I have a very strong need to be “heard”. When I was growing up we called my dad the “deaf ear”. When you were talking with him about something he didn’t like or wasn’t interested in he would actually sit there and act like he didn’t hear you. I could talk till I was blue in the face, and look out and see this blank look in his eyes. Even though we joked about it, it was very painful for me, because I had a lot to say and thought it was all VERY important.
So, from a fear based state of being, this is how I react. When I ask my daughter a question, and she doesn’t answer me, a little bomb goes off inside. I can feel the heat rising, the indignation erupting and often before I know it I begin answering myself out loud. “Sure, mom, I’d love to go with you to the store.” I talk to myself, which drives my daughter crazy. She feels misunderstood, talked down to and all around bad. This doesn’t support our relationship at all. It only supports my need to be heard because once I use my manipulative technique to get her attention she definitely hears. The problem is, what she hears is that I’m making fun of her, I’m disappointed in her and basically she is there to serve my need. There is no emotional space for her to be seen or heard.
Take two from a love based state of being: I ask my daughter a question, (usually this happens when she is consumed in her world) and she doesn’t answer back. Since I know this is a trigger, I am able to create a tiny gap between my explosive reaction and my awareness of my state of being. I take a deep breath and slow down inside myself. When I am able to do, just this tiny step, I am able to look out and truly see my daughter and where she is and what she is doing that is consuming her “ear” space. At this point, if my need to be heard is strong, I usually walk closer to my daughter, make physical contact with her and see if she can take a moment to hear me. Sometimes she can and sometimes she has a stronger need to stay involved in her task to completion. If this is the case, I ask her to take a moment, when she can, to make contact with me so I can ask her a question. She is ALWAYS happy to do this when I truly respect where she is and it usually happens within a minute. Both of our needs are met and yet I was the one to take care of my intense need to be heard, in a new way, instead of creating her to be a “deaf ear” and acting out
my old behavioral pattern, from childhood.
I’ve learned that I can hear myself and find enough emotional space, in the present, to hear the other also, even if it appears, to the child in me, as the “deaf ear”. When I bring my old wound to the present moment, it heals. As I make a connection with the “now” I make a true relational connection with my sweet loving daughter and see her beautiful which is a reflection of my own internal state!