Why do I have internal conversations with myself?
We all from time to time notice a dialogue within ourselves. This is where we are processing thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it's conscious and we really notice it and other times it's just out of our awareness and may be sensed or felt. So what is happening?
Where do they come from and do they help me?
We all carry an internal story based on our past and the relationship we now have with ourselves. We are constantly trying to make sense of what is happening in the present based on the tools we created to cope in the past. This sometimes takes place as an internal conversation, especially when we run into difficulty.
These conversations are complex thoughts which help us to relate to something happening for us in the here and now. The thoughts can sometimes be flawed. We may have made dysfunctional decisions as children as survival strategies to maintain attachments to parent figures, which can become outdated and unhelpful for us as adults in our decision making. The internal conversation is us trying to make sense of what is happening, especially when our expected feelings don't match an experience.
Some of these flawed thoughts fall to an out of awareness place leaving us to replay damaged patterns of attachment, communication and behaviour we learned in childhood and play out in our current everyday lives.
For example - If a parent figure was particularly abusive, the unconscious decision that the child made will have had to be extreme to emotionally survive. This may appear as, 'No one is safe, therefore I will never be vulnerable or trust anyone ever!' 'The only safe option is to get them before they get me!'
The problem with these beliefs is they become rigid blocks to natural and healthy growth.
What voices do I hear?
The three complex 'voices' that we all hear and act out can be seen as a -
Parent - The beliefs we inherit from experiences of our family, culture and environment. Sometimes felt as critical.
Child - How we have individually reacted to these beliefs. This includes our reactions to traumatic experiences and unmet needs and how we adapted to events in our lives.
Adult - How we respond to experiences in the here and now. This voice encourages us to be flexible, energetic and promote growth.
It feels hard to change the voices. How can therapy help?