18 Communication Disorders

From Peter’s Forthcoming Book on Communication Disorders:

Peter says, “So you think you don’t have a speech impediment?”

IMPORTANT NOTE: THE FOLLOWING SYNDROMES ARE RANDOMLY ORGANIZED. THEY ARE MORE OR LESS LISTED IN THE ORDER THEY OCCURRED TO ME. I MEAN NO OFFENSE TO ANYONE WHO HAS A COMMUNICATION DISORDER THAT IS ORGANIC, CLINICAL, PROBLEMATICAL, CHRONIC, AND HARD TO RELIEVE. I WAS BORN WITH ONE OF THOSE. MOST OF THE FOLLOWING FALL UNDER THE HEADING OF “OBSERVABLE PERSONALITY TRAITS WHICH APPEAR IN SPEECH.”

Some of these behaviors are automatic, unconscious, sporadic; they may appear when some stresses are at their peak. Still others seemingly may be deliberate. Once you start to watch for these variable causes of less-than-perfect communication, you start to see things you never noticed before. Some of the following are actually successful compensating gestures—meant to be or not—for dealing with the over-riding problem we all experience, which is: it is very hard to tell the truth.)

MY MASTER LIST OF IDENTIFIED DISORDERS

I have been a lifelong stutterer/stammerer, so I begin with those. Until I began to add new disorders to the list, I thought I was a marked man, all alone, incurable, and the most miserable of all. I don’t feel that way any more. Also, I don’t stutter that much these days. Hmmm.

Maybe you…

  1. stutter
  2. stammer
  3. lisp
  4. talk too loud
  5. talk too quiet
  6. Say fuck fuck fuckin’ in every sentence
  7. lie
  8. use “like” in huge quantities in, like, every sentence you speak.
  9. say um, uh or all the time
  10. finish all sentences with a ?

Or perhaps you…

  1. talk too much
  2. talk too little
  3. never finish a sentence you start
  4. talk about yourself all the time
  5. refer everything anyone says back to you (SSR–stealth self-reference)

Do you suffer from…

  1. irrelevant detail obsessive disorder (often comes out in email form)
  2. illogical reasoning
  3. tit for tat syndrome. (you can not hear a mildly critical comment without balancing it with one right back at the speaker.)
  4. super-aggressive honesty
  5. captive audience exploitation syndrome
  6. nervous hostess syndrome (you start an irrelevant conversation just when the food is served, taking guests’ attention away from the cuisine. Maybe you just can’t stand silence! Especially when it is combined with subtle animal sounds, like chewing….)
  7. slow speech: rambling, uncertain delivery of thoughts

 Do you…

23.think you know-it-all, or at least talk like you do

24.finish other people’s sentences

25.shamefully avoid (pretend to talk about what’s being talked about, but…)

26. jump around from thought to thought–surprising association syndrome

27. baby talk. Come on; it is never appropriate! Talk like your age.

27.5. refer to yourself in the third person. (You don’t talk about “I”–rather, you refer to yourself in the third person.  Very creepy! “Daddy is not pleased with you.”)

  1. automatically say “no”
  2. instantly automatically picture and mention a “reason why not”–why someone else’s perfectly good idea is impossible.
  3. tease (SWAT: Start With a Tease)

31. engage in abusive, bullying speech  (knee-jerk anger. can’t hear or say anything without jumping into default-set anger. Always picking fights!)

32. incessantly joke  (sometimes joke and be bright without coming up for air, to cover up your awkwardness on a date that’s going nowhere? Also called “The Dancing Bear.)

33. incessantly dirty joke (see also “Tourette’s Syndrome”) (see also “sexual harassment”)

 Do these remind you of anyone?

  1. unconscious–or deliberate– making hints about status. (one-upmanship)
  2. chronic complainer’s complex
  3. extreme explaining behavior
  4. verbal diarrhea   (clinically called logorrhea) 
  5. advancing own agenda
  6. proselytizing–every communication is a plug for your personal system of faith or belief.

39.5  the salesman—every communication is a commercial pitch

  1. owning the room (you don’t stop and listen to what is being said, first)
  2. unearned knowing. (you think you know the person who’s speaking, you think your knowledge privileges access to their mind and to whatever conversation they are involved in.  you don’t. it doesn’t.)
  1. you don’t listen. you never listen!
  2. ideological idiocy–you refer everything back to your jerking knee.
  3. born-again barricade. (you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior; the person you are talking to has not. That is the 500-pound gorilla YOU have placed in the space between you and your co-talker. Hence the failure to communicate.)
  4. commercial capture (you can’t converse without repeating corporate jingle. With no investment, said corporation has achieved a product placement in your speech.)
  5. weeping. (every conversation is so emotional that you frequently tear up, thereby triggering compassionate response in your co-talker. highly manipulative.)
  6. political doublespeak: sentences deliberately delivered to mean nothing at all, or at least to preserve political viability the next day. political speech—you sound serious, you seem concerned, committed, mature, caring. but, you DO NOT ANSWER THE QUESTION THAT WAS ASKED. You want them to think you did, but you didn’t. You hope that they don’t notice…
  7. disordered desire to please (the urge to say what you think your co-talker wants to hear.)
  8. claiming other peoples’ acquaintances as your own.
  9. fraud, plagiarism: claiming others’ wisdom as your own, even claiming others’ opinions as your own.
  10. claiming someone else’s experience as your own. artificially placing yourself in a narrative/story as if you were there. you weren’t.
  11. Implied Intimacy Syndrome: (you mistakenly think you are your conversation partner’s closest friend. You talk to them that way.)
  12. empty brain block: (happens to a lot of actors. they can’t speak without a script, preferably one that someone else wrote.)
  13. forgetfulness, selective amnesia, senior moment.
  14. excessive concern with process. You talk about talk about talk.
  15. the bore: is always mouthing platitudes or searching for a proverb or quotation relevant to the conversation. Though the search is often unsuccessful, the bore uses the result they have chosen anyway, not caring that it does not really, actually, relate.
  16. (from Ken Pick) Implied Accusation Disorder. Person always makes you feel guilty but you can’t even tell why! It’s in the tone of voice.
  17. Projected Lack of Information Irritation, (You come across as irritated, when you were the one at fault; you could have informed the person of the stuff you are irritated about that they don’t know!)

59.  Can’t handle the Truth. Someone tells you the Absolute Truth of Something and you ignore it and go right on with your contradictory statement, opinion, or point of view.  (See also Rebecca Solnit: “Men Explain Things to Me.”)

60. Always Defensive!  (Okay! Just admit it. Nobody loses when a small fault is admitted!)

61. Here Comes The Judge. You listen judgmentally to everything, and leap into the conversation with your verdict, even though no one asked for it.

62.The Eye Above the Pyramid—-the student of all these variations who is always watching to see which disorder people have. A disorder that gets in the way of, like, just being. (MINE)

Are we up to 100% of the population yet? What? We’ve exceeded it? Oh, That is because some people have more than one! Be the first kid on your block to collect five or six!

The introduction to this article could be called, “hey, you don’t stutter when you meditate.” Of course, that is one of meditation’s supreme benefits to the speech-impediment-challenged. When you are settled into silence, your monologue has no hesitation. Your speech (to yourself) moves as quickly as your brain can produce it. And, moreover, the biggest source of stress in your life—the need to communicate the truth inside you to the outside world— is automatically removed. I speak here as a stutterer/stammerer. But it would be very interesting to see how many of these behaviors (some of which are comical) disappear when a person within the comfort of meditation is only conversing with the Self.

I am always eager to add to this list! If you think you have identified a new one, send it in:

pgould@brandeis.edu

 

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The Inner Peace Outer Peace Reader by Peter Gould & John Ungerleider is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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