The only valid way to LISTEN
Saturday, April 16, 2011 9 Comments
Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.
Listening from Belief
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Another post in the Walking A Mile in Another’s Shoes Series
And most of those “fixers” think their own experience of life is valid and useful, and that their ADD buddy merely has to adopt their perspective to be able to function differently — and well!
• You’re running your victim racket again . . .
• Everyone gets distracted, just TELL yourself you CAN pay attention . . .
• It’s all that coffee (sugar, lack of sleep – ANYTHING besides ADD itself)
• You are at the effect of an inaccurate BELIEF
Those comments may well come from a loving intention – most of us understand intellectually that those who claim to love us wish us well and are “only trying to help” – but do you realize how UNloving those comments are in execution?
They’re invalidating. They’re shaming and should-ing all over the place!
What’s worse, they don’t even work:
they produce exactly the opposite of what the person who says them says they want!
There are two main problems with this particular brand of should:
BOTH come from assumptions that are flat out wrong:
1 – they assume lack of self-awareness — that the ADDers are not experiencing or describing their world view appropriately or accurately;
2 – they assume volition — well, maybe the ADDer is not exactly doing it on purpose, but they’re not making choices that will allow them NOT to do it either. And they could!
So, once again, we’re back to the underlying assumption that “all” an ADDer has to do is make a commitment to willingness and their world will shift on a dime.
This Chinese finger-trap is a consequence of a failure to listen from a basic belief in your ADDer’s experience of the world, their willingness to share it truthfully, and their ability to language it accurately.
Listening through filters
If we filter our listening through the idea that our ADDer is “over-reacting,” or hyperbolizing, or making excuses, or being controlling or immature or mean or irresponsible, or “running a racket,” our listening will be skewed by our underlying assumptions.
As a result, we will miss the important clues that will help us to make changes in the situation.
It’s difficult to listen for anything useful when our listening from
has already discounted the information in basic ways.
Think about one of the stories reported occasionally in the press involving a situation where an individual rushes to the Emergency Room only to be told that there is nothing wrong with them. The specifics vary from case to case.
• We discovered nothing out of the ordinary in your mammogram and you are very young to have breast cancer. It’s probably a benign cyst too small to be picked up.
• No you don’t have a appendicitis. Your symptoms are caused by severe acid indigestion. You must be unusually sensitive to pain. Change your diet and you’ll be fine!
• No you are not having a heart attack. You are having an anxiety attack.
In the most lurid of reports, the second part of the story goes on to report the death of the individual on their way home from the hospital — from something that was causing the very symptoms that took them to the Emergency Room in the first place.
How in the world could this happen?
Are our medical schools turning out poorly trained idiots or insensitive dolts who are in the field simply for the money? Of course not!
I know a lot of doctors, and they all work very hard to stay current with the advances in their profession. They sincerely want to give the very best care to the people who come to them for help. They fight valiantly to work within the increasingly restrictive guidelines imposed by the advent of managed care.
They pay an exorbitant amount of money for liability insurance to protect themselves from the effects of a lawsuit in an increasingly litigious society — to retain their ability to stay in the field to help as many people as they can.
What is happening here is a perfect example of a failure to listen from belief.
Had each doctor proceeded out of a belief that NO person would come to a doctor unless something were seriously wrong, any one of them would have discovered the very serious problem that was causing the symptoms that resulted in the unexpected and unnecessary death reported by the media. They simply would not have stopped testing until they found the problem.
However, there are patients who ascribe symptoms to incorrect causes and must be sent home with accurate diagnoses that are much less serious.
There are also people who panic at any downturn in their health, as well as hypochondriacs and individuals who have nothing wrong with them whatsoever.
There is simply not enough time in any doctor’s day to do a thorough workup on every single person who walks through the door! They’ve had to learn ways of listening that allow them to filter those cases that require immediate medical intervention from those that don’t.
Doctors must listen from educated skepticism.
That is not a good model for you to emulate in your personal or professional relationships, however! I would like to suggest that the most powerful way to listen, the ONLY way that is really, truly listening, is to listen from belief.
(In another post, I discuss HOW to listen from belief, and why the shaming and should-ing has the opposite effect)
As always, if you want notification of new articles in the Coaching Skills Series – or any new posts on this blog – give your email address to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too). STRICT No Spam Policy
IN ANY CASE, stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.
Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some one-on-one (couples or group) coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series, click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end, or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page. Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)
Related articles right here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com
(in case you missed them above)
- ABOUT Alphabet Disorders (and Alphabet City)
- HOW to Listen from Belief
- Expectations of Success shift
- ADD Empathy – 101
- Shame on Shoulds
The Courage to Listen (Diary of a Mom)