Why do I feel like I need to explain myself all the time?

It is really unfortunate that we have to keep explaining ourselves to people all the time but it is not because of them we do this. We do this because of three main reasons:

  1. We as social beings urge for acceptance in society. We want people to acknowldege us for our contributions or everyday behaviour. The one who is more accepted in group of work or in personal life feels more happy and light all the time. This makes us to explain our every action to others.
  2. Also, there is this compulsive need to continually keep proving ourselves right. There are times when nobody is concerned about your opini

It is really unfortunate that we have to keep explaining ourselves to people all the time but it is not because of them we do this. We do this because of three main reasons:

  1. We as social beings urge for acceptance in society. We want people to acknowldege us for our contributions or everyday behaviour. The one who is more accepted in group of work or in personal life feels more happy and light all the time. This makes us to explain our every action to others.
  2. Also, there is this compulsive need to continually keep proving ourselves right. There are times when nobody is concerned about your opinions or decisions but you still explain. This is because of your underlying need to prove your point, and to re-assure yourself that you are right.
  3. There are people who give less care to what others think about them but then those who care too much about their image feel the need to explain themselves all the time to ward off the fear of not being taken in the wrong sense.

Because you keep repeating yourself to different people which makes you hear the same story over and over. For this reason, it overwhelms you.

When I feel like that, I stop and think; does this person really need to know about this situation? Ah gosh, now I have to restart over and repeat myself again, I say from inside. So, what do I do? I remove all the unnecessary details of the story and just focus on the facts. As a consequence, I get to explain my story in a different format every-time I get an opportunity. It gives me a chance to see which one is the most effective way of explaining.

It i

Because you keep repeating yourself to different people which makes you hear the same story over and over. For this reason, it overwhelms you.

When I feel like that, I stop and think; does this person really need to know about this situation? Ah gosh, now I have to restart over and repeat myself again, I say from inside. So, what do I do? I remove all the unnecessary details of the story and just focus on the facts. As a consequence, I get to explain my story in a different format every-time I get an opportunity. It gives me a chance to see which one is the most effective way of explaining.

It is a win-win.

I can explain an idea or a concept. Based on its relevance, it may be accepted or not.

I can say I am a righteous, generous and a nice person. Will it be applicable to every situation. Definitely not.

When I can't define myself, how can I explain myself. You can't explain on things which are not defined.

Still, I can explain on my actions. If I am right and least about being accepted, there is no need for explanation.

Fear is the only reason.

I don’t know about you, but the pandemic has really tested my boundary setting skills, especially when it comes to physical distancing. Initially, my partner and I had agreed to see my parents on Christmas Eve — but a statewide order that prohibited gatherings with anyone outside our household and a still-active COVID-19 outbreak at my dad’s workplace made us change our minds.

Guilt-ridden, I called my mom to break the news. I launched into an in-depth explanation of our rationale, including mentioning people my age who’d gotten sick and suffered terrible long-term consequences — until she inte

I don’t know about you, but the pandemic has really tested my boundary setting skills, especially when it comes to physical distancing. Initially, my partner and I had agreed to see my parents on Christmas Eve — but a statewide order that prohibited gatherings with anyone outside our household and a still-active COVID-19 outbreak at my dad’s workplace made us change our minds.

Guilt-ridden, I called my mom to break the news. I launched into an in-depth explanation of our rationale, including mentioning people my age who’d gotten sick and suffered terrible long-term consequences — until she interrupted me. “Don’t worry,” she said. “We understand.”

On the one hand, I felt relieved, and on the other, a little silly. Honestly, I probably could’ve left it at, “We don’t feel comfortable meeting in person anymore.” In general, I'm prone to overexplaining as a way to cushion something I worry would otherwise come across as harsh, when in fact, a simple “no” would suffice. Why do some of us overexplain ourselves, and how do we stop? I turned to Alison Nobrega, a therapist in Oakland, California, to help me unpack this behavior.

If you’re unsure whether you overexplain, some good indicators include a habit of apologizing and difficulty saying “no,” Nobrega says. (It’s true: “No” is a complete sentence.) You might also over-anticipate how the other person will respond when you set your boundary, focusing on the absolute worst-case scenario — that they won’t like you anymore, for example.

There are a few reasons why you might overexplain yourself. And it's important to note that the past year of pandemic living has inevitably changed how we communicate, and widened communication chasms for many people.

Lucy Lambriex/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Overexplaining might be a type of response to past trauma, also known as the fawn response, Nobrega says. (The others, which you might be more familiar with, are fight, flight, and freeze.) “Fawn is a trauma response where a person reverts to people pleasing,” she explains. If you’ve experienced trauma, you might rely on people pleasing behaviors like over explaining to keep you safe. You might also slip into over explaining if you’ve been gaslit. As one Redditor explained, over explaining can be a way to ensure the person doing the gaslighting can’t warp your words and wield them against you.

Overexplaining isn’t always a trauma response, though. If you live with anxiety or ADHD, a hypersensitivity to possible reactions to what you say might lead to overexplaining. As someone with an anxiety disorder, I do often find my brain racing ahead to consider all the possible ways someone might interpret a boundary I’ve set. Or, Nobrega says, you might just have a more passive communication style that makes it hard for you to say “no” and assert yourself. I can relate to this, too — for as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with speaking bluntly.

All this time at home during the pandemic has probably allowed you more time than usual to think, creating the perfect conditions for overexplaining, Nobrega says. “I think when there’s that empty space and downtime, people who experience trauma and anxiety have a hard time sitting with their feelings and sitting with the discomfort of disappointing others.”

And while it might seem like little more than an embarrassing or annoying quirk, overexplaining can take a toll on your mental health. It can wear on your self-esteem and communication skills, “and if you’re already an anxious person, if you continue this communication style, it’s just feeding your anxiety,” Nobrega tells me. By over explaining, you also mask your authentic self and might have a tougher time trusting yourself. And if you over explain in response to being gaslit, you’re implicitly telling yourself it’s ok to take that psychological abuse.

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So how do you stop overexplaining? First and foremost, be patient with yourself, Nobrega says. Celebrate the moments when you do set a boundary without chronicling your reasoning in painstaking detail. Most importantly, learn to sit with the discomfort of disappointing others. “It’s unavoidable. We’re going to disappoint other people. As long as we’re not doing it in a malicious way, it’s really just part of life.”

Give yourself permission to feel whatever feelings surface when you say “no” and challenge distorted thought patterns about, say, your friend not wanting to speak to you anymore if you don’t explain yourself, Nobrega adds. Collecting evidence of times when you did assert a boundary with little or no explanation, and the world didn’t end, can help.

You might also want to reflect on where this need to overexplain comes from, whether it’s trauma, anxiety, ADHD, or a more passive communication style, Nobrega says. Have you been invalidated before? Do you have a fear of conflict? If so, it makes sense that you’d want to avoid more direct communication. Talking to a mental health professional, if you have the means, can help you tease apart the underlying factors of this tendency.

Since my anxiety-filled phone call with my mom a few weeks ago, I’ve been trying to make a more conscious effort to resist the temptation to overexplain. As with anything that involves stepping outside my comfort zone, it does feel easier the more I do it. At some point, you’ll build enough confidence in your sense of self and your truth that you’ll know when a situation warrants an explanation or not, Nobrega says. The promise of that feeling alone is motivation enough for me to keep at it.

I am now eleven years in a relationship. Married him after a love affair of seven years. He doesn’t ever explain himself and I constantly have to.

I somehow feel that men and women are created like that only. I always have the urge to explain why I did, what I did. Whenever we fight, I am the only one explaining him my side of story.

It does hurt my ego and this question comes to my mind as well. Don’t you think it is better to explain self than to lose relationship on misunderstandings? So many times, I also pledge that I am not going to explain, he has to understand but he is incapable of unde

I am now eleven years in a relationship. Married him after a love affair of seven years. He doesn’t ever explain himself and I constantly have to.

I somehow feel that men and women are created like that only. I always have the urge to explain why I did, what I did. Whenever we fight, I am the only one explaining him my side of story.

It does hurt my ego and this question comes to my mind as well. Don’t you think it is better to explain self than to lose relationship on misunderstandings? So many times, I also pledge that I am not going to explain, he has to understand but he is incapable of understanding things by himself. He isn’t wired like that. I give up, put my point across and gift myself peace. He takes my explanation or he doesn’t, it is his problem. I clarify my intentions.

As answer to your question on worth of relationship, I would say that, yes the worth of the relationship doesn't fade with one person constantly explaining self. We just have to make ourselves understand that our partner is totally incapable of understanding things himself. A little baby doesn t understand his mother, the relationship is still worth.

If by explaining self I am able to do some mind cleaning of my partner then why not!

One fine day, he will know that my dear wife is full of all good intentions. He will get trained. I just hope so. Till then, I ll keep explaining and keep my relationship clean of misunderstandings.

While I am writing your answer, I am explaining this concept to myself also that it’s ok to explain. The worth of the relationship is not sacrificed in constantly explaining, it rather gains strength.

This is my new formed opinion, I am not sure if I change it with some other logistics convincing me against it.

Take your call too..

God bless.

It is most likely the way you are explaining things that are at issue.

When explaining things to people, you have to quickly ascertain their current level of understanding of that particular topic. If you don’t do this important step, you wind up either assuming knowledge or explaining things they already know.

If you assume knowledge, you wind up confusing them, which then requires you to have to explain more. This additional explaining sometimes confuses them more because you did not set a proper foundation and are explaining things out of order.

For example, people have to know what a car is b

It is most likely the way you are explaining things that are at issue.

When explaining things to people, you have to quickly ascertain their current level of understanding of that particular topic. If you don’t do this important step, you wind up either assuming knowledge or explaining things they already know.

If you assume knowledge, you wind up confusing them, which then requires you to have to explain more. This additional explaining sometimes confuses them more because you did not set a proper foundation and are explaining things out of order.

For example, people have to know what a car is before you try to explain to them what a car door is. If you start talking about a car door, and they have no clue what a car is, they will get very confused. So the order you explain things is important.

You also have to explain things clearly, without overwhelming them with information. If you overwhelm them with information, it will confuse them. It is okay to provide a lot of information if the person is interested, however you must pace yourself, and structure it in a way that builds upon previous knowledge.

A way to practice is to write out some explanations on your computer, and then make sure they are ordered in a logical order. When reading your own work, pretend you weren’t the one who wrote it, and you are new to the discussion. Then ask yourself, “if I did not already know this stuff, would this still make sense?” Put yourself in other people’s shoes as you read it back. If it is not clear, edit it and try again. This will start giving you a different perspective on things, and help you craft better response to people, whether in writing, or verbally.

Of course he is never going to change. Why don’t you make some changes instead?

First, you don’t owe any explanations of any kind to his friends. One way to ask them to mind their own business is to make a joke of their questions. Remind them that they shouldn’t have asked by making their questions sound silly. But if they don’t take the hint, you may just have to tell them to mind their own business directly.

Second, I don’t know what your boyfriend wants you to “explain” to him. Have you given him a reason so suspect you? Or is he unduly suspicious? Or is he just curious and unable to recognis

Of course he is never going to change. Why don’t you make some changes instead?

First, you don’t owe any explanations of any kind to his friends. One way to ask them to mind their own business is to make a joke of their questions. Remind them that they shouldn’t have asked by making their questions sound silly. But if they don’t take the hint, you may just have to tell them to mind their own business directly.

Second, I don’t know what your boyfriend wants you to “explain” to him. Have you given him a reason so suspect you? Or is he unduly suspicious? Or is he just curious and unable to recognise the limits of his own business? Perhaps you could challenge his reasons for asking. “What, you think I’ve been doing something I shouldn't have?” “Are you really interested in how many bus stops I passed on my journey? I’m afraid I didn’t count.” Deflect unwanted questions by giving him an answer that couldn’t possibly be true. “You see, I’m a werewolf, so last night I was too busy howling at the moon to take phone calls.”

Third, an alternative choice you could make is to get rid of this boyfriend. If he keeps demanding to know every boring detail that you didn’t want to tell him, and if you are constantly irritated by the interrogation, that could be a sign that you’re not suited to each other. Perhaps the real problem is that one or both of you wants to move on. Rather than drift into making each other miserable for life, perhaps you should accept that both of you could find a better match elsewhere.

It could be an anxiety or self-assuring thing.

If something happens or a subject gets brought up about something you do, it's as if you want them to have the full story so they don't get the wrong idea.

By getting the wrong idea, you may feel that they will either make fun of you or find something unusual about you. This would be understandable.

Usually, people wouldn't bother thinking that much about it, but you would just feel better knowing that they know the full reason.

The idea you think they might have of the situation, is also maybe not the idea you would want them to have if some serious

It could be an anxiety or self-assuring thing.

If something happens or a subject gets brought up about something you do, it's as if you want them to have the full story so they don't get the wrong idea.

By getting the wrong idea, you may feel that they will either make fun of you or find something unusual about you. This would be understandable.

Usually, people wouldn't bother thinking that much about it, but you would just feel better knowing that they know the full reason.

The idea you think they might have of the situation, is also maybe not the idea you would want them to have if some serious discussion comes up in the future, because if you then explain yourself at that point, they may not believe you and think your are just trying to cover something up.

I may have went off topic, if I did, I apologise. But if this is correct, I think it's just a need to make sure everyone understands the truth about something so it doesn't come back to haunt in a sense.

It's not the worst thing to have, but it can be frustrating.

Hope this answers your question to some degree.

Since there are a lot of times when i feel like shit, i have a set schedule of things i do when i am down and out;

First, i call my sister or mother (without any regard to time) and talk at lightening speed about my current situation. Since they did not understand what i just said, i have to repeat it while my brain discontinues the secretion of adrenaline.

I then have a glass of water. I put my running shoes and plug in my earphones and run. Since my stamina will only allow me to run for 250 meters tops, i slow down, exhausted. I then do brisk walking. My mind is focussed on gathering energy fo

Since there are a lot of times when i feel like shit, i have a set schedule of things i do when i am down and out;

First, i call my sister or mother (without any regard to time) and talk at lightening speed about my current situation. Since they did not understand what i just said, i have to repeat it while my brain discontinues the secretion of adrenaline.

I then have a glass of water. I put my running shoes and plug in my earphones and run. Since my stamina will only allow me to run for 250 meters tops, i slow down, exhausted. I then do brisk walking. My mind is focussed on gathering energy for the second bout of running. I sprint for another 300 meters. Come back home exhausted. I then take a long shower and eat some feel good food. Or i order something.

I then proceed to make sweeping declarations to myself of things i will do, things i will not do blah blah to improve my life.

I write it down. I put it on white board and i make promises to myself. I watch Louis CK comedy and then go to sleep.

Ii dont think this sounds like a two way relationship. He has already started to diminish your self confidence, i sense this by you asking this question. You are right you cannot ALWAYS be wrong in your every thought and idea. A partner/boyfriend is supposed to support you and increase your confidence, this is not happening! Try another shot at reasoning with him if you are not getting anywhere you will have to walk for your own self worth. Get some therapy or if that is not an option read and listen to advice from people (male and female) who have experienced your situation on here. Your frie

Ii dont think this sounds like a two way relationship. He has already started to diminish your self confidence, i sense this by you asking this question. You are right you cannot ALWAYS be wrong in your every thought and idea. A partner/boyfriend is supposed to support you and increase your confidence, this is not happening! Try another shot at reasoning with him if you are not getting anywhere you will have to walk for your own self worth. Get some therapy or if that is not an option read and listen to advice from people (male and female) who have experienced your situation on here. Your friend to me sounds like a control freak who has his own problems (they are not yours) and if he chooses not to address them do not let yourself be part of his downfall. Just on that subject how did his past relationships go, are they all their fault, they didnt understand him, etc. Be careful and look after yourself.

  • When you feel that your words would be enough to make yourself understood.
  • When the other party is interested in listening to you and understanding you.
  • When there is a lack of bias and pre-conceived notion/judgement.
  • When you have a reason to explain. When clearing things out matters to you.
  • When it seems relevant, necessary and required to do so. When the situation calls aptly for an explanation.
  • When such an explanation makes a difference.
  • When such an explanation matters equally to the other party as it matters to you.
  • When you are provided with an adequate chance to explain yourself. When you ar
  • When you feel that your words would be enough to make yourself understood.
  • When the other party is interested in listening to you and understanding you.
  • When there is a lack of bias and pre-conceived notion/judgement.
  • When you have a reason to explain. When clearing things out matters to you.
  • When it seems relevant, necessary and required to do so. When the situation calls aptly for an explanation.
  • When such an explanation makes a difference.
  • When such an explanation matters equally to the other party as it matters to you.
  • When you are provided with an adequate chance to explain yourself. When you are in a healthy enough position to do so.

When to stay silent?

At times, silence speaks louder than words. At others, the situation demands an explanation.

Choose wisely. The choice is ultimately going to determine your position in front of the party who has sought the explanation.

:)