Why can't I stop these thoughts?

I keep having these random thoughts that I don't want. Things like "you aren't worth anything." I know they're my own thoughts but it feels like someone else is saying it.

What is wrong with me, and how can I stop having these thoughts?

Elaine Alyson
Elaine Alyson
Psychotherapy and EMDR

Many people have thoughts like those you describe, and often it feels like someone else is saying it because they are things that may have been said to you when you were very young.  When young children hear negative things about themselves they tend to internalize these negative ideas and to form negative core beliefs.  The good news is we can learn to stop these thoughts and to replace them with healthier thoughts.  The first step is to catch yourself when you are thinking these thoughts, and to stay "stop!"; then replace it with another thought.  So for instance, maybe you fail a test or get rejected by a romantic interest.  You catch yourself saying "you aren't worth anything". Stop this thought, and replace it with "You didn't do as well on that test as you would have liked.  Let's figure out how you can do better next time."  Or "she may not want to go out with you, but someone else will". So the idea is to develop a voice of a "friend", who can tell you the kind of things you would say to your own best friend.  You might also pick up the book, Feeling Good, by David Burns. He gives many tips for how to change Negative Self Talk.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Manya  Khoddami
Manya Khoddami
I aspire to inspire you to tap into your own inner potentials and transform symptoms to strengths.
Talking to a licensed profession who can discuss this in greater depth can be best. 
As a general information, in short, I can say that our thoughts are greatly influenced by our early life experiences. Our thoughts are processed through schemes, these are mental images or templates by which we make meaning of the world around us.  While our upbringing has a great influence on the way we see and interact with the world around us as adults, However, we are not condemned to abide by them for life, in psychotherapy, you learn to change negative schemas with positive ones. Yeah, if you had less than optimal childhood you would have some sort of negative schemas that unconsciously lead to self-sabotage your efforts for success and happiness. The research in the field of interpersonal neurobiology suggests that without conscious awareness and reflective practices we tend to interact with the world by repeating old habits of mind. On the other hand, in psychotherapy you can learn helpful strategies to increase your conscious abilities to stay in control of your mind in the present moment and reduce intrusions of negative mind habits. 
Yoga, meditation, and tai chi are also found to increase self-awareness and lessen the intrusions of negative self-judgment on one's psyche.

 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Vikas Keshri
Vikas Keshri
Recovery from mental illness is possible

Life is beautiful without unwanted thoughts and stress. With proper strategies and tools it is possible to regain control over your thoughts. I guess you are just having "thoughts" and not actually "hearing voices"? My suggestion is to see a therapist and go from there.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

First off, there is nothing wrong with you.  In fact, having random thoughts we feel we cannot control is actually quite common and normal.  

Sometimes our thoughts think they are protecting us (if we think we aren't worth anything, it won't hurt when we get rejected) but they are actually doing quite the opposite.  They are keeping us "stuck" and creating a self-prophization.  (If I think I am not worth anything, I don't have to try, and I will keep proving to myself that I am not worth anything).  

There are many techniques to work through and start to change our negative self-talk.  There are actually many self-help workbooks that can help with this as well.  

A technique I like to use is meditation or mindfulness.  This can teach us to accept our thoughts (not fight them) and then learn to let them go.  Release the power they have on us.  If we can learn to release these and not ruminate on them, this will give us the space to allow more positive and supportive thoughts to come in.  

Mantras can help with this as well (I AM worth a lot, I AM important, I have value).  Saying these to yourself everyday over and over (even if at first you don't believe) can retrain our brains to believe it (and allow us to believe it).  I have even wrote positive mantras to myself in my bathroom mirror so I am forced to look at these throughout the day.

Please remember to not be hard on yourself as you begin to attempt to change the automatic thought patterns.  It took a while for you to get where you are and it will take a while for this change to kick in and feel normal.  So allow the process to happen slowly and allow yourself to accept you as the amazing and brave person you are.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Those  critical thoughts most likely came into your mind as the way you understood what one of your parents or some other adult who was very meaningful to you, at a very young age.

When we are too young to distinguish whether what a grown person tells us, feels accurate, we absorb their opinions as our own.

Your question shows you've reached the point of emotional maturity to know that your opinion about yourself is not the same as what is inside your emotional brain and stored there since you were too young to know that someone else's opinions are not necessarily your opinions.

Nothing is wrong with you, everything is right with you to wonder how to more firmly establish your own point of view.

Start the habit to revise any viewpoints about yourself which don't feel true.

Then replace these thoughts with better ones which you decide on your own.

After a while of doing this you'll either automatically think the more positive thoughts about yourself or at least be in the habit to know that negative viewpoints about you are not necessarily true.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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