"Medium Chill" I learned how to do this with difficult family members

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SomewhereOutThere, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is from another site, but it is great at explaining how to deal with a conversation when the person you are talking to is being irrational. I tried it last night (not mentioning person) and it was like magic. The person really just wanted to vent; talk about himself/herself. So I used this method with great success. Here it goes.

    Medium Chill

    Definition:

    Medium Chill - A technique used to disengage oneself from another person's drama when direct contact is unavoidable.

    Description:

    Medium Chill is disengaging emotionally and giving neutral responses to what someone does or says. The focus is on you, your feelings and needs, not the other person or their feelings and needs.

    Someone using Medium Chill is assertive without being confrontational. They will give no appearance of withdrawal, and they will maintain a pleasant and calm tone of voice and demeanor.

    There are two key components to Medium Chill:

    1. Don't share any personal information.

    Don't volunteer details about your life or your feelings. Everything in your world is perfectly OK, normal and uneventful. Tell them nothing, ask them nothing. Conversation is nothing more than pleasantries about weather, traffic, news etc. Engage in the type of conversation you might have with a total stranger while waiting for the bus.

    When communicating a decision you have made (should you deem it necessary to share in the first place) do not share your thought process on how you arrived at your decision. It is none of anyone's concern.

    2. Don't get involved in another person's chaos or drama.

    When asked to help or get involved, be unavailable without offering the reason why you are unavailable. Sharing the details only motivates others to help you clear your obstacle to being there to help them. You are simply busy, you know, same old stuff.

    When others try to draw you into their drama and chaos you are a bored and dull listener. You are there, just not present or terribly involved. Never show anger or compassionate involvement; paying attention but not too much attention. Don't offer any advice or opinions of your own. Don't try to solve their problems. You are simply not involved.

    If someone is angry and manages to get you angry they have successfully projected and transferred their anger to you. Take your leave as soon as possible in cases of anger or rage. Simply and calmly leave or end the phone call.

    When others lash out, show no anger. When others are nice, don't reciprocate. Be distant and flat in both cases. When others can't easily manipulate a reaction, they tend to leave you alone.

    Medium Chill keeps things light, fluffy, airy and breezy. There's no real substance to the conversation. You wind up doing a lot of listening and giving very uninteresting and inconsequential answers. You don't feed the supply, so you'll find conversations are shorter and not as frequent - because you're not giving the other person anything they can use. You are of no use to them and also quite boring and uninteresting.

    Medium Chill is also 'non answers' to intrusive questions and interrogation. See examples below.

    Medium Chill can be useful in dealing with instances of Baiting, Blaming, Bullying, Chaos, Circular Conversations, Dependency, Emotional Abuse, Emotional Blackmail, Engulfment / Enmeshment, Hoovering, Manipulation, Projection and Verbal Abuse. While undesirable behaviors cannot always be totally avoided, the damage and impact can be minimized if you can keep yourself as emotionally detached as possible.

    Examples:

    When asked an intrusive question:

    • I don't know. I'll have to get back to you.
    • We'll see.
    • That's a really good question, why do you ask?
    • Let me think about that.
    • It doesn't concern you.
    • My decision is made.
    • This is not a discussion
    • It's simply my preference.
    • It's none of your business.
    • It's already handled, taken care of.
    • The topic is closed
    • I said no and do not bring this up again
    Sometimes it can be useful to simply not answer a question and let the question just hang there, pause, then change the conversation:

    • So anyway, how about the weather?
    When attempting to draw you into drama or chaos:

    • It's none of my business.
    • I can't be there, it doesn't work for me.
    • I'd love to but no.
    • I'm sorry you feel that way.
    • I don't know what to tell you.
    • I don't know what to say.
    • That's a shame.
    • Now you're just being silly (when they accuse you of something).
    • You'll have to speak to so and so about that (when complaining about so and so).
    • You may need to speak to your doctor / lawyer / electrician about that.
    • You may need to get in touch with your inner 'tween for some of these.
    • That's too bad/That's nice. (You may be surprised how long you can keep a conversation going with those words).
    If the drama ramps up in an attempt to get you involved:

    • Exit the conversation. say "Sorry I have to go now. Maybe we can continue later."
    • Leave the room and house if you can safely do so.
    • Any threats of suicide or harm tell them to call 911 or the suicide hotline.
    Remember to convey everything in a dull, flat tone of voice, with a non-confrontational, matter-of-fact manner.

    What It Feels Like

    Medium Chill can be extremely liberating. You are in control of you, you are directing your life, you are in charge of you, you steer the conversation and you are protected. You are free to exercise your boundaries and communicate them effectively.

    What NOT To Do:

    • Don't focus on mitigating the other person's anger.
    • Don't worry about how your actions appear.
    • Don't try to solve the other person's problems or try to fix anything
    What To Do:

    • Maintain a flat, calm and unemotional tone.
    • Choose to emotionally and mentally disengage.
    • Become uninteresting and boring.
     
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    After reading this again, I think some of them are a bit too much...leave us open for more conversation/abuse. I will post my favorites. Why not post yours to help one another?

    All time favorite: "Uh huh."
    "Hmmmmmm."
    "Wow."
    "Gee."
    "I see."
    "That's tough."
    "Too bad."
    "I can't."
    "Yep."
    "Nope."
    Silence
     
  3. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    These were great...lolol!

    The only ones I don't like are the ones that ask a question such as "What's your opinion?"

    I mean that opens them up to saying, "YOU GIVE ME THE MONEY."

    I also don't like sitting down and explaining your reasons to a 20 year old. They already know your reasons and that they are good reasons. But that opens them up to abuse us.

    "Less is more." It's my new motto with anyone who is difficult whom we have to talk to. It doesn't just apply to our Difficult Child. It applies to critical mom, bossy dad, abusive sister, opinionated brother, heck, I'm even starting to tell the dogs "NO!" and just "NO!" when they bark too much...lol.
     
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  5. Natsom

    Natsom Member

    Thank you Somewhere!

    This is exactly what I needed this morning. I'm expecting my first call from my son who is in jail. I read this over and over. It's perfect with a few exceptions. I'm going to avoid asking any open ended questions that could lead in the wrong direction.

    "Less is more".

    The added advantage I have, is that when the money runs out the call ends. :hapydancsmil:
     
  6. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    :winnersmiley:
    Thanks SWOT. Great list. I have been using this technique for some time now, I didn't know it had a name. "Medium Chill" I like it!!

    I find the less words I use the better.
     
  7. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    I love this.

    And my all time favorite: oh.

    Great stuff!
     
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You can't go wrong with oh. Forgot that one. Clicking your tongue works too.
     
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