I hate it when people just talk and talk and never ask me anything about myself. I’m okay with it for a little while, but eventually I get sick of just listening. To be fair, they should give me equal air time.
And when I’m finally able to get a word in edgewise, I barely get a few sentences out before they jump in again. I can’t stand it.
Don’t they notice I haven’t said but three words in the last 30 minutes?!?
Karen: Right. The answer’s “no”. No. (both laughing)
Finding the Statement to Work
Me: And I keep waiting and waiting for them to notice. Then I get mad.
Karen: Oh brilliant. Okay, there’s your scenario. So you’re on the phone with one of these friends, having a conversation. And they’re going just hell for leather, they won’t shut up. You can’t get a word in edgewise. You get angry…
Me: Yea. Then I’m trying to get off the phone. Because I can only listen without participating for so long. And then, I’m trying to exit. And they’re still talking!!!
Karen: So, I’m angry, pissed off, whatever with…
Karen: With Cindy. Great. Because?
Me: Because she’s not being fair! (Exasperated sigh) I like it when it’s back and forth, back and forth.
Karen: Yea. So, in that moment, when you’re on the phone with her, and you can’t get a word in edgewise, is it true, she’s not being fair?
Karen: Can you absolutely know, when she’s speaking non-stop, that she’s not being fair?
Me: (long pause) Yes.
Karen: How do you react, and what happens when you’re on the phone with her and you’re believing this thought that she’s not being fair?
Me: Well that thought generally comes in halfway or three quarters of the way through the conversation. I start to feel antsy and irritable and impatient. I wonder what can I say to get off the call. Should I lie and make up an excuse? But then I don’t want to lie, so I’m totally trapped. At the start of the conversation, I felt okay about her, but the more she talks, the less I like her.
She doesn’t ask me anything! Does she even know I’m there? Or am I just a sounding board – a set of ears for her to dump on? It seems… well like my statement, it doesn’t seem fair.
Karen: So where are you feeling that in your body?
Me: In my shoulders in my chest, my upper arms…Sometimes my shoulders start creeping up towards my ears. (sigh) And my breath gets shallow. Yea. There’s a lot of tension in my upper torso.
Karen: Yea. How are you treating Cindy, in that moment when you’re believing thought that she’s not being fair?
Me: I stop asking any more questions, even if I’m curious. A lot of times I ask questions because I am curious. I just stop. A brick wall goes up. I figure eventually she’ll notice that I’m not saying anything.
Karen: So in that moment, you can hear her on the phone, she’s going for it… How are you treating her? How are you seeing her in that moment?
Me: Selfish. (nervous laugh) Blind. Oblivious. Inconsiderate. Uncaring. Lost. (pause) Thank you for that question. There’s a lot of judgments there.
Karen: Yea. And how are you treating yourself then. In that moment, when you’re there on the phone with her, and you’re hearing her talking constantly, and you’re believing she’s not being fair, how do you see yourself in that moment?
Me: Uhmm… Seeking approval, cause I can’t fathom saying “listen, I’m getting bored now and I’m hanging up” and going CLICK. (nervous laughter) I can’t imagine doing that.
I’m trapped… socially trapped. And a victim of a selfish, inconsiderate person. I’m trapped into listening.
Karen: Yep. So in that moment, when you’re on the phone with Cindy, and she’s talking at you non-stop, what are you not able to do, when you’re believing this thought that she’s not being fair?
Me: What am I not able to do? As soon as that thought comes in, I tune out. So I’m no longer able to listen or stay engaged with what she’s saying. And because I’m not engaged, my curiosity is out the window. And I feel like I can’t tell her that I think she’s not being fair, because I can’t do confrontations.
Me: I can’t even fathom saying something like “I want to talk about me now” (laughter) I can’t even… It would be a miracle for those words to come out my mouth.
Karen: Great. That’s really good to notice though, yea?
Karen: So who would you be, when you’re on the phone with Cindy, and she’s talking non-stop, can’t get a word in edgewise, without the thought that she’s not being fair?
Me: Well, before the thought, I’m actually enjoying listening to her. Like reading a book, it’s a fascinating story and I’m listening to where she’s going with this. I feel engaged. When she says something I don’t quite understand, I ask. Huh. Yea. Before that thought comes in, I’m just on the phone with a friend, listening to her tell me something she’s going through.
Karen: And does it feel peaceful or stressful when you’re there in that moment?
Me: It’s peaceful. Before the thought, it was a comfortable conversation.
Karen: Yea, notice how your body feels.
Me: My shoulder are down. I’m listening. Present. Connecting with what she’s saying. Hmm. That’s interesting. It’s almost like there’s a mechanism in my head that says “This amount is okay, but after this amount, it’s not okay anymore.”
Karen: Yep. Interesting how our triggers kick in. Turn the thought around. She’s not being fair.
Me: I’m not being fair to her.
I’m not being fair to her because she has no idea what I’m experiencing. Matter of fact, I try to hide that from her. I don’t want her to know I’ve lost interest. So it’s unfair to try and hide that from her. And another aspect of that. She has no clue that I’m really, really eager to get off the phone with her. Cause I hide that from her too. That’s not really fair.
Me: And I’m not being fair to her, because I’m letting her go on and on and continue, even when I’m no longer hearing her. You know, it’s like if she was physically in my presence, she would pick up clues like me looking away, or whatever. Since we’re on the phone, she has no idea. Huh. Yea, I never… Yea.
Karen: So the other turnaround “I’m not being fair to me”?
Me: I’m not being fair to me.
Well there’s a want there that I keep stuffing down. I want to share too and I keep pushing that down. That doesn’t seem very fair. (pause) I’m not being fair to me… The whole trapped feeling feels really unfair to me. It really DOES feel like I’m trapped. I can’t get off the phone, I have to stay on the phone. Like a trapped animal.
Me: There’s something there about not… not allowing myself to say anything. I won’t let myself say it cause I… well (pause)
Karen: Yea, because…?
Me: Because I don’t know how to say it and it not have it be confrontational or harsh. The longer I suppress my words, the harsher it feels in me. And I know if I say something, it’s going to come out bad, because that’s the energy behind it.
Me: And I think I told you this before, but I’m in awe when I watch Katie demonstrate how you can say something and it’s not harsh. I’m in awe of the honest truth that’s not harsh.
Karen: It’s about getting rid of all the beliefs that sit behind that, that you can deliver it in a way that comes from you core and people feel the honesty in it. That’s my journey, I’ve been on that one too. I’ll talk to you later about that. So what about the last turnaround for she’s not being fair?
Me: She IS being fair.
Hmm. Well at no point did she say “Jennifer, just shut up and listen to me. I’m going to talk for the next 30 minutes and I want you to just sit there and listen.” (chuckle) That never happened. No gun to my head making me do it. (long pause) I don’t see anything else.
Karen: She’s being fair to me, by (chuckling) talking non-stop, and showing me my work.
Me: (laughter) Oh yea! Because this isn’t the first time this has happened in my life. I have ANOTHER friend who’s the exact same way! At one point, I asked myself “what am I doing to attract all these friends that all they want to do is talk and I listen. How did this come about?” (laughing)
Karen: Welcome to my family. In my face. (laughing together)
Me: Just imagine the freedom of being able to stay engaged or say…
Karen: To speak up! This is not working for me. This form of conversation isn’t working for me, thank you and now I’m going.
Me: Oh god. Wow. Man that is a clear person that can do that. That is secure…internally secure person that doesn’t NEED someone to like them.
Karen: That’s right. They don’t need to be heard, and they don’t need the other person’s approval. They don’t take on any feedback – their response is theirs to own.
Me: Ohhhh, that sounds like heaven.
Karen: Yea, you’ll get there, just keep doing your worksheets.
- Cindy had nothing to do with my not talking or sharing. She wasn’t doing anything from stopping me from speaking. I was stopping me and then blaming her for my silence. It doesn’t feel good to muzzle myself when I want to talk.
- It’s not fair to Cindy to pretend I’m listening when I’m not. It’s deceptive. Same with wanting to get off the phone, but not saying anything. I certainly wouldn’t want someone to do that with me. I want them to tell me they have to go!
- This thing about waiting for someone to ask me a question before I share is an ongoing issue. I’m afraid of sharing something they’re not interested in hearing. If I voluntarily started talking, and they’re not interested, I would be so embarrassed. I don’t trust that they’ll tell me they’re not interested. But if they ask, it’s like I get a permission slip to share. It’s the only way I can know for sure that they’re really interested.
- The growing harshness I feel when they keep talking, comes from the idea that “they’re not being fair” and not speaking up. If I let my frustration build and build it only gets worse. If I spoke up earlier, when it first hit me, would it be confrontational? I don’t know but sounds scary to me. I can’t handle confrontations.
- I actually enjoy listening to my friends talk about their life.