Why negative self-talk is so damaging

We all self-talk, either inside our heads, or at times out loud. We do it without realising most of the time. These conversations can be about things we need to do, reminding ourselves to make a dental appointment for example, or just an observation about how tired we may be feeling at the time.

Occasionally it might be negative, and that is normal. As long as all our self-talk isn’t always negative and it doesn’t become a habit.

However there are times when self-talk becomes toxic, and that is when the negative thoughts become more frequent,  are unrealistic, distorted, or intense.

Example of these include:

  •    I am useless, I can’t do anything right.
  •    People don’t really like me, they are just pretending.
  •    I am not as good as anyone else.
  •    I am a failure at everything I do.
  •    I am stupid.

We may not even notice we are doing it because it becomes part of our way of being. And these feelings can then extend into our relationships.

Have you ever felt that someone had ignored or snubbed you? What was your self-talk at that point? If the negative self-talk takes over, we may be telling ourselves:

  •    They have ignored me.
  •    What have I done wrong?
  •    I knew they didn’t really like me.
  •    If that’s the way they feel, I am not talking to them.
  •    They don't love me any more.

Whereas the reality could be:

  •     Maybe they didn’t see me.
  •     Perhaps they are having a bad day.
  •     They are probably lost in their own thoughts.
  •     They just don’t want to talk right now.

The problem is if we listen to those toxic messages and act upon them our feelings can spiral out of control, and we can end up having an unnecessary argument, lose a friend or damage a relationship.

It’s far better to examine our thoughts, check them out, and if someone else is involved, check it out with them.  

Remember they are just thoughts – not reality, until we make them reality.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Bordon, Hampshire, GU35
Written by Wendy Capewell, Specialist in Anxiety, Abuse,Trauma & Relationships
Bordon, Hampshire, GU35

Wendy Capewell is an experienced integrative counsellor who specialises in working with individuals and couples who are struggling in their relationships. She has her own busy private practice in Hampshire.

By working with Wendy, clients find long lasting results, having a have better understanding of each other and communicating better.

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