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Author Topic: Why do pwBPD sometime speak with a childlike voice?  (Read 31913 times)
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aka "Somber"

« on: March 25, 2011, 02:32:35 PM »

Why do pwBPD sometime speak with a childlike voice?

There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.

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Posts: 321

« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2011, 12:49:28 AM »

I use all kinds of different voices too..depending on mood, humor effect and audience.  Most consistently then intellectual highish more bass devoid one, the confident intellectual, the hood voice and debater one..all automatic unless I think about them.  Nah, it's pretty much social training and that inside voice you use while reading material.  Not psychosis in my use but who knows with BPDers, just trying to be fair.
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Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
Posts: 5586

« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2011, 04:46:45 AM »

There are two possible things that may be at play here:

Childhood abuse.

Emotional abuse produces an array of effects, often including a number of speech disorders. Stuttering or stammering, slurred speech, delayed speech, baby talk and aspects of selective mutism may all result from emotional abuse. These disorders are usually made worse by the stress, frustration and fear induced by emotional abuse. Usually speech disorders will not be the only behavioural indicator of emotional abuse, however, and may be accompanied by the development of sleep disorders, eating disorders, bed wetting and/or self-harming.


Normally, in a nurturing and loving relationship, children will subconsciously imitate the sound of their same-sex parent; however, if that relationship is abusive, they will not. I have heard men who sound like women; and, in questioning them, I have discovered that they were abused by their father, thus they imitated their mothers – the one that nurtured. In Ellen's case, because her mother was the abuser, she retained her young-sounding voice as a defense against her mother.


Communication of intimate attachment
Communication of intimate attachment or even excessive communication of intimate attachment

Babytalk as a communication of intimate attachment: An initial study in adult romances and friendships

Personal Relationships (1996)
Volume: 3, Issue: 2, Pages: 137-158


Babytalk is a speech register that has been studied most extensively as it is spoken by mothers to infants, but without attention to its possible role in emotional bonding. We suggest that babytalk plays such a role–that it expresses and facilitates intimate psychological connection, and in a variety of relationships. We first overview relevant literature to show that an association between babytalk and intimate attachment makes sense. Then we report a questionnaire study, which is the first to explore this association as well as the first empirical documentation that babytalk occurs in adult romances and friendships. Self-reported features and examples of the speech register (as spoken in a particular romance) verified it as babytalk. Individuals who had babytalked to friends or romantic partners tended to be more secure and less avoidant with regard to attachments in general. Within a particular romantic relationship, indicators of intimacy and attachment accounted for about 22% of the variance in babytalk frequency. Partner's babytalking was the strongest predictor, accounting for about 42% of the variance. Communication intentions accompanying babytalk paralleled the hallmarks of attachment, especially affection and play. These and other results suggest that babytalk functions in the process of intimate personal connection.

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Posts: 137

« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2011, 06:51:59 AM »

Wow, I didn't realize so many others had experienced this with their BPD. Thank you all for responding! She had a huge fit when she realized I started getting annoyed with the voice so I try my best not to show that I'm annoyed anymore...it's very hard!
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Posts: 137

« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2011, 08:42:23 AM »

mmm... maybe there's a bit too much generalization going on in this thread.

My exBPgf never talked the girly way as far as I can remember.

And a former girlfriend of mine did sometimes, but she definitely did not have BPD.

I really doubt this type of behavior can be categorized as typical of BPD.
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the key to my destiny is me

« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2012, 11:03:15 PM »

My mom is a rage filled BPD. So when she becomes what my brothers and I call "the cabbage patch mom", it is especially weird. I asked my therapist about this. he says it's common in BPD, actually and called "regressive defense mechanism".

I haven't had contact with my mom for 22 years, but my brothers say she still does the "cabbage patch mom". She talks in a toddler voice, stands pigeon toed, acts shy and cutesy, and intertwines her hands in front of herself. She also usually talks in the 3rd person when she does this. She mispronounces words in the exaggerated style of a 2 or 3 year old.

My therapist says its the only way she can be vulnerable.

Mod Note:

Regression: Regression is another one of the defense mechanisms identified by Freud. According to Freud there are times when people are faced with situations that are so anxiety provoking that they can't deal with it and they protect themselves by retreating to an earlier stage of development.

we must come to know we are more than anyone's opinion--including our own
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Posts: 153

« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2012, 01:35:02 AM »

I detect a change in my daughters voice that almost resembles baby talk.  It usually happens when she is feeling bad about something she has done (whether I know about it or not).  Not a lot of people pick up on it but I sure do.  

To Thine Own Self Be True
Inner Healer

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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2012, 08:38:06 AM »

This behaviour may belong to an inner aspect called the 'wounded inner child'. It is a unconscious part of the psyche that ceased to mature after a trauma of some kind.

In Jungian psychology we all have an inner child that has legitimate needs for expression and acceptance. This 'child' has something to say that is a key to healing the adult. Many adults have lost the imaginative and joyful energy of their inner child and this seeming regression in audible 'baby talk' is a call for validation.
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Person in your life: Parent
Posts: 95

« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2013, 04:01:41 PM »

I think oftentimes it's regression. When a pwBPD is feeling childlike, s/he will take on a childish affect.
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Posts: 296

« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2016, 03:17:46 AM »

I think I have read some posts on here where some have mentioned their BPDs talking like a child. I believe it like some kind of mechanism or coping thing but a few said it was regression mentally. The older BPD in my life often is mentally more like a child and regresses back to such. However she does not talk in a baby sounding or like kid type way. It is more her behaviour, her body language and vocabulary/way word things that is that of a child. She doesnt often reply like an adult would to things, her body language and behavior is same too. Instead of say for instance we say to her we cant take her to the gas station to get a soda right now but in a few hours we will. She will throw a hissy fit like a child and in a more whiny tone say 'thats not faaaaaaaaair' and may add 'your a jerk' and 'a meanie' etc. This to me is not an adult and a way that an adult would react. Sure they may not like that they cant go right then to get a soda but they wouldnt act out throw a hissy fit temper tantrum etc. But like I said I have heard a few BPDs do change their voice around some ppl. Now as for if its more around ppl close to them or ppl out side of their close circle that they do this more infront of idk.

Interesting. No, she doesn't talk LIKE a child (ie her vocabulary doesn't change), her voice just gets super soft, child-like, and meek. And she DEF does it with people she doesn't know than people she knows personally. And her eyes get super doe eyed. I feel like it's a way to get what she wants from people who don't know her well? Or maybe she doesn't know people maybe she just regresses when she doesn't know people and has to relay what happened to her...

what about changing the whole person, including walking, talking ,dancing,  grining, painting childrens drawings like a 6 year old typically do? Must be waked up in the morning, taken care of ...etc. She was living out a 6yo person fully, and if she does , are she developing her inner child?
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