"TALKING IT OUT":
POSITIVE, MAYBE, BUT ENOUGH?
"No, Virginia, Santa Claus does not exist.
And talking something out is not the solution, but only a potentially good part of the process.
Though it may relieve some of the symptoms of feeling bad, it is still just dealing with the symptoms and not addressing and getting the cure of the cause - so the problem will persist, as anything unsolved will keep on recurring."
AS A THERAPEUTIC METHOD
As a psychological "method", talking it out is considered to be therapeutic. It has the person think about what was going on, so that it is brought to conscious awareness. (Or as a famous expert says "awareness by itself is curative" - but I would propose that "awareness is necessary but not sufficient.")
The next level of talking it out is actually using that awareness to decide what went wrong and why.
Then the next level is to try to do something about it.
And the final level is to actually solve it and complete it.
Yes, "relief" from one's discomfort, as is sought by talking it out rather than ruminating about it is positive. But completion to a sufficient level is much, much, much superior.
Yes, some people automatically gather their thoughts more/better when they "speak" it, so "talking it out" could be helpful - but I would suggest that the words should be captured in some way (either recorded or written down right away while it is still accessible to the memory).
Also you might have noticed that there are alot of people who just call their friends and "talk it out" but never seem to get anywhere. It provides the relief from the pent up stress, sometimes, though it can rile someone up, too. Notice that it most often fails to get results that are lasting and valuable.
I notice also that in so-called "talking it out" there may be another agenda that is at crosspurposes to making progress: people start repeating their stories, keeping themselves stuck in the why nots and/or the explanations of why they are victims of the past (especially their upbringing!). Such story-telling reinforces weakness and lack of power, plus it solidifies the false image, making it seem as if it is fixed and permanent. [Fixed and permanent is one of the great fallacies pointed out in philosophies, such as Buddhism. Discussed in I Am Not That Which I Think Or Have...]
And sometimes "talking it out" just exacerbates the "way of thinking." If it is a repeating of blame or of being a victim, then it reinforces those ways of dealing with life. If it is a way of getting sympathy or a pity-party, then it is not really "talking it out" and it is a way to have friends allow one to dig a deeper hole long term, in the form of a habit to fall into that is disabling.
HAVING TO "MAINTAIN" THE UPSET
Sometimes when people are calling a friend just to "talk out" feeling bad, it does create some relief, but with tradeoffs. Often there is the penalty of having to maintain the upset, whereas the ideal method is to rebalance and "let go" of the upset.
Which is more effective? I think, the latter.
And if one goes into a problem solving mode instead of a "relieving" mode, then one shifts to personal responsibility without the risk of slipping into victimhood, which is indeed a slippery slope to emotional oblivion. And the more one practices being "in the upset", the more one grooves the neuronal pathway to do the same again.
One of the problems with talking it out is that it falls into the trap of getting nowhere - and just living with your repeated problems, when it makes more sense to solve the causes, which is the only way to get rid of the continued stresses and anxieties.
The principle is: Indirect randomness gets poor results.
Direct and with a systematic approach, with specific clarity and the intent to complete the process is the road to being problem free. If you're not problem free, then you're simply not doing this!
THE FAILURE TO USE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR MAXIMUM BENEFIT
If the objective is to just get relief from discomfort and/or distraction from rumination and/or comfort for the moment, then one is missing developing one's own ability to soothe oneself and one is also missing the opportunity to make this a learning experience. It surely does seem a pity to have an unpleasant experience and not learn from it, only to repeat the same old thing over and over - to live Groundhog Day.
Of course, no one will be perfect about this, but we want to learn as much as possible and correct our course as often as possible if we want to have the best life possible.
Those who can't understand why they don't progress in life, even though they may spend hours and hours in dealing with their problems or reading about the relevant subjects, are simply caught in the trap of not using the feedback, learning, correcting loop.
NOTE THAT THOSE WHO DON'T GO "DEEP", GET TO REPEAT THE SAME PROBLEMS
The "secret" to life is to pay attention, spot problems, correct them as soon as possible. The palliative that gets in the way is escape to relieve discomfort. The first leads to Living Life As A Life Champion. The latter leads to grooving in the bad habits and problems even deeper.
The "deep" we want to achieve is measured by going all the way to complete understanding and then to complete solution (or at least to something that will contribute alot). You can't reach a good life without going deep enough!!!
And you'll notice that the person who wants to go deeper will use the methods that encourage and facilitate going deeper, which include
1. Writing it down and
BUT THAT'S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR
Friends are supposed to give me compassion and support when I need it. (Versus the person learning to do it for themselves and not depending on something outside oneself. The latter leads to a person having to try to control the other source so that the other person will provide what is needed. That's a tough life to lead. Notice I'm not saying that person is "bad", but only that the person should devise a better strategy. Another problem that often occurs is that the person will "up the ante", as a child would do with a temper tantrum, to try to control the person if they're not successful at first - and they'll use punishment, including anger, criticism [reciting an inventory of the other's shortcomings], blame, "shoulds" and the such - all of which are harmful to relationships. ) [Notice that this is related to codependency and also to keeping on training oneself to be a victim - which is a devastating role to play in life.]
Of course, friends will get tired of that, of it being all about the other person (when they want it to be all about them, instead!). It's a good way to drive away friends (when one should, instead, be contributing more to the other person and not worrying about how much the person can withdraw from the relationship "bank account").
Note that the time spent trying to control others to help might be much more effectively used in solving the problem in the first place!
THE POINT HERE IS...
The point here is not to criticize someone for not knowing better than to use an ineffective strategy, but to get them to realize they could be using a much more effective strategy - and to be much better off in life.
For someone interested in the details of an actual conversation, here's an example:
Notice how the following conversation meanders and wanders off the point of learning from something or even of "talking it out". This conversation would wander even more except that the listener was encouraging the person to answer "what can you do about it in the future?"
The items in brackets [ ] are comments of mine, though I could add more, but hopefully you'll get the idea.
HERE'S A CONVERSATION TO BE CONSCIOUS ABOUT
When I sleep it restores the gases
Buteyko guy said tape my mouth
Felt intensity (tension and so much tension already in back and shoulders)
Like a perfectionist
Thought you said you’d do these other things
Once I start something, I feel [think] like I have to complete it [stop and breathe during it?]
I like a challenge and having solved it.
A bargain really perks me up
Enjoy and I’m good at it
Tension --> poor breathing --> tension
--> Fear shuts brain
I feel tension after being o/s, so was tense when I came back
Did guided meditation
Went outside and became tense
Not great posture
o/s --> tense, then did hour of visualizeing--> breathing good
Was going to do yoga (which helps)
Called vendor instead– really shouldn’t been doing this, argued w self, couldn’t bring myself to stop, needed to close it out…(chose)
Purchasing something new makes me high
you know I have that shopaholic quality in me [as if it is permanent, and a victim of it]
not stopping, not feel bad [she talks as if it happens to her]
Competing thought – you just want to please her, upset about due to dysfunction and character of codependency, 'part of me" just wanted to be nice
Then got off phone and noticed tension, barely taking in air through nose
I thought – I am disabled
Othodontic device to force to breathe through nose
I know I could've done the tape over my mouth – but dammit not lie down again.
"I’ll just quickly call the guy
Couldn’t get thru. Frustration built up.
Should be doing other things, beat up on self [as if directed by another]
stop it, go
I want to see it through to completion (40 minutes)
I was so upset about the breathing
[Habits of – automatic – override less decided, make self wrong (a habit)]
Q. What should you do?
Exercise 1st thing
Then sit in sun
Avoid calling when imploding
Timer for 3 minutes – for breathing
Breathing when shift activity
[No longer pedal to the metal]
I need to follow my plan – stick to it
I won’t depart from the program, shopping really was fun, something I’m good at.
Down.. free mind, believe every moment has to be useful –
I don’t get up I don’t take breaks
I know I should get up. I just want to see this to completion [as if a force] because I’m so focused and intense
THE WASTE OF TIME
All this time would be a factor and I’ll be so distressed b/c waste of time
From childhood that would be the worst thing [do a write up where give this up, i am an adult. I no longer am the victim of this…]
Stay in there until achieve so spending the time is not in vain
** cannot act like it is life or death. " I’ve got to get one of those devices." Tthen I couldn’t stop the process but I knew it wasn’t good for me.
BE THE PARENT FOR MYSELF
Knew no matter what I have to be the parent, set a boundary for myself (If I do get sidetracked make certain rules for myself0
Examine belief of you’re a slouch if do something and not complete, irresponsible w time, tied up with your character
Change that habit but somehow it is about character
I’m bad if I don’t produce
Change evidence – lists of strengths and abilities, character traits
List and memorize
And potentially not develop yet that woorie”make me feel good about myself”
The worth game
What friends say – inherent worth in individual
Difficulty is not same as impossible
[which viewpoint are you operating from now? child, adolescent, responsible adult? And understand it is just a view point]
‘I understand It intellectually but I feel something else.” [Barrier to progress, a stuckness.
I got a raw deal in life and I’m stuck with it.
[Asked her to stop, ground in reality
Anything actually happening right now, look around you, is it all intact? “Are you just imagining a hypothetical?
Just need somoento talk to
I feel awful – physically, about self [for the moment, repair the system]
Expectations , she argues you must have those
Of your counselors and coaches who have you worked with that you’ve found has benefitted you?