When you want to scream “listen to me!!!” at everyone in your life, that feeling takes a toll!
Feeling unheard can create emotions and struggles that mimic depression and anxiety. Because people are social creatures, feeling connected is something we desperately need. So of course our bodies feel bad when it seems nobody is really there for us.
Why Won’t Anyone Listen To Me?
You’re not alone in feeling this way. Who hasn’t wanted to shake the people around them and yell: “Listen to me!!!!”?
Some symptoms of anxiety and depression may be related to feeling unheard or misunderstood. Bad feelings can often be helped just by having someone to listen and understand.
Below is a poem by renowned psychologist, Leo Buscaglia. It captures the feeling well:
By: Leo Buscaglia
When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving me advice,
You have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why
I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something
to solve my problem,
you have failed me,
strange as that may seem.
Listen! All I ask is that you listen.
Don’t talk or do – just hear me…
And I can do for myself; I am not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering,
but not helpless.
When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself,
you contribute to my fear and
But when you accept as a simple fact
That I feel what I feel,
No matter how irrational,
Then I can stop trying to convince
You and get about this business
Of understanding what’s behind
This irrational feeling.
And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I don’t need advice. Irrational feelings make sense when
we understand what’s behind them.
So please listen, and just hear me.
And if you want to talk, wait a minute
for your turn– and I will listen to you.
Signs You Just Need Someone To Listen
See if anything else on this list speaks to you. These may be signs you just need someone to listen!
1. Feeling like you’re worthless.
As mentioned above, humans are social creatures. A need to be around people who see us for who we are is built into our brains; humans may have originally developed self esteem in order to drive social connection.
Self esteem can only be nurtured by deep connection with other people – you can’t totally create it for yourself, alone! So what happens when nobody listens to you and you don’t feel really seen or heard?
Well of course, you won’t have the self esteem you deserve to! Parents and friends are supposed to care about what you say, and show you that you’re worth listening to. But in today’s world, it can feel like a dice roll whether you actually have parents or friends who listen to you.
Because you can’t just build up your own self esteem, feeling worthless is never your fault. This struggle says more about the people around you who aren’t listening, than about who you are – but it’s still unbearable to feel like you’re worthless.
Try getting someone to listen to you, and see if it helps your self-worth grow back. You deserve to love yourself and to take up space in the world! That means you deserve to be heard, too.
2. You’re stuck in the depression pit.
If you’re stuck feeling depressed and nothing is helping at all, it could be that you need someone to listen to you. Not casually listen, but really listen!
Many of us stay slightly guarded, even with friends, and many others feel their friends listen, but don’t really get it. A lot of us feel unheard or misjudged even by our freaking therapists! Whatever variation of this you may have going on, it’s a recipe for depression symptoms coming from a lack of genuine connection.
3. Feeling helpless.
We feel helpless when we see “evidence” that what we do and say doesn’t matter. And what kind of situation could create that evidence? Feeling like you need someone to listen makes the list.
Not being listened to makes us believe we’re helpless to make any impact on our lives, or the lives of those around us. So if nobody in your life takes what you say seriously, you’re much more likely to feel powerless and frozen.
Try talking to people who have been there, and who really want to hear what you’re saying. It could be an acquaintance who’s a good listener, or it could be people in an online peer support chat.
4. Feeling insatiable hunger for no reason.
Before you totally dismiss this one, keep an open mind! Well-known psychologists have written about feelings of hunger coming from a social need.
According to Pete Walker MA, MFT: “Feeling very hungry an hour or two after a big meal is an almost certain signal of abandonment feelings and not real hunger. As much as this hunger appears to be about food, it is actually an emotional hunger – an emotional longing for safe, nurturing connection and for the satiation of abandonment.”
Because we’re social creatures, we need to feel seen and understood to be healthy. So our bodies need a way to alert us: “Hey, go get someone to listen to you!”
Just like how your stomach growls, you feel this social hunger in a similar spot near your stomach – a little lower in your abdomen, if you’re paying close attention. It occurs when you feel like you need someone to listen to you and be there for you, and it’s natural to confuse the feeling with hunger. So if you’re still feeling a hungry sensation in your stomach even after eating, consider finding someone to listen and make you feel accepted.
5. Having racing thoughts.
When your thoughts are racing and won’t stop, think about whether you’ve let them out to a listening ear recently. If you haven’t let out and processed your thoughts with another person in a while, they’re bound to keep bouncing around, like your head’s a pinball machine.
If you have nobody to release your racing thoughts to, you can first try doing a ‘brain dump’ by freewriting in a journal for 5-10 minutes. In case that doesn’t help your racing thoughts, ask a friend if you can have their full attention for a bit. And if you need someone to listen right now, there are a lot of understanding people, here.