Talking Back to Your Negative Self-Harm Voice

June 8, 2020 Martyna Halas

We all have that little mean, negative, self-harm voice inside our heads, constantly nagging us and pointing out all our mistakes. Self-harm often comes with negative self-talk, but it's worth remembering that you are not your thoughts, you are just listening to them. You can choose to ignore them -- or even create a dialogue between you and your self-injury voice.

How to Stop the Negative Self-Harm Voice

What would you say to self-harm if it was a person? What would you call it? Giving your negative voice a name can help you separate yourself from it, and create a healthy distance between you and your inner-critic. In this video, I show you how I talk to my negative self-harm voice as if it was a real person. I hope it will inspire you to take leadership of your inner dialogue and regain control over your self-harm thoughts.

Have you tried this to overcome the self-harm voice with this technique? Let us know how it worked for you in the comments.

APA Reference
Halas, M. (2020, June 8). Talking Back to Your Negative Self-Harm Voice, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Martyna Halas

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Andrei Dan
June, 8 2020 at 6:24 pm

The self-harm voice is brutal at times but I started dealing with it pretty well. Sometimes I even have fun at how ridiculous and unfounded are some of the things I hear in my head. But for the most part I love acknowledging that whoever this voice may be, it doesn't really KNOW anything about me. My favourite comeback line is "I know you think that". Then I'm not fighting it nor agreeing with it so it's just left dead in the water, out of fuel. And it goes with a dose of irony that makes me feel good and relaxed in the moment too. Doesn't always work cos sometimes I'm not aware of when it shows up but I'm getting better at recognizing it quickly.

July, 3 2020 at 2:50 am

Hi Andrei, nice to read you here :)
It's good to let the voice speak sometimes, at least you're not holding anything inside. Talking back to it can have a comical effect, too. Sometimes I chuckle when I tell my voice: "Whatever, Karen! Go home!". Recognizing it can be tricky, but I've noticed it gets better with time. And journaling can be helpful, too. I wrote about it in my latest post here:…
Thanks for your comment and have a great day :)

Lizanne Corbit
June, 10 2020 at 11:31 am

I absolutely love the suggestion of giving that self-harming voice a name, I often do this with fear as well. As you mentioned, it allows us to make that separation -- I am not this voice. We take our power back. This is also wonderful in terms of allowing us to "press pause" when we separate ourselves from it we're also able to give ourselves the time and space to keep from instantly getting swept up by the voice. This is a practice, and while it takes time and awareness, it is a wonderful tool to work with.

July, 3 2020 at 3:05 am

Hi Lizanne!
Thanks so much for the comment! I'm glad you like using this tool for yourself -- I have to try this with fear next time :) I mostly use it with self-doubt, though I can see how this method would work for a myriad of other negative voices. We can tackle absolutely everything if we learn to press pause and separate ourselves from our dark feelings. It takes practice, but it's so worth it.
Have a wonderful day!

March, 27 2022 at 11:46 am

I'm keeping a journal of what the voice says, and also what the voice is commenting on. From this exercise I'm seeing two benefits:
- Reading back all the mean things the voice has been saying the last couple days is shocking. It clarifies the fact that the voice is over the top nasty, hostile, and dishonest. Definitely not worth listening to.
- Also, I've noticed that the voice comes "right after" I think about something that was embarrassing, or I think about something I'm frustrated about. The voice is the 2nd part of a mental process:
1. Inject thoughts about something frustrating or embarrassing in my life (real or imagined)
2. Then the voice says jumps in, says terrible things, and uses those previous thoughts to justify its abuse.
What a weird situation to have a voice that lives in this brain that seems motivated to make this same brain feel terrible.
Sometimes I ask the voice, "Is that all you've got? I've heard the same boring insults a hundred times. Don't you have anything better or more original by now? Lame!"
A zen teacher wrote a book about the voice that I really liked: "There is Nothing Wrong With You"

April, 12 2022 at 10:01 am

Hi Brendan,
Thanks so much for your comment! Keeping this type of journal can definitely be a powerful tool for healing. I'm glad it's working for you; thanks so much for outlining your process so that others (myself included) can try it! Our brains are definitely... interesting things, haha. I love the way you talk back to your voice; I can definitely see how it would help minimize its impact (and help you remember that YOU'RE the one in charge).
I'll have to check that book out sometime. Thanks for the recommendation!

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