“You know what you should do…” 

7 May 2022
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Have you noticed how often we are told what to do?  When we explain something in our lives, whether it be a good thing or a problem, we are often met with responses like “You should…” and an explanation of what that person thinks would be good and effective. This is great if you have asked for support or advice, or if it is from a good friend who understands you (I get lots of support on here and it’s none of you I’m referring to). It’s not so great if you are simply having general conversation. It makes the difference between somebody who hears what you are saying and somebody who hears words and is formulating their response as you speak.  The former takes no energy, the latter depletes it.   

 

Yesterday, I knew I would encounter a lady who does something like this and much more.  (I had no choice; she was donating something for a collection I’m doing, and it was very kind of her.)  She asked me three questions and each time answered them for me. I had a little conversation with myself in my head as, for my own sanity, I counselled myself through it.  It was a funny situation and yet exhausting. Today I still feel it - 53 minutes of being spoken at. Like walking through a wind tunnel fighting to get out. 

 

I can’t complain (I just have!), she was being kind at the root. But I need to protect myself from this kind of behaviour. The right thing to do would have been to sweep in, announce I was in a terrible rush, and sweep away, but it makes me uncomfortable being somebody I’m not. And she is a force of nature. A tornado. I felt squashed against a wall as I tried to survive. 

 

Does this type of thing bring down your mental health? Overload you? Give you resentment? I suspect I need a new tool specifically for building resilience for these situations. My youngest daughter has a ring shaped like a little snake and over the last year, to help her deal with a toxic ‘friend’ at school, she would roll it around her finger to give herself just a little distance and remind her that the person is a snake. Maybe I need something like this. Ear defenders. Or maybe a bodyguard. Oh yes, a bodyguard.

 

Food for thought. 

 

Love from

The room above the gara

A Moodscope member.

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Comments

Bearofliddlebrain

May 8, 2022, 5:24 a.m.

Morning Chuckles, Have you become all Celtic on us and changed the garage’s name!?? ;-)* I wish I could be a ninja (insert ninja emoji here) and jump on these people who constantly interrupt with their own view and opinion, on your behalf. This behaviour often happens to me before I’ve managed to get half a sentence out. If I take a breath, someone’s in there! However, I have to hold a paw up and say I used to do this ;-( I’d get excited in my head on hearing a story and be bursting to join in. I think being the youngest, I never got to have my say a lot of the time when growing up. I’d be desperate to join in but I learned to take a breath, to stop forcing the conversation my way. It’s easier some days, harder with the likes of your donator... my sister was a talking-at-you person, like a demented woodpecker. I distanced myself when she drove me to snap. I feel guilty but I can’t do with her behaviour - it drains me. It does affect my MH - and I still have friends who are like that and I start to dread seeing them. But maybe they dread seeing me?! Maybe I still do it? Eek! I have met lots of people at various groups and most of them trample over each other’s conversations. It does get frustrating. What a great idea for your daughter to have that snake ring. Hope it helps sustain her and keeps teaching her how to step back from the ‘current and future toxic friends’. It’s a strange life so any help she can get now is brilliant. Oooh and a clever thought for the day…"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” From Stephen R. Covey. Thanks Caroline. Hope your day is bright - gardening now then a river swim this afternoon! Woohoo ;-)* Love and Bear hugs to you and all Moodscopers x x x

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the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:09 p.m.

Room above the gara is my rappers name lol! How was the river swim? Are rivers a little warmer or still **** cold? I’ve had a day of volunteering and I now need to find energy and inspiration to cook. Could be oven chips tonight…with sauce as extra vitamins :-D

Bearofliddlebrain

May 8, 2022, 4:46 p.m.

Omg - river swim was amazing - wish I could share photos!! Stunning and peaceful and a larf all rolled into one - great company swimming in the Rover Nene. Take time for yourself this evening Ratg - you should be proud of all you’ve achieved today my cherub ***

Oldie but Goldie

May 8, 2022, 6:35 a.m.

Good post RATG. IMHO "should" is one of the most over-used words in the English language. And "What you want to do is..." is even more tiresome.

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Bearofliddlebrain

May 8, 2022, 11:32 a.m.

Shoulds and ought to’s = file 13 ;-))

the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:10 p.m.

Oh yes, I worked with a “what to do is” and it drove me bonkers!

Valerie

May 8, 2022, 6:39 a.m.

I have also been guilty of offerings "useful" advice when someone presents me with a problem they are having.I know now that most people already know what the answer is to their dilemma,and choose not to do it.There is a section in Games People Play by Eric Berne called "Why don't you-yes but.." Player 1 presents a problem,Player 2 gives a suggestion to solve it,Player 1 then bats it away with "Yes but...." I have played this in both roles many times. I am quite adept now at getting away from people like the woman you describe.It is draining as you say.I am also mortified to think of times when I have been a bit manic and very verbose,and not given a thought to the poor wretch on the receiving end of all that energy I was hurling at them!

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the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:15 p.m.

Hello Valerie, I’m going to get that book, it sounds right up my alley :-) To be fair, most people don’t mean it or even bother me when they do, but my recent encounter tipped me. I think when people aren’t fully themselves it’s clear and completely allowable so don’t be mortified. You had reason. My lady didn’t, she is simply a traditional blowhard :-D

Sally

May 8, 2022, 6:47 a.m.

There’s a joke that goes something like “How dare you keep on talking when I’m busy interrupting you!” Or words to that effect. The longer I live, the more interested I am in communication skills. As a past linguist ( German, French, Spanish, Italian) I’ve always been interested in linguistics, which was an integral part of my degree. You couldn’t pass your degree if you didn’t pass the Linguistics module. Quite rightly, in my opinion, because you need to understand about language, its workings and so on. Etymology has been an interest of mine since then too. Where words come from. Roots. So when I meet people you describe, Room, I think about their language and communication skills (or lack of !) and it’s a fascinating exercise . There are always tell-tale phrases that alert to their agenda. “ If I were you” must come somewhere near top of the list (“ But you are not me!” I want to shout back!!) As the very apt quote by Stephen R. Covey says,( thank you so much, Caroline , I’m going to take a look at his book.) ” Most people do not listen with the intent to understand …etc “ And yes, I fall into that category sometimes. We are maybe all guilty of preparing our answer! But being aware and working on it is a beginning I think. Good luck with your collection, Room. It sounds fascinating! Like a curator..or a fundraiser. Either way, have an enjoyable day, you and all Moodscopers.

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The Gardener

May 8, 2022, 8:35 a.m.

Sally, I am sure we have touched on this before. You have to be very proficient and confident in another language to avoid preparing your answer and not really listening to what the other person is saying. Not 'wanting to get your word in' (though you have to be persistent with the French) but too busy wondering whether you have agreed the participle or adjective with the noun.

the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:17 p.m.

Thank you Sally, and I’m in awe of your language skills! I struggle with English, especially being Scottish :-D I’m collecting for a Ukraine project, everybody has been brilliant.

Ach UK

May 8, 2022, 6:57 a.m.

Dear Ratg, Sorry you bumped into " Gabby" again. It IS exhausting. I usually end up with a whole bundle of negative feelings, -- and some positively vindictive thoughts as to where I would like to send her ( or him, whoever). Ear Defenders are good. Thank you Ratg, " Food for Thought" indeed. I hope you have a beautiful "chatter free" Sunday :-))) hugs, XX Ach.

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the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:19 p.m.

Hello darling Ach, how are you? I always wonder how to pronounce ‘Ach’. Is it ‘aitch’ or how I read it is in Scots as in ‘ach, I’m ok’. X

Ach UK

May 8, 2022, 8:46 p.m.

Room :---))) " Ach " as in a batch of bread lol, or better stil Ach as in Achieve lol. Hoping the stars are out tonight for you. It's fifty years since I was in Scotland, 3 students and an ancient A40 van and a tiny tent On a whistle stop tour round Loch Lomond up through Fort William and Mallaig across Skye and then East across miles of empty moor and somehow found Edinburgh. Foot loose and fancy free students.

Ach UK

May 8, 2022, 8:46 p.m.

Room :---))) " Ach " as in a batch of bread lol, or better stil Ach as in Achieve lol. Hoping the stars are out tonight for you. It's fifty years since I was in Scotland, 3 students and an ancient A40 van and a tiny tent On a whistle stop tour round Loch Lomond up through Fort William and Mallaig across Skye and then East across miles of empty moor and somehow found Edinburgh. Foot loose and fancy free students.

Teg

May 8, 2022, 7:15 a.m.

Good Morning RATG No I am not volunteering as your bodyguard! Although we do look out for each other really well. I certainly know the situations that are likely to make me feel uncomfortable. I don't like being hemmed in like you describe. I prefer to have options about what I want to do. Sometimes it can be a person(s) but it can be a particular environment. For example I went to a birthday celebration a short while ago and got seated in a restaurant where "escape" was difficult. I also greatly dislike being talked to continually. I try to make a polite excuse to move elsewhere! Txx

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the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:23 p.m.

Hello Teg, oh do, that would be great! You can be my Kevin Costner and I’ll be Whitney Houston. I also struggle with that hemmed in feeling. In social situations the environment can be very challenging. As a child I remember spending long times in my bedroom decompressing and taking things in manageable chunks.

Teg

May 8, 2022, 5:33 p.m.

RATG I was thinking about " The Bodyguard" film earlier today. All I can say is KC is younger, braver, fitter, ( the list is endless!) than me. Teg ( your virtual,that is, almost none existent bodguard)

Oli

May 8, 2022, 7:40 a.m.

I love the idea of the snake ring. I usually can protect myself from these people ratg -- but not all because there are times you can't just walk away from them. I remember saying to a line manager once, calmly, "You have been haranguing me for 30 minutes. Stop now please." Four times in that monologue I had to remind him to stop shouting. Now, the problem is him, not me. And I can say that quite confidently because I have good and friendly interaction with everyone else (or at least neutral and no animosity). But that line manager and I don't get on and the problem is that you can't get away from it in a workplace. Outside, it would not be an issue. But there you have it, people telling you what you should do when, quite honestly you don't give a fig what they think. I need a snake ring. Except I don't wear rings after working in a hand unit! (De-gloving injuries, anyone?) But I could do with the equivalent of a snake ring. I once did a little mental rehearsal "cue and response" routine which worked really well for some problem I was having with a singer who could be a bit of a pain on stage till I dealt with it. Might work. Thank you for the blog ratg.

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the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:25 p.m.

Hello Oli, you are a rocker…you could have a little snake ring tattooed! It’s been a great thing for my daughter, she came up with it herself and it’s made a big difference. A talisman!

Salt Water Mum

May 8, 2022, 7:55 a.m.

Hi Room, Oooh I’ve lots of thoughts on this one! I too would like a snake ring. I also find being ‘talked at’ mentally exhausting. I’m now at a stage where I can lessen my time spent with such people. But of course that’s not always possible. I am better though at breathing and letting my frustration go. I tell myself it’s their way of communicating and it’s not about me. But have I also been like that ? I think so, for me, I think I found silences v tense so I would rabbit on like a fool to fill the space. Sometimes, I would hear myself and almost will my body to stop talking. But it was like I was on auto pilot! But with maturity (hmmm debatable!), I have got better with this and perhaps more comfortable with myself and others. Happy Sunday moodscopers Swm x

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the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:27 p.m.

My mum fills every gap and I understand she feels she has to, sadly it ruins things to such an extent that I sometimes don’t host things. I used to do it too, I might still (!) and now find I am much more comfortable taking half a step back and asking more questions. Tricky balance at times!

Bunnykins

May 8, 2022, 7:59 a.m.

Ex husband talks AT people, just thinking about it and heart is pounding :-/

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The Gardener

May 8, 2022, 8:21 a.m.

Bunnykins, what's in a word? Your ex talking 'at'. People talk: to, at, over, lecture, admonish, but seldom 'with'.

Ach UK

May 8, 2022, 8:26 a.m.

Lovely,. Gardener. Hope you are having a good day. XX Ach

the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:28 p.m.

Yes this is exactly it…being spoken at and there ends up no need to talk at all, just smile and nod, smile and nod.

The Gardener

May 8, 2022, 8:31 a.m.

Hello RATG, your blog added rage to my rather grey day. In our first house here nobody dared advise or criticise. It was utterly beautiful, historic, and common opinion was that we had enhanced it - we really felt grateful and 'custodians' to be the owners of such a place. Where I live now is different. No criticisms of what I have done with it, just that it is too big. Everybody feels justified in advising me, usually agressively. I have got fed up with explaining that it is: impractical, financially and physically impossible, none of their suggestions are even legal, or not without massive investment and council approval. If they think I am a stupid, stubborn old woman, so be it. I would add it would invite stress and hassle - they will turn up uninvited anyway. Will go and beat up some weeds, got to beat something up - grey,. cold, dry here, and I have 10 window boxes being delivered next week, I MUST be mad. xx

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the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:31 p.m.

Hello darling TG, I think I’d like it if they thought of you as stubborn. Nothing more soul destroying than being thought of as dull! Ten window boxes yes! They will be a joy when you plant them up, for you. Others will benefit but these are for YOU ***

Orangeblossom

May 8, 2022, 8:48 a.m.

Thanks for your great blog RATG. I have read about such people & encountered them on my paths. I read an excellent book called ‘Listen’ by Kathryn Mannix. She gave some interesting tips about improving on my listening skills. A dear friend of ours died yesterday & we were partially prepared by her son. The thing that I loved about Minnie was that she really listened in order to understand. She was a trained bereavement counsellor. I imagine that she supported her clients well. Although we hadn’t seen each other for awhile, she has left a gap in our lives.

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Bearofliddlebrain

May 8, 2022, 11:39 a.m.

Oh OB - I’m so sorry for the loss you are feeling and will continue to feel whilst missing Minnie. What an amazing woman she was in her job - she will be missed by all she helped as well as friends and family. Love and Bear hugs x x x

the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:35 p.m.

Firstly Ob, I’m so sorry Minnie has died. The gap…awful. And it will undoubtedly have opened up raw wounds you are still healing from. What a beautiful name she has. I really love it. I only recently discovered a podcast where Kathryn Mannix was talking about death, what an amazing woman. And her voice is soothing to hear. I’d like to read that book you’ve talked about, will look it up now. Thank you.

Liz

May 11, 2022, 7:47 a.m.

Hi Orangeblossom. So sad when a friend passes as it feels like a bit of you has passed with them. Thinking of you xx

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope

May 8, 2022, 9:12 a.m.

Hi TRATG, I sympathise with you, as this happens every day it seems. I'm talking to a friend or stranger who's just called to ask how my open heart surgery went in March just gone. No sooner had I started to explain, when he interrupted me and said "Oh I had exactly the same, and went on waffling for the next few minutes, he 'STOLE' the time GIVEN to me by his "Oh I've been there and done that attitude'... But TRATG, I myself butt in, and I say, hold on a minute...as I was saying....that always works for me. Most importantly it gives me back the control of the question he originally asked of me !! He got the message and sat back and gave me the space that was offered by his original question. "How are you".. Self confidence is vital if we are to maintain some equilibrium in our Lives, ESPECIALLY if we are enduring BP. You're as good as anyone and no better, and likewise No-one is better than you. I hope you will gain something TRATG but that's not a 'DEMAND' it's your freedom to choose. *** bless Dave Xx

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The Gardener

May 8, 2022, 9:52 a.m.

Dave, really empathise with you. I could not believe (have to) how unfeeling people are. My son died 3 months ago this morning. Many people, here and among friends, knew how ill he was. RATG had a brilliant idea the Sunday afterwards, handing the blog over for people's memories. But several people (not here) just about took in the news, briefest 'sorry' if they could be bothered, before launching into all their troubles.

Dragonfly

May 8, 2022, 10:04 a.m.

Dear TG I completely empathise with you too. When my Dad died (who'd also suffered with awful dementia) I received a card from a school friend, who'd known him when we were younger. It was less sympathy card, more newsletter, telling me of someone else who'd died, what her girls were up to etc. I felt that my grief had been completely diminished. Sending warmest wishes to you today x

Bearofliddlebrain

May 8, 2022, 11:43 a.m.

TG and Dragonfly - I think some people just don’t know what or how to say anything other than they’re sorry for the loss - sometimes that is enough that they have acknowledged the death…other times it’s important for them to ‘hear’ your loss. I am sure many just don’t notice what they’re doing or saying and carry on - maybe they think they’re helping by taking your mind off your own feelings of loss?? (Maybe I’m being to kind to them!!!). Go well both of you today - and TG, I hope the weather has brightened up! Am off to garden…***

The Gardener

May 8, 2022, 2:09 p.m.

Bear, I agree that it is difficult to know what to say after a bereavement. With the gist of the blog, it is the people who seem to neither feel or care, their egoism is such that any communication is an outlet to talk AT you. Re advice, oh, the people who know what you SHOULD do, and offer advice with no knowledge of subject or circumstances.

the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:39 p.m.

Thank you Dave, that a lovely reply. I’m usually quite good in these situations, I can usually use body language as well as careful silences to prompt awareness from the other. She is just impenetrable I think!! The good news is, it’s done and I don’t need to see her again for a long long while. Thank you.

the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:42 p.m.

Hello Dragonfly, I understand that. It feels like not the time for updates. (And, perhaps there is no longer even a need for the update!) People do struggle with words but less said, more succinct, more meaning perhaps.

Valerie

May 8, 2022, 6:43 p.m.

Hello lovely Dave.I am so pleased to hear from you. How are you feeling after your surgery ? One of my blind friends had open heart during lockdown,aged 85.The rehab.place had closed,so he went up and own the 2 flights of stairs in his house for exercise.I met with him for the first time since Covid a couple of months ago, and he looks amazingly well. I know you will be using your faith and your own philosophy to get your health back. Thinking of you and sending a big hug.***

Bearofliddlebrain

May 9, 2022, 5:26 a.m.

Apologies Dave - I realised too late last night/early hours, that I hadn’t replied to you - wishing you well in your recovery. Love and Bear hugs x x x

Tutti Frutti

May 8, 2022, 12:05 p.m.

Hi RATG Being talked at for 50 minutes sounds awful. I think your internal dialogue to help you get through it sounds like a great idea. I also like the sound of the snake ring. Your daughter is very lucky to have you as her mum. On the other hand I am aware that I have a terrible habit of interrupting people in conversations and I am not sure quite how to stop. I think it may have started as the only way to get a word in edgewise with my husband who can be extremely chatty when in full flow. Love TF x

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the room above the garage

May 8, 2022, 3:45 p.m.

Hello TF, the ring was all her own thought and I was impressed, told her I might one too! I know I interrupt people…it’s because I get curious and want to ask questions. Now that I’m aware, I have a little flag system in my head and one pops up when I do it, so I remember to say “anyway, let’s go back a bit, I’m sorry, I interrupted you, tell me about…” Lovely to see you x

Jul

May 9, 2022, 6:56 a.m.

Hi ratg I have been in Edinburgh fro two days visiting our son. I read your blog but can't access the comments page on my phone and didn't have my laptop with me. I enjoyed reading it and could identify with people telling me what i should do even though I hadn't asked for their advice. Have a good week. Love Jul xx

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Liz

May 11, 2022, 7:45 a.m.

Hi lovely RATG. I've been hopping on and off Moodscope. I read this with interest. These days I have zero tolerance for those types of people and they are a type. I like the avoidance technique. Or distraction (use of technology). I've found myself going a different way to avoid passing someone's house (yes a neighbour who actually did something very kind but to talk to her is exhausting in the extreme - she depletes my energy). The laugh is that sometimes on the different route back who do you bump into - them!! Imagine picking your phone up and talking literally to no-one as she comes in, nodding your head and replying to no-one and gesturing to her to leave them there as it's going to be a long one - even doing an aside for her excusing yourself for a minute to your other "friend" on the phone. Now I am offering you unasked for advice. She might have then waited!! Or prepare yourself three cards on which are written a reply. 1. Have you finished now. I'm desperate for a wee. 2. Thanks for your advice - would have been nice to have been able to reply to your questions. 3. No more donations thank you. Which one would you choose?!! I'm being silly here but these people are the worst energy hoovers really. Do something "nice" ie donation but it's a chance to tell you what they think of everything. 53 minutes is a helluva long time to listen to someone - you have the patience of a saint. My mummy used to get me to ding our door bell if she wanted off the phone - she would gesticulate to me and then say she would have to go. I loved that one but it requires the help of a friend. Wishing you well in your next interactions with her - you will be prepared next time for sure. Love and hugs from the Highlands x

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