Small Changes In Communication Make A Big Difference

It’s getting increasingly hard to not flip out every two minutes when I am having a conversation with someone. I am most likely (depending on who I am talking to) going to hear one thing said to me that rubs me the wrong way and get mad. This is the case not so much with what is being said, but how it is being said. You know how my last official blog post was speaking out against tone policing? Well, I guess what I am always doing is a different version of that. So get ready to call me a hypocrite but I hope I can explain the difference effectively. I am not telling people to tone it down when talking to me. I am more hearing the tone in someone’s voice depending on who it is (ie. an authority figure answering a question I have with an answer I like but their tone sounds like they don’t mean it) and getting a pre-conceived notion that they have something up their sleeve. I don’t know if this is a bipolar thing but I am going to be honest and say I AM sometimes (not always) reading too much into things and thinking people who are on my side are lying about that to me. It could also be the PTSD because if I am not talking to someone who is a likeminded person (ie. someone my age, someone on the spectrum, someone who cares about validation etc) then I automatically associate the person with the teachers (ADULTS) who held me down and restrained me in middle school. And then flashbacks begin and I lose it. It wasn’t until my depression was relieved of all its numbness this year that that has become an issue. But with all the good stuff comes the old thoughts from nearly 20 years ago swarming back to my now officially 30-year-old self. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I have come a long way in mental recovery in the last couple of months but there are definitely scars that have had zero treatment while I was growing up and it’s just now I am feeling the effects of their pain. Medication is not the cause or solution to this. Neither is time. The only thing that calms me down and gets me into a better place is positive reassurance and acknowledgment from people on a frequent basis, which everyone should have to be honest. I still don’t live in the vicinity of real life friends. My only positive connections are online. They have done wonders for me as I have said in previous posts. But for so many years, I have spent too much time trying to hold onto friends that I knew deep down were not the kinds of friends I needed and vice versa. But to get back to the authority thing and the positive reassurance. A couple hours ago from the time I am writing this, I was talking with my mother. I told her that it must be frustrating and draining for her to see me lose it over small reactions to what I say in a conversation. While she did acknowledge it was hard, she also told me “but we understand”. Just the words “we understand” made me feel so much better. And it is a reminder to me and hopefully to my readers that when someone is suffering, simple phrases and gestures are really all you need to give them to put their mind at ease. You don’t need to think or try really hard. Saying you understand may sound like just “a line” but trust me, in the right context, it will really make the person feel heard and well…understood. Not to mention they will feel less guilty and more comfortable opening up to you. The tension will really ease off. Like I said in my old post about Thinking Positive Vs Feeling Positive, reassurance, validation and emotional support are the key to feeling positive. And it is very easy to provide it. You don’t need to tell the person a million great things about them or shout out a solution right then and there. Just show a small tad of empathy. That’s it. Small things like that make a big difference. Take it from me.

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