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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS
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Author Topic: Why do pwBPD sometime speak with a childlike voice?  (Read 31472 times)
TheSomberlain
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« on: March 25, 2011, 02:32:35 PM »

Why do pwBPD sometime speak with a childlike voice?
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« 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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« 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.

www.speechdisorder.co.uk/child-abuse-and-speech-disorders.html

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.

www.articlesbase.com/wellness-articles/

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

Abstract

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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« 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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« 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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« 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.
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« 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.  
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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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« 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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« 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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« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2016, 03:12:12 PM »

The pwBPD I know uses her baby voice as a form of manipulation. She will literally use it with her caretakers, people in authority, etc. She will get all doe-eyed and bat her lashes with them. Then she and I will walk out of the room and she will go back to being normal.

I see it as an extension of her Jekyll and Hyde persona.
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2016, 04:44:40 AM »

Yes I get it too.

Normally when W. wants to approach me in a loving and gentle way (following a spat, not simply sponataneous) she will adopt little girl voice and demand attention,a kiss for example.

Probably not exclusive to BPD but to anyone having difficulty being themselves and adult.
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2016, 05:37:52 AM »

My son who is thirteen will go into baby talk when he is uncomfortable about something. For me it seems to be his way of not being talked to harshly or too in depth. Probably learnt from the fact that when he was young he was never put on the spot as he wasnt capable of answering in an adult manner. He has been regressing a lot lately due to his mums behaviour.
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« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2016, 01:24:24 AM »

 

"My" ex BPD is very clever at laguages.
He'd pick up many dialects and he'd adjust himself. Being in Holland, he'd speak with a Dutch accent. He would not notice himself.

If he had met his ex, I could tell the way he talked, he'd copy her stressfull voice.
He also spoke with the voice of his 16-year-old and sometimes copied her behaviour.
This would very much annoy me.

He was very good in reading my face and could tell when I tried to hide my anger.
He was better in getting on with animals than with people because he is so childish naiv.
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2016, 01:35:13 AM »



"My" ex BPD is very clever at laguages.
He'd pick up many dialects and he'd adjust himself. Being in Holland, he'd speak with a Dutch accent. He would not notice himself..

I think it is normal to pick up accents just not that quick. I worked with a group of guys with a very strong regional accent and when I went home my family laughed as I was speaking like them. I guess I picked it up subconsciously to fit in and feel more accepted. To do it as quick as your ex seems to me to be more about a very unstable sense of self.
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2016, 03:38:52 PM »

 
sure, it is his very unstable sense of self that does it.

But...as kid he lived in the fantasy- cowboyÎndian-world.
He would not go to school and draw...very special ,clever pictures...lots of detail.

A favorite film is the "dances with wolves"
He texted me phrases, lines the Indians speak in that film! he learned that by heart, as kid.

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« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2016, 12:44:21 PM »

In my experience, the baby talk/childish talk/doe eyes are whipped out when the pwBPD I know wants to manipulate someone.
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« Reply #17 on: November 29, 2016, 09:50:50 PM »

I know this might look like a silly topic, but I'm genuinely curious about something. Is "baby talk" a common habit among borderlines? I ask because that's the impression I get from reading other's posts. For example, I remember reading a comment not long ago where a member said that his ex described their sex as "yummy sex." This is something I could hear my ex saying. She was really big on baby talk. When she was ready to go to sleep she would say it was time to "go night-night." When she was hungry she would say it was time to "go yum-yum." I've seen several instances of baby talk here when people are quoting their exes, and it just got me wondering if this is a common trait among borderlines, and if so, why? Then again, maybe I'm just imagining this correlation. Did your exes exhibit baby talk?
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« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2016, 12:21:27 AM »

I know this might look like a silly topic, but I'm genuinely curious about something. Is "baby talk" a common habit among borderlines? I ask because that's the impression I get from reading other's posts. For example, I remember reading a comment not long ago where a member said that his ex described their sex as "yummy sex." This is something I could hear my ex saying. She was really big on baby talk. When she was ready to go to sleep she would say it was time to "go night-night." When she was hungry she would say it was time to "go yum-yum." I've seen several instances of baby talk here when people are quoting their exes, and it just got me wondering if this is a common trait among borderlines, and if so, why? Then again, maybe I'm just imagining this correlation. Did your exes exhibit baby talk?

Mine occasionally said "choo choo" when she saw a train, and named her items like her cell phone.
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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2016, 01:56:54 AM »

underneath everything, there is a child that never was allowed to grow up in many borderlines. And maybe also in ourselves.

So it is kind of suppressed and when we feel totally safe in a loving relationship, this part can come out.

I think deep down that was the deepest connection we shared, to really open up these young and innocent parts in ourselves.

Unfortunately, these parts are hidden beneath a lot of brokenness, and the brokenness will make sure that that connection will fail sooner or later.

Babytalk i never really experienced, i think it was more that a part of our love was a childish love, both in a good and a bad way.
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« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2016, 04:08:01 AM »

My ex uBPD did more of a childlike impersonation during times of emotional stress.   It wasn't very frequent but she would almost take on the role of a innocent child with the talk and expressions.  I think it was a outcry for comfort and compassion, but nonetheless, bizarre.
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« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2016, 04:47:30 AM »

underneath everything, there is a child that never was allowed to grow up in many borderlines. And maybe also in ourselves.

So it is kind of suppressed and when we feel totally safe in a loving relationship, this part can come out.

I think deep down that was the deepest connection we shared, to really open up these young and innocent parts in ourselves.

Unfortunately, these parts are hidden beneath a lot of brokenness, and the brokenness will make sure that that connection will fail sooner or later.

Babytalk i never really experienced, i think it was more that a part of our love was a childish love, both in a good and a bad way.
You say many things that have been on the verge of my awareness for months. I saw childish behaviour from my BPD ex. In the single most touching and perplexing moment of our relationship she became almost infantile with me. It was one of a handful of moments of astonishing trust and openness that she shared with me. Those moments are gifts that I cherish today, despite the hurts.

I saw the childishness in her early on but never admitted it in myself. There are many examples in my own behaviour, looking back on things. The best aspect of the whole relationship, which we discussed many times, was the playfulness.

It had a fairytale mood, but fairytales have dark sides. We carried on at the cognitive level of adults, but it was emotional abandon, recklessness. We played well because she knew my vulnerabilities. She exposed my tenderest wounds, and I felt comforted by that. I felt a sense of safety and acceptance, not a sense of isolation or shame. Feelings of safety and acceptance are basic feelings that I recall from my own childhood.

These feelings also emerge when I go into the manic phase of bipolar, with an intensity that is hard to convey. I described it to a psychiatrist like this:

"I have a great feeling of harmony in the species, despite all pain. It's a feeling I have had often, since I was a kid, as if I were at home in the species. But then it was always just a vague comforting feeling, never so constant and beckoning as now."

This is what I have lost through all my suffering. Now it takes hurt -- the manic flight or relationship trauma -- to expose it.

You sum up the confusion of my relationship well: "these parts are hidden beneath a lot of brokenness, and the brokenness will make sure that that connection will fail sooner or later." How I wish I had known this sooner. I was naive to enter a relationship with someone so wounded when I am so wounded myself.
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« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2016, 09:46:12 AM »

okay, ill bite.

yes my ex did this. so did several girls i have known, and its always made me cringe. yet in my relationship i found myself doing it back.

its not a "BPD thing", let alone a trait. i did wonder what it might have to do with schema modes, though, if anything.
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« Reply #23 on: November 30, 2016, 01:21:39 PM »

Yeah, my ex was pretty prolific with the 'baby talk'.

It would kind of weird me out at times, because if she was in one of those 'moods' (or, as once removed is saying, perhaps it is a schema identity) she would just not snap out of it. I'd had to leave the room and go do something else—then eventually she would return to 'normal'.

I don't think that this is something that can be restricted to a pwBPD exclusively, though. However, considering the nature of the disorder it would make sense given the ability to slip into an emotionally arrested state at moments.

It still amazes me that I have yet to really figure her out fully in my own mind. Closure is illusive, but with each new memory or trait I dig up I become calmer and life gets a whole bunch more pleasant on the regular.
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« Reply #24 on: November 30, 2016, 01:37:07 PM »

My GF uses baby talk all the time. I don't know if she is trying to look cute or if its reverting back to childhood. IDK,
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« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2016, 06:21:49 PM »

My mother does this. Sometimes it's part of being manipulative - she gets all flirty, bats her eyes talks in this cute little baby voice. Oh I'm so helpless I need a big strong person to do this for me. Kind of freaky when that big strong person is me- and I'm not big or strong. Somehow though she was so super feminine that I felt like I was masculine compared to her- and I have no manly traits!

She's used the baby voice with my kids and it freaks them out to hear their grandma do this. But they have grown up with stronger boundaries than I did and her behavior doesn't affect them as it did me.

I don't know why she does this. I guess for one it works. I don't have proof of this but I suspect she was abused as a child. She is often in emotional pain without a source that I can tell. We tried our best to care for her and to make her happy - but we couldn't help this.
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« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2016, 06:58:53 AM »

My ex is male and didn't use "baby talk" but sometimes he did have a strange conversational tone.

When he was talking about cooking, or finances, or other adult subjects, his tone and phrasing was of the 1950s.  He was a child in the fifties. It's difficult to describe here but familiar to me because we are of an age and I recognised the phrasing and the tone from my childhood - and they sounded odd in today's world.

He was serious about what he was discussing, but he sounded like a young child in the fifties copying his mother or father to sound like a grown up. It made me uncomfortable.

Does anyone else have experience of male BPD's conversations striking an odd, anachronistic note?
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« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2016, 10:35:32 AM »

Hello everybody, I'm a newbie. Discarded since 3 weeks...

I can relate to this childlike voice-thing. My ex gf - not yet diagnosed but meets all the criteria...textbook - had a meltdown in September, a proper one. I won't write of all the things that happened, want to stay on the subject here, but once the emergency psych unit had arrived and had talked her out of her most desperate behaviour she started speaking with this creepy and really infantile voice, while hiding her face in a cushion. Saying things like "No I'm fine, we're just gonna watch a movie and enjoy the Saturday evening together." Like the trying to cut herself with pieces from the glass she shattered never happened. Like the melon she threw across the room wasn't now all over the place. The change of tone was really heartbreaking but of course extremely eerie.

I think maybe it's got something to do with dissociation. Denial. Wanting out, to be somewhere/someone else. Apart from this incident my ex gf seemed to enjoy belittling me (e.g. pinching my cheeks while saying how good looking I am blablabla...nothing new there I guess).

Any thoughts?
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