What Submarines Can Teach Us About Intimacy – Part 3 – Dysfunctional Intimacy: The Over-pinger
The over-pinger. What drives this person? Have you ever met someone who never shuts up? Who never listens? It’s difficult to maintain a relationship with someone who never listens. Your pings go unnoticed, not necessarily because the other person is deaf or a jerk, but because they have a need to be heard.
What does an over-pinger look like? Have you ever been in a conversation with someone where, you listen to their point, then make one of your own. Then they do this thing where they go, “uh huh” really quick, then keep going with whatever they were talking about? They weren’t really listening. When we argue, I would propose that we use our active sonar, but not so much the passive sonar. Why? Because we want to be right. We want recognition, not a relationship. It’s not about understanding a person or a perspective, it’s about spewing our “expertise” so people will know how wonderful we are.
I don’t think the over-pinger is that rare. We can probably think of a couple of people who out-ping us right off the top of our heads. In the end it’s not a search for a real relationship with someone, it’s about recognition. It’s a search for love and acceptance in which self is of primary value.
In the end, I think it’s often a defense mechanism. It’s a defense against being ignored. It’s a defense against having nothing to offer. It’s a defense against the possibility that people might not care about what you have to say. Healthy relationships must allow for the possibility of rejecting the other.
Intimacy and real relationships come from being known, as well as knowing. Being known requires things being shared, but knowing requires listening. The problem with the over-pinger is that they keep pushing the active sonar button, flooding the oceans with noise.
It’s easy to point the finger out. But where do we disregard people’s pings and keep sending our own? Why do we do so? Where do we want to be heard, to be noticed?
Watchman Nee would trace the overpinger’s issue back to his heart. There is something deep down in a man’s heart, a void, a wound or even a disease, which must be dealt with before anything will change. You could torpedo that person, but torpedoes rarely bring about healthy change. I think what will bring transformation is love. A listening ear, but one who listens beyond the jargon, who is able to hear what is really being communicated and speak words of life into that person’s life.
So yeah, I’m not a psychologist or a submarine expert. These are simply my thoughts, in no way exhaustive, on a subject I’ve been thinking about for a while. Comments/insight welcome.