Mental Health

Mental health: how to stop being an overexplainer, according to a therapist

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Leah Sinclair
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From over-explaining to friends to justifying your actions to a partner, overexplaining is something many of us do  and therapist Bobbi Banks has identified ways we can stop it.

There’s nothing like the feeling you get after you’ve overexplained something to no end.

Whether you’re justifying your actions to a friend, colleague or partner, we’re often left with a sense of regret as the words spill out of our mouths quicker than we’d like to remember, often sharing more than maybe we ought to.

So why do we do it?

According to therapist Bobbi Banks, there are numerous reasons why we might overexplain, with the licensed coach sharing a few ways in particular.

According to Banks, overexplaining can be a trauma response and can develop as a result of gaslighting. She adds that anxiety or ADHD can also lead to overexplaining and it can happen to those who grew up with a strict upbringing where “you had to justify your choices”.

While the reasons behind overexplaining can vary, there are five ways that can help you stop doing it, according to Banks – starting with reflecting on where overexplaining comes from.

She suggests that identifying what triggers you into overexplaining can be a key way to identify how to stop it, along with “learning to sit with the discomfort of disappointing others and saying no”.

“Challenge your beliefs and assumptions around it [overexplaining] and leave room for others to ask questions,” she writes, adding: “Ask yourself – am I explaining or am I doing it just so I can ease an uncomfortable feeling?”

In the post, which has received over 30,000 likes, many shared their experiences with overexplaining and why they may do it.

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“That’s me… I’ve had a lot of gaslighting in my past relationships,” wrote one. “My guy tells me I always have to have the last word. Yea, I’m 64 and just recognising this. Awareness is the beginning of change.”

Another commented: “Thanks for this. I deal with this. I always feel like I can never get my point across when I tell things cause I was never allowed to defend myself growing up.”

“I’m learning to put boundaries in place and stop overexplaining myself to others write now,” said another. “It’s been a challenging but liberating experience and now I’ve mastered the art of just saying no when needed and explaining just what I feel is necessary and it has improved my wellbeing tremendously.”

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Leah Sinclair

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