What happens when you get nervous? Do you develop jitterbugs and twitch involuntarily or just have to fiddle with something? Do you develop physical pains e.g. stomach aches or headaches? Or do you babble on and on, like some people?
Talking too much in the situation of your nerves getting the better of you is not uncommon. But why does it happen? Generally, after it’s been pinpointed and enters the person’s consciousness it can then be managed and its grasp as an infliction upon that person, as well as upon other people, can be reduced.
You could say talking too much is harmless enough, but given a lengthy enough time it is indeed an infliction upon others, if not upon the ‘sufferer’ themselves. Read on for more details…
I talk too much
Psychologies magazine | instant analysis
We all know people who talk incessantly, unable to stop themselves even when circumstances call for quiet. Why do they have so much to say, even after everyone else has stopped listening?
Sign of trauma
Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Pierre Levy-Soussan says a raised level of talkativeness can be a sign of trauma. ‘When someone is no longer in control of their speech and incapable of stopping themselves babbling on, their incessant talking becomes their only way of relating to the world,’ he says.
Emma admits: ‘I don’t cope well with silences. Talking helps keep me calm.’ There are several reasons why talking might be comforting.
When someone is gabbling, they are ‘asking you to recognise them and listen to them’ says Thomas d’Ansembourg, a psychotherapist who offers training in non-violent communication. ‘These are people who find it difficult to fit in.’ Often, it is a lack of love or attention in early life which is reinforced later on. As Valerie, 38, says of a colleague: ‘She talks from morning to night, as if she’s afraid no one will see her. I only began to understand her when I learned she’d spent 15 years with a man who’d put her down constantly.’
According to Levy-Soussan, this problem is connected with how we manage interpersonal relationships. ‘People who can’t stop talking see other people as a potential threat and so try to be in charge by monopolising the conversation,’ he says. ‘The person they are talking to has no choice but to listen. You find this trait in some people who suffer from panic attacks.’ These people tend to be theatrical about everything. They use speech to charm other people and to frame their interaction with them. They use it like a spell, to keep the person they are talking to interested. But that person has soon had enough.
Talking a lot can act as a shell in which to hide from other people, but also from oneself. ‘Some people talk to avoid thinking about or hearing what i going on deep inside of them,’ says Levy-Soussan. They can’t face their fears, fantasies, dreams and impulses because they don’t know what to do about them, having never learned to deal with their own problems.
Processing the environment
Parents give a child the tools to ‘process’ the outside world – to explore it, digest what happens there and to understand it. When, for whatever reason (be it absence or lack of attention) they don’t do this job, their child can end up being overtaken by its environment.
Stuck in reality
‘Children like that have difficulty daydreaming and playing because they can’t think in terms of one thing symbolising another,’ says Levy-Soussan. They are ‘stuck’ in reality. ‘As adults, they cling to reality to escape what might be going on inside their heads,’ he adds. ‘Some are hyperactive and some talk non-stop.’