Woman with misophonia crying in despair

How Do I Change How I React To Those I Love The Most? I Have Misophonia!

It is so hard when you find yourself having unwanted emotional reactions towards those you love the most? The pain is almost unbearable! There are ways to get help...

Have you ever been with someone who accepted you as you are?

If you’re like me, it is a good feeling to be accepted this way. To not feel judged or criticised for being who you are.

Is It Normal To React So Strongly To Those I Love The Most?

I have to admit it. I wish some people were different.

Depending on who they are, I wish they’d stop doing things like talking with their mouth full of food, leaving the dirty dishes in the sink, not in the dishwasher or sending me spam mail.  I wish they would be nicer to me or spend more money on regional services. Even though I know it doesn’t affect me directly, for their own sake, I wish some people I care about had more energy, were less anxious or stopped sacrificing themselves for others. 

We all feel like this at times.

Is It Wrong For Me To Wish People Were Different?

If you have misophonia, you probably wish certain people didn’t make those sounds around you. 

Just think about those close to you - your family and friends - as well as your co-workers, local business people, or politicians. Think about those people not doing their share of the housework, not giving you the quality of healthcare you want, promoting political policies you dislike if not despise. 

It’s natural, even normal, to wish that others were different, just like it’s natural to wish that you, yourself, were different (had no reaction to those sounds). It’s fine to try to change or influence others to do things differently as long as you are doing this with kindness and with good intentions.

But problems come when we become righteousness, angry, resistant, fault finding, nagging or any other kind of struggle.

It is hard to just let things be when we’re struggling with other people!

How Do I Help Myself?

Psychologists recommend that we accept people for who they are and for who they are not.

What do we mean by acceptance?

Accepting people does not itself mean agreeing with them, approving of them, waiving your rights or downplaying the impact they have on you. You still need to take appropriate action to protect or support yourself. Or you can simply let them be.

Either way, you accept the way the person is. You don’t have to like it. You may not prefer it. You may even feel sad or angry about it. But at some other level, you are at peace with it.

How Do You Accept Someone Who Makes Those Sounds?

Let’s start here! Is it possible to just accept someone?

Pick someone who is important to you. According to neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, if you say words like this in your head, out loud, or in writing, and then just take time to notice how you fee. You will start to understand what acceptance is about.

“I accept you completely.  Countless reasons, large and small, have led you to think, speak, and act the way you do. You are who you are. I let it be. You are a fact and I accept the facts of my life. You and I are part of a larger whole that is what it is, and I accept it, too.”

 Start with naming different things about a person who particularly bothers you, eg.

 "I accept that you:

  • chew . . .
  • sniff . . .
  • make that  “s” . . .
  • have to eat at times around me . . .
  • are trying so hard to help me . . .
  • don’t really understand me . . .
  • have a cold . . ." etc

It is still ok for you to be disgusted, make requests of them, or stand up to other people – while accepting them fully.

Consider how you have gotten upset with this person, struggling to change them.

When I take the time to practice acceptance myself, I become aware of my inner feelings including:

  • having to be right, 
  • making judgments,
  • being pushy,
  • irritable, 
  • my way or the highway,
  • hidden hurts,
  • anger,
  • or just plain feeling bad about how I behave.

See if you can let go of some, even all of these rather difficult emotions.

Discover a sense of possible freedom from the pain, a sense of relief and peace that comeswhen you do.

Think about how much you like it when you feel another person accepts you completely. 

Accepting is a special gift – and we give it ourselves and to others when we accept them.

Take a moment and imagine how it might improve your relationship with someone if that person felt you accepted him or her fully.

Acceptance is a gift that gives back.

Just One Thing!

If during the next few months, you did this one thing, practice acceptance for those who make those sounds, a change for the better will happen for you. I’ve seen so many people  in my work discover their misophonia is no longer the problem it was before just with this one thing.

It’s not easy, but it is possible.

The one thing is Accept Them As They Are.

"It is the smallest things, repeated routinely which over time bring results you never thought possible."

About The Author

Nolene Nielson Audiologist

Nolene Nielson is a highly qualified and experienced Australian Audiologist. She has four decades of clinical experience in many aspects of Audiology, but specialises in the area of hearing rehabilitation for those with misophonia, tinnitus, hyperacusis and hearing loss.

She is passionate about using the principles of audiology, neurosciences, neuropsychology and solution based psychological approaches. She uses the latest practical clinical treatments to work with you to achieve the best results possible.