Is it better to be unheard or not being listened to?

Monkey scratching his head
Say What?

Ladies, this question is for you.  Gentlemen, you are invited to give an alibi or explanation as you feel so inclined.

Sometimes when I speak to my husband, he practices selective deafness where he does not acknowledge that anything has been said.   At other times, he grunts in affirmation implying that something has been said, but is not worth listening to.

Do you think it is it less frustrating to be unheard (where whatever you say  is totally ignored) or not be listened to (where you say something but it is deemed  unworthy of attention)?


34 thoughts on “Is it better to be unheard or not being listened to?”

  1. My otolaryngologist (ENT doctor, but I love to work that into conversation as it took me months to learn how to pronounce and spell it), calls this “marital deafness.” He said that he noticed it first with his own parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are a couple of other possibilities, of course. He might actually be getting deaf and either not recognize it or not want to acknowledge it. And he might be grunting and not responding because he’s trying to avoid opening his mouth and saying something he might regret later. So, he might be either saving face or trying to keep his tongue under control. Or maybe not. In any case, there’s lot of room for misunderstanding if neither one of you says what’s on your mind instead of guessing what’s in the other person’s. But yeah, I’d rather be unheard than ignored, if those are my choices. Priscilla’s got it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very possible, but he doesn’t like to listen
      Female officers that worked with him when he was still active duty made the same complaint and he is ok with not listening when a female speaks. It’s rude and sexist.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aha, so it’s more of an issue than I thought. If he were still on active duty, his commanding officer should be saying something. It’s a performance issue. Since he’s not, he should at least know that it’s affecting his credibility with other people he deals with.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Pat… I’m trying so hard not to get all the way up onto my Julia Sugarbaker soapbox. Whether it’s selective deafness or selective memory loss, it infuriates me. It’s so manipulative and passive aggressive. Repair people, doctors, even veterinarians just refuse to listen to me — utterly dismissive, as if whatever I have to say comes from stupidity. No. I’ll stop before both feet get onto the soapbox. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I gotta separate out actual, factual, “sorry, I didn’t hear you” (deafness, tv too loud, whatever) from “selective deafness” which is just a euphemism for “I don’t want to listen to you”. Which I think is the same thing as someone not listening. It’s INFURIATING. It’s not just spouses. Happens with teenagers all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think he percieves that if a female says it, it can’t be worth much. Yesterday, his phone was too dim to see. I recently had the same problem and told him how to fix it. He ignored me and was astonished when I fixed it as soon as we got back to the hotel. I’m proud to say I didn’t throw the phone at hm


    1. It is a general human problem, more prominent in some cultures and subcultures than others, and can be a factor of the day and age someone grew up in. It is often learned from the watching the parents interact. Children learn what they live, grow up, and often pass it along to their offspring via social inheritance.

      There is also a line from Shakespeare about familiarity breeding contempt. I can’t remember which play.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You are right. I just googled the origin of the phrase and found this.
    Geoffrey Chaucer
    Origin of Familiarity Breeds Contempt
    The English writer Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to use this expression. It appeared in his work Tale of Melibee, in the 1300s.

    Liked by 1 person

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