Changing the Narrative
Most of us live with a narrative handed to us from someone maybe it was our parents or a previous relationship. Usually when we say something out loud and question its initial path we can trace it back.
Off the top of your head you may not think you have any, however with further investigation you might be able to trace something back. For eg,
Usually the things that annoy us most about ourselves or others have come from not wanting to do something as we were scalded or warned as children for doing that very thing.
Or when we have an aversion to something people say, we might be able to say”I don’t like that” as I was called that as a child or from an ex-partner.
Or its just an insulting line we just can’t let go.
Here are some i’ve heard, you might have heard different I’m working within the mental health banner here.
You are crazy
Anxiety is an excuse to not do anything, you are just being lazy
You are psycho
You are too sensitive
You are obsessive
You are weird
You are stupid
These are some really common narratives I have told myself and have heard others speak that replicate a narrative of disregard towards a mental illness such as anxiety or depression or a developmental learning difficulty.
Sometimes we don’t even know we replicate our narrative when we talk about ourselves.
When I am aware, I pick phrases to work on such as when I realised I was saying sorry some years ago for my existence. I would apologise too much. I was giving over the top explanations if I was late. I was forever sorry If I couldn’t help someone with a request. I’d sell my life story of why I couldn’t help, as I lived with such guilt for not being of service. Living in abusive situations for so long I was punished for speaking up or out of line.
I now have changed my sorry narrative to “I appreciate you waiting for me’ or the best one is when someone asks me to do something and I can’t I now say. “NO” that took me many years to even do that due to my narrative. That extended to many other facets of unworthiness or fear as I believed if I was not being of service to someone I was not safe.
So working on a narrative for the phrases. I would like to attempt to reframe the phrases.
You are crazy/ You are exceptionally thorough in your assessments of situations and danger
Anxiety as an excuse / You are really good at looking after yourself to prevent burn out
You are pyscho / You are unique in your analysis of a situation
You are too sensitive /You have amazing inner awareness of your body and others and how it affects you
You are obsessive/You are thorough and an exceptional researcher
You are weird/ You are unique and there is none like you
You are stupid/ You do the best you can within your limitations
I think it’s a really important exercise to asses regularly. If you find a narrative is affecting your life in some way.Maybe it promotes shame, or guilt, or discomfort and you would like to empty empath towards yourself.
While writing this I realised the “You are stupid” narrative is the one that affects me most. I feel it in my body, I feel shame and guilt for feeling inadequate. However as per my other blog on every intervention. I believe if I had received early intervention the issues I have with learning may not be there. I have dyslexia and trauma related learning aversions to some learning styles. My IQ is above average and i’m sure if I had of worked on the learning difficulties I wouldn’t have had not had the ” you are stupid” narrative.I would be most likely be scoring higher in IQ tests, although above average should be sufficient, but you can see the narrative is quite strong on me in this regard.
I actually do believe in my abilities to take on analyse and interpret detailed concepts. But My narrative due to childhood trauma and abuse still sticks. I’ll work on that one soon.
For now and as always thank you for reading this far.
I hope you can look at a narrative and reframe it to help imply empathy to yourself and heal from an old thought pattern given to you by someone else.