Verbally Von Trapped

Yesterday, as I was running on the treadmill at the gym, I watched a portion of “The Sound of Music” on the television screen attached to the machine. (What a brilliant idea!) Who doesn’t love the story of the Von Trapps? But I have come to find out that the musical story and the true story of Maria Von Trapp being “trapped” in Austria was very fabricated to make for better drama.

Maria Von Trapp was initially hired as a tutor for one of Georg Von Trapp’s ten children (not six), for the daughter, also named Maria, who had malaria. The father, Georg, was not mean, at first, as the movie portrayed, but kind and gentle.

Maria married Georg eleven years before they left Austria, not just before the Nazi take over. Much, as you can see, was fictionalized, which caused the original family to be distressed, as anyone would want their true story told. No one wants their lives fictionalized to the point of fabrication and assumptions that are based on untruths, especially a Catholic nun who left her calling to be married into a family of ten motherless children on the strong suggestion of her Mother Superior.

But my story isn’t about Maria Von Trapp. It is about being trapped as they were in Austria. Being caught in a place you don’t want to be can be as painful as prison. It leads to frustration and anxiety.

Someone like me who has Sensory Defensiveness really feels trapped when he can’t get away from a hug or a social situation with grace. I notice—more than anything—the feeling of entrapment when someone verbally traps me by stepping over his or her social boundaries, not being able to finish a story, and insisting on capturing my entire attention to the point I feel caught in a noose.

I have a dear friend who is so southern that he gets in the predicament of being “Verbally Von Trapped,” as we have come to call it, because he doesn’t know how to say, “Bye bye!”

I, on the other hand, will listen for a little too long then find a way to interrupt and say, “I really have enjoyed our conversation. Maybe we can continue this conversation another day at length when I have more time—making it clear to the person that I would love to stand and listen, but I just can’t at the moment.

Honestly, when “Verbal Von Trappment” occurs I don’t feel nice. I desire to run—very fast—away from the person and never engage in conversation again.

But, what I know is that trapping someone for his/her attention is a common anxiety disorder in many people, so I have some compassion for that kind of person and I tend to make it easier to release by inviting them “out” of the conversation.

If you have this anxiety problem, you might consider the following:

• You don’t want anyone to be interested in you or what you are talking about, because you have trapped him/her;
• You can tell if someone wants to continue engaging if he/she adds to the conversation occasionally (and I don’t mean just nodding or a polite agreement);
• If the person you are conversing with looks agitated, then you know it is probably because you are going on for too long and they have other engagements; and
• If you are having trouble leaving someone, you might consider why:

o Are you afraid if you leave the conversation, you may never have a chance at talking to him/her again? Is that true?
o Are you fearful that the person you are engaging with really doesn’t like you? Is that true?
o Practice ending a conversation with someone. Use conversation enders like “well, it was good to see you,” “hope to talk to you again,” or “was nice to see you.” Don’t be afraid to use those words early on in the conversation when your anxiety begins. Unbeknownst to you, you may be giving someone else your anxiety—which you certainly don’t want. If someone has more to say before you leave, it will be perfectly obvious.

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Bo Sebastian is a Hypnotherapist and Life & Health Coach, available for private sessions to QUIT SMOKING, Lose Weight, New Lap-Band Hypnosis for Weight Loss, CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR LIFE! at 615-400-2334 or www.bosebastian.com. FOR COMMENTS: Go to the Bo Sebastian link under the title and there is a place there to create a comment. Thanks.

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