer in writing about this is David Burns; “Feeling Good.” I buy copies and give to people.

    Comment by Jerri Lawson — August 14, 2018 @ 5:15 PM

  18. Well said. and Agree.

    Comment by Jan — December 21, 2019 @ 3:57 AM

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