CEMM Virtual Library

The Caregiver's Journey

Interrupting

What you might see:

  • Talking non-stop 
  • Not allowing the listener a turn to speak 
  • Frequent interruptions
  • Inability to adjust communication style for the situation
  • Bringing up the same topic over and over again (perseveration)

How you can help:

  • Politely interrupt and ask for a chance to speak. Tell your service member/veteran you would like to say something.
  • Ask your service member/veteran to please make it brief. 
  • Develop a hand signal, which indicates to the service member/veteran that he or she may be monopolizing the conversation.
  • Gently alert him or her to the fact that the topic change was too abrupt or that he or she has interrupted and will be given a chance to say his or her piece in a moment.
  • Use positive reinforcement for all attempts at listening rather than talking.
  • Your service member/veteran may be interrupting because he or she is “lost” in the conversation. Encourage him or her to let you know if he or she doesn’t understand what is being said.

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