Misophonia has been recognized for well over a decade at this point, but still very much in its infancy when it comes to research and treatment. With multiple groups trying to crack the code of what causes it, or jump the gun and sell treatments, cures, and exemption forms, it can be frustrating sitting on the sideline not knowing what the to, or when one might get relief from this constant torture.
Many people take to the internet to vent about their problems. When one finds a group of people with the same condition, it feels like a safe space to vent and talk about all the horrors of everyday life dealing with misophonia. And there are a lot of horrors of everyday life dealing with misophonia.
One of the major problems, however, is misophonia is just starting to gain some mainstream attention, with a handful of celebrities coming out stating they or a loved one have it. Because of this, people who are unfamiliar with misophonia might take the time to do a search on Google and see what this is all about. This is where the problem can lie.
We’ve all done it. Turned a harmless person into an enemy because they triggered us. They don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t know the torture they are putting people with misophonia are going through. At the end of the day, they are completely innocent.
This doesn’t stop us from complaining, on public forums, about how terrible people are that trigger us. To others in the community, it seems perfectly normal. They get it. They know what that person is going through. But think about someone who doesn’t have misophonia reading all these tales about the hatred we have toward people who don’t even know they’re doing something wrong.
Why should they feel bad for us? Why should they care if they trigger us? Why should they care if we get a treatment or cure if all we do is turn them into something they’re not? No one is going to sympathize with a bunch of people who hate others for no real reason.
My proposal: Turn your experience with misophonia into a learning experience for people who don’t have it. Calmly and constructively explain what triggers bother people with misophonia, so when people without it read it, they think, “Wow, I never realized this simple thing I’m doing bothers a great deal of people.”
One can get the point across just as easily without making people feel like they’re being attacked. Dismiss the negative adjectives and make it more of a, “This is how I feel when…” situation. A coworker is most likely not chewing loudly to annoy you. Some people are raised differently (I was raised to chew with my mouth closed and not scuff my feet when I walk) and may not see it as relevant because most people aren’t bothered by it.
Use public domain as an education tool for the general public. People are more responsive when they are confronted with a problem that doesn’t directly attack them. Teach people about misophonia, don’t villainize people. The only way we’re going to get the research we need is to make the general public know this is a real issue, and they can assist us by making simply adjustments to their habits.