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The Voices in my Head


Registered Member
To me it's the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. It's a good conscience versus an impulsive unethical act. Those that legitimately "hear" voices are usually treated for some type of psychoses.


The Hierophant
Personally, I think that the voices in our head are our inner monologue. Take people Jared Laughner and David Berkowitz who both shot people claiming to hear voices in their head. (though Berkowitz hear them in his neighbors dog) I think that the voices in their head were just verbalizing things that they wanted to hear, just like with everyone else that thinks. The main difference, that I see, is that these people are sociopaths and have absolutely no feelings for other people. It's not the voices in their head telling them that they need to kill people. It's their lack of compassion.

On a similar note, I feel like it's perfectly healthy and fine to think about killing other people. But, it's when that fantasy becomes an obsession and that obsession becomes a reality that you cross that line.


Registered Member
Whether or not it provides an adequate legal defense is not something I will comment on, but there is no doubt in my mind that when some people say they hear voices in their head, they actually mean they HEAR voices. With their ears.

I'm susceptible to periodic bouts of sleep paralysis; that's where your brain hovers on the edge of sleeping and waking, and decides to do things in the wrong order, namely, waking the conscious portions of your brain, but keeping the paralyzing agents active. One of the occasional side effects includes auditory hallucination. It's only happened two or three times for me; the first time I'm pretty sure it was just an incredibly loud wooshing sound from all over the room, but one time there was definitely a chorus of sinister whispering coming from a specific direction. I never heard what was said, but it was clear SOMETHING was being said.

And if my anecdotal evidence isn't sufficient, then maybe think of it this way: every night in out sleep, almost every single person on the planet experiences intense bouts of perceptive hallucinations. When you're dreaming you experience imaginary visions, sounds, conversations, and occasionally entire elaborate dramas, as though they were unmistakable reality, all inside your head! Since every other part of your body is known to break in unique ways, there's no reason to assume differently of the brain; waking dreams are a documented reality, and Schizophrenia probably falls somewhere in the same realm.


New Member
I've always been frustrated with this concept. "The Voices in my Head"... You hear this used sometimes jokingly, sometimes serious, but 90% of the time you'll hear it when some sort of major catastrophe has happened.

What does it mean to you when someone pleads "the Voices in my head told me to do it"?

Take for instance the Arizona Shooter, Mr. Jared Loughner, I've heard now on multiple accounts from different sources on Television (sorry I cant provide links) how he's claiming not guilty and blaming his actions upon the voices in his head. And now will most likely not receive the repercussions of his actions that he truly deserves, only furthering a stance for future killers to blame their actions on "The Voices".

Now obviously I don't want to make this thread about the Arizona Shooting, but what I want to focus on are those particular Voices. What are they? Are they pure schizophrenia? A separation from reality? Or just Strong opinions that weak individuals succumb to?

Pardon this following article for being slightly outdated, however I found it relevant to the discussion;

So the question I bear in mind is... mind you this is my opinion however feel free to debate it if you find relevance to your opinion.

Are the Voices nothing more than inner yearnings of our strong opinion, our Subconscious pushing us to accomplish those wants and act upon those Opinions? In which case we'd still be responsible for our actions regardless of what the Voices instruct us to do, for its our job to society to "do onto others as we want done to ourselves" (in short, know right from wrong)

I hear voices every once in a while, they tell me to do maniacal things. Generally all resorting in epic mischief that would otherwise place me as a lavish criminal. Fire, Violence, Theft.. but mostly Violence. the whole lot of 'em... I've been urged by my self conscious with the nagging hint of "wouldn't it be fun to..." Sometimes I've succumbed, but more often than not I know that just because I have a severe nagging want to... doesn't make it right or even remotely acceptable. At all times I was taught right from wrong and I weigh the odds and impact of hurting someone else before ever taking advice from that Dark side of me. Am I a special case in the sense that my voices aren't as convincing? Or are all the Voices the same and its just our own will that is different?

What is your opinion on "the Voices in my head". Do you ever feel any voices in your head? What do you think is the root of them (I want your opinion even if you don't have your own Voices).

I know this is MD, but Its also Psychology... so quite frankly I don't want any Right or Wrong answers... I want Opinions only, links are welcome to back those up. But I refuse to believe there is an end all to this discussion... if you claim you have it... I'll claim the voices in your head are making you delusional.

There are different kinda of voice hearers. It ranges from inner monologues that are your own voice and controlled by yourself to involuntarily voices that are other's voices. The latter can fall under schizophrenia, psychosis, schizotypal personality disorder etc. There are many who have positive voices, who say these voices comfort them and therefore they don't see a counsellor/seek services because it isn't negatively impacting on their life. When people say in court that the voices in their head told them to do it, they mean involuntary negative voices. I don't think these kind of voices are yearning of our subconscious, some people are genuinely tormented by the things their voices tell them. Things like delusions and hallucinations can be so vivid for people that it looks like the real world to them and they have no idea they're having delusions.

In your case, do you find the voices talking in first person or third? From what you've said, if you're thinking "wouldn't it be fun to..." is it first person? If so, then I'd say it could be your inner monologue, so not a completely involuntary voice, but the voices you hear could be more of a reflection of other characteristics. Are you an impulsive person? Do you find yourself quite emotionally driven?


Well-Known Member
It is an interesting concept to wonder if it's an impulsive thought or a personal one, but what boggles my mind is when people claim to hear voices in their head they describe it as another voice besides their own. What I mean by that, when I think to myself about thoughts or what not, it's the same voice that come from out of my mouth when you speak to someone, so another form of yourself talking but inside your head. Others who have claimed to hear voices often are scared that it's the voice of a male or female they they've never heard before.

I personally think the "voice in the head" is both subconscious and conscious thoughts that float around, either to give you advice, plan something out or express feelings that normally you would or would not express.

With those who suffer from mental disorders, and I'm sure Unit and Goat can agree to this, they are suffering from something they cannot control Either their own body functions are effected by the brain or the brain itself is slowly shutting down in normal functioning areas. Such as sensitivity to light and sound, those being the most case for schizophrenia and psychosis patients.



Registered Member
I've never heard voices, although I had a short lasting schizophrenic psychosis several years ago. But even then, I felt all kind of things -- being observed, hidden allusions everywhere, chased, threatened --, but no auditory hallucinations.

It was good it was successfully treated. Although I did not harm anyone, I am not sure I might have, in case I had been used to using violence (I.e. if I was soldier or policeman), because I might have decided to face and attack those who I believed observed and chased me, instead of hiding and running away.

But I believe when people actually hear voices, literally, and can't distinguish them from real voices, that's definitely a sign of mental illness, such as schizophrenia. A sane person can distinguish inner impulses from the outside world.

I'd just like to add that even schizophrenics who actually hear voices are not more violent than the rest of the population. Statistically, they are slightly less likely to commit violent crime, much more likely to hurt themselves up to suicide, and also much more likely to become victims of a crime.

So violence in schizophrenics is not primarily a result of their illness, but the illness brings character traits to the surface which existed before. Violent people remain violent with schizophrenia, peaceful people are not likely to become violent due to the illness.