From Senators to news pundits, we are living in a society where interrupting is commonplace and accepted as a way of communicating.
Interrupting and talking over others can be something that is simply learned in childhood and carries over into adulthood. It may be a sign of insecurity in the interrupter and manifests this way. Perhaps it’s just narcissistic or a total lack of awareness on the part of the person doing the interrupting. And it certain circumstances, it can be a power play.
You can see Megan McCain sparring with other members of “The View” from time-to-time, and especially with Whoopi Goldberg. On the March 19th episode of “The View, in a discussion about President Trump attempting to rename the coronavirus the “Chinese virus,” the pattern of McCain interrupting Whoopi (in this case) and then talking over her emerged.
Whoopi wasn’t even in the studio at the time. Because of her self-quarantine, she was interacting with the panel from home via Skype. That’s what made the interrupting pattern starker – a two-way conversation was hard to come by even when people were miles apart.
Cutting in while someone else is speaking can be a way of asserting dominance over them. “Interrupting is a way to demonstrate power in interpersonal situations,” explains Dr. Joel Minden, a licensed clinical psychologist and professor at California State University, Chico. It’s important to remember that not all interruptions are the same. One person may interrupt another because they’re trying to be helpful. Sometimes one person’s sentence overlaps with another.
But when a person interrupts to assert dominance over them, you are diminishing the other person’s role so that you may assert your own. When Megan McCain abruptly jumps in, the subtext is “what I have to say in this moment is more important than what you’re saying right now.”
Megan has gotten herself in trouble with other guest hosts as well, not just Whoopi. Often she can be found sparring with Joy Behar or Sunny Hostin. Sometimes, rather than seeming confident, Meghan instead seems to be insecure. McCain fancies herself as a spokesperson for the Right. As such, it’s also possible that she becomes filled with excitement and exuberance. Her speaking volume starts to go way up. She does this either so that she can be heard – or it is a classic power play – or both. In one recent episode of “The View,” Whoopi actually had to say to Megan, “Will you stop talking now?”
They both apologized after the show was over, but the incident does serve as an example of how extreme things can get.
You can engage the other person in “reflective listening,” when you rephrase what the speaker said and thereby reflect what you heard. That way you clarify the discussion and potentially stop the interruptions. As a matter of fact, psychotherapists often suggest this technique for married couples to help them bicker less and communicate more.
You can use direct communication to inform the other person you would appreciate it if they would stop interrupting. This is a long-shot on “The View,” where such a request works for just moments until the usual confrontational mode takes over again.
When an interrupter is insecure, engages in a power play, has a lack of awareness, and is narcissistic, you have a toxic cocktail that is difficult to overcome. That may be why the squabbling the often occurs on “The View” is difficult to stop. But viewers do notice it, however. There have been many complaints from viewers on social media that request one of the regulars be retired.
But for now, everyone must entertain the notion that things will get rocky sometimes, especially in the middle of a National Emergency.