Today I Learned That Not Everyone Has An Internal Monologue And It Has Ruined My Day.

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My day was completely ruined yesterday when I stumbled upon a fun fact that absolutely obliterated my mind. I saw this tweet yesterday that said that not everyone has an internal monologue in their head. All my life, I could hear my voice in my head and speak in full sentences as if I was talking out loud. I thought everyone experienced this, so I did not believe that it could be true at that time.

Literally the first person I asked was a classmate of mine who said that she can not “hear” her voice in her mind. I asked her if she could have a conversation with herself in her head and she looked at me funny like I was the weird one in this situation. So I began to become more intrigued. Most people I asked said that they have this internal monologue that is running rampant throughout the day. However, every once in a while, someone would say that they don’t experience this.

My life began to slowly spiral out of control with millions of questions. How do they get through the day? How do they read? How do they make decisions between choice A and choice B? My friend described it as “concept maps” that she sees in her brain. Another friend says that she literally sees the words in her head if she is trying to think about something. I was taking ibuprofen at this point in the day because my brain was literally unable to comprehend this revelation. How have I made it 25 years in life without realizing that people don’t think like me? 

I posted a poll on instagram to get a more accurate assessment of the situation. Currently 91 people have responded that they have an internal monologue and 18 people reported that they do not have this. I began asking those people questions about the things that they experience and it is quite different from the majority.

I would tell them that I could look at myself in the mirror and have a full blown telepathic conversation with myself without opening my mouth and they responded as if I had schizophrenia. One person even mentioned that when they do voice overs in movies of people’s thoughts, they “wished that it was real.”

And to their surprise, they did not know that the majority of people do in fact experience that echoey voice in their head that is portrayed in TV and film. Another person said that if they tried to have a conversation with themselves in the mirror, they would have to speak out loud because they can’t physically do it inside of their mind. 

I started posting screenshots of these conversations on my instagram and my inbox started to flood with people responding to my “investigation.” Many people were reassuring me that I was not crazy for having an internal monologue, while others were as absolutely mind blown as I was. People were telling me that I ruined their day and that they now do not understand anything about life. Maybe you are all just a figment of my imagination, but regardless, yesterday made reality seem even more skewed. 

How do they think? How does this affect their relationships, jobs, experiences, education? How has this not been mentioned to me before? All of these questions started flooding my mind. Can those people without the internal monologue even formulate these questions in their mind? If they can, how does it happen if they don’t “hear” their voice? I mentioned earlier that I was spiraling out of control. Well, as I write this and as I hear my own voice in my head, I am continuing to fall down the rabbit hole. 

Whether people just have different definitions of their thoughts, or if people literally don’t have an internal monologue, there is one thing that we do know… you will definitely get a headache if you keep thinking about this. Just trying to wrap my head around it is causing irreversible brain damage. I suggest asking people around you what they experience. If you are one of the few that do not have this internal monologue, please enlighten me, because I still do not understand life anymore. Send help.

@RyanLangdon_

This blog is a collection of work that I have done over the years. From scientific phenomena to personal stories, I simply write about the things that go on Inside My Mind. My YouTube channel consists of interviews and vlogs relating to areas of psychology that interest me, and those fields will continue to evolve and expand as my interests change. Follow along!

11 COMMENTS

  1. I did not know that. I can do both, so I thought everyone else could too. *Mind blown*
    I can understand how both types of people think but I mean, wow. Honestly though, speaking in your mind is way better but seeing words in my mind in essential sometimes too.

    • It’s the same to me. I totally understand the both way to think.
      Maybe everyone can do this in some level. When you are in a conversation, for example, you don’t have time to “hear” your voice until you say something or answer a question, you just know what you is going to say.

    • Wait, you see words in your mind? Like literally typed or written, legible words? I mean I am able to picture words written out in my own mind but I’ve never like done it or used it as part of my thinking process… I wouldn’t be able to like see sentences in my mind that’s for sure, I’d have to physically put them on paper or type them out…that’s super interesting. I’m going to try visualizing the words I hear in my head and see if it changes my thoughts or the outcome of them and note the differences.

  2. Ryan, I too am completely mind-f*%ckd by this and wonder how I’ve gone 30 years without knowledge of this. I thought everyone could “hear” themselves. I’ve asked two people that I’m currently in the same room with and both can hear themselves but also don’t see the “big deal” about not being about to..?! I am totally convinced I’m in the Matrix and everyone is an NPC.

    Thank you for this mind-blown moment and great read.

  3. So do those who do not have n inner monologue….are they more prone to not thinking before they speak? I only ask this because having an internal monologue allows me to say things in my head before I say them out loud…it’s how I “think before i speak”. But if someone doesn’t have that inner dialogue and they have to actually speak out loud once a thought has been translated into words and it being the first time they were even able to hear it in words…i would imagine that these people might often say things that they either regret saying or shouldn’t have said….you know, like word vomit basically…like how does it work for those without an inner dialogue when it comes to that?

  4. My mind works in levels similar to floors within a building. The building having 2 elevators & the elevators are the ways in which I process everything else in my mind (content on each floor), one elevator represents my inner monologue & the other represents my visualization process of pictures or short videos that play out in my mind. So beginning on the top floor going down to the 1st floor is everything else, each level below another level would be the the resulting translation done by the elevators when they moved down to the next lower floor. The top floor consist of sensory details I’m physically observing & taking note of, either consciously or unconsciously.. mental stimuli from anything I see, hear, touch, Smell, taste or physically feel…next floor down would be the translation of top floor content into that of emotions. Let’s keep in mind that there are windows on every floor, which I could cannon ball out of which represents reacting on impulse..but I usually try to just take the elevators which can be representative as rational thinking too…okay so next floor down would also be emotions but only the strong ones make it down to this level. From this level to the next I then pull whatever meaning I can from all of the above floors and where questions are formed, questions I am to answer for myself. I’d also like to note that there stairs too within the building which will represent everything subconscious as well as memory and anything retained from any of the floors. These thoughts are like background thoughts that are always moving. These background thoughts can take the form of any level of thought as most of them have already been completely processed. These thoughts can intercede within my thought process at anytime and can either help move the process along or can slow or even stop it, cause the elevator to be temporarily out of service which represents confusion, uncertainty, fear or doubt (everything of the ego) when this happens. So from the floor where everything has been translated into something of a question or many questions. These are then translated into answers. ideas of how I can grow from all of the above & what I may have learned. The next floor is basically where I leave any negative energies & paper shred as much of the resulting ego based feelings as possible. Next floor being clarity of thought & understanding of all of the above.. then the next floor are choices to be made then finally the first floor where rational actions, reactions & well thought out decisions are made. & Underneath it all is the parking garage which represents me zoning out and thus turning on thought on auto pilot where every picture seen, or sentence heard from everywhere in the building can come into play and mix at random and this where i sometimes have epiphanies or where realizations occur. I can also go here on purpose to access my intuition or other senses that aren’t of our physical senses. And there you have it….this is how my brain works. Hopefully some were able to follow…and hopefully not too many think I’m bat shit crazy. Also, one that thing.. I feel like every single mind that exists is a beautiful & rare work of art that’s beautiful for one reason or another or for a million reasons. Every perspective is rare to that of ourselves alone. And that is so amazingly mind blowing in itself. 💜

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