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#495107 - Yesterday at 12:48 AM How to talk so someone will listen
focusedbody Offline

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 459
Loc: NY
A lot of the time I think I hold back observations and thoughts because I am afraid of overwhelming the person listening.

Even when there has been some interest in me saying more, it seems like to speak of my anxieties would cremate whatever relationship I have with the person who has responded.

Apart from my own fears and resistance, has anyone come across a good way of helping overcome the dilemma of how to talk without overwhelming someone who cares? Has anyone experienced this happening over time in a positive way?

Lose the drama; life is a poem.

#495111 - Yesterday at 10:43 AM Re: How to talk so someone will listen [Re: focusedbody]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 2687
I think when we feel safe and comfortable we can talk and share. I know when I believe the response will be curt, get over it, disinterested, or they change the subject to focus on them or a part of their lives, I shut down.

Those who care and can open their hearts do not become overwhelmed in my experience. Those whose focus is elsewhere become overwhelmed due to fear, their lack of connection or always having to relate it to someone, a time or event in their past.

I found people who knew how to listen and not say I am telling you, I open up to them and others I have learned not to tell. They have used words against me, denied my words and so on.

I think we eventually build a better radar to detect people who have the ability to listen and open their minds. Sadly, this is only learned through positive and very negative experiences, at least for me.


#495112 - Yesterday at 11:16 AM Re: How to talk so someone will listen [Re: focusedbody]
LinEar Offline

Registered: 06/02/15
Posts: 170
Loc: USA
All I can offer is to take it very slowly. For the few people who know, and are supportive, I've just let bits and pieces out over time, particularly when they've asked me specific questions about it (although not always, sometimes I've reached a breaking point and said more than was solicited). I've found that I can speak most freely with my T, and a female friend who is also a CSA survivor. But in her case, we knew each other for a long time before we figured out that the other was dealing with something similar.

On the flip side, I've been in a situation where I've told an ex-girlfriend up front because a mutual "friend" told her I was in therapy and she asked me "why", before we even started dating. So I was up front about it, not with many details, just "x happened." "Is that it?" she replied. Yeah, that indicated quite the lack of empathy and it didn't last very long.

Edited by LinEar (Yesterday at 11:17 AM)

#495116 - Yesterday at 01:28 PM Re: How to talk so someone will listen [Re: focusedbody]
Mishka95673 Offline

Registered: 01/03/15
Posts: 344
Fab, as a former supporter, it was a bit of a "dammed if you do, damned if you don't" experience for me. I was certainly willing to listen and. OUSD have used the information provided in order to make improve,nets in the relationship. Even just little things, like telling me what was a trigger and what wasn't a trigger (as he discovered them) would have been helpful. There were times when I would ask him to open up a little, expand on something he said, but then he would get upset over my perceived prying. So if he ever felt as though I wasn't interested in listening, I don't know what else I could have done back then. I often offered to listen, with or without providing verbal responses, but he wasn't interested. I would not have been overwhelmed by anything he had to say because he would have been talking about his life, not mine. I would have felt badly for him, I would have been angry at what he went through, but it would not have overwhelmed me.

#495154 - Today at 04:45 AM Re: How to talk so someone will listen [Re: focusedbody]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2309
Loc: durham, north england
I've talked about disclosing to close friends elsewhere, but I'm noticing with my fiance things are rather different. I'd told her a little of what happened when I admited how I felt, just over course of becoming close, now we're together I'm reaching a very different point with her than I've reached with anyone else, the point where I can just discuss something that happened or something I felt as part of an over all conversation. With my fiance there is no line drawn around the abuse, it's just another part of my history that occasionally needs to be shared, albeit a very dark one, and she's certainly got some of those of her own.
It actually feels very liberating too know that I'll not hurt her with any disclosure, but still be able to check she's okay, for example while having dinner the other night she mentioned something about spots wich triggered a memory I didn't even think I had of a point during the abuse.

Of course, there is a lot of sharing of most everything between us, indeed we've both told each other things that start with "I have never told anyone this but" which again I've found very healing with my genophobia (for the first time in my life I don't feel that part of me is a potential abuser).

I'm not sure how it is for others, especially other couples, but I know for me this gentle, loving way we can just make the abuse another albeit very dark thing to share is something that's been extremely poisitive for me.

#495157 - Today at 07:05 AM Re: How to talk so someone will listen [Re: focusedbody]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 2687
Dark Empathy, sounds like you have a wonderful relationship. You are mastering communication--difficult in many relationships.

I have been told communication fails for several reasons, 1. failure to listen 2. preconceived ideas or answers in the head of the person hearing your story, 3. Body language--discomfort, distraction, rolling of eyes,stern face, fear, 4. Tone of voice of the one being told the story, 5. need of person hearing the story to turn it into about themselves, a family member, friend--not listening and having the need to talk, 6. Feeling by the person telling their story that they are being trivialized, 7. Fear of the person telling the story on how others will react, 8. Person hearing the story pushing for more details creating discomfort.

I have discussed this topic before in support and therapy. These are the answers I learned impact communication.I was able to relate to many. I remember telling simple stories of what I had done in childhood to the children and it always turned into a story about my ex's brother, sisters or some family member or a sarcastic "wow", or I heard that already (but we heard her family stories over and over). I can tell you my children know little about me because I could never finish a story--they may learn some from reading here or other writings but few from my mouth. I paused here and realize the list would b quite long. Oh well, now I know why I could not tell my story, when something so simple as sports, ski trip stories,scouting, awards,work etc I did as a child could never be told with receptive listening. How could I tell of something so devastating? I had thought of sharing over the years but life events made me fear disclosing--syncope and nightmares and then be left, reactions to stories, my dissociation and many more. I wanted it to be different and maybe I have learned communication is two ways--talking and listening and never say I am telling you--it shuts communication down.

I know there are supporters who are there and the fear of the survivor holds them back from sharing--trying is all one can do. The survivor may perceive your reactions in an unsafe or intrusive manner.

I had met a wonderful woman who let me talk, listened and sometimes just a smile let me know she was there, other times a simple response or even a touch. Sadly, I believe she knows more about me than my children as to what I did as a child, my joys, my heartaches, my activities, my accomplishments, my work, and so much more. I was at least able to share with her my life,my travels, my work overseas after college, people I met on the travels, unlike I was unable for decades. How much was my fears I do not know, but I felt safe. Did therapy impact how I could communicate I do not know. I just know I felt safe, I would be listened to, I would be allowed to finish, my story would not be hijacked to make it about herself, family, friends or experiences, I would not feel a sense of sarcasm and being trivialized. It was liberating and satisfying. She was someone who knows of the abuse and more details than anyone else, she never made me feel less of a man or person. She lifted me and still does.



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