Negative Messages and Their Continued Influence on You

Negative messages can become beliefs when they are repeatedly spoken or acted out in families, society, school playgrounds and socially. When these messages continue to influence your opinion of yourself, they can have a detrimental or harmful effect on you as an adult.

If you grew up in a family or had bullies in school who shamed you, especially for aspects about yourself that were beyond your control, you may have low self-esteem.

You may also have participated in activities in your addiction that further reinforced some of these messages about your character.

People can use Negative Messages as an excuse to stay the sameSimply because someone told you that you would never amount to anything denies your ability to choose what you are or will become.

Individuals will often say that they have a hard time getting over certain messages, yet, this is sometimes a selective choice in which messages to keep as part of their belief, and which messages to discard. Therefore, you can evaluate and challenge messages if your motive is to get beyond them.

I had red hair and freckles as a child. I heard from cousins and on the playground, “I would rather be dead than red on the head” as well as the question, “Don’t those spots wash off your face?” I clearly heard negative messages about coloring that I could not change.

Only when my father got me a poem about a face without freckles being like a sky without stars did I learn to accept my coloring. Granted, not everyone is going to have a father that finds a poem to refute a negative message; however, you can make the effort for yourself to change the mindset if you find that there are negative messages holding you back. gbwhatsapp

In recovery, you can evaluate the negative messages, decide if they have merit or truth, and discontinue your belief in them if they are invalid or no longer true.

This is a partial list of Negative Messages. Make a list of the personal negative messages that hold you back or erode your self-esteem. Examine them to see how have influenced you and make an effort to change your mindset about them.


  • All children are ___
  • All men are ____
  • All women are ____
  • Always be happy
  • Always be in control
  • Avoid conflict at all costs
  • Do not get angry
  • Do as I say, not as I do
  • Do not ever embarrass the family
  • Do not express your feelings
  • Do not question, just follow the family rules
  • I wish you were more like your brother/sister
  • It’s your fault that I am abusing you
  • Keep all family secrets
  • We don’t discuss bad things in our family
  • You are just like ____
  • You deserved it
  • You will never amount to anything


Taking the time to look at these old negative messages can help you see exactly how much influence they have had on you. For many people, until they take the time to remember and examine these negative messages, they do not realize that their “belief” in some aspects of themselves is actually based on something that was said to them when they were a child; an opinion that may or may not have anything to do with the person that they are today.

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