December 2017
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

falling into a pattern of listening/responding without speaking/initiating

Give it thought, belenen. Consider every angle. And then speak your mind. You've not been drawn into anyone's life just to listen.

Loud and proud,
The Universe

P.S. You're not here to be quiet, belenen. Actually, you're one of my spokes-peeps.

The other day I wrote that "I feel like I do too much listening and I have forgotten how to speak. I feel lost, mute." I've been reflecting on that... I think it's a pattern that has several causes.

First, I'm quite simply very good at listening. I'm not sure how I developed this skill -- maybe by working really hard to get my partner to talk? -- but when I listen, I do so in a very active way. I pay close attention, take in everything I can, reshape it to fit in my mind, ask questions to make sure I've understood and to prod for deeper sharing, and express any thoughts that the other person's words might spark. Because I am skilled at this, it's really easy for me to sort of slip into the role of listener. (and yes I am aware that I am not being modest at all and am maybe being arrogant, but I'm pretty sure that it's just plain true)

Also, my life doesn't have a great deal of variety or stress, so I don't feel a lot of urge to share things that have happened to me during the day. Most people I talk with do experience a lot of variety and stress, so they simply have more immediate things to talk about, which is fine of course, but it becomes habit. Then when I DO have an eventful or emotional day, I tend not to talk about it because the subject is already the other person's life, and because they aren't showing interest I feel like they don't care. Which is irrational, because how are they to know that this day is different? But I feel that way anyway. And then when I do share it comes out like a volcano because I haven't had that kind of outlet in so long. And then I get disappointed if I share and they don't listen to me the way I listen to them. But instead of confronting this by saying, "look, I need you to really think about what I am saying and respond with questions and thoughts, not just a nod or 'uh-huh.' I need to be shown that what I am saying is important and interesting to you; I need to feel that you are engaged with me like a dance partner, not watching me like an audience." (which is pretty hard when I'm not pausing for breath...) I just react immaturely with a "they don't care, why am I wasting my time and emotion sharing?" and I become less likely to share next time. Which is really unfair, because I wasn't born with this skill! and how can they even have a chance of learning if no one points out that there is a way they could improve?

If it's not active listening I feel like my sharing is just feeding a void... which is part of the reason I like to write. That way, at least I can 'listen' to myself, and I think people find it easier to do active listening when they can take their time and think about it. And I don't have to know if they're uninterested, and they're less likely to fake being interested because there isn't the worry of seeming 'rude.'

This has been a pattern for years but it has gotten especially bad lately... probably because I just haven't done a lot of talking in real-time with anyone who isn't SO stressed that it doesn't occur to them to ask what is going on with me. I've talked to some people I don't know well, but that wasn't about my feelings or what I'm going through. I feel actually confused when someone asks me what's going on with me because I just... never articulate it anymore. I feel scared at the idea of having a real-time conversation with people who know me and might actually ask me about my life -- I actually feel incapable of saying anything. I feel... broken, in a way. I know that part of this is because the things I feel so passionately about are things that most people don't even KNOW about. How can I discuss things that are so multilayered with someone who knows only the first layer or not even that? And I feel so upset that there are these things that are so important and no one is willing to invest time in learning about them. I guess I feel crazy in a way -- separated in the way I think from the way most people think. I don't want to share because nobody gets it -- which is both assumptive and logical :-/

I want to push myself to share more in real-time with friends but I just can't even express how scary that is for me. The last lj-friend I spent a lot of time talking to in real-time was Ava... I'm terrified that no one will understand me like that or they WILL and then they'll show that they're not interested in being close with me. Maybe I'm too much or maybe I'm too little. I think that experience had more effect on me than I realized... We talked for HOURS, and it created nothing. and then there was Meliae, who... I don't really even know how to characterize that experience, but it was beautiful and magical at first too, ending in nothing. What does that mean?


open, close; fish mouth
is any sound coming out?
are your ears for me?

...Far Far by Yael Naïm...
everyday she writes words and more words
just to speak out the thoughts that keep floating inside

take a deep breath and dive -- there's a beautiful mess inside

back to top

flyingshaman ══╣╠══
I hear you. I so hear you. And I need to let this process before saying much more (in an email or in another comment).
divinemiss_em ══╣╠══
When I was younger, I always thought there was something wrong with my voice because it seemed that when I spoke, no one heard me. Or that what I had to say was so crap and boring that it wasn´t even worth a response. I still haven´t gotten over that 100%. I find myself trying to hurry myself up and get to the "point" when i´m speaking to someone so that I don´t bore them too much. So on that level, even though it isn´t exactly the same, I can absolutely relate to this post.

I´m sorry you feel like that, though. Feeling validated in our communication with others is so important, I think. We don´t know each other, but I do know that you have lots of important things to say. Which is why i´m here, commenting on your journal :)
willow_cabin ══╣* Pisces╠══
Oh, I can empathize with this very much. *hugs* I have a lot of issues concerning talking, speaking up... My voice is quiet, and people often don't hear me, so over the years I have become so discouraged that in many situations I don't speak at all. I am more of a listener, too. Best wishes to you in your personal exploration of this!
camilleyun ══╣╠══
I relate to this. My experiences are different though. Typically I tend to have a lot going on internally. I feel anxious and stressed out often. I am very expressive about this because that is one of the ways in which I cope. However, this does not mean I am incapable of listening actively, empathizing, and caring. I believe that many times people don't bother to share because they've already prejudged the situation without trying to communicate first.

There is a girl on LJ that seeks me out to ask advice about her boyfriend troubles. If I happen to say something about myself she will go on about herself as if I never said anything. This really irritates me. But I understand her impulsiveness. On occasions when she has been able to listen, she's kind and helpful.

There are times when I want to and try to connect with someone but it seems they are caught up in other things and overlook me while I feel like I am falling out of every tree to get their attention. It's hard not to feel rejected when that happens. It's especially bothersome when I read posts about how they don't have this or that from their friends and I think that *I* could be that and don't understand why they don't see it. Maybe if they'd stop focusing on what they're not getting from the people they're not getting what they want or need from and try reaching out to me then the results could be amazing on both sides.
saturnsdaughter ══╣prettysquarebox - Namine╠══
I understand where you're coming from. I find it awkward to be the center of attention, even with just one other person, so I tend to be more comfortable listening then actually speaking. But then when I feel compelled to actually say something, I don't feel like I'm nearly as interesting in describing things as the other person and I get embarrassed. Embarrassment is a feeling I really hate so I find it that much harder to bring up a topic unless I'm really comfortable with someone.
clown_frog ══╣╠══
You are very good at listening, so you're right that its just plain true. It makes sense that one can get into a pattern of that. Do you feel this way a lot in regard to livejournal posts? Livejournal is a funny kind of medium, I think. There are certain of your posts that I've read, and read again, and left to sit and mull over. The one about using genderfree language, as one, and the one about use of the word rape. I don't like to react to them straight away, but now realise that that is wrong in a way, because then you don't know you're being listened to. And it is audience like, I guess, too. Hmm. Confront me :-) I need it.

When you say "I don't want to share because nobody gets it -- which is both assumptive and logical", do you mean illogical? I wasn't sure... it is logical in that no-one getting it would make one not want to share, but illogical in that without sharing no-one can get it. Sentence seeming to show unconsciously how much you are in role of listener, because when a listener talks it is in response, and so what they say is pretty much immediately 'got', if you see what I mean? Whereas talking can take a bit of explaining... and, yeah, dialogue. Dancing. Do you think? And, yep, I need practise as a listener, so don't stop sharing!

I'm sad that the wonderful real-time conversations with Ava and Meliae came to nothing. Its a strange situation, to share that and for it not to lead to closeness. You will have affected them, though. The closeness perhaps was in the moment, and it must hurt so much, but I bet you gave so much to them. Its sad that they took it and left. I feel like I'm assuming here, I don't know how it was, I'm trying to put myself there.

I hope hope hope you find your voice, and I will try to listen better, and you tell me off when I don't!
urban_ballerina ══╣╠══
hi, just stumbled across your journal. loving it. i hope you dont mind me adding you to my friends page.

i kinda know what you mean as i feel writing on here you get to get your point across. you can think about things and write them out right. like justifying yourself successfully or something. its more difficult in person.

that said i am a shocking listener, though, through reading other peoples words i am hugely attentive - just not so through any other means :P
smurfb1ue ══╣& there are things that I am learning╠══
Part of what you're saying reminds me of how people ask "How are you?" as sort of the token greeting without really stopping to actually hear you. It often feels like the only acceptable (or expected) response is "Fine, thanks, how are you?" Maybe it's because we're always in a rush, ready to move on to the next thing, and we don't have (or perceive that we have) enough time to stop and really hear people. With livejournal, we can take for granted that those who are reading our words are actually listening, and if they don't want to then they just skip over them. That's just a thought though.
You have such big ideas--which is exciting--but sometimes having big ideas that are maybe new or different from the norm can feel lonely. I wonder if maybe that's part of it for you. But I don't necessarily think people have to see the world as you do to be a good listener. Sometimes I find myself going into a conversation and saying, "Give me grace. Just listen. Don't try to fix me or argue with me or change my mind. Just sit awhile." I hope you have and kind find people who can just sit awhile with you and listen.
mtw128 ══╣╠══
I understand what you're saying
Ah! The frustrations of the self-aware, high EQ folks! I once talked to a friend who later on admitted that she heard the words but not the meaning. I once went out with a girl who asked me how I knew all this stuff. People are often surprised that I am able to step up and go into "emotional supportive" mode.
You should definitely check out my blog post on listening:

shioneh ══╣searching╠══
*hears you*

I just wanted to let you know I'd read this and that I'm feeling you on what you wrote. When I read this, it really touched me and resonated with me. I guess I really empathize with what you wrote in my own way, obviously the situation is different but some of the sentences you used to describe how you were feeling I feel too. I feel sort of wordless about all of this because I'm working through it too but I'm full of empathy for you.

I am just really sorry you've been feeling this way *hugs you tight* feeling closed off and low of faith is so painful and I know that it's in such opposition to what you live for. I am really happy you wrote this entry, it seemed important and I'm wishing you clarity and faith in finding your voice ♥
fyrebard ══╣╠══
Just so you know...
I am vastly interested in what you have to say, just so you know. Most of the time, it seems like you are perhaps being shy or something and feel uncomfortable starting conversation. A habit that was developed the last season of our friendship was that, when you were quiet (as in, looking as though you wanted to say something and then decided against it), I talked because I thought perhaps it would ease any discomfort you were having, real or imagined.

My life isn't dull, though teensy parts of it attempt to be at times, but I'm just as interested in thoughts and feelings and dreams as in actual event happenings. In fact, it's not always the events that are the most interesting, it's the reactions we have to them and what they make us think of, how they allow us to grow, and that sort of stuff.

All this chatter to say that I believe what you have to say is very important, and I am interested in hearing it. If there is a way that I can help you feel more comfortable presenting your feelings, let me know, because I know sometimes it's easier to get into a good habit if a friend will encourage you along a little bit.

Love you!
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.