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Breaking the habit of over-explaining

Thread starter #1
In many settings, I’m decently skilled at ignoring argumentativeness and troll-ish/bully behavior but lately in my personal so many people have been arguing everything I do and I keep falling into the trap.

I commented a beach was beautiful and someone with me
argued, “no, it is too sandy.”

In other settings with cranky arguers, I set and held a boundary. Then it would blow up. I’d set the boundary and then over-explain it, overly justify it, and people would then find all kinds of crap to get into, when instead of I had stuck to, “I hear your input and I’ve considered it. I’ve made my decision” and repeated it with confidence, the situation would have been over. The other person may have gotten cranky, snarky, tried to argue... but I didn’t have to take the bait.

As a kid, any decision I made was constantly challenged. Even my declaration of my favorite color and favorite sport. Nope, I was apparently wrong on even that.

It’s an anxious habit to overly justify or explain everything I do.

I want to stop.

Anyone else fall into this habit too?
 
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#2
@Justmehere Do walk on those Battlefields now and then.. depending on situation setting, who is standing in front of me? Are my inner states (injured inner states arising?) what is emerging? Guess we all know that, so I can’t keep on constantly detecting myself, what/which parts are activated now? It’s just exhausting. There is a deep urgency in me to be assertive because if I don’t the part arises that criticizes me.. this is mostly blown out of proportion. What I have tried a couple of times (Not saying this works all the time..) is to be completely honest, I have said to people directly that I find their language disrespectful and that I’m not willing to further discuss with them.. , „it’s hurtful“
But your question was about how not to fall into the trap of over explaining, I’ve had this incident with my colleague who was constantly discussing with me how not to organize the given data at work. And it was my job not hers. I suddenly felt this wanting to agree just so that I can avoid the hassle or keep on explaining and excuse myself. I stopped her talking and said „Why are we discussing about this since 20 mins?“ and while doing so looking deep in the eye.. she went on again, and I said „No, I am doing it this way, busta“. She was angry, but I let her be with her anger.. it was hard because I felt the need to correct the situation. I didn’t apologize, or was trying to calm down the situation.. I felt the inner fragility and the pain but that’s what is in me to work with. Her Anger isn’t my problem.. hard as f***

Anyways.. still under construction. :-)
 
#4
I lol when I read your title and grinned away the whole post. Yes it’s awful but right now I don’t have to deal with anyone. I’m sorry you do. I know the feeling you are describing intimately and I don’t have a clue what to do about it. Stay home and do housework. Dealing with the neighbors is bad enough. I was talking to the therapist yesterday and the gist was “I’m still like this”.
Boundaries as you mentioned are the issue when dealing with others and proper setting and maintenance which I recognize but, it’s beyond me.
 
#5
I’d set the boundary and then over-explain it, overly justify it,
One thing that helps to remember? A boundary is what YOU DO... you never even have to say word one to anyone else about what your boundaries are, why you have them, or anything else.

When you set a boundary? It’s with yourself, not anyone else. Informing others is -at best- a courtesy. They don’t have to know about it, they don’t have a say in it, and they most definitely aren’t ruled by it (no one on the planet is required to abide by my boundaries, nor do I have to mind anyone else’s).

I’m not a fan of hippy-dippy-woo-woo language, so it means a lot for me to say “You’re giving away your power” when you put other people in charge of your boundaries. IE You tell them what your boundaries are, and then THEY are responsible for abiding by them, &/or (How DARE they?!?) violate/cross/ignore etc.. Of course (because things can always get worse), one worse? Kick into being angry or insulted that they did so... putting all -or any- of your energy into reacting to them crossing the boundary, rather into the action you’ve decided upon. Shrug. It’s not uncommon. People are often more upset about being lied to, than what the lie was about. And, quite frankly? There are definite times and places where that’s totally valid. Where it’s not just crossing a boundary, it’s a betrayal. But one’s boundaries being crossed is a lot like being triggered. When it’s other people’s responsibility not to trigger you, instead of your own to deal with the trigger? Cue helplessness & learned helplessness, and misdirected anger/hurt at the person that triggered you (How DARE they?!?) that’s often worse than the trigger itself, and a whole clusterf*ck of avoidance & other messy tangled things.

Take your power back. Reserve being upset at boundaries being crossed for betrayals of the highest order. (Include explaining &/or justifying the boundary, and/or why it “should” be followed, as a kind of upset). Everyday boundaries? Direct your energy towards doing what you’ve decided to do if/when those boundaries are crossed, and then have some fun with the miles and miles of energy that didn’t get spent being hurt & mad.

((That’s one of the best tricks about boundaries I know of, by the by, the action should make life almost immediately BETTER :D. If the boundary is “If someone is stinky I’m going to move to where I can’t smell them” ... as soon as you’ve finished your action? Voila! Clean air!!! Woohoo! But if you make you boundary “I’m going to inform the stinky person they’re stinky, and give them a good solid lecture in personal hygiene,” all you’ve done is subject yourself to a) more stank & b) someone reacting to being told they stink. So, unless the stinky person is your child, that you have a duty to teach them about personal hygiene? Or your teenager that needs a “Yo! Hit the showers, man! For the love of all that’s holy... Nooooo don’t come in for a hug! Aaaaah! I’m melting! Meeeeeeelting! Gurp Gak Gah.“ ...it’s seriously worth considering whether the boundary you’ve decided upon best suits your desires.))

One of the great-awesome-fantabulous things about boundaries being something we set with ourselves, instead of others? We can vary & tailor them to specific people/situations. To continue with the above example?

Most of the time
- Some random person stinks... I move away
- Someone I care about stinks... I tell them so
- Someone I’m responsible for stinks... I clean them up
But there are always exceptions to the rule. Say my girlfriend has just given birth? She’s going to stink to high heaven of BO, blood, shit, sweat, fear, & pain. Am I going to tell her she stinks? f*ck no! Or if a super stinky stranger has just gotten hit by a car, do I keep my distance? Pfft. Not bloody likely. Something far more common, however? Whether or not I’d leave the line I’m standing in because of a stinky person depends on what I’m in line for, and how bad they stink. Et cetera.

There’s just a helluva lot of cool things in remembering : My boundaries? Are my own. They direct me, not you.


I commented a beach was beautiful and someone with me
argued, “no, it is too sandy.”
As a kid, any decision I made was constantly challenged. Even my declaration of my favorite color and favorite sport. Nope, I was apparently wrong on even that.
^^^Just popping these here as a reminder/because I have something I really wanted to say; but brief seems to be an item in my lingerie chest, tonight. So we’re ending the novel forthwith. ;)
 
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#6
I definitely can fall into that trap. I'm realizing that many times it has been because I (at least internally) feel that my point has not been acknowledged etc.
I also get really bad at questioning my own decisions at times. I can really spiral when I do that to myself.

On a side note, I have been known to be the argumentative one at times, taking the opposite side, just because, just to debate etc. Even with friends, I need to delve deeper on that one, may have been my way to push people away.

Dang I feel like I'm in group therapy right now. LoL
 
#7
A good friend of mine used to say, "Never complain, never explain". "Never" might be a bit extreme, but..... It took awhile to appreciate what he meant by that, but it's been useful. I actually turned it into kind of an experiment. "What will happen if I offer the smallest explanation I can think of?" So, the beach? "Really? You think it's too sandy? I think it's perfect."

Over time, I've come to realize that I grew up in a home where a lot of mind games were played. It's only been in recent years that I found out refusing to play was an option. I think this "need to explain" is almost one of those things. What we say/do is never "right". It's tempting to believe that there's a way it CAN be "right" from the other person's point of view. So we try to explain our point of view, believing that, if we only do it well enough, the other person will get it and all will be well. The truth is, a lot of people don't CARE about OUR point of view. Doesn't matter what you tell them. The first rule of the game, as they're playing if is "the other person is always wrong". There IS no way to "win". I think the best option is to refuse to play. (Unless you enjoy the game. Does anyone on this end of it actually enjoy it?)

I don't know that I have this sorted out perfectly. As a rule of thumb, I figure anyone who actually asks about my reasons probably wants to know. Then I'll try to explain. Otherwise? Not going there.
 
Thread starter #9
I did it again!

I had an intake at a therapy clinic. I specifically asked for warm and fuzzy. Empathetic. Kind. I’m not in a space where I’m interested in confrontational anything. Sometimes that can help people, but I’ve been there don’t that and already know it will freak me out so fast...

A guy called. Said he was a very warm and empathetic person. I said I’m depressed and I have some anger I need to sort out related to the depression. I have a trauma history I’m fine with mentioning but not in-depth processing, as I have been there don’t that and not interested right now.

He replied that I need “a direct and forceful approach to be effective.” He said he would be too nice and empathetic.

(Ok so I should probably figure out why I trigger people to get forceful or think that is needed but that’s another topic...)

I explained how my anger plays out practically speaking and my experiences with direct in your face therapy. (Horrible.) I explained that based on this I’m not interested in a direct and “forceful” approach at all.

I explained.

I over explained. I put him on the defensive not meaning at all to do so because I do over explained he took it as a personal attack.

I only explained my symptoms of this week and 1 bad therapy experience but the dude didn’t need to know all that.

Because he didn’t take it as helpful but because I over explained it - he took it as personal refutation of all this is him.

I ended my explanation with “if you think that a direct and force approach is the way to go, I respectfully decline because I know it’s not right for me.”

He responded “well I didn’t know that until you told me. I can’t know things until you tell me that.” He was clearly overtly irritated and defensive.

“Of course not. That is why I told you. I thought it would help fill out context. I’m not arguing you, simply trying to explain why a forceful approach freaks me out.”

Omg. I could have just said “of course not. That is why I told you.” I didn’t need to keep freaking talking. All I felt was nervous.

He replied, “You don’t understand that I made the recommendation of a that approach before I know that information. I didn’t know.”

“Ok. I simply reported context of symptoms I thought it would help. I’m sorry. Can we move on?”

nope nopers.... He went on about it. Frustrated with me.

(Warm and fuzzy?! I think not. He was cranky and rude and annoyed.)

I ended the call as politely as I could.

In retrospect, maybe I should have just said that I know I need empathetic and kind approach in therapy and that’s all I’m interested in. If you can’t do that, or you already think that won’t work and are not interested in trying, ok that’s cool. But I know that I need that approach and that’s that.

And explained nothing.

That probably would have worked.
 
#11
I over-explain constantly. I watch eyes glaze over and I continue.

I am also working on it but constantly feel like I am not telling the whole truth because I would get into trouble for lying as a kid because I left out the tiniest damned detail. So, I get caught, like a deer in the headlights doing absolutely nothing to improve my situation. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...

Drives me nuts. Drives other people nuts, too.
 
#12
Yeah. I've been working on this too. I have an over-disclosing habit. I'm making a concerted effort to overcome it.

Not in therapy at the moment. I wonder how it works with a T?

Finding a balance. Seems tricky.

I either over disclose or under disclose, it seems. Also an Aspie, and that seems to be common, for lots of us. I used to be more in the zone of "selective mutism" as a young person, then developed a nervous, rabbitting, overtalky habit, worsening in my 30's and 40's (still in my 40's).

I have no idea, with therapists, if I tell them too much or not enough. I think I use talk as an avoidance, distraction method and a "barrier of noise" at times. I also keep a lot of myself hidden as it seems very dangerous to reveal "the real me".

I've been lucky, with patient, kind therapists, in the last few years, one in particular, but she was not one I could keep, long term.

I'm waiting on one, who is supposed to be available at the end of this month, after a few that didn't work out for one reason or another.

I definitely relate to needing warm and empathetic. The last one I tried was confrontational, opinionated and also very disorganised and unreliable. Nope. Couldn't hack it.

The one before just seemed very rote and it came across as disingenuous, also a nope from me.
 
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