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Howard Todd-Collins

Grad.Dip.Couns.HS, M.Couns.HS, Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Consultant MACA Howard is the director and owner of Men and Relationships Counselling. He passionately believes that given the right space and environment, men open up and talk about their lives in a way that empowers them to take steps to change. He has a strong connection to the growth of men, with over 15 years experience in designing individual and group programs for men and fathers as well as facilitating human relations groups. Go to > http://menandrelationships.com.au/about-us/consultants/ and Learn About Our Consultants – What We Do And Why

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How do you sound when you talk to yourself?

Is your state of mental health influenced by how you talk to yourself!

Do you talk to yourself? Do you talk aloud or do you keep it inside your head?

Many of us have an ‘internal voice’ in our head. It’s a kind of running commentary that narrates our experience of life.

It responds to the external events of the world as well as our inner world of thoughts and feelings.

Does that sound a little strange? Go with me on this!


 

What do you say to yourself when you are unhappy?

How do you sound inside your own head? What’s your tone?

What are you saying about the feelings and thoughts you have?


 

The voice in our head will either help or hinder us.

I have heard hundreds of men speak about themselves in consistent tones. They are:

  • Dismissive
  • Critical
  • Both!

The dismissive voice

Many of us have dismissing dialogues with ourselves and others. It’s a gentle tone, a warm, caring voice that is great at logic.

Dismissing makes sense particularly because we haven’t got the time or energy to be more accepting of our thoughts and feelings .

The problem with dismissing is that it can minimise or reject our experience. And that can hurt!

Here are some real life dismissive statements. I borrowed them straight out of the minds of men.dismissive

Contrast dismissing statements with the second most common way men speak with themselves and they seem no big deal.

The critical voice

This is the voice that reminds us we are not measuring up or not doing it right. The critical voice can be dominant and pushy.

The dialogue contains harsh judgement, blame and creates overwhelming shame.

a-mans-critical-voice-copy

Where does the dialogue come from?

 Our internal chatter may resemble the voices of:

  • One or both of our parents
  • A teacher, sports coach, uncle, aunt or grandparent.
  • A unique voice that we have adapted and created over time.

Both the dismissing and critical voice influence our behaviours in both positive and negative ways.

The good, bad and the ugly

The Good

When men are stressed or overwhelmed their dismissing voice tends to call them to action.

Men love being rational and practical! They tell themselves to:

  • Go to the gym
  • Go for a run
  • Work in the shed
  • Mow the lawn
  • Have a beer with a mate
  • Cook a meal
  • Play with the kids
  • Walk the dog
  • Clean the car
  • Play with the phone
  • Finish a work task

Dismissing is powerfully distracting, massively de-stressing and unbelievably productive!

How clean can you get the car when your mad with your partner?

Criticism, of the constructive kind, can also be motivating and encouraging. However for this to work we need a particular focus on behaviour and outcome.

If we are to get good insight from constructive criticism we need to ensure we resist over personalising but give ourselves a heap of respect.

The Bad and the Ugly

Dismissing can exacerbate mental and emotional health problems because they become brilliant avoidant techniques!

How many times can we clean the car, mow the lawn or drink beer with a mate before we have to face our feelings?

Possibly lots of times!

Criticism that’s harsh and self-punishing hurts us more because it creates more conflict and provides very little resolution.

Dismissing and Criticising triggers :

  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Embarrassment
  • Disappointment
  • Hopelessness 

The impact can be devastating. Men in particular can:

  • Undermine themselves
  • Label themselves negatively
  • Mistrust people
  • Lose confidence
  • Believe they’re flawed, bad or damaged
  • Develop a highly anxious and overactive mind
  • Withdraw from relationships
  • Hate themselves
  • Stop communicating
  • Withdraw from relationships
  • Become isolated
  • Get depressed
  • Feel irritable and angry
  • Use high level avoidance behaviours including drugs and alcohol

Staying stuck in these inner dialogues create more ‘wounds’.

Look out for your internal tone of voice.

Catch any dismissing or harsh criticism and replace them with a more conciliatory, empathic and kinder response.

Need help with this? Give me a call! 1300 884 522

Howard Todd-Collins

Grad.Dip.Couns.HS, M.Couns.HS, Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Consultant MACA Howard is the director and owner of Men and Relationships Counselling. He passionately believes that given the right space and environment, men open up and talk about their lives in a way that empowers them to take steps to change. He has a strong connection to the growth of men, with over 15 years experience in designing individual and group programs for men and fathers as well as facilitating human relations groups. Go to > http://menandrelationships.com.au/about-us/consultants/ and Learn About Our Consultants – What We Do And Why

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Written by: Howard Todd-Collins

Howard Todd-Collins

Grad.Dip.Couns.HS, M.Couns.HS, Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Consultant MACA Howard is the director and owner of Men and Relationships Counselling. He passionately believes that given the right space and environment, men open up and talk about their lives in a way that empowers them to take steps to change. He has a strong connection to the growth of men, with over 15 years experience in designing individual and group programs for men and fathers as well as facilitating human relations groups. Go to > http://menandrelationships.com.au/about-us/consultants/ and Learn About Our Consultants – What We Do And Why

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