Talking to Yourself – Totally Normal

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I read an interview of  Alexander Kirkham, a psychologist studying cognition. Of course, I can’t find the article, but this one by his senior co-author, Paloma Mari-Beffa, covers all the main points:

It’s about how people think by talking to themselves. Apparently everybody, multiples and singletons alike, have a constant conversation with themselves running through their mind. Sometimes it stays in their mind, sometimes they talk out loud to themselves.

Sometimes it’s a monologue. “If I make eggplant parmigiana, I’ll have to allow a good hour. But that would make dinner real late. I better think of a simpler eggplant dish. Those babies are going to rot if I don’t use them soon.”

Sometimes it’s a dialogue. “Should I get a latte?” “Sure, why not.” “No, lattes are expensive.” “But I deserve a treat.” “You have a treat almost every day.” “I deserve treats.” “it’s not a treat, it’s a bad habit.”

Now, I talk out loud to myself all the time. It’s more effective than just thinking: I pay more attention.

I’m writing this as I wait for my car to get serviced. I have promised myself that it will be the last time I drive, my swan song. On the way down, I talked to my Driving Fairy. “Please help me drive carefully. I’m going to drive carefully, cautiously, courteously. I’m going to watch for every car, every pedestrian, and bicycles and scooters and skateboarders.” My Driving Fairy is good to me and I got here in one piece.

Even though I am dissociative, it seems that my thinking isn’t much different from everybody else’s.

I’m not sure if everybody talks to fairies and furniture, but I have heard them talk to keys and computers and I don’t see the difference.

Kirkwood notes that when people talk out loud to themselves it slows down their thinking, which automatically makes them more attentive. Talking silently saves time because no muscles have to be moved, and because people tend to use sentence fragments when they think. I discovered by myself that telling the Driving Fairy that a traffic light is about to turn red focuses my attention and prevents me from having to slam on the brakes at the last minute. It also prevents highway hypnosis.

I often wonder what about me is “normal” and what is due to the aftereffects of the abuse I suffered as a young child. I keep coming across articles that suggest that certain ways of thinking or experiencing the world are not unique to dissociatives. I’ve come to think of us as being on a spectrum.

  1. Everybody talks to themselves all the time. No difference between us and others.
  2. Everybody has parts. No difference between us and others. BUT….dissociative people have amnesiac barriers between some of the their parts. Other people don’t.
  3. Some people who are not dissociative (or psychotic) occasionally experiences voices as coming from outside their mind. Dissociatives often experience voices coming from outside. Plus dissociative often see parts vividly with the internal eye. Other people don’t.

It seems to me that the difference between us and others lies in the characteristics of our parts. Some parts don’t know of each others’ existence. Some have specific, limited jobs – to perform certain acts on demand, to hold a memory or emotion, etc. The central issues, therefore, are amnesia and differentiation.  And that is the subject of three or four whole books!


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12 thoughts on “Talking to Yourself – Totally Normal

  1. This has all been so interesting to read. I don’t talk very often to myself out loud but it does happen occasionally, but holy cow, the internal dialogue is CONSTANT. I wonder if it’s parts talking or if it’s just thoughts running wild. I’m kind of new to all of this and don’t really know.


    1. It’s confusing, isn’t it? In time you will sort things out and questions like this will have answers. But for now…

      Either way, there’s no harm in talking to the thoughts that are there, wherever they come from. Just be kind!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I mostly talk to myself when I can´t find things, lika buss cards, keys, pens, books, my cellphone. etc. I lose these things all the time,, and its not due to senility (if that was the case i have been senile for many, many years, and would surely be dead now.)

    One part of me blame other parts for this, so i can shout loudly at myself – Why do you do this? i demand that you show me where it is! How can you treat me so bad? etc.

    Sometimes so loud so the neigbours very well may here it.

    Sometimes when i do that i got some inner response. When i miss things when i want to go out från the flat and i almost scream to the inner person i think did it, i can hear an inner voice almost whispering “but i don´t want to go out”….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only worry about increasing forgetfulness. It was going on for a while, but then my doctor discovered I had low blood pressure, not high, and decreased my blood pressure medication. My poor brain just wasn’t getting enough oxygen. Then I was back to my normal state.

      You might experiment with talking nicely to your parts and explaining why you need the thing you lost. Tell them it will be okay to go out, you won’t get hurt by anybody. I used to be afraid to go certain places for fear of getting shot. I would tell myself that nobody would shoot me because it would be bad for business. That was before we had so many senseless shootings!

      I had a friend that used to say, “Listen up, assholes!” His parts replied, “Fuck you.” Not very helpful.

      Seriously, would you talk to me that way? Why not be as nice to yourselves as you would be to me?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Seriously, would you talk to me that way?” Probably not, but, on the other hand, if you had a practice of taking things I use, on a daily and nightly basis, and then hiding them, I am not so sure. 😉

        But , of course, you have a very strong point. I will try to think on it and try to make my inner relations a little less war-like. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am guessing that many of the inner parts that are doing this are children and are frightened and trying to protect themselves (and you). And I wonder if your parents spoke to you that way.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m delighted that all my out loud conversations with myself are “normal”. I am so used to talking in the grocery store and so many other places. My only problem is letting the swears out so easily. Don’t beat yourself up for driving. I know I will have to give it up someday, too. and it seems so traumatic to not have have that independence.I wish you well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Holy fuck, look at the size of that artichoke!” LOL

      I can;t think of a single way I could be guilty of causing my macular degeneration so I can;t beat myself up. I’m mad at my eye doctor for misleading me about the quality of my vision and brushing aside my MD. I’m mad about having to rely on others and having them hover over me and suggest more and more ways I could become dependent. I’m mad at my kids and grandkids for not learning from my experience and not wearing hats and sunglasses. At least they use sun screen. I think I need to find me an on-line support group for those newly deprived of driving.

      Liked by 1 person

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