Some groups incorporate a definition of crosstalk into their meeting format. This definition is usually read just before the group begins a discussion on the meeting. The term “cross talk” means interrupting, referring to, commenting on, or using the content of what another person has said during a meeting. Cross talk also refers to any type of dialog that occurs as the meeting is in progress as well. Members talking to one another or discussing what someone has just said is cross talk.
Many ACA members come from family backgrounds where feelings and perceptions were judged as wrong or defective. In ACA, each person may share his or her feelings and perceptions without fear of being judged or interruption. In ACA, we create a safe place to open up and share. As part of creating that safety, crosstalk is not permitted. We respect these boundaries for two reasons:
• When we were growing up no one listened to us; they told us that our feelings were wrong.
• As adults we are accustomed to taking care of other people and not taking responsibility for our lives.
In ACA, we speak about our own experiences and feelings; we accept without comment what others say because it is true for them. We also work toward taking responsibility in our lives rather than giving advice to others.
Here are various forms of cross talk:
Each member in ACA should be able to share, free from interruption. When someone is sharing, all others should refrain from speaking, including side conversations with a neighbor. Gestures, noise, or movement could also be considered interruption if it were grossly distracting.
In ACA we keep the focus on our lives and our feelings. We do not make reference to the shares of others except as a transition into our own sharing. A very general “what’s been brought up for me is…” or the occasional “thank you for sharing” is fine, but please do not make more detailed references to another person’s share.
In ACA we accept what each person shares as true for them. We go to great lengths to avoid creating the climate of shame that enforced the three primary rules of a dysfunctional family: don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel. In ACA, we simply do not make a comment either positive or negative about another person’s share before, during, or after a meeting. In like manner, we never speak about the contents of another person’s share. everything that is shared in an ACA meeting is considered privileged and confidential and must be treated with the utmost of respect. Unsolicited advice can be a form of commentary and should be avoided.
This is from an ACA meeting format:
Before we begin the meeting, I would like to mention that we do not “cross talk” in the meeting. Cross talk means interrupting, referring to, or commenting on what another person has said during the meeting. We do not cross talk because adult children come from family backgrounds where feelings and perceptions were judged as wrong or defective. In ACA, each person may share feelings and perceptions without fear of judgment. We accept without comment what others say because it is true for them. We work toward taking more responsibility in our lives rather than giving advice to others.
Fixing others: Learn to listen
“In ACA, we do not touch, hug or attempt to comfort others when they become emotional during an ACA meeting. If someone begins to cry during a meeting, we allow the person to feel his or her feelings without interruption. To touch or hug the person is known as “fixing”. As children we tried to fix our parents or to control them with out behavior. In ACA, we are learning to take care of ourselves. We support others by accepting them into our meetings and listening to them. We allow them to feel their feelings in peace.”
ACA text – page 576
“We want to balance keeping our groups safe from cross talk with our own responsibility to educate new members about group decorum. In most cases a gentle reminder works.”
excerpts from The ACA Text – pages 573-574