Note (05/02/2010): I’ve updated the mind-map to a) remove the typo and b) make it bigger for printing purposes. Click on the image to load the larger diagram.
It has occurred to me lately how often I say “I don’t know” in my appointments (possibly even more often than I say “I know” !). My therapist has come to totally disregard the phrase, which for me, has become very versatile:
Type 1: the how-did-you-feel-in-that-situation “I don’t know”
Usually used when discussing some childhood event that I kind of remember. I could probably figure out how I felt about it, if I spent some time thinking about it, but I really don’t want to… so off the top of my head I don’t know.
Type 2: the I-do-know-but-I-don’t-want-to-tell-you “I don’t know”
There are lots of reasons why I might know and not want to say anything….
- I don’t want to analyze it, and I know that my therapist is going to
- I’m embarrassed
- I don’t have the energy to get into it at that moment
- I just don’t feel like telling her
Type 3: the can-this-conversation-end-already “I don’t know”
This “I don’t know” is often accompanied with a lot of “uh huh”s, “yeah”s, and “mmhmm”s. Saying anything besides “I don’t know” is going to continue the conversation, which I definitely do NOT want to encourage.
Type 4: the I-don’t-believe-you “I don’t know”
Usually a response to a statement rather than a question… when I’m being told that taking care of myself is important and it’s okay to ask for help and I’m not too needy, and all of those other things I have a hard time believing.
Type 5: the I-want-you-to-tell-me “I don’t know”
Okay, sometimes I test my therapist, and sometimes I just want to be told things. I know what I think, I’m bored with my answer, and I want a professional’s perspective.
…you know, the more I think about this, the more types I can come up with. Maybe I should just make a mind-map: