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Trans Voice Help dandelion

Habituation and how to change your inner voice

Hi, just wondering if anyone else has a similar struggle as me.

Sometimes when I'm thinking in my mind, I have a voice (I know not everyone experiences this, but it sounds common enough) and this "inner" narrative voice has habituated to a masculine sounding voice.

I have noticed when I'm feeling connected with my gender and it's easier to stick with a feminized voice when speaking aloud (i.e. to others, not internal), my internal voice is likewise easier to be subconsciously feminine as well.

Some days I have a really good gender day and I wake up the next morning and my mind has reverted back to that masculine-sounding voice in my head. This isn't necessarily inherently distressing as much as it can feel invalidating or make me feel doubt and cognitive dissonance, like I am not a valid woman because my unconscious has this masculine voice, or the internal masculine voice makes it harder to feel authentic using my feminine voice. Some mornings I try to consciously make it sound more feminine and that is helpful, but some mornings it can feel overwhelming or difficult to constantly correct that masculine voice, and the practice becomes a bit like when I try to use my feminine voice with others - an exercise that makes me feel inauthentic, fake, performative, and anxious.

So far the only real solution I have to these dual problems of habituation (for inner voice and outer) is to just keep trying and persist. I have a tendency towards perfectionism, which makes me feel constantly like I am failing, and this can lead me to feel less motivated to keep trying. However, I am continuing to make an effort. I find having a weekly speech therapy appointment keeps me engaged in that process, and from letting it drop due to other pressures. It also usually makes me feel extremely affirmed, as my therapist is much happier with my progress than I am, and this usually results in finding using my femme voice easy and natural (though usually this only lasts the rest of the day, again, sleeping seems to reset everything and the next morning I wake up with a masculine voice again).

Was wondering if anyone else has habituated their inner narrative voice, how long it took for them to do that (or if they just stopped noticing or it became less relevant?), and if anyone has tips for overcoming the anxiety of using your voice in everyday situations.

I feel like forcing myself over and over into the situations has been effective in reducing how anxious I feel. Over time it has gone from feeling like I almost physically couldn't do it and a rising panic sensation to now it just feels like a bit of performance anxiety right before and I usually slip into it without too much issue - though sustaining it over a long period when speaking a lot can be challenging, and how anxious I feel seems connected to how confident I feel in my gender.

So to summarize, things that have worked for me:

  • noticing masculine inner narrative voice and willfully feminizing it in my head when I notice
  • persisting in forcing myself to feminize my voice at work and in public full-time, even when it is terrifying and just continuing to get regular exposure and ignoring the anxiety that is there
  • building confidence in my gender with styling my hair, wearing jewelry, putting on makeup, wearing feminine clothes, etc. help a little with getting on-board with using a feminine voice (I think of it as I have to pass to myself before I feel like I can try to pass with others, so finding ways to look more like your gender to yourself to build confidence will help with using your voice)

Wondering if anyone else has experiences to share or advice.

Thank you!

  • Really it's just time. You've thought in that voice for years- it's a force of habit. It'll take time to change it, but you're doing everything you should and one day - before you know it - your inner monologue will sound like you.