Emotional Intelligence | Main Page on Listening
If you want me to talk to you
When someone is hurting, don't say things like
Not everyone is as _____ as you (See story)
Maybe it is because.....
Have you ever considered...
Have you ever thought about....
Labeling me aka "Not everyone..."
Someone once told me "Not everyone is as callous as you". This was a small guilt trip about how I had distanced myself from my mother.
Giving me orders.
For me it doesn't work to give me orders when I am having trouble speaking. I have some examples above but here is one basic one I left off the list. This is something which happened to me this week here in Bulgaria. I called someone but was unable to speak. It might have partly been the way she answered the phone. She said "Hello Steven" in a tone of voice that sounded disapproving. I don't know if I would have been able to speak if I had heard a different tone of voice when she answered. If I would have heard a soft, loving"hey" as if she was happy to hear from me, it might have opened the gates to my feelings. Or if she would have said "Are you okay?" as soon as she realized I was having trouble speaking. But anyhow this is what happened.
First she said "Talk to me."
Then she waited a few seconds.
Then she said "Ok...." But it wasn't an accepting ok. I could here the disapproving, impatient tone of voice again.
As soon as she said it I was afraid she was going to hang up on me.
Then just a few seconds later she said"If you don't want to, then call me when you want to talk. Bye." Then she hung up. I am guessing It wasn't even twenty or thirty seconds. It hurts now to realize how unimportant I seemed to be to her. And how easily she could hang up. When I was younger, I might have done the same thing. I might have felt self-righteous about it. I might not have felt guilty or any empathy for the person I had just abandoned when they needed me. I might never have called them to see how they were feeling. I might never have apologized. I might never have realized what I had just done.
And even as recently as about two years ago I remember a time when I walked away from someone. But then I realized what I was doing and I felt bad. I went back and said "I don't feel good about walking away."
I care about the person who hung up on me. I care about her so much it brings tears to my eyes to think of how uneducated she is in terms of emotions. And how misguided she is and what bad examples she has seen in her life. It hurts me to think that she doesn't want to learn from me anymore. As I write this I don't know what is going to happen between us. It hurts me to think about the possibility that I have lost her. And that she has lost me. Or that we have stopped caring about each other and are only protecting ourselves now from more pain. She told me she felt alone before she met me. I also felt alone before I met her. How sad it would be if we went back to feeling alone because of her lack of skills and my traumatic past.
Feb 2, 2008
Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria