Conversations - Here Come the Words

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Conversations - Here Come the Words Powered By Docstoc

     It is possible to examine a conversational segment in order to discover what works and
what doesn't. The roots of many successful and unsuccessful human interactions can be found
by examining conversational segments.

    By activating the Objective Observer, one can stand apart and above a conversational
segment in order to examine successful and dysfunctional conversational interactions.

     Conversational skills are a relevant and important area for psychosocial examination in
order to understand conversational patterns. By doing so, psychosocial science can discover
those elements that contribute to producing successful and effective conversational skills.

      For example: John asks Mary a question, when he is, in reality, making an emotional
statement. Mary responds naturally to the question and fails to pick up John's underlying
statement, which he failed to communicate correctly and directly to Mary. She gives the answer
that he does not wish to hear and he viciously attacks her. She is brutalized, hurt and deeply
dismayed by his behavior. She defends herself and in the process chastises and rejects John.
She follows this with a lot of rule setting and he rebels as if he is reacting like a child to his
mother. The battle escalates and the relationship goes into the hopper and both people are

                                  Conversational Snafus

      Let’s examine two of the most common and destructive conversational pitfalls/snafus in
the following paragraphs.

Rapid Fire or Pressured Speech

      A common conversational style – Rapid fire or pressured speech - is driven by anxiety and
a competitive need to be heard and listened to. When used, rapid fire or pressured speech does
not give the listener time to hear and retain the basic and most important feeling aspect of a
sent message. Pressured speech also keeps the message sender from focusing on the deep
feeling aspect of the real message. Instead, a sea of words is sent out like a tsunami that
overwhelms the listener and frustrates the sender from being truly heard. Intentions are
honorable, but the outcome can be troublesome and even disastrous.

     Excessive, overwhelming rapid speech can be countered by the listener simply by saying,
"Please slow down and backup. I don't wish to interrupt you, but I want to get the real message
of what you just said before." By blocking the pressured and rapid fire sea of words, the listener
causes the sender to go back and feel the full emotion of the real message. It also allows the
listener to empathically fall into the real message that the sender unconsciously wishes to be

      Together, they both can tune in and feel the underlying emotion that is really part of a
simple communication. But, it requires feeling the full emotion and allowing the sender to
empathically tune in and share in the same feeling. By activating the objective observer, the
sender and consequently, the receiver can look at specific segments of speech in order to fully
experience the underlying profound and real emotion. By so doing, they connect. However, if
rapid fire, pressured speech continues, it could overwhelm the listener and trigger off a negative

      People who have full access to their deep underlying feelings are able to communicate
from that space quite easily. Others, who not have such full emotional access, will be caught in
cerebral cognitive warfare and it can be quite destructive.

     Issue a red flag when you encounter rapid fire speech and initiate a strategy that will slow
down the tsunami of words and allow for the liberation of the underlying feeling message. It is
nonproductive to allow one person to dominate a conversation, and other people also have a
need for airtime.

“Butting” … aka the “Yeah, But”

      Sidney says, "BUT, I have already done a lot of work." In this instance, the speaker is
openly using the word "but,". In other circumstances, the "but" is left out, but is implied. The
"but" is a mixed message based on self-delusion. If Sidney had already done a sufficient
amount of work on himself, the behavior in question would not contradict his statement, which is
based on self-delusion.

      Deluding oneself is a common practice, especially when doing deep work that requires
confronting bottom-line painful feelings. We all like to think that we have done sufficient work on
ourselves. But reality has a hard way of busting up self-delusion. Usually, the self-delusion, "I
have already done a lot of work.... or I think I am cured, etc." eventually crashes against the
walls of reality, which tells us that there still is a tremendous amount of work that we have yet to
do on ourselves and that this very important self work is a lifetime process. Everyone is a work
in progress and the “self” correction process is never finished, except maybe by death. Even
then, there is probably still a lot of unfinished business left behind.

               Disordered Conversations and Disorderly Dialogues

      How do you know that you are going to be engaged in a disordered conversation? Sooner
or later you may come to recognize that you are in a conversation that goes nowhere, is
disruptive, dysfunctional, perverted and may even be seen as neurotic. It does not matter
whether you try to reason with or convince a disordered person of your point of view. Engaging
in conversation with a disordered or a disorderly person can be very frustrating and painful. So
why bother?

      That does not mean that you should avoid all conversations with certain individuals. There
are those people with whom you can engage in dialogue, because in certain areas you are on
the same wavelength. There may be other areas of such dialogues that seem strange,
distasteful and disorderly. It is best to avoid those areas and not engage in something that
cannot be moved, changed or made compatible with your wavelength.

      There are other individuals and circumstances where it is perfectly legitimate for you to
refuse to engage in any kind of neurotic or disorderly conversation. You will never be on the
same wavelength. I know that some of my readers are driven and motivated to achieve
success. Success is a worthwhile goal when you and your cohorts are on the same wavelength.
But, there is no virtue or eventual good outcome that can result from struggling with someone
when that individual and you are not on the same wavelength.

      As a psychotherapist and healer, it is my job to engage people in conversations and
dialogue that lead to a healing, transformative wavelength. That growth process takes place
within the boundaries, guidelines and structures of a therapy setting. Any attempt to engage in
corrective conversational dialogues with a disordered person, outside of the confines of a
structured therapy session is pointless, useless and can lead to distressing outcomes.

     Therefore, I postulate the following rule:

     Refuse to engage in conversations with disordered, disorderly, dysfunctional
(neurotic) individuals. You will not be on the same wavelength.

      Footnote: Observe every day situations in your life and in the media for examples of
disordered dialogues and the frustrations that ensue.

                  Obsessive Compulsive Conversational Disorder

      Now that we have examined several styles and conversation and their impact, I want to
center in on the excessive talker, who is driven by anxiety and an intensive need to be heard
and listened to.

      Everyone of us at one time or another has encountered a compulsive over talker, who
doesn't make a mutual move to allow other people to speak and be heard. This conversational
dilemma is driven by intense anxiety, over amounts of excessive energy and the inability to use
the objective observer in order to curtail excessive speech. Internal limit setting is absent and
the individual loses control of his/her ability to engage in mutually productive, give-and-take

     The antidote to this situation is for the listener to be on alert to this conversational problem
and be able to set the limits that the sufferer cannot set for the self. Anxiety is the core pain and
during a conversation, it infects the listeners and causes problems for the players. The social
impact of excessive talking is to arouse the anxiety and even the anger of the listener, who is
maneuvered into a position of rejection and distancing towards the excessive talker.

      A professional assessment and diagnosis is required for the development of a corrective
program for this anxiety driven excessive talker. A multipronged approach seems to be the best
strategy. Deep relaxation is required for the lessening of anxiety and the increasing of listening
and sharing skills. Deep feeling emotional release over a period of time unloads the buried
emotions that are blocked in the viscera. A learning approach strategy can help the individual
learn the necessary conversational skills that enhance effectiveness in life situations.
                                Conversational Ventilation

       Sometimes there is an underlying motive to someone's need to talk. One such motive is
the need to ventilate. In this situation, the listener should be aware that the talker just needs a
sounding board; a warm body just to be there to listen; not to respond or understand. Unless of
course, the speaker requests a response from the listener; who may have to go back and gather
their thoughts as to what the speaker considers important.

      The ventilator requires a warm trusting person to be there while the speaker rattles on until
he or she gains some insight into the purpose and meaning of the ventilation. In this instance,
the ventilation is meant to be a soul-searching, insight seeking method of discovering hidden
purpose and meaning. The listener will need to be extremely perceptive in order to spot that the
speaker does not require the listener's understanding and interpretation. The speaker is
speaking strictly for the sake of speaking and ultimately discovering the meaning of the speech.

     The listener will need to accept the underlying rule that he or she is being used as a
sounding board and not necessarily as someone who is being engaged in a mutually shared
democratic conversation.

       There is one pitfall to this type of conversational interaction. The listener could be taxed
upon his or her own limits, if the speaker is incapable of gaining insight from the conversational
ventilation. At that moment, the speaker could become a bore to the listener and might get
turned off and cease to be helpful. One need only to capture the image of the psychoanalyst
falling asleep, while the patient rambles on for extended periods of time. The patient emerges
from the ventilation on the psychiatrist's couch, only to awaken the doctor expecting to receive
pearls of wisdom and acceptance from the authority figure. Sometimes, the psychiatrist merely
says, "I'm sorry! But our time is up."

     In deep feeling sessions, it is not necessary for the doctor to understand and comprehend
everything that the client is cleansing and exorcising from his/her system. The rap up after the
session is a good time for the client to inform the good doctor about the essence of the
emotional purge. However, successful therapeutic sessions are the result of a good balance of
doctor understanding skills and the client's ability to express the deepest of feelings.

             Excessive Listening or The Excessive/Passive Listener

     Some people are great listeners. In fact, you may be TOO good of a listener. How do
you know if you are an excessive/passive listener?

   1. When people wonder what you are thinking after you have listened and have not

   2. When you or people consider you to be varying degrees of passivity.

   3. When you experience your “self” becoming weak and devoid of emotional power,
      because of someone else's domineering speech.

     Passive dependency is a sign of excessive listening, without responding or sharing your
thoughts and feelings. Passive dependency can become a pervasive style of interpersonal
communication. It is on the low end of the interdependence conversational spectrum.
      Sometimes passive dependency in conversations, can switch all the way to the opposite
extreme and become counter dependency. This conversational style is marked by conversation
rebellion, countermanding, disagreeableness, argumentativeness, negativity and rejection of
inputs by other people, especially authority figures.

      The ideal conversational style would include the integration of passive and counter
dependent conversation styles. In that instance, the conversationalist would be operating out of
the realm of interdependency, where democratic and mutual interdependent conversations take
place. This style operates well between equals, where there is no extreme of passive listening
or counter dependent reactivity.

     Assignment: Take an inventory of those scenes in your mind where you were either
excessively listening/observing or excessively countering and contradicting others; especially
authority figures.

      Examples: Stephen was a great basketball player. But, his coach did not see or
acknowledge his real talent. Consequently, he passively set on the bench and stewed in pain.
He was too afraid and blocked to confront the coach, who didn't know how Stephen was feeling.
He never expressed his real feelings to the coach. Perhaps, he made the quiet assessment that
his self assertiveness would lead to failure to get his needs met. He withdrew from the
basketball team with bad feelings.

       Carla fought with everyone.... her children, her husbands, her bosses and all of her
relatives. She became a real pain in the neck. Everyone avoided her, so as not to get into some
kind of verbal fistfight. She had a nasty mouth and believed that she was right and self justified
in all of her counter dependency.

     Conclusion: It might be that pervasive patterns of the above examples could suggest a
possible disorder. Extreme examples of passivity and contradictory, rebellious conversations
and behavior are indicative of this.

                  Delusional Conversations (Delusions of Abuse)

What is a Delusional Conversation?

      A delusional conversation is one where the conversational theme centers around certain
types. These include the erotomanic, grandiose, jealous, persecutory (abuse, abandonment,
rejection, conspired against, cheated, spied on, followed, poisoned, drugged, maliciously
maligned, harassed, or obstructed in the pursuit of long-term goals), somatic or mixed and
unspecified themes. As such, I will focus on the conversational dilemma that indicates delusions
of abuse.

      In the course of a conversation someone may accuse someone else of some sort of
abuse. It could be centered around the topics of child, sexual, emotional, physical, mental or
other forms of abuse. The accuser may have some kind of history with a specific type of abuse,
whether the abuse actually occurred or not. The accuser imagines that he has been a victim of
a specific type of abuse. This theme becomes firmly implanted in the consciousness of that
individual and is fueled by distrust, fear, terror and anticipation of future abuse. The delusional
nature of this type of conversation is not based in reality.
      The delusion becomes firmly fixed in the consciousness of the individual and he or she
becomes hyper alert and sensitive to the slightest hint that someone is perpetrating abuse. The
delusional quality of the conversation is an expression of the fixed rigidity of the delusion. It
resists all conversations that try to prove the irrationality of the delusion. The accused will
engage in conversations in order to establish and convince others of his or her innocence and
non-complicity in the accusation of abuse. This conversation results in a whirlwind of chaotic
and turbulent explanations, defenses, rationalizations and justifications.

       People who are affected by delusions of abuse may engage in several attempts to obtain
gratification and satisfaction through conversational appeals to family members, courts and
other government agencies. People who engage in delusions of abuse can be downright mean,
resentful, rageful and capable of violence and abuse towards others whom they believe are
hurting and abusing them. Thus, a round robin circular battle ensues where victims and
victimizers, predators and pray become obscured in the mist of delusional conversations.

      A delusion of abuse probably has its physical components in that part of the brain where
belief systems are formed. Therefore, conversations with a delusion are conversations with
something that simply does not exist, except in the belief system of the delusional person. The
delusional person is absolutely convinced that he/she has or is being abused and then finds it
necessary to falsely accuse and identify target persons whom they believe are abusive. The fact
may be, that the delusional person plays the victim, but actually engages in the abusive act of
falsely accusing others. By falsely accusing, the deluded person becomes the person that they
fear and hate the most and that person represents the false self.

     One must fully recognize the frustration that one feels when trying to have a productive
conversation with a split mind/self.

                                  Conversational Partners

      In every conversational opportunity, you are faced with the choice of how and who you
wish to conduct a productive and effective conversation. Making this choice is extremely
important, for it will determine your ultimate emotional experience during and at the conclusion
of the conversation. I recommend that you do not have to feel obligated to conduct a
conversation with a person that you deem unsuitable and unfit for a productive conversation.
There are exceptions, especially in business and personal interactions. But, you must reserve
the right to take control of the situation by responsibly choosing whether you wish to engage this
other person as a conversational partner.

       In may be reasonable to assume, that after an initial conversation, you will be left with the
choice as to whether to have additional conversations. Effective conversations take place
between people who are on the same wavelength. Every conversational partner has an agenda,
whether announced or hidden. You and your conversational partner will try to impact and
influence the behavior of one another. Forceful conversationalists may convince you to
accept their point of view and satisfy their hidden agenda and motives. You will know how you
will feel after the conversation, how you did in that interaction. If you feel good, your needs were
met. If the other person feels good, he or she will feel gratification.

     If the conversations are tilted, power oriented or destructive, somebody's going to get hurt.
Someone will have to make the decision whether they will engage in such future conversational
partner interactions. Remember, you are not obligated outside of your guilt, to engage in any
conversation with a partner or person that proves to be toxic to you or the other person. Toxic
conversations are a fact and we will reserve that for a future section!

“Nice Person” Guilt

      Just about everyone wants to see themselves as good people. Consequently, to refuse to
converse with a particular person may make you feel guilty. After all, your ego wants to be
experienced as a good person. Here comes the "But!" You don't have to be a sucker. Being a
target for someone else's negativity doesn't make you a good person in their eyes, especially if
they dump on you the judgment and evaluation that you are truly, "Bad." Your guilt may come
from your uneasy feelings of being a "rejector."

     There are no perfect decisions for engaging conversational partners. But, you will have to
do what is best for you. You can choose to not be a victim to someone else's verbal assaults.

     Remember: You have a choice of who will be your conversational partner!

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