July 29, 2012

Are You or Someone You Know Addicted to Talking On & On? ~ Dr. Margaret Paul

Do you use incessant talking to control others’ attention and avoid your own feelings?

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 people tend to 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. 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!”

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 excuses to not spend time with you. It’s not that they don’t like you—it’s that they don’t want to be trapped by you.

Why do you or others you know talk a lot, going on and on, not even noticing if others are listening or glazing over?

Non-stop talking is about using others for attention and approval because of not giving oneself the needed attention and approval. The talker is not actually offering anything to the listener. Instead, the talker, in going on and on with a monologue, is pulling energy from the listener.

Talkers are often needy people who attempt to assuage their emptiness by trapping people into listening to them. For example, I’ve seen someone telling a bank teller his life story; the trapped teller had no idea 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.

On the other hand, are you often the caretaker, trapped in the conversation because you are making the other person’s feelings more important than your own? Do you end up listening because you are afraid to hurt the talker by disengaging or by telling your truth about feeling bored and used?

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 the empty place within you.

If you were to learn to listen within to your own feelings and learn to take loving action in your own behalf, you would discover that you can fill your own emptiness. In addition, if you practice imagining a loving spiritual presence holding you and 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 learn how to fill yourself. As long as you believe 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 others to expect them to take care of your own 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 Spirit, I feel happy and peaceful. When you choose to take responsibility for meeting your own needs instead of abandoning yourself to others, you will never feel alone and empty.

Healing Your Addiction to Listening to the Talker

Michelle and I had the following exchange in our initial phone counseling session:

I am in a relationship with someone who is an incessant talker. I love everything else about him except this. I can’t introduce him freely to my friends. I’ve been embarrassed when I have to bring him in front of family and friends because he will monopolize the conversation. I want a future with this man. But I can’t get passed this obstacle. I talked to him about it and it hurt his feelings. I don’t know what to do.”

“Michelle, the fact that his feelings got hurt indicates that he is not open to learning about his addiction—which means that it isn’t going to change. I’m wondering, aside from what he does in public, why it’s okay with you when you are alone? It sounds like you are caretaking him.

“Caretaking by listening him is also an addiction, coming from the same self-abandonment as him. Do you believe that if you put yourself aside and listen to him, even when you are bored or drained, he will change or love you more? Are you making him responsible for defining your self-worth? Do he have to think you are a good person for you to feel okay about yourself?”

These are some of the questions Michelle and I explored.

Healing caretaking is just like healing any addiction: You need to practice connecting with yourself, valuing yourself and taking loving action for yourself, rather than handing this responsibility to others. You need to learn to speak your truth and manage others’ upset with you, rather than keep giving yourself up. You need to recognize that listening to someone go on and on when you are bored isn’t loving to yourself or to the other person. You need to become aware of the fact that caretaking is a form of control, just like over-talking. Like over-talking, caretaking has an agenda attached. You are giving to get approval or avoid disapproval. This is never loving.

Both the addictive talker and the trapped listener can heal their addictions by learning how to take loving care of themselves. Learning and practicing the Inner Bonding process will give you the tools to stop abandoning yourself and start valuing yourself.


Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process—featured on Oprah. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Click here for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com/welcome and visit our website at http://www.innerbonding.com for more articles and help.Phone Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!


Editor: Cassandra Smith

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