I haven’t always had Misophonia.
I can still remember the days of old when I wasn’t bothered by or triggered by any noises. A person who doesn’t have sensory processing issues or Misophonia probably won’t notice the sights or sounds that you’re noticing. In fact, they may be so oblivious that they don’t even know if they’re making noise or moving. When you have Misophonia it’s nearly impossible to imagine that these noises or visuals can be completely unseen and unheard. However, when you’re not living with it on a daily basis, it can be very hard to understand what the big deal is about. A person without Misophonia may wonder why you’re so upset and first think you’re merely hypersensitive. It’s not their fault that they think this way. Each person has trouble seeing outside of his or her own experiences, so it’s hard to consider the viewpoint of a person with Misophonia.
A person who is triggering a loved one or a close friend may feel a significant amount of guilt when trying to deal with Misophonia and its impact on their loved one. After all, they do not want to hurt you, and yet, one wrong move and they’re being given the stink-eye, again. It’s traumatic to always be griped at and ‘attacked’ for making a noise you’re used to, or moving a body part. Unfortunately, the person who is triggered has little control of their rage in the moment. However, that doesn’t mean that the feelings of the person who the rage is directed toward do not feel it too. People have trouble considering changing their habits or behaviours in order to ease the lifestyle of another. It’s not because they’re arrogant or selfish, it’s because everybody is just trying to get by, in their own way. A significant amount of the population hums, whistles, or shakes their legs or sways when they are uncomfortable or faced with anxiety. Unfortunately, these behaviours tend to send people with Misophonia into a rage, and this reaction could further send the person causing the trigger into anxiety. Misophonia is uncomfortable for everybody involved.
The lack of medical knowledge and research on Misophonia is not only challenging, but also very confusing for people who do not have it. If you think it’s hard living with the disorder, imagine watching it happen but not knowing what to do, or whether or not your actions could actually be making the disorder worse. This is especially challenging for parents that are trying to guide their children in the right direction. A lot of people will say that their kids cannot be coddled and that they should be forcing them to ‘toughen up’. This can send a mixed message to parents. Since the pain associated with Misophonia is severe, a parent’s reaction will be to protect their child – but a lot of people will be urging them to force their child to ‘get over it’. All current findings on Misophonia believe that the disorder gets worse with exposure. It’ll be impossible to keep a child away from any and all triggers, but forcing them to deal with it is not the way to go. There’s a fine line between avoiding life and purposefully exposing a person to triggers. Balance should be found that helps each person, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” to take care of Misophonia.
Misophonia is an emotional struggle for everybody involved. There are no right answers, and the current amount of research and diagnosis is so small that it’s hard to feel a sense of hope once you know that it’s in-fact a real diagnosis. However, this does not mean that everything has to be gray skies. Open communication can be helpful for everybody. If you are being triggered, you should be able to communicate positively and if it’s the only excuse, leave the room. If you are not the person suffering, but rather the trigger, or a person involved with a Misophonia sufferer, you should learn not to take their behaviour personally.