How to Tell a Loved One They’re Affecting You?

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  • #212 Reply

    Jess

    I’ve had this for as long as I can remember, but I thought I was just grumpy and sensitive. My family would tell me the noises either weren’t happening or were so quiet, just to ‘ignore them’.

    I stopped eating with my family, I’ve actually avoided being with some friends because I know they are particularly figgity and it’s affecting me again.

    My boyfriend of 4 years makes noises when he eats. I tried (for a while) to stay quiet: cover my ears, scratch inside them to make a louder noise, etc. I can’t keep doing that forever though and people keep telling me to just get over it. I’ve tried to talk to him before but he gets really defensive and insists he doesn’t do it, or when he does its because he’s getting something out of his teeth.

    Any tips on trying to make someone understand it a bit more?

    #213 Reply

    Great topic Jess.

    I actually did an article a little while back on this because it’s one of the biggest, most difficult issues we face:

    How to Help Your (Non-Misophonia Suffering) Partner Deal With Misophonia

    I don’t want to be the harbinger of doom, but if you find fidgeting a problem, it sounds like you may also have Misokinesia as well. It’s fairly common for misophonia sufferers to have both (I have it).

    My top tip for helping someone else to understand either condition would be to encourage them to read up about it themselves. Tell him to look up “misophonia” online so that he can research and digest the information in his own time. People tend to absorb difficult news better when they feel like they’re arrived at the conclusion themselves. Hopefully when he reads up on it, things will start to fall into place and he’ll realise: “Ah ok, that’s what Jess has been going through”.

    Then he can come to you with questions afterwards.

    When he does, and this is hard, try to put yourself in his shoes – as someone who doesn’t have the condition.

    If he does ask you how it feels, try to give him examples he might be able to relate to.

    The most important thing is to try not to make it about him (because it’s not) and instead describe how due to the way our brains are wired up, certain sounds are heightened to such an extent that it’s unbearable. A bit like someone’s turned the sensitivity up on a microphone and all you can hear or focus on is this one noise, to the point where you want to scream, or lash out, or run.

    I’d also soften the blow by trying to use examples that relate to other people you know, rather than him. If he knows you have the exact same issue with other people you’re close to (for example your mum) he’ll realise that it’s about the condition, not him.

    Tell him that you know it’s totally irrational (and that’s one of the hardest things) but that it’s a brain override which you cannot control. However with the right coping mechanisms and some understanding you want to try to manage it as best you can. So for example this sometimes might mean subtly removing yourself from the room sometimes when it gets really bad.

    I hope this helps. If I think of anything else I’ll add to this.

    Cheers

    Tom

    #219 Reply

    Laura

    I have had family ask me ‘would you rather I didn’t breathe?’ in a rhetorical sense and sometimes I have to stop myself from saying ‘yes’.

    I think its important to emphasise that it is not the sound that

      they

    make as such, it’s just sounds in general, we all make them (even though i’m convinced I don’t make any sounds whilst i’m eating as I am perfect in that regard compared to everyone else who makes disgusting noises). If you were sat opposite the 94 year old woman down the road and she started eating a crunchy apple, you would also wish to punch her.

    Also, don’t mention this over dinner. He may slurp when you come to a pivotal moment.

    Education is the key.

    #688 Reply

    Georgia

    I find it extremely difficult to eat with my dad, he eats so loudly and it makes me want to cry my eyes out with anger! Just the thought of being called down for dinner makes me tense up and not only does my dad do it my brother does and me and my mum both hate it so much, I try to just blank out the irritating noise so much. I hate it even more when I have cooked a really nice tea that everyone loves and then it just gets distroyed by my dads eating.

    I was so glad to hear I wasn’t the only one with misaphonia. Also its also reliving that my mum has mild misaphonia too so we can share our feelings.

    I want to tell him without hurting my dads feelings so even if he doesn’t stop he is making an effort. But what should I do to try and make the noise trigger me?

    #781 Reply

    Very well put Laura!

    Georgia, that’s great that you can talk to your mum about it and that you can both relate. Maybe you could discuss together with her the best way of explaining to your dad what you’re going through.

    If you can point him to information about the condition (and about how it’s a difficulty in the way your senses and brain processes the noise, rather than anything he’s doing) hopefully that might help him to understand.

    #3947 Reply

    Jenn

    Greetings,
    I’m very grateful I found this website via a news article on The Guardian.

    I believe allo have read here and elsewhere today is an accurate description of conditions my husband suffers from. We call him the bionic man because he is driven to rage by things I cannot even hear.

    The eating together thing has been rough for us. I suffer from a long history of eating disorders and come from an emotionally abusive background so I have long interpreted his unusual sensitivity, anger, enraged looks, disgust, and melodramatic reactivity as as cruel and selfish. I just hate it. We eat in front of the tv now, it helps, but I eat as silently as possible and he glares at me at sounds I can’t even hear. It is like living in a crazy funhouse. But not fun.

    He said he has a condition but it just seemed like b.s. to me because sometimes I make sounds on purpose just to try and understand what he is reacting to and he doesn’t even hear them. Maybe they weren’t repetitive enough to bug him though. And he LOVES heavy metal music which is unbearable to me because it is too loud–but I guess it drowns out all other sounds.

    Anyway, I’ll try to grant him the possibility of a sensory processing disorder. It would make a lot of his unusual quirks make sense. I still have a long way to go in reacting less and not taking it personally. But it is very hard to live with sometimes.

    Maybe I’ll send him this site and he can get better at taking responsibility for his condition instead at being angry at the world for being so loud and disgusting…..

    Thanks again.

    #3951 Reply

    Hi Jenn, thanks for your post.

    I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through with this and I think it’s really helpful to hear your perspective. It’s often no fun at all for the partner and given your own history it must be especially difficult and upsetting at times.

    A number of miopshones who’ve got in touch with me my via this site are metallers, so it doesn’t surprise me that he likes listening to metal!

    I know it must seem illogical/weird/contradictory that he likes loud or complex and sometimes discordant music but with misophonia it’s not sound or noise in general that’s the problem (in fact most of us love music). Misophonia is a selective sound sensitivity.

    So it’s very specific sounds which trigger us. Whether it’s a certain timbre/pitch/tone/frequency we don’t know for sure yet (there are studies going into this).

    What we do seem to know is which part of the brain is activated. Neuroscientists have conducted fMRI studies and during misophonia episodes (i.e. when trigger sounds are heard) they’re seeing that the amygdala lights up and it sets off freeze-fight-flight mode. A bit like if we were under threat from attack or in danger.

    So (and apologises if I’m droning on) you have this primordial part of the brain screaming RED ALERT – and this is instantaneous – while the rational part of the brain tries to catch up and tell you that things are fine. Unfortunately the former is instinctual and we can’t just switch it off.

    I don’t know if that helps. But that’s as best as I can explain both in terms of how it feels and from what I know about the current thinking in terms of the ‘science’.

    Would you be able to send me the link to the Guardian article? (I didn’t realise we’d featured there).

    Cheers, Tom

    #4379 Reply

    Kayna

    I’ve struggled with this for as long as I can remember. My dad makes this horrendous noise with his mouth all the time and we’ve fallen out a lot in the past because I’ve been so angry and upset by it, but he hasn’t seen it as a big deal.. I hate it because my mum does the same, so I feel like I have to brace myself to be around my parents!
    Recently I discovered I actually had a genuine problem and wasn’t just being irritable and I’ve tried my best to explain things to them which has helped.
    It still drives me absolutely insane though and they still don’t fully get it.
    Most people I talk to about it suggest ear plugs…. that is an absolute no for me!

    #4463 Reply

    Chris

    Hi,
    This is a very interesting thread, the first one on here I have read and first to comment.
    I have only really been aware of this condition in the last 6 months or so from a BBC article, which led me to UK Misophonia (Sound Sensitivity) Support Group on meet up (Another corner of the internet I never knew existed).
    On that site, Zed has just mentioned his article on here, and here I am.

    For me this comes down to the very heart of my problem. I am now pretty sure I have this condition on some level, and most of what I rage about is things my wife does. But I cant tell her. For years she has been struggling with a broken husband who has had various bouts of mental health problems from past traumas and finally been told its PTSD. Due to this fact and other factors, she has just as many problems as I. So I am not sure how well it will be received if I then drop the bombshell that her eating and sometimes speech drives me up the wall.

    I cant imagine a moment when its going to be ok to bring this up, and I don’t want her to think I am making crap up. I certainly don’t want her to be upset and think I am in some way blaming her (But I fear that is how it will be taken).

    I am most definitely stuff between classic rock and a hard place.

    Chris

    #8739 Reply

    Mijo

    My dad has this habit of making the ‘hawking phlegm’ sound when he bathes, and that means every single day. He does not have any coughing problems, and does not smoke. It is extremely irritating, and I have brought this issue up to him, but he always tells me to accept it, and refuses to change. My mom has no issues with his habit, and also accuses me of being unreasonable. I am at a loss over what to do now. Any advice?

    #1008843 Reply

    Michelle

    I’m glad I found this website. It helps a lot to know others are going through this. My family is finding it very hard to understand why I may lash out and sometimes they will make fun of my condition as if it’s not real. The best way for me to cope with Misophonia has honestly just been walking away. My brother is my biggest trigger and I beg him to learn new eating habits to help me but it’s never a success. My Misophonia has drove me to be mad more than half the time and it’s pulling me away from my family…
    Any advice ? Would seeing a Therapist maybe help ? I’m scared that the therapist won’t understand Misophonia like I need them to. Please share any advice that may help.

    #1008937 Reply

    Hattie Snowden

    I can’t stand being around my grandparents, brother ken dad when we are eating. We all eat at the table every meal so I can’t just walk away like other peopke would. They all make fun of me and laugh because when it’s bad; they do it on purpose and I cry/ walk away/ shout because it upset so me/ angers me that much. Me and my dad have arguments all the time because I’m ‘moody’ or ‘grumpy’ and I’ve told him it’s his loud chewing and my condition but he thinks it’s not a genuine condition and doesn’t want to look into it or ven empathise for me. It upsets me and often I’ll be in a bad mood all day because of it. Most of the time I am suicidal after mealtimes because I know I can’t stop it. Please give me advice

    #1008969 Reply

    CraigJ

    Pull a “Urgh that’s disgusting” facial expression at them. Best if done as if it’s just a joke. I’m yet to find a successful method, but find this ones the best I’ve thought of to date.

    My gf is talking on the phone to her friend and eating a takeaway at the sane time. I’ve told her hundreds of time how disgusting it makes me feel, yet she still does it. Just can’t understand people doing it. It’s revolting.

    Typing on here is a bit of therapy at least!

    #1009160 Reply

    Jeff

    My mother had this (she is no longer with us) and my grandmother has this and as a kid I resented my mom for being so angry at my fathers’ breathing (his nose whistles a little) which never bothered me… but it’s different sounds that bother me… and to the degree that I feel great anger inside that is confusing to my more logical self. For me, it’s my grandson’s eating (he is autistic and is horribly loud, not his fault… but I can’t stand it) it’s a friend of mine’s lip-smacking when he’s nervous… and the worst one (quite odd, I’m sure) is this particular coffee grinder. I have a blender which is equally as loud and while I don’t like that noise I can tolerate it for 30 seconds. This coffee grinder.. ugh.. it fills me with instant rage. After reading reviews on Amazon about this particular model, it turns out to be the loudest coffee grinder you can buy and my dear wife adores it. She bought it before we were married and has maintained it and treats it like a child. (So, enter other psych factors here perhaps) She will turn it on without notice and it grinds away for about a minute – during which time I cannot hear myself think. She knows it makes me nuts… but she really doesn’t grasp misophonia, so I can’t be too angry with her. I suggested buying another, different, quieter grinder… that didn’t go well. I bought one anyway… it’s not worth daily feelings of rage. Other sounds that make me nuts: Folks who eat with their mouth open. OMG. Straw-sucking-slurpers. (just stop it, it’s bad manners anyway) being kissed on or near my ear – you know that kissing-lip-smacking-sound… sends my tinnitus off the charts… oh and the sounds in my head make me nuts too, all caused by tinnitus from hearing damage, no doubt from the sounds that make me nuts.

    #1009187 Reply

    Angie

    Oh, I am so happy I found this forum! I have been dealing with this problem since I was a child, and I’m now 42. My Dad’s smacking his food while he is eating is the absolute worse sound in the world to me. I remember hearing a friend’s young son smacking his food about a decade ago, and the thoughts of wanting to slap him in the face really scared me. My husband and I are currently staying with my parents temporarily while our new home is going through some renovations. Mealtimes are absolute horror, as are the times my Dad chooses to snack while watching TV. As a matter of fact, just a few moments ago I escaped to the dining room to get here on my laptop to look up any help dealing with my condition, because my Dad is snacking on potato chips. Any time I have mentioned my condition to my parents, they just laugh, roll their eyes, and say I’m being dramatic. I remember as a teenager, even going as far as to tell him he would not see his grandchildren if he did not learn to eat properly (with his mouth closed). I continue to get looks from both my parents when I suddenly leave the room once my Dad begins chewing. I can cover up his noise with my own chewing, but if I am already full or not hungry, it’s simply unbearable to sit there and listen to him. I hope that this forum will be therapy for me in itself. Thankfully, my husband understands and sympathizes with me.

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