Again, I’ll use a part of the message I wrote to Leonore, I went into detailed description.
“‘I’m in a strange mood… So perhaps I could write a bit…
I’m still in the process of convincing myself that there are other people there with the same problem.
I was analyzing myself trough the whole life trying to figure out why? And I figured it. At least I think I did.
When someone eat, the way how his/her jaw moves, their whole body movements, noises they produce, how they lean their head when a spoon or a fork are approaching to their mouth, how they chew, drink water, what they eat… yes, I decomposed the eating process in the smallest operations and meanings… it sounds awful but it’s true.
Everything a person does when eats means something to me. I make numerous judgments and conclusions about their personality just buy the way they eat. I make instant decisions about do I like that person or not. And also they define my behavior, my feelings and the mood I enter.
If I happen to know a person f.e. my mom or dad, their eating, yawning and else, represents everything bad I can think of about them in that moment. The moment when they start preparing themselves for eating, sitting at the table, my brain would immediately dig into the past, present and future to find some bad feelings or just focus on their human imperfection.
I feel like my brain is about to explode every second, I’m trying to breath normally, tell my heart to slow down and force my brain to go to another direction… Nothing… I mean nothing helps!
You mentioned that you say exact words in the exact moment and that helps? Would you explain how that works?”
She told me this:
“I could have written that myself! I do exactly the same thing. When someone chews in a way that bothers me, then I project every negative characteristic I can think of onto that person: she is a lazy slob; he is inconsiderate and selfish…etc. It’s hard for me to accept the fact that they are not aware of the effect they have on me. I keep thinking, “They MUST understand that this behavior is disruptive! How can they continue to bother people and not even care about it?”
Finally, I understood that they are NOT aware of this. Well, I understood it in an intellectual way, but emotionally, I still haven’t accepted it. I still become enraged when I am trapped in a situation in which I have to hear the noises. If I can escape, then the rage only lasts a minute or two, but if I can’t escape, I am in hell.
And so I escape as often as I can.
It’s oddly so much easier to deal with it when there are other things going on in the background. For example, you’d think that being in a restaurant would be sheer torture, but if it’s a busy restaurant, or if the tables aren’t too close together, it can be easier to be with a person whose chewing I can’t normally stand. The background noise is loud enough that the individual noises aren’t noticed clearly. That’s why I think the white noise works for me. It’s ironic that more noise is what helps me tolerate the offending noise!
I don’t know why the mimicking helps. Maybe it helps to take away the sense that the person is purposely trying to annoy me, because as I’m saying the same words, I know what my own intentions are and it’s distracting enough that it takes the ‘sting’ away. Here’s an example of the kind of voice that bothers me
Her voice is already annoying, but then at the end, she says, “SC Johnson. A family company.” That line drives me up the effing wall! And so every time one of these commercials comes on, I have to change the channel or, if I can’t, I have to say the same phrase at the same time. I say it in a mocking way, so I can concentrate on the mockery instead of my anger or discomfort. It can also concentrate on my own voice and not hear the offensive voice so clearly.
Obviously this only works for things you know will be repeated, so it’s not really possible to do this in every day conversation. But sometimes it can help with things like gum chewing. If I can’t drown out the noise of someone else chewing gum, then I’ll start to chew some myself and just concentrate really hard on my own noises (which thankfully I can tolerate! – again, I think it’s because I know I’m not trying to annoy myself, so I don’t project that onto myself, the way I do other people. It’s possibly why it doesn’t bother me when I hear my cats eating. They are just enjoying their food; they aren’t rational beings who should know better and have better manners!)
I know how hard it is to believe that you’re not alone, but I really really really really do understand! “