Are You Listening? Do You Hear?

I’m not sure when I learned to stop asking people to listen to me.  Probably when I stopped asking my parents to listen to me and I don’t remember any exact moment in time when this happened.  I don’t remember ever asking my father to listen to me. I was too frightened of him to even speak to him.  But I do remember there was a time when I was very young I would try to talk to my mother.  There were times when she would listen to me, at least with half an ear, but somewhere deep down I knew by her reactions towards me she wasn’t hearing me and she just didn’t care. What mattered to me certainly didn’t matter to her. It didn’t take me long to figure out that she didn’t want to be bothered.

So I basically became mute.  I would hardly speak to anyone. I learned to keep hidden any hurts I had, physical or otherwise. I was mum on anything that had to do with me. I was a very shy little girl who rarely spoke.

As I started getting older this carried on.  I was entrenched in this behaviour.  I never gave my opinions to anyone not even if they were asked for.  Even to this day I never say anything to anyone if I’m feeling ill or I have been psychically or mentally hurt in some way.  (Except on this blog which is a major accomplishment for me.).  I rarely talk about myself in conversations with other people. Anyway you get the idea.

At a very young age I quit asking people to listen to me because when I tried they didn’t listen anyway and for sure they didn’t hear me.

Then came therapy.

First of all I was expected to talk.  This was the first obstacle in therapy for me.  I am always the one in a conversation that says ‘um hum’ ‘oh yeah’ or other one and two letter words.  And I will keep the conversation all about you. I will gladly listen to you but I won’t ask you to listen to me. In therapy I had to try to form whole sentences about myself.  So my first conversations with the therapist was mainly just trying to have a conversation.  I talked about the weather, I talked about my dogs, sometimes about my jobs. I basically talked about what I do and every so often I would throw in something personal about myself.  Was she listening?

As I started to learn that my therapist wasn’t reacting badly to the few things I was saying. I was realizing she was for the most part listening to me. I started opening up more and she was still listening.  I’d never had anyone listen to me like this before.  It was a new experience.  And by this time I felt like I had fallen for the ‘listening’ hook, line and sinker.  I was ‘addicted’ to my therapist. Or so it seemed.  In truth though, I am probably addicted to the listening or the attention I was receiving through the listening.

But the problem was even though she listened to me I felt she wasn’t hearing me.  My therapist actually brought this to my attention early on.  I kept saying to her ‘but you don’t understand’ or similar type statemants.   I never felt heard as a child and I carry that with me to this day.  I kept trying to get the therapist to hear me.  And even if she heard me I still needed her to hear me and hear me and hear me.  And hear me until I felt heard.  That takes a lot of listening and hearing and patience.  Until all my parts feel heard.  Until all the pain feels heard.

Sometimes I wonder if that’s when the ‘whole’ healing will come.  When I have felt truly and wholly heard.

This entry was posted in Abandonment, Attachment, Family, Father, Fear, Hurt, Relationships, Therapist, Therapy, Trust, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Are You Listening? Do You Hear?

  1. JBR says:

    I can relate. I did not talk much first when I started t. I had problems forming words. And when I did speak, I did it fast. Always thinking what I say to people they would get bored quickly, so that is why I spurt things out quick. At the time showed I did not feel I was worthy enough to be heard. Now, I am learning differently. Blessings.

    • lostinamaze says:

      I haven’t really thought of it this way. When I think about it deep down I don’t think people would be interested in what I have to say anyway. I am finding it a big learning curve.

  2. UncertainMe says:

    This hit deep with me. I’m not one to talk, especially about myself. I think we all long to be heard…if we’d just admit it.

    • lostinamaze says:

      You’re right it is hard to admit. Therapy has opened up that longing I had long since buried. Now what to do with it…

  3. Just to let you know that I’m still here and think of you often, Lost.
    I can really identify with this stuff. It’s so, so tough.

    Much love.

    • lostinamaze says:

      Yes it it tough and I’m not sure how to deal with it now. But I guess the first step is acknowledging it. Thanks for stopping by…you are often in my thoughts as well.

  4. attached says:

    I’ve just come back from vacation for most of August and am catching up on your blog. I can relate so much to what you say hear. I catch myself saying You don’t understand to my T all the time particularly when we talk about difficult things that relate to my family and my childhood. I’ve spent my whole life looking for someone to listen to me. I married my husband because he was the first person I met who listened to me and tried to respond appropriately to what I was saying. It isn’t important how often he says I love you or does little things for me or buys me gifts what I need his him to listen and hear me.

    Thinking of you and hoping you can start with a new therapist soon,

    • lostinamaze says:

      I didn’t realize before how important listening is for me. I would always listen to others but never ask to be listened to. I am still like that. Lately I’ve been trying to change that a bit, not easy but interesting. I”m still procrastinating on the therapist thing.

  5. I thought I responded to this post already, but maybe I just thought about it? I think you’re so right about the listening part and I think that is/what can be addictive about therapy. In what other type of relationship do we really get that undivided listening? Maybe people have that in relationships but I definitely haven’t. I wonder if it’s realistic to think anyone else would ever listen like that?

    • lostinamaze says:

      Interestingly enough I don’t think it’s realistic that anyone else would listen like that but on the other hand I often tend to listen to people like that. (not in a therapeutic way just listen). If that makes any sense. I haven’t had that in any relationship but I guess it doesn’t help that I don’t really talk about myself. Therapy is the only place I had undivided attention and as uncomfortable as it was somewhere deep inside there must be a part of me that just wants to be listened to.

  6. I’ve always found it easier to listen to others than to talk. Sometimes, I feel conscious when I talk, fearful I might be judged or invalidated. But it really feels good when somebody listens. It feels good also to listen, because you know that the person talking has trusted you enough to share with you her heart. I guess many people are listening now through reading the things you post in here. Take Care!

    • lostinamaze says:

      Listening is good both ways. Until therapy I guess I didn’t realize how good it was to be listened to even when I could barely come up with words. Interestingly enough through this blog I feel understood. I feel people ‘get’ me here even when my therapist didn’t.

  7. Lothlorien says:

    Yes, it will be a huge step forward when you finally feal heard. It makes all the difference in the world. It is very healing to know you’ve been heard and someone “gets it.”

    • lostinamaze says:

      The first thing that came t my mind when I read your comment was how much I thought ‘does she really get it?’. Sometimes I wonder if it can happen. But I think you’re right it will be healing.

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