Addiction to TalkingBy Dr. Margaret Paul
December 31, 2006
Over-talking is often a way to connect with others when you feel alone and disconnected from yourself, but it may be pushing people away.
There is an old joke about people who talk a lot: "Do you know the 12-Step program for people who talk a lot? On and On Anon!"
The joke recognizes that fact that incessant talking is a common addiction.
Non-stop talking is about using others for attention and approval because of not giving yourself enough attention and approval. When you are over-talking, you are not actually offering anything to the listener. Instead, by going on and on with a monologue, you are pulling energy from the listener.
Do You Get Trapped Listening to an Over-Talker?
People who end up listening to an over-talker go on and on are often caretakers who are afraid to hurt the talker by disengaging or by telling the truth about their boredom.
Talkers are often needy people who attempt to assuage their emptiness by trapping people into listening to them. For example, I've seen people telling a bank teller their life story, while the trapped teller doesn't know how to disengage without being impolite. The problem is that one of the reasons these people are without friends is that no one wants to be with them. It's draining to be at the other end of a needy person who uses talking as a way to fill up.
If you are addicted to talking, perhaps you believe that you are being interesting when you go on and on about yourself. However, you might reconsider the truth of this belief if you find that many people avoid you. Most people will not tell you the truth - that they feel tired, drained and trapped in your presence, and bored by your talking about yourself or going into excrutiating detail about something that holds no interest for the them. Not wanting to offend you, they just stay away rather speak their truth. They don't answer the phone when they know it's you, and they find any excuse to not spend time with you. It's not that they don't like you - it's that they don't want to be used by you to fill up your emptiness.
Healing Your Addiction to Talking
Imagine that you have a child within you - your feeling self - who feels very alone. This child feels alone because you are not paying attention to him or her. Every time you trap someone into listening to you, it is as if you are handing this inner child away for adoption. You want someone else to attend to and approve of this child instead of you accepting this responsibility.
The very fact of doing this is an inner abandonment and is creating the aloneness that is at the heart of all addictions. By expecting others to listen to you when you don't listen to yourself, you are giving the child within a message that he or she is not important to you. When you do not take the time to attend to your own feelings and needs, you are creating inner neediness and emptiness. This inner emptiness is like a vacuum that attempts to suck caring from others. Yet no matter how often others do listen to you, it never really fills you. This is because only you can give your own inner child what he or she needs.
If you were to take some time each day to learn and practice Inner Bonding, having a dialogue, either out loud or in writing, with the part of you who so needs to be heard, you would discover that you can fill your own emptiness. In addition, if you practice imagining a loving spiritual presence holding you, loving you, listening to you and guiding you, you will no longer feel alone.
As long as you believe that it is someone else's job to fill you, you will not take the time to practice Inner Bonding and learn how to fill yourself. As long as you believe that it is okay to trap others and use them to fill yourself, you will continue your talking addiction. Only when you get that it is not loving to yourself or to others to expect them to take care of your inner child - your feelings and needs - will you start to take on that responsibility.
While you might not believe that you can fill yourself better than others can, you will not know until you try. My personal experience is that when my intention is to take loving care of myself and to fill myself with the Love that is God, I feel happy and peaceful. When you choose to take responsibility for meeting your own needs instead of abandoning yourself to others, I assure you tat you will never feel alone and empty.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
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It's a challenge to take responsibility for our own feelings when we are alone, and even more of a challenge when we are with others. Today, notice the various ways you make others responsible for your feelings - not speaking up, saying yes when you mean no, blaming, feeling hurt, waiting, people-pleasing, getting angry, withdrawing, numbing out, punishing, and so on. Just notice without judgment.
By Dr. Margaret Paul