Are You Stuck in One-Way Relationships?By Dr. Margaret Paul
October 27, 2014
Do you sometimes feel trapped with some who wants to be listened to but doesn't want to listen to you?
One of the common complaints I hear from my clients is that they listen well but they end up just listening and never being heard. This is the issue that Ginger wrote to me about.
"I often find myself trapped in the role of being a good listener and of not being able to be honest about my own needs to be heard. I start watching for a chance to present myself and get annoyed inside if the person doesn't take an interest in me, after I have given them a lot of attention.
"I always start by offering them the gift of listening. I assume that they will reciprocate. Fine if they do. Often they don't and I find myself wanting to direct the focus towards myself but feel constrained and trapped by politeness - I give myself away and this leads to feeling deflated and negative about myself and an inappropriate level of anger with the other person. How do you manage when you are with someone who is hogging the conversation?
Ginger also stated that she grew up with a mother who taught her that her lovability depended on her being tuned into her mother's feelings, rather than to herself, which is one of the signs of a narcissistic mother.
Have you had this experience? I certainly have. I also had a narcissistic mother who wanted me to listen to and understand her but had no interest in listening to or understanding me. Growing up in a one-way relationship with a self-absorbed parent primes you to be the listener and to ignore your own feelings and needs.
When I'm in this situation, I first tune into my own feelings. Am I feeling bored? Disconnected with the other person? Is my inner child feeling neglected by me in allowing this to continue?
Then I go to my Guidance to learn what would be loving to me. Is it loving to move into an intent to learn with the other person about why this is happening? Is this relationship important enough to me to pursue resolving this issue, or would it be best for me to find a way to lovingly disengage? If I'm in a restaurant with someone and I can't just walk away, and I don't think the person would be open to exploring the issue with me, do I just reassure my inner child that I won't put her in this situation again, and try to end the meal as soon as possible?
If the other person keeps bringing the conversation back to them and my Guidance says to move into an intent to learn, I might say, "I'd really like to connect with you, but I'm finding it hard when you keep bringing the conversation back to you. There must be a good reason you do this and I'd like to understand it."
If the other person is going on and on with a monologue – not even giving me a chance to respond, and my Guidance tells me to move into an intent to learn, I might say, "I'd really like to connect with you but I can't when you talk non-stop. I'd like a dialogue, not a monologue. There must be a good reason you are doing this and I'd like to understand."
If my inner sense and my higher Guidance let me know that it's unlikely this person is going to be open, then I might spend some time in the restroom and then cut the meal short. Or, I might find a place of compassion in me for both myself and the other person – who is abandoning his or her inner child and pulling on me for attention - and compassionately listen. I let my inner child know that it is not her responsibility to take care of anyone's abandoned inner child, but that compassionately listening is what is currently in our highest good.
This is what works for me. You might want to explore what would work for you if you find yourself in a one-way relationship.
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Tune into your body and be present with this moment. If there is sadness and loneliness, welcome and embrace it, bringing the love of Spirit to these feelings. Allow them to flow though you and release them to God, then invite in the love, peace and joy that is Spirit.
By Dr. Margaret Paul