I Gave the Demon a Name

Recently, one of my closest friends told me I had many friends. I half-jokingly said she was the only one I liked, and the rest were crap. Her reply to that was unexpected. She told me I needed a daily mantra. Before going to bed, she said I should look in the mirror and say, “I like myself. I love myself. I deserve good things.” I promised her I would try. She told me to say it three times. She then assured my that Bloody Mary won’t get me. I said I’d summon Bloody Mary and we’d both say the mantra.

I tried this mantra that night. I looked in the mirror. It was uncomfortable. I normally have no issues looking at myself. This time I did. I couldn’t bring myself to say the words out loud, but I said them in my mind. By the third time, I fought back tears. Why was saying those three sentences so difficult? I told my friend I did what she said, and it was more difficult than expected. She said I had to do it every day and she cried the first time. I told her I cried.

This was the first time a friend or family member told me to change how I speak to myself. You hear doctors or celebrities say these things all the time. This was a shocking realization. I discovered I didn’t like myself. Despite all the work I did for many years building my confidence and moving to a place where I thought I liked myself. I still don’t. I used to hate myself. I have improved. I have made progress, but I have a long way to go yet. I thought more about how I speak to myself and about myself.

If someone else said negative words to me, it might hurt but I’d eventually ignore them. Or I’d tell myself they’re having a bad day and lashed out. When I say negative things to myself, I accept it as truth. How do I move away from such ideas? I decided to put a name to those negative thoughts. If I name it and treat it like another person, I think I can stop listening to those words. If I separate it from myself, I’ll no longer treat it as truth. So, I gave my inner demon a name. I’m not sharing that name. That’s my personal demon and no one else’s.

I will no longer say, “I’m being negative.” It’s the demon feeding me negativity. Some days are still difficult. Sometimes you get trapped in a negative loop and can’t get out. You eventually do. Calling it something else makes it easier to fight. Easier for me anyway. This may not work for everyone. This can work with writing letters to yourself only now you can use a different name. I don’t hate myself. I hate you the demon inside me and I want you out. I want you gone! So, I gave the demon a name. Because you have to know the demon’s name before you can fight them.

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10 thoughts on “I Gave the Demon a Name

  1. I’ve seen a couple of memes that say, “If a friend talked to you the way you talk to you, they wouldn’t be your friend.” This post captured that phenomenon and took it one step further. I’ve been reading about shame recently, and one of my favorite author’s says it is vital to speak shame out loud. I think you are doing a version of that by naming your demon.

    Thanks for sharing. I have the same tendency, and I know I would have an impossible time with your friend’s assignment.


  2. Definitely needed to read this today. I have been struggling for weeks with negativity towards myself and this helped. Thank you.


  3. I have found the way I talk to myself makes an enormous difference. For years, my therapist told me that, but I dismissed it as too corny. Once I finally started doing it, however, I was amazed. I am now a big fan of affirmation cards and like to make my own to suit my particular situation and needs. (“Today is a rough day. I am going to be extra kind to myself.”) I told my therapist about how much it helped, and she said, “That’s because our brains believe what they are told often enough, which is also the whole theory behind advertising.”


  4. Naming your personal demons is actually a common tactic in treating OCD and a few other disorders. I have two named personal demons myself. Also, while affirmations can be helpful, I’ve found that they only tend to be helpful AFTER you’ve reached a certain level of stability. Probably the reason why these phrases work so well now (and not so much before) is because you have already put in so much work. So, don’t get discouraged. The fact that these did something means that you have already made progress, not that you are backtracking.


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