Even when survivors distance themselves from a toxic person, we often still hear their voice in our heads, drowning out our own inner-voice and reaffirming the doubt that was planted a long time ago. In effect, we have a bully in our head.

Seeds of Self-Doubt

Victims are trained carefully. Every day an Emotional Bully will plant another seed of self-doubt, or reaffirm another “failure”. “I am actually amazed at how I perceived myself before I broke away from the influence of my abuser. I was convinced I was lazy and had no self-discipline. I was absolutely sure that I was unable to look after my home, and felt unworthy of love and appreciation” says H.

Victims are often torn because they have been made to believe these horrible things about themselves Once the influence of the bully wanes, or more positive reaffirming voices appear in their life, the victim may start to realize they are not a failure at all. Still, to undo years of programming is hard work and takes time. Sometimes the victim will still speak the party line they learned to believe.

Learning a New Way of Thinking

“Sometimes I don’t even realize I am putting myself down. The bully in my head has been there so long, I can quite easily mistake her voice for my own. Luckily my partner is very good at spotting her. Once I am aware I am hearing her, it becomes easier to turn my thoughts around” explains H.

Turning your thoughts around often means translating an irrational thought into a rational thought. Doing that consciously first, will help you reprogram and hear the difference between the bully and your own inner-voice. Here are some examples of how you can make that translation:

irrational v rational

Your Inner-Voice Needs an Amplifier

After thorough lessons in doubting your instincts and inner-guidance, it can be very tricky to evict the bully from your head. Simply stating: ‘stop listening to those voices’ is unlikely to do the trick. When you are not even aware of the patterns you follow, you need your inner-voice to have an amplifier.

The best amplifier in the world is the combined inner-voices of many survivors. By reflecting on situations and sparring with others how to deal with an issue, a survivor can receive gentle feedback on the patterns that they may be following and slowly but surely can start digging out their true inner-voice. They can learn new ways of dealing with situations and relationships. They will have a support network that will not judge them, but rather will celebrate their healing journey with them.

we love to read your comments below

One comment:

  1. Amy

    June 13, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    This really rings true for me…I think it’s the main issue I’ve been dealing with lately. It seems like, even though I stopped talking to my parents over a month ago, their voices or beliefs are in my head constantly…possibly even more than before?! I can’t even seem to hear my “own” voice much of the time, but just that criticism, “You get nothing done…you’re worthless,” etc. I even had a dream in which my mom yelled at me for accepting my insurance company’s repayment for therapy…she was saying, “No one should pay you to act pitiful and talk about how bad things were!” (even though I’m not getting “paid”…it’s just a relief that the sessions won’t be quite so much out-of-pocket). Not sure how to escape all this, but I appreciate the article and the start in the right direction! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Concerns or Questions?

See our FAQs page or submit a question to our support team - we're here and happy to help.

Ask a Question

Subscribe to receive special offers and the latest news delivered to your inbox for free.


Your privacy is important to us and we will never rent or sell your information.


Go up