Listen To Me! – Incessantly Defensive Talkative People

Listen To Me! – Incessantly Defensive Talkative People

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal insights into people who talk incessantly, defensively or simply can’t listen and yet demand that you listen to them.

First a quick update:

“How codependent people sabotage and enable addicts”
In a new series of video interviews that chronicle leaders and developments in the addiction recovery world presented by Milestones Ranch Malibu Treatment Center, I interview John Stenzel, CEO and Executive Director of The Bridge to Recovery, about codependency, trauma, process addictions (compulsive caretaking, misery, workaholism, perfectionism, spending, etc) and chronic addiction relapse. John Stenzel reveals that The Bridge to Recovery deals with compounded traumas and behaviors that began in childhood (or are trans-generational) and that freedom occurs by getting to the root of the emotions that drive the behavior and dealing with those deeper emotions. Watch what John Stenzel says about codependency being more debilitating than drugs and alcohol combined and; why it is critical to treat the family of an addict. Watch it here.

Now, let’s talk about people who talk incessantly, defensively or simply can’t listen.

Recently some friends of mine, a married couple were visiting and they were talking to another friend Jim, when suddenly, I noticed that they were literally talking at the same time. Jim would ask a question and the husband and wife would both answer, sometimes talking over each other, and other times just jumping in as if the other person didn’t even exist. It didn’t matter who was asked the question or who first answered the question, they would both attempt to answer or to tell the story – sometimes speaking for each other. It was as if they couldn’t hear each other and simply wanted Jim or anyone to listen and hear them individually.  And when the husband spoke or gave an opinion on a topic, he did so defensively, angrily and sometimes defiantly, almost as if he was trying to sell something or convince someone of his opinion and intelligence.

An observer might respond that this married couple is rude or that they don’t respect each other but, as I will reveal in a moment, rudeness or a lack of respect is not the real motivation here.

Meanwhile, in another instance, I was having a meeting when I noticed a similar occurrence with Julietta. She seemed to be talking incessantly as well as justifying herself in almost every moment. She was always excited in the way she spoke and yet she was also defensive and desperate to be heard. An observer might claim that Julietta is selfish, self-absorbed or worse, narcissistic. But again, this is not the real motivation or explanation.

A few years ago, the Montel Williams television show featured me working with people who suffer from explosive anger. One such woman, Tammy, a wife and mother, would often argue with her husband and repeatedly say to him:

“You don’t ever listen to me.”

Recognizing the real significance of those words and the reference to ‘never’, I asked Tammy on camera ‘Who didn’t listen to you when you were a child?’

“Nobody listened” she replied.

And there was the answer.

As a child Tammy never felt heard and thus as an adult she often tried harder to be heard – struggled to be heard – and her frustration from feeling that ‘nobody ever listens’ would result in outbursts of anger because of deeper subconscious beliefs about a lack of significance, low self-worth and a low level of deservedness. Also, each time that Tammy felt that someone wasn’t listening, it would unknowingly, subconsciously trigger old feelings of not being heard – possibly even ignored. (You can watch the video of the show here).

This was the same case with the first two examples mentioned above – the married couple and Julietta. None of their parents listened to them when they were children. The result is simple but critical.

When a child isn’t heard, he or she feels invisible and feels that her opinion and feelings don’t count; she concludes that she is not significant, intelligent, special or deserving. When a parent fails to give the opportunity to the child to speak up, to express her opinion or to simply be involved in the conversation, the child feels insignificant and feels as if she was never validated. This can also lead to deep feelings of insecurity and anxiety.

Accordingly, the child will spend the rest of her life one of two ways:

  1. Living out the subconscious beliefs of insignificance, stupidity or worthlessness  by remaining quiet, submissive, rarely sharing her opinion, rarely speaking up for what she wants and afraid to freely express herself and her feelings
  2. Doing the opposite by over compensating for never being heard – speaking incessantly, trying to control the conversation, trying to convince others of her intelligence and knowledge, being defensive or justifying her behavior and thus, struggling to prove herself as significant, intelligent and worthy of being heard; worthy of expressing her opinion and feelings.

Obviously, the answer to healing – releasing the subconscious emotions and dissolving the old subconscious beliefs – involves a process such as SRTT. (Learn more about SRTT) However, here is one simple strategy to assist you if you are someone who was never heard as a child.

Listen to others.

You have probably heard the expression “give away what you want”; and yes, it sounds trite and kitsch. But in some cases, it is true and it works.

We want other people to listen to us so that we feel significant, worthy, special and meaningful (sometimes also loved and cared for.) We want other people to listen and hear us so that they can understand us. We want people to listen to us because it validates us and gives us credence and thus we feel accepted.

Accordingly, stop and slow down; practice listening attentively to the other person; practice hearing and becoming aware of the other person’s thoughts and feelings. Don’t talk over them; don’t give them advice; simply listen and let them speak freely and fully and then validate them, their opinion and their feelings. You don’t have to agree but simply listen and repeat to them their phrases so that it is clear that you understand them. Allow them to fully and freely express themselves.

Why is this beneficial to you?

The person that never listened to you most likely grew up the same way – without anyone listening to him or her. They didn’t know how to validate you, how to demonstrate interest in you or how to encourage you to express yourself & all of your thoughts and feelings. However, when you begin to do to others what your parents didn’t do to you, you begin to create a new subconscious belief about being heard and about the significance of each person’s feelings, thoughts and self-expression; it encourages you to do the same to yourself – become aware of your own thoughts and feelings – to accept them, embrace them and give them significance.

Again, this will not fully heal or clear out all of your issues relating to the desire to be heard, but you will feel better and people will respond to you in a more positive and welcoming manner. Instead of turning off people, you will become more appealing and more inviting to others.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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