No, No, No

Apr 13, 2011 by

No, that’s not what I mean. No, that’s not what I’m saying. I mean this, not that. Aren’t you listening to me? Can’t you hear me? Don’t you care?

Do you ever get frustrated because you are being misunderstood? Maybe you even feel like you’re living on another planet and speaking another language. As I checked out of reality with my gambling my brain seemingly turned to mush for a while. I wasn’t great at speaking to begin with, but it seems like it became worse. I didn’t have to talk to the machines, so the main thing I ever said was, “tall hot tea with cream and sugar please.”

On my journey of self discovery I have realized that it is critical for me to be heard and understood. I was deeply wounded in childhood by the “children should be seen and not heard” way of life my mom wanted. As an adult, I am passionate about having my voice heard. However, I am impatient and want people to understand what I mean as the words come out of my mouth. I want them to “get” me. I want people to laugh at my jokes (a smile is an acceptable compromise).  I get frustrated when I’m misunderstood or ignored. I feel stupid. I feel sad, alone and sometimes even hopeless. I am hard on myself and beat myself up because I am convinced that I’m the one with the problem (yes, I’m working on that self defeating behavior). On the bright side, I have been fortunate to find a few people who can hear between my words, but it’s been rare. They help me feel like I’m not so crazy after all.

For the rest of humanity I usually have to explain a few times to get an important point across.

What’s the big deal about being unheard? People get blown off all the time. Do I really need to feel better from my verbal communication?

As it turns out, I need who I am to matter. My words are a huge part of that. Taking the time to hear me means, to me, that you care. When I’m misunderstood, and especially when I don’t get to clarify, I feel unimportant. Worthless. Lost. Alone.

I know that expecting everyone to care is completely unrealistic. That is setting myself up for failure. I’ve got to learn how to appreciate the folks who do understand me. I am working on seeing the good that is coming at me. While I appreciate feeling the full range of my emotions (instead of numbing out), I work to lean into the happy side of things. Being down all the time is so tiring, wouldn’t you agree?

Here are some action steps that I’m taking:

  • Understand that I am important already. I have to feel it on the inside before I’m going to see it on the outside. Only then will I be able to recognize and appreciate what others see in me.
  • Focus on saying what I mean, and being patient (that’s a whole other post!)
  • RELAX! Sometimes I feel like I need to make up for the years I lost. I don’t.
  • Realize that the people I speak to probably need to feel important as well. It might be helpful to imagine two wounded little kids both trying to get their points across. It’s usually easier to forgive kids because they may not know better.

If none of these work, pull out this old stand by:

  • STOP. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath, let your misunderstanding go by chalking it up to a growth experience and MOVE ON! Stop beating it to death. If they didn’t get it the first or second time they probably aren’t in a place to hear you or understand. Truly, you’re fighting for someone to care, when chances are good, they don’t (especially if it’s getting ugly). That’s OK!

You are important in many ways. Choose to remember those and see the good instead of focusing on the bad.

So, did I explain that ok? As I said earlier, a smile will suffice. :-)

Live with feeling!

P.S. If you found value in this post please be sure to comment and share!


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  1. Cindy

    :) I just found your site today after what I want very much to be my very last gambling episode. I love that your approach is supportive rather than judgmental. I believe what gets me in trouble is my self defeating, self critical behavior and for today, I plan to pay attention to that voice and see what I can do to extinguish it – thank you so much for your wonderful blog to help my on my new journey!

    • Cindy,

      I’m so happy you found my blog! Judgment is the last thing you need right now. Please remember to be kind to yourself. Keep in touch and keep reading.


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