The Power of Words

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There are many ways to evoke emotion, and while music and the visual arts are high on my list, words are my favorite medium.

I came to understand the true power of words a dozen or so years ago, while earning a graduate degree in counseling. It was a eureka moment when, during the course of my classes, I realized how much self-talk (what one says to oneself) goes unnoticed day-to-day. We are constantly sending ourselves feedback, but are often unaware we are doing it…or of the consequences if those messages are wrong or negative. The messages we send ourselves, positive or negative, shape our self-image, attitude, and behavior.

What does this glimpse of psychology have to do with the book I released this week, you might ask?

In my Mindhunters series, I’ve enjoyed exploring the psyches of my characters—even the twisted minds of serial killers. In my new release, DEADLY BONDS (Mindhunters, Book 3), Dr. Holt Patterson is a profiler, or mindhunter, with expertise in the psychology of killers. Part of profiling the killer involves figuring out why he or she is committing murder, which means getting into his or her head. In this story, the killer, who calls himself Toxin, believes he is doing the world a favor when he kills. He tells himself he’s being noble. He talks himself up until, in his mind, he’s achieved superhero status.

Holt, the true hero of the story, uses words to draw the killer out, sending out a different kind of message that contradicts Toxin’s view of himself. Publicly, Holt calls Toxin an animal, and several other terms Holt knows will strike at the killer’s self-image. By understanding the psyche of the killer he hunts, he can twist the right words to lure him. Words are indeed powerful.

Describe a time that words held power over you. Was it a positive or negative experience, and was it all in your head? What pep talks do you give yourself to get through your day?

If you’d like the opportunity to win a digital copy of one of my books, pop over to the second part of my “Power of” blogs for a look at “The Power of Bonds” at Just Romantic Suspense. Comment there by the end of the day (July 24th) for a chance to win your choice of Mindhunters books.

Also, if you haven’t tried my series, the first book in the Mindhunters series, ONLY FEAR, is on sale through the month of July! (Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo)

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DEADLY BONDS

A dedicated profiler. Dr. Holt Patterson has thrown himself into his work since his wife’s death, and his relationship with his young son, Theo, is suffering. He’s caught in an impossible choice—how can he make the world a safer place for his son without sacrificing valuable family time?

An unrequited love. Sara Burns, the director at Theo’s prestigious academy, once loved Holt Patterson, but he was her best friend’s husband. Now a decade has passed, and Sara realizes that her feelings are just as strong—but how can she act on them without betraying her friend’s memory?

A terrifying killer. A violent man develops an interest in Sara, and sends a body instead of flowers to get her attention. Holt is determined to keep her safe. But the killer is much closer than they expect…

Now available at:  Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Audible

Anne Marie has always been fascinated by people—inside and out—which led to degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, and Counseling.  Her passion for understanding the human race is now satisfied by her roles as mother, wife, daughter, sister, and award-winning author of romantic suspense.

She writes to reclaim her sanity.

Connect with Anne Marie at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | PROFILES Newsletter

14 thoughts on “The Power of Words”

  1. Elise Warner says:

    Enjoyed your blog, Anne Marie. Words have such power over people. I think I first became aware of their power when I was in my teens and took an acting class that specialized in Shakespeare’s works.

  2. June says:

    What a thought provoking post, Anne Marie. I do a lot of self-talking, but most of mine is mindless chatter. Drives
    the husband crazy. Hmm, maybe that’s why I do it. :-)

    Words are very powerful and can shape who we become. They have the power to hurt and the power to heal. Unfortunately, I think most of the times we tend to remember the negative words more than the positive ones, especially when we are younger.

    The power of words…I try to surround myself with positive words. Because I can.

  3. @Elise – Shakespeare… Talk about powerful words provoking emotion…and how fabulous that you discovered that in your teens.

    @June – thanks for stopping by! “Because I can” – I love that. And you are SO right about negative words/images sticking with people more than the positive ones. It’s too bad that sometimes it takes a lifetime to recognize that.

  4. Kim Law says:

    I love June’s “I try to surround myself with positive words. Because I can.” Everyone should go through life that way!

    Hey Anne Marie! Great post. I think so many people don’t realize how all that self-talk can impact them, both negative or positive. I try not to let too many negative things in, but sometimes you just can’t help it. The best thing, though, is that my husband knows a couple positive phrases/thoughts that mean a lot to me, and often when he sees me having a rough day, he’ll say one of them to me. It brightens my outlook every single time!

  5. Hi, Kim! I love, love, love that about your husband. Everyone needs a sounding board, or a mirror, or whatever you want to call it…something/someone that helps steer things toward the positive.

  6. Words hold power over me all the time, especially when it comes to diet/weight loss. These days, I’m especially aware of the difference between “I can’t” and “I don’t” or “I don’t want to.” When I find myself saying “I can’t” stick to my diet, what I really mean is “I don’t want to.” Similar thing goes for exercise: Instead of saying “I HAVE to” I try to say “I get to.”

  7. Hi, Arlene! Such GREAT examples. The way we word things can be empowering, and taking control back by saying “I get to” or “I choose to” is important. I love that you brought up weight loss…I’m learning the power of saying “no” to food if I’m making choices because of stress. Or, at least, I’m trying to.

  8. Maddy says:

    Wow. What a collection of qualifications! And a truly inspiring post.

  9. Thanks for stopping by, Maddy! :)

  10. Great post on psychology and the power of words! It’s SO true and everyone’s impacted by their internal dialogue. Now, if I could convince myself I liked running more and poptarts less…

  11. Haha, Julie Anne – you have to be tricksy, and say it like you mean it. ;)

  12. SS says:

    I well written article. I totally agree.
    Take a look at http://essenceness.wordpress.com/ for a similiar conclusion!

  13. SS says:

    Totally agree — here’s another great article on this subject!! http://essenceness.wordpress.com/

  14. Thanks for stopping by, SS – I enjoyed your blog as well. Kyle sounds like an amazing person, and I hope he inspires a lot of veterans. Amazing how powerful belief is.

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