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Repeating a conversation

(17 Posts)
Signoftimes Fri 08-Nov-19 18:57:48

Hope someone can give me some tips or alternatively tell me it’s me that needs to work harder

Wife and I are in our 40s, been together half of that and love her loads

I am starting to struggle lately with something and I don’t know/remember if it has always been that way or if it is something only started in the last few years. I’m afraid it’s not that exciting but it’s having an impact.

Simply put when we talk about something that has happened that day or similar she repeats herself, at least 3 times, in the same conversation.

Trying to put in in context And as an example, she will tell me, in detail about something that has happened at work today. Who said what to who, what has happened previously and what the outcome is. It reaches the end point and then she goes back and says it all again, maybe in a slightly different order, with the same result......and then she will go back again, for a third time saying exactly the same thing, with little changes with the same outcome.

I worried for a while whether it was me not listening properly and not acknowledging what she is saying, not giving advice unless she wants it and nodding and asking questions at appropriate times but no matter what happens it always happens time and time again.

We had friends over the other night for a meal and she does the same, taking over much of the evening as she repeats herself.

I feel really bad as by the third time I am starting to zone out and I’m finding myself avoiding conversation for fear it will keep happening

I’ve talked to her about it and I admit on a couple of occasions I’ve pointed out she has told me 4 or 5 times the same story in succession. She just (quite rightfully probably) got upset that I said it.

I just don’t know what to do. Please feel free to tell me to suck it up

Startingoveragain1 Fri 08-Nov-19 19:56:42

My mums like that. She likes to put her point across and things must just go on in her head and she says them and repeats herself and goes in loops. It can be quite frustrating but we all just tolerate it cause we love her. I do tell her sometimes (in a jokey way) shes repeating herself and it usually goes down alright. But i have to really watch the tone as she can feel offended and attacked easily. I mean, this is my mum , i have to accept it... but i dont live with her... id just switch off if that was my partner... dont know what you could do op... what if u give her a verbal summary of what shes said? Aftee she says it once? With a bit of feedback on ur part, Ur opinion or you acknowledging the story. Maybe hearing that information coming back at her helps her process it better so she doesnt feel the need to go over it time and time again? You would have to find a way to come across as natural as possible rather than here we go again crazy woman ...just hush. 😅

CloudyWithAChance2 Fri 08-Nov-19 20:03:27

A member of my family started doing this in their late 40s and it turned out to be the start of early onset Alzheimer’s.

Everyone laughed at the start because they were repeating things on a regular basis and they couldn’t see it.

SunnyCoco Fri 08-Nov-19 20:20:35

I do this
I don't know why. Someone pointed it out to me so now I'm really conscious of it. But I can't seem to stop it.
Interested if anyone has managed to stop doing it and how , as I know how irritating it must be for the other person

Signoftimes Fri 08-Nov-19 20:24:51

Thankyou both

I have tried calmly replaying back, acknowledging what she has said and empathising is appropriate but with no success

Not sure it is Alzheimer’s because this is in one breath, so to speak, rather than a short gap between

SunnyCoco I will share if I find the answer

IndieTara Fri 08-Nov-19 20:54:59

My best friend does this a lot. She's 53 but has always done it. She's my best friend, I let it go

EvenMoreFuriousVexation Fri 08-Nov-19 21:12:39

Oh wow. I used to do this. I am not sure exactly WHY but it was definitely partly around lack of self confidence and fear of not being heard, or of being misunderstood, and of feeling like I had to fill any silences. I think it's learned behaviour as my mum was the same way too. Like if we were in the car (me driving) and there was silence for a couple of minutes she would suddenly remark "Oh, look, a tree" or something equally fatuous.

I had a bit of a lightbulb moment when at work. I was taking an escalated complaint from a customer and I rephrased my point about 3 times. He said "Yeah love I heard you the first time" and hung up.

From then on I adopted a policy of "you don't need to fill the silence. Once you've said your piece, just wait for them to respond."

I don't know if any of this would help your wife. But I can tell you it's very unlikely to be alzeimers or her deliberately trying to annoy you.

Signoftimes Sat 09-Nov-19 14:14:13

Thankyou, I think I am going to have to find time to have a calm chat about it as it felt very distracting when with friends the other night

Zero79me Sat 09-Nov-19 18:33:09

She doesnt feel you pay attention. She feels insecure .

EvenMoreFuriousVexation Sat 09-Nov-19 22:33:03

OP do you think she may have been slightly anxious about socialising? Are they your friends who you know better than she does? (Sorry I don't know how to phrase that better. I guess have you known them longer than her?)

GettingABitDesperateNow Sat 09-Nov-19 23:00:29


I do this in some situations. Not when I'm with my husband but more with other people, I think I'm quite bad socially and am anxious about how to get my point across and I'm always kind of thinking about what the other person thinks about me and what to say next, so in the moment I repeat myself and I don't realise until later.

I think I'd talk to her about it when you're both calm and not immediately after its happened, from a 'I'm a bit worried about why you do this, I'm not sure if you realise but you often say the same thing 3x, is it because you think I'm not listening or is their something else behind it' type can always offer to give her a secret signal in company or a direct reminder when you're there in case it's just a strange bad habit

Lifeisabeach09 Sat 09-Nov-19 23:15:17

Could she be re-articulating until she gets feels she gets the story out as she wants it? Oftentimes, we do this in out head. A lot of us aren't natural storytellers. In my case, I repeat myself sometimes when I am unsure if something I've said is said right (and is comprehended as I mean it to be by others.) Hope that makes sense.
Is she aware she is repeating herself?

Lifeisabeach09 Sat 09-Nov-19 23:16:08

*Pardon the typos

Needsomebottle Sat 09-Nov-19 23:19:30

My DH and I can both do this to each other. Even when the other one is fully engaged in conversation. I think for both of us it's us trying to ensure that the other is seeing our exact viewpoint. If I feel DH gets it, I don't do it. If not I do. He is the same. Ironically it irritates me when he does it. He probably feels the same. I find if I discuss what's behind what he is saying he doesn't do it. So "X person said this rude thing to Y person"
Rather than a simple "gosh, how awful" expand... "well Y must have felt really insulted, and how dare X say that particularly when they did such a thing last week".
Kind of acknowledging the back story and the stuff that isn't said, showing you get where the story is coming from.
Hope that makes sense?!!

PicsInRed Sat 09-Nov-19 23:19:36

My money is on anxiety at not being listened to and heard as well as a fear that she's not considered by her audience even worthy of being listened to.

UnicornsExist Sun 10-Nov-19 04:34:59

My ex used to do this. In his case it was nothing to do with self confidence but because he thinks he is always right about everything so if I didn't agree with what he said the first time then he would keep saying it in a slightly different way hoping that suddenly I would agree with whatever crap he was coming out with. In his case I think it was one of his many ways of trying to control me by talking at me until I agreed just to shut him up.

Signoftimes Sun 10-Nov-19 08:38:39

Thanks all. Just to say it is her best friend and husband so definitely people she knows more than I do

I think the comments about anxiety could be right. She struggles with confidence in a few things and this might be the cause

I’m going to try to approach it differently, not just nod and give small comment but repeat areas to show I understand. I will also have a conversation with her when we are both calm and relaxed to see if there is anything else I am missing

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