Do you have a talking addiction? Or know someone with a talking addiction?
Have you heard this joke?
"Do you know the name of the 12-Step program for people who talk too much?
On and On Anonymous!"
You might not find it funny if you are an incessant talker, or if you find yourself feeling trapped with someone who is going on and on…and on.
If You Have A Talking Addiction…
Do you believe you are being interesting when you talk on and on? Have you ever noticed that people seem to tune you out or avoid you?
A talking addiction is a form of control, where you are trying to get and maintain another's attention as a way to feel connected with that person – because you are disconnected from yourself. You are coming from neediness and hope to fill up your inner emptiness through the other person.
When you are talking on and on, have you ever noticed whether you are actually offering the listener anything? Or, are you mainly sucking energy from the listener with your monologue?
The root cause of a talking addiction is self-abandonment. You are not attending to your own feelings, which creates the inner emptiness and neediness that leads to many addictions. With a talking addiction, this inner emptiness is like a black hole sucking energy from others. The problem is that, no matter how long or often others listen to you, they cannot fill you –- because only you can fill up the black hole by learning to love yourself.
When you are rejecting and abandoning yourself by not taking loving care of your own feelings and needs, you may be creating a vicious circle: each time you pull on others for attention –- making them responsible for your feelings and needs -- you are continuing to reject and abandon yourself. In effect, you are saying to yourself, "I don't care enough about myself to pay attention to myself. I'm not important to myself. I'm not worth my time." You are making others responsible for determining whether or not you are worthy of attention, instead of deciding this for yourself and giving yourself the care and attention you need.
Do you believe it's possible to fill yourself with love, or do you believe that only another can fill you? If you continue to believe that it is someone else's responsibility to fill you up and take away your inner emptiness and aloneness, then you will not do the inner work required to fill yourself up with the love you need.
If You Are With Someone Who Has A Talking Addiction…
What do you generally do when you find yourself at the other end of someone going on and on? Do you listen politely, dying of boredom, but afraid to hurt the talker's feelings by walking away? Do you try to get a word in edgewise, only to give up and end up feeling trapped and drained?
I have some suggestions for you to try the next time you feel trapped by a talking addict. Kindly and gently, tell the truth! It might go something like this: "I'd really like to connect with you, but I find myself feeling bored and drained, with my mind wandering, and feeling kind of trapped by your monologue. I'd like to have a two-way conversation with you, but I can't seem to get a word in. Is it possible for us to have a two-way conversation rather than this monologue?"
Or, you could open to learning about why the person is going on and on. You might say, again kindly and gently, "Are you aware that we are not actually having a conversation? I haven't been able to say a word, and I'm wondering why this is. Why is it so important to you to talk so much? Are you interested in anything I have to say, or in actually connecting with me?"
If neither of these feel right to you, and if you don't want to continue to be bored and feel drained, it really is okay to excuse yourself. Sometimes I just smile and say, "Excuse me," and walk away. While some might consider that rude, I consider it to be loving to myself, because I don't like being used to fill up another's emptiness. Just because they are abandoning themselves and making me responsible for them, doesn't mean I have to abandon myself and take responsibility for them instead of for myself. In my view, it's more loving to either speak up or disengage, than to enable the talker to continue acting out their addiction.
I have much compassion for people who feel so inwardly alone and empty that they try to trap others into filling them up, but I also have compassion for myself. Sitting there, standing there, or staying on the phone with someone who has a talking addiction is not kind to myself.
Taking loving care of yourself is the best way of supporting others in taking loving care of themselves. Only then we can come to each other full of love to share, rather than trying to get love.
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox" – the first two weeks are free! ! Discover SelfQuest®, a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution computer program. Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.