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Wellness Wednesday: Therapists on Over Explaining And Justification

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Over-explaining yourself to family, friends, a partner, or anyone else is something we all do from time to time, but it has been highlighted by many professionals and experts, such as doctors and therapists, that over-explaining and having to justify your actions can be harmful for your mental health. That is why I have found useful steps and advice therapists themselves have given in order to help you identify the signs of over-explaining and put a stop to it when it is noticed.

According to the therapist Bobbi Banks, who is a licenced coach, “overexplaining can be a trauma response and can develop as a result of gaslighting. She adds that anxiety or ADHD can also lead to over-explaining and it can happen to those who grew up with a strict upbringing where you had to justify your choices”.

Although the reasons can vary for every individual, there are a few effective ways to help you from stopping this habit, and it starts from reflecting on yourself to figure out why you feel the need to overexplain. Did they ask for it? Did you feel that they are judging you? Identifying the trigger that makes you over-explain your choices, actions, and words can be a strong long-term solution to overcoming this habit.

Bobbi Banks writes on Instagram, “Challenge your beliefs and assumptions around it [overexplaining] and leave room for others to ask questions. Ask yourself – am I explaining or am I doing it just so I can ease an uncomfortable feeling?”

It is important to place boundaries where necessary and explain only what you feel is required, after that, you need to learn to “sit with the discomfort of disappointing others and saying ‘no’”.

Here are the basic five steps the therapist wrote on social media:

  • Reflect on where your over-explaining comes from
  • Identify the triggers
  • Learn to sit with the discomfort of disappointing others and saying “no”
  • Challenge your beliefs and assumptions around it
  • Ask yourself, “Am I explaining or am I doing it just so I can easy an uncomfortable feeling?”


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