“Just Don’t Let It Bother You!”
Every person with misophonia has heard a version of this unfortunate suggestion. As difficult as it can be, the best way to address this off-putting remark is to leave it for later.
When triggered, we’re not using our “thinking head.” We’re more in a “feeling head” state of mind. That is, the trigger has caused us to feel a negative emotional reaction. As a result, we’re not focused on the nuts and bolts of the problem. In fact, we’re more likely trying to immediately escape the trigger. When our mental state is in the grip of a fight or flight reflex, it’s not a good time to educate people about misophonia.
In fact, it’s often necessary for people to see how triggers affect us. Otherwise, it can be hard for people to understand our predicament. We can use the trigger event as a teaching moment. But not in the moment, it’s best left for later, when we’re no longer feeling an emotional response.
Our chances of coming across in a clear manner and having a productive effect increase when we are in a calm state. People will be in a more receptive state when they don’t feel attacked. We’ve all experienced the inclination to scream “Stop it!” when a person chews with their mouth open. But, unless they’re doing it on purpose, they may have no idea that eating that way is a problem for others. If we adamantly demand they stop, they’re going to feel surprised at best and may have a “don’t tell me how to eat” response. They may also have other negative responses that escalate the situation towards conflict.
Choosing one’s battles (or the battle schedule) is a wise course of action. A successful interaction can be very beneficial to both parties. We may gain an ally! We could also be helping another person down the road. Leaving the discussion for later may also help keep our stress level down. Shortening the trigger event by not adding an argument on top of it is a win-win.