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Why I no longer listen to the maniac in my head

“My life was an open suitcase and clothes were strewn all over the place.”–Amy Poehler

miss-trunchbullWhen you write a book, the manuscript goes back and forth between you and your editor like a ping pong ball. Right now, the designed PDF of Thank & Grow Rich, my book that debuts in August, is on my side of the table. I am looking it over one last time before it goes to the printer, never to be changed again.

So, I thought I’d run a short excerpt here on the blog. This is from the chapter called Static where I list the many things that gunk up our joy and gratitude frequency. The little asshat in our head, I’ve discovered, that imposter that pretends to be us, is one of the biggest deterrents to the Divine Buzz.

 I’d love to hear what you think in the comments section below:

Waterboarding has nothing on the torture that used to take place in my brain. A nonstop voice loop reminded me of all that was lacking in my life. This obnoxious voice (think Miss Trunchbull, the sadistic headmistress in Roald Dahl’s Matilda) kept tabs on all I was doing wrong. It made long lists of things I needed to improve.

It insisted I should try really hard to “be a better person.” Its ears perked up anytime someone mentioned a new self-help book. It’s for your own good, it said.  

This voice was very clear that something was wrong with me. It told me that, unlike everyone else, I had glaring flaws.

“Pam,” it liked to sayyou don’t quite measure up to other people, the cool people. You aren’t as funny. Your skin’s not as clear. And while you sometimes have a way with words, you’re basically day-old Alpo compared to say Pat Conroy or Mary Karr. You might as well just get in bed and start tomorrow.”

For the longest time, I thought this voice was me. It did a very convincing impersonation. I took the voice to therapy. I explained its opinions about my worth to my friends. I believed that when I voiced its concerns, I was voicing my concerns.

It wasn’t until I began counting my blessings that the other frequency was able to make contact, the still, small one that whispered kind truthsI much preferred what is was saying. It suggested I start focusing on how deeply I am loved. How truly beautiful the world is.

It suggested the most important thing I could do for myself was get happy. Quit judging myself.

The Miss Trunchbull voiceit whispered gently, is not youIt’s a pseudo-Pam that you installed when you were very young, a voice that pretends to be you and pretends to be very, very important.

The still, small voice reminded me that everything I see, everything I believe, is just a story I made up. It told me that, in Truth, I am spirit. I am light. All those voices, those wars going on in my head, are nothing but chunks of the collective consciousness that I can either believe and defend against or I can transmute with gratitude.

The real me, it told me, is kind, giving, in deep communion with all of creation. The real me is a true force for love.

Pam Grout is the author of 18 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the about to be released, Thank and Grow Rich: a 30-day Experiment in Shameless Gratitude and Unabashed Joy

142 Responses

      1. Pam…this is the same voice that has taken away my energy..i can so relate to it…i too had written an article on these voices…thankyou

  1. hmmm. lately I keep hearing, reading, running into the message “wanna be happy? just be real, be yourself”. bingo

  2. I love this and I’m certain I’ll love the new book. Thanks for sharing as I did some checking with my Inner Child to insure that the true me is a true force of love. Thank you, Pam, for changing the complex into simple. I’m laughing and playing as I remember.

  3. Dear Pam,

    That was absolutely beautiful, and something I really needed to hear today. I have been battling with anxiety for quite some time now and its taken a hold of my life

    in ways I never thought it could. I get so “anxious” with constant worry and self doubt that it makes me physically nauseous *sigh*. I actually have a scheduled appointment with a psychiatrist coming up at the end of June, to do something, anything, with all the “noise” that is constantly in my head. Something switched in mind and I’m not sure when it happened. All I know is I use to be one of the most positive people on the planet. ( Next to you and your lovely blogs) and one day it just left ..or maybe it crept in slowly without me noticing. At this point I want to feel better, and get back to the me that sees and feels the light surrounding me, because I know its constantly there. I know I will get there[😊]

    I can’t wait to read your new book!!




    1. Dear beautiful Nicole,

      Thanks so much for your heartfelt comment. I send you light and love and the eyes to see it. Blessings always!

  4. Is your mind working against you, because it doesn’t want to loose the control over you. Sometimes I practice observing which will be my next thought. Doing that I can see that I’m not what I think.

  5. Thank you, Pam! Love your e-mails, as usual. So looking forward to having the book in my hands.

  6. Dear Pam – Since you said you were reading the PDF before it goes to the printer never to be changed again, I may have found a type-o in the following paragraph: “It wasn’t until I began counting my blessings that the other frequency was able to make contact, the still, small one that whispered kind truths. I much preferred what is was saying. It suggested I start focusing on how deeply I am loved. How truly beautiful the world is.”
    Should the sentence be “I much preferred what IT was saying” instead of “what IS was saying?”
    I love your work and am eagerly awaiting the new book. You rock! Thanks for blessing the world with your courage, humor, grace and insight.

  7. I’m so glad I’m not the only one that has a similar committee in my head. This resonates completely with me. I preordered the book. Thank you for your work and being so authentic.

  8. Pam I love your work and cant wait to read your new book !!!!! You are the greatest author !!!!

  9. “My little voice…my little voice…” It’s reminds me of the line “My little life…” from “Home For The Holidays,” when Holly Hunter decides in front of her family at the Thanksgiving table to admit her life seems a shambles. But she does so with a strange, freeing pride by taking mastery of the moment and the truth sets her worries free (mostly).

    I’ve tuned in to that little voice – the Mrs. Trunchbull one – far too frequently in my life. Almost daily for 40+ years. Doing so has created a sometimes seemingly endless stream of perceived problems to overcome or be overwhelmed by (highly UNrecommended). It’s gotten so bad at times I wanted to hit restart on my life, trusting the reincarnationists to be right and the atheists wrong, but some other little voice, that F.P. we know and love, always steers me clear of troubled waters. I just want to learn a way to get cemented in that F.P. frequency.

    1. Love that line–the Truth setting her free! May we all be like Holly Hunter! Thanks, Lloyd, for sharing and for recognizing that there is a better way.

  10. How mad is that! My Dad and I were just this morning, sifting through the maniacs that have been living in our own suitcases lol.
    Hes happy to be moving to Auckland, and im thinking about going off to study law of words. May the Force be with you Pam. May the Force be with us all xx

  11. Hi!
    I loved it! 😀 It was something I really needed to hear today. I especially appreciated the reference to “Mathilda” – I love that book 🙂

    Greetings from Norway 🙂

    Enthusiastic regards
    Kari Elisabeth Dahl

    In the section I copy pasted below, is it maybe supposed to be an “it” instead of an “is” in the second sentence?
    Just wondering 🙂

    > It wasn’t until I began counting my blessings that the other frequency was able to make contact, the still, small one that whispered kind truths. I much preferred what is was saying. It suggested I start focusing on how deeply I am loved. How truly beautiful the world is.

    Sendt fra min iPhone

    > Den 3. jun. 2016 kl. 21.46 skrev Pam Grout :

    1. I love that book, too! Great to hear from a Norwegian. I so love your country. I took Hurtigruten up the coast last winter.

  12. Love it, Pam. The messages you share continually remind me about the place my mind really needs to be.
    I’m really looking forward to your book, bring it on!

    Love Karen

  13. Dear Pam – What a wonderful way of portraying the “asshat” – this guy in me is so overpowering that I still am, at many a time,quite overwhelmed. And yes, deterrent in putting me out of my connect with the “FP” You know what – I literally used to sleep with E Squared & Cubed beside my bed, to re-assure myself of “the truth”(if I may put it that way), whenever the “asshat” made an appearance. The grateful me now lets me sleep a lot more, in peace, thanks to an angel called Pam 😊. God bless you Waiting eagerly for August and go through “static”

    Thanks much, Pam My best wishes always

    Cheers Shiv 👍

  14. Hi Pam hope you get this, enjoy your emails. What is Michelle up to (G. town)? Pete Vandenberg

  15. Hi Pam,
    How is it that you know me so well? Or do we all have an asshat in our head that we need to ignore? Why have we been brought up to want to be like someone else? Just sayin’…

  16. While reading this I had a signifigant desire to create an advent type calender to count down to when I can get your new book in my hands!!!! When will that be Pam? love and golden hearts,Kara

  17. Pam! LOVE LOVE this excerpt, because YOU are ME!!! I suppose it doesn’t matter who installed the little asshat; it only matters that we can now be aware that it is perfectly, utterly, a NON-entity, if we want it to be. THAT’s the part that takes practice -noticing and celebrating the goodness that we are and always were, in order to forever silence the little asshat. . I like to say, that I am content with the person I am, while being completely aware of needed improvements in certain areas. Progress, not perfection.

  18. Dear Pam. As always, you’ve made my day!!! Your incredible wisdom helps me day by day, so once more, thank you, thank you, thank you! I always include you in my thanx, every day I thank God or FP or whatever you want to call it for having found you. I love you so much!!

  19. I think the maniac is our heads and that all the good stuff comes from our hearts. The head reacts, but the heart responds. And it doesn’t ever say anything negative.

  20. Dear Pam, It has been sometime since we last connected but I loved this post! We call that little voice – Internal Dialogue and I often relate it to the song by Rhiannon and Eminem called Monster! It is a great song written about the same issue! Love your work as always! Michael

      1. WOW!! That is so freeeeking AWESOME!!!!!!! Thank you so much!! This wonderful piece of news just knocked the ASS HAT right off my head!! (I really wanted to use that word in a sentence!)

  21. You make everything seem so simple Pam – and it is, we just have to believe. Love your work 😊

  22. Am a huge fan, along with everyone else. And am looking forward to the new book.

    Along the lines of the maniac in our heads being one of the biggest impediments to “The Divine Buzz.,” Michael Singer’s book “The Untethered Soul” is another great book the readers may like. Not quite as upbeat as Pam, but he is spot on regarding that inner voice.

    Just wanting to share, not horn in on Pam’s blog about another author.

  23. It’s such a pleasure to wake up to an email in my inbox carrying a new blog post from you! You remind all of us so beautifully that world is indeed beautiful. The asshat in my head was quite powerful, until I read both E2 and E3 and slowly but surely I noticing the magic in mg life unfold! Can’t wait to read your new book.

    Much love!

  24. You are on my “favorite author” list, and it makes me happy and grateful knowing a new Pam Grout book is coming soon. Love the excerpt.

  25. Hi Pam,

    Right on! 🙂

    I would suggest adding…start focusing on how deeply I love and accept myself. I am worthy of being loved and I am whole and perfect just as I am today.

  26. Hi Pam,
    This Spirit thing is interesting because this is simetging which we can’t see yet powerful enough.

    I suggest you much watch the Indian spritual guru Sadguru Jaggivasudev videos on you tube. They are pretty much similar stuff of the one you ar e attempted here.

  27. I LOVE your writing. I love that you write in the same language you would use if we were having a conversation. It’s not “dictated”. Ass hat! That’s a good one! Now I know exactly who I am addressing when I send talkie talkie out of my head! Thanks Pam! I am grateful for you!

  28. Waterboarding is a word describing a disturbing nasty torturous experience that shocked and distresses my mind so much that I got a uneasy feeling about reading the rest of your words. You talk about uplifting but that word cannot be used lightly in comparison to a teacher or the monkey in your mind. Very Heavy and a turn off. Not in my World.

    I usually find your words inspiring and have all your books. This one I may have to pass.

    1. We all know what waterboarding is, and surely Pam does know too. She never speaks lightly about serious things, she is a very respectful person. So yes, pass it and maybe don’t return to this blog if you think she has been unrespectful. She has not!!

  29. Hi Pam, My only suggestion is to change the form of torture from waterboarding to what used to be called “Chinese Water Torture” (probably not a PC phrase today). The latter reminds me more of the moment to moment mind torture you so aptly describe. Here’s Wiki’s definition of Chinese Water Torure: Chinese water torture is a process in which water is slowly dripped onto a person’s forehead, allegedly driving the restrained victim insane. This form of torture was first described under a different name by Hippolytus de Marsiliis in Italy in the 15th or 16th century.
    I can’t wait to read your new book! Woo hoo!

  30. I was reading about just these issues today in recovery books. This is so right on! Thank you, Pam!

    1. It’s the real work for all of us–cutting through the chatter and finding what’s left–the Divine Buzz, the Truth, the Love, the Joy!

  31. Thanks for sharing! I needed this reminder for myself today, I am very glad I read your post!

  32. OMG, Who knew we have the same asshat?! 😜

    Thanks for the Truths & the laughs. I love your writing Pam & looking forward to reading your new book.

  33. I’ve thought about your request for a comment on and off for a couple of days. I can share with you how the same situation came to me a week or so ago. I too have been working on a book. I started to get insecure and asked someone I knew to read the first nine pages. I wanted them to see what they thought. I also sent them an outline of the book so they could get the gist. I was reminded, what I advise others all the time when they ask a question. “What inside of you (me), that you know now, that you are not allowing yourself to see?” This isn’t about the editor, nor your strong compositional elements and style, this is about you. This is about the book YOU are writing. I can say now, from my own experience as both an intuitive and psychic when someone asks me a question, they already know the answer. But, their question isn’t the subject, their question is why the question.

  34. You want to see the comments? Well, here I am. You. are. spot. on.! I love you and your writings! I have ordered your new book and I’m just eagerly waiting till it comes out! When I read what you write, it could be me writing, just different adjectives, different stories! That idiot in my head just keeps droning on and on, till I push it out of the way, declaring that’s not who I am, that I KNOW who I AM, and I change the tapes in my head. All of you writers say the same thing, all in a different way, and I love every one of you and I love all the different twists each of you come up with. I loved everything Dr. Wayne Dyer wrote, I loved all of Esther Hicks, I love Echhart Tolle.I loved your book E Squared. They all point to the same Truth, and because you all say it so beautifully, it only confirms to me the truth of what you write. I am so glad to be on this lovely Spiritual Path, and not in organized religion!

    My only problem is knowing all these truths intellectually and deeply believing them, but obviously not yet on a feeling level all the time. Sometimes yes, but not often enough to change the finances in my life. I get discouraged with that! Oh well, I have all the time in the world, so I shall be patient. Thanks for all your beautiful postings, for all your wonderful books. They bring great joy to me and many other people. Takes a lot of work and thought to write such a book, Thank you for the effort to share!

  35. Pam, if you are still reading comments before ping-ponging your final PDF back for printing, here goes…

    I too was shocked by the choice of the word “waterboarding” : if you are using this as a means of “extremes” for effect, perhaps using a general description, like “self-inflicted continuous torture of my mental chatter”. Or turn to Greek Mythology & use Sisyphus, punished for all of eternity to rolling/carrying the boulder up the mountain each day, only to have it roll back to the bottom before he reaches the top.

    Thinking of the collective WE for emphasis, and what We want to create in this world of our co-creative making, maybe make one last run-through of your new book & eliminate any current-phrasing of non-peacefulness or extremism. Do We really need to add to that energy, & continue to plant the image of today’s very real government & war happenings in peoples’ minds and hearts?

    Mythology is easier to swallow & people know the timeless impact of these stories while being a bit more removed from them.

    Please know I so love your writings! Keep up this LightWork, our world needs you!

  36. Enjoyed this chapter very much and its message came at precisely the right time for me. So thank you and best wishes on the new book – I know it will be a winner! PS. Great title, by the way, really made me do a double-take!

  37. Hi, I almost never leave comments on social media but had to share today. I have been in a funk on and off for years. That monkey mind chatter inside can be debilitating at best. Like you, I have been a travel writer, but unlike you, never made enough $$$. My friends think I am a magician at times, but with my artistic soul, I have had to struggle to make ends meet. I have a professional interior design and fine arts degree but always the artiste first. I admire how you are able to parlay all of your skills to do the work you love and make it a living.

    I appreciate your reference to the severity of this ‘maniac in your head’ because most of your postings seem so non-chalante as if you breeze through life. I am also walking mindfully on the spiritual path, listening to Abraham, Dyer, and all the gurus who are guiding lights of wisdom. It is challenging for me to not slide into suffering but I know in my heart that the teachings are my salvation and not looking outside at how things appear is the only way to get through this. Bless you for being a way shower and holding the light.

    Many thanks!

  38. As always, you’ve brought light to a subject that resonates with so many people, but in a non-threatening and easy to understand (and enjoy) manner. In my experience, it is very easy to feel isolated when the Miss Trunchbull voice is the only thing you can hear. Your books are comforting because they say “you’re not alone”. Can’t wait to read this in August! Thanks!

  39. As always Pam, you have such a simple way of explaining, telling the profound.

    Brilliant! Bravo!

    In Gratitude and Respect,


  40. I don’t have that little negative voice in my head! Perhaps it got lost and found another head….

    1. Forgot to say that I had a voice that came in unbidden in the late 90’s. I thanked it, telling it I had listened in the past but this was a different time and stated that I was no longer listening and then escorted it out the front door.

  41. Hello Pam!
    Thank you for all of your inspirational messages. I always read them all, and hopefully let myself get inspired :). There is one sentence that rubbed me the wrong way: “Waterboarding has nothing on the torture that used to take place in my brain.” Unless you experienced a waterboarding torture, how you truly know the effects of it. Hopefully you had never had to experienced that! So, with that I spoke my peace and thank you :).

  42. At the hospital as I read this Thank you for bringing me up. I forget to count my blessings. That counting my blessings will change my frequency. Im going to manifest manifest manifest my novel getting into the most amazing agent’s hands. I’m sending out my manuscript for my debut novel tomorrow. I told the universe that I will be a best selling author this year, 2016. I left my government job 3 years ago and became a nanny to chase my dream because if I didn’t, I’d be living a lie. I can’t lie to myself. I will be a NYT’s best seller and Pam, I can’t wait to email you again and announce the amazing news that I’m on the list. That I’m not only a writer, but a best selling author. This year it’ll happen. It will.

    Zee Zaman

    Sent from my iPhone


  43. Pam, This is wonderful stuff. Thank goodness I understand what you’re saying, though I must admit to still having days that “asshat voice” commands my attention, until I catch it by getting present, and say, “Fie on you!”
    Your wisdom is such a gift. I appreciate your keeping it coming a book and blog post at a time!
    Just a picky editor suggestion – “And while you sometimes have a way with words, you’re basically day-old Alpo compared to, say, Pat Conroy or Mary Karr.” I’d suggest adding either one or both commas before “Pat” to provide a breath break.
    Thanks for all,

  44. Dear Pam,

    Tonight I felt tired and the asshat voice was so loud, I believed the stories of lack and mediocrity it was telling me. I tried to be positive, to cheer myself up, and then I thought I should check my inbox. I haven’t read Pam’s posts in a while. And it was spot on what I needed to hear or to read.

    I did cringe a bit at the waterboarding thing, but it is true that our inner critic can be very harsh and even lead some people to addictions, violence or suicide. So the torture comparison makes sense.

    This piece made me want to read your book! Congratulations on this next achievement!

    Thank you for having the courage to speak your light. It is much needed.

    Big hugs,


  45. I’m learning to stop listening to the maniac in my head, although it never told me I was the problem, instead it was angry at those who it felt were doing me wrong. I spent a good portion of my day feeling angry and resentful. I now understand I can’t control the behavior of others but I can control my behavior. My life is getting better and better each day.

  46. Hi Pam – just want you to know that I love your books and have shared them with friends and family. I’m really looking forward to Thank and Grow Rich next month. I just read an excerpt about why you stopped listening to the maniac in your head. It is a valid blog post and helpful to many. As a hypnotherapist, some of the most rewarding work that I do is dealing with the gang of voices inside my clients mind’s that hold them back and make them miserable. You have a wonderful way of writing and expressing complex processes and making them understandable in a fun way!
    The reason I am taking up your time right now is that my unfailing editor like eyes, found a typo in your blog which hopefully is caught before your book goes to press/release. It is a small one, and will not effect the content.
    In the 9th paragraph down, the one that begins with “It wasn’t until I began counting my blessing that the other frequency, etc…I much preferred what IT (not is) was saying.
    A small error. Best of luck always and bright blessings to you. I just love your shiny spirit!!
    Susan Leutheuser, CCHt

    1. Thanks so much, Susan. We writers appreciate those unfailing editor-like eyes. I’m pretty sure the errors you found got changed in the final book, but there are some typos that didn’t. I noticed them when I was reading the book out loud for the audio version. In fact, there’s a really embarrassing sentence fragment that the copy editor deleted from a sentence, but then didn’t take out of the manuscript.

      I get lots of mileage out of the old Native American belief and then practice of leaving a mistake in every rug they weave because only God is perfect. I know I’m sure not.

      Again, thank you so much for your kind concern.

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