Language and Behaviors that Shut Me Down

Understanding the Powerful Effect of Non-Verbal Communications

1) You need to pay attention. I felt misunderstood and angry. I really was trying to pay close attention.

2) You need to try harder. I felt hurt and sometimes reacted defensively because I was sincerely trying. I felt resentful because the extreme effort that I made wasn’t acknowledged, nor recognized.

3) You are not making good choices. I felt attacked – as though you believed I purposely messed up, and confused because often I had reasons for the choices I made.Other times I honestly didn’t know why I said or did something, or acted impulsively – I just did.

4) Accused me of using my brain injury as an excuse. My brain injury was the cause for some of my challenges. I wasn’t trying to use it for an excuse, rather I offered you an explanation so you might understand me.

5) Outright laughed at me for things I said or did. When you laughed at something I said or did – I genuinely thought I was being entertaining, and often continued my behavior. When I realized that you were making fun of me, I felt humiliated and hurt. Later I felt embarrassed for my behavior and disappointed that I didn’t recognize that I was acting inappropriately at the time.

6) Gave me disapproving looks. I felt like I embarrassed you and you were ashamed of me- OR that you were angry and I was in trouble. Either way, I wanted to disappear and never return.

7) Appeared to be exasperated with me and lost patience. I felt like no matter how hard I tried, I would never be able to meet your expectations of me. Often I got angry and felt like it was useless to even try.

8) Withheld tasks of responsibility, nor trusted me to be dependable. When you withheld giving me responsibility for completing certain tasks, I felt like a loser who couldn’t be trusted. When I convinced you to give me a chance, I felt like you were only allowing me the opportunity to prove that you were justified in your belief that I was not capable of being dependable, and you expected I would fail.

9) Never gave me the benefit of the doubt when a miscommunication occurred. I felt angry and that it was useless to defend myself, because it was always assumed that I was responsible for the misunderstanding, because I didn’t listen or pay attention.

10) Believed that I created my chaos and assumed that I had the ability to figure out how to stop the madness. I could recognize and identify the things which were not going well. I couldn’t figure out “why things went wrong” or “how I could correct it” without help. Others didn’t need help to do this. If I asked for help,it might appear that I was stupid.

Article Signature:
Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois, entertains, inspires and motivates audiences with humorous keynotes, workshops and adversity trainings. She provides life-changing insights, humor strategies and practical solutions gained from her personal experience of adjusting to a sudden life change when she sustained a brain injury nineteen years ago.

Her signature story provides family members, care-givers and professionals with a deeper understanding of brain injury from a survivor’s perspective. Lois inspires hope and motivates survivors to accept their new reality and redefine their life purpose. She equips them with strategies to manage their challenges, improve relationships and feel happy.

©2012 Lois McElravy, Lessons from Lois – Permission to reprint or repost this article is granted by including the above byline and Lois’ contact information.