What Shutting People Down Says About You

by Bill Brenner on February 18, 2016

I’m someone who believes in full, frank communication. It’s essential for plans running smoothly and people not misunderstanding each other. There’s a certain personality type that gets in the way of that every time. And it makes my blood boil.

Mood music:

It’s the person who shuts you down when you broach a subject they don’t want to talk about. They put up their hand and start rattling off a litany of reasons they’re brushing you off. It makes the other person feel disrespected and otherwise shitty. The person who does the brushing off usually talks a lot and wants you to listen to every word they say.

Which makes it all the more infuriating when they brush you off.

I have a few people like this in my life. I want to open up about something and reach some deep understandings. Instead they tell me they have nothing to do with whatever it is I’m bringing up.

Usually, they have a lot to do with what I’m bringing up.

In the more understandable moments, they’ll say they can’t talk about something because it’s too stressful a topic — as if not discussing it will make the problem go away.

Here’s what brushing people off all the time says about you:

  • It’s your way or the highway. You have strong ideas on how things ought to be. You make those views known all the time. But when someone wants to talk about it in more detail — whether they agree with you or not — you shut that person down. You’re simply not going to talk about it. Then you try to change the conversation to something pleasant and pretend that person’s concerns don’t exist.
  • You’re afraid of being proven wrong. If you talk a lot about how things should be and then shut down someone who questions you, it’s more than likely that you know your position has cracks. You simply can’t handle the possibility that the other person might prove you wrong or suggest something that is legitimately a better way. You most likely fall into this category if you are the elder in the room or you outrank the other person in position.
  • You lack the ability to tackle difficult problems. If you live in fear of being proven wrong, chances are you’re not good at solving problems and reaching common ground with people. You may see yourself as powerful, but it shows you are weak.
  • You have unresolved issues. You shut people down because they are touching a nerve, bringing up something so painful that you can’t bear it. I’m more sympathetic to this category of people. But they are still being unkind.

Remember, folks: We’re all stuck with each other on this planet. We need to be kind to each other. A critical component of kindness is the ability to listen to someone, however unpleasant it may be.

If you do all the talking and none of the listening, then chances are you’re the type of person nobody wants to go near — the person people ridicule.

Who wants to be that person?

Dream of Sacrifice by EddieTheYeti“Dream of Sacrifice” by EddieTheYeti

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

jonee February 18, 2016 at 9:47 am

OMG, you are sooo right! I have a sister who shuts me down on family issues. How I would like “full, frank conversation” to “open up and reach deep understanding”. I wonder which one she is on your list. – prob afraid. I don’t know why.

Gerald Del Giorno June 2, 2017 at 9:38 pm

This is exacly the reason why, I would like to live all by my lonesome. I try and have a nice clear cut conversation with my family, and I get shunned as to feeling unworthy of them. My life hasn’t really panned out the way it should have? I am an depressed and angry man! I lived for others, never completing my own aspirations to live a better life. However, this is why I believe I am treated this way?

Gerald Del Giorno June 2, 2017 at 9:58 pm

I had gotten married at 24, for 23 years, never having any children. We as a couple both worked, but never developed a well rounded relationship, and no clear communication with eachother. We had many debts, and us both working, my wife never encouraged me to furthering a career, which would have, given us a fufilled stable life? I did always encouraged her to better herself jobwise, but to no avail. Yes, I did the right thing

Gerald Del Giorno June 2, 2017 at 11:42 pm

by working, but could have done it better, we could have started a beautiful family together? I feel that she had a low self esteem about herself, just as myself, from a very young age. My father left home when I was 10, and mom raised me, and always encouraged me to better myself. But, coming from a different generation, and being a housewife, she was limited to understanding the workforce, and the needs of that present time. However, later on in our marriage, my wife and I became humdrum, without any growth in our relationship, reaching only a limited plateau. Then, resentment set in, about how all the years wasted on what could have been? In the mist of all this, I had met a wonderful woman, whom was in an abused marriage , though had a different prospective on life, understanding what is needed in a relationship, and behind me in every aspect to succeed. My wife, when telling her of this newfound relationship of mine, filed for divorce, and many negative feelings from her side, as well as my own family were thrown towards me .and my new found love! Even my mom didn’t approve at first, but understood later on. We as a couple, were going though a hot and cold relationship with eachother, because of all the negatives being thrown at us, winning over some family at times, only ending up with many of them desolate in our lives, at this present time. I have always fought for our relationship in these 5 years together, but always was respectful about my approach? My family doesn’t know, true respectability! So Recently, I had approached them in a disrespecful way, sticking up for my woman and also myself! I cursed at them, telling them how I feel towards their perspectives, and of how I didn’t care anymore about their wonderful negatives thrown our way! (No pun intended)…
In January 2015, my mom was diagnosed with, Stage 4 Colon Cancer, and this same woman, whom now is my fiancee, had taken care of my mom, and served her hand to foot. After almost 3 months, mom passed away from that horrible disease. Moreover, I went through some financial problems, and just now, at 52 years old, I have finally gotten a career, through my fiancee, in the same place of where she has her own career, working with abused children. Wtth all that, we are reaping threefold, a rewarding, loving, and fufilled life. We give thanks everyday to GOD, IN JESUS NAME, of where we needed to be.

Carol July 10, 2017 at 10:36 pm

“You shut people down because they are touching a nerve, bringing up something so painful that you can’t bear it. I’m more sympathetic to this category of people. But they are still being unkind.”

Unkind?!! What? Your desire to talk about something entitles you to nothing. I’m not in any way obligated to talk to you about something that’s very private/painful/whatever. Setting boundaries is not being unkind. You might want to reexamine the limits of your entitlement.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: