On Facebook I recently asked the question “do you experience negative self talk” and many people commented to say everyone does to which I responded it depends on your definition. The truth is most people suffer with negative self talk but not everyone and we don’t all experience negative self talk to the same degree.

My Definition Of Negative Self Talk

Negative self talk is an inner dialogue that you have with yourself. An inner critic, a hijacked super ego, an internalised abuser.

It can keep you stuck in a negative cycle, a negative pattern. It can call you kinds of names, cause you to feel anxious, tell you you’re useless or worthless.

It can cause you to be codependent, a people pleaser, a doormat, it can cause you to have a lack of boundaries. A negative inner voice that can keep you stuck in abusive relationships by making you think you deserve to be treated badly, it can tell you there’s something wrong with you, make you think you can’t get any better, that you won’t survive on your own.

So Where Does This Negative Self Talk Come From?

So everyone’s doing the best they can with what they have. Many of us were traumatised by our parents as children. Pete Walker estimates. That around 80% of people suffer with CPTSD that stands for Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As children we are blank slates, neuroplasticity it’s highest, until the age of seven is known as the imprint period this is where we’re learning the most difficult tasks. We’re learning to walk, we’re learning to talk, we’re learning to feed ourselves. In these developmental stages of life, we’re forming our boundaries. Children are born without boundaries. We learn them as we grow, to a baby everything is the baby.

If as a child were being constantly put down shouted at and physically abused. We internalise that abuse, we think it means there’s something wrong with us. We internalise the abuser, most likely a parent or older sibling and that becomes an inner critic. A toxic inner voice that attacks us, we don’t have to have had abusive parents just growing up in an environment where there’s a lot of arguing, can cause a child to feel pushed out and unwanted because children think everything is about them. 

What Are The Different Kinds Of Self Talk? 

Perfectionism – If you try to be perfect, you’ll never be good enough.

All or Nothing Thinking –  Examples of all or nothing thinking would be “I’ll never be good enough”, “I’ll always fail”. There is no in between, it’s either, or. 

Pessimism – Always worrying about the worst case scenario, always looking for things that can go wrong. 

Comparing yourself to others – A lot of people compare themselves to other people think to themselves, “People my age have gotten married, they’ve got kids they own their own house”. “So and so has got a better job than me. We don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives. It’s just an external thing that we’re seeing maybe because of Facebook, people are posting the best examples of what they’ve got going on. 

I compare it to a car, whenever I try and sell a car I always have difficulty because I know what’s wrong with it, I know if there’s a rattle on it, if a door lock is a bit sticky, etc. selling that car is difficult for me because I know there’s issues with that it. These might not even be issues that would cause any kind of mechanical problem or to fall in mot but I know about them and then that causes me issues when I’m trying to sell it. In the same way know everything that’s wrong with us, every issue that we’ve got and we don’t know what’s going on in other people’s lives. So comparing ourselves to other people is not making a fair comparison, because we can’t see in their lives. 

Name-calling – calling yourself names, it can also involve projecting negativity onto others and gossiping about people or there’s projecting past experiences onto others, thinking, everyone is out to get us or harm us.

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