Changing the Way You Talk to Yourself
Randi G. Fine, Author
From the book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing and Recovery © 2017
Each of us has a subconscious inner voice, called an “inner dialogue,” that strongly influences our life. Since it has always been such a consistent part of our waking lives, most of us do not even realize it is there.
Our inner dialogue controls everything we do. It shapes our perception, makes decisions for us, cautions us, forms our values and opinions, tells us who we are and what we like, monitors our behavior, evaluates situations, and makes judgments.
When our inner dialogue is positive, it empowers us. When our inner dialogue is negative it discourages us. Negative dialogue forms limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs can come from powerful outside influences such as parents, religions, families, educators, culture, media, and society. They can also develop on their own after repeated exposure to stimuli, or as a result of trauma or abuse.
Limiting beliefs sabotage our lives. They tell us untruths and lies, make us feel bad about ourselves, impede our success, and cause us to repeat unhealthy patterns. They even govern our moods and reactions.
Years of degradation, manipulation, and brainwashing by your narcissistic abuser has infused your mind with many limiting beliefs. You will be surprised at how many of the following you can claim as your own:
- I do not deserve: happiness, success, love, recognition, success, money, relationships, friendships with quality people
- I do not: trust myself, know what I want, feel worthy, have self-control, like or love myself, matter
- I am not: good enough, smart enough, worthy enough, thoughtful enough, motivated enough, competent enough, rich enough, outgoing enough, thin enough, pretty enough, skilled enough, important enough
- I cannot: do it as well as others can, reach goals, make money, survive on my own, start a business, get a degree, change who I am, change how I think
- I should not: think of myself first, love or like myself, feel good about myself, feel angry, ask for what I want, expect others to come through for me, trust anyone, let my guard down
- I should be: more successful than I am, farther along in life than I am, more educated, more social, a better person
- Nobody: listens to me, cares about me, wants me, believes in me, likes me, accepts me
- No one will like or love me if: I am not perfect, I am not successful, I am not a pleaser, they get to know me, I speak honestly, I am not beautiful, I don’t earn their approval
- Everyone else: judges me, is better than me, rejects me, hates me, thinks I am stupid
- I always: make mistakes, procrastinate, say stupid things, anger people, quit things, frustrate people, feel guilty, look foolish
- I am: a quitter, a weirdo, lazy, an unlovable person, an unlikable person, a failure, responsible for others’ happiness
- It is my job to: smooth things over, make others happy, make others feel better, apologize, keep the peace
- There’s no point in: getting my hopes up, trying at all, trying again, being honest, having goals, asking for what I want, showing people who I really am
- Happiness is: a myth, unattainable, for others
- I must suffer to: show how much I care, get attention, make up for bad things I’ve done, prove my point
- I must be fearful of: other people, life, relationships, men, women
Reread the above list and highlight all the limiting beliefs that currently apply to you. Explore each one by asking yourself the following questions:
- Why do I have the limiting belief?
- Is the belief true or false?
- Is the belief relevant to my life now?
- Am I willing to let the belief go?
Before you can change your subconscious inner dialogue you must bring it to your conscious mind and then challenge it. That involves monitoring your thoughts, emotions, actions, and reactions to see what triggers you and what non-productive patterns you are stuck in.
Limiting beliefs change when they are replaced by positive dialogue. You can reprogram your mind through the use of positive affirmations such as:
- I deserve to love and be loved
- I love and accept myself totally and completely
- I choose happiness and peace in my life
- I am whole, healthy and complete
- I am worthy of success
- I deserve to live a life of abundance
- I am the only one in charge of my life
- I am a beautiful person inside and out
- I am a survivor
- I am worthy of all the good things in life
- I can face any challenge
These are just suggestions. You can create your own affirmations or find other ones that resonate with you.
Repeat your affirmations often. Say them to yourself in the mirror. Post them in places where you spend a lot of time. Especially use them whenever you catch yourself having limiting beliefs. The more often and regularly you repeat your affirmations, the faster your inner dialogue will change and the better you will feel about yourself.