Talking to Myself

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I do it all the time.

Talk to myself, that is.

I live alone.

I’ve always been a loner.

Much of the time the conversation is only going on inside my head, but sometimes I talk out loud.

I’m the only voice I hear most days, out here in my home on the Fox Lake Road.

I could suggest that I’m talking to the dogs, but even they can tell the difference.

I talk to myself at work. As I walk into the kitchen to pick up an order, I’m often reminding myself what I need to grab in the way of condiments and side dishes. As I arrange the plates and bowls on the tray, heaviest items in the center, all handles turned in, tall items squeezed between other things so that they won’t topple, I’ll say, “Okay, don’t anybody move,” as I lift the tray over my head. I am often unaware that I’m speaking until Kathy comes around from behind the grill to ask “WHAT?!?” From the look on my face, she determines that the conversation was only with me; she rolls her eyes, waves her hand and goes back to her station.

I talk to myself while walking the dogs. I work out ideas for class plans or art projects. I work out furniture arrangements or planting schemes. I hold imaginary conversations. I assert myself in ways I rarely would in real life. I replay discussions. I never speak out of turn, lose my temper or say mean things, in these talks. I am also never prevented from speaking my truth.

Lately, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time defending myself, to myself, in conversations in my mind.

It seems like I’ve been fielding a lot of criticism lately.  More people, in just the last two years, have felt the need to tell me I am lacking – and how, and why – than have in the last thirty years! I’ve questioned whether I am in some way inviting negative opinions. I have not been requesting critiques! Of course, there is some truth in everything that is said. That does not mean it is a valid or necessary insult. I’m often not in a position to defend myself.

That’s where talking to myself proves invaluable.

It helps to sort the truths from the exaggerations and distortions. It helps to clarify who I am, despite how others choose to interpret my words or actions. It helps me to move forward and away from the hurt.

When I was told that I am an inconsequential story-teller, I said – petulantly – “my stories are too consequential!”

When my boss found fault with my scheduling on a regular basis, I defended the over-staffing or under-staffing – to myself, in imaginary conversations – just as regularly.

When I was told I never really stood up for anything, I had long, grumbling talks with myself. “I marched for Peace in the ’60s!”, “I fought for the Equal Rights Amendment in the ’70s!”, “I have voted in every single election!” , “I left two good jobs to stand for my principles!”

When it was suggested that my service was not up to standard…well, the conversation in my head turned into the blog titled “Dear Harry”. If you’ve read it, you have an idea the way my mind works when on the defensive!

When I was told I was not working hard enough to maintain a friendship, I talked to myself until I was able to talk – and clear the air – with my friend.

Most recently I have received a letter filled with a one-sided account of an unfortunate encounter. It makes me look pretty sorry, indeed: petty, mean-spirited and vengeful. If it were wholly untrue, it would be easier to brush it off. Because there is truth to it, and because of the source, I don’t take it lightly. Because it was delivered with a clear directive to not respond, I am impotent to clarify or work it out…except in talking to myself.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing.

Do you talk to yourself? I’d love to know I’m not alone!

23 responses »

  1. I do it all the time, so no, I would say you’re in no way alone. A lot of people use it, I think, to clear their heads and sort out the chaos that so often surrounds us. I have to say my monologue is a bit different, mostly I’m the one who finds fault with myself and then talk to myself in order to make peace with what I inevitably find during these overly-analytical periods.. 🙂

    • Oh, I can relate to that, too. I feel that I have been my biggest critic, always. I probably see and try to work through more flaws in my character, looks AND behavior than anyone else even notices. At least that’s what I always thought. Lately, though, others have been coming up with some good ones!
      Thank you for reading, and for your comment!

  2. Oh, I talk to myself all the time, Cindy. Sometimes, I even smack myself on the head, or blush, as I relive some of my more cringeworthy moments. I don’t know that I’ve ever solved anything in these discussions, though. I usually come to the conclusion, after I’ve finished defending myself against whatever insult or slight I’ve just received, that I’m a total jerk who deserved the chiding. Also, I frequently practice acceptance speeches — sometimes out loud — for the various awards to which I feel I’m entitled, and will surely receive.

    • Oh, this made me laugh! Yes, I often come to the same conclusions…about deserving the chiding. It does help to work through the particulars when only I can hear, though.
      Thank you for reading, and for giving me a smile today!

  3. Oh I talk to myself all the time. I carry on entire conversations in my head, especially when someone has been mean to me or hurt me in some way. I also talk aloud to myself. It helps me focus on the task at hand. And I scold myself and praise myself too. So you might here me say “Oh Joss, you goof” or “Joss, you ROCK!” btw, there is nothing more soul destroying than for someone to dump on you about something and then tell you not to respond. It’s probably one of the most dysfunctional ways to relate to someone that I know of. Just sayin’

    • Joss, I love you for this! Thank you! I was not blameless in this disagreement; there was certainly truth and justifications in the statements made against me. HOWEVER, there are two sides to every story, and some things spoken were different versions of the truth or distortions of the facts. It FEELS hurtful and cruel. It has left me very sad. It seems like stubbornly stating one side, then slamming the door, puts being “right” above the friendship. I feel, in fact, that the friendship has been thrown away so that she can bask in her belief of being slighted. Thank you for understanding! I had those same feelings, but was afraid to speak them out loud! You gave voice to what was in my heart.

      • I almost didn’t write that, ya know that old “mind your own business” crap. but, it just felt like I needed to say what I was thinking about it. I, too, have had that happens and it sucks and it’s just wrong. I think it comes from a place of fear, but nevertheless you can’t have a friendship with someone who dumps on you and slams the door. My heart aches for you but I think you’ve got a good handle on what’s going on. Tell yourself that!!

  4. I talk to myself quite frequently. I also talk out lout to inanimate objects. Once at the day job a coworker caught me swearing at the stapler. Like, F-bomb swearing. I just looked at the coworker and said, “did I say that out loud?”

    Keep talking it out, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I do it all the time…mostly in the car! I work all my arguments out in my head (out loud) on my to and from anywhere! Don’t sweat it, it’s normal!

  6. Cindy, I’m feeling a moment of shame. (Ha ha) I was just going to tell my unnamed husband that he HAS to stop talking to himself. But now, thanks to you and your commenters, I’ve seen the light and realize it’s a perfectly normal thing to do. I don’t know why all these people are offering criticism, though. Shame on them. They say that people who criticize are really critical of themselves. That’s the story I’m going to tell in my head. Happy Thanksgiving, Cindy!

    • Thank you! I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving, too! I’m happy to know my blog may have given Barry a little leeway! Also, I like your explanation for the ones who criticize. I was thinking I had perhaps passed an age barrier, where now folks felt it necessary to guide, direct and criticize my behavior as if I were a child again! Thanks for your comments, Kathy!

  7. Hi Cindy, now something odd has happened here, I’m sure I left a comment but I think I used my smart phone (HA the owner isn’t so smart) and I don’t think it loaded it!!
    Anyway my friend, just to say you are in good company talking to yourself – my mum was forever chatting to herself, but I knew when it was just her talking and not her talking to me or my brother – we sussed it out – saved a lot of confusion 🙂
    And about your friend’s letter, I think Joss is on the money, it is such a control thing for one person to be able to speak their mind, and then close the subject. Naughty !!

    • Hi Claire, I’m so happy to see your comment! I KNOW you are smarter than your smart phone…just takes a while to figure it all out, I think! I’m happy to know I’m in good company, with my chatter…and glad to know you and your brother weren’t confused. I have hope then that the cook will get it, soon, and save herself many trips from behind the stove to ask “What?” Thank you for reading, and for your support!

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