Are you a chronic over-explainer?

Where does over-explaining stem from?

People naturally feel the need to make sure their point of view is clearly understood when in conversation with someone else. Nobody wants to be misunderstood when expressing an opinion or thought.

What happens however when someone feels the need to always over-explain something?


Is this something that stems from an underlying anxiety, that they will be misunderstood?


Is this also something that happens because in the past they might have been misunderstood quite a lot and for this reason they have to make sure it doesn’t happen again?


Does over-explaining ever make you think, that the person doing the over-explaining, must think that the person they are over-explaining to must be stupid. Does this make sense?

I have been on both sides of this. I have over-explained to someone who got what I was saying from the first sentence and said I didn’t need to explain further. They said, I am not stupid, I get it. I have also been over-explained to and could immediately tell that the other person was anxious and insecure about something.

In my experience, many individuals who suffer from low self-esteem or people-pleasing, have an almost compulsive need to over-explain. This usually stems from childhood abuse, where either 1 or both parents were unable to meet the child’s needs and were unable to understand the child’s feelings. If parents don’t have empathy, are self-centered and dont have the ability to genuinely listen and understand, then a child will chronically feel frustrated, misunderstood and alone.

Have you ever tried to explain a simple concept such as sadness or feeling alone to a person who lacks empathy?

The reply is usually uncaring and hurtful.

Have you ever tried to reason with someone who has a low IQ and has intellectual disabilities?

They are not able to understand certain simple concepts because they just aren’t able to and if you insist on trying to make them understand, you can make yourself feel crazy with frustration.

When does over-explaining become chronic?

This usually happens when someone is unable to simply state something, that doesn’t need explaining, to someone who hasn’t even asked for an explanation. It becomes chronic when a person feels the need to explain in great detail and repeats themselves over and over again.It becomes chronic when it is a habitual thing that someone does all the time, even with people that are understanding and empathetic.

The particular thing I would like to highlight in this post, is that over-explaining becomes habitual for people who have suffered narcissistic abuse. If you are constantly around someone who makes you doubt yourself by gaslighting you, who doesn’t validate and understand your feelings and always tries to manipulate you, then it is only natural that you will be chronically frustrated when communicating..

I would love to hear your thoughts on this..

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Much Love Athina ♥

Author: Courage Coaching

I provide empowerment, empathy & support. I specialise in dealing with dysfunctional relationships, particularly narcissistic abuse & encouraging self-compassion.

12 thoughts on “Are you a chronic over-explainer?”

  1. I do this quite a bit. It’s usually not a conscious effort, I tend to realize what I’ve done after I’ve already said too much. Then of course the self-recriminations start, and go on late into the night when I’m trying to fall asleep. That’s when I replay everything I said “wrong.” Your explanations make quite a bit of sense, I never thought about why I did it. Knowing helps me to be kinder to myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad you can be kinder to yourself by knowing this Sheri! My husband originally pointed it out to me and then I noticed that my brother was also over-explaining to me because he has also suffered from the same abuse I have and probably even more so..
      Understanding does give us more self-compassion. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    2. This explanation makes total sense. It fits logically as well as experientially. What I was looking for in addition, was some suggestions for how to reassure someone who chronically explains, and how to change my thoughts and feelings of being misunderstood so that I am no longer compelled to overexplain? Thank you for the article.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I notice this in my wife. She had an abusive childhood with parents who weren’t able and still don’t understand & validate her and she almost compulsively feels the need to over explain everything..Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always used to think people just don’t get the real answer and in order for them to do their job or next action correctly, they must hear my full explanation rant.

    How do you fix it? I’m tired of doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry to hear you also over-explain things. It is already a good start that you are aware of it. 🙂 I am just in the middle of writing a new post on ‘How and why people should stop over-explaining’. Keep an eye on my blog and maybe the post will help you.


  4. I know this will sound weird but I was watching some videos on the narcissist and the way you explained a lot of the covert narcissist it fits my estranged husband to a tee I am struggling a lot right now almost to the point or he has almost convinced me to end my life I have been trying for the last couple of hours to find you and to find your website to email you this was the only one I could find I’m running out of time this morning as I have an appointment I just need to be in contact with you somehow. I really hope you see this email I believe in coincidences I honestly believe that I am a empath at this point in time I’m highly sensitive person I have been hyper and pathetic my entire life which is why he gravitated towards me 25 years ago five kids later and three grandchildren I hope we can connect soon thank you.


  5. I’m guilty of this, and I haven’t figured out why until now. I knew it had to do with my low self-esteem, but I didn’t know it stemmed from being around narcissists. That totally makes sense now! I’ve experienced gaslighting recently, and so my “condition” got worse. I’m sure I don’t need to over-explain here, but I’ll simplify to I’ve experienced narcissistic abuse as a child and as an adult (a recent ex-boss; a couple of exes – not all).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: