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Transform Your Inner Dialogue - Friend or Foe? How Therapy in New Jersey Can Help with Anxiety and Depression

Updated: Mar 30

anxiety and depression
Transform Your Inner Dialogue

What You Say to Yourself Does Matter....

Your internal dialogue holds immense power—often the most impactful words we hear are the ones we tell ourselves. Have you ever wondered why it's easier to extend kindness to others than to yourself?


Are You Kind or Critical to Yourself?

Perhaps you're familiar with the relentless inner critic or the judgmental voice that emerges frequently in your everyday life? Do you find it challenging to offer yourself the same compassion you readily give to friends or loved ones?


It's natural to harbor different parts within ourselves, each with its own set of emotions and beliefs. Have you ever experienced conflicting feelings, where one part of you feels disappointed while another expected happiness? Navigating these internal landscapes becomes challenging when they diverge from our authentic selves, influencing our thoughts and emotions daily. These negative thoughts can create feelings of anxiety, depression, and unworthiness.


Can We Change Our Internal Dialogue?

Yes, you can change your internal voice, but realize this can take time and patience. You may have been sending these messages of negativity for quite some time. The solution may sound simple, but increasing self awareness is the first step to recognizing and becoming aware of the messages we are telling ourselves. Keeping a thought log or journal for even a short period of time can be enlightening to how we are talking to ourselves. This can help us become more aware of our inner dialogue and help develop a more nurturing environment within ourselves.

How Do We Become Judgmental or Critical?

Much of the journey of our internal experience is shaped by our upbringing, the emotional models set forth in our families, and the influences absorbed during childhood. When healthy emotional modeling has not been learned in our families of origin, we can struggle to express or understand our own feelings. By not recognizing our emotions and holding them inside, we can develop an internal critical voice, which can lead to anxious and depressive symptoms. A critical inner voice is often associated with perfectionism, extremely high standards, and low levels of self-compassion.

How Does Our Internal Voice Impact our Mood?

What we say to ourselves can have a direct and lasting impact on how we feel. Do you wonder why you may feel down or on edge, but can’t exactly put your finger on why? Is it a lingering state of anxiety or depression? Notice what happens during times of stress, what does your internal dialogue sound like? Do you say critical and negative things during these times? Our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are all connected;.

We all make mistakes, that's a part of life and how we learn. When you make a mistake, what do you tell yourself? Do you say, "good try, I will do better next time" or something more critical such as "you are an idiot!". A positive statement versus a negative one will have a very different impact on how we feel and handle difficult situations. If you have a consistently negative internal voice this can lead to anxiety and depression .

Where Does This Critical Internal Voice Come From?

Typically, those with healthy attachment in childhood have a kinder internal voice. But for some who have had critical caregivers or didn't receive positive reinforcement or consistent care, we can be extremely critical of ourselves. Sometimes, the way we tried to feel safe in childhood, was trying to be perfect because it made us feel in control. As adults we may have internalized critical messages from childhood and are continuing to repeat these patterns.

Awareness is the First Step to Change...

Next time you have a negative thought and your inner critic takes center stage, try to sit with those messages and understand where they are coming from. Is this about what is happening at the present moment or is it connected to an unresolved feeling from childhood? For example, perhaps you received some constructive criticism at work or at home, and it really upsets you.  Try floating back in time and see if it reminds of an earlier memory, perhaps when you were criticized as a child.


Do You Have Trouble Recognizing Your Own Needs as an Adult?

If you were raised without a caregiver validating your emotional experience, it can lead to you doubting the importance of your own needs. Were you raised to put your caregiver’s needs before your own? Did you feel responsible for your caregiver’s emotions or well-being as a child? Was the amount of responsibility you had as a child too much for your age?

This is known as being a parentified child. Parentification occurs when caregivers look for emotional support and help from the their children, versus providing it to their children. Sometimes, caregivers are doing the best they can, but they may be repeating patterns of how they were parented. Often, these childhood wounds need to be healed so we can recognize our own needs, feel comfortable asserting ourselves, and have skills for healthy emotional expression. Find out more here in Amber Felton's article, "What is Parentification?",

How Does Our Internal Critical Voice Hold Us Back in Adulthood?

Do you find yourself in situations where it is hard to speak up or have an opinion? Do you adapt your opinions to those around and find it difficult to be your “authentic” self? Do you ever feel in "trouble" or as if "you did something wrong". Do you find yourself constantly anxious or depressed?

Try taking an emotional learning inventory and consider what you learned in childhood. Were emotions expressed and talked about, or did you learn to sweep emotions under the rug? Did someone recognize and care about how you felt? If they answer is no, this may have contributed to the negative things you say to yourself.

Would You Like to Be Kinder to Yourself and Decrease Anxiety and Depression?

Therapy can provide a safe place to understand these parts of yourself, increase self-awareness that can lead to change, and increase self compassion to help heal childhood wounds. You deserve to be happy and to be as to kind to yourself as you are to others. Sometimes we need to prioritize our own healing to live our best life, which can lead to improving our relationships as well as increasing connection with those we care about. Taking the first step to reach out for help can be scary, but the change can be so empowering.


If you find yourself reacting to a situation in a way that makes you feel like a vulnerable child, this is often a sign that unresolved wounds from the past are still triggering you in the present. Through approaches such as parts work and EMDR therapy, you can embark on a journey of healing, allowing old wounds to finally find closure and granting yourself the same kindness and compassion we readily offer others.


Take the Next Step Toward Healing...

It's time to rewrite your narrative and leave those old wounds where they belong—in the past. You deserve to be at peace with yourself. The clinicians at Budd Therapy offer a safe, compassionate space to start your healing journey to becoming the best you.


Budd Therapy is conveniently located in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, close to major highways, Rt 287 and Rt. 78. We offer both in person and tele health appointments for your convenience. Contact Budd Therapy today,, for a free consultation.




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