Selecting hearing: I can't hear you!
Confronting selective hearing
Selective hearing is a nice way of saying that someone only listens to what they want to hear, or, worse, masks everything they hear with what they expect the other person is really saying. Regardless of what the true expression of the other person is, the selective hearer only ever hears within their own frame of reference (often a victim mentality).
An example of this is not listening for understanding. For example, if someone asked a question like `Why can't you buy a plant for me at the local store?' they may be truly asking this question to understand the other person's motives, or they may only be asked to discredit their reasons, in order to gain their selfish objective - the plant!
If the person were to answer simply, `I don't want to.' or `I've chosen not to.' then the person who is listening for understanding would have their answer! The selective listener, however, was not really asking an honest question. Their question really is "How can I get you to buy my plant?" So whatever answer the other person gives, the selective listener has to combat the answers until the other person has no answers left. Finally, the selective listener has manipulated the other person into doing what was wanted, and the plant is bought.
Examples of the way a selective listener might combat such answers are: "Well I would go and buy the plant!" "Everyone else buys plants for me!" "Why? Why can't you!" and on receiving an answer to the `why', for example, it takes too long: "Oh, that's not true! It will only take you 15 minutes." "Can't you find a little time for me in this week?" "Don't you love me enough just to buy me this plant?"
All of these responses are attempting to manipulate the other person into doing what the selective listener wants. The selective listener is not really listening to understand the other person's heart, but rather listening to each reason in order to discredit it - ie. the selective listener is listening to argue and not to understand. Their goal is selfish - what I want, regardless of your need.