The Worrier’s self-talk
Imagines worst case when you confront something you fear
Promotes anxiety

This is going to drive me crazy
Here we go again
Oh no, my back is going out again!
It’s going to be as bad as before, maybe worse
Now the day will be shot
If I can’t do _____ I’ll never be happy
If this doesn’t let up, I won’t be able to handle it
I’ll never work or be useful again
What would people think?
What if it never gets better?
What if I can’t handle it?
I’ll be fired.
I’ll go broke.
He’ll leave me / she’ll leave me.
What if I don’t have any money?
What if…..?

The Critic ‘s self-talk

Some inner Troll judges & evaluates your and other’s behaviour
Picks out flaws & weaknesses in self and others
Judges self as worse than others
Promotes low self-esteem, anger

It’s my fault I’m in this mess
I should be able to handle this better
I’ll never be able to do this job/project right
I shouldn’t have ___________. Now look at me!
That was stupid!
They’re all idiots.
I’m an idiot / useless / a loser / nobody.

The Victim’s self-talk
Sees self as helpless and not to blame, therefore not responsible for doing anything differently. Goals are hopeless, impossibly large, and nothing can change.
Promotes depression, anger, complaining

I have no control over this
I can’t handle this / I’ll never get better
This should never have happened to me
I don’t deserve this
I’m useless
I’m not getting anywhere
I’ll never enjoy life again
This is my punishment
If my boss/WCB/doctors hadn’t messed up I wouldn’t be in this mess
Someone should do something for me
Other people are getting on with life, and look at me
I’ll never be able to __________
No one understands me / my situation; no one cares
You just can’t win (with those people) (in general)
It’s 2 steps forward and 3 steps back
I can’t make any plans because life /my health / my spouse is so unpredictable
Yes, that’s a good idea, BUT _______
Nothing works. I’ve tried everything before

The Perfectionist’s self-talk
Pushes you to do better, assumes your efforts were not enough
Intolerant of your weaknesses or setbacks
Promotes anxiety, anger, low self-esteem

I’ll never get it right
I should have done better
I should be able to handle my problem better
I should be further along by now
I can’t stop, I have to keep pushing
There’s so much more to do.

Brian Grady, Ph.D.

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