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,” that strongly influences our lives. Since it’s always been such a constant part of our waking life, 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, shapes 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 self-talk 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, the 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 make us repeat unhealthy patterns. They even govern our moods and reactions.
Years of degradation, manipulation, and brainwashing by her narcissistic abuser have infused her mind with many limiting beliefs. You will be surprised how many of the following items you can claim as your own:
- I do not deserve it: happiness, success, love, recognition, success, money, relationships, friendships with quality people
- No: trust myself, know what I want, feel worthy, have self-control, like or love myself, care
- I am notGood enough, smart enough, dignified enough, considerate enough, motivated enough, competent enough, rich enough, outgoing enough, slim enough, pretty enough, skillful enough, important enough
- Can not: do as well as others can, achieve goals, earn money, survive on my own, start a business, get a degree, change who I am, change my mindset
- Should not: think of myself first, love or like myself, feel good about myself, feel angry, ask for what I want, expect others to help me, trust someone, lower my guard
- I should be: more successful than me, more advanced in life than me, more educated, more social, a better person
- Nobody: listens to me, cares about me, loves me, believes in me, loves me, accepts me
- No one will like me or like me if: I am not perfect, I am not successful, I am not complacent, they know me, I speak honestly, I am not beautiful, I do not win their approval.
- Everyone else: he judges me, he’s better than me, rejects me, hates me, thinks I’m stupid
- I always: making mistakes, procrastinating, saying stupid things, angering people, leaving things behind, frustrating people, feeling guilty, looking foolish
- I am: to leave, a freak, a lazy person, a person unworthy of love, an unpleasant 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: get my hopes up, try, 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 to: show how much i care, get attention, make up for the 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 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 go of the belief?
Before you can change your subconscious self-talk, 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’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 am 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 face any challenge
These are just suggestions. You can create your own affirmations or find others that resonate with you.
Repeat your affirmations frequently. Repeat them to yourself in the mirror. Post them in places where you spend a lot of time. Use them especially when you find that you have limiting beliefs. The more often and regularly you repeat your affirmations, the faster your internal dialogue will change and the better you will feel about yourself.
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