Protective Behaviours Resouces

This poem was shared during an International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) training course and reminded the person attending about the importance of highlighting the qualities that a network person needs to have as well as how being able to talk about anything can help a person gain an understanding of 'what it's all about'.

Listen

When you listen to me
and you start giving advice
you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why
I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something
to solve my problem
you have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I asked was that you listen,
not talk or do – just hear me.

And I can do for myself.

I’m not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.

When you do something for me
that I can do for myself,
you contribute to my fear of inadequacy.

But when you accept, as a simple fact,
that I do feel what I feel,
no matter how irrational,
then I can quit trying to convince you
and can get about the business of
understanding what’s behind this feeling.

And when that’s clear the answers are obvious.

 


Extract taken from Ray Houghton, M.D.
Teen Times, Nov/Dec 1979

Please, just listen.  When I ask you to listen to me, and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked. When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings when I ask you to listen to me, and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that may seem. Listen!  All I asked was that you listen, not talk, or do... just hear. Advice is cheap: twenty-five cents will get you both dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper, and I can do that myself. I'm not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless. When you do something for me that I can, and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and inadequacy. But when you accept, as a simple fact, that I do feel no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince you and get about the business of understanding what's behind this irrational feeling. And, when that's clear, the answers are obvious and I don't need advice. Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what's behind them. Please listen and just hear me, and if you want to talk wait a minute for your turn, and I'll listen to you.