Building a Wall in Front of a Wall

It’s gridlock, man!

I’m fairly certain that line came from an advert. I’m not sure what the advert was advertising, but I do remember the punchline… because within context it was funny, and it reminded me of an anecdote my mother used to tell me which was also funny in a manner which appealed to my contrarian side.

It’s also funny how the mind works…

How it processes information.

What it pays attention to, what it retains, and how often it doesn’t pay attention to and retain the very thing someone else wanted to impress upon it.

It’s often gridlock in the mind… so many ideas, thoughts, feelings, passions, obsessions, biases which demand confirming, and other inner vehicles coming together inside causing traffic.

Earlier today I read this article – Psychology Today: Cyberbullying and Breaking Out of Hate Spirals by Ravi Chandra

What caught my mind’s attention in the above article was the bit where he said “and was immediately attacked by someone who confessed she hadn’t really read my article carefully, but she still accused me of misogyny, entitlement, and essentially feeding a gender war – which was not at all what I’d written.

Who is right and who is wrong? What if they’re both right and wrong at the same time?

It partly caught my mind’s eye because I’d read another article a week or so ago by an author who shared both his primary reaction to reading someone else’s article and his secondary reaction after he made himself re-read the article because he was being mindful of how a lot can be missed in the first read due to the human tendency to get caught up in initial reactions… and not read things properly. In his first read he disagreed with most of what was said by the other person, in the second read he found himself agreeing with most of what was said – awesome experiment on self and equally awesome results of experiment on self!

Which reminds me of another article I read recently and the list/questionnaire included in it:

excerpt from How Listening is the Ultimate Act of Generosity by John Amodeo

Which ties in with yet another article – Psychology Today: A Secret to Great Communication by Beverly D. Flaxington

And another bit which caught my mind’s eye from the latter article – “Listening is a skill. It takes practice and commitment to get better at it. If you want to be perceived as a great communicator, a wonderful friend, an esteemed colleague, and a person that others want to be around, start honing your listening skills.” – because it was the most noticeable of many subtle suggestions implanted in that article telling the reader that being a better listener will improve their social status and public image.

What I heard was – “If you want to effectively manipulate and control the impression you make upon people, how people see you and think about you, then do what I’m telling you to do.

The author who wrote that article has worked as a corporate consultant, which explains her style of expression.

The corporate world is rather narcissistic = What’s in it for me? What do I get out of doing this (because if I get nothing out of it there’s no point in doing it)? What’s the return on my investment? Show me the money!

Narcissisus is not known for his listening skills…

The narcissistic side of all of human nature is a bad listener. Not just bad at listening to others, but also bad at hearing itself.

To be fair to the narcissistic side of human nature – we can’t listen to everything everyone has to say all the time… there’s not enough time to do that, especially now that we have the internet and mobile phones where people can talk to and at us 24/7.

We need filters, boundaries, and other walls to apply to what we listen to… and also who we listen to, and how we listen to them.

Now more than ever before we need to make some quiet time to listen to ourselves – really listen and hear what we’re saying and how it’s affecting us, influencing how we experience ourselves and others around us.

This article touched upon that – Psychology Today: 7 Thoughts Not to Think as You Age—and What to Do Instead by Cecilia Dintino – however the way it was presented struck me as being counterproductive. Not-To-Do lists are like building a wall in front of a wall making it nigh on impossible to move, to express yourself, to flow freely.

I did like the main point and sub-points made.

I particularly liked this bit of it:

4. Kids today…

It’s a bad thought.

Don’t think it. Never say it. It’s tiresome. It’s… old. 

It was said about you. It was said about your mother, and it was said about her mother. 

Here’s the truth: Kids today are fascinating. They always have been. Why? Because they are different than you were. They face different issues, new inventions, and live in diverse times. By judging them, you lose your chance to connect in meaningful ways. By dissing them, you miss the opportunity to inspire yourself with new learning, fresh energy, and unusual ways to be.

What to do instead?

Get curious about the younger generations. Make friends with them. Ask questions of them. Read their books. Listen to their music. Dance their dances. Listen to their ideas, politics, and attitudes with an open mind.  

The best way to age is not to try to stay young, but to be influenced by the young.”

excerpt from Psychology Today: 7 Thoughts Not to Think as You Age—and What to Do Instead by Cecilia Dintino

Because it tapped into something which bothers me – when people do that whole “back in the nostalgic past which I no longer remember properly, people were more polite, thoughtful, caring, etc… nowadays everyone is shit and shitty, oh how I miss the old days“.

Every time I hear someone talking along those lines I want to call bullshit, but that’d be rude and the sort of people who do that often have a pet peeve about rudeness – everyone else being rude (they’re often very rude about it, but that’s okay because they’re old so they’re allowed to be rude!).

People not listening to themselves drives me nuts… especially when they expect others to listen to them AND take them seriously. Srsly!?!

That’s an old issue for me – I grew up with parents who were narcissists, and they weren’t garden variety narcissists (no true narcissist is). They were very active when it came to not listening especially to the stuff which came out of their own mouths – and boy do they love to talk non-stop, talk drivel and except others to listen… but never question, and definitely don’t point out the fact that they keep contradicting what they’ve just said with what they’ve just said before and after that.

Narcissists are an exaggeration of the narcissistic side of human nature. In some ways they’re doing us a favour and showing us what happens if our regular narcissistic human traits and behaviours get too dominant because they feel ignored and thus become exaggerated in their attempt to get us to listen to what we’re trying to tell us about ourselves.

However even though narcissists never listen to anything they say…

And appear not to listen to anything anyone else says, anything you say… unless you’re saying something about them – which they tend to assume you’re always doing because why wouldn’t you, and why would you talk about anyone else, and that can lead to almighty rows…

Not dissimilar to the one mentioned by Ravi Chandra where he was accused of basically being narcissistic by some person who decided he was talking about her and doing so offensively even though she admitted that she hadn’t bothered to read what he’d said properly (why would she bother to do that!?!)…

They do listen… in their own way, a way which will inspire others to be better listeners since what you say within earshot of a narcissist will be used against you and come back to haunt you.

Sometimes what you said has been remixed, edited, transformed into something else entirely = gaslighting. They’ll say you said XYZ… but you never said that. They’ll insist that you did.

They’re so certain about it, confident… and you’re not. Doubt creeps in and spreads quickly.

It’s their say versus your say… but you weren’t really listening to yourself when you were speaking with them, within earshot of them, at all. Maybe you did say what they said you said…?…?… and slowly you find yourself making apologies, excuses, generating explanations, and getting deeply stuck argument mud.

They’re also very good at asking provocative leading questions which are designed to provoke you into wanting to answer them without thinking about it first, rushing headlong not noticing that you’re being led into a trap – the red flag is that they’ll never answer their own question, they’ll have many excuses and reasons why they don’t if you happen to notice that they don’t and confront them about it.

If you confront them about it you’ll become a threat and they’ll want to publicly ridicule you, discredit you, turn you into a laughing stock. How dare you expose them to themselves and point out how much effort they put into never exposing themselves to the things they do to others, you’re making them feel fearful and weak – you must be annihilated for that. They may batter you with increasingly ridiculous questions… which they still refuse to answer themselves.

They’re not interested in answering the question themselves, that’s not why they’re asking it, they’re asking it so that you’ll say something and then they’ll twist it to suit the purpose they had for asking you the question.

What purpose did they have for it?

Often it’s for confirmation of their rigid thinker bias – Yes, yes, yes, I am right to think this way… but it’s not paying me back the way I want it too. Why isn’t this investment paying big dividends!?!

And to screw you over. Put you down to lift themselves up. Criticise you to feel superior to you.

You thought they were interested in what you thought about the issue they were asking you about, that they might genuinely… they’re not and now you feel foolish and eviscerated for having thought and shared that way with them.

Never again…

In a previous post I shared a link to and excerpts from this article – Psychology Today:10 Things Not to Do with Narcissists Avoid common pitfalls when dealing with the self-absorbed. by Dan Neuharth – while it is a very good article, it also is a problematic one.

Why?

Because it’s advising people to create a Not-To-Do list. The problem is – You do need one of those if you’re dealing with a narcissist or a narcissistic person. It can be a lifesaver, a timesaver, as it gives you much needed filters and boundaries…

However the problem also is that it makes you inhibited about being yourself – you do need to pay attention to whether you’re building a wall in front of a wall thus making it nigh on impossible for who you are to be who you are, when alone or in the company of others.

Many of the systems I created to deal with the narcissists in my life, while they worked and were needed, also caused problems for me in my interactions and relationships with non-narcissists.

Mostly it made it difficult for me to have a relaxed and spontaneous relationship with myself – our relationship with ourselves is a crucial factor in our relationship with others, even though we’re often told that we should ignore it and focus our efforts on our relationship with everyone except ourselves otherwise we’ll get accused of being a narcissist (and yet, most narcissists have shitty relationships with themselves which is why…).

Learning to listen to yourself is an amazing relationship changer…

It takes time, effort, practice…

It gives back more than you put into it – there’s the money, the return on the investment!

Yesterday I did a chore which required being an active listener of myself to avoid injury and making the job harder than it actually was. It went smoothly, and led to a certain satisfaction of a job well done, target achieved. I took a photograph of it this morning…

and when I reviewed the it, it occurred to me that I’d built a wall in front of a wall. That thought and listening to it took me on this journey which I’ve shared with you – I wonder what you’ll hear, what you think I’m saying, have said, what it translate to for you?

I’ve been through different phases and ways of listening to myself – at first it was mainly for self-preservation, remembering what I’d said so the narcissists in my life couldn’t gaslight me. Much later on it became a way to identify the scripts which had been implanted in my mind, which I was following, which weren’t mine, which weren’t good for me and weren’t good for others either.

Listening to yourself on a regular basis until it becomes second nature leads to a certain type of internal satisfaction… you don’t need others to listen to you in the same way that you needed them to do that before because you didn’t do that for yourself.

It changes how you relate, how you interact, how you listen.

Which leads to enjoying giving active listening to others… which leads to getting more money and return on the investment – the kind of money and return which isn’t the kind you can count and calculate on a calculator.

I’m ending this post on something I read last night:

“The foul mayor blames Man-wol for his ruined life and stabs her with a sharpened rod. He laughs at his successful stab…

…Man-wol wonders why humans never acknowledge their own wrongdoings and always blame others.

She pulls the rod out of her chest

She suspends the rod in the air

Chan-sung suspects that she’s going to kill him. But the rod shoots past him, through the alleyway, and pierces the former mayor, who crumbles into dust.

excerpt from Dramabeans: Hotel del Luna: Episode 1 recap

16 comments

  1. Haha reminds me of a conversation my hubby and I had once ages ago. “Omg, Kim. Do you even listen to yourself?”
    “Not really, I talk a whole lot of shit. So I mostly just phase in and out”

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    • Haha, Kim 😀

      Yeah I sometimes don’t listen to what I’m saying either. I think everyone does that. I also don’t always listen to what others are saying. There are many different types and ways to listen. It’s like a stream of words and sometimes you want to get wet, other time you want to stay dry.

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      • Basically! Communication is a farce. Instead of listening to what other people are saying, they are merely waiting for their turn to speak. Splash splish ducky shakes off her feather.

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        • In certain conversations that’s definitely the case. It does make those instances where people truly listen to what you’ve said stand out. It’s a wonderful feeling to be truly heard, listened to, it’s worth remembering that feeling as it’s something we can give to others too by listening to them and truly hearing what they’re saying 🙂

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          • Oh to be so well and readily received by an other! that’s the dream 🤩 I mean, that’s the point of communicating, right? Not just some giant soliloquy in some LARP. Or that’s what I thought anyway. 🤷‍♀️🛸

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t really hear the words so much as feel the vibe when someone is talking to me. I’m an Empath and I trust my vibes more than their words. Unless they’re giving me information I’ve requested. Facts, data, directions I listen to that.

    It all comes back to self and our comfort in our headspace. If we’ve learned to be comfortable with ourselves we can spend the energy/time/whatever to really connect with other people. If we’re not comfortable then it’s difficult to get past all the discomforts yammering. Like a wall in front of a wall.(love the picture btw)

    I don’t think we have to stay connected to the younger generation per se, more just stay connected in general. Stay curious. Continue to quest and question. Live.

    Great thought journey as always.💌

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    • Thank you, Angie 🙂

      Yes, that’s a great point about listening to the vibes, picking up on the other forms of speaking which people do with their emotions, bodies, energy, and listening to those.

      My mother was like this heavy grey fog, a pea-souper – it was hard to breathe in her company. She used to talk non-stop, often saying the same things over and over, a mostly negative mantra of bitching, complaining, criticising, whining, and there was never an end to it, it went around in a vicious circle, it didn’t matter what the subject was it always ended up in the same place and then it would begin again.

      Over time my ears would hurt when I was in her company, I couldn’t actually hear what she was saying, it became noise, white noise, static similar to when you’re trying to tune a radio.

      It’s funny, I just remembered that one of her anecdotes of her early days of acting was about when she was an extra, she and the other extras would have to simulate being in conversation in the background of the scene, and they were instructed not to have proper conversations but to say “banana banana banana” repeatedly in a low mumble. That’s kind of how I ended up hearing her non-stop talk, as though it was the same word repeated in a mumble, except she had this strident piercing voice so it wasn’t relaxing and was painful to the eardrums.

      I went through a period of not being able to hear words, instead I heard people talking as music, tunes, sound waves, instruments – similar to Peter and The Wolf. It was a weird experience but afterwards I viewed it as a way to perceive patterns. It works with reading as well, the sound the words make when you read them and the pattern of the sound.

      I agree about staying connected in general, staying tuned in to the sound of youth because we have that sound within us too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • What a cool way to experience words…sound waves and music! Did the patterns reflect the words? Like dark and twisty or light and bouncy? Did each word have a unique sound or did it depend on how it was used or the user? You don’t have to answer, I’m just thinking out loud. (on a keyboard)
        I’ve seen colors in music a few times when I was really in the zone, but it was fleeting.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm… sounds like a drama to watch when my hectic schedule comes to a halt 😉

    I prided myself as being an effective listener, most of the time, it’s only whether I need to or can choose to react or not, or later.On the other hand, I find myself not as efficient a reader as I used to. This could be be partly to due my previous job where I read survey reports day in day out and got so used to skim reading. Hee, there are times I skim thru your posts too, but mostly have read them word by word becos it creates a very vivid imagery and sometimes you are hilarious, the way you write and your choice of words 😀

    As for talking to myself, it had become considerably less since I developed the drinking habit. I aware of that and in a conscious way I’d use alcohol to turn off the radio in my head. That’s maybe why I could always listen when people talk (other than when I’m in a revery but I don’t do that often when I with people).

    Now I’m reminded how when my muse spoke, not only did I listen but my thoughts were processing at high speed… was it her words, was it her voice or something else that ignites my mind. Love is beauty, and beauty is a feeling, from your previous post ya. One F. Scott Fitzgerald quote or a misattributed quote that aptly describes my feelings, her beauty… She is beautiful

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    • Thank you for sharing, Reverist 🙂

      If I re-read old posts of mine I often skim through them 😉 Too many words, and really it’s about the bits you notice in the moment because reading is more about having a conversation with yourself… as is writing. The bits which get your attention are those which are relevant to you in that moment when you pay attention to them – what are they saying to you, for you, about you, your story, etc?

      Listening to people has a similar dynamic to reading – there are certain things they say which will stand out while others blur together. The parts which stand out tap into a personal inner conversation. It’s not always easy to tell whether what you’ve heard is what they said or what you said to yourself with their words.

      Sometimes when people talk, they’re not talking to you but to themselves, to hear themselves thinking their thoughts out loud, to think things through, get in touch with how they feel, what they really feel about XYZ.

      There are so many different forms of talking, and of listening 🙂

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  4. I’ve done that before – been other-directed when I’m supposed to be listening. Listening is something I have to work at, remind myself of, take the time to do … I still drift off and have to haul myself back. Thanks for all the links. 🙂

    I like your wall/log wall – I can imagine that it was a terrific amount of sweaty work.

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    • Thank you, Lynette 🙂

      I think everyone drifts when listening – partly that’s because something someone says sets off a train of thought, associations, connections, taps into an inner dialogue, causes a memory to be stirred, creates a reaction. The tangents are part of the conversation, each conversation is part of a bigger communication picture.

      In recent years I’ve actually trained myself to be more of a bad listener – I was too focused before on listening intently and eventually the penny dropped that this is part of the reason why people find me intimidating and unnerving. Sometimes it’s better not to fully listen to what people are saying because some of that conversation is a personal and private one which they’re having with themselves, you just happen to be the ears they’re using to talk with themselves and while they need the attention of a listener they don’t always want you to hear what they’re saying.

      Yeah, I sweated away an entire body’s worth of sweat. I was wearing a plastic rainjacket, because it was raining but also because it protected me from getting scratched by the bark, and it acted like a wearable sauna. The sweating kept me cool though. I still have another pile to do. They’re big logs, but because they’re seasoned they’re quite light, you can launch them through the air and pretend to be a strapping lumberjack 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ahh yes, listening. We did that for our narcissist mothers a lot…being their therapist, right? However, as I grew up, I realized I had a problem with listening to others. I think that when I finally got a chance to talk outside of my family, I over did it. When I realized I did this, I started practicing listening. I still work at it, but it gets better as I go along.

    When I was a kid, I never felt listened-to. I swore I’d never do that to children. If there is anyone that can get me to zip my lip, it’s kids. I never had kids of my own, but my nephews know they have an Aunt who will listen when their parents don’t.

    As far as listening to myself, that can get me into trouble. I tend to over-analyze myself. I question everything I’m saying, why I’m saying it and if it’s the appropriate thing. It’s better if I just remind myself to use my human filter (which my parents didn’t have) and not over think. So, in the vein of not over-thinking this comment, I’ll let this one fly. 😜

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