Talking To Myself Out Loud: Normal or Not?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

So I have always talked out loud to myself when I’m alone since I can remember. My mom said she used to catch me doing it in my room all the time when I was little, and sometimes even in the bathroom or a changing room in public, and I remember a few times when she would ask me who I was talking to, or someone else would comment about it to her, and I would just answer “myself”. When I was little I had a pretty huge imagination, and believed all my toys and furniture were alive, so I would talk to them to explain what I was doing or how I was feeling. I never had imaginary friends, but would always make up stories and act them out. As I got older, I learned that most people don’t consider talking to yourself out loud to be normal, and of course I no longer believe inanimate objects are alive, but I just couldn’t stop doing it.

I have never heard voices answering back or had hallucinations or anything like that. I just constantly feel the need to express myself or explain my motives and actions to myself, and so I literally have conversations with myself ALL the time when I’m alone! I never do it in public anymore except when it slips out, and no one knows I do it. But I’m constantly afraid someone will walk in on me doing it or hear me and think I’m crazy. And I’m not sure if this is normal or really a problem? I can’t stop doing it, and I don’t have a lot of close friends to talk to. I was also bullied a lot throughout grade and high school, and have struggled with depression and low self-esteem. I do journal and try to do other things to relieve my emotions, but I always fall back on talking out loud as if other people are in the room, and answering myself.

Is this totally abnormal and am I crazy? How can I stop if it is, when I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember?

A. I do not believe that talking to yourself, in the context that you have described, is necessarily “abnormal” or “crazy.” It is something that you have done all your life. It provides emotional and psychological relief. You only engage in the behavior when you are alone. It seems to be a behavior that you can control. When you realized that it was considered abnormal by others you immediately stopped. The behavior is not harming you and it is not harming others.

I would characterize your behavior as a habit. From my perspective, it’s only a problem if you consider it to be troublesome or if it is harming you. If it is a habit that you would like to stop, then you may want to consult a therapist. A therapist could explore the utility of such a behavior and assist you in the development of replacement behaviors.

Much of what you do is not too different from that done by many others, who have these conversations but do so silently, in their minds. You have probably heard the expression “talking out loud.” I think that when people say “talking out loud,” they mean I am vocalizing my internal thought process or dialogue. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 Nov 2011

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2011). Talking To Myself Out Loud: Normal or Not?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/11/23/talking-to-myself-out-loud-normal-or-not/