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 “inner dialogue”, which strongly influences our lives. Since it has always been such a constant part of our waking lives, most of us don’t even realize it’s there.
Our internal dialogue controls everything we do. It shapes our perception, makes decisions for us, warns 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 falsehoods and lies, they make us feel bad about ourselves, they impede our success and they make us repeat unhealthy patterns. They even govern our moods and reactions.
Years of degradation, manipulation, and brainwashing by her narcissistic abuser have instilled many limiting beliefs in her mind. You’ll be surprised how many of the following she can claim as her own:
- I do not deserve it: 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 me, matter
- I am not: good enough, smart enough, valuable enough, thoughtful enough, motivated enough, competent enough, rich enough, outgoing enough, thin enough, pretty enough, skillful enough, important enough
- I do not can: do as well as others can, achieve goals, make money, survive on my own, start a business, get a degree, change who I am, change the way I think
- Should not: Thinking of myself first, loving or liking myself, feeling good about myself, getting angry, asking for what I want, expecting others to help me, trusting someone, lowering my guard.
- I should be: more successful than me, more advanced in life than me, more educated, more social, a better person
- No one: listens to me, cares about me, loves me, believes in me, likes me, accepts me
- No one will love me or love me if: I’m not perfect, I’m not successful, I don’t please, they know me, I speak honestly, I’m not beautiful, I don’t earn their approval.
- Everyone else: judges me, is better than me, rejects me, hates me, thinks I’m stupid
- I always: make mistakes, procrastinate, say stupid things, make people angry, leave things, frustrate people, feel guilty, look silly
- Am: a dropout, a freak, lazy, a nasty person, a nasty person, a failure, responsible for the happiness of others
- It’s my job: smooth things over, make others happy, make others feel better, apologize, keep the peace
- Has no sense: wish my hopes, try everything, try again, be honest, have goals, ask for what I want, show people who I really am
- Congratulations: a myth, unattainable, for others
- I must suffer for: show how much i care, get attention, make up for bad things i’ve done, prove my point
- I must be afraid of: other people, life, relationships, men, women
Reread the list above and highlight all the limiting beliefs that apply to you. Explore each 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 go of the belief?
Before you can change your subconscious self-talk, you must bring it into your conscious mind and then challenge it. That involves monitoring your thoughts, emotions, actions, and reactions to see what triggers you and what unproductive patterns you’re stuck in.
Limiting beliefs change when they are replaced by positive dialogue. You can reprogram your mind by using positive affirmations like:
- 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’m the only one in charge of my life
- I am a beautiful person inside and out
- I’m a survivor
- I am worthy of all the good things in life.
- I can meet any challenge
These are just suggestions. You can create your own affirmations or find others 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. Use them especially when you realize that you have limiting beliefs. The more often and regularly you repeat your affirmations, the faster your inner dialogue will change and the better you’ll feel about yourself.
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