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Voices in Our Brains


Food addiction is a force that functions in your mind and heart separately from your conscious thought or will. It is a composition of many areas of your life, some good, some bad, some awful. Many of your negative childhood experiences are recorded in Gertrude’s belief system, especially negative thoughts and ideas that were spoken to you.  Criticisms too, have been recorded into a voice in your brain that I call Gertrude. Do you have someone sitting around in your brain telling you that you are fat, stupid and ugly, hopeless and unlovable? This person always uses the word “You” never the word “I” when she/he speaks. And she/he can say some of the rudest things to you. What do we do with her?

She reminds some of us of Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the entrance to the Underworld in Greek mythology. Or of Fluffy, an extremely large three-headed dog, apparently loyal to Hagrid, in the Harry Potter movie.

This is the persona we have put on the addictive process. It is really helpful to separate this, because you can get a clear picture of what the addictive process is leading you to do. And unthought of mostly, Gertrude has some special skills. Each of our trouble filled lives has led us to the awareness of certain things, to the ability to handle certain things, to certain strengths and weaknesses.

What are the things you have been forced to learn to survive the dysfunctional parts of your life? This is how my Gertrude was created. Now in recovery, I have needed to learn how to use these skills in a positive way. What has your addictive process made you good at?

Some Gertrude’s have excellent intuitive skills, or organization skills, or defensive skills or conversation skills, or protection skills. It is important to know these and use these to our benefit when appropriate. It is critical, though, that we limit Gertrude in her attempts to hurt us or others, and to lead us into the food. That is the only way she knows for peace and comfort. It is even more important to quiet Gertrude’s insulting hurtful tongue and to require her to treat us with respect.

Who else can you hear in your mind?

There may be other voices in our brains, each telling us their perspectives on who we are and what kind of life we should lead. There might be a place for your father who loved you, supported you, believed in you. Or there might be a painful hole there if he left or abandoned or abused you. Your fifth-grade teacher, who took you under his wing and taught you so much, is in your mind too. And the present day – your mother, who has always believed in you and stood behind you. She is your rock. Or your BIG BRO! who laughed at you, cared about you, and protected you. And your current employer, who has standards and expectations. And your partner or spouse, who lives with you and loves you.

Your therapist, who is working to help you, the psychiatrist who does your medications, your dentist, your doctor, your accountant, your friends and relatives.  And all these people have a voice in your thoughts.

And we need to be careful about whom we listen to. I don’t tell my accountant the details of my dental visit. And there are some people we don’t trust; we must be careful to evaluate their advice. And there are others, a good friend perhaps? A therapist? Your favorite dietitian? whose advice you trust and tend to follow.

Choose the people whose voices you want to hear in your mind; the ones who have what you want and are willing to help you create it in your own life

And our recovering brain needs a CEO – a persona who takes charge, who keeps us moving forward in our lives, who helps us choose to behave in a way that will benefit us – our bodies, minds, and spirits. She/he takes orders directly from your Inner Core of Wisdom, (the Wise Woman Within) and moves you forward to create the best life for you.

This week, think about the people who live in your brain, who you want there and who you don’t, and I will talk more about them next week.

Blessings to you,


2 Responses to Voices in Our Brains

  1. Terri H June 28, 2022 at 12:04 pm #

    Excellent article. You explained monkey chatter beautifully.

    Thank you.

    • H. Theresa Wright July 3, 2022 at 2:11 pm #

      Thank you. So glad it was helpful.

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