By Stuart Cox BA MA
About the Author:
Stuart is an NHS office worker who started hearing an intelligent, manipulative, aggressive and bitter voice in October of 2004. The voice could read his memory and thoughts. The voice sometimes seemed to be one voice ,sometimes many voices and sometimes one voice pretending to be many voices . Over a period of 7 years he heard the voice in relapses about every 8 months. The relapses occured when he tried to come off medication which was affecting his life by making him very tired and down. He was compelled to talk to his voice (in his head) and gradually persuaded the voice to become less angry and in 2011 the voice became relatively calm and then fell silent. He attends the Manchester Hearing Voices Network Groups.
If you have any feedback once you have read this please email him on:
I am particularly interested in whether this document has helped you with your voice.
If you are a voice hearer with a similar type of voice to mine, reading this may bring home the reality of your own situation. Make sure you get plenty of supportive company and remember, voices may be able to distress you at the moment but that’s all they can do. I came out the other side and i silenced my very nasty voice so I could get on with my life.
My voice didn’t know it was doing some of the crafty and underhand things i document here – I had to work it out and explain it to my voice. My voice was elaborate and deceitful but by learning about it and writing this document, I learned to control it.
Where do the voices come from ?
Being a Voice Hearer, I read on the internet where other Voice Hearers say their voices come from. I talked to other Voice Hearers about what they currently believed about where their voice comes from . I was also told by my voice what it was and where it came from. This actually chopped and changed over the years. There were times when I believed what my voice was telling me and times when I didn’t believe it. Below is a summary of all the places my voice and some fellow Voice Hearers suggested to me voices come from. They vary from the scientific to the very outlandish. I listed them because it helped me get to it down on paper and be objective about it.
1. Schizophrenia / Psychosis – medics are basically saying voices are part of your mind talking to you. This is said to be triggered by trauma or drug use neither of which seemed relevant to me. It is sometimes suggested that what the voice says is symbolic to you or meaningful. Perhaps a suppressed part of your character. I have been described as a very peaceful person and I have considered the fact that my voice was very angry and perhaps I have always suppressed my anger and it was coming out in a voice.
2. Telepathy – My voice would sometimes tell me it was a telepathic half sister I didn’t know about. There is no proof that telepaths exist but some voice hearers say they do and that they can contact and talk to people remotely.
3. Technological telepathy – My voice sometimes said it was a person with a machine that made them able to talk to me remotely. It sometimes said this was done via radiowaves and sometimes a universal energy field that is everywhere. My voice told me this in 2004 for a while when I was new to the experience of voice hearing and very impressionable.
There is no evidence to prove this.
4. Some voice hearers say their voice is an Angel – I didn’t ever expereince anything angelic about my voice. Because my voice was nasty and devious I tended to be very sceptical about this. I wonder whether this type of voice monopolises people, making a place for itself at the very centre of their life and at the expense of other things. That is however just my opinion and given my experience it perhaps isn’t surprising I am distrusting of voices.
5. The Spiritualist Theory –‘voices are sometimes earthbound spirits’. In this theory, which you may be told about or may read about, spirits (or ghosts if you prefer) of the departed do not follow the advice of their guides. This advice is to ‘cross over’ to ‘the spirit world’ or heaven as they are supposed to. They choose to interact with the living instead. In this theory spirits/ghosts may interact with people and the spirits may be nice or they may be nasty. It is said that some are confused and they may be nice but controlling. Some spiritualists believe that something good can sometimes come of it, other spiritualists believe the spirits are not supposed to be earthbound and should just ‘cross over’. When I first heard this explanation, I found it a little disturbing but as it sank in as a possibility for my voice I got used to it. I gather some voice hearers start to believe they have a ‘spirit guide’ and that they are a ‘medium’ (someone who can help others talk to the dead). I respect their beliefs but I have also read about mediums who began to believe they had been deceived by there voice into thinking they were a medium talking to various spirits.
6. Other Realities Theory – There is a flaw in the structure of our reality and through it, some people can interact and talk with beings from another reality. To tell you the truth I’m not very familar with this one.
What did I conclude from all this ?
Probably because my voice chopped and changed so much I concluded that I would never trust what my voice told me and that I would never know the truth. I decided to write this paper, mainly as a way of getting it out of my system. I wanted to put it all behind me and re-build my life so I had real world things to get on with and think about.
What are voices like?
In my experience, which includes listening to and reading about many other voice hearers, voices can be:
- kind (eg they can say they want to heal you)
- nasty and kind
- wise – despite being aggressive, my voice told me some wise things.
- angry – my voice seemed to store up anger and then let it fly at me
- be very critical of you.
- very bitter and twisted
- manipulative of you and your emotions.
- controlling – some voices like to dictate what you think and feel
- very attached to you for some reason (in love or hate or a combination of both)
- They can put you in great danger by:
- making you have suicidal thoughts
- distracting you while you are crossing the road.
- They keep you in the dark . They know everything about you. You only know what they choose to tell you about them.
- They can give you false thoughts and false feelings sometimes through persuading you to think and feel a certain way and sometimes via vivid dreams.
- They can get a grip on you because what they say can be entertaining and enlightening . I felt ‘held in’ by my voice because you feel that eventually the voice will reveal itself in some way. I had to realise that my voice never would ‘reveal itself’.
- Voices can come across as Insane themselves !
The 10 Pillars of my Voice Hearing
Below are my conclusions about my own voice hearing experience and I believe that drawing these conclusions has helped me silence my voice.
1. Anti-Psychotics can quieten or silence my voice (this seems to vary from person to person). My problem was that my anti-psychotic seemed to block out my voice but made me very tired and down even on a low dose. This is why I kept trying to come off it and why I felt I had to face up to my voice.
2. If my voice kept me awake at night, I found it best to take a sleeping pill every few nights to get a really good sleep (Consult your GP about this). When I was tired and demoralised I didn’t think straight and I needed a good nights sleep.
3. My Voice fed off my desire to experience something mystical in life. My voice used this desire to draw me in. My voice promised secret knowledge, sometimes described a frightening world or said I was a special person. I ended up concluding that my voice was just a voice and thats all it would ever be.
4. My voice was able to read my thoughts and memory and therefore knew me inside out. It knew exactly how to manipulate me and seemed to enjoy doing this. It sometimes used memories in my head that stirred emotions so it could get a grip on me. I learned that If I stayed strong and centred I stayed in charge.
5. My voice got louder the more insecure/frightened/tired I felt. It also got louder the angrier it became. I Iearned to avoid conflict with it.
6. My voice got a grip on me as I was fascinated by it . My voice would find ways of keeping me fascinated. I gather voices can do this by pretending they are someone you have emotions about (eg a deceased mother who you had issues with, a half sister you didn’t know about). I decided not to get drawn into this game that my voice played. This game was about my voice making me weak, monopolising me and controlling me, presumably purely for its own entertainment. My voice said I kept talking to it so I must want to be with it. I felt at the time that I wanted some sort of conclusion to it all, I wanted to get to the bottom of it – thats why I kept talking to it. Eventually I realised that I never would get to the bottom of it. There was a conclusion though – controlling and silencing my voice through accepting I would never get to the bottom it – it was just a voice.
7. My voice made me think some weird things and gave me some weird ideas because voices can be very, very persuasive and mad themselves. I concluded that there was something about the little world that I was in when I was with my voice that wasn’t quite right, that unbalanced my mind. I did wonder whether this little world we were in unbalanced my voice too because for a long while, it would never remember and accept anything I said to it. It just semed to be playing cruel and dngerous games with me. I decided not to listen to any of the ideas or concepts my voice came up with. I think hearing a voice can in itself make you have weird thoughts and ideas and if you let it, it will send you round the bend. I became determined to stay grounded in the real world and think of my voice as just a voice.
8. My voice was constantly critical of me. I started calmly stating my case and pointing out that a few errors on my part was nothing compared to my voice’s habit of tormenting me, endangering me when crossing the road and pulling me and my life apart. I also pointed out that having a voice was affecting my relationships and being on an anti-psychotic was affecting my co-ordination and my mood. My voice invaded me, abused me and endangered my life so I wasn’t going to accept criticism from a voice that, if it were real, would be locked up.
9. Probably most importantly, I realised my voice was very angry and I had to treat it like an angry and bitter person. I also realised that, at first, it hated me and I coped with this by imagining it had been wronged in some way by a person like me. My voice seemed to make me say things that angered it, then it would store up its anger and then punish me with it.
10. My voice started to become kinder to me but my feeling was that my voice started trying to make a place for itself in the centre of my life at the expense of driving and going back to having a rewarding and fun job. My voice still kept me awake at night and engaged me in discussion when I was crossing the road or when I should have been keeping on top of things by doing the housework for instance. I decided I didn’t want to trust it and have an anonymous voice as a friend. I felt it was only being kind so it could be in the centre of my life.
At the end of the day I believe, having a troublesome voice is about power. My voice tried to knock me off centre so it could get a grip. When it was first with me it was capable of getting very angry which made it louder. As I pacified it, its anger and therefore its power seemed to fade. I now feel I understand my voice at a deeper level than it wanted me to. I hope that, maybe for some, this is the key to gaining control of voices.
It may sound strange but above all, I had to make sure my voice understood and accepted what it has done to me and my family. It had to accept that, if it was real, it would be restrained and in custody as a danger to the community until it was no longer controlling, abusive and dangerous. It sounds odd, but my voice was crazy. It thought it was a healer and a righteous punisher. It could use tones of voice that could mesmerise me, give me severe migraine and change my mood. I experienced some very strange things whilst I was with my voice. I sometimes believed that someone or something had linked us together and was stokeing up conflict between us. It seemed that alien thoughts came into my head that would anger the voice and step up the conflict.
When it finally sunk in to my voice that it was just abusing me, it changed. My voice was very twisted and I had to show it, it was twisted and taking things out on me. I look back at the mistakes I made and wish I had done it differently to save myself and my wife a lot of distress. I wish I had been stronger. Voices pull people and families apart in my experience. I had to make sure though that I forgave my voice and put it behind me. Above all, I had to accept that I had learned a lot about my voice but I would never know what my voice was. When my voice became reasonable I still didn’t want a voice in my life as I prefer advice and guidance from people I can truly know and hug ! My voice has gone and that is what I have chosen. I am now re-building a real life for myself.
For support and information I recommend the Hearing Voices Network :
Go to a group meeting and you’ll not feel alone with your voice ever again.
and for more information look at the Intervoice website:
For coping techniques see:
‘Coping with Voices and Visions’ Edited by Julie Downs and published by the Hearing Voices Network Tel. 01142718210