Word Meanings, Interpretation, And Status

Words and terms we use every day are interpreted differently by different people, even in the same community or family.
For instance the word "Listen" often means one thing by the speaker, but the listener hears something completely different.

"Why won't you LISTEN to me" says Marie, and she means "hear me when I am talking, hear what I'm saying, try to comprehend my meaning, care enough about me to hear my words and my meaning"

But Jeffrey THINKS that Marie means "Do what I say" when she uses the word "listen", because he does not have a broader definition of the word. He hears the sentence "Listen to me" to mean "Do what I say", or "Believe what I say", as if he is a child and the person speaking is an adult who is chastising him. Jeffrey did not learn the other meanings of the phrase "listen to me", so every time Marie says it, he thinks she's trying to tell him what to do.

This communication conundrum causes a serious loop in communication. If Marie tries to explain to Jeffrey what she means when she says "Listen to me", he will STILL think she's trying to boss him around, or trying to "change him".

Jeffrey is still in his childhood mentally and emotionally; he perceives that when a person is trying to explain something they need, or their feelings, or what they want, or even a different point of view, that they're trying to MAKE HIM DO something, or MAKE HIM BELIEVE something.

Jeffrey has this perception all the time. When he is listening to someone speak whom he sees as a "deserving" authority figure, he does not "rebel". He "does what he's told", and he thinks that whatever the person is saying is basically correct, so he can believe it. Or whenever the person sounds like they're giving instructions, Jeffrey will just follow the instructions without "rebelling" or questioning, and he won't feel OFFENDED that they're "trying to tell him what to do", or "trying to change him".

But when someone who he does not consider to be a "deserving authority figure" says "Listen to me", or expresses their point of view, their feelings, or their opinions, Jeffrey takes it as an OFFENSE. This is a person who he has not deemed as higher status than himself, and therefore should not be "telling him what to do" or "telling him what to feel or think".

Unfortunately for those around Jeffrey, he thinks they're doing that all the time, every time they try to express anything at all, anytime they express upset, every time they disagree with him, and every time they have a different point of view. Jeffrey thinks they're trying to control him even when they invite him to do something or go somewhere, or when they ask him to go to a movie or play a game, or join them for a meal.

Jeffrey DID grow up with some extremely controlling people in his life that WERE constantly bossing him and disrespecting him, but unfortunately for him, he did not heal from these controlling relationships. He's now pathologically defensive toward anyone whom he has not deemed as "higher status" than himself, which means ONLY a person who he has deemed "higher status" could ever help him to get past his issues, because he literally can not, will not, hear anyone else, or even make a genuine connection with them.