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What Submarines Can Teach Us About Intimacy – Part 3 – Dysfunctional Intimacy: The Over-pinger

December 5, 2011

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.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Cynthia Manrique permalink
    December 7, 2011 15:34

    I totally agree! I like that idea of the person who you’ve dubbed as the”over-pinger”……..yes I do know a few of them, they need a different sort of friend or connection, In fact my pastor calls them “Extra Grace Required People.” ——– EGR Person, or EGR group of people….YUP I often need to remember just becasue someone is an over-pinger , or they are just “Super Needy for atenttion, or for feeling wanted, or for feeling important.” ……..I need to remind myself, Hey Cynthia, they are HUMAN,, just like YOU ARE HUMAN CYNTHIA……. love ’em anyway…..even if it feels un-comfortable. The challenge for me is bigger when these are humans whom have been walking the “Christian” walk for a loooong tiiiiiiimmmmme, and yet they forgot to do self-examination, and maybe forgot to go seek professional therapy, knowing it will do them good…..it is a challenge for me to remember Cynthia, dont’ judge them, becasue they don’t want to go seek professional therpay or counseling , or support groups, DONT JUDGE them Cynthia….That’s not your duty, Cynthia. YOur duty , your role, is to try your best to model in real life example what it means to live a self-examined Christian life…with so much transparency, that it invites people into knowing more of Jesus.

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