Does Being Interrupted Drive You Crazy? Here’s How To Respond

Does Being Interrupted Drive You Crazy

Just as the motivations of interrupters vary, so should the responses. We can reduce our blood pressure when we are interrupted by friends and relatives if we focus on why the person is interrupting. Is it a narcissistic interruption? Then it might be useful to say: “Please don’t interrupt me in the middle of the story;” or “Please don’t change the subject when I’m explaining something to you.”

On the other hand, if it’s an empathic interruption, which can also be frustrating, you might say: “I know you are being supportive, but it would be easier for me to talk about it if you let me finish;” or “I know you understand what I’m saying, but I need to get it all out first.”

Finally, in response to a mind-reading listener who constantly finishes your sentences, you might say: “I know I speak slowly, and I am grateful that you understand what I’m saying, but it’s upsetting when you finish my sentences;” or “I’m grateful that you understand what I’m feeling so well, but I need to express myself even if it takes me a while to figure out what I’m feeling. It would help me if you didn’t finish my sentences.”

In conclusion, most of us are both interrupters and interrupted. But we can interrupt less and feel less angry when we are interrupted by others if we understand the motivations for interruptions and develop responses that enhance rather than disrupt dialogues with our friends and family.


Written By Roberta Satow Ph.D.  
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today  
Does Being Interrupted Drive You Crazy pin
Does Being Interrupted Drive You Crazy? Here's How To Respond

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Roberta Satow Ph.D.

Roberta Satow is a New York-based psychoanalyst, speaker, and author of Doing the Right Thing: Taking Care of Your Elderly Parents Even if They Didn’t Take Care of You, Gender and Social Life, and the novel: Two Sisters of Coyoacán. She is a professor emerita of the department of sociology at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York. Dr. Satow speaks and writes about issues of aging, gender, and mental health. She has been quoted in The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, on ABC News and other national media platforms. She gave the keynote addresses at the EAP Symposium on Diversity and Well-being for the National Defence Department of Canada, Ottawa, and the New York City Dept. of Aging White House Conference on Aging. She has also appeared on The Diane Rehm Show, AARP, Prime Time Radio, and several other NPR programs.View Author posts