New Year's Resolutions: Jeni

Jabber-Jaw Jeni
How many resolutions have you made and then broken? Dr. Phil’s guests say they have big changes to make in the new year, but they’re just not sure how to go about them. Dr. Phil gets them started.

"I do talk too much, and I tend to ramble," Jeni says.

"Why do you want to be on the Dr. Phil show?" a producer asks her.

Jeni explains, "I want to harness all my positive energy … I want to learn how to harness that, and I think that Dr. Phil " and the staff and crew " because he's not a one-man show … It's almost like my mouth is separate from my body … I don't know how to think before I speak, and I hate to not take responsibility for my
own actions because it is me, and it's me that's causing me to talk. Before I know it, I mean, my day is gone..."

Jeni's mother says, "Jeni is my second-born and, had she been born first, I would've had only one child. When Jeni was a little girl, she talked, and she talked, and she talked, and she talked, and she talked. She wouldn't shut up!"

Jeni continues on, barely pausing to take a breath. "My parents say that if anybody would ever kidnap me, I would talk them to death, and they would bring me back … Whenever I get on the phone, I don't know how to get off the phone. I'll call somebody's answering machine three times. I end up leaving too long of a message. It cuts me off. I have to call back, and then it cuts me off again … I can listen and conversate
with people, I can have a conversation " if that's a word, conversate " I can listen, but it's kind of a like a superficial listening... Then take the yucky stuff, and toss it out and move forward."

Jeni finishes her answer after 15 minutes!

"My New Year's resolution is to talk less and listen more, but the only thing that could stop me right now is duct tape," she says. Jabber-Jaw Jeni

Dr. Phil takes out a roll of duct tape and sets it on the arm of his chair. He also pulls out a game buzzer. He prompts Jeni to say something and then immediately presses the buzzer. "If you hear that, that means put a cork in it," Dr. Phil tells her.

"Got it," she says.

"You've actually lost three promotions, right?"


"Or more, probably, because " "

The buzzer goes off. "That was not an essay question," Dr. Phil says. "You have lost jobs. You've actually been fired?"

"Once," she says.

"You say that you've lost approximately 30 clients in the past year. You're a realtor, and you just wear them down," Dr. Phil says.

"Well, I tell them all the reasons why they shouldn't buy the house," she says, "because I feel like I should be honest too. I mean, because I'm an honest realtor."

Dr. Phil explains that during her pre-interviews, she'd take three to five minutes to answer a question. Other guests average 20 to 30 seconds. In a day, the average person uses between 12,000 and 16,000 words. In Jeni's two-hour interview, she used 14,000 words. "So that would be over a quarter of a million in a day if you were just in full flow," he says.

"And if I didn't have to sleep, I would continue to talk. I really would. That's why I'm here " "

Dr. Phil hits the buzzer.

When Dr. Phil asks for Jeni's explanation, she offers her theory. "It's not an excuse, but I have ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder]. I can't focus a thought long enough, so that's why I'll start on one, and then to another and to another, then I'll come back, and I know what I'm talking about, but nobody else knows what I'm talking about."

"Here's the deal," Dr. Phil tells her. "First off, I'm not at all convinced that you have ADD. What I do think is that you have anxiety. I am convinced that you have some real questions about your self-worth and self-esteem ... Do you think you're socially sensitive?"

"Not as much as I should be," she admits.

"Because in most situations, you do most of the talking, right?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I like it when somebody else does the talking, but sometimes I dominate the conversation, yes," Jeni says. "That would be a yes."

"We've talked to some of your friends," Dr. Phil

informs her. "You do dominate the conversation. We've talked to some people who say they haven't got a word in edgewise in seven years."

"You're the master. I'm the student. I'm here to learn," she says.

"Well, I'm going to give you the chance to do that, actually," Dr. Phil says. He explains that he's going to give Jeni a chance to see herself the way others see her. Jeni is going to go backstage and watch her responses to a few questions in her interview with a producer. The experiment is part immersion therapy and part social sensitivity training.

After a few minutes, Dr. Phil checks in on Jeni. She's seated before three television monitors, watching her own long-winded answers. "I'm ready to move forward, Dr. Phil," she says. "I apologize for putting your camera crew through having to hear this … I get the point."

"I'm not sure you do," Dr. Phil tells her. "Back to work."

At the end of the show, a visibly tired Jeni sits down with Dr. Phil. "It wore me down," Jeni tells him.

"What does that do for your social sensitivity?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I see how other people see me. I felt how other people feel whenever I talk, and talk, and talk and talk," she says.

Jeni's friend, Tammy, joins the conversation via Web cam. "She can definitely get a little exhausting. I love Jeni, but you have to make sure you have time when you want to pick up that phone and talk to her," Tammy says. "Sometimes I try to listen to her message first, because then I kind of know, encapsulated, what she wants to say, and then I can call and go, ‘OK, I heard what you had to say.' I can answer her questions real quick."

Jeni vows that she's not going to ramble anymore, and Tammy says she'll give a progress report on how she does.

"You have to understand, you don't have to fill every void," Dr. Phil says, pausing for a moment. "Silence is just fine."