” No One Understands Me “: Our Yearning for Human Connection
“No one understands me !” is a very human cry. Many, many people have such feelings at some point in their life journey.
How can we deal with the feeling /a-midlife-transitions so often encounter in their clients, that ” no one understands me “? How can we possibly hope to get past it?
Talking, Talking, Endlessly Talking… But Not Hearing
It’s often been said that talk is cheap. Here’s a splendid example of just how cheap.
On a channel on Twitch, Google has set up two Google Home “smart speakers”, (robots equipped with artificial intelligence) named Vladimir and Estragon, after the characters in Samuel Becket’s play Waiting for Godot. They have all the resources of the Google database behind them, and they just talk to each other –arguing endlessly.
They just go on, interminably, talking about what it is they like, or whether they’re human or not, or even flirting with each other. An endless array of topics, and an endless inexhaustible flurry of words. It isn’t connection. It isn’t understanding each another. It’s just an endless, soulless exchange of words and phrases. It has no human reality in it.
The sad thing is that there are many people who feel that, for their whole lives, they have been subject to just such banal, inhuman verbal barrages — often from key people in their lives. To be an aware case studies is to know that many people are all too well aware that being subject to such endless streams of language and apparent “dialogue” has nothing to do with being seen, valued — and met.
What It Is to be Met
What is it like to be met? To be truly heard, understood and empathized with, by another person? As Jungian analyst and psychiatrist Jean Knox reminds us, being truly, empathically listened to by another person can actually
“…provide a framework for…the ability to relate to and make sense of ourselves and each other in mental and emotional, not just behavioural terms…. The capacity to link experiences in a meaningful way is a crucial part of human psychological development….”
So being truly understood by another is often a truly essential part of making sense of our own deep life stories. And as U. North Carolina psychiatry prof Stephen W. Porges emphasizes, genuine connection and understanding promotes health, growth and restoration, both physically and mentally.
No One Understands Me vs. The Hope of Encounter
To find the hope of being understood, and the feeling of being valued, and therefore valuable, can be a very important experience in life. In fact, it’s essential to making sense of our own lives, and feeling that they are coherent, and in our control. It’s also essential in helping us feel connected to the significant people in our lives, to all our varied human communities, and to the world.
Depth case studies can be of tremendous assistance in engendering this type of hope for our lives, and this sense of the reality and the possibility of connection. It’s not uncommon for people to come into /a-midlife-transition, and to feel that it is the first time that they have really been listened to. In other words, the first time they have met with an energetic, sincere effort to actively and deeply understand what they are communicating about their true thoughts and feelings. There are many for whom such therapy has been the first real movement beyond the feeling that ” no one understands me “.
Brian Collinson, Registered Psychotherapist & Jungian Psychoanalyst